Re: On the other hand, the border guards in Indiana might be very nice.

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I'm reminded of, I think it was Steve Forbes, asking a few elections ago: "Would you give up your favorite federal government program if it meant you could do your taxes on a postcard [or pay $400, I'm not sure which he was stumping for]?" To which my mother replied, sensibly: "Given that your father is a federal government employee, no, I wouldn't."

We're all familiar with the "Don't let the government take over Medicare!" types, but how many of these Tea Party nutters are basically dependent on federal funds in some very direct way? Given their general level of intelligence and prior political engagement, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it was a majority.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:23 AM
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Somewhere in the archives someone had an eloquent phrasing of "States' rights is a bullshit argument that you offer up when you know you can't win nationally".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:24 AM
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Alaska without federal intervention would be lovely, wild, and totally unpeopled, so I'm on board with that one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:26 AM
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HEY!


Posted by: Opinionated Inuit | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:28 AM
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Alaska without federal intervention would be lovely, wild, and totally unpeopled, so I'm on board with that one.

I think you're forgetting about the parts that would be peopled and filled with toxic waste byproducts from resource extraction.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:29 AM
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4: Without federal intervention, you'd only have three words for snow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:29 AM
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The toxic waste would be carefully stored in unmarked Mountain Dew bottles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:30 AM
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Literally totally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:32 AM
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What the hell? Being gay (or methods of determining gaiety) would be controlled by the states?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:39 AM
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I think "states' rights" is the result of evil becoming stupid. It started out as a figleaf over straight-up Southern anti-civil rights racism. And then after actual legal resistance to civil rights law was a dead letter, it hung around as a legal principle that right-wing anti-civil rights types were used to defending. By now it's a conservative shibboleth that no one actually cares about in a principled way, but can be used as a principled-sounding objection to stuff when it's convenient, and ignored when inconvenient.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:40 AM
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I have said repeatedly that no one gives a rat's ass about the balance of power between the states and the federal government. As evidence, I point to all the cases where everyone immediately switches sides when the states are being more progressive than the federal government.

Oregon and Washington both have euthanasia laws that offend the pro-life crowd. Pretty much immediately, the right claims that federal legislation trumps state legislation here.

The same happens with California's marijuana laws, and will happen again when California completely decriminalizes pot.

Also, Bush v. Gore. Suddenly the right was all into the equal protection clause and the left thought it didn't apply.

No one gives a rats ass about the balance of power between the states and the federal government.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:44 AM
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9: The hermeneutics of homosexuality are still a matter of personal choice: it's the actual gay behavior that should be mandated by the several states. According to Miller.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:49 AM
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Alaska without federal intervention would be lovely, wild, and totally unpeopled Russian

Well, it would. It was bought off the Tsar by the federal government.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:49 AM
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11 -- Bullshit. There's nothing at all inconsistent in the position that the feds set a floor for the rights of an individual to be free of state interference, but that particular people, through their states, can set higher bars for the state to overcome.

And Bush v Gore was bullshit because Bush could not and did not make the showing required of every EP litigant before or since.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:50 AM
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If anybody wants to have a pointless, brutal discussion about idiom, we could do worse than "bought off" vs. "bought from."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:51 AM
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I have said repeatedly that no one gives a rat's ass about the balance of power between the states and the federal government.

Per 2, you may have said this particularly eloquently at one point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:52 AM
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11 -- And not just rights as against the government. In DC, 'personal appearance' is a protected category: can't be fired, or not hired, on account of it. Not so in most other places. Only morons find this constitutionally troubling.

Or the non-ugly.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:55 AM
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14.2: But ... but ... The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to petitioner Bush, and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election.

I think this is what should be engraved on the gravestone of Associate Justice Scalia.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:01 AM
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you may have said this particularly eloquently at one point.

No I always say it in the exact same way

I also always get pushback like Charley's. My more nuanced position is that the balance of power between the federal government and the states is of trivial importance when compared to the balance of power between any government and the individual. In fact, balancing power between different aspects of government, including central and local governments, is mostly done for the sake of balancing power between the government as a whole and the individual.

I am happy to say that leftists are more consistent than rightists in the way they use ideas about federalism to pursue their real end, as long as we admit that in each case the real end is an idea about the government and the individual.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:02 AM
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Only morons find this constitutionally troubling.

I don't find it constitutionally troubling. But I can't think of many examples where I think it's most important that the issue get settled locally, but not super-locally.

Why should only DCers be protected against being ugly? It's a practical stop-gap measure since it wouldn't get passed federally, but not because I think the issue is authentically tied to statehood or something.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:04 AM
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11: There's a difference between policy arguments and legal arguments, and both can be principled. As a matter of policy, I think the less power the states have as against the federal government, the better -- I'd be happier if they were administrative regions like counties. Any time anyone hears me arguing that expansion of 'states' rights' is a good thing in itself (rather than something that might have some particular good effect) I'm being a hypocrite.

As a matter of law, on the other hand, there's a whole lot of Constitutional and historical basis for arguing that states do have a lot of power as against the federal government, and if we're going to respect that ever, we need to respect it consistently, including when it works for the policy ends I like as well as when it works against the policy ends I like. I'm not a hypocrite for using valid legal arguments supporting state power to do something I want done: valid law is valid law, regardless of whether I agree with the underlying policy justification for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:04 AM
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Well, yeah. States don't really have rights, in these debates, but rather powers. Right to exercise a power, if you want to use the R word.

I think, though, that the hypocrisy is completely on the other side on this one. The liberal position that federal law preempts state infringements on the individual greater than those allowed, but that state power can be self-limited further than required by federal law is internally consistent, and so far your examples haven't been contradictory.

Find me the progressive who thinks that the Controlled Substances Act is not a valid exercise of federal authority under the Commerce Clause, and I'll show you someone flying a false flag.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:10 AM
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Why should only DCers be protected against being ugly?

For the same reason people in North Dakota are more protected against the cold than people in Florida?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:11 AM
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More precisely, whenever I make my claim about states rights, I get heavy pushback from lawyers. I suspect whenever someone who is not a lawyer uses state's rights arguments, they are full blown lying. They are appealing to a principle they care absolutely zero about. Regarding lawyers I have to adopt a more subtle position.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:11 AM
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Regarding lawyers I have to adopt a more subtle position.

My work here is done.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:13 AM
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23: or because politics is famously showbiz for ugly people?

(This is wrong now, if ever it was right. Look at O'Donnell, Palin, Romney, etc. Finance is politics for ugly people.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:15 AM
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20 -- The peopleof each state/city, through their representatives, get to decide what the protected categories are. The people of Texas are apparently ok with people being fired because of their personal appearance. (Or 'matriculation' one of my favorite DC protected categories). Can't they make this choice? Why not?

Gay and, I think, trans, are protected categories here in town, but not elsewhere in the state, and probably not in Texas. We choose to have this kind of society. You people aren't making that same choice.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:15 AM
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Not Romney. Who was that soft pron model who got elected to Ted Kennedy's seat?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:16 AM
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Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, and you'll sing a different tune!


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:16 AM
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I don't know that I'm anyone's idea of a progressive, but I think the controlled substances act is bullshit, along with a whole lot of other things only tangentially related to interstate commerce. I mean, as a matter of policy, I would prefer that we do what the laws say.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:17 AM
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28: Scott Brown.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:18 AM
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30 -- And the FDA?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:19 AM
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But leaving the Lawyers Defense Fund to one side, I think you're going to 'lying' too fast, even for the non-lawyers. There are people who are inconsistent, but sincerely confused: they think they have a principled attachment to states rights, but don't notice that their other principles override it whenever there's a conflict -- they don't have a well-thought-out principled position, but they're not lying.

And there are people (on the left as well as on the right) who have a principled belief that small, locally controlled government is preferable for a lot of purposes to centralized government. People with those beliefs (which have something going for them) sometimes think of 'states rights' as a good thing: I think this is a mistake, because states are still way too big for any of the benefits of small local government. But it's wrong, not unprincipled.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:20 AM
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I don't know if I could ever be a lawyer because the idea that the phrase "interstate commerce" needs to be employed so that thousands of laws can be enforced is just so ridiculously anachronistic.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:21 AM
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27: In Ohio, being a hick is a protected category. They say "of Appalachian origin" and nobody in human resources gets your "Appaloosa" joke when you complain about discrimination against horses.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:22 AM
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I think this is a mistake, because states are still way too big for any of the benefits of small local government.

