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?

JACKSON, Miss. — After President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in July 1964, civil rights was the last thing he wanted to talk about. He feared that being associated too closely with the issue would make him appear too liberal for voters coming into that fall’s presidential election. But with the disappearance of three civil rights workers in Mississippi and the threat of violence hanging over what became known as Freedom Summer, he knew he had to act. Afraid of the political consequences of sending in the military, he instead turned to the F.B.I. and its longtime director, J. Edgar Hoover, who until then had shown little sympathy for the civil rights movement and thought that many of its members were Communists.

In response to the president’s demands, Hoover hastily opened a field office in Jackson, a step that would take on hugely symbolic importance for both Mississippi and the F.B.I. On Thursday, the 50th anniversary of the office’s opening was recalled with a small ceremony in which officials and dignitaries, including the deputy F.B.I. director, Mark F. Giuliano, discussed how the bureau’s relationship with both white and black Mississippians had evolved in the years since 1964.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison. Nagin, 58, the two-term mayor who was the face of the city during Hurricane Katrina, joins a list of Louisiana elected officials convicted of misdeeds. He is New Orleans’ first mayor to be convicted and sent to prison for public corruption.

The Washington Post reports:

Washington and Lee University expressed regret Tuesday for the school’s past ownership of slaves and promised to remove Confederate flags from the main chamber of its Lee Chapel after a group of black students protested that the historic Virginia school was unwelcoming to minorities.

And the question is: What took them so long?

Reporting on a voting rights dispute in Shelby, North Carolina, The New York Times says:

The bitter disagreement in this city of 20,000 is part of a broader voting rights battle charged by race and partisan politics that is happening in a number of communities, many of them Southern, where changes to election laws no longer require advance approval from the federal government after a year-old Supreme Court ruling voided a key section of the Voting Rights Act.

Voting rights advocates fear that these local changes — combined with a number of new state laws restricting ballot access and requiring voters to show picture IDs — amount to a concerted effort to reduce voting by minority groups. Conservatives say that the laws ensure against voter fraud, and in some cases are more cost-efficient.

The politics of climate change are veering in starkly different directions in the neighboring states of North Carolina and Virginia. Foolhardy denial about the severity of rising seas is underway in North Carolina, where the Republican Legislature, prodded by tourism-dependent coastal counties and alarmed homeowners, ordered a state commission of experts to soften its estimate that coastal waters could rise 39 inches by the end of the century. … By contrast in Virginia, a bipartisan group of political leaders is forthrightly talking about the problem. Last week, they met to consider ways to adapt the low-lying Hampton Roads region in southeastern Virginia to science-based predictions that the seas will rise at least a foot in 30 years and five feet or more by the end of the century.
From a New York Times editorial: Two Approaches to Tidal Politics -