Saturday, January 03, 2009

What's wrong with the United States

Panhandles. Panhandles are an embarrassment to cartographers everywhere. Panhandles say "Here's a compromise that didn't work." They're a tribute to the petty needs of the stubborn few triumphing over common sense.

Texas and Oklahoma each have panhandles that border the other. Of course they don't get along.

I'll forgive Idaho's panhandle. Nobody there cares anyway.

Florida's panhandle is another matter altogether. If it wasn't for Mobile, Alabama would be landlocked. In fact, Mobile shamefully sits smack dab in the middle of what one could argue is the Alabama panhandle. All I'm saying is that if the Governor of Alabama were to mobilize the National Guard and march south to the Gulf of Mexico, I'd gladly look the other way. Florida should share the Gulf Coast. It's not like they're using it.

West Virginia has two panhandles. Having lived up there amongst them, all I can say is: Evolution can do mean things to people.

The attached map (which you may click to enlarge) shows my humble proposal to set things right. I've taken the liberty to address a few issues in addition to panhandles, as noted below:

1) Alabama gets full access to the sea, and helps mitigate Florida's exposure to natural disasters.
2) Oklahoma gets the Texas panhandle. Texas gets punished for having the larger of the two panhandles.
3) West Virginia cedes both panhandles. Maybe Ohio and Maryland can do something with them.
4) Michigan's upper peninsula/panhandle is absorbed by Wisconsin. It's just more tidy that way.
5) California is split into 5 states: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Northern, Central, and Southern California. The world's 7th largest economy shouldn't be concentrated in one state.
6) New England is consolidated into one state. They're still over-represented in congress.

What about Alaska's panhandles? No can do. Russia and Canada get nothing.

The above changes would serve to erase the stain of panhandles from our nation's geography. They would lead to a more orderly union, and we wouldn't even have to change the flag.

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