Contributing Editor James V. DeLong writes persuasively in this issue that outmoded labor regulations are hampering the shift to far more flexible workplaces for most Americans. (See "Old Law vs. the New Economy," page 44.) The 62-year-old DeLong has worked in a lot of different settings over the years: a law firm in Los Angeles, the precursor to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and the Federal Trade Commission, to name only a few. These days, he's a senior fellow in the D.C.-based Competitive Enterprise Institute's Project for Technology and Innovation. Having worked for many years as a freelance writer and policy analyst, DeLong also has a fully decked-out home office that he would like to use more often. "Ironically, I don't telecommute, though I would prefer to," he says.

Economist John R. Lott Jr. and physicist Robert Ehrlich squared off in REASON Online's first-ever debate, which is reprinted in this issue along with some additional material. (See "The Great Gun Fight," page 52.) The debate focuses on the effect of liberalized concealed-carry gun laws on violent crime rates. Though Lott, author of the influential More Guns, Less Crime, and Ehrlich, author of the new Nine Crazy Ideas in Science, disagree on that topic, they've got this much in common: They're both gun owners. The 63-year-old Ehrlich, whose main academic area of study is particle physics, is the proud owner of a rifle that he uses for occasional target practice. The 43-year-old Lott explains that he and his wife bought a weapon only after he'd started his gun research and became convinced that it was a good idea.

"I grew up out in the sticks in the northwest corner of Georgia," recalls Contributing Editor Charles Oliver, who in this issue reviews two very different books about the role of slavery in the South. (See "Southern Nationalism," page 77.) "I find the attempt to minimize the role of slavery both in antebellum Southern society and as a cause of the Civil War pretty loathsome. I understand why some people might not want to deal with it, but if you don't grapple honestly with the past, you can't deal honestly with the present, either." The 37-year-old Oliver, who majored in political philosophy at the University of Georgia, has a master's degree in economics from Virginia's George Mason University, where he studied under another Southerner, Nobel laureate James Buchanan. In 1988, Oliver moved to Los Angeles to take an assistant editor job with REASON, where he wrote often about civil liberties, environmental matters, and popular culture. In 1993, he joined the staff of Investor's Business Daily, where he reports on economic issues.