I can see that this might be true of maybe 10 or 15 out of 50. Actually, no: the word "any" seals it. Even a failed state like CA provides some benefit.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:23 AM
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In Ohio, being a hick is a protected category.

It's an Appalachian controlée.

(This joke stolen from dsqu/ared.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:28 AM
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I can see that this might be true of maybe 10 or 15 out of 50.

But (to within rounding error) all the people live in the fifteen biggest states. The fact that Alaska can have a government that's as responsive as a New York State county only affects a couple of hundred thousand people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:29 AM
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Also, Bush v. Gore. Suddenly the right was all into the equal protection clause and the left thought it didn't apply.

Not really. "The left" (which irks because it's inapt phrasing in pretty much every discussion of US politics, but I figure I understand what you mean) disagreed about its application. It didn't represent a fundamental inconsistency.

Concerning the OP, Miller's (non-)position is an example of the bizarre dances Alaskan politicians have to do to appeal to an electorate with substantially incoherent views. The crazy quotient up there is off the charts.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:29 AM
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34: I'm with the lawyers (and a great many nutcases) on this one. The point isn't that I enjoy listening to people say "interstate commerce." I like the fact that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:30 AM
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37: I'd never heard that one before. Much better than my horse joke.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:31 AM
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I think this is a mistake, because states are still way too big for any of the benefits of small local government. But it's wrong, not unprincipled.

Not quite. States aren't a rubbish way to achieve subsidiarity because they're all way too big for the benefits - they're not: New York and California are as big as medium sized countries elsewhere, but N.Dakota would be undersized as an English county, and Rhode Island is smaller than Liverpool. They're a rubbish way to achieve subsidiarity because they're so variable in size and because so many of them no longer (if they ever did) reflect economic realities.

If you want to take devolution from the centre seriously, you'd need to redesign the map of the United States as radically as they did the map of England and, even more, Scotland and Wales.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:32 AM
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If we try the Constitution by its last relation to the authority by which amendments are to be made, we find it neither wholly NATIONAL nor wholly FEDERAL. Were it wholly national, the supreme and ultimate authority would reside in the MAJORITY of the people of the Union; and this authority would be competent at all times, like that of a majority of every national society, to alter or abolish its established government. Were it wholly federal, on the other hand, the concurrence of each State in the Union would be essential to every alteration that would be binding on all. The mode provided by the plan of the convention is not founded on either of these principles. In requiring more than a majority, and principles. In requiring more than a majority, and particularly in computing the proportion by STATES, not by CITIZENS, it departs from the NATIONAL and advances towards the FEDERAL character; in rendering the concurrence of less than the whole number of States sufficient, it loses again the FEDERAL and partakes of the NATIONAL character.

The proposed Constitution, therefore, is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both. In its foundation it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the government are drawn, it is partly federal and partly national; in the operation of these powers, it is national, not federal; in the extent of them, again, it is federal, not national; and, finally, in the authoritative mode of introducing amendments, it is neither wholly federal nor wholly national.


Posted by: Publius | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:33 AM
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[H]ow many of these Tea Party nutters are basically dependent on federal funds in some very direct way?

It's almost like no one has ever resented anybody for giving a gift, being more powerful or blah blah blah something about Frantz Fanon.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:35 AM
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The deal when the thing was created was that most political life, and most law making, would be at the state level. And so it still is. If NY is too big to be governed -- which I very strongly doubt -- break it up.* Ending federalism doesn't solve the too-big-to-govern problem, it just imposes it on everyone.

* Literally or, and this is probably the more palatable alternative, have a constitutional convention that devolves more state powers to the county level.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:40 AM
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41 to 40.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:41 AM
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||
Well, fuck it all anyway. My friend's new baby that I mentioned here last week died last night, apparently of SIDS. Trying to figure out funeral arrangements. Pretty awful day.
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:42 AM
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I'm so sorry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:43 AM
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That is the worst news imaginable. I am sorry.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:44 AM
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And re the FDA in 32: The FDA is a body that establishes national standards, which is perfectly germane to interstate commerce. But there are plenty of things I think the feds should be involved in that aren't; I'd like those things to be constitutional. So, I'd advocate bumping up "promote the general welfare" to amendment status. And a pony: "promote the general welfare and also promote ponies."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:47 AM
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Christ, how awful. Condolences.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:47 AM
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How horrible, Natilo.
My condolences to you and your friends. I wish I could bring a casserole.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:47 AM
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47. Oh shit. So sorry, mate. Nothing else to say.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:48 AM
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Our ballot this year includes a call for a constitutional convention. Progressives are SFAIK universally opposed, because our right to a clean and healthful environment might not survive -- it's thought that people with offices in NYC might make more money if we got rid of it -- or our right to privacy, which is explicit, and provides greater protections than the 4th Amendment.

What would we get from national consolidation? Nothing I can think of.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:49 AM
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45: You're right about the history, of course, but I'd argue that it hasn't worked that way since about the Civil War. I don't know that there is a 'too big to govern' problem -- all I'm saying is that if there is one, giving NY, Texas, and California the quasi-sovereign status states have doesn't do anything to solve it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:50 AM
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Natilo, that's so awful.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:50 AM
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47: That's terrible. They have all my sympathies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:51 AM
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I'm a lawyer, and I basically agree with Helpy-Chalk. I don't think anyone substantively really cares about the balance of state/federal power; CCarp seems to like enabling states to pass purportedly freedom-enhancing legislation that he likes when the federal government won't do so (and I do too) but that's really just because he cares about the substantive outcome. I don't care much about whether the federal government, the State of California, or the City of Los Angeles does something I like, as long as they do it, and I don't think anyone else does either.

Obviously, our actual legal system reserves certain power to the states, but let's not confuse what the law is with what anyone really cares about.

With that said, given the existing US Constitution, in which the federal government is heavily constrained by veto-points and in which both the Senate and the House disporortionately enhance the power of (more likely) conservative, and Southern, rural areas at the expense of cities, I'm glad that states have a fair amount of autonomy. California has an excellent climate law, even though the US doesn't; in olden days, NY was able to build the Erie Canal when the federal government was controlled by Southern slaveholders. But I'm only happy about that devlolution of power because, given the consertvative nature of the US, devolution to the states supports substantive rights that I like, not because of some broad principled commitment to the value of "states rights."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:53 AM
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The other day I remarked that "Democracy sucks," to which a friend of mine replied "Thank God we don't live in one," which I thought was a bit harsh, but not all that wrong.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:54 AM
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Posted last comment before reading 47. Natlio, that's genuinely horrible and I am so sorry.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:54 AM
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It's just not fair. Her whole life has been banging up against one brick wall after another. Grew up on welfare. Bad, inept education. Didn't finish HS. Hasn't been able to hold a job. County fucking with her benefits during the pregnancy. And then the baby was so healthy!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:56 AM
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[I]t hasn't worked that way since about the Civil War

The Civil War established that you can't leave, and the post-CW amendments established -- and continue to establish, as we grow into them -- that the minimal rights granted to individuals in the federal constitution can't be infringed by states either. Other than that, I don't know what you're talking about. States do a huge amount of stuff: education, criminal law, real estate, family law, etc etc. Things that touch everyone's life every day.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:57 AM
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Anyway, back to regular commenting. Just thought folx would want to know. Haven't experienced a death this close to me in the FB era yet. Wonder what that's going to be like?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:59 AM
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that the minimal rights granted to individuals in the federal constitution can't be infringed by states either

The Constitution does not grant an individual any rights, it limits the Federal Government's powers over those inalienable rights.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:02 AM
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Halford, it's not just the ends. I'm OK with Texas getting to decide not to make personal appearance a protected category. I'm ok with Maryland retaining contributory negligence as a complete defense. I'm ok with NY having the default position that employment is at will. (We have a wrongful discharge act, which was passed in the wake of a progressive SC decision requiring good faith and fair dealing in employment). If Ohio doesn't want to constitutionally guarantee a clean and healthful environment, that's their choice.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:05 AM
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64: 26th Amendment?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:05 AM
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The Civil War established that you can't leave

Did it? Supposing the wackos took over Alaska some time in the next 10 years, would Washington really send the marines? Or would they make a lot of noise about non-recognition while everybody just got on with business as usual?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:06 AM
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(I realize this is by and large a pointless semantic diversion)


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:06 AM
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Supposing the wackos took over Alaska some time in the next 10 years

You mean a different set of wackos?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:07 AM
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47: Wow, my sympathies too. That's awful.

