Prior to joining the Reason Foundation in 2003, Ted Balaker spent five years as a producer for John Stossel at ABC News, a job he describes as "random." He gives an example: "I recall one day of shooting that began at dawn at a citizenship ceremony filled with teary-eyed, brand-new Americans and ended at 3 a.m. at a SEXPO after-party where I watched college kids mug for photos with a passed-out Ron Jeremy." Now a producer for, Balaker interviews the blogger and law professor Eugene Volokh about civil liberties and the Constitution in "Free Speech and Guns" (page 34).

Matt Ridley loves to write about both sex and ideas, so it's no surprise that an excerpt from his new book, The Rational Optimist (Harper), would merit the title "Ideas Having Sex" (page 42). Ridley, who describes himself as "liberal on both social and economic issues—in the old meaning of the word, that is to say maximizing people's freedom," will be a featured speaker on reason's upcoming first-ever Caribbean cruise. Asked about his hopes for the trip, he says, "If we need to take to the lifeboats, I expect a much more generous and altruistic spirit among libertarians than I would find among socialists or conservatives." For more details on the event, visit

Steve Lafleur, a Canadian political consultant based in Calgary, drank his first beer at age 13. It was a Stella Artois. An experienced consumer of hops, the writer examines how federal water regulations could hurt Portland's thriving craft beer market in "It's the Water" (page 64). Now 27, Lafleur reports that his taste in beer has become even less mainstream since his Stella-guzzling youth. "I'm a huge fan of the Hop Henge Experimental IPA from Deschutes in Portland," he says. Lafleur spent the summer of 2009 in Portland as a Koch Summer Fellow with the Cascade Policy Institute.