Of torts and termites

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


It’s always tempting to blame the government for your problems — but suing Uncle Sam over the termites in your carport? That’s what New Orleans’ Harry Hoskins is doing, according to the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. Why? His city’s termites tend toward the extra-voracious Formosan variety, which were brought over by a US Navy ship during World War II.

To jump-start a lawsuit oddly reminiscent of the massive tobacco settlements, Hoskins claims the government knew there was a problem as far back as the 1950s but failed to solve it. Now, the MONITOR-dubbed “world’s hungriest termite” causes more damage every year than fires, floods, and tornadoes.

To put the termite invasion in perspective, though, Formosans have been spreading from port to port since at least the 1600s, munching as they go. The little devils may be annoying — but this is one class-action suit that makes tort reform start to sound appealing, especially when you consider whose tax dollars will pay for Hoskins’ crumbling carport.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate