Shaped like a giant pistol sitting on its butt end, Wisconsin's new 22nd state Senate District is Exhibit A in the case against partisan redistricting.
The redistricting process is far from neutral; to be far we should remember that gerrymandering is has happened on all ends of the political spectum. Which map to you think is the best way to divide these districts? What is the fairest way to divide them?
While this cartoon is flippant, the attached Washington Post article is not. In the culumative congressional voting, Democrats have more votes but won fewer seats than the Republicans. Many are starting to question the redistricting process after the 2010 census.
"Freedom House has been at the forefront in monitoring threats to media independence since 1980. A free press plays a key role in sustaining and monitoring a healthy democracy, as well as in contributing to greater accountability, good government, and economic development. Most importantly, restrictions on media are often an early indicator that governments intend to assault other democratic institutions."
This interactive map shows some intriguing spatial patterns about the freedom of press internationally. What other patterns to you see in matching up with the most free presses in the world (in green)? How does a free (or not free press) influence the cultural and political values of a country?
Right now, the conventional wisdom says that there are just nine states that might go either way on Nov.
Not all votes are created equally; votes in these 9 key states have a greater likelihood of impacting the actual outcome of the Presidential election. If we assume that the other states vote as anticipated, and that each candidate has an equal opportunity in the remaining 9 states (yes, these are a major assumptions, but work with me), than President Obama has a 84% likelihood of winning in the 512 possible permuations. Geographer Andy Baker has created a video that provides a solid non-partisan analysis of the political geography of these states (and other) states.
UNHCR has been attempting to count the world's refugees since it was created. If you want to find out which years resulted in the worst displacement, which were the biggest countries of origin and which were the biggest countries of asylum, use the interactive map.
"Most of us think of international borders as invisible, but clear-cut lines: stand on one side, and you’re in one country; stand on the other, you’re in another country. But here’s a list of five international borders that, for one reason or another, are not quite that simple."
"The WomanStats Project is the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women in the world. The Project facilitates understanding the linkage between the situation of women and the security of nation-states. We comb the extant literature and conduct expert interviews to find qualitative and quantitative information on over 310 indicators of women's status in 174 countries. Our Database expands daily, and access to it is free of charge. Click here if you are a new to the project."
On three different occasions, the candidate with the most votes didn't become President of the United States. We call this "The Electoral College Problem." Here a solution. Simple. Mathematical. Rational.
I'm sure most of you have seen the 2008 version of these fantastic maps and cartograms and they've been a go-to reference for me since the last election. The typical red state/blue state map conceals much concerning the spatial voting patterns in the United States and fails to account for the population densities of these distributions. That's what makes this county level voting maps and cartograms so valuable.
Questions to Ponder: What new patterns can you see in the county map that you couldn't see in the state map? What do the cartograms tell you about the United States population?