Mark Hemingway, who writes about private-sector unions’ quest for a pension bailout in “Labor’s Last Stand?” (page 40), has never been a union member, but he understands the appeal of organized labor. “When I’m listening to Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, or whoever, I’ll cop to finding the romantic portraits of unions vs. the corporate machine somewhat seductive,” Hemingway says. But he doesn’t believe those stirring images stand up to today’s political reality: “I don’t think Woody Guthrie would have written any songs about the SEIU racking up over $100 million in debt and writing eight-figure checks to the Democratic Party while their workers’ pension plan circles the drain.” Hemingway, 34, lives with his wife and two daughters in Washington, D.C., where he writes for The Washington Examiner.
In “Just a Matter of When?” (page 32), Senior Editor Brian Doherty explores the failure of California’s recent marijuana legalization initiative, Proposition 19. Doherty, 42, says he has long had “a weird and perhaps unjustified optimism” about the prospects for ending prohibition. That optimism began in the late 1980s, when some conservative commentators started toying with the idea of legalization. More than two decades later, the Prop. 19 campaign underlined the “tremendous amount of concentrated passion” in the marijuana debate—although the issue is still “something that, alas, not enough people care about.”
Since January 2010, Josh Swain has been editing video and helping with other production tasks for reason.tv in Washington, D.C. He was hired as a full-time producer in December. A 2010 graduate of George Mason University with a degree in film studies, Swain, 22, says he first edited video while working on a high school project that involved wiring four VCRs together and doing voice-overs on clips from old Godzilla movies. “It was embarrassing.”