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October 22, 2006

Redesigning the U.S. Map

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

A long-established American minor-league sport is bitching about political boundaries -- sometimes those of counties, but more often state boundaries.

The matter came up recently thanks to Michael's interview with Bill Kauffman.

In Comments, I chipped in with the following:

I suppose I have no strong cred to be butting into the western NYS mystique thing -- I only lived in Albany for 4+ years, but also had to forecast the population for all of the state's counties and traveled the area as part of my duties.

Personalities and subcultures aside, western New York is Great Lakes. Great Lakes is a sub-species of Midlle West. Buffalo is far more akin to Cleveland than to Albany, methinks, if you posit "geography as destiny."

Redesigning state boundaries is a seductive idea I blow hot and cold over. Lots of regional "minorities" get screwed because a in-state regional "majority" crams legislation down their throats. But a lot of homogeneity theoretically can mean less national cohesion and could lead to a break-up at some indefinite future date.

All that aside, I agree that it makes sense to chop NYS in two at a point somewhere near Bear Mountain. California can be separated along the mountains north of the LA basin. Eastern Washington and Oregon plus the Idaho panhandle might be merged. And there is that old, putative state of Jefferson that would take in southwest Oregon and California north of Shasta Dam.

And that's only the start...

That state of Jefferson I mentioned was a gleam in some peoples' minds many decades ago. It was already an old cause when I first heard about it back in the late 40s or early 50s. But I hadn't noticed anything about it in quite a while, so I assumed the ardor finally fizzled.

I was wrong.

Last Friday as I was driving north on Interstate 5 nearing the Oregon border I saw roadside signs touting the state of Jefferson. One even mentioned a Web site for the cause. And by golly there is indeed a web site: click here.

The site includes a map showing one possible collection of Oregon and California counties that might comprise a future Jefferson. The example takes in Roseburg to the north and points below Red Bluff to the south. I'm not so sure that even Redding fits well into the Jefferson scheme. I suspect those southerly counties were included to boost the population, because otherwise Jefferson might not even hit a million people -- rather small for a state. (No I haven't checked the data because I'm traveling, so let me know in Comments if you think I'm wrong.)

Enough on Jefferson: Let me elaborate on what I discussed earlier.

No matter how how small you slice the political map, there'll always be a "minority" or another that will feel shafted, so that issue can never be eliminated.

Nevertheless, many states seem to make little economic sense. Western Washington and Oregon differ greatly in climate and economically from the eastern (trans-Cascades) parts of the states. I sympathize with rural or semi-rural easterners who feel that the political tone of Washington is Seattle-centric.

New York is a similar case. I sometimes suspect that New York City dwellers regard Upstate as a frozen wasteland populated by dairy cattle and rubes. And Upstaters aren't so fond of Downstaters either.

As Michael's post and some comments suggest, even Upstate might be a candidate for splitting, perhaps along a north-south line centered near Utica.

Californians are not happy either. The place is nearing 40 million population -- the size of a middling-large European country. Geographically, the Los Angeles basin, San Diego County and perhaps the Imperial Valley form one coherent region, the coast from Santa Barbara to Monterey another (albeit with a relatively small, yet growing, population), the Bay Area a third one, the north coast and mountain area a fourth (again, thinly populated), and the fifth would be the remaining valley-Sierras part. Some people think a split along the line of mountains to the north of Santa Barbara and LA would suffice.

Since I seem to be restricting this discussion to states I've lived in, I might as well mention Pennsylvania, a strange beast indeed to my eyes. You've got Pittsburgh in the west and Philadelphia in the southeast: what to do? Maybe make the southeast one unit, the west-of-the-Alleghenies area another and the mountainous balance a third unit. Except that the unit just mentioned is yet another area possibly not viable as a separate state due to population size.

I could go on and on, but I'll halt here and open the discussion in Comments. Should states be redesigned? And if so, what would the boundaries be? And would the project be politically possible? (I say No on practical, if not Constitutional, grounds -- vested political interests being what they are.)



posted by Donald at October 22, 2006


Since you are interested in Jefferson state, you might want to check out Jefferson radio from that part of the country:

I would rather see a state that is comprised by the area we used to call the Inland Empire. Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Western Montana. I'd vote for Spokane as the capital, although some might prefer Missoula or even Lewiston, I suppose. This state's boundaries might extend into Milton-Freewater, Oregon, but I'd say let Eastern Oregon and Southern Idaho pair up with some of Utah and Nevada...Keep eastern Oregon out of the Inland Empire!!!

