Before you burn that karaoke machine …


Here’s some advice: Don’t incinerate karaoke microphones. They give off nasty fumes.

Weren’t considering it anyway? The advisory may be more relevant in Yokohama City, where city officials recently handed out just that advice, more or less, to local crematoria.

Throughout Japan, in keeping with tradition, favorite possessions go into the coffin with the departed before the coffin is incinerated. Back when those possessions were mostly made of wood, cloth, or the like, the smoke didn’t bother anyone. But the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST reports that it’s a different story today, when the favored items may be golf clubs, karaoke microphones, or other modern contrivances made of materials that give off a nasty cloud of toxins. After turning a blind eye to the sensitive issue, some cities are starting to come to grips with it by printing guidelines for crematoria on what should and what should not go up in smoke.

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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