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Up Front

EDITORIAL: Seeking peace in Mexico; Letters to Secretary of State Kerry show courage on behalf of border

W e appreciate the delicate line that Valley leaders must walk to protect the economic interests and safety of the region on one hand, and to protect the image of the region to outsiders, on the other.

Thursday 05/22/2014
LETTER from Bishop Daniel Flores to John Kerry
Posted: May 22, 2014

The Honorable John F. Kerry

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Sunday 05/19/2013
Allegations of Medicaid Fraud remain unproven, group says
Posted: May 19, 2013

A recent piece carried in The Monitor and written by the Texas Tribune's Becca Aaronson ("Legislators seek action on Medicaid fraud measures") paints a picture of massive, out of control fraud across the state of Texas, perpetrated by dentists and especially orthodontists.  Throughout the article, this "fraud" is referred to as a fact.  Indeed, the article begins:

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Saturday 11/03/2012
Drainage bond referendum makes good business sense
Updated: November 03, 2012 - 3:20 pm

Last year, I was asked by County Commissioner Joseph Palacios to join a special advisory committee to address the drainage needs of the Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1. And now, a year later, the District is asking the residents of Hidalgo County to vote for a bond referendum that will make improvements to our aging and outdated drainage system. The bond referendum contains key projects that include installing additional floodgates, repairing structures, widening drain ditches and the construction of a second channel that will move storm water runoff out of our cities much faster and towards the bay. This bond referendum has 25 project-specific initiatives that we can be assured will be delivered as committed to us by the District.

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Sunday 10/28/2012
Communities united to support drainage improvements
Updated: November 03, 2012 - 3:20 pm

It is not easy having our communities come together and agree on an issue, yet almost all Hidalgo County communities have united for a regional purpose that will impact the lives and well-being of our citizens while protecting property and home – drainage improvements. The County Commissioners’ Court appointed a drainage advisory committee comprised of several citizens, of which I am a co-chair, to review our current drainage system. We identified 25 countywide improvement projects that will move water runoff out of our cities into the county drainage system and out to the Laguna Madre Bay. We made a recommendation to the board of the Drainage District #1 to call a bond referendum and help alleviate our drainage challenges. This action resulted in a proposition to pass a $184 million bond that is in front of voters today.

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Sunday 10/21/2012
Despite recent kidnapping, UTPA remains safe
Updated: January 22, 2014 - 9:15 am

The University of Texas-Pan American community of students, faculty and staff has grown to more than 23,000. Their safety, as well as the safety of the thousands of visitors we have on campus each month, is paramount to UT Pan American and to me personally.

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Saturday 10/20/2012
It's time to protect our most precious assets
Updated: November 03, 2012 - 3:20 pm

I was but a toddler when Hurricane Beulah ravaged through South Texas in the fall of 1967, slamming the Rio Grande Valley at 160 mph with 27 inches of rain, and exacting damage of about $1 billion in property and other material assets. Most significantly, Beulah killed almost 700 people spread across what was at the time a sparsely populated rural region.

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Sunday 10/14/2012
Drainage improvements are a necessity
Updated: November 03, 2012 - 3:21 pm

As a resident of the County who lived through the destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Beulah in 1967, I experienced firsthand the unprecedented and devastating impact that nature could have on our area. Beulah ravaged our community; raging floodwaters toppled river levees, hundreds of thousands of residents were displaced, homes and businesses were destroyed, and the economy was severely and negatively impacted. Though our area has experienced numerous flooding events since Beulah, we have had the good fortune that these storms have not been as catastrophic as Katrina was in New Orleans, or like Beulah would be if she were to hit us today. That does not mean we are immune.

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Sunday 05/13/2012
Coming out as same-sex marriage supporter
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:33 pm

Barack Obama has finally come out. He has revealed what his critics and his supporters alike have long suspected: that he’s no longer a closeted supporter of same-sex marriage.