Posted by: raymond pert on October 22, 2006 9:11 PM

You've really got to start, I think, by abolishing the US itself.

Why people assume it's obvious that North America needs a central government is quite beyond me.

Even Bill Kauffman, who's certainly no sucker for the status quo, and who suggests quite laudably that the US should abandon all sorts of the bizarre businesses it has dipped its fingers into over the years, isn't ready to mention the possibility that the beast could just be done away with, like the Soviet Union.

One wonders: is he just being diffident? Or would he actually oppose the proposition? If the thing expired of its own accord, would he agitate to resurrect it? Or does he believe it's more practical to gradually reduce a large political organization than to abolish it in one step? If so, does history support this perspective?

Once Washington is shut down and the new free states have demonstrated that small is, in fact, beautiful, their citizens will probably see the advantages of going even further toward a city-state model. But it doesn't strike me as particularly practical or pointful to perturb the perimeters of our present provinces.

Posted by: Mencius on October 22, 2006 10:11 PM

Hey I've toyed with the idea of re-designing state boundaries too. Who knew that it was a common political fantasy?

Severing upstate NY from NYC certainly speaks to me. Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon certainly don't seem to have much of anything in common with Western Washington and Western Oregon. (I'd love to learn why Raymond Pert thinks Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon don't belong together.)

In the Greener fringes there's a movement called Bioregionalism, which advocates that society arrange itself more along lines suggested by eco-matters: river drainages, coastal regions, etc. Always made some sense to me. Seems like an incredible waste of time and energy is wasted arranging matters like: if someone dumps something into the Mississippi up high, then someone down towards the Gulf of Mexico has to pick it up. Why not just make the Mississippi River drainage area one giant region. Let it look out for itself.

That's putting eco-matters up above political and historical (and I guess racial and ethnic) matters, though. And I'm not sure that makes a lot of sense to anyone but a hardcore Green. (I'm not entirely unsympathetic!) Seems like, as a practical matter, boundaries arise from all these factors warring it out.

Still, interesting that these days places like the Soviet Union have fallen into so many constituent pieces, isn't it? Maybe the era of the mega-state is coming to a close. I wonder if more such falling-aparts will occur. And I wonder if -- were the US to do some tweaking so state boundaries made more sense -- if that wouldn't lead to the US falling apart. After all, what business do these various regions really have being tied up together politically?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 22, 2006 11:46 PM

Anyone seriously interested in revisiting the concept of states and boundaries should check out one of the best young bloggers on law, history, economics, and computer science: Nick Szabo.

Two mindblowing examples: Szabo explains the historical English concept of jurisdiction as property, and looks at the corporate origins of the United States.

Can the clock turn back? Can we imagine a North America with thousands of private, independent cities and counties, competing peacefully for residents? Could we finally pound a stake in the heart of nationalism, and admit that there is nothing divine or magical about the boring business of writing, enforcing, and updating a system of laws? Yeah, I know, I'm a crazy dreaming fool.

Posted by: Mencius on October 23, 2006 12:28 AM

Globalization would seem to be rendering the nation-state obsolete. You'd think power would devolve to decentralized city-states and regions, based around some sort of economic activity. We probably won't live to see it but the nation is probably going to fade away. Good riddance.

The Soviet Union is interesting, as is eastern Europe in general. There was very little violence (ok, except Yugoslavia). The whole rotten structure just fell apart into more or less natural constituents. See also Czechoslovakia.

Posted by: Brian on October 23, 2006 1:00 AM

Thanks for casting light on some heretofore shadowy thoughts. As one reared in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern PA, and living now in Pittsburgh, I've long wondered why we are unequally yoked with the state of mind that is called, wincingly, Philadelphia. The clamminess of such a legacy is summed up in one word: Rendell, who shall be president of us all one day, as bleak as that future may be. I think dividing PA into two is sufficient for the well-being of us West Penners. Simply draw a straight line from Sayre near New York down to Maryland, just enough to ensure that Scranton and the Poconos share the rest of the ages with Philly. In the homier West, we are accustomed to being on the receiving end of "rube" throwing: it doesn't matter -- we don't think there is any "up", anyways, to keeping up with NYC.

