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Sunday, 25 November 2012


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Scotland is getting areferendum on whether they want to leave the UK...

Nobody has ever offered the English a referendum on whether they want to keep Scotland in the UK.

Sounds good to me. But then I'm not even American. Everything I learned about politics I learned from watching The West Wing. I still claim it's the best way.

At least the Republic of Texas would run a balanced budget.

There's also a petition for Austin to continue as part of the US were Texas to leave:


I think these folks really need to see, "Lincoln."

I believe that Texas is amongst the predominantly red (Republican) states that receive more from the federal government in benefits than they pay in taxes. I would be willing to bet that few Texans are aware of that fact and that more than a few would agree with the Tea Party numbskull who proclaimed that the government should keep its hands off of his Medicare. I live in a blue state that borders Texas, and we would welcome all of the creative liberal refugees from Austin.

I for one hope they're successful, if only to break their stranglehold on educational book publishing. It's an abomination how much control that one state has.

I wish they'd take Arizona with them...

I say return to the 1834 borders and let Mexico figure out what to do with them.

If they want company we will give them Quebec. They deserve each other.

Yeah, ha ha, funny. I'm one of those Texas liberals from Austin. I was born and raised in gun-loving, bible-beating, change-hating East Texas, or "behind the Pine Curtain" as we say in Central Texas. I got to Austin as fast as I could. Republicans in Texas threaten to secede every time they don't get their way. This is nothing new. The real news this time is that there are so many other states petitioning to secede. I’ve seen articles claiming as many as 30 states are working on petitions. Your state might even be one of them. What’s up with that?

But that silliness aside, if you’re a liberal, you should want Texas to stick around. Here’s why: Changing demographics are turning Texas purple and if the trend continues it will go blue. Republicans (Ted Cruz, to name one) are already freaking out and trying to figure out how to court the Latino vote. That means one of two things will happen. Either Texas Republicans will become more moderate, or Texas will go blue in Presidential elections in the future. No Republican can get elected to the White House if Texas goes blue. Think about the consequences for the Republican party if that were to happen.

As a Texan I'd say the first thing we do is annex Louisiana and then declare war on Vermont. (They're small, we could probably win that one). We already have a governor for life so we just make him king.

Then, once all the smart people move out, we can do just about whatever we want.

You do know (seriously) that the people of Austin have petitioned to secede from Texas if Texas secedes from the union. We do that and the median IQ (not image quality.....) of Texas drops by 40%.

I think splitting California would probably happen, if only to keep the number of stars stable -- that would avoid a huge cost to taxpayers.

However ... I will be starting a petition to have western NY secede and be added into Ontario. This would save even MORE money -- no expensive border crossings for all those who spend weekends in Niagara Falls, Toronto and environs, much lower health care costs (especially for Kodak and Xerox retirees who have had their benefits packages stripped,) and no more egregious markups on Kodak film for the Canadian market.

OK, that last item isn't a big one. But still.

We would have to change the flag at all. Puerto Rico wants to be a state. I say we let Texas go and add Puerto Rico.

I remember hearing this from the other side when W. Bush got re-elected. Since today's political landscape is so starkly black & white, it makes sense. I also say let 'em.

I don't know Mike. It might be fun for some. However, I also met a Texan I liked. My wife. She is now a self described CIT(California Improved Texan) and wouldn't be happy about the loss of her USA citizenship.

The flag is no problem at all -- admit Puerto Rico as a state at the same time, thus achieving conservation of stars.

Texas isn't as monolithically Republican as you seem to think.


I read your post hearing the voice of George Carlin in my mind. Works. In fact it works so well that I do not know whether you should be worried or proud.

Either way: great post!

Look-up the Quebec separatist movement and you'll get some idea of what to expect. And an independent Texas would make the Alberta branch of the "Free The West" movement happy.

Puerto Rico wants into the Union. Let them in and Texas out. No flag changes needed.

It would be interesting to watch.

Isn't this the Republican version of "moving to Canada"?

...and (to spice it up a bit) suppose they don't accept likely answer from the White House and in the best American spirit write their own Declaration of Independence (Mk.II) and secede anyway, they would immediately have a problem: foreign troops on their soil, technically meaning being at war with the USA. Now, that would be interesting!

