Former Reason staffer Matt Welch writes about his love-hate relationship (well, mostly hate) with Arizona’s senior senator in “Be Afraid of President McCain” (page 20). McCain “is, or was, a really sympathetic guy,” Welch says. “Sort of frank, obviously a drinker, unafraid to tell stories making himself look bad, and not infrequently pointing out what looked to be genuine government abuse or at least assholery. But like his hero Teddy Roosevelt, McCain has utterly blurred the distinction between his own private ambitions and the greatness of the country.” Welch, now assistant editorial page editor of what he jokingly calls “the evil Los Angeles Times,” has spent the year since he left Reason editing and writing the paper’s editorials, penning the occasional op-ed, and helping the opinion section beef up its online presence.
Malia Politzer was raised in San Jose, California, where she “grew up thinking that America was the immigrant nation and that that’s what America was all about. It took me a while to realize that the rest of the country doesn’t necessarily agree with me.” She recently returned from living two miles south of the Arizona border in Mexico, where she explored the worlds of would-be illegal immigrants and their pursuers (“ ‘It’s Our Job to Stop that Dream,’ ” page 40). She also gathered 50 hours of footage about the lives of the people she met, which she plans to turn into a documentary about what she calls the U.S.’s arbitrary, cruel, and failed border-control policies.
Sam Staley and Ted Balaker are analysts at the Reason Foundation and authors of The Road More Traveled (Rowman & Littlefield), a study of the politics of road congestion. Between them they’ve tried virtually every form of commuting there is. Balaker says he can “sniff out when people are romanticizing” public transit. Until “you’ve commuted with someone’s armpit in your face the whole way there,” as he did in New York, you don’t have the whole picture. In “How Traffic Jams Are Made in City Hall” (page 30), the duo explains why many planners want to increase congestion in a misguided attempt to boost the use of mass transit.