Re: the original post, Alaska sans the federal government (sure, without the U.S. government at all it would be Russian, but, I don't know, assume it became independent when in real life it became a state or something) would be a colder and marginally less religious Saudi Arabia. Simple.

45
Ending federalism doesn't solve the too-big-to-govern problem, it just imposes it on everyone.

And yet, somehow, mysteriously, other countries seem to manage without state-like divisions. How?

54
What would we get from national consolidation? Nothing I can think of.

I don't see how this proves what you seem to think think it proves. In that one example - NYS in 2010 - I'll take your word for it that rewriting the state Constitution would make things worse. What does that have to do with other states, though, or any provisions on which state law could be even stronger but it isn't because of federal law?

58.last: Sure, as long as we're personally rewriting the Constitution here, abolishing and/or neutering the Senate sounds like a good idea too.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:07 AM
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64 -- I'm ok with that formulation. XIV extends those same limits to states, and gave Congress the power to create a mechanism to enforce the limits on states, which it exercised.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:08 AM
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Another way of putting 58 is that I don't think anyone genuinely cares (or should care) about the constitutionally sovereign status of states. People will always care about the degree of local control over various issues, when local control enhances their favored substantive result, but there's really no reason we shouldn't have a system in which the Federal Congress acts as a legislature with the full range of powers granted to state legislatures, as opposed to specifically enumerated powers, and in which states basically work as counties in large states do now. That is, as local government entities that do a lot, and have a fair amount of autonomy, but that aren't in any sense sovereign vis a vis the federal government.

Of course, in practice, since the New Deal, this is effectively the system we do have (and for very good reason).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:09 AM
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Utah Governor Herbert recently proved the theory that conservatives talk about states' rights to encourage bigotry without having to admit to it. During the debate he was asked whether he supported expanding Utah's anti-discrimination laws to include gays. He said that this should be up to individual counties. So when you're going to lose at the state level, the answer is to further subdivide?

I mean, jeez, when you're coming out against something that the Mormon church supports, you know you're being an extreme conservative. It was the best part of the debate, though, because his opponent responded that he supports including gays in anti-discrimination laws and the crowd went crazy cheering for him! I was momentarily proud of Utah.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:11 AM
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I should work, so assume I've posted "what he said" after everything Halford says for the rest of the day. At least in this thread -- I'm not sure I want to globally endorse his thoughts on bagels or pee.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:12 AM
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47: Oh, Jesus, Nat. That is fucking awful.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:14 AM
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Halford, you know what you have to do.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:15 AM
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74.last: Piss bagels. How did no one mention them?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:19 AM
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Of course, in practice, since the New Deal, this is effectively the system we do have (and for very good reason).

I think this is just completely ridiculous, and anyone who's ever voted in a California election knows it. Your ballot if full of choices you get to make on a very wide range of subjects. This is not merely at the sufferance of Congress.

Of course it's true that since the New Deal we've had a fuller exercise of Congress' Commerce Clause powers. But there are innumerable areas where the feds do not occupy the field, and there are plenty of areas of human interaction that aren't covered by the CC.

What I haven't seen, though, is any response from the nationalizers to the question why they would want to get rid of the states as (limited) sovereigns. One size fits all is required? France does it so we should too. California is too big to realize the benefits of state government, so let's make the whole country like that?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:21 AM
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The pee-content of bagels is a matter best left to the states.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:24 AM
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The peopleof each state/city, through their representatives, get to decide what the protected categories are. The people of Texas are apparently ok with people being fired because of their personal appearance. (Or 'matriculation' one of my favorite DC protected categories). Can't they make this choice? Why not?
Gay and, I think, trans, are protected categories here in town, but not elsewhere in the state, and probably not in Texas. We choose to have this kind of society. You people aren't making that same choice.

(Haven't read past this comment.)

Basically because I believe it should be my way everywhere. I'm clear about what I think is reasonable protected categories and unreasonable protected categories, and if I'm right, I'm right everywhere. I don't think this reflects local values of equal worth; I think some locales are full of bigots.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:25 AM
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What I haven't seen, though, is any response from the nationalizers to the question why they would want to get rid of the states as (limited) sovereigns.

Budgetary considerations? There was no net government stimulus partially because states can't engage in deficit spending. Race-to-the-bottom regulatory arbitrage?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:26 AM
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It's a corruption limiting adjustment. Look at the healthcare debate-- what had politicians upset was continued revenue streams frm their state's insurance companies.

Where outside of northern europe (counting Germany as northern) does local autonomy not lead directly to cheaper bribes?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:27 AM
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78.last: PennDOT


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:28 AM
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All locales are full of bigots. Fortunately, varieties of bigotry tend to be contiguous, so thanks to federalism we have a decent shot of someplace catering to any particular one.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:29 AM
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47: Oh my god, how awful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:30 AM
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States can spend money that the federal government gives them; I don't know of any state that precluded this. Is the solution to race-to-the-bottom a single federal rule putting everyone at the level of Mississippi?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:30 AM
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83: PennDot doesn't care if I live or die. Pittsburgh Public Work is actively trying to kill me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:32 AM
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On the whole federalism issue, anybody arguing too strongly against it might want to consider what would happen a week from yesterday if there was no Senate. It is unrepresentative, but also only one third of it is up for election at a time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:34 AM
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47:Horrible. Nobody should have that experience.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:34 AM
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88 -- Even without the Senate, we still have to wonder when we'll have a federal law banning employment discrimination against trans people. My city has one right now; we're paying for our government, so getting rid of it isn't going to save LB any money, and getting rid of it isn't going to prevent some kind of race to the bottom, because we're not playing (at least not on that front). Getting rid of it isn't going to improve PennDOT, or help trans people in Texas.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:47 AM
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CC, I think you're confusing local devolution of power (which may or may not be a good thing) with the need for constitutionally sovereign states. I have plenty of electoral choices ( too many, actually) at the county and city level. LA is not governed in the same way as Eureka.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:57 AM
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ToS: Join me in a drink, will you?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:00 PM
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87: Actually, I was reminded this past week that my personal Pennsylvania transportation bugaboo is the PA Turnpike Commission. What reminded me was seeing some of the still-visible scars in the form of dead trees due to an incredibly lame bit of minor league corruption and mismanagement from ~30 years ago. Basically, they used Agent Orange (or something related) on trees that bordered the turnpike (from Carlisle west). They had some bullshit argument about reducing shade for snow removal. Turned out the brother of some turnpike official had been awarded the contract to remove the trees--that got quashed and the dead/dying/distressed have shamefully sat there being a blight ever since. It is most noticeable where the Turnpike crosses Laurel Ridge west of Somerset.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:01 PM
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Seriously. WTF ToS?! Some subjects should not be trolled.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:02 PM
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I'm sorry about your friend Natilo.

and assuming that people who go all in for the Whirly-Eyed Tenth Amendment Party are being serious:

I think what LB said at 10 is right but doesn't quite hit all the high notes: the Tenth amendment is only invoked on a wide basis when a faction decides they don't like a law passed by the other party/faction (in power). That's the way it was in in 1798 during the fight over the Alien and Sedition Acts, and that's the way it was in 1831-32 over tariff nullification. The amendment is always interpreted such that a state can nullify (by one means or another) federal laws. That's politics by other means, and whenever the out party has gotten back in they have never adhered to the Tenth amendment precisely because if they did, they couldn't do anything while they were in power, which is not what anyone is after. (Andrew Jackson was a Democrat and the South Carolina legislature was wall to wall Democrats but that didn't prevent Jackson from threatening to go to war against South Caroline.)