And this, in brief, is why I continue to read TOP. Keep it coming, Mike. You're an Internet treasure.

Texas: Please do.

I say "let Mexico annex them." That's where texas came from originally, anyhow.

Here in Scotland we have a similar move towards asking the people whether they want independence from the UK. It hasn't yet caught the popular imagination but I look forward to an amusing period until the referendum. (FWIW I am English) it is like looking at teenagers who affect to despise their parents and complain about them incessantly while all the while having their hands out for money and expecting their meals and laundry to be done for them

Just imagine Texas joining the OPEC gang! Same hot weather, same...oh, probably better not continue with the comparisons.

I'm with ya, and I was even born there. Mom got out fast. A photography related bit: she used to have this Brownie photo in her desk I came across once---kinda nondescript featureless detail-less beige on one half, washed out equally un-detailed featureless dusty blue on the other. I said: "Mom, what are you keeping this end of the roll print for?" She said "No, honey. That's west Texas."

When Perry first suggested this, and everyone was up in arms about it, my first thought was yeah, man, and good riddance. Remember what general Sheridan said: "If I owned Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." Nuff said.

The cessation of Texas from the union is quite an old story recently re-coined as a liberal vs conservative wacky issue. Texas fought it's own war of independence and made quite a good job of doing so. Many Texans take great pride in having been an independent country.

It's interesting to live in Texas not having grown up here. It is a state of mind as much as a state within the union of the United States. It is a big place full of friendly people with big ideas who dream big dreams.

Don't mess with Texas.

Mike, I'm a sixth generation Texan who chooses to live outside the state. There are some misguided people in Texas who believe that somehow Texas always retained the choice to secede. Not true and never was. What was true and may still be (I'm a little fuzzy on what happened after Texas was allowed to rejoin the Union after the war) is that Texas, under the original statehood agreement, if they so desired, would be allowed to split into five states since the physical size of the state so dwarfed all others. While I still own a ranch in Texas I have no intention of ever returning.

Actually, you know all those "demographics" they were talking about after the elections? If they keep going the way they seem to be, Texas could well end up being a swing state by 2024. You might get to see some pandemonium even without a secession.

Mike, I know you wrote this tongue in cheek but I wanted to let you know that I find this offensive.

You may think it's funny but you're insulting an awful lot of people, Texan or not.

How is this different than if you'd written a off-beat, tongue-in-cheek, meant-to-be-funny post that was sexist, racist or anti-religion?

I could go on but you already know most of what I'll say. Any more would be excessive.

[It's different in that it's not sexist, racist or anti-religion. It's not anti-Texas, either. It is anti-the-117,000-people-who-signed-that-dumb-petition, is all. --Mike]

there is no need to split California in two: Puerto Rico can be allowed in the 50th State. of course, it would need an asterisk... so perhaps it would be 51* — just like baseball statistics. Puerto Ricans would love that, since they used to love baseball.

ps an apt discourse on PR statehood from an excellent blog [ link to The Monkey Cage ]

pps as a Puerto Rican living in San Francisco, both options are appealing to investigate... I would prefer the California split, though.

The same goes for Cataluñia here in Spain.
We all laugh hard in the hypotetical case they get it. They would be outside the Eurepean Union. What then?.
Many times, besides ridiculous and short of mind as could be, there is something hiden behind. In this case, -Cataluña_, it is trying to distract citizens from the real problems, say wasted funds, bad managment.

I don't usually offer advice Mike.
I'll make an exception this time:

Don't take sides on this, and I'd be careful about offending my readers. I've been ill about all this RED state, Blue state crap since it popped up a couple of decades ago. The succession stories you're reading about are not going to lead to anything. This is Main Stream Media picking a SMALL happening to paint a large group of people with their racist/stupid/ignorance brush to forward their agenda.

The White House did a fine job of pitting the people of the United States against each other. They don't need your help now.

Lets see some more posts about your D800. Borrow/rent some assorted lenses to use with it. Put it on your tripod. Shoot some night time star trails with it. Maybe some macro. If I can live vicariously through you I might be able to keep from buying one. If you piss me off, I'll probably buy one to keep myself busy, since I won't read photo blogs anymore. :)

Well if they secede, I'll seriously consider moving there, primarily for the one of the things you ridicule--Biblical morality. Do you really think this country has been improved by the moral decay of the last few decades? I've been a faithful reader of your blog for a long time, and I enjoy everything photographic that appears thereon--including reader and contributor comments and articles. But when I turn to your site over my Sunday morning coffee, I do not expect (nor will I tolerate) reading derogatory remarks about people who follow (or attempt to follow) the Ten Commandments. [No, I'm not going to make a comment about the state of your immortal soul, that's between you and God.]

