Open Thread

Fun with maps, guess what is overlaid (dots) with the 2008 county-by-county election results shown here (click for larger image):

This is the answer:

Both these maps show the same segment of the southern United States, and demonstrate a similar pattern. Yet each describes a wholly other era and a completely different process.

The bottom map dates from 1860 (i.e. the eve of the Civil War), and indicates where cotton was produced at that time, each dot representing 2,000 bales of the stuff. Cotton was King back then, and mainly so in the densely cultivated border area between Louisiana and Mississippi, and in an equally dense band of cotton cultivation starting west of the Mississippi-Alabama line, tapering out across Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Other cotton centres are the areas around Memphis and what appears to be Lawrenceburg in southern Tennessee.

The top map dates from 2008, and shows the results of the recent presidential election, on county level. Blue counties voted for Obama, red ones for McCain (darker hues representing larger majorities). In spite of Obama’s national victory, and barring Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, all Southern states (i.e. all states formerly belonging to the Confederacy) went for McCain. The pattern of pro-Obama counties in those southern states corresponds strikingly with the cotton-picking areas of the 1860s, especially along the Louisiana-Mississippi and Mississippi-Alabama borders (the pattern corresponds less strikingly and deviates significantly elsewhere).

The link between these two maps is not causal, but correlational, and the correlation is African-Americans. Once they were the slaves on whom the cotton economy had to rely for harvesting. Despite an outward migration towards the Northern cities, their settlement pattern now still closely corresponds to that of those days.



Close,but less blue.


it would be interesting to see if the area's that changed were more agrarian, rural areas. For instance, I'm sure Orange County went for Kerry and Obama. What about some of the rural counties in NC though?

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Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Population cross-referenced?

Population - current and in 1860 - would seem to be the driving economic and hence farming and voting factors for both maps.

Is there a comparable population map?



I love stuff like this.

Get your war on: New World Order

I do not know what the heck this is, but I'm laughing my butt off. WARNING: Some cursing.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

This is a must see

Hilarious. Absolutely delightful.

Fun nee!

Now that's worth sharing, but would they get it?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

I love maps, but

there's an important caveat to this interesting juxtaposition. The blue/red overlay shows voting by geography only. Counties which went more heavily for Obama by percentage show bluer, right?

But, it doesn't show number of votes. I'll bet that a correlation of areas which voted for Obama by some victory margin measured in thousands of votes--i.e., the areas where he racked up big victories--would show a strikingly different pattern. I'll bet that corresponds to urbanization, and shows Obama winning the southern states where he prevailed (NC, VA, FL)by carrying the major urban regions.

Obama prevailed in the urbanizing southern states, not in those where the population is still more rural.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

Whaaaaaaat {rubs eyes}....really?


So, they are hiding a ginormous tanker in a "Pirate Stronghold"?

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Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Free market entrepreneurs ;)

This crap is beyond out of control. But as long as we allow stupidity to continue, this will keep happening:

Shipping firms under pressure to maximize profits often staff the huge high-tech tankers with as few as 12 sailors. They frequently get around maritime regulations by designating the cook as the security officer after a brief training course, security specialist Kelshall said.

"Stop right where you are! Or I'll...refuse to give you a second helping of meatloaf until you've eaten your spinach?

Busy legislature

Lots of people at the State Legislature today. Several interesting committee meetings.