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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LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

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