Writing Archive

Volatility at an Historic High

If Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing, it’s that they both want “change.” Barack Obama called for it in 2008, and Republicans are calling for it now. What that “change” means is of course up for debate, but one thing’s for sure: 2010 will be the third straight change election.
Chuck Todd [...]

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Patchwork America

In suing the state of Arizona, the Obama administration declared that “the Constitution and federal law do not permit a patchwork of state and local immigration policies.”   The legal fight is shaping up to become the latest major battle in the war over states’ rights, which seems to have intensified under Obama’s tenure.
First, Texas Gov. [...]

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Gone Fishin’

I’m taking off for a week-long Memorial Day trip tomorrow, which means the next Map of the Day will be on Tuesday, June 1.
President Obama is also fleeing the Beltway and is choosing to spend the weekend in the Second City, a decision that is drawing rebuke on conservative blogs since he’ll be skipping ceremonies [...]

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The Battle for Westsylvania

Voters across the state of Westsylvania go to the polls today to select their nominees for the U.S. Senate and to chose a successor to the late Rep. John Murtha. Where, you may ask, is Westsylvania? It was the proposed 14th colony in the western mountains of Virginia and Pennsylvania, whose borders would [...]

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The Geography of Lincoln and Lee’s Legacies

On President Lincoln’s 200 birthday earlier this month, I posted a map showing that most states who fought for General Lee and the Rebs voted for John McCain, while most states that supported President Lincoln and the Feds chose Barack Obama. Most people know that this is an axiom of modern American politics. [...]

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Will it Play in Peoria?

Legend has it Richard Nixon would ask “Will it play in Peoria?” when he was determining if something had national appeal. Well, it looks like John McCain played pretty well in Peoria tonight.
Illinois Republican Electoral Map (New York Times)

On a more serious note, I wrote in my Huffington Post column that downstate Illinois [...]

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Barack Obama and the Land of Lincoln

Salon’s Edward McClelland has an excellent column about the demographics of Illinois and of Chicago in particular. His piece focuses specifically on Chicago’s “unique history of launching the careers of powerful black politicians” and explains why it’s no coincide that Barack Obama calls the city home.
The column is so compelling because it relies on [...]

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A Decisive Day in Virginia History

December 11 is an important day in Virginia history.
On this day in 1862, Union forces slipped across the Rappahannock River and torched Fredericksburg. Two days later, they tried to take the heavily fortified Marye’s Heights south of the town and were mowed down in what became one of the most lopsided Confederate victories of [...]

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South of the Mason-Dixon Line, North of the Confederacy

Maryland’s awkward geographic location south of the Mason-Dixon Line but North of the Confederacy earned it the moniker the “Middle Temperament.” Most of the state has a Northern tilt, but the Eastern Shore sometimes seems as Southern as any state in the old Confederacy.
In fact, the Eastern Shore was home to two [...]

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From the Teton Sioux to the Russians

“Confidential. Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives: The River Missouri and the Indians inhabiting it are not as well known as is desirable. An intelligent officer with 10 or 12 chosen men might explore the whole line, even to the Western Ocean. The appropriation of $2,500 would cover the undertaking.”
– [...]

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