Posted by: Jonathan on October 23, 2006 9:02 AM

There is too much senatorial power in the Yankee states. These should be amalgamated to create one state called "New England". There would be 14 million persons in this state. There are larger states with only two senators, so this is entirely fair. Because this is the most liberal part of the country, cutting down on its senatorial power would actually adjust political power more realistically to reflect the basic conservative foundation of America. Obviously, the number of representatives would remain the same.

I agree that large states like California, New York and even Texas should be divided. However, other Western states should be joined, such as Nevada-Utah, North and South Dakota, West Virginia should go back to Virginia, etc. Hawaii and Alaska should probably revert to territorial status. Good luck getting this process started.

Posted by: Bob Grier on October 23, 2006 9:42 AM

A lot of what we're talking about is the difference between cities, small cities, and rural areas. They're interdependent but don't like one another much.

I was a Portlander for 40 years or so, and I'll let it all hang out:

The major city of the State of Jefferson would be Eureka. The major schools would be SOC in Ashland and Humboldt State in Arcata. Doesn't sound fun.

Weed production would be a major part of the economy. I can see a funny situation comedy / action film coming out of this, with gunbattles between redneck weed producers and Rastafarian weed producers. Deliverance plus The Harder They Come.

Presumably the first thing the new state would do would cut all the old growth. Then they'd grow weed in the stump farms, I guess.

This is the place where people shoot hunting arrows into their friend's eye sockets playing William Tell. The guy lost an eye, but "whatever brain function he originally had, he still has."

Posted by: John Emerson on October 23, 2006 10:11 AM

The problem with trying to make state boundaries match cultural boundaries is that cultural boundaries move as people move. We could come up with the perfect rejiggering of state boundaries, and I guarantee that in a hundred years, our map would be as illogical and ideosyncratic as our current one.

What makes much more sense is to try, as much as is practical, to devolve power to the smallest possible political units. This is why I love restrictive neighborhood covenants. If a certain vision of community is important to you, great. If not, move three streets over.

Posted by: Amy on October 23, 2006 10:30 AM

I'll go one further and say that I would be completely happy with California seceding and forming its own country. I've traveled all over the US, and one of the few commonalities I've found is hatred of California and Californians. I'm a native Californian, one who is very proud of my state's position as the tastemaker and innovator of the US, if not the world. I say, let there be the soveriegn nation of California!

But yeah, a north/south split in the state wouldn't be bad, either. North California! I like it.

Posted by: the patriarch on October 23, 2006 10:47 AM

Bob Grier: Connecticut and Massachusets aren't small states, and New Hampshire and Maine aren't liberal. 7 of the 12 smallest states are Republican, and Maine is pretty bipartisan. Only Hawaii, RI, Delaware. and Vermont are liberal.

Posted by: John Emerson on October 23, 2006 10:51 AM

There are some interesting notions being discussed here.

It would seem Mr. Grier likes the idea of joining together New England and perhaps other states populated by effete liberals and splitting states where true blue ( Republicans reign in order to assure a perhaps permanent conservative senatorial majority to go along with the recently gerrymandered House. Well, at least us effete New England liberals know where he's coming from.

Given the global examples from the past half century (Ireland, the Balkans, etc.) I'd say the idea of more states and making the states more independent relative to any Federal government is a great way to assure most of today's Americans would become marginalized third world players in the global economy. Whether we'd also get to see shooting wars along various state borders or families unable to visit one another when Jefferson stops issuing travel visas to New Englanders would be an open question.

While I admit that I read the book around the time of its original publication over twenty years ago, "The Nine Nations of North America" by Joel Garreau made a lot of sense to me when I read it and has influenced my thinking to this day. [Check out Garrreau and his books at] . This is more along the lines of Bioregionalism, which also makes a lot of sense to me.

For a long time I've expressed interest in the (perhaps) more practical idea that we should consider reshuffling governmental power and authority somewhat differently in the US. Today we deal primarily with local, state and federal levels of government. County government has become almost forgotten except in some rural areas and regional compacts (e.g. New England) have little if any real authority. I find myself imagining what might happen if local governments gave up much of their power to the county, which would also absorb certain state powers. The states would also be working more within a regional structure. The regions might absorb many of what we today think of as Federal "domestic issues." The Federal government in this scenario becomes more tightly focused on international treaties and concerns. Taxes might be rethought so that the regional compacts would collect, administer and distribute most taxes rather than the IRS.

Lots to think about.

Posted by: Chris White on October 23, 2006 11:17 AM

The best possible rearrangement would be independence for New York and California. They could form their own country if they wanted to — despite all the jokes, they are more sociologically similar to each other than to the rest of the country — or they could become part of a United States of Latin America (which for practical purposes they already are).

Once NewYorkifornia had been created, the United States would not necessarily need to delare war against it; but NewYorkifornians should certainly have to apply for a visa to visit the U.S., and only a limited number of biometrically readable visas should be issued, with severe penalties for overstaying. New Yorkifornians caught illegally entering the United States should be sentenced to house arrest in Nebraska or North Dakota.

With creative thinking along these lines, we can overcome the problems caused by arbitrary geopolitical boundaries.

Posted by: Rick Darby on October 23, 2006 2:36 PM

Emmerson: Chris White just proved my point. Suck the senatorial power out of the northeast and the house of representatives, where power is more equitably spread, will be able to better express the will of the people. By the way, by splitting some states and joining others, I don't think the politics of the rest of the country would be altered that much. I just don't want a bunch of liberal millionaires (Republican or Democrat) from the northeast having veto power over the law of the entire US. Right now there are 12 senators from that area where 2 would do just as well. It's not fair and they know it or they wouldn't be reacting the way they do.

Posted by: Bob Grier on October 23, 2006 2:52 PM

Bob, Democrats have been complaining about the overrepresentation of small states for years. The Democratic Senatorial candidates got more votes nationwide than the Republicans did, but because of the small state overrepresentation, the Republicans now have solid control of the Senate. With less imbalance, Democrats would have a small margin. You seem to think that it works the other way.

I don't want to overstate the case, but it's just plain true that the biggest New York haters are in al Qaeda. I would be happy myself if the Democratic half of the US let the rest of the country secede, but I would stay in the Democratic part if that happened.

Posted by: John Emerson on October 23, 2006 3:50 PM

It's hard enough to keep "the pure," of one stripe or another, from getting their hands on the levers of power and imposing their particular brand of tolerant/intolerance on the rest of us, in big messy conglomerates like New York State or California. Think of what it would be like in neater, more homogenous entities, where very little counterweight to "the popular will" could make itself felt.
Gimme messy and free any day.

Posted by: ricpic on October 23, 2006 4:21 PM

Too much senatiorial power? LEt this Northeasterner point out that the insitution of the SEnate istelf gives vastly more power t the few Montananas (sorry, my computer's funny and I can'st see what I'm typing) thanm to the many people who live in New York or California. Why is a Montanan's vote worth more than mine or someone in San Francisco? Seems to me it's the rural, red-state areas that have too much infljuence, to the point of electing presidents with a minority of popular votes. the same.

Posted by: SFG on October 23, 2006 4:57 PM

Just for a contribution from a different part of the country, I've been a Nashvillian for most of my life. As is represented on the state flag, Tennessee could easily be divided into three states, each with different geography and people. You have mountain folk, river people, and us boring people in the middle living in the hills. The state would more or less be divided along the Tennessee River.

These differences are as old as the state. During the Civil War, Appalachia was largely pro-Union, and the state became more and more Confederate the further west you moved. When I visit Chattanooga or Memphis (especially Memphis), I feel like I'm visiting a different place, but all the small towns in Middle Tennessee are my own.

Posted by: Mike Hester on October 23, 2006 5:42 PM

Were I an American, I'd be pressing to move the Supreme Court out of Washington to, say, Detroit. The case for having the Legislature and the Executive in the same city is strong - but surely only harm can result from having SCOTUS there, and only good from having the Justices whisked out of DC?

Posted by: dearieme on October 23, 2006 6:01 PM

I don't think you folks are reading what I'm writing. Note that I said I wanted to join those big states out west like the Dakotas, and Utah and Nevada, and Idaho and Montana, and Wyoming and Colorado, (along with the New England states) so we would have more equity. I also favor splitting some blue states (California into three). What I'm sayiing is that the way things are now, liberals in the northeast and their colonies on the west coast are running the senate. Don't come back at me with that crap about "Democrats" and "Republicans"... only an idiot fails to understand that there is no meaningful difference between the two, especially in the northeast. I'm going for the jugular. Most of us in the interior know who is calling the shots and we're tired of it.

