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Is this a photo of
A) a junior varsity basketball team;
B) the latest hip-hop group to break the top 40;
C) a gang;
D) Illinois’ best high school chess team, second by half a point in last year’s National Scholastic Chess Championships?

Murray and Herrnstein, eat your words: The correct answer is D. The students, hailing from Chicago’s inner-city Rezin Orr Community Academy, vied for the national title with New York City’s considerably more affluent Stuyvesant High to take second place by the slimmest of margins. Out of 850 players from 30 states, brothers Darnell and Cornell Faust (first and second from the left in the back row) took fourth and sixth place, respectively. So for whom, exactly, does the “bell” toll? Not for Orr’s whiz kids.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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