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1 US TX: PUB LTE: Marijuana's Safety Tempered With MaturityWed, 13 Oct 2010
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Johnston, Leesa Area:Texas Lines:28 Added:10/14/2010

With all fairness, marijuana is not as bad as most think. Drinking alcohol is just as bad as smoking weed. You get "drunk" from drinking alcohol and "high" from smoking pot. If alcohol is a legal substance, marijuana should be. The key to both alcohol and marijuana is maturity. Knowing when to do it and when not to do it, when to stop and when to begin. We have alcoholics who drink alcohol and "pot heads" who smoke weed daily; it is the same scenario with a different product. Young people do not have the thought process on how to handle things that alter judgment. Why should one be acceptable in society and not the other? Alcohol was made illegal in the past, only to have created organized crime. If you could look at the number of adults who are successful now, but have smoked marijuana sometime in the past, you would be very surprised.

Leesa Johnston, North Richland Hills

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2US TX: OPED: Marijuana Not Without Health RisksMon, 11 Oct 2010
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Danovitch, Itai Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:10/11/2010

In Legalization Debate, the Facts Are Often Overlooked, Says Itai Danovitch

In the debate on legalizing marijuana, the health risks of marijuana are often overlooked.

Legalizing marijuana will almost certainly lead to a decrease in its price and an increase in its use, according to a recent Rand Corp. study. And because no drug or medicine is without side effects, increased marijuana use will mean increased health risks.

But what kind of risks? Supporters of legalization say marijuana is no more harmful than caffeine, whereas advocates of criminalization suggest that marijuana is highly toxic. Like other complex health issues, the truth lies somewhere in between.

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3US TX: Editorial: Mexico: President's Plan Should Be ExpeditedFri, 08 Oct 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:10/10/2010

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has a new plan to help quell the violence wracking his country. A Los Angeles Times article noted that Calderon is sending a plan to Congress that would do away with local law-enforcement forces. This would be part of a larger overhaul of the nation's police system.

While this sounds like a drastic measure -- and it is -- it does have some merit and should be tried.

Calderon said on Wednesday, "Municipal police are the most vulnerable, the easiest to find, the easiest to co-opt, the most subject to intimidation and, of course, vengeance. It's necessary to change course."

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4 US TX: LTE: Drug CartelThu, 07 Oct 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX) Author:Porter, Pete Area:Texas Lines:37 Added:10/08/2010

It is a known fact that many Mexican politicians have links to Mexican drug cartels. This also is true of Mexican army officers and police officials.

Mexico is now a de facto narco-state and no longer exists as a sovereign country. Inasmuch as the drug cartels have extended their tentacles into the United States (Phoenix, Atlanta, and other U.S. cities have documented cases of Mexican cartel-related crime), it is likely that in the future the U.S. will have to sever ties with Mexico, unless the U.S. wants to deal with Mexican politicians who are nothing but "front men" for drug lords. Mexico has a culture of corruption that rewards dishonesty and its pervasive criminal element would love nothing better than to infiltrate the United States and it has financial wherewithal to do it.

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5US TX: Editorial: Chihuahua: New Governor Targets EndemicWed, 06 Oct 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:10/08/2010

Mexico's Chihuahua state has a new governor, and on Monday he pledged to seek peace, a scarce commodity in his state and particularly in the city of Juarez.

In a speech released by the state, Gov. Cesar Duarte said, "We are set today to go through the rough road to restore peace in Chihuahua. In Juarez, our country is at stake."

While that is the kind of talk people need to hear, it brings the question of how this is to be accomplished, particularly with Juarez generally acknowledged to be one of the world's most violent cities, if not the most violent.

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6US TX: Mark Cuban's Brother Brian Is Sober Voice In Favor OfTue, 05 Oct 2010
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Parks, Scott K. Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:10/06/2010

Brian Cuban is a walking contradiction. As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict with 3 1/2 years of sobriety, he seems an unlikely spokesman for the nascent medical-marijuana movement in Texas.

"I smoked pot once in high school," he said. "I don't smoke pot and never will. But if there are people who are suffering and this can help them, why not make it available?"

Look closely and you can spot the resemblance to his billionaire brother, Mark. At 6-2 and 230 pounds, Brian is a big guy. And, like Mark, he speaks loudly and passionately about his beliefs.

