In a past life, I was a political writer and editor. I covered the rise of online politics for Slate during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns, I wrote about the politics of prison reform for The New York Times Magazine, and I wrote about Star Trek fan films for Wired. OK, so it wasn't all politics. Here's a sampling.

In keeping with the state motto — ad astra per aspera, or ‘‘to the stars through difficulties’’ — Kansas politics have always been touched with a spirit of the avant-garde and the unorthodox, from popular sovereignty to prohibition and beyond. Today, thanks in large part to Brownback, the state is a petri dish for movement conservatism, a window into how the national Republican Party might govern if the opposition vanished.
"The Kansas Experiment," The New York Times Magazine, August 9, 2015
Kirk’s ship has come to rest at a long-shuttered car dealership in Port Henry, New York, at the foot of the Adirondacks. Bats hang from iron beams above the garage. In the showroom, stalactites of dead insects cluster on strips of flypaper.

A mocked-up TV Guide cover tacked to the wall of the dealership’s dilapidated kitchen explains what brought the Enterprise to this strange new world. The three main characters from Star Trek — Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock, and Ship’s Doctor “Bones” McCoy — peer from the cover, dated September 21-27, 1969. But Kirk is not portrayed by William Shatner. Instead, he’s a professional Elvis impersonator, with muttonchops and a hornlike pompadour, who lives in nearby Ticonderoga. Spock works at a Virginia videogame store. And McCoy is an Oregon urologist. Above their picture is the cover line that never was, the dream that this car dealership’s quixotic tenants hope to make real: ‘Star Trek returns for a fourth season on NBC.’
"To Boldly Go Where No Fan Has Gone Before," Wired, December 2005
It’s too early to say for certain, but Howard Dean may turn out to be the Napster of presidential politics: the force that enables the Internet to upend an entire industry, threatens to transform the way it collects money, and opens the eyes of the average person to yet another way to use the Net. But if Dean is a political Napster, it will probably mean more for politics in general than it means for Howard Dean.
"Peer-to-Peer Politics," Slate, July 14, 2003
Anyone who has listened to a single political speech knows that Washington, D.C., is a swampy morass controlled by pencil pushers, experts in bureaucratic intrigue. Richard Perle is one of these men. By dint of his mastery of the dark arts of memos and news leaks, Perle has become a Washington eminence, appearing on TV shows, publishing op-eds in the national dailies, and getting quoted (by name!) in news stories. He’s something you don’t hear about in politicians’ speeches: the faceful bureaucrat.
"Richard Perle: Washington's faceful bureaucrat," Slate, August 23, 2002