One of the most important things that sets Daily Kos apart from other political news and opinion sites is the Community. We pull together to elect more and better Democrats, supporting campaigns with donations and outreach, teaching activism 101 and “how to” in the Nuts and Bolts of Democratic elections, and in general holding each other to high standards of accuracy and compassion when we set out to accomplish any goal.
Then, there’s the social part of the Community. We get acquainted, often through Groups where people with shared interests gather and become friends. We appreciate each other; we celebrate each other’s milestones and triumphs. And when we grieve, we grieve pretty much together.
But what about if you don’t want to talk books or nature or politics, or join in a Group discussion? If you want to connect with other Kossacks on a more personal level, the open threads are where you should go. They’re freewheeling comment threads on any sort of topic, and everyone is welcome to join in, either to an established comment thread or to start with a topic of their own.
The open thread most people think of first is the venerable Open Thread for Night Owls, founded in 2010 by Meteor Blades and, upon his retirement, replaced with the News Roundup Sunday-Friday (and the Community Spotlight on Saturdays, ahem). But if the Front Page is not to your taste, fear not: There are open threads that publish from early morning to late at night, starting in the wee hours, with MF Daily, which was once upon a time MoJo Friday’s Weekly Open Thread. It’s now a daily feature, welcoming everyone to “hang out and share what is happening in your life today.” This is a first-cup-of-coffee type of hang out, and if you’re still waking up, you’ll be in good company.
Then there’s the Morning Open Thread, whose regulars call themselves “specialists in jibber jabber and threading,” or a place “where you come for the music and stay for the conversation—so feel free to drop a note.” MOT also warns impatient commenters that “the diarist gets to sleep in if she so desires, and can show up long after the post is published.” Well-curated musical themes get the day started, with just this past week’s offerings ranging from Buddy Holly to Handel to Satchmo. The music might set the mood, but the conversation holds its own.
Street Prophets Coffee Hour is an open thread “cleverly hidden at the intersection of religion and politics,” but often doesn’t stay on that corner (or, indeed, even check in there). Whether the author is Marko the Werelynx, particularly well-known for fine photography and slice-of-life reporting from his home near Prague, or Michelewn waxing poetic about humble stew (with recipes), or another author’s base text that starts with spiritual and religious discussion before it pinballs everywhere, there’s something for everyone.
In the early evening, you can check out Kitchen Table Kibitzing, “a Community series for those who wish to share a virtual kitchen table with other readers of Daily Kos who aren’t throwing pies at one another. Drop by to talk about music, your weather, your garden, or what you cooked for supper…. Newcomers may notice that many who post in this series already know one another to some degree, but we welcome guests at our kitchen table and hope to make some new friends as well. Our kitchen opens nightly at 5:30 PT/8:30 ET.”
If you don’t feel like kibitzing (although everyone enjoys a good kibitzing session), you can seek out Evening Shade, where you will find “a lot of politics and even more cats. The person who makes the first comment will get two cats. Every person who comments will get a cat.”
They mean it.
Speaking of cats, PWB Peeps (aka the Pootie People) hosts a nightly open thread “for animal lovers. We share photos, seek & give advice about pet health and behavior issues, support each other in times of sadness and stress, celebrate together when times are good, and on most days have an inordinate amount of fun.” As always, it’s a pie-free zone, in that name-calling and all personal attacks are verboten (all the open threads are pie-free zones, but especially the PWB ones!)
Top Comments “appears nightly, as a round-up of the best comments on Daily Kos. “Surely … you come across comments daily that are perceptive, apropos and .. well, perhaps even humorous. But they are more meaningful if they’re well-known … which is where you come in.” Top Comments takes great comments as a starting point and riffs on them. It’s a potpourri of the best commentary of the day, with even more commentary.
To finish your evening, the open thread at Insomniacs Vent Hole With James Corden is “a late night gathering for non-serious palaver that does not speak of that night’s show. Posting a spoiler will get you brollywhacked. You don’t want that to happen to you. It’s a fate worse than a fate worse than death.” The group posts a menu of late night talk show hosts and guests, but they talk about everything else.
Although Groups are the backbone of the Daily Kos Community, the open threads that post every day throughout the day are places where the focus is personal. As with all conversation, there might be a starting theme, but … have you ever had a casual conversation that stayed on just one topic? Me neither. The conversations in the open threads, no matter who sponsors them or initiates the conversation, all are as varied and distinct as every Community member who participates.
This very story is an open thread, in the tradition of Meteor Blades’ original Night Owls. That’s right: All comments and replies are welcome! We Rescue Rangers are honored to be able to highlight the week’s best-of-the-overlooked stories from the Community every Saturday night in this timeslot, but it is at heart an open thread.
12 RESCUED STORIES FROM 1 PM PT FRIDAY, JUNE 11 TO 1 PM PT FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2021
Happy Juneteenth, Daily Kos Community! Today, more Americans are marking the end of enslavement in the USA than they have in recent years. In comments, how are you celebrating? As you answer, (or as you recover from your celebration) take the time to look over this week’s rescued stories.