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7 US TX: PUB LTE: Stopping CartelsMon, 04 Oct 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX) Author:Wooldridge, Howard Area:Texas Lines:33 Added:10/04/2010

Your promotion of the latest idea in 45 years of drug prohibition is a disservice to readers. Every great-sounding idea has failed to make the smallest dent in Mexican drug operations.

This limit on cash sales is the latest cruel hoax to give us the false hope that it might make a difference.

While you act like a college football team's cheerleader, Northern Mexico is dying.

Shame on you. You have never dared print a proven method to destroy the drug cartels, namely repealing drug prohibition.

At least ex-President Vicente Fox has the courage to state the obvious. What is your excuse?

Howard Wooldridge

Dallas

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8US TX: Editorial: Merida Money: Withholding It Is Good IdeaSun, 03 Oct 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:10/04/2010

Officials at the U.S. State Department are recommending that some Merida Initiative money be held back until Mexico shows that it is making more of an effort to control ongoing and escalating violence problems in that country.

Merida is a three-year plan that would give Mexico $1.4 billion to help in various phases of the fight against drug cartels. The money is to be given out in phases. But according to the agreement, up to 15 percent of the money can be withheld if human rights complaints in the country aren't being addressed. It seems fairly obvious that that is the case.

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9US TX: Column: It's Our Job to Go to Juarez to Cover NewsSun, 03 Oct 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX) Author:Lopez, Chris Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:10/04/2010

A Dallas television station was in our newsroom on Friday talking to reporters about why we venture into Juarez to report on El Paso's sister city.

My take was this:

"Are you afraid to cross into Juarez to report?"

"No."

"Why do you do it?"

"Well, because we're journalists and reporting on significant stories concerning the border is what we do."

A student from Georgetown University e-mailed similar questions this week for a paper he is writing. One of his was:

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10 US TX: Edu: Column: Legislation Pertaining to Marijuana onThu, 30 Sep 2010
Source:Daily Cougar (U of Houston, TX Edu) Author:Marhee, Joseph Area:Texas Lines:95 Added:09/30/2010

Despite growing public support for the decriminalization of marijuana, one Texan, Congressman Lamar Smith, and Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California are pushing the Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2010.

The bill's language is allegedly so malleable that its critics are concerned it could be used to prosecute Americans for drug use that is legal abroad, but illegal domestically. The bill's authors stand by the legislation and refute this allegation. Smith and Schiff, while seeking to protect Americans, may be overstepping the bounds of acceptable foreign policy.

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11US TX: Editorial: Border Patrol - Put Base Closer To BorderWed, 29 Sep 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/30/2010

The Bootheel region of southwestern New Mexico and the adjoining desert of southeastern Arizona has been a weak link in the effort to secure our nation's southern border for some time.

Border Patrol officials say that more than a quarter of the El Paso Sector's area classified as "uncontrolled" is in the Bootheel region.

The tragic murder of rancher Rob Krentz in March, most likely by a drug trafficker who fled back across the border, has finally drawn attention to a problem that Krentz and his neighbors had been trying to alert the government about for years.

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12US TX: Editorial: Juarez Violence: Human Toll Defies BeliefThu, 23 Sep 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/24/2010

It seems that there is no end in sight to the violence in Juarez. That pessimistic observation has been borne out by experts recently, and it's not a pleasant prospect.

An expert in the field of global organized crime, Edgardo Buscaglia, recently used a comparison with Colombia, which he said took approximately 20 years to extract itself from its drug-related problems.

However, he said, Mexican President Felipe Calderon doesn't have the support in his country to do what needs to be done, such as arresting and prosecuting high-level, cartel-involved politicians and businesspeople.

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13US TX: Editorial: Gun-running: Feds Field 7 Teams To Stop SmugglingTue, 21 Sep 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/23/2010

Guns are the standard business equipment for warring drug cartels, so cutting into the supply of weapons smuggled into Mexico from the United States would seem to be a good idea.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives has been making attempts to do this. ATF just announced results of a 100-day effort of the Gun Runner Impact Team (GRIT): 174 firearms trafficking-related criminal investigations; seizure of approximately 1,300 illegally trafficked firearms and 71,000 rounds of ammunition; and drugs and currency, according to the ATF website. Now ATF is setting up teams in seven states, with the goal of stopping guns from getting into Mexico and into the hands of cold-blooded killers.

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14US TX: Peace In Juarez Part Of Church's 24-Hour VigilSun, 19 Sep 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX) Author:Flores, Aileen B. Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/20/2010

El Paso resident Pat Nance arrived at the Western Hills United Methodist Church on Saturday morning with a solemn purpose.