[Pat, disapproving of the Ten Commandments on courthouse lawns is not the same thing as disapproving of the Ten Commandments. It's people who don't understand the purpose of the separation of church and state who gall me, not people who believe in the Ten Commandments. Chuch/state separation is a mechanism to preserve religious freedom, not to derogate it. It protects people who believe in the Ten Commandments. As you might well know.... --Mike]

Funny you should drag this up as at one time Texas WAS its own country from 1836 to 1846. It's not a new idea.

It is also is ironic that you mention having to write a new Constitution.

Public schools and universities in Texas are required to offer (and students must take) classes in Texas history and government as well. The reason? It's not arrogance. The Texas Constitution, while adequate, is outdated compared to other states as it is utterly mired down in countless amendments. It was a good Constitution when it was first written, but suffers now as the framework needs to be redone.

So, it's really funny you when you said "Presumably they would make do with their current State Constitution for a while, but why wouldn't they write a whole new Constitution?" Sadly that's what it would probably take to actually do it.

The requirement to take Texas government in schools is to try and get enough people aware of this shortcoming. It's never been addressed for that human fault we all have: a lack of interest and 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.

And no, the state will not be seceding from the Union for the sake of entertainment.

Maybe we could get Arizona to go with them? They have a lot in common. And we could resurrect the old 48 star flags many people have in their attics. Unfortunately that would put New Mexico, a state I like, in the middle. Oh well, it was a nice idea...

Hey ... you don't have to look too far for parallels. Quebec (twice the size Texas and 1/4 the population) tried that back in the 70s with a full blown attempt at revolution. Keeps coming back every once in a while, except now the revolutions are political ... less the bombs in mailboxes.

There are humorous sides to the idea, but there would be real political and economic consequences. In the short run there would be chaos as the Texas "liberals" headed north and the "conservatives" fought it out. In the long run, they'd do OK. The US would lose a big chunk of the Gulf Coast and the economic development that goes with it and get an even longer southern border to defend.

Hmmm ... would the "conservatives' in the rest of the country flock to Texa-la-la land? Might be a good thing ... ya think? Mitt Romney could be president for life. You could keep you wife and marry your mistress too ... hell man, marry them all. A Mormon would be running a country .... would the Tabernacle move to Austin??? A Texas Theocracy with oil and gas .... where have we seen that before???
Like you said ... best reality TV ever.

Indeed, why doesn't every continent just sanction off a piece of their property for fundamentalists, where they could all happily live in Freedom (ie- their self imposed restraints, restrictions and inhibitions... and their guns- lots and lotsa guns).

As a native Texan, I would like to point out the following:

A: This is ridiculous. Wood-veneered camera ridiculous.

B: Assuming that we are going off of the Whitehouse.gov petition (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/peacefully-grant-state-texas-withdraw-united-states-america-and-create-its-own-new-government/BmdWCP8B), around 117,000 people have signed their name in favor of this concept.

According to a quick Google search, the state population is currently in the neighborhood of 25.6 million. This means that those 117K signatures represent less than half of a percent of Texas citizens. Again, less than 1/2 of 1%. (Assuming I did my math right. Which is always an assumption...)

C: I speak on behalf of the other 99.5%+ on Texans when I say that you can have the "succeed" nutters. All they are doing is continuing to make the state look bad. (This post being a perfect example) No, I do not ride a horse. No, I do not want to succeed. No, I do not have a Tom Selleck mustache.

D: See point 'A'.

E: I seem to remember a similar issue coming up in the 1860's. I feel like it didn't end well.


You are all heart and generosity Mike. A better approach would be to make a profit by auctioning the place off. It's kind of fun to speculate on potential buyers and the form of government they might establish. Saudi Arabia? Russia? Red Bull? Rupert Murdoch?

