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Check, Please: Many single entrées at U.S. chain restaurants serve up masses of calories, fat, and sodium. Just how bad is a full meal?

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Our cover story presents nine essays on key issues in the 2012 U.S. presidential election: income inequality, health care costs, immigration reform, energy options, education, al Qaeda, Iraq, democratization in the Middle East, and China. The essays present both candidates' positions on each issue along with the opinions of RAND experts, emphasizing the need for long-term solutions to complex problems. In our "Common Ground" section, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye discusses the importance of collaborative courts and her efforts to help the judiciary deal with the state's budget crisis; remarks made at the Pardee RAND Graduate School's 2012 Commencement Weekend are also highlighted. An infographic spread breaks down the total fat, calories, and sodium in an average meal at a U.S. chain restaurant. Finally, our "Public Square" section collects letters to the editor, government testimonies, news quotes, infographics, and blog and podcast excerpts on topics including military suicides, VA health care, economic hardship, early childhood education, Afghan security forces, inclusionary zoning, a National Guard program for high school dropouts, Americans' banking habits, auto premiums, water scoopers, HIV in the U.S. Gulf states, relations between Turkey and Iran, relations between India and Afghanistan, and 2012 elections around the world.

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