Jesse James DeConto didn't expect undocumented workers to talk to a strange journalist from out of town. So in November 2004, he moved his entire family to a rural mountain community in North Carolina and started getting to know his Hispanic neighbors. "I was concerned that I was learning more than I should learn," he says, "they were so glad to have somebody who listened." He shares some of their stories in this issue ("America's Criminal Immigration Policy," page 24). DeConto is a fellow in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a contributing editor at Prism, a magazine of social activism and religious faith.

"Who was the bureaucrat who imposed the low-pressure toilet on us?" Katherine Mangu-Ward wants to know. As a 2005 fellow at the Phillips Foundation, Mangu-Ward is profiling the men and women "who set out to save the planet" but left only annoyance and inefficiency in their wake. This month, in "The Age of Corporate Environmentalism" (page 34), she looks at the strange spectacle of a business community trying to go green–some times more successfully than others. A former reason intern, Mangu-Ward recently left a reporting gig at The Weekly Standard to assist columnist John Tierney.

When he's not shooting cops, soliciting prostitutes, or selling drugs, Justin Peters is "quite the gentleman," he insists. The editor of Polite magazine says he channels his penchant for wreaking havoc into video games, especially the much-reviled Grand Theft Auto. "I think it represents the id of modern society," he says of the game, adding, "That's pretentious." Peters entertains the idea that enjoying media violence may not turn him into a homicidal maniac in his review of Harold Schechter's Savage Pastimes (page 58). A former staffer at The Washington Monthly, Peters has written for Slate, Newsday, and the Washington City Paper.