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The taking of the American West

Last year I drove the length of the U.S.-Mexico border with a few colleagues. We traveled west from the Gulf Coast, up the Rio Grande and over the Continental Divide. We ended near the Pacific shore, in sight of a stone obelisk from 1851 that marks the boundary between Tijuana and San Diego.

What happened to the pot stigma?

Twenty years ago, drug dealers were seen for what they were — criminal and dangerous elements in our society. They were shunned by the mainstream. People who sold marijuana were considered losers, in the business of harming our children. Parents warned their kids to stay away from those known to use drugs.

Let’s consider alternatives to the dysfunctional TSA

Even the most cynical critics of the Transportation Security Administration, perhaps the most unpopular organization in the U.S. government, must have been surprised by the recent revelations. According to a leaked internal report, TSA Red Team members, whose job is to test performance, were able to get past security with their hidden weapons on 67 out of 70 occasions, or 95 percent of the time.

End the NSA dragnet

Around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, there was a seismic shift in the U.S. Congress. As the Senate deadlocked over what to do about several expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, it became clear that political momentum had moved away from surveillance and secrecy toward freedom and privacy.

Teen fights depression despite his good grades

D ear Abby: I’m a 15-year-old boy in ninth grade. I have depression, and I don’t know what to do. I always feel like I’m not good enough for anything, even though I have had a 4.0 GPA since seventh grade. I have repeatedly cut myself, but I wear a bracelet so no one can see it.