Posted by: Bob Grier on October 23, 2006 6:12 PM

Rick Darby, will NewYorkifonians with blood relatives in the MidWest be allowed preferential treatment on the border?
With signed declaration of no-harm-intended-for-the-visit, of course.

Posted by: Tat on October 23, 2006 9:30 PM

While everyone has their crayons drawing new borders for states, the actual terrain is being redefined by voluntary agreements among entities like water authorities and power networks. They are voluntary, practical and almost unnoticed except by the people who need them. It's a little harder to get them to cross international boundaries, but the pipelines and high tension wires even do that.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on October 23, 2006 10:56 PM

Bob, what you're saying makes no sense at all. The US is not dominated by New England liberals. Massachusetts and Connecticut are not small states. New Hampshire and Maine are not like Massachusetts and Connecticut. The West Coast is not a colony of New England.

The reason the US is different than you want it to be is because not enough Americans think the way you do, not because New England is overrepresented.

Jesus F. Christ -- until they shit their pants just recently, it was Tom Delay and Dennie Hastert were were running the Senate. Are you still reading 1965 newspapers?

Posted by: John Emerson on October 23, 2006 11:39 PM

Well, I got that way wrong.

It's Frist running the Senate, and he's from Tennessee. Before that it was Lott from Mississippi. New England isn't running the Senate, and neither is the East Coast. It's the South, Southwest, Great Plains, and Mountain States.

Posted by: John Emerson on October 24, 2006 1:17 AM

The people you mentioned are Republicans. The Republican party is run from the northeast by dint of its money and corporate power. There is no escaping this power until it is dealt a lethal blow. I stand on my previous statements.

Posted by: Bob Grier on October 24, 2006 11:28 AM

Fine, reapportioning isn't going to help much if Frist and Lott are both Northeasterners too.

Posted by: John Emerson on October 24, 2006 12:14 PM

Um, actually the Northeastern Republican party is a shadow of its former self. Practically all their senators are being purged by their own party for being RINOs.

But you are right, Bob. Many of the corporations that pull the strings are headquartered in Manhattan. However, this does not benefit ordinary New Yorkers, who are getting squeezed out of our own hometown by skyrocketing housing prices due to investment bankers buying multiple apartments and paying three thousand dollars for a studio.

It's also worth mentioning that the heavy industry corps that are the strongest Republican supporters (as opposed to say, Democratic media conglomerates) tend to have many of their operations in the red states. You just have to have an office in NYC to get money from Wall Street. Why fight? We have the same enemy, believe it or not.

But I'm all in favor of splitting New York into Upstate and Downstate. You're correct that this would produce new Republican senators as New York City would maintain Democratic senators while Upstate would be a battleground if anything. But be aware that splitting up big states into small states would INCREASE the power of the former residents of the big states by giving them more senators. Remember that all those low-population red states out west have their own senators, giving Montana's less-than-a-million residents legislative parity with California's 30 million. Why does a Montanan's vote count 30 times as much as a Californian's?

Personally I'd like to see a return to federalism on social issues where people of different states differ most. For example, more local regulation of TV and movies and less federal regulation. There's no reason Utah couldn't ban 'Shortbus' while Massachusetts bans 'Birth of a Nation'. And ditch that whole bit about 'full faith and credit' in the Constitution, there's no reason Massachusetts can't have gay marriage while South Carolina doesn't have civil unions. Abortion's a bit tougher because when New Hampshire bans it, people will cross the state line into Vermont to have their abortions. But I'm sure we could work something out.

Posted by: SFG on October 24, 2006 1:06 PM

The upper peninsula of Michigan should really be Canada, or Wisconsin.

The panhandle in Texas should be Oklahoma or New Mexico.

All the perfectly square western states are pretty cool.

Posted by: annette on October 24, 2006 2:32 PM

BTW, India has in the recent past, over about 15 years or so, split 3 of its largest states in the Hindi belt. But India has a politically stronger Union and weaker states than the US. There is talk of one more state, this time a southern state, being split as well.

Posted by: JM on October 24, 2006 6:04 PM

Actually, I have no problem with New York or it's upstate denizens. But, as Washington Irving himself noted in horror, the utilitarian New Englanders were quickly running the banking business in Manhattan by the 1820s. Their industrial acumen quickly spread to other areas. They've never lost their grip, even if they live in Connecticut (or Texas). So forget party loyalty. I would say to all of you that class loyalty, homage to Puritan descendants and the schools they attend are the hallmarks of this crowd...not political affiliations. Until their grip on the US senate is loosened, we will never get any meaningful social or political reform. They're sitting on mountains of money and they own the store. And they are masters at string pulling. I'm from the upper midwest and I can tell you that about half the people here like New Englanders because their pioneer ancestors came from there...the rest of us know better.

