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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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New ag tourism, farmers market manual available

The University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service and UH-Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources recently collaborated with five current farmers market and agritourism managers to craft a Hawaii-specific, best-practices manual.

The irony of Britain’s planned Mahatma Gandhi statue

WASHINGTON — The British government announced Tuesday that it will install a statue of Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi opposite Parliament alongside statues of other pioneering statesmen, including Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln. The statue is scheduled to be unveiled next spring to mark the centennial of Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa, where the then-young lawyer had begun cultivating his ideas about self-rule and civil disobedience.

Important slow news

Wars, plane crashes, mass murder — it’s easy to report news that happens suddenly. Reporters do a good job covering that. But we do a bad job telling you about what’s really changing in the world, because we miss the stories that happen slowly. These are usually the more important stories.

A not-so-user-friendly feature on Facebook

Over the course of a week in 2012, Facebook secretly experimented on 690,000 users by manipulating news feeds to highlight negative or positive posts. They did so in order to see whether it made people more or less happy. Unsurprisingly, they discovered that the more negative posts people were exposed to, the more unhappy and negative their own posts became.

Who do we think we are?

WASHINGTON - America’s infatuation with the World Cup came at the perfect moment, illuminating the principle that you can lose and still advance.

Beliefs, facts and money

On Sunday, The Times published an article by the political scientist Brendan Nyhan about a troubling aspect of the current American scene — the stark partisan divide over issues that should be simply factual, like whether the planet is warming or evolution happened. It’s common to attribute such divisions to ignorance, but as Nyhan points out, the divide is actually worse among those who are seemingly better informed about the issues.

Climate inaction

Any good business executive knows that the world is full of risks, ignored at a company’s peril. Interest rates could spike. China could change its currency policy. Chaos in Iraq could push up gasoline prices. Smart firms account for these possibilities as best they can, adjusting business plans so that they aren’t caught flat-footed. The same can be said of wise societies.