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“Slithering green pincer-headed little monsters” or a culinary delight? This photograph from Man Eating Bugs by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio (Ten Speed Press, 1998) shows zaza-mushi, larvae of aquatic caddis flies, retrieved from Japan’s Tenryu River. Cooked in soy sauce and sugar, zaza-mushi is a delicacy in some rural Japanese towns. Meanwhile, back in the United States, we have our own epicuriosities:

Total retail dollar sales of potato chips in 1997: $5.2 billion

Percent of calories that Americans get from fat: 34

Pounds of chocolate consumed per capita, per year: 11.7

Average number of insect fragments the FDA allows to be present in a 100-gram sample of chocolate: 90

Average number of insect fragments the FDA allows to be present in a 100-gram sample of peanut butter: 30

Percent of adult Americans who always or usually use mayonnaise or mayonnaise-type salad dressing on their sandwiches: 57

Percent of analyzed fruit and vegetable samples (fresh and processed together) found to contain at least one pesticide residue per sample: 71.8

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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