Big Dig Now Killing People

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A slab of concrete fell from one of the Big Dig tunnels in Boston and killed a woman yesterday, according to news reports. This Times story discusses what an out-and-out boondoggle the entire project was. They neglected to note, though, that prior to 2001, the chief executive of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority was Andrew Natsios, under whose tenure “the biggest rise in costs, from $10.8 billion to $14.7 billion, took place.” Anyway, Natsios then went on to join the Bush administration and become… head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, which was, among other things, responsible for rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq. Make of that what you will, although recurring themes like this one aren’t very amusing after awhile.

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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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