It’s 3 am here on the mean streets of Irvine. It’s a dex night, so I’m wide awake. Suddenly the cats start wailing.

I stand up. Wham! Hilbert and Hopper nearly bowl me over running to the patio door. Their tails are bushy. They are hissing. I look outside.

It’s a cat wearing the damnedest fur coat I’ve ever seen. There are three of them and they want to come inside. Naturally I’m too smart to fall for that old trick: I keep the door closed while I take my pictures. Unfortunately we removed our patio lighting a few months ago and never replaced it, so it’s dark and the photos turn out blurry and grainy. But it’s enough. They know I’m on to them and eventually they go away.

According to my wildlife guide, this is a breed of cat known as “raccoon.” Elsewhere in Southern California, mountain lions are roaming backyards and bears are ambling down the streets of Monrovia. Here, we just have hungry raccoons.

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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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