Neighborhood Highlight: 13 years of Black Kos

Black Kos community launched as a Group on Valentine’s Day 2011, dedicated to publishing stories that “cover a broad range of topics including Black history, the arts, politics, and the culture of peoples of African descent worldwide.” The Group started with a wide-ranging retrospective of jazz—Black Kos Music: A Night in Tunisia, by Denise Oliver Velez. After that inaugural musical interlude, Black Kos established a pattern for reporting a news and culture roundup with Black Kos, Tuesday’s Chile and the Friday Week in Review. The first Tuesday’s Chile published under Black Kos community featured a personal retrospective about Minister Malcolm X by Denise Oliver Velez.

All Kossacks are welcome to hang out “on the porch” during Black Kos’ twice-weekly conversations; the regulars are obliging and generous folks. With 969 regular followers, 422 members, and many more informal “porch-sitters,” Black Kos is one of the largest and most influential of the Groups in the Daily Kos Community.

I hope to feature more Groups in the coming weeks. If you’d like to bring attention to your favorite, leave me a comment or drop me a Kosmail.

Community Spotlight is a Group, too; one that’s unique at Daily Kos, in that we’re a team of volunteers who screen and train our members. We read every story published by Community writers. Working 24/7, when we discover great work that isn’t receiving the attention it deserves, we rescue it to our group blog and publish a weekly collection—like this one—each Saturday. Rescue priorities and actions were explained in a previous edition: Community Spotlight: Rescuing your excellent stories for over 14 years. If you want to work with us, send us a note and we’ll talk.


Baal still presents an informative, surprisingly easy to understand look at hypertension and dietary salt in High-salt diets, high blood pressure, mortality, and physiology. It’s not simple. Hypertension is a major health concern worldwide. As research has revealed different factors that trigger high blood pressure, including age, diet and genetics, treatments have evolved from early dependence on diuretics, and now include an array of medications and therapies. Despite advances in treatment, recognizing the role excessive salt plays in our diets is vital for continued patient health, and that’s not always an easy thing to achieve. “In a grocery store you can find low-sugar, low-carb, and gluten-free foods of all sorts, even though a lot of people buying them are not diabetic and don’t have celiac disease. But it is a lot harder to find low-sodium foods.” A Kossack since 2015, Baal still has been writing about medical issues of late. This is their second rescue.

FrankDiPrima summarizes the challenges to HR1 (the For The People Act) and explains why he believes a simple rules change—to make laws pertaining to elections and voting rights filibuster-proof—is reasonable, and would be so even for the few Democrats who oppose ending the filibuster in How to pass HR1: Filibuster carve-out for voting rights and elections via a Senate rule change. “I believe this would be embraced by all Democrats, including the few who have promised their constituents not to vote for a rules change that would get rid of the filibuster, because (a) the moderates, especially Ms. Sinema, would have a far better chance or reelection with it than without it and (b) Democrats would have a far better chance of competing for a majority with it than without it.” With a summary of what the bill accomplishes, the author reminds us that democracy itself is in the balance, and that without reform, the rest of the Democratic agenda is doomed. A fan of Shakespeare, Joyce, and the Mets, FrankDiPrima has authored 118 stories. This is his fourth rescue.

From the “more things in heaven and earth” department, skralyx reports about A new biology of color vision: The nematode senses color but it has no eyes. The cells and neurons of nematodes have all been genetically mapped, and so they’re popular for lab work. The little bacteria-chomping critters also have no eyes, and therefore can’t see. So why do they avoid the color blue, especially the blue expressed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria toxic to both nematodes and humans? “So how does the nematode so deftly avoid this bacterium? You and I can see its blue color with our eyes. (Not that we’d be tempted to slurp it up, no matter what color it was.) But nematodes don’t have eyes. In fact, they don’t even have opsins, the light-responsive pigments that are the basis of light perception in bacteria all the way up to humans.” The answer: science! Skralyx, who writes often about science, has written 410 stories and been rescued 40 times.

