January 2010


In "Nader Shrugged" (page 54), the Los Angeles–based writer Joseph Mailander, 52, reviews the fiction debut of the activist, gadfly, and perennial presidential contender Ralph Nader, "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!" Mailander, who calls himself "a tax-averse liberal," didn't find himself especially impressed by Nader's attempt to write a heroic novel in the mode of Atlas Shrugged. "This book is largely the result of Ralph Nader's relentless self-promotion," he says.

If you enjoy reading our interview with Whole Foods CEO John Mackey (page 36), you might want to watch the video version posted online at The video was shot and edited by Meredith Bragg, a producer since March. Before then, Bragg, 33, produced online programs for C-SPAN, shot a documentary about high school football players, and was hired to write broadcast and online pilots for Warner Brothers and Turner. Bragg, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, is also a singer-songwriter; his most recent album is Silver Sonia.

The Mackey Q&A also owes a debt to Donna Packard, who has been transcribing interviews for reason for nearly a decade. Packard, 62, lives on a 30-acre farm outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. When she started her transcription business 28 years ago, she worried she would be lonely, since "I'm very outgoing and there are no neighbors." But it turned she had a fascinating cast of characters to keep her company. Packard has transcribed interviews with Robert De Niro, Willie Nelson, and Charles Barkley for men's magazines, typed up the novelist Rita Mae Brown's handwritten manuscripts, and even done work for Charlottesville's resident Thomas Jefferson impersonator. Packard, who recently recovered from a bout with cancer, says that getting out of bed during chemotherapy was tough, but she was grateful to have interesting work that she could do in pajamas.