Contributing Editor Michael Young is the opinion editor of The Daily Star in Beirut. In “Christopher Hitchens, Romantic” (page 54), Young reviews the late, “never boring” polemicist’s final book of essays, Arguably (Twelve). Young, 48, met Hitchens through a mutual friend and last saw the famous atheist and contrarian in Beirut; the two of them went shoe shopping together. Hitchens “arrived with one of his shoes open at the front, his toe sticking out, and needed a new pair,” Young recalls. “We found a shoe shop, he declared the first pair he saw perfect, slipped the shoes on, left the old pair…and walked out, content.”
In “Sextuple Jeopardy,” (page 36), journalist William Browning tells the story of Curtis Giovanni Flowers, a Mississippi man on death row who has been tried for the same murders six times. Browning, currently a reporter for Wyoming’s Casper Star-Tribune, has worked for various newspapers in his home state of Mississippi, covering courts and crime and writing “a pile of human interest stories and profiles.” Browning, 31, first encountered the Flowers case in 2007, when it was already on the fourth trial. Browning says the district attorney who keeps charging Flowers honestly believes the man is guilty. But he adds that “perhaps a three-strikes-and-you’re-out approach might be appropriate” for prosecutors.
reason.tv producer Jim Epstein set out to investigate “what the stimulus meant on the ground in particular communities.” And what better place to start than his own backyard? What the Silver Spring, Maryland, resident found, described in “How Stimulus Fails” (page 30), didn’t surprise him. “So much money was given out with so little oversight,” he says. Epstein, 35, spent eight years at PBS before joining reason.tv, where he has covered topics such as taxicab regulations, urban renewal, light rail in Detroit, and anti-Walmart activism.