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Three boosts to enter the week:

Letter by letter. “Will you be my pen pal?” “My name is Pattie. Please write me.” “My name is Berlene. I am your pen pal! Please write to me.” Nearly 20,000 letters have poured in, answering the calls of a North Carolina senior center’s residents after they posted photos to Facebook of hand-drawn signs in search of connection. Four months had passed since visits were discontinued, and the outpouring of support from letter writers continues.

Political pen pals. On his birthday today, Zac Lee Rigg—raised in Malaysia and Indonesia and living in Los Angeles—tells Recharge, “Tell everyone I’m aging and I’m not ashamed of it.” (He’s also producing some of the most consistently brilliant, historically informed, justice-driven videos on The Internet. But can he single-handedly defund the United States military?)

No one’s pawn. It’s International Chess Day. Alongside the game’s popularity runs a history of human rights campaigns and political problem-solving, highlighted by the United Nations’ livestream today, “Chess for Recovering Better.” In the mix: superstars Viswanathan Anand of India, Levon Aronian of the United States, Hou Yifan of China, and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. Hop on. The event was inspired by Mher Margaryan, Armenia’s UN representative, to “promote fairness, equality, mutual respect, and understanding among nations.”

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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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