Since the following the Tenth requires that states have final say over federal power actually trying to use the tenth would result in a government like the Articles of Confederation, where every state had veto power over the national legislature. That, ultimately, leads to secession as it did when nullification eventually lead to the Civil War. (Every time the Tenth gets invoked it is always with additional threats of secession if using the Tenth doesn't work.)

People carrying the flame for the Tenth amendment almost universally turn out to be secessionist in practice. They do really want to secede from the union (which is why the Tenther club usually consists of Southerners).

So the answer to your question "what would their ideal outcome actually look like?" is that it wouldn't look like a union at all, since the union would go away. (The South, I assume, would bond together to make a government.)

In practice, as I said, most of this stuff comes from Southerners, but they've spread to the word to fellow travelers in other states - in Alaska they're invoking the Tenth AND they have the Alaska Independence Party.

max
['Stalking horse.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:04 PM
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94: You'll only encourage him, Liz.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:05 PM
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Natilo, I'm so sorry. That's about as sad as things get, as far as I'm concerned. It sounds like your friend has people to lean on now, which is huge. But oh, it hurts to think about it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:09 PM
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96: I know, I'm sorry. I would explain more, but as you say...

And I'm very sorry for your friend's loss Natilo. I can't even imagine how horrible that would be.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:14 PM
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On the whole federalism issue, anybody arguing too strongly against it might want to consider what would happen a week from yesterday if there was no Senate

It's really a separate question that the issue of state sovereignty, but if there was no federal senate, we would have (a) given civil rights to black people almost 100 years earlier; (b) almost certainly have national health care; (c) have vastly stronger environmental regulation; (d) have a climate change bill in place; (e) look a lot more like the rest of the Western world.

And yes, the tradeoff would be that there were moments of strong conservative control, but I'd take that tradeoff in a heartbeat.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:21 PM
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Also, I feel a little weird having this conversation given Natlio's situation. Consider it a way to keep talking, not a way to avoid recognizing how awful that tragedy is.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:22 PM
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No, no, talk away. I mean, I was thinking about posting in one of the old threads instead, but usually we seem to do it this way.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:25 PM
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Am I being dumb about what happened a week from yesterday?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:30 PM
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102: What would happen a week from yesterday. That is, six days in the future from now. That is, Election Day.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:32 PM
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102: Wrong tense, heebie!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:33 PM
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103: So much for my attempt to get heebie figure it out for herself.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:34 PM
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105: Add "to" in appropriate place, please.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:35 PM
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106: no.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:37 PM
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107: But, I said, "please."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:41 PM
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And I really do appreciate everyone's condolences, and your concern for the fate of the Republic.

Good news today: Got a nice letter from one of my companeros in prison whom I wrote to recently.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:42 PM
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No, no, you guys, I know next Tuesday is Election day. But what happened last Tuesday?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:48 PM
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Shit hell. That's appalling.

And yes, the tradeoff would be that there were moments of strong conservative control, but I'd take that tradeoff in a heartbeat.

This is true. Cutsfest last week hasn't, in fact, changed that much - it may have privatised university funding even more, it's gratuitiously rough on the urban poor, but basics like the NHS, education, unemployment protection, social services etc aren't questioned in principle. They'll fuck around with them until the point is reached when reality enforces a screaming U-turn, but reversing this stuff is hard.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:48 PM
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Halford, no point in arguing the counterfactual. No Senate, no US for starters, and who knows how the House and its rules would have evolved if, counterfactually, there'd been a US and it'd had either a unicameral or parliamentary system.

We're about to enter (have long since entered) a condition where the federal government is going to be useless at best, and probably worse, for the lives of people. (No progressive legislation even possible, probably recessionary budgeting). The action is going to be at the state level. Looks like you're going to get as good a governor as a democratic system can produce, and who knows, maybe the legislature will make the choices it needs to make. And maybe it'll do some real good for 10% of the people in the country.

I voted against our constitutional convention, and I think it's going to be defeated pretty soundly. I wonder, though, if you all shouldn't have one. Devolve a bit more, quadruple the size of the Assembly, make initiatives a little harder, expand human rights.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:56 PM
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Devolve a bit more, quadruple the size of the Assembly

Yes, yes, yes. The fact that California has as many state Senators (and only twice as many Assemblypeoples) as it does US Congresscritters is ridiculous and is half of the problem.

Best idea: Split the state in two, and double the size of the Assembly.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:01 PM
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42 -- The more appropriate analogue is to Europe, not the UK. It'd be a lot more efficient to merge some of the smaller countries -- what is the point of having two nation states out on the British Isles (or whatever we're calling them now) anyway? Merge Ireland and UK. Merge Denmark and Norway. Germany and Austria. Belgium and Netherlands. Greece and Turkey (which you could let in by merger). It'll result in budgetary savings and retard a regulatory race to the bottom. Bribes would be much higher.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:04 PM
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Split the state in two

North- South, or East- West? Talk about your gerrymandering.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:05 PM
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114: I thought that other proposal that was around the net a few months ago made a lot of sense for Europe: Split all the countries into semi-sovereign entities (more power than a US state, less than the current countries have now) that would be about 3 to 5 million people each, and make the European Parliament a much more important and decisive federal body. Can't remember the name of the fellow who proposed it.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:07 PM
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Merge Ireland and UK

What a splendid idea!


Posted by: William III | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:08 PM
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(My preferred solution is to divide the state n-s at about Monterey, and return the s half to Mexico. It'd be a huge boost in the Mexican economy, and a great improvement in Mexican social and political life. Ideas like this prevent me from being named king of California.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:09 PM
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re: 116

It's somewhat favoured by lots of the small nationalist parties in Europe. The Catalans, Scots, and the like, all favour a 'Europe of the regions', in which governance primarily takes place at the level of small regional polities with the EU taking the centre stage for large financial and foreign policy problems. However, they are in favour of historical/culturally rooted small 'countries' rather than randomly assigned ones.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:17 PM
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114. is an interesting point-- Slovak politics for instance got a lot cleaner after the split (and after Mečiar), and the Northern League is basically asking for a return to Habsburg borders between Austria and Italy.

I guess it's hard for me to think idealistically about contemporary US politics; I have a hard time taking people who argue from abstract policy positions seriously, CC being an exception. It's just a foreign style of thinking to me.

Fluid borders based on economic reality would certainly change things, but historically, creating the ability to redraw borders has led to wars and expulsion rather than to just rule.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:21 PM
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Well, it didn't sound like it was going to be COMPLETELY random. Like Denmark would still be pretty much the same borders, and most of the big cities would go back to being city-states, and a lot of the other regions would be old kingdoms or principalities or whatever. There was a map that looked very reasonable.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:21 PM
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Actually, I've been toying with a different impossible idea. Split the country into 5 regions of equal population as follows: The Northeast (anything north and east of MD and PA), The South (south of the Ohio/Potomac and east of the Mississippi), The Midwest (between the Ohio and the Missouri rivers), The Plains (between the Continental Divide and the Missouri/Mississippi) and the West (west of the Continental Divide). These regions have nearly equal populations (~60 million, like a largish European country) and more nearly share a common value system within the region.

Then reconstruct the original states' rights federalism. Have a House of Representatives that's the same as it is now, but with more representatives (about 150-200 per region). Have a Senate with either 20 at-large senators per region, or allow each region to arbitrarily divide itself into up to 10 states and elect 2 Senators per state. And have there be strong "regions rights".


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:22 PM
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122: So basically watershed-based bioregionalism, except without all the DFH crap?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:26 PM
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I endorse 99, and I think 112 is a bit silly with its "no point in arguing the counterfactual". Of course, we can't figure out the contingencies of history. What we can say is that all else being equal, there have been many times when, considering only the status of things at that point in time, having a Senate has set us back. (This year with climate legislation, as just one among many examples.) So 99 is at least plausible, and pointing to any of those examples can serve as an argument that we would be better off if we could scrap the Senate.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:26 PM
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114 Belgium and Netherlands.

Because adding more diversity to Belgium could only make it more functional!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:27 PM
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115

North-South, for sure. Either at the Tehachapi Mountains or at the convenient horizontal line in the county map north of SLO, Kern and San Bernardino counties.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:27 PM
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118: Can we have the cutoff be south of Big Sur? Because I keep intending to go there for vacation and I don't want to bring my visa. Definitely need to keep Monterey. That town is great!