This week’s Community Spotlight rescues run the gamut, from politics to sports, and even to dining. Rescue Rangers look for well-written work that offers an original point of view and isn’t getting the attention it deserves. At least one Ranger reads every story published by Community writers. When we find work that deserves more recognition, we rescue it to our group blog and publish a weekly collection—like this one—each Saturday at 7:30 p.m Pacific time. Rescue priorities and actions were explained in a previous edition: Community Spotlight: Rescuing your excellent stories for over 14 years.
Following up on a previously-rescued story, Mahtin reports on the unhappy outcome of Empire State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political maneuverings in Over progressive opposition, conservative prosecutor confirmed to a 14-year term on New York’s highest court. Despite some evidently-furious backroom dealing, the Hon. Madeline Singas, former prosecutor in Nassau County, was appointed to the New York Court of Appeals. “Nevertheless, the opposition to her confirmation was fierce, and came surprisingly close to derailing her nomination, which suggests that Gov. Cuomo should think twice if he wants to appoint another conservative when the next scheduled vacancy arises later this year.” Mahtin games out the significance of both Cuomo’s appointments to the court and their political repercussions in New York state. Author of eight stories, this is Mahtin’s second rescue.
In Atheist’s Bible: The meek, AliceT4 examines the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth from the perspective of a Jew for whom “the New Testament was off limits,” and discovers that Jesus was a radical rabbi. He subverted all existing temporal and theological power structures to focus on the power of average people to “be kind to one another, not to follow the rules. This threatened the fabric of Judaism, knitted from thousands of strands of legal arguments, meant to cover the actions of Jews at all times. If one could put aside these historic threads, one would be, in effect, naked in the world. One would be the agent of one’s own actions rather than limited by the prescriptions and prohibitions of generations of wise men.” AliceT4 discusses not Christianity, but the teachings of Jesus—which are quite often very different things—and finds, in Jesus’ trust of average people, one of the most radical social forces in history. An activist in social, economic, and environmental issues for 50 years, as well as an adherent to the Oxford comma, AliceT4 has written 17 stories. This is her third rescue.
RfrancisR compares and contrasts European and U.S. soccer leagues in A story of soccer and capitalism: Winning isn’t everything. Both leagues operate under a capitalist system, under the ownership of billionaires, but in the U.S., the league observes some relatively “socialist” conventions like a draft and and “general allocation money” that wealthier teams use to help down-market teams not only survive, but thrive. In comparison, the European Leagues are dominated by a handful of powerful and rich teams. Without salary caps, revenue sharing, or other American sports conventions, “this means the powerful have a monopoly on power. In European soccer, the rich get richer, and the poor get exiled.” This doesn’t mean that American soccer is a socialist utopia, but comparatively speaking, it offers a more level playing field for everyone. This is RfrancisR’s 17th rescue out of 182 stories.
“I think I have benefited enormously from white privilege without being white. This means I have been doubly blessed. I get all the privilege that accrues to multi-racial people and the ability to free boot white privilege. I genuinely feel guilty.” In the very personal Am I privileged? Absolutely. Is it white privilege? I am not sure, Nonlinear explores what it means to be multi-racial: He’s Black, Indigenous, and White, with access to rich parental cultures and traditions, the education to code switch, moving seamlessly between racial spaces, and the added benefit of at least some white privilege. Although white privilege controls the levers of economic opportunity, he says that his family’s multi-racial and multi-cultural traditions have given him greater advantages. Perceived whiteness might have gotten him in the door but, once through, the rest of his family’s culture brought him success. This is Nonlinear’s 11th rescued story.
“Canvassing my local area year after year pays a dividend: in turnout, keeping my voters informed, and helping them with any election questions. We can’t rest, and we can’t take anything for granted. I always emphasize how important their vote is.” Pattioric shakes off the Year of the Pandemic hangover and hits the streets in Canvassing Chronicles: Virginia 2021 primary edition. Since Virginia’s statewide elections are always held in the off-year, 2021 brings statewide election season to the Old Dominion; the primary season just concluded. A seasoned door-to-door canvasser, pattioric picked a section of Henrico County and a preferred candidate in Hala Ayala for lieutenant governor (since the governor and attorney general slots had strong favorites in Terry McAuliffe and Mark Herring). “Many people were still undecided a day before the election, and I think it helped them that I stopped by. A few precincts whereHala lost that I had done some canvassing were decided by less than 10 votes! Many people didn’t know about early voting, or didn’t realize the primary was coming up.” A Kossack since 2015, pattioric has written two stories, this being their first rescue.