Posted by: Bob Grier on October 24, 2006 6:04 PM

I'm from the upper Midwest and I think that your New England fetish is bizarre. Full disclosure: 3/8 of my ancestors came from New England or New York. Around here its 70% German and Scandinavian though.

Finance rules the world regardless of where their HQs are located, regardless of what the ethnicity of the bankers is, regardless of how many Senators New England has, and regardless of where the national boundaries are drawn. If the big banks were run by Sikhs from Trinidad, nothing much would change.

Posted by: John Emerson on October 24, 2006 8:32 PM

Good for you, Emerson. Suck up to them. Make your obeisance to materialistic determinism. There's nothing like a good old Plutocracy, is there?

Posted by: Bob Grier on October 24, 2006 10:52 PM

You're not a parody, are you, Bob? You started talking about overrepresentation of New England in the Senate, and then it was how the banks are controlled by New England, and then it was Trent Lott was a New Englander. I think I saw you in the old National Lampoon.

If you want to outline an intelligible plan to reduce the power of finance in the world, I'll listen, that's something I've hoped for for more than 40 years, but it sounds to me that you're just a guy stuck with America's oddest ethnic prejudice.

Posted by: John Emerson on October 25, 2006 5:55 AM

Europe is going both ways. As the EU becomes more powerful and every kid watches MTV, old regions revive their cultures and dialects. Bavarian kids wear more lederhosen and revive Bayerische, the use of the Basque language grows, and Scotland gets their own parliament.

Posted by: john massengale on October 25, 2006 9:57 AM

PS: If Bob thinks the Fortune 500 execs in the Republican party and the Republicans who have the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan are going to let the United States be broken up ...

Posted by: john massengale on October 25, 2006 10:07 AM

And it seems to me that you're stuck permanently and cluelessly in their pocket. Check out "The Price of Admission" by Daniel Golden. Their little game plan is laid out very well in the chapter dedicated to how the elite Ivy League schools and their sister colonies run their little effete games.

Posted by: Bob Grier on October 25, 2006 10:54 AM

John: You prove my point. Guess where the bulk of the Fortune 500 dwell or come from...

Posted by: Bob Grier on October 25, 2006 3:20 PM

OK, the old New England aristocracy has too much power. does that have to do with New York? Boston Brahmins HATE New York City and its satellite suburbs!
There is a point here that from the outside, power groups tend to look monolithic. A Muslim or South American might say that 'the West' (N. America +Europe) holds all the power. A Frenchman or Canadian might complain about the power of the US. A Midwesterner or Southerner might complain about the influence of New York and Los Angeles. A New York plumber would complain about the role of the investment banks. And Goldman Sachs? They're worried about what Morgan Stanley's up to.

But Goldman and Morgan will do anything to keep the dollars from I-banking from gettng around.

Posted by: SFG on October 25, 2006 5:39 PM

The big American banks are headquartered in NYC, except for the Bank of America which is in Charlotte NC, of all places. Only five of the top 30 world banks are American, and I'd be more worried about Japanese, Chinese, and Swiss banks than New England ones, if I were you.

Yes, half of the Ivy League colleges are in New England! (But not Penn, Columbia, Princeton, or Cornell). But their students come from various places. A lot of New Yorkers have summer homes in New England, too, and maybe Boston is a banking center of sorts. But LA, Houston, and Dallas have a lot of heft, too.

If I prove your point once more you'll probably collapse into a heap of silliness. If you dropped the New England obsession people might listen to you. You do have a point somewhere, but you aren't succeding in making it.

Posted by: John Emerson on October 25, 2006 6:51 PM

You guys are not quite clever enough. Go back up and read what I said about Washington Irving. He recognized the problem well enough at the time.

Posted by: Bob Grier on October 25, 2006 11:37 PM

Back around 1830, there was a very serious proposal to sever the Eastern Shore of Maryland and merge it with Delaware. Delaware was willing, and the proposal passed the Maryland lower house, and failed in the Senate by one vote.

AFAIK, that's the only time there was an effort to change state boundaries in any significant way.

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on November 4, 2006 10:10 PM

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