Arizona's previous split

Arizona's been talking a lot lately about splitting into two states: dividing north-south. In the Civil War era, Arizona (and New Mexico) went through a similar north-south division. When the Union failed to keep mail service going, the southern part of the Arizona territory got miffed and decided to slice itself off and align with the Confederacy. (Northerners apparently weren't so outraged.) Southern Arizonans didn't want slaves, they just wanted somebody to deliver the dang mail--which the Confederacy promised to do. To our modern eyes, it might seem like a silly reason to switch loyalties, but take away WiFi today and you might see a similar revolt. Zoom in on the map above and you can see the actual mail road that was shut down.

Mystery of Pawnee, Indiana SOLVED

NBC's "Parks and Recreation" is located in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. A big fan of the show, I realized the producers had provided enough clues to make it possible to locate the exact position of Pawnee on the Indiana map. That's right, our team of TV forensic scientists have cracked the code and discovered the city's "actual" location. Watch the video!

Wisconsin battle: Gouda Girls

The fight in Wisconsin gets a lot clearer once you look at a map. The key to Republican strength is the support of the "Gouda Girls" (more on that in a bit). First, look at the 2008 election map (above)--it's positively bizarre! All the state's big cities voted Democrat. The rural counties also went Democrat. The university towns went Democrat. So how did Republican Scott Walker get elected? The exburbs. That is, the areas surrounding the major cities went overwhelmingly Republican. Note the ring of red around Milwaukee. And a similar ring of red in the northwest, just outside the twin cities. That's enough red to win. In Wisconsin, it's the wealthier exburbs vs everyone else. I live in one of those red counties (Ozaukee), and it was fascinating to me that immediately after the Republican convention in 2008, the FIRST place John McCain and Sarah Palin visited was Cedarburg, Wisconsin... in red Ozaukee County. And most of the people in the audience were women. But don't call these staunch Republicans "soccer moms." The weather's only conducive to soccer for about 20 minutes a year. Better to call them "Gouda Girls".... that is, cheeseheads who can afford the fancy stuff. 

Baja Arizona is fresh

Southern Arizona is getting a little fed up with politics in Phoenix—and rekindling the quest for the 51st state. Call it "South Arizona" or "Baja Arizona," the idea is the same—splitting off the more liberal south from the more conservative north. In the last few days, a new committee has been formally created in Pima county, and leaders are working to get the topic on the ballot for the next election. Like most statehood proposals, this isn't a new idea—I documented past efforts in Lost States. While cleaving the 51st state from Arizona seems unlikely... so did ousting Hosni Mubarak. And you'd think the folks in the north would love this idea, since adding a "buffer state" would mean they'd no longer have a border with Mexico (kind of like the imagined Southwest of the infamous Peggy West). Read more in the Tucson Citizen or KOLD-TV.