To further complicate things, Austin wants to secede from Texas:


As one of those liberal Texans who is continuously embarrassed by the shenanigans of Texas politicians and the great majority of my relative who inflict them on the population at large...Please...Please don't encourage them. It just gets them all to thinking they may be on to something that might work.

I am afraid it must be something in the water down here because the politics of Texas just keeps getting crazier and crazier.

The pluses outweigh the minuses. Wait -- there aren't any minuses.

On the plus side Texas already has an Embassy in London - http://www.texasembassy.com/

And it really did have Legations once, in Paris and London, before joining the Union.

Sorry, tempting as the concept is, they aren't allowed to take their state and go home. We settled that once and for all about 150 years ago.

Now each and everyone of the whiners is perfectly free to emigrate to anywhere that would be foolish enough to take them. Somalia is nice this time of year, I hear...

At the very least we should make them pay back their share of the debt. Calculating "fair" share could be difficult. I would favor doing it based on territory. Also, would there be a secession bonus for the rest of us? I think Texas may receive more federal dollars than they pay in taxes. As for splitting California, Alaska makes more sense. It is more than twice as big as Texas.

I wonder who they'd allow to vote?

And who'd get to run for office? George W. Bush, the Greatest (Recent) Texan, was born in Hartford, Connecticut.

An even bigger bonus if Texas (and the like-minded states) actually did secede? Lower taxes for the remaining states: http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-11-16/finance/35251340_1_federal-tax-fewer-government-services-bad-news

I agree about the people I've met from Texas. And lets see what else comes to mind when I think about Texas.... ENRON; Phil Gramm and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act; the murder of James Byrd; JFK in Dallas; Halliburton-Cheney-US Energy Policy-Iraq cluster-f__; the Crawford Village idiot; and oh yeah the fact that the majority of US text books get written by folks in Texas who don't agree with the separation of church and state. Let 'em leave, just keep televising Austin City limits and have Jerry Jones stay on as owner of the Cowboys (Eli Manning loves that stadium - full disclosure I'm a life long NYG fan).

[Jim...lighten up. I was just poking fun. --Mike]

FYI, even folks in New Jersey want to leave the USA.... It is not just Tejas and the former CSA.

I can see the posters in certain Islamic countries even now, "Jihadists Rejoice! The US is fragmenting!"

"Changing demographics are turning Texas purple and if the trend continues it will go blue." - Paul.
I'm "behind the Pine Curtain" and you couldn't tell this election. I didn't see a single Obama poster in my county. As an independent, I could have put one in my yard, but like to play it safe. I gotta live here, ya know. :)

"We do that and the median IQ (not image quality.....) of Texas drops by 40%." - Kirk Tuck
Reminds me of a field trip to Louisiana when I was in forestry school. As we crossed the boarder, the professor said the average IQ for both states just went up.

As the cowboy said to his partner: "I ain't found nobody that voted for that Obama..."

I live in Western Australia which is probably the most conservative state in Oz. Every now and again when the local politicians have a spat with the federal government talk turns to secession. It would be kind of funny to watch if it did happen, but the reality is that I like many others would be rushing across the Nullabor to the border to get out. WA maybe the richest state in Oz but if brain cells were whipped cream the politicians here couldn't fill a doughnut.

What I find hilarious about American politics is both sides are essentially interchangable, yet vehemently believe that they are superior to the other.

Most of my progressive friends resolutely supported the Wisconsin legislative exodus to IL and the recall election; attempts to re-write elections their side had lost. Most of my conservative friends complained about what poor losers the progressives are. Another election, and at the end of the day the secessionist talk is at it's core still an attempt to re-write an election that one side has lost. Only, virtually to a person, the opinions on the validity of that effort have 100% reversed, in accord with base political leaning. And this is why talking politics with the vast majority of people is useless, because it's basically undertaken with the same reasoning as sport team affiliation, Team Red/Blue, has basically the same consequence (the only real difference between Team Blue's budget plan - The plan of goodness and light - and Team Red's - pure evil, grannie killing, coming straight out of Mordor - was a slightly decreased rate of national debt increase, and yet no one - from either side - was interested in discussing whether the POTUS's right to execute anyone on earth whenever he or she feels like it could maybe get a wee bit of oversight). We can fill the rationalizations in later.

