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In his fiction, John Steinbeck gave a voice to the hardscrabble farmworkers of his hometown, Salinas, California. But a copy of East of Eden is going to be hard to come by in the “nation’s salad bowl”; facing $9 million in red ink, Salinas announced in December that it would shut its libraries, including the branch named for the Nobel laureate. The city of 150,000 will reportedly be the largest in the nation without a library.

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Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

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