Presidential curiosity

OK, so which American president(s) never saw a new state added to the map in his lifetime? Note that I didn't say during his "term in office"... rather during his entire lifetime. The answer: only one president holds that honor: Barack Obama. Every other president lived through the addition of at least one new state. Insignificant trivia? Maybe. But adding new states was long a part of the American psyche. Now we live in a different America. Or do we? In a little-reported story, the Obama administration has advocated for discussing Puerto Rico's statehood. You can read more about it here

Haiti statehood

Haiti as the 51st state? That's what Rush Limbaugh thinks Democrats are angling for. You can listen to his theory here. As far-fetched as that is, a little historical perspective is in order. Haiti's island, Hispaniola, may be the only major island in the Caribbean that hasn't been considered for statehood. Cuba was quite seriously considered for statehood in the early 1900s. Puerto Rico continues to flirt with statehood. Many in the U.S. Virgin Islands would like to become the 51st state—but they know their population is too low. Even the Yucatan Peninsula wanted to join the United States back in the 1840s. Admittedly, Haiti doesn't have much of a shot in 2010, but if history is our guide, pretty much every Caribbean nation will get proposed at one time or another. 

States and Pro Football

With the Super Bowl coming up, I thought it might be fun to review the NFL's "state hate." OK, maybe that's a little harsh. But do the math. Of the NFL's 32 teams, 27 represent cities... like the Chicago Bears or San Francisco 49ers. Three teams represent regions: the New England Patriots (representing all the states in New England);  the Carolina Panthers (presumably representing both Carolinas); and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (representing a body of water!). Just two teams represent single states. Can you name them?  Both made the playoffs this year. Both have really old quarterbacks. Both beat my beloved Green Bay Packers this year. Answer: Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals.

Geography of Late Night

After the late night drama recently, I thought it might be interesting to see where these guys came from. So I made a map (what else!). It's interesting... outside of Jay and Conan, every major late night host has been from the Midwest. Some say that's because middle America is turned off by anyone who is too hip or edgy. Personally, I think it's because a talk show host has to be friendly... endlessly... and people in the flyover states do seem to have an edge in that department.

"Lost" (The TV Series) and Lost States

With the "Lost" TV series returning, it's worth noting a real-life version of the story detailed in Lost States. Admittedly, there's no time-travel involved, and the players weren't all ridiculously good-looking. But the Howland Island story does involve castaways, lots of explosions, a mysterious missing plane, and a semi-secret government program to kill cats. Sounds like a joke, but it's all true.

60 Minutes reveals the secret of Samoa

Sunday's "60 Minutes" reveals the secret of Samoa, a tiny island where the native people are bigger, faster, and stronger than just about anywhere else. Yes, the NFL has figured this out... and so did Bush administration officials, who wanted to make Samoa the 51st state.

Lost States and the NFL

With the NFL playoffs underway, it's worth noting the curious case of the NFL's "lost" franchise, the Columbus Panhandles. Back in the day, they were among the best teams in the league, but folded for financial reasons. "Lost States" argues that a proposed new state would have led to the Panhandles long-term success. "Go Handles!"

51-star flag revealed

A new flag. That's what we'll need when America adds the 51st state. And you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the 51-star flag has already been prepared.  Yes, that little state secret leaked out when the man who designed the 50-star flag passed away a few days ago. Read all about this modern day Betsy Ross (actually Bob Heft). 

The president's 57 states of America

I thought it was some urban myth, but yes President Obama did indeed reference the "57 states" in the USA. Sure, some folks wanted to criticize him, but that's the wrong approach. I say we add 7 states... and prove him right! You can actually watch the flub here: 

New "Lost States" on Flickr

Cool old maps--that's what "Lost States" is about. I've posted some samples on Lost States' Flickr photostream. See maps of the proposed state of Jefferson (at the California/Oregon border). And two of the many failed attempts to carve out a state of "Lincoln" in the pacific northwest.