This is the Shrub of Doom. Beware its fell power.

I took this in the late afternoon on R568 in County Kerry. Even in real life it looked pretty bleak and eerie, but naturally I amped that up a bit in this picture. OK, I amped it up a lot. But the effect is kind of cool. You expect that maybe Mordred or Voldemort are lurking just outside the frame. Or maybe Vladimir and Estragon.

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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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