Jrberg’s Sometimes simple really is best brought out both gardeners and cooks in the comments, enriching a celebration of simple pleasures: in this case, homemade tomato soup. Part recipe and part process, jrberg’s story shows us how heat and well-chosen ingredients make food that delights both palate and eye. They write, “As a cook, I have always liked the simple, clean recipes best. They show off the natural flavors of the few ingredients, without overwhelming any of them. And those flavors from the backyard can be heavenly.” Commenters joined in with their own recipes, as well as advice for keeping critters out of those spectacular tomatoes. Jrberg has written three stories for Daily Kos. This is their second rescue.
Surviving and thriving despite the trauma of molestation is the subject of MikiSJ’s An open letter to Simone Biles. Like Biles, MikiSJ was once a gymnast and, like Biles, was once molested by a trusted adult. MikiSJ, unlike Biles and her fellow survivors who came forward against Larry Nasser, carried the pain and trauma of molestation for years: “When I entered a room or joined a group of friends or business associates, I was always this small individual who carried a secret, a damning secret that I could never, ever tell anyone. This secret held me back as an adult.” This open letter praises Biles’ strength as an individual who took her power back from her attacker, and offers an appreciation of her athleticism and excellence. It’s MikiSJ’s wish for Biles that “at 23, you once again wow the world with your Yurchenko double pike off the vault—and score a 10 in this year’s Olympics, on each piece of equipment.” A pragmatic progrssive, MikiSJ has authored three stories, this being their first rescue.
Karmsysback offers a Requiem for Mills College that’s more autopsy than requiem. Why do some private colleges and universities thrive, while others wither? As Mills College closes, after 169 years of providing liberal arts education to women, alum karmsysback has mixed feelings: gratitude, certainly, but also the acknowledgment that, at Mills, something went wrong, and that something is embodied in a passionless deadwood professor who was the antithesis of the teacher that the author became. “Great, ageless teaching—the kind students at Mills and other private institutions pay through the nose for, and hope to get, the kind influential people write their wills to fund—is magnanimous. It welcomes students in, as equals. People who encounter it in youth, remember it till they die.” Although Mills College is closing for no doubt varied reasons, karmsysback lays its requiem at the feet of the incurious, uninspired teacher. This is her first story and first rescue.
Aviation expert pwoodford illustrates the cost of training shortcuts and unintended consequences in Air Minded: A catastrophic breakdown. At the end of June 2020, an F-16 fighter jet crashed during night training, killing its pilot. Although subsequent investigation blamed pilot error, pwoodford explains that the real cause was a fatal lack of training. “This lieutenant didn’t die because some minor training requirement slipped through the cracks. He died because of a catastrophic breakdown in training, scheduling, and leadership.” The verdict: Responsibility for the crash lies, not with the pilot, but with a broken training system. Of pwoodford’s 401 stories for Daily Kos, this is his 72nd rescue.
After a day at the zoo enjoying the novel feeling of the world opening up again, Ben Kalom takes the time to distinguish between what is normal and what is acceptable. In When good things happen: Managing moments of normalcy as we recover from chaos, he compares the coronavirus pandemic that has decimated the world to another malady: “Six years ago, we lost our ability to discern between normal and acceptable. Losing this partition, breaking down that netting and filling the moat, allowed the wilder parts of our thoughts and feelings to fully emerge and move about the entirety of our reality. We got infected with a ‘virtual virus,’ a thought-and-feeling mechanism that began breaking down the last remaining fences of orderly and decent behavior.” He warns that we must take care to distinguish between normal and acceptable, and to act accordingly. This is Ben Kalom’s second story and first rescue.
New Kossack ShuiMuLung reports about wartime heroics, and devotion to duty above and beyond the call in I have a new hero and his name is Charles Jackson French. French served a stint in the Navy, mustering out before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, whereupon he returned to the Navy and served through the end of the war, earning distinction especially during the Battle of Guadalcanal, when his ship was sunk and he saved a raft full of wounded shipmates. Did I mention that this was the segregated armed forces and French was Black? “Once ashore, some Navy masters-at-arms tried to separate French from his shipmates whom he’d rescued. After all, a Black man shouldn’t be in a tent for white men. His shipmates threatened to fight anyone who tried to make him leave. They knew a hero when they saw one.” An effort is underway to see that now French receives the honors he deserved in life. This is ShuiMuLung’s second story and first rescue.
Pacing in life and in fiction takes center stage in not a lamb‘s Write On: Pacing and pacing (and pacing?) As a writer working on a first novel, not a lamb struggles to find a regular rhythm to carry them through an extended project. But despite their apparently chaotic writing schedule, they’ve reached a milestone and learned that, in writing, some books are a marathon and some are a sprint, both in the novel’s pacing and in the writing. “I probably need to think more about pacing like a marathon on the next draft. These are the pacing guideposts I’m keeping in mind as I keep onwards and write on.” This is also a metaphor for life. Not a lamb has written 13 stories, most of them about the arts of reading and writing. This is their first rescue.
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.
An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 9:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT).