Now on the Mother Jones homepage: Sacrificial Ram

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New today on the Mother Jones home page (and in the current issue of the magazine): Sacrificial Ram, by Daniel Duane. Not your typical MoJo story, this. Duane, a card-carrying Sierra Club member and outdoor type, recently tagged along on a “conservation hunt” in the Mexican desert for the majestic — and endangered — bighorn ram. That’s right, conservation hunt. Sounds like a term cooked up by the same folks who brought us “Compassionate Conservatism” and “Clear Skies” — but, no, it’s for real, and it works like this: Conservationists sell off the right (at a cool $60,000 a pop) to kill a couple of sheep each year, with the revenue going into conservation efforts. And it looks like the approach is paying off: since the hunts began, the bighorn population has increased fourfold.

Don’t buy it? Well, if my inbox is any guide, you’re not alone: plenty of readers have written in to give us hell. (One of the more polite emails ran as follows: “This is a classic case of ‘cognitive dissonance.’ Only a turncoat could get so enthusiaistic about supporting something he vehemently opposed in the past. Shortly, Duane will probably go to Falluja and give a glowing account about ‘how democracy is taking root among the gun pocked ruins…'”) But roughly equal numbers have praised the article — and the approach. (“Daniel Duane understands … and all it took was an open mind and one experience.”) Read the article and judge for yourself. Also, check out a Mother Jones interview with Daniel Duane where he explains how he went, over the course of the hunt, from weirded-out skeptic to gung-ho proponent of conservation hunting — won round to the idea of shooting sheep to save them.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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