What happened on October 14, 2007
Hybrid democracy Mark Baldassare and Cheryl Katz, Mark Baldassare is president of the Public Policy Institute of California, where he directs the institute's statewide surveys. Cheryl Katz is a journalist and independent public opinion researcher. They are the coauthors of "The Coming Age of Direct Democracy."
Steroids: Take one for the team Kate Schmidt, Kate Schmidt participated in the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Olympics, winning bronze medals in the javelin throw in '72 and '76.
The $190-billion question Winslow T. Wheeler, Winslow T. Wheeler is the director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information.
The $190-billion question Frederick W. Kagan, Frederick W. Kagan is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "Finding the Target: The Transformation of the American Military."
The $190-billion question Anthony H. Cordesman, Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies is the author of "Iraqi Force Development: Conditions for Success, Consequences of Failure."
Preemption, Israeli style Joshua Muravchik, Joshua Muravchik is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Burmese nightmare Thant Myint-U, Thant Myint-U is the author of "River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma."
Barbs and Spears Joel Pett, Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work also appears in USA Today.
China doesn't own the future Walter Russell Mead, Walter Russell Mead, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is the author of "God and Gold: Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
Style that needs no translation Elizabeth Khuri, Elizabeth Khuri is assistant style editor of the magazine. Reach her at email@example.com.
Life Support Meghan Daum, Meghan Daum is an opinion columnist for The Times. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Bull Radio Dan Neil, Dan Neil can be reached at email@example.com.
Tools of the Trade Nicole LaPorte, Nicole LaPorte is a Venice-based writer who covers the entertainment industry. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mini Me Christopher Hawthorne, Christopher Hawthorne is the architecture critic of The Times. Contact him at email@example.com.
Taking Baja South REED JOHNSON, Reed Johnson covers Mexico for The Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Loft Barbara Thornburg
The Baja Plunge Barbara Thornburg, Barbara Thornburg is senior style editor of the magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The $190-billion question James Dobbins, James Dobbins, a former U.S. assistant secretary of State, is director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corp.
Surreal cinema Richard Schickel, Richard Schickel's new book, "Film on Paper," will be published early next year.
Her dark pages Susan Salter Reynolds, Susan Salter Reynolds is a Times staff writer.
Head trip Lizzie Skurnick, Lizzie Skurnick edits Old Hag, a literary blog. Her reviews have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World and other publications.
Partnerships Nicholas Delbanco, Nicholas Delbanco is the Robert Frost Distinguished University professor at the University of Michigan. His most recent novel is "Spring and Fall."
How we blew it Nicholas Thompson, Nicholas Thompson, a senior editor at Wired magazine, is writing a book about Paul Nitze and George Kennan.
Painting with words Richard Eder, Richard Eder, a former Times book critic, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1987.
The neural hit parade Mark Coleman, Mark Coleman is the author of "Playback: From the Victrola to MP3, 100 Years of Music, Machines, and Money."
The fairy trail Sonja Bolle, Sonja Bolle is a freelance book editor and children's book reviewer. Her "Word Play" column appears monthly at www.latimes.com/books.
The Otto factor Liz Brown, Liz Brown's reviews have appeared in Bookforum, Newsday, the New York Times Book Review and other publications.
In the beginning Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a 2007-08 Fulbright Scholar in Berlin.