Insight magazine's John Berlau has defended aggressive tactics in the war on terror. But even squinting really hard, he couldn't see a sound argument for the broad fishing expeditions through Americans' bank transactions he details in "Show Us Your Money" (page 22). Berlau won the National Press Club's 2002 Sandy Hume Memorial Award for a series on conflicts of interest at the Internal Revenue Service, and has written for Investor's Business Daily, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, The New Republic, and National Review.

John Bloom gave birth to Joe Bob Briggs in 1982. Working as a film critic for The Dallas Times Herald, Bloom realized he hated Hollywood. Preferring such classics as Zombie Holocaust and Graveyard Tramps, Bloom created a persona to review "the stuff your mom doesn't want you to watch." After an editor rejected several pseudonyms as "too ethnic," Bloom settled on the whitest name he could come up with: Joe Bob Briggs. Briggs went on to pen innumerable articles, write five books, and host two television shows: Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater and MonsterVision. His sixth book, Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History! (Universe) was published this year. In "Kroger Babb's Roadshow" (page 30), Briggs celebrates a forgotten B movie pioneer .

Wendy M. Grossman made the unlikely transition from folk singer to tech writer by way of a magazine she founded in 1987, Britain's The Skeptic, through which she met people who were starting to cover the online world. Computer magazines at the time were primarily devoted to "articles on how to tweak your modem," she says. But from the moment she wrote her first e-mail, in 1991, Grossman suspected there was a larger story to be found online. She spent most of the next decade writing about the "border wars between cyberspace and real life." In "The Spam Wars" (page 40), Grossman examines anti-spam proposals. She is the author of Net.Wars (NYU Press, 1997) and From Anarchy to Power: The Net Comes of Age (NYU Press, 2001). Her folk songs and recent work are online at