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North Carolina native John Hood blames reason for sparking his interest in public policy. A 1987 internship at the magazine began his career as a journalist, which led him to cover state legislative sessions for Tarheel State newspapers and radio. The sessions, he says, "didn't bear much resemblance to the civics lesson version of government. There weren't many Jeffersonian or Madisonian debates." In 1990 he helped found the John Locke Foundation, a Raleigh-based think tank of which he is president. Hood first encountered Parkinson's Laws, which he applies to state budget policy in this issue (page 32), when his mother gave him one of the historian's books as a teenager. He knew there was something true in Parkinson's account, he says, "because it was genuinely funny. If you come at understanding government without a sense of humor, you'll never get it."

Senior Editor Charles Paul Freund grew up on horror comics—gruesome dime thrillers with titles such as Uncanny Tales. He now produces comics of his own, in collaboration with artist Peter Hoey, for the strange and wonderful Blab! In "Subversive Style" (page 64), Freund looks at another sort of horror comic: a graphic novel's account of life in theocratic Iran. Since joining reason in 1996, the Washington, D.C., native has written extensively on the intersection of liberalism, popular media, and "people using the power of culture to deal with capricious regimes," a focus Freund summarizes as his "celebration of vulgarity."

There is no reason without its publisher, Mike Alissi, who has been relentlessly promoting the magazine since 1997. But Alissi, who over the years has completely overhauled distribution, circulation, and printing, sees things differently. "There is no reason without our readers," he says. "They're the best—after all, they know a great magazine when they see one." Alissi, who lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children, says coming to reason was a natural choice after five years in Washington, D.C., where he saw too much Capitol Hill wheeling and dealing as a representative of the nuclear industry.