Today in Appointments

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This is getting ridiculous. First the president tasks one his top homeland security advisers with investigating the breakdown in… homeland security:

President Bush has named Frances Fragos Townsend, his domestic security adviser, to lead an internal White House inquiry into the administration’s performance in handling Hurricane Katrina, Scott McClellan, Mr. Bush’s spokesman, said Monday.

The White House investigating itself and all. Townsend’s previous work includes “recently overseeing the reorganization of the nation’s intelligence services,” a process that, from all appearances, mainly consisted of installing Bush loyalists into key posts and tossing out the dissidents. She does throw up a damn good smokescreen, however: check out this old Dan Froomkin piece catching Townsend in a filibuster when asked about the White House’s inflated al-Qaeda statistics. In other news, the administration may have—although there’s a lot of confusion on this front—floated a career veterinarian’s name, Norris Alderson, to head up the Office of Women’s Health at the FDA, before settling on the eventual nominee:

An FDA veteran trained in animal husbandry who spent much of his career in the agency’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, Alderson quickly became the subject of active and largely negative comment on the Internet and elsewhere. The Office of Women’s Health serves as a liaison with women’s health groups and as an advocate on women’s issues; critics said that a man with a primarily veterinary background could not properly fill the role.

What is wrong with these people?

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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