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There could soon be a new American vacation mecca. This spring Congress will decide whether yet another endangered species–nuclear missile sites–should be entrusted to its care as national parks.

Deployed in nearly 1,000 launch facilities across the U.S., the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system has operated on continuous alert for 30 years. The 1991 START Treaty called for permanent demolition of all but a few Minutemen; the disabled warheads could be opened to the public for historical and educational purposes. Currently, the U.S. Air Force and National Park Service are assessing the feasibility of preserving two sites in South Dakota, the Delta One and Delta Nine launch facilities near Rapid City. Both are attractive because of their proximity to heavily traveled parks, including Badlands and Mount Rushmore.

Public opinion is positive–85 percent of those surveyed for the feasibility study are in favor of national missile parks, but each side has its own twist. Politicians such as South Dakota Senator Roger Porch want to expand tourism. Neighboring Lakota tribes, on the other hand, like the idea of preserving a monument to U.S. greed and destruction. Should be a popular destination.

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Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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