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Sunday 05/06/2012
Scandal and the Secret Service
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:32 pm

The great irony of the Secret Service sex scandal is that for many decades its agents had protected presidents and senior officials from scandal over sexual trysts and romantic affairs — indeed, often discreetly facilitating them — only to embarrass itself in a hotel in Cartagena, Colombia. The 12 Secret Service employees being investigated for cavorting with at least 20 prostitutes last month were in Colombia to prepare for President Barack Obama’s arrival for the Summit of the Americas. A look at some episodes from the agency’s past shows that these staffers should have known better.

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Sunday 04/29/2012
Power voters?
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:35 pm

Young Latino voters may hold the key to the White House door.

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Sunday 04/15/2012
U.S. tax code: A thing of the past
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 11:50 am

The recent trend of positive job numbers — while good — do not alter the fact that the U.S. tax code is an albatross weighing down our nation’s economy. The code is a case example of outdated punch-card policies having a punitive impact in a Pentium-chip world. To achieve our economic potential and ensure that our children are more prosperous than their parents, it is imperative that we significantly upgrade our antiquated tax system.

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Sunday 04/08/2012
Ideology vs. impartiality
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:18 pm

I interviewed Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer last year, and — let me put it this way — I can’t think of anyone less qualified to replace Rush Limbaugh as a radio talk show host. Thoughtful, wise, a little dry and measured in his words, Breyer seemed to be everything Americans should want in a judge. He betrayed no particular ideology during an hourlong conversation about the Supreme Court’s role in our democracy. He politely refused to answer a question related to a case before the court. And he didn’t once mention broccoli.

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Sunday 04/01/2012
Choosing our own truths
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 11:28 am

Which version sounds like the truth?

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Sunday 03/25/2012
Lift the blackout
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:17 pm

Why the U.S. Supreme Court continues to hold its oral arguments away from television cameras remains a mystery and a national shame. On Monday, the court will begin hearing six hours of arguments over three days in a lawsuit brought by more than half of the states in the nation to challenge the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one of the most important pieces of economic legislation passed by Congress since the New Deal. The stakes of the litigation could not be higher. How the court rules is likely to affect health care in this country for generations and could even affect the outcome of the presidential election.

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Sunday 03/18/2012
A movie for the masses
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:05 pm

Ed Harris as U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Julianne Moore as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Game Change. Catch one of the encore broadcasts that continue to air most nights on HBO stations.

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Sunday 03/11/2012
Obama's rising security cred
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:41 pm


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Sunday 03/04/2012
Time for change
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:39 pm

I hear people complaining all the time that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Between working, sleeping, paying e-bills, answering emails, texting, household chores, commuting, fixing the car and dealing with idiots, the 24 hours of the day whirl by and there’s no time to enjoy life, no time to relax with family and friends, no time to do the things we say we should do. You know: "We should go on a picnic"; "We should take a drive to the coast"; "We should have a poker night." Things that never happen because there are simply not enough hours in the day.

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Sunday 02/26/2012
How would the U.S. respond to another terrorist attack?
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 12:45 pm

How would America respond to another terrorist attack on its soil?

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Sunday 02/05/2012
Do you know how your iPad is made?
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 11:15 am

Recent revelations about the deplorable working conditions at an Apple factory in China provide a cautionary tale about globalization and consumerism. On Jan. 26, the New York Times ran a front-page article that exposed some of the facts of life within Apple’s Foxconn Technology factory in Chengdu, China. These include underage and underpaid workers, excessive overtime, seven-day workweeks, overcrowded dorms and dangerous conditions.

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Sunday 01/22/2012
Unnatural selection
Updated: June 14, 2013 - 11:35 am


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Sunday 11/13/2011
Talking Trash
Posted: November 13, 2011

The past several years have seen a groundswell of bans on plastics — from plastic bags to foam cups. The rationales for such policies range from downright foolish to simply misguided.

