In 2005 and 2006, two moderate Democratic candidates, Jim Webb and Tim Kaine, won in Virginia with large margins in the Washington suburbs. Their victories demonstrated that there was a new path to victory for Democrats, one that did not depend on winning Southern conservative Democrats, the way Mark Warner did in 2001.

Georgia might well be moving down the same road as Virginia. No other plausibly competitive state — not Nevada or Virginia, not Colorado or North Carolina — has had a change in the racial composition of the electorate that’s as favorable for Democrats. That’s giving Georgia Democrats hope that they might win a race that they almost certainly would have viewed as a lost cause only a few years ago.

After more than two months of intraparty fighting, David Perdue, a former chief executive of Dollar General, won Tuesday’s Republican runoff in Georgia to become his party’s Senate nominee, setting up one of the few contests where Democrats have hopes of taking a Republican-controlled seat in the midterm elections.

Mr. Perdue’s victory over Jack Kingston, an 11-term Georgia congressman, with just under 51 percent of the vote on Tuesday evening upset both public polling predictions and conventional wisdom, which had Mr. Kingston slightly ahead, despite having finished second to Mr. Perdue in the May primary. In the general election, Mr. Perdue will face Michelle Nunn, a Democrat, former chief executive of the Points of Light volunteer group and the daughter of Sam Nunn, the former Georgia senator.

FLORENCE, Ala. — Tom Hendrix spent a quarter-century stacking eight million pounds of sandstone and limestone to honor a woman he never knew. In the autumn of his life, Mr. Hendrix now sees his Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall, a few steps from the Natchez Trace Parkway in northern Alabama, beckoning wanderers, spiritual leaders and artists.

Dedicated to his Native American great-great grandmother, Te-lah-nay, the wall, recorded in the Library of Congress, ranges in height from four feet to almost six feet in some spots and is the largest unmortared wall in the United States. It commemorates Te-lah-nay’s five-year walk home from Oklahoma to Florence after she was displaced during the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of Native Americans from the Southeast following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary gave “Down by the Riverside” a line about fracking. Vanaver Caravan, a dance troupe backed by a folky string band, added a verse about income inequality and the Occupy movement to “Union Maid.” The bluesman Guy Davis updated Lead Belly’s “Midnight Special” with references to Dick Cheney and Guantánamo.

That’s how Pete Seeger’s messages and methods — using sturdy traditional tunes to carry topical thoughts — were carried on at Lincoln Center Out of Doors’ part of Seeger Fest, a five-day memorial to Pete and Toshi Seeger held in New York City and around the Hudson Valley. Pete Seeger died in January, just six months after the death of his wife, Toshi.

Jumbo’s is closing in Miami. It was the first white-owned restaurant to integrate in Miami. The first white-owned restaurant to integrate in Atlanta — Herren’s — closed long ago.


My wife sends this important message from New Mexico, where she is visiting right now.


My wife sends this important message from New Mexico, where she is visiting right now.

It’s now the indisputable capital of Latin America.
Colombians, who first began to settle here in the 1980s, are the largest group of South Americans. They now make up nearly 5 percent of Miami-Dade’s population. They are joined by Argentines, Peruvians and a growing number of Venezuelans. Brazilians, relative newcomers to Miami’s Hispanic hodgepodge, are now a distinct presence as well. The Venezuelan population jumped 117 percent over 10 years, a number that does not capture the surge in recent arrivals. Over half of Miami’s residents are foreign born, and 63 percent speak Spanish at home.
From a New York Times article on Miami: Influx of South Americans Drives Miami’s Reinvention -

The Sun-Sentinel reports:

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s re-drawn congressional map intentionally favors Republicans in violation of the anti-gerrymandering standards voters approved in 2010 and will have to be re-drawn, according to a ruling late Thursday from a Tallahassee judge.

The judge found particular problems with two seats that knife through Central Florida, held by Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden.

The 41-page order from Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis will almost certainly be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. But if the decision is upheld, lawmakers or the courts could have to go back to the drawing board to design congressional seats throughout Central Florida to comply with the Fair Districts mandate that seats not be drawn to intentionally favor incumbents or parties.

In his ruling, Lewis quoted President George Washington’s farewell address warning of associations of “cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men” who could subvert the will of voters.

The New York Times reports:

Along with the only-in-Texas melodrama, the power struggle mirrored conflicts that have brought down several state university presidents around the country, after years of declining state subsidies, unpopular program cuts and tuition increases, and fear of rising competition from online programs.

University trustees, often politically connected business executives, have increasingly embraced the view that fundamental change is needed to turn universities into engines of economic development for their states and reduce their roles as centers of scholarship.

[Gov. Rick] Perry has pushed for changes promoted by a conservative think tank, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and developed by one of its board members, that take a skeptical view of academic research and place a greater emphasis on instruction, cost-efficiency and preparing students for the job market. Widely popular among faculty and students, [university president William] Powers has pushed back in defense of more traditional academics and the university’s independence.

State universities make college affordable for many of us and are worth every penny states invest in them, but don’t you hate it when politicians started meddling?