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High-priced marijuana

The states of Colorado and Washington ushered in what is likely to be a continuing trend when voters approved ballot measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in November 2012. Both states started implementing the laws this year.

Drugs fuel US-Mexico border crisis

As is now well known, the children and families flowing across the U.S.-Mexican border are arriving for two interrelated reasons. One factor is a loophole in a 2008 immigration law that gives minors a relatively better shot at remaining in the U.S. after enduring a certain amount of legal and administrative processing.

Take the cool out of Kools

To buy cigarettes in Australia, you have to pick up a dull green package plastered with photos of a shriveled infant, a blackened lung or an old man with a tracheotomy hole in his throat.

The United States’ fiscal fizzle

For much of the past five years readers of the political and economic news were left in little doubt that budget deficits and rising debt were the most important issue facing America. Serious people constantly issued dire warnings that the United States risked turning into another Greece any day now. President Barack Obama appointed a special, bipartisan commission to propose solutions to the alleged fiscal crisis, and spent much of his first term trying to negotiate a Grand Bargain on the budget with Republicans.

A heyday for pot

It’s an exciting time for potheads. New York legalized medical marijuana on July 7; pot shops in Washington State started selling legal recreational marijuana the following day, and that same day, someone publicly offered the President of the United States a joint in a Denver bar. And then there is the Berkeley City Council in California, which broke new ground by unanimously passing a law requiring marijuana shops to give free marijuana to the poor and homeless, starting next month. They even mandated that it has to be the good stuff, not dirt weed.

Widening the loopholes

Last week, two more U.S. companies moved to re-establish themselves overseas, allowing them to pursue lower corporate tax rates. They will join dozens of others who have chased lower tax bills abroad while maintaining operations in the United States, benefiting from the U.S. business climate, legal stability and research investments without helping to pay for these advantages. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew pressed Congress on Tuesday to close the avenues in U.S. law that allow companies to evade corporate taxes by moving to foreign countries. Instead, more than a week ago, the House passed a bill that would make it more difficult to keep U.S. companies in America.

The hand that rocks the ballot box

In their denouncements of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have been accused of pandering to single women — the so-called “Beyonce voter” demographic, as one Fox News commentator sniggered.

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The cyber threat

The internet security company Symantec revealed recently that a group of hackers known as Dragonfly infiltrated malware into legitimate software belonging to three manufacturers of industrial control systems — the stuff that controls factories and power grids. In one case, the contaminated control software was downloaded 250 times by unsuspecting users before the compromise was discovered.

About women and prison culture

Americans, on the whole, are content to support a very large prison population. Although the number of incarcerated citizens is actually falling, one troubling trend more than offsets that superficially good news. There are more women in American prisons and jails than ever before.

Common core’s marketing failure

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. The cream of America’s policy and education establishment came together with unprecedented swiftness to unify around the Common Core educational standards. It was expected that the American people — and elected officials — would follow suit.