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Sunday 11/06/2011
Zombies with six legs
Updated: June 19, 2013 - 10:06 am

As the popularity of vampires wanes, zombies seem to be coming into their moment. The Walking Dead has become a hit show on AMC. Atlanta is trying to claim the title of Zombie Capital of the World. Even the federal government is getting in on the action: This year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted instructions about emergency preparedness by warning about a “Zombie Apocalypse.”

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Sunday 10/30/2011
Time to rejoice
Posted: October 30, 2011

Perhaps you don’t want to “rejoice” at the news that America’s nine-year involvement in a war is about to end.

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Sunday 10/23/2011
What's next?
Updated: June 19, 2013 - 4:42 pm

Say this for Moammar Gadhafi: He vowed to go down fighting, and he did. At any point in the last eight months, he could have bailed out of Libya for a comfortable exile — in Saudi Arabia, perhaps, or some other state unlikely to turn him over to the International Criminal Court.

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Sunday 09/25/2011
Filling the world's most important job
Posted: September 25, 2011


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Sunday 09/18/2011
Facing a biased audience
Updated: June 17, 2013 - 8:50 pm

The recent Republican presidential candidates’ debate in front of the so-called tea party turned out to be a disturbing walk on the wild side.

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Sunday 09/11/2011
Practice compassion this 9/11 anniversary
Posted: September 11, 2011

For those of us who lost family members on 9/11, the intense feelings of grief, anger, sadness, fear and worry are with us every day — not just on the anniversary of the attacks.

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Actions in wake of 9/11 affected Valley
Posted: September 11, 2011

New York City’s World Trade Center is nearly 2,000 miles from the Rio Grande Valley. Yet the unspeakable acts that were committed 10 years ago directly affected local residents in many ways.

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Sunday 09/04/2011
Reeling it in
Updated: June 18, 2013 - 8:24 am


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Friday 08/26/2011
Narcissism is the Gadhafi’s greatest downfall
Posted: August 26, 2011

In March, a few days after NATO planes began bombing Libya, Moammar Gadhafi delivered a speech to the nation he had ruled for more than four decades.

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Sunday 08/07/2011
Ice age imminent
Posted: August 07, 2011

In dysfunctional Washington, this is what passes for a major achievement:

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Sunday 07/31/2011
Fed up!
Updated: June 19, 2013 - 4:43 pm

People have run out of patience with the government.

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Sunday 07/24/2011
Course of action
Updated: June 19, 2013 - 10:22 am

The shouts and accusations have begun to die down. Now, a credible deal to keep paying the nation’s bills and begin major restructuring to eliminate the deficit is emerging.

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Wednesday 07/20/2011
Gun control at the border
Updated: June 19, 2013 - 4:27 pm

The Obama administration took a concrete step toward curbing the flow of semiautomatic weapons to Mexico last week when it adopted a new regulation mandating the reporting of multiple sales of long guns to federal authorities.

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Sunday 07/17/2011
Presidential unconcern
Posted: July 17, 2011

President Barack Obama’s tenure has been marked by complete indifference toward blacks.

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Sunday 07/10/2011
The land of employment
Posted: July 10, 2011

For the last few weeks, I’ve been unable to get a startling statistic out of my head: Since the recession officially ended, Texas has created more than four of every

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Sunday 07/03/2011
I pledge
Updated: June 19, 2013 - 4:19 pm

Was America founded as a Christian nation? This is one of the most heated historical debates in America today, with its implications reverberating from prayers at high school graduations to Ten Commandments monuments on courthouse lawns. On one side of the debate, you have traditional Christians who say the Founders were Christians, and that they built the nation on principles of faith. On the other, you have secularists who argue that the Founders were deistic doubters, if not outright atheists, and who see the Founding as an Enlightenment-inspired, nonreligious event. One’s opinions on this subject often reflect what kind of role you think faith ought to play in modern America, too.