She prayed for peace in Juarez.

Nance was one of hundreds of people who attended a 24-hour prayer vigil that started Saturday morning at the church on Thunderbird Drive on the West Side.

Ten prayer stations were set up around the altar and guided people in prayers for families, the community, the nation, the world and peace in Juarez

At the Juarez station, maps were cut into smaller areas and people were asked to take a piece of the map and pray every day for that particular part of the violence-plagued city.

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15US TX: Editorial: Mexico Holiday: Juarez Not Celebrating TodayThu, 16 Sep 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/18/2010

Mexico recognizes its 200th birthday today, and millions across the country celebrated on Wednesday night and into this morning.

Unfortunately, in Ciudad Juarez, that wasn't the case. Citizens, by and large, stayed inside their homes at the urging of local officials, or they ventured into El Paso to celebrate at the Downtown San Jacinto Plaza.

We were happy to have them.

However, the fact that Juarez did not stage its own celebration due to the violence that continues on the city's streets raises questions about the future of Juarez and Mexico.

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16US TX: Editorial: Drug cash: Make It Difficult To SpendWed, 15 Sep 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/18/2010

Mexico President Felipe Calderon has another plan to help thwart narco trafficking, and the country's lawmakers should back him up.

Calderon wants a limit on big-ticket cash purchases to 100,000 pesos as a way of stopping money laundering. That's about $8,000 in U.S. currency.

In June, the government announced a cap on the amount of U.S. currency that can be deposited or exchanged in Mexican banks.

Both moves are necessary. It's estimated that between $19 billion and $29 billion in cash is smuggled from the U.S. into the hands of drug cartels in Mexico.

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17US TX: 'I'm Scared for My Life': Televisa Cameraman Seeks Asylum in USWed, 15 Sep 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX) Author:Chavez, Adriana M. Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/18/2010

A Mexican journalist who was allegedly kidnapped by members of the Sinaloa drug cartel and then released is seeking political asylum in the United States.

Alejandro Hernandez Pacheco, a cameraman for the Televisa network, and three other members of the Mexican media were kidnapped in July in Gomez Palacio, Durango. They were held captive for almost a week, allegedly tortured, starved and beaten. Their captors also threatened to kill them if their television stations didn't air videos that threatened Los Zetas, a rival drug cartel based in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.

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18US TX: Mexico Bicentennial: El Paso Event Grows Due to Juarez ViolenceThu, 16 Sep 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX) Author:Borunda, Daniel Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/18/2010

Mexican flags waved, children tooted horns, fireworks boomed and mariachis played as a crowd of up to 10,000 people celebrated Mexico's 200th birthday Wednesday night in Downtown El Paso.

The festivities in San Jacinto Plaza were larger than last year because it was Mexico's bicentennial and because many revelers preferred to celebrate the traditional "grito," or cry for independence, in El Paso rather than in violence-plagued Juarez.

El Paso police, who had a heavy presence at the event, estimated the crowd to be between 9,000 and 10,000 people, compared with about 6,000 to 7,000 a year ago. The Mexican Consulate sponsored the festivities.

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19 US TX: Postcards From A Cartel CityWed, 15 Sep 2010
Source:Texas Observer (TX) Author:Bosque, Melissa Del Area:Texas Lines:352 Added:09/15/2010

A reporter returns to a border town riven by a drug war.

August 9

I've been dreading coming to Reynosa for weeks.

I tell myself that if I stick with the immigration story I'm working on and don't do any reporting on the drug war, I'll be safe. Two of Mexico's most ruthless drug cartels-Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel-are battling for control of this city and the surrounding state of Tamaulipas, a prized smuggling corridor.

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20US TX: Drugs Keep Finding Way Into US, Reports SayThu, 09 Sep 2010
Source:El Paso Times (TX) Author:Ybarra, Maggie Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/14/2010

Despite extensive security on the U.S. side of the border and a vicious drug war in Juarez, drug traffickers continue to push their products into El Paso with little decline, reports show.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports show that the travel patterns of drug traffickers are shifting. Those reports also show that the type of drugs crossing the border are shifting, too.

The smuggling of methamphetamines has increased. Seizures of the substance is up from 2.7 pounds to 28 pounds in the past two years, according to a CBP report. And while the amount of cocaine entering the El Paso area hasn't changed, drug seizure statistics show that traffickers are moving less cocaine through the ports of entry and more through outlying areas of the El Paso sector, the report said.

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