African Americans have always been heavily concentrated in Southern states. Given their general preference for the Democratic Party, that makes the South's dramatic change in its partisan representation since 1990 all the more noteworthy.
Race relations in this part of the country are still problematic; but the regional situation now is simply a more obvious and intense case of the American racial problem. Perhaps the time has come for the South and America to talk as a nation about our common situation.
It is clear that race still plays into political operations, but not as fractiously as before. Many Southern officials and citizens -- both white and black -- now function in working alliances and normal operations along ostensible lines of conventional issues.
Southern Democracy -- defined as entrenched regional rule -- is no more. Republicans now reign throughout most of the South. The best that Southern Democrats can hope for is restoring their party to competitive parity in a two-party system.
Renewable energy is real, cost competitive in many situations, and a growing source of business opportunity. And given that other sources of electricity contribute to global warming and local air pollution, now is the time to double-down on more renewable energy.
As the current, unfolding election season demonstrates, the excitement and energy of partisan politics lies mainly in Republican campaigns in the South, while the historically-dominant Democrats mainly sit and stew in envy.
It's a continuing game of racial politics -- now played by both blacks and whites in more sophisticated manner without traditional perversities -- in a regional system still struggling with historic black-white disparities and tensions.
It's Leap Day! The date when by tradition, women can propose marriage to the men in their lives. Of course, women have been disregarding this for years, but today is a perfect excuse to buy a gift for your favorite guy.
If anyone believed 2011 was the year of the direct assault on proponents of the middle class, clean air and water, public education, and respect for first responders, and democracy itself, just wait until 2013.
Hilary Duff likes a good challenge. The number of former child and teen stars who manage to sustain success into their twenties, as Duff undeniably has, are few, but even rarer are those who then develop into serious adult actors.
While we are indeed currently politically divided and somewhat polarized, this is actually our normal state as a nation -- and on the polarization scale, we're nowhere near the "most divided" we've ever been. Far from it.