Thank you, Bill Clinton and Congress

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Via Stone Court, I visited Happening-Here? for a review of how the Defense of Marriage Act affects the relationship between the government and American citizens who are victims of Hurricane Katrina.

It’s a relationship that saves the government a lot of money. Under the Defense of Marriage Act, all benefits are denied–FEMA, Social Security, and state benefits. Parental rights and burial decisions are also removed from surving partners. The situation is made worse by the fact that Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have laws that deny legal status to same-gender partners.

During the aftermath of this horrific tragedy, we will hear a lot about compassionate conservatism. But we will also hear about the “real” compassion of the Democratic Party, and about how Americans take care of their own. Americans take care of their own, all right–if they are white, heterosexual, and not poor. It also helps to be able-bodied, male, and adult. The political and idealogical garbage washed up by the storm surges of Katrina is nothing new. But no matter how high it piles up, Americans will keep stepping over it, eyes closed, noses held, and hearts frozen.

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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