OC Weekly Editor Gustavo Arellano loves tacos. In "Taco USA," he describes how Mexican food evolved, in spite of legal and cultural opposition, to become the ultimate American cuisine. "I cannot deny the libertarian tendencies of Mexican food," he says. According to Arellano, 33, who writes the popular and politically incorrect "¡Ask a Mexican!" syndicated column, the notion of "authentic" cuisine "is an elitist effort to quash and deride the hoi polloi who create magnificent mash-ups," such as the tater tot burrito he describes movingly on page 22. Arellano's new book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America (Scribner), was released in April.
Graphic designer and illustrator Joanna Andreasson, 39, provided the tempting taco on the cover of this issue. Andreasson, a native of Visby, Sweden, received an MFA from Stockholm's Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design, and now resides in Brooklyn, New York, from where she does graphic design for George Mason University's Mercatus Center. The best thing about her job, she says, is "not having to get dressed until I have to go out for coffee," though if she could have a different career she would definitely be "a flight stewardess in the '60s." Andreasson has put her skills to work on "books, magazines, illustrations, logos, and tacos" but says her favorite thing to design is reason covers, which she did most recently in December 2008 for the magazine's 40th-anniversary issue.
John Stossel, who worked for more than 20 years at ABC, hosts the weekly show Stossel on Fox Business Network. In "Why We're Losing" (page 38), adapted from No They Can't: Why Governments Fail—but Individuals Succeed (Threshold Editions), Stossel, 65, explores why the case for liberty is counterintuitive. "Government screws up everything it touches," the mustachioed libertarian host declares. Things don't improve, Stossel says, "when 'we' means governments. But when 'we' means free people, almost anything is possible."