* A Newsweek poll looks at the role of race in the 2008 elections. The survey creates a "Racial Resentment Index" among white voters, based on questions about "racial preferences, interracial marriage, attitudes toward social welfare and general attitudes toward African-Americans." Finding #1: Obama does just as well as Clinton among white voters with a low level of "racial resentment," but horribly among those with a lot of resentment. Finding #2: Who are those with a high level of "racial resentment?"
A majority, 61 percent, have less than a four-year college education, many are older (44 percent were over the age of 60 compared to just 18 percent under the age of 40) and nearly half (46 percent) live in the South.
* But Bill Bishop at the DailyYonder takes another cut, showing that the percentage of voters who claimed race was "important" in the West Virginia primaries was about the same as in, say, Illinois. He also recalls the warm welcome Jesse Jackson, Jr. received in Appalachia in his 1988 campaign, mixing populism and religious imagery.
* The Democratic Rules & Bylaws Committee prepares to meet in Washington to discuss the fate of Florida and Michigan's delegates this weekend. The St. Petersburg Times had a good overview last fall on how Florida ended up in this mess.
* Radio host Dick Gordon talks with country singer Kathy Mattea about her latest album, Coal, which takes her back to her West Virginia roots.
* Speaking of coal, a New York Times report finds that "clean coal" isn't shaping up to be the panacea for global warming boosters claimed. The big issues: cost, unproven pollution-capturing technology, and lack of safe ways to store "billions of tons" of coal waste a year.
* The New York Times also features Louisiana's new African-American Heritage Trail. The project was born of Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu's idealism that honest history can "transform the discussion about race and poverty in America." It's also a creative way to deal with the fact that Louisiana can't afford to build any museums post-Katrina.
* Houston is also trying to preserve its history: a downtown historic district that includes Freedmen's Town, the nation's only remaining post-Civil War historic district built by freed slaves.
* The Songs of Appalachia series this week features John Grant, Jr., "cultural ambassador of the Eastern Band of Cherokees."
(Photo: Jesse Jackson spoke to 4,000 people in the Hazard, KY high school gym in his 1988 presidential campaign. Photo by Mimi Pickering)