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:28 PM
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Don't tell anyone in Idaho that they share values with California, and don't tell any in Oregon that they're going to be ruled by California.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:29 PM
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128

They already are. And by Texas, Florida and New York.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:30 PM
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124 -- Just think how cool it would be if we all had wings and could fly. Or if cold fusion worked.

127 -- Hey, they'll still be great, they'll just be in another country. That wants you to visit.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:31 PM
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123

Yep, except that using rivers as dividing lines isn't exactly dividing by watershed.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:31 PM
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As long as we're talking counterfactuals, if those lazy Carribs hadn't died there would have been no need to import Africans to the New World to work the sugar plantations, so no need to allow for slavery in the later established United States, so less need for Senators. Rhode Island can suck it.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:32 PM
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Using rivers as regional dividing lines would separate a lot of suburbs/hinterlands of cities from the region the city is in. Which current state borders do, but it seems like something one would want to change if redesigning things from scratch.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:35 PM
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What, this is the one topic on which we aren't allowed to argue by counterfactual? Really? Why? The alternative the argument by counterfactual is usually "this is the best of all possible worlds, and if you can't admit that then you're being immature."


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:35 PM
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124 -- Just think how cool it would be if we all had wings and could fly.

Hey, I'm clearly on record as saying we're all doomed and have no hope of un-dooming ourselves. But, you know, we can still fantasize about the Senate-free world where it isn't true.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:41 PM
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133

Yes, but surprisingly not that many probably because the rivers are so big. Kansas City is a clear example, but it would actually reunite KC, MO and KC, KS. St. Louis is sort of, but my understanding is that East St. Louis is pretty unconnected from St. Louis. The worst one is probably Pittsburgh.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:41 PM
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Oh, and New Orleans.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:43 PM
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Louisville and Cincinnati came to my mind. Of course, there the border wouldn't be changing from what it is now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:51 PM
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Merge Ireland and UK. Merge Denmark and Norway. Germany and Austria. Belgium and Netherlands. Greece and Turkey

Merging the UK and Ireland and merging Greece and Turkey both sound like fun. But the others lack pizazz. I suggest merging Norway and Sweeden and Germany and Poland. You'd just be recreating old mergers in each case, so I'm certain it will go over just fine.

When Belgium breaks up, will the Dutch speaking part be joinging the Netherlands?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:58 PM
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There are a whole bunch of countries we could unite into something called "Yugoslavia". That would go well!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 1:59 PM
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I can't figure out what level of unrealistic abstraction we're supposed to be at right now. Obviously, in the real world, no one is abolishing the states, cutting California in two, or getting rid of the Senate anytime soon.

Splitting CA at the Tehachapi Mountains would hardly be an even divide: it would create one state with almost 25 million people (roughly the size of Texas). Also, Northern California would have to live with the Central Valley.

On a slightly different topic IMO, California has a genuinely excellent state government, meaning that its bureaucrats, courts, universities, and agencies are genuinely good by comparison with many other US states. At the same time, it is hampered by a uniquely horrible set of constitutional constraints (the 2/3 rule, the initiative process, etc.). Both the good and the bad sides of California government are legacies of the progressive era.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:01 PM
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Austria and Hungary: together at last!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:02 PM
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Isn't every major city in North America based on some river or other, except for some in the desert and some that are on the coast or the Great Lakes?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:05 PM
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My other crazy idea is to make city-states. Take the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country that are separated by at least 50 miles and make them the capitals of 50 states. The country is them divided such that whichever capital is nearest to you is the state you belong to.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:05 PM
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Here is my off-the-cuff view of distinct American cultural regions:

New England
Greater NYC
Mid-Atlantic (DC/Maryland/DE/Southern New Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania/Northern VA)
Eastern Seaboard South (VA, NC, SC, GA)
Appalachia/Hillbilly land (WVA, KY, TN, mountain parts of the Eastern Seaboard South and Deep South, Ozarks)
Rust Belt/Northern Midwest (Western NY, Western PA, OH, MI, IN, IL, IA, MN, WI, parts (but not all of MO)
Deep South (MS, AL, northern FL, LA, AR)
New Orleans
Florida south of the Panhandle
Texas/Oklahoma
Great Plains (NE, KS, SD, ND)
Mountains (CO, UT, MT, eastern WA and OR)
Southwest desert (NM and AZ, eastern CA)
Southern California
The land of coffee and fog (big sur to Seattle, on the Coast)
Hawaii
Alaska


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:22 PM
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Are you considering upstate NY part of NE, or part of greater NYC?

And where's Las Vegas (or the rest of Nevada, for that matter)?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:28 PM
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Good point! I guess I'd add Las Vegas to Southern California, and the rest of NV to "Southwest Desert." I'd put Western NY in the Rustbelt/Northern Midwest, and Northern NY (once the NYC accent fades) into greater New England.

These distinctions are all based on science. Science, I tell you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:30 PM
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And what about the parts of MO that aren't "Rust Belt/Northern Midwest"?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:32 PM
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Honestly, I'm having trouble placing MO.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:33 PM
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Take the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country that are separated by at least 50 miles and make them the capitals of 50 states. The country is them divided such that whichever capital is nearest to you is the state you belong to.

Politics as Voronoi cells!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:37 PM
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149: Yes it is a jumble. KC is Plains and StL is either Rust Belt or Deep South/Rust Belt worst of both worlds DMZ. The Ozarks (extend in to MO)/Ouachitas/eastern Oklahoma are a tough transitional area as well. An exclave of Appalachia (I see you have the Ozarks there already).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:38 PM
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From one drive through, I'd say that bits of MO feel Southish. Ordering tea in a Chinese restaurant and getting iced sweetened tea as a default seems like the South to me. That was Cape Girardeau, childhood home of Rush Limbaugh.

But I don't really know anything about Missouri.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:38 PM
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151: The idea that St Louis would even arguably qualify as "Deep South" is completely incomprehensible to me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:40 PM
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But I don't really know anything about Missouri.

Harry Truman was born there. Now you know something about it!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:41 PM
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152, 153: Well, the "south" semi-snakes up the Mississippi to about Dubuque, Iowa (Twain's Hannibal for instance is north of St. Louis) in certain ways. But certainly not "Deep South".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:42 PM
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Honestly, the idea that, say, Memphis, TN, Asheville, NC and Wheeling, WV are supposed to have some commonality that makes them part of the same, distinct "cultural region" strikes me as a bit laughable.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:43 PM
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I don't really know MO well enough to comment, except that I think Kansas City goes with Great Plains.

Thinking about it, Utah should probably be its own separate cultural region. And I forgot Idaho, which obviously goes into "Mountains."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:44 PM
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156: Where are they so grouped?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:45 PM
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156: I think Halford means the funny-talking states.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:47 PM
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I think what 145 is missing is "Midwest" (as opposed to "Upper Midwest", which is lumped in with "Rust Belt"). That's where the rest of MO goes (including ST. Louis), along with southern IL, arguably western KY, etc.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:47 PM
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In Halford's 15, aren't they?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:47 PM
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155: There's a huge difference between "south" and "deep south", though. Looks like Halford is mostly putting the non-deep south in "Appalachia/Hillbilly land". But this is off -- Nashville and Memphis are definitely not in Appalachia. Grouping them with much of Missouri, western Kentucky, and part of southern Illinois would make more sense. Lumping them all together as "Hillbilly land" is a bit more plausible, but that would also extend at least as far as upstate New York.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:49 PM
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IO is also in the Midwest, not the Rust Belt.

158: 145.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:49 PM
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I endorse 160.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:50 PM
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Yeah, I'd put Memphis (and Eastern TN) into "Deep South."

I think both Asheville and Wheeling go into greater Appalachia, don't you? Admittedly Asheville is now full of hippies (apparently, I've never been there) and Wheeling has always been a kind of a borderline Western PA/OH city, but still.

I guess I could see a separate "Midwest" category for parts of MO, Iowa, Southern IL, Southern IN, Southern OH, and then an "Upper Midwest" category for Northern OH, MI, WI, Northern IL, MN.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:50 PM
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161: Oops yeah if you interpret it literally. I was assuming those were more of a guideline than a rule. So Memphis clearly goes to Deep South as does a big chunk of Tennessee And Wheeling probably gets peeled off into the Rust Belt. States are too coarse a division if you want to resolve those kind of things.

160: Yeah, Need to separate the more agriculturally Midwest from the Rust Belt stuff.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:52 PM
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I meant "Western TN." But I don't know that area well at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:52 PM
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I'd be comfortable putting Memphis in the deep south. Although if NO gets its own region, arguably Memphis should too. (Or maybe they should be a region together, separated by the Deep South between them, like the Palestinian territories in Gaza and the West Bank.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:52 PM
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I'm also not really happy with GA being in the same group with VA and NC rather than Alabama and Mississippi.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:57 PM
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I don't see why we're doing this geographically in the first place. What we need to do is put stars on half of our bellies, and leave the other half of us without stars upon ars.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:58 PM
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Fundamentally though, the exercise is doomed. There are several overlays that combine in different ways. St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Buffalo/Rochester, are unresolvable into a single region unless you get very granular. Atlanta is where Piedmont/southern East Coast meets the Deep South.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:58 PM
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Jesse James was from Missouri. They still have a cult there honoring him.

Nothing about the rejection of silly counterfactuals implies that we live in the best possible world. There's a reasonable range for guessing how things might have gone, but it's pretty short. If Montgomery had ducked and Burr stepped livelier, and Quebec City had fallen at the end of 1775, the next year or two of the war might well have fallen out quite differently. But maybe there's no Saratoga, so you can't tell if the Revolution is even going to be successful, much less whether the additional senators from Quebec and the Maritimes (and by then Ontario) so reduce the slave power that there's no need for civil war.

Might we have gone to war in Iran in 2006 if the Senate had enacted the nuclear option in 2005?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 2:59 PM
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171.last: Add Appalachian influence to Atlanta as well.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:00 PM
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169: yeah, GA is sort quintessentially deep south, no? As, really is S. Carolina. I sort of assumed the "Eastern Seaboard South" only meant something like a 50 mile strip along the coast of each state.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:01 PM
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Fundamentally though, the exercise is doomed. There are several overlays that combine in different ways. St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Buffalo/Rochester, are unresolvable into a single region unless you get very granular. Atlanta is where Piedmont/southern East Coast meets the Deep South.

Yeah, I mean, for sure. Doesn't mean it's not fun to think about, and that there's some truth to the notion of general cultural regions.



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:02 PM
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171: the trick is to allow the regions to overlay one another, as appropriate.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:03 PM
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176: It works so well in the Balkans.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:04 PM
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It works so well in the Balkans

I was thinking more like Pakistan.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:07 PM
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175: Don't get me wrong I love doing it, but if you go with the biggish regions, you have to accept some of the anomalies, especially if you stick with state lines.

176: Yes, for instance I put Pittsburgh as parts of regions in this order: Rust Belt/Great Lakes, Appalachia, Midwest (JRoth hates, hates, hates that thought and we have argued about it but I am right), Mid-Atlantic (just by dint of the state it is in).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:11 PM
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Find me the progressive who thinks that the Controlled Substances Act is not a valid exercise of federal authority under the Commerce Clause, and I'll show you someone flying a false flag.

I think the Controlled Substances Act is dumb, but not because it's not a valid exercise in federal authority. I just think it's a dumb law. I don't actually know anyone who would claim that the reason it is bad is because of federal/state issues.

I'm with Heebie on the protected class thing- if we're going to have a nation (and as far as I can see, we are, full stop) then it doesn't make sense to let local governments on any scale decide who is and who isn't an equal citizen. Allocate school funding, decide on transit, etc, sure, but it doesn't make sense to me that any people should legally get more rights in one city (or county, or state, or region) than in another one. Protecting minorities is my favorite thing that the federal government does. I don't care about interstate commerce or highways or drugs, but I do care about treating people equally even if they live in a town full of people who don't want to.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:12 PM
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177: is this a proposed list of administrative jurisdictions, or just distinct cultural regions?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:17 PM
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Everything would be ok if those damned Blefuscans ate their eggs properly.


Posted by: Golbasto Momaren Evlame Gurdilo Shefin Mully Ully Gue, most mighty Emperor of Lilliput | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:18 PM
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GA is sort quintessentially deep south, no? As, really is S. Carolina. I sort of assumed the "Eastern Seaboard South" only meant something like a 50 mile strip along the coast of each state.

Spartanburg, SC, is one of the saddest towns I've ever visited. Can there be a sad region?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:20 PM
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I think there are some VERY vague cultural similarities between upstate NY, OH, western PA and the actual midwest, but they're pretty minimal. And southern IN and IL belong in SOME kind of region with "south" in its title, not in the midwest I'm from.

Also, the great plains (demographically/culturally), don't start until you're at least 50 miles from the Red River Valley (of the north). Fargo, Sioux Falls and their associated smaller municipalities are culturally indistinguishable from MN, WI and IA. The rest of the Dakotas are totally lumpable with MT, CO and WY though.

KC is a tough one though. Very midwestern in some respects, rustbelty in others, southern in a few ways. I could see a weird region described by the irregular hexagon formed by the cities of Kansas City, Peoria, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Lexington and some point south and west of St. Louis as being roughtly contiguous cul


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:20 PM
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I know next Tuesday is Election day. But what happened last Tuesday?

Was this question serious? I'm confused.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:21 PM
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Thinking about the problem cities for the regional groupings is also fun. Pittsburgh is definitely one, as is Atlanta, and probably St Louis. What else? Louisville? Sacramento?

Somewhat interestingly, my instinct is that NYC definitely centers its own region, and that LA/San Diego form the core of a separate Southern California region, but Chicago, despite being a really really big city, can be easily assimilated to the Upper Midwest generally. I'm not sure that's totally right, though.

Also, South Texas/border with Mexico seems like a pretty distinct region, but it's not one that I know at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:23 PM
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Oh, Nat. I am so sorry. Jesus.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:24 PM
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Sorry, that was me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:25 PM
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KC is a tough one though

Everything is up to date in Kansas City!


Posted by: Will Parker | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:26 PM
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"culturally", obviously.

Thanks for the kind thoughts, everyone. It's a bleak, hard day, and there's no way around that. But, we'll pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:28 PM
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Naw, Pittsburgh is easy. It's a midwestern city because they say "pop".


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:28 PM
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191: They say pop in Salina, Kansas, too. They also say "suh-LYE-nuh".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:32 PM
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156 gets it right.

There were years of struggle in my state over a congressional district that wandered along an interstate to pick up the African-American parts (always in the east and adjoining the highway, natch) of three good-sized cities. Of course it looks weird on a map, and arguably it guarantees one Afam representative from that district and no Afam representatives from any adjoining district, ever--but I'm pretty sure that from a Federal perspective, citizens in that district had a fair number of common interests.

Okay, so that's a bit off the point. But geographical proximity doesn't mean so much these days, does it? I've been nosing around Patchwork Nation (even though I heard about it on NPR). The divisions aren't much less simplistic than what's being played with here, though...


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 3:33 PM
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191: That's just wrong on both counts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 4:17 PM
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|| New ad in our congressional race.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNzV9OXKIfo&

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 4:33 PM
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180 -- I'd love it if my, or your, standard applied nationally. While we wait for the rest of the nation to catch up, though, can't we have our own additional categories? And a wrongful discharge act, just for good measure?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 4:52 PM
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a wrongful discharge act

Aw, give a guy a break, will ya?


Posted by: OPINIONATED ONAN | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 5:06 PM
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196- Certainly that happens, and is nice for the people who live in places that are willing to pass those local-level laws. I don't find this a convincing argument for states' rights, though, and I think that states where a majority of residents would oppose those laws should have to follow (my preferred) federal ones anyway, because my version is the right one.

Where the federal laws aren't the ones I like, I think those federal laws should be changed. I don't think the states should just get to do what they want, any more than the states got to decide to keep slavery around.

(FYI, in other areas, like guns and land stewardship, I am much more in line with the standard Montanan platform. Also I secretly long for city-states, fuck the feds, but this doesn't seem to be a very up-and-coming position.)


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 5:08 PM
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You know who plays an up-and-coming position?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 5:28 PM
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Shaq?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 5:31 PM
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Exactly!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 5:44 PM
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I'm only 2/3s of the way through reading the comments, Becks-style, but I'm already laughing at how y'all were calling my 'replacement of elections with selection-by-lot' crazy and utopian.

Also, if any of you actually are interested in brilliant contemporary thinking on federalism, go here.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 5:50 PM
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Also, y'all do realize that federalism-as-in-real-power-to-subsidiary-geographical-jurisdictions isn't just a crazy American thing, right? The EU, for example--pretty devolved!

Even ignoring things like the EU that political science still can't categorize: India, the world's most populous democracy--federal! The USA, the 2nd-most populous--federal! Brazil, 4rd-most--federal! And hey, after Pakistan and Bangladesh, there's Nigeria--Federal!

It's pure wankery to say "devolution makes sense, but only so long as they make the right decisions." It's only slightly less wankeryish to say "oh, but not about rights," since what counts as a right is always a political question.

I actually think the US has a serious problem with 200-100-yr-old boundaries, and we need to redraw the map, but gah, some of these comments sound like Voltaire talking about how justice can't change just because one crosses a river. (Of course, making the same mistake as Voltaire is hardly something to be ashamed of.)


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:09 PM
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(Of course, making the same mistake as Voltaire is hardly something to be ashamed of.)

They didn't have toilets back then. It wasn't a mistake when he peed in a jar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:11 PM
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But we don't need to make a universal principle out of it.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:15 PM
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replacement of elections with selection-by-lot

That's funny because there was an Ig Nobel this year that proved mathematically that random promotion was the most effective way to avoid the Peter Principle. It seems like that would hold here too.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:19 PM
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191: That's just wrong on both counts.

??? You're solidly in "pop" country dude. Maybe not your little enclave of it, but everywhere else.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:21 PM
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And I think x. is right that a surprising amount of the problems we attribute to our system are actually attributable to poorly chosen state borders. If states actually represented something besides the arbitrary drawing of lines on a map, the principles of federalism would work out much better. Europe has an advantage here because most of their states are based on relatively obvious ethnic or cultural lines.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:25 PM
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207: Really? I do never leave my little corner. (I stand by Pittsburgh not being Midwestern.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:26 PM
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I was just dive-bombed by a stink bug, who decided to take up residence on my chest was trying to go inside my shirt, in between the buttons. Ack. Ack. Ack.

I'm for whatever form of government gets rid of the stink bugs already.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:27 PM
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The question of devolution -- i.e., should some powers be exercised at a local level -- is totally distinct from the question of "states rights" in the US context. Things can get plenty devolved, as they are in most US States, without having to have a constitutional theory of a federal government with limited enumerated powers and separate sovereign states.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:30 PM
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193: I've been nosing around Patchwork Nation

I don't exactly what their criteria, but per a discussion at a recent meetup if NY-29 (western Southern Tier of upstate new York) is "Wired and Educated" then I don't even know what to say.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:31 PM
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Europe has an advantage here because most of their states are based on relatively obvious ethnic or cultural lines.

It's like they've never had any trouble at all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:31 PM
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209: I've provided the correct characterization in 179.2. Annie Dillard supports me in e-mail her autobiography.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:32 PM
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207

Yeah, I love this map.
I'd even be happy to break the country into pop/soda/coke subregions, which would give you a Northeast (65 million), a Southwest (45 million), a South+Texas (100 million) and a Midwest/Plains/Northwest (90 million) (ignoring the St. Louis/Milwaukee/Miami enclaves, what's up with them?).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:36 PM
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211: The question of devolution -- i.e., should some powers be exercised at a local level -- is totally distinct from the question of "states rights" in the US context.

Well, yes and no. Clearly, you don't need an entrenched constitutional theory of dual sovereignty to have devolution; the last 30 years of UK/Scotland history proves that. But, honestly, the UK constitution is so sui generis that we should leave it out of the discussion.

But it's just absurd to say these questions are 'totally distinct.' One way to see devolution--the Halford way, perhaps--is a sort of first-instance thing: who should have responsibility? But that's the easy question. The hard question is, who has the final say, when different authorities disagree? And there are good reasons to devolve even that kind of power.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:39 PM
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And there are good reasons to devolve even that kind of power.

I don't think there are any, in the US context. And, in practice if not as a matter of constitutional theory, there effectively are almost no constraints on what the federal government can do to preempt the states.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:44 PM
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214: It has some midwestern elements.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:49 PM
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215: ignoring the St. Louis/Milwaukee/Miami enclaves, what's up with them?

Miami is easy at it was historically a winter outpost of the urban Northeast. Had some discussion prior on Milwaukee and St. Louis, one theory was relatively heavy German populations at the time the slang was established , or it might be pretty path-dependent and just a result of particularly strong local vendors. Let me be the first to suggest a word-frequency study of newspapers through the 20th century to resolve.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 6:49 PM
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Miami is easy at it was historically a winter outpost of the urban Northeast.

That's why they call it the capital of South America!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 7:00 PM
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When I'm through with it, South America won't have any capital left!


Posted by: Hugo Chávez | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 7:25 PM
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Messy, I don't know that you and I are actually in disagreement. I support federal legislation on civil rights issues (and a broad reading of the Commerce Clause). I also support state legislation on civil rights issues, and the power/right of states to grant broader protection to various minorities.

(I think the Montana-made gun law thing is pretty embarrassing, and wish the stupid NRA types who talked the last lege into it had to pay all the legal fees the state will incur trying and failing to overturn Gibbons v. Ogden.)

The nationalists seem to have been arguing (a) federalism doesn't really exist any more and (b) federalism is a bad idea and ought to be done away with.

So, X, are you seeing your government by lot at the local, state, or national levels? I think it'd be very entertaining if some state or city tried it. Maybe that's what California ought to do along with expanding its legislature.

We can all redraw maps, but really, I don't think any of the serious problems faced by people are really about the map. (I have to duck after writing that, because ID and MT are prevented from hunting wolves -- and there really are a lot of them now -- because WY won't play ball. Some creative line drawing would fix that. Instead, we're going to get repeal/amendment of the Endangered Species Act). States are pretty different: when you live in a multi-state area (NYC, Philly, DC, etc) you know which is how in terms of taxes, education, cultural stuff. Politics. Neighborhoods on one side of Pittsburgh or Richmond are different from another -- multi-state metros have all that, plus the other stuff too. I'm not seeing, though, why this is a problem.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 7:42 PM
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Did it? Supposing the wackos took over Alaska some time in the next 10 years, would Washington really send the marines? Or would they make a lot of noise about non-recognition while everybody just got on with business as usual?

Uh, yes, I'm pretty sure we would intervene vigorously, assuming it wasn't presaging a broader civil war. How do our patriotism-for-the-center and readiness to use military force look compared to 1861?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 7:46 PM
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Montana-made gun law thing

I didn't actually know about this. You're right, it's pretty dumb!

Anyway I have been reacting to 27 mainly, which I took to be you arguing that if Texas doesn't want to protect trans people it shouldn't have to, because States' Rights. With which I disagree. But if that was not what your point was, then I agree that we probably are not in fact disagreeing. Comity! as I think the kids say.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 7:53 PM
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I don't really know what CCarp means by federalism. I like Trapnel's distinction between the general question of when you should devolve power to a local entity, and the question of who should have the trump when two authorities disagree.

There's obviously plenty of federalism in the first sense in the US, and that's probably a good thing; in a big country it's sometime useful to devolve power. Just like state governments devolve power to counties. In the American context, though, "states rights" usually means federalism in the second sense, in which states are independent sovereign entities with powers that cannot be abrogated by the federal government. Although that's formally the American constitutional system -- states are sovereign entities with plenary power, the federal government has only strictly enumerated powers -- in practice there are essentially no areas in which a state government can trump federal law, and I think that's generally a very good thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 7:56 PM
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And to be clear, in 225, I don't just mean the banality that "federal law" is supreme where it exists. There's essentially no area that the federal government could not regulate, if it wanted to, and in so doing abrogate state laws. That's a good thing. And it's a different question than whether the federal government should in fact be regulating any particular thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 7:58 PM
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Catching up on the thread:

Natilo, that is just beyond horrible. I am so sorry. Horrific for your friend, and awful for you as well.

