Like many of you, when I first login to Dkos, I might glance at the "Front Page" (why it is called the front page I'm still trying to figure out but that's not really relevant, so moving along ...) and then, I'll spy the Community Spotlight to see if any new diaries have been added there (usually not as many as I would like, but again ...) and then it's REC LIST time!!!!! Yes, I confess, I am a Rec List addict, and not just when the occasional diary of mine makes it there.
Now there are a lot of reasons for my addiction. One, the Rec List usually (not always but most of the time) has diaries of breaking news, whether of a political or meteorological or feline variety. Plus, if you want to be outraged, the Rec List is guaranteed to provide you your fix, whether it be abusive police, racist, bigoted GOP pols, scandals, Mr. Robert's Court, or Rush Limbaugh Must Die (a slow painful economic death)! All the good meta is there, and if you like humor (and who doesn't, really) well, need I say more than "Here's Bob Johnson!"
Also, some of my favorite writers have diaries there as if by - by magic, I suppose. Which brings me ("Finally!" I hear you say in exasperation) to my point. And that point is ... but not all my favorite writers, and not all the things I want to read about, or even should read about. So, bear with me a while as I attempt to convince a few of you (myself included) regarding the joys of reading diaries NOT on the Rec List, otherwise known as those poor creatures inhabiting the "Recent Diaries" column.
So, why should you read a recent diary rather than jump right into the fun and chaotic comment threads of Rec List diaries? Well, aside from the fact that all Rec List diaries had to start there in the swamp of other unheralded recent diaries, and enough people had to read them and hit that recommend button before they could be elevated to that Higher Order here at the Great Orange Satan, you might want to look through the recent diaries listed way down on the lower right hand side of your screen because .... Because you might learn something that you didn't know before, such as the fact that the Grey Wolf population out West is stable and not in immediate danger of dying out Ban Nock):
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released it's numbers for the gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains late this week and populations remain steady despite increased efforts in Montana and Idaho at population reductions.
All right you say, but I could care less about grey wolves and what folks in Idaho and Montana want to do to them. Too esoteric a subject, you might say, or too nuanced a story. Maybe you're right, but what about the information I found here in this diary by mettle fatigue?
April 4 Medscape reported that an F.D.A. Warning Letter citing pharmaceutical waste-tank contamination of paroxetin at a Cork, Ireland GSK plant was followed by recall from wholesalers of batches of Paxil and Seroxat, in which paroxetin is the active ingredient. Issued after an October 2013 inspection of the site, the letter states that the FDA
may withhold approval of any new applications or supplements listing your firm as an API [active pharmaceutical ingredient] manufacturer."Paroxetine is an adult SSRI drug used for several forms of depression, panic, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress, some menopause-related symptoms, etc.
Not only informative, but pretty darn important if you happen to take those medicines or know someone who does. And, be honest, I bet you might know someone in that very situation.
But the recent diary list isn't just filled with posts about recalled medicines or the the grey wolf. There are any number of fascinating diaries that for whatever reason no one saw fit to elevate to the Rec List or grab for placement on the Community Spotlight list. There are post like this one by hannah that reviews the Errol Morris documentary regarding the darker side of Donald Rumsfeld's legacy (I know there isn't much of a lighter side when it comes to Rumsfeld, but still ...) and his influence on how we view recent events in American history, and even better provides links to both the film and the filmmaker's interview by Rachel Maddow:
Donald Rumsfeld defines the unknown known in the Errol Morris documentary as what he thought he knew but it turned out he did not. I've always considered the unknown known to be what Rumsfeld left out because much that his subconscious knew, his conscious brain did not. Rumsfeld, I suggest, is, like so many of his cohorts, lacking in self-awareness. I've been writing about this for some time [go to her diary for the links she includes to her own prior writings, please]. Now Errol Morris has used it as the title of his documentary about Donald Rumsfeld. In an interview with Rachel Maddow, Morris referred to it as evidence of an absence of self-reflection. I'd say, one can't reflect on that of which one is not aware.
Not, breaking news but worthwhile nonetheless. I know I can never hear enough about the manner in which a handful of criminal neocons took command of, and misused for their own ideological and personal reasons, the most powerful military on the planet, and, in the process, destroyed not only the lives of thousands of Americans and their families, but of millions of Iraqis, as well. (By the way, do go click on the link to the Maddow interview because - well - Maddow!)
Or what about diaries that explore just how much influence the .1% weilds over our political system, such as this one: The Poll Progressives Need to See, by Auburn Parks. Yes, it's down her slumming with the rest of the Recent Diaries!
The polls show that these people are extremely active politically and they vote religiously:Admit it, folks, there's some good stuff here! Stuff you might never come across on the Rec List, because, to be honest, once a diary hits the Rec List, odds are that more people will see that diary and rec it, making it harder to for new diaries to climb the ladder. In short, if you restrict yourself to reading only the current Rec List diaries, or even diaries by people you follow you are cutting yourself off from a lot of great material. Even fun diaries about what are your favorite guilty pleasures in movies. Important? Not really, but entertaining as all get out (especially the comment thread).
40% of the respondents had "Made Contact With" (which was a conspicuously undefined phrase in the study) the person's U.S. Senator.We wouldn't be in our current political situation if 99% of the middle and working classes voted regularly.
37% had made contact with with his Representative.
12% had, with a White House Official.
21% had, with an Official at a Regulatory Agency.
Of these "contacts," 44% were asserted to have been for private business reasons, such as to "try to get the Treasury to honor their commitment to extend TARP fund to a particular bank."
99% of respondents had voted in 2008.
84% said that they were paying attention to politics ""most of the time.' Asked how many days of the week they talk politics, the median response was five days.
Evidence that they own the politicians:"Fully two-thirds contributed money to politics, giving an average of $4,633 to political campaigns or organizations over the previous twelve months." And, "A remarkable 21 percent ... solicited or "bundled' other peoples' political contributions."
There are diaries about famous books and what makes them famous. Or diarests that continue our conversation here regarding what is more important: "more" or "better" in our goal of achieving the election of more and better Democrats? And diaries about fixing our misbehaving national media (I know that sounds a bit Quixotic but take a gander anyway).
Heck, you don't have to agree with me that all these diaries I've highlighted for you are worthy of your time. However, I'll bet that if you peruse the recent diaries list more often - indeed, I'd recommend making it your first stop at Daily Kos each day - you will more likely than not discover a hidden gem, a nugget of useful information, have a good laugh or even discover an unknown writer (unknown to you, i.e., one of those Rumsfeldian unknown unknowns if you get my drift) that you admire and decide to follow in the future.
Can't hurt to look.