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Sunday 06/26/2011
A pivot point in Afghanistan
Posted: June 26, 2011

In 1966, as President Lyndon B. Johnson was becoming ever more enmeshed in the war in Vietnam, a Republican senator from Vermont named George D. Aiken proposed an audacious alternative strategy. The United States, Aiken said, should declare victory and withdraw.

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Sunday 06/12/2011
Leaders in scandal
Posted: June 12, 2011

Let’s roll out the list. It includes, in no particular order of sluttishness: Kwame Kilpatrick; Jesse Jackson; James McGreevey; Ted Haggard; Gary Condit; Mark Sanford; John Edwards; Bill Clinton; Newt Gingrich; Rudy Giuliani; Eliot Spitzer; Antonio Villaraigosa; Arnold Schwarzenegger; James West; Larry Craig; David Vitter; John Ensign. And now, Anthony Weiner, Democratic representative from New York.

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Sunday 06/05/2011
Is college too easy?
Updated: June 19, 2013 - 4:31 pm

As this year’s crop of college graduates leaves school, burdened with high levels of debt and entering a severely depressed job market, they may be asking themselves a fundamental question: Was college worth it?

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Sunday 05/29/2011
Ridge: The meaning of 'memorial'
Posted: May 29, 2011

Monday we honor one of our nation’s great traditions — Memorial Day. It is a custom that began shortly after the American Civil War almost 150 years ago. It is one day for us to remember all of those who have fallen in service of this great nation. Yet today, as we are distracted by our mobile phones, 24-hour breaking news, and a seemingly endless stream of information, our question is — have we forgotten to remember?

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Sunday 05/22/2011
Time to get real about health care
Updated: June 17, 2013 - 7:46 pm

Our sluggish economic recovery is taking its toll well beyond lengthening unemployment lines and ballooning bloat in the federal budget deficit.

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Sunday 05/15/2011
The time is now
Posted: May 15, 2011

Earlier last week I joined President Barack Obama and others in El Paso as he reported on the tremendous progress we have made in securing the Southwest border and transforming our immigration enforcement efforts over the last two years even while we wait for Congress to address immigration reform.

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Sunday 05/08/2011
The right decision
Updated: June 17, 2013 - 11:06 pm

Americans, as Osama bin Laden once observed, are a people who value life. He saw that as a weakness but he was wrong, as he was about so much else.

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Sunday 05/01/2011
Should travel to Mexico be avoided?
Posted: May 01, 2011

SAN DIEGO — The border security wars in the southwest have taken a new turn — some private groups are advocating a U.S. travel ban to Mexico because of the increasing violence perpetrated by drug cartels.

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Should travel to Mexico be avoided?
Posted: May 01, 2011

WASHINGTON — Don’t let the drug-related violence keep you from travelling to Mexico. There are plenty more compelling reasons to skip Mexico this year.

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Sunday 04/24/2011
Gulf spill lessons fading
Updated: June 17, 2013 - 8:01 pm

The tourists are back, the commercial and recreational fishing industries are at work again and the Gulf of Mexico’s waters still gently lap the white sands of Florida’s west coast. Tar balls are few and far between again in the Panhandle, and life is largely back to normal one year after the nation’s worst oil spill began on April 20.

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Sunday 04/17/2011
On the money
Updated: June 19, 2013 - 9:44 am

Taxpayers frantically filing their 1040s — as well as anyone following the spending and deficit debate in Washington — may be asking where exactly their tax dollars are going.

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Sunday 04/10/2011
Burning question
Posted: April 10, 2011

In this digital age, speech has been globalized just as surely as commerce.

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Sunday 03/20/2011
Crisis in Japan isn't nature's fault
Updated: June 17, 2013 - 7:53 pm

The New York Times characterizes the tsunami that struck coastal Japan as "murderous," while a friend writes that "Planet Earth is an unfriendly place."

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