Why Italy Is Broke


The Guardian reports today on Tommaso, the world’s richest cat. We’ve seen stories like this before, so it’s all a bit ho hum. But check this out:

In a handwritten will, signed on 26 November, 2009, Tommaso’s mistress—the childless widow of a successful builder—gave her lawyers the task of identifying “the animal welfare body or association to which to leave the inheritance and the task of looking after the cat Tommaso”. One of the lawyers, Anna Orecchioni, told the Rome daily Il Messaggero they considered several organisations without getting adequate guarantees of the cat’s future comfort and welfare.

Seriously? Tommaso’s owner left an inheritance of 10 million euros. You could build a cat-sized Taj Mahal with a permanent staff and still have 9 million euros left over. Are Italian animal welfare associations so bulging with cash that they can afford to turn down 10 million euros just because they don’t feel like guaranteeing posh treatment for a single cat?

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.

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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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