Everyone turned out for OceanDiver‘s photo-intensive Dawn Chorus: Eagles! and no wonder. Who doesn’t like spectacular photos of our national bird? “Usually I see one or more every day, except during the fall, but common does not mean ordinary. I always stop to admire when I see or hear one (unless driving, though I’ll slow down and crane my neck). Eagles are flat out magnificent birds no matter what they are doing.” OceanDiver digs into eagle behavior : the birds’ territoriality, diet (not for the faint of heart), and behaviors for Dawn Chorus, a daily birdwatching feature. OceanDiver, who lives on an island in the Salish Sea, has authored 685 stories, many of them for the Backyard Science Group.

The joy of flight and the rush of incredible speed combine in pwoodford‘s celebration to the F-104 Starfighter in Air-Minded: Zipper. Reaching speeds of twice the speed of sound, the experience of flying these elite aircraft is like to riding an arrow. “In flight, the tiny wings slice through the air like fletches on the shaft of an arrow. The F-15 had big wings and you felt every random current and bump in the air. There was none of that in the Zipper, the smoothest-flying aircraft I’ve ever been in.” Pwoodford has authored 395 stories at Daily Kos. This is his 70th rescue.

Bookgirl weighs the pleasures of an author’s deft change of focus in Contemporary Fiction Views: Getting to know the absent parent for the Readers and Book Lovers Group, with a review of Gianrico Carofiglio’s new novel, Three O’Clock in the Morning. Moving from his earlier genre of crime drama set in Bari, Italy, Carofiglo turns to domestic drama and the relationship between a father and son who barely know each other. “Although everything about the narrative itself is different from those crime novels, there is the same sensibility—that life may rarely be fair, but it is here to be lived and not merely endured.” The plot is really a device to explore the dynamics of a family crisis with a “pitch perfect” resolution. A public school librarian and teacher, bookgirl has authored 253 stories. This is her 96th rescue.

First movie in a year and so worth it: Judas and the Black Messiah by Senor Unoball is less a movie review than a story of different kinds of freedom. The author and his wife had the chance to see the film in a theater and had to decide “not about whether I wished to see this, but would we feel safe? Would it still be a worthwhile movie-going experience?” In his description of the precautions in place in the newly-opened theater, he juxtaposes the freedom to attend a movie with the film and its depiction of the abuse and murder of Black people who are only demanding their legitimate rights as Americans, which leads the power of American law enforcement to label them as threats, and treat them as enemy combatants. Oh, and he loved the movie. Senor Unoball, whose profile tag is “Any group with the word ‘Patriot’ in its name, probably isn’t,” has authored 95 stories.

Correct pronunciation and respect go hand in hand in What’s in my Nigerian name. Growing up in the U.S. with a West African name he rarely heard correctly pronounced, Eihenetu recounts how teachers, fellow students and eventually coworkers resorted to nicknames as something of a crutch, and how he went along with it in order to make friends. However, as an adult, he has learned he’s not the only “Eze” in the world—it’s not an uncommon name in Nigeria, nor among expats. “After my dad died in 2013, I thought I was only one of a handful in the entire world, a representative of a rare species of people, this impression causing my nerves to spike-like porcupine quills. But upon further study of, and immersion into, Igbo culture, I’ve come to realize that I am one of many more.” Therefore, he’s resolved to make coworkers to get his name right, not only for himself, but for all the other Ezes he now knows are out there. Eihenetu has been a Kossack since 2015. Author of 221 stories, this is his 15th rescue.

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.

  • To add our rescued stories to your Stream, click on the word FOLLOW in the left panel at our main page or click on Reblogs and read them directly on the group page.
  • You can also find a list of our rescued stories by clicking HERE.

An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Pacific) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 9:00 p.m. Eastern (6:30 p.m. Pacific).

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