I think I'm pretty much with rob on the states' rights thing. People (and I definitely include myself) are utterly ends-oriented when it comes to this topic. Whatever means will get you there -- where "there" is "the policy outcome I want".

I think we should all follow E. Messily's lead and state our favorite thing about the federal government. There's no way that wouldn't lead to good feelings and comity.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:03 PM
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By what power, Halford, do you think Congress could preclude states from recognizing marriages between people of the same gender?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:23 PM
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Do you really think Congress could repeal the statute of frauds?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:25 PM
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Can Congress remove the AG of California if he refuses to investigate and punish possession of marijuana?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:26 PM
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Could Congress repeal no-fault divorce laws?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:27 PM
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Spending power. Though there's a (perhaps) tricky equal protection question there, set that aside and the old spending power will do the trick, as it always does. No state that recognizes same sex marriages gets a dollar in federal highway funds.

And marriage/family law is probably the strongest remaining "states only" domain. I could just see the current Supreme Court striking down my proposed spending clause restriction on "traditionally reserved to the states" grounds. In almost any other area, the federal government has (or should have) effective power to regulate.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:29 PM
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Can Congress lower the drinking age in every state to 18?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:30 PM
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Practical but not legal. Because a state can opt out. You say they won't, and I say they won't have to, and we're left with the status quo.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:34 PM
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232 is only to 228. As for the rest:

229 -- Yes, absolutely. I don't think that's even a close question. You just need a plausible nexus with interstate commerce. See the Federal Arbitration Act.

230 -- Probably not, under current law. On the other hand, the federal government could, if it wanted to, cut off all federal funds that go to the AG's office, which would have the same substantive effect.

231 -- Probably not flat-out repeal, under current law, but it could certainly structure the federal tax code so as to make them ineffective as a practical matter.

233 -- Is that even a close call? Congress can, and did, effectively raise the drinking age in every state. All you'd have to do is withhold federal highway funds from any state that didn't lower the drinking age. Actually, I think that there's enough of a nexus to commerce to directly mandate a lower drinking age as a matter of federal law.

And that's just talking about current constitutional law, which is frankly boring.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:34 PM
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Practical but not legal.

Well, right, but except for the lawyers who have to draft the regulations, who cares?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:36 PM
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Congress can, and did, effectively raise the drinking age in every state.

I assume by "Congress" you mean "Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole", here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:37 PM
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Actually, he means Senator Frank Lautenberg.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:39 PM
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80

Basically because I believe it should be my way everywhere. I'm clear about what I think is reasonable protected categories and unreasonable protected categories, and if I'm right, I'm right everywhere. I don't think this reflects local values of equal worth; I think some locales are full of bigots.

This is silly. You are just saying you would like to be dictator of as large an area as possible. So would I but I don't expect others to agree. Nor do I think that personal dictatorships have a very good track record as a form of governance.

One argument for states rights is that it allows for experimenting with things like no fault divorce or mandatory seat belt laws in limited areas rather than imposing them nationally all at once. Which can be risky as with prohibition.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:39 PM
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I can't actually remember the details of what happened w/r/t the 21 year old drinking age. Was there a statute passed by Congress, or did the Transportation Secretary just announce a policy? In any event, the drinking age has effectively been set by the federal government for what, 25 years now?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:41 PM
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235 -- Notwithstanding the recent wine shipment case -- which is widely misapplied -- there are still slightly different Commerce Clause factors when alcohol is involved. It'd have to be via the spending power.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:41 PM
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Yeah, 241 may well be right; I don't know the 21st amendment law that well.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:43 PM
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The President of the United States can have pretty much anyone on earth murdered at his whim. All he has to do is order it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 8:45 PM
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Nor do I think that personal dictatorships have a very good track record as a form of governance.

That's just because ambition to be personal dictator has a negative correlation with successful track record as dictator.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 9:16 PM
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Despite agreeing with Halford, I also kind of wish states were a little more "laboratories of democracy" in the sense of experimenting with variant constitutional structures, as compared to the norm where almost everyone slavishly imitates the federal structure (except for ballot propositions, I suppose).

Experimenting with different policies is nice in theory, but in practical research always has the hitch of endogeneity - starting conditions are likely to be systematically different in the states that do policy innovations. For that sort of thing, centrally-imposed selection is more rigorous (like doing Medicare demonstration projects with carefully chosen control states). Of course it works fine when "experiment with" means "show that it doesn't end in total abject failure," as is often the case.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:15 PM
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244

That's just because ambition to be personal dictator has a negative correlation with successful track record as dictator.

I would like to see the data behind that claim.

Like the man said, power corrupts.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:16 PM
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North Carolina really sticks out on the soft drink map. I think it's a difficult state to group. In some ways, the part of the state I live in (Durham-Raleigh-Chapel Hill) makes better conceptual sense as part of an urban corridor stretching from DC-Richmond-Charlotte-Atlanta (maybe up to Baltimore, but maybe not) than it does as part of "the South" generally, or even east to west across North Carolina (mountain and eastern NC are definitely two entirely different cultures).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 10:37 PM
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This map seems to indicate that there is a corridor from Atlanta to Raleigh, but there's a substantial uninhabited gap between Raleigh and Richmond.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:00 PM
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Oh, there are gaps all the way through it. Maybe island chain is a better term than corridor. Because (for example) a lot of the stuff between Atlanta and Charlotte is definitely Deep South.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:16 PM
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I was actually surprised how few gaps there really were. The big blob around Greenville/Spartanburg, SC was unexpected as was the size of the Winston-Salem/Greensboro blob. Of course, having hung out a bit in Orange County, I can testify that it's pretty sparsely populated between Greensboro and Durham, despite the apparent connection between them on the map.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:39 PM
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The big blob might be the fires used for the boiling of peanuts.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 11:51 PM
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Shit, I just noticed 47. Really sorry Minnie.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-28-10 12:28 AM
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The problem with "Europe of the regions" is that it presupposes a strongly federal Europe, with something like the US Federal Government based in Brussels or whereever. It's surprisingly difficult to be a nationalist and demand Independence! while also promising to hand over most of the attributes of sovereignty to the Feds as soon as you get 'em.

Also, there's the France problem. There is no even vaguely credible proposal to break it up, and even less chance of anyone in France ever accepting such. So you get loads of ministates with 3-5 million population and one 18th century absolutist great power with 50 odd million pop, nukes, space ships, carriers, nuclear-powered rocket trains etc. Not the best settlement of Europe I've ever heard of unless you're an official in the French Foreign Ministry. Which is of course why the French Foreign Ministry was keen on having the Committee of the Regions written into the treaties back in the 80s.

(Also, traditionally the UK goes to war whenever it looks like a single power is going to control the whole continent. It's triggery for us! The safeword is "NATO".)

On the other hand, I certainly think the UK could do with more federalism.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-28-10 2:42 AM
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The President of the United States can have pretty much anyone on earth murdered at his whim. All he has to do is order it.

And yet he can't even get Olympia Snowe to cast votes which might marginally decrease her intake of campaign cash in hypothetical future elections she is guaranteed to win.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-28-10 11:00 AM
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That Obama hasn't had Olympia Snowe murdered yet is just further proof of his latent Republican tendencies.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-28-10 11:05 AM
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We haven't had a president who really used the "bully bully" powers of the presidency since Andrew Jackson. Why such timidity?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-28-10 11:13 AM
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256: Nixon?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-28-10 11:22 AM
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re: 253

I think that's probably true, yeah. I sometimes suspect the SNP have favoured it partly by way of drawing a nice clear dividing line between them and English nationalists; i.e. emphasising that they are pro-European, federalist, cosmopolitan and forward/outward looking, etc.

And yeah, I think a federal UK would be fine. I've no personal axe to grind for Scottish independence, but I am for fairly extensive devolved powers, and an English parliament [or English MPs only on relevant bills].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-28-10 11:25 AM
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Nixon was easy to talk out of killing those guys at the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution. I think he was just trying to look tough.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-28-10 11:28 AM
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When, at long last, will someone take our advice and use the Wooly Bully powers of the presidency?


Posted by: Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs | Link to this comment | 10-28-10 12:22 PM
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