I personally vote for complete balkanization. Let's split of into idealogically pure politic/ethnic/religiously based city states so that we never have to deal with the unclean knuckledraggers/parasites/unbelievers/believers/right wing/left wing/no wing heathens in all the other enclaves.

Uh, folks? We dealt with this issue 150 years ago. Didn't work so well for you then, did it?

Well, I wouldn't worry. You get this kind of stuff for the nuttier amongst us after every election. Alec Baldwin promised to leave the US if Little George were elected president in 2000. Bush won and Baldwin, most unfortunately, is still here.

Well, considering how long they stayed a country the last time, it would be interesting to see how they would fare this time. Just think of G.W. Bush and Rick Perry as "Presidents" of the Lone Star State. They'd be begging to be readmitted in no time. I married two Texans but would gladly move back to the U.S. I have a valid passport.

They've got us all arguing over who's less wrong than the other -- its bloody perfect by design!

Go watch this:


Now, do you see what the real problem is? Is it Democrat or Republican?

Its neither!

If Texas were to secede, I'd move there. And as for debt repayment, they were never in favor of such debt in the first place.

Mike, the GDP of Australia was only slightly ($100m or so) less than Texas in 2010 and is probably equal or higher now, given the stagnation in the US economy and the absolute boom in Western Australia.

WA's economy, albeit mainly based on oil, gas and minerals, is 40% of Australia's and we are now fourth in world GDP per capita (not that I'm seeing any of it). We (WA) are bigger in area than Texas yet have only 2.5m people. Australia's GDP is bigger than South Korea's. (All these courtesy of Wikipedia.) The economy of WA is growing at 6.7% and there is nearly $1Tn worth of projects lined up - but we can't get workers. Perth is called the Dallas/Houston of the region.

We, too, get secession fever periodically, especially when people from the east joke about needing passports to get here and forget the 2hr/3hr time difference. But just as you say, it's blowing smoke, not practical. Nice place to live, though. Not too crowded.

"This means that those 117k signatures represent less than half of a percent of Texas citizens."

News reports say that a significant percentage of those signatures are from people outside of Texas (including our host Mike?). I'm not sure what else that tells us, but that makes it even less than 1/2%.

I hope we remain one big, happy country. Although as a northern Californian, that idea about making northern and southern California into separate states has a certain appeal. :) But if California were to split into two, it wouldn't be northern and southern, it would be coastal and inland--those are the true sub-states within the state, if one had to limit it to two.

I lived in Texas nearly 33 years and finally moved to Colorado. I know quite a few who have escaped and every one says the same thing: "Texas looks great - in your rear-view mirror!"
....And the landscape photography in the four corners area is to die for!

"News reports say that a significant percentage of those signatures are from people outside of Texas (including our host Mike?)."

You raise an interesting point...the signers could be a combination of people there who want to leave, and people elsewhere who want them to leave. But no, I didn't sign anything. I'm just playin' here, I actually have no opinion about Texas leaving the Union except that I think the possibility is remote.


As much as I share your amusement with the question of secession, I'm afraid that you may be stirring up a hornet's nest that might alienate a fair portion of your loyal TOP readership.

It is a common misconception that Texas held the right to secede when it became a state. It did not- but it did hold the right to divide into five smaller states. Our current governor didnt understand this( or much of anything else!) when he suggested seceding while courting tea-party votes. Most of the people signing the petion dont either, and for that matter many of them dont even live in Texas!Its available to sign online, so you could sign Mike!For those who suggest we take Arizona- No Thanks! but since much of New Mexico and Colorada was originally part of the Republic of Texas we will gladly take those back!
For those who have such a bad impression of Texas and hold it in such low esteem, Why do you keep moving here? I'm a fourth generation Texan- the year I was born(1952) the population was about 8.3m by 1987 it had doubled to 16.6m and the 2010 census was 25.1m! From where I live Just West of Wierd it feels like we've gained another 5m since then!
I've had the pleasure of traveling over a great part of the USA and met fantastic people in every place I've been! I suspect that they've sent all their rejects to Texas!
Last but not least, Keep up the Off- Topic Blogs! They are part of what makes TOP Great!

Scott L. says: "I vote we remain one big, happy country."

Big, yes. Happy? Not me.

Some of y'all need to take this in the spirit it was intended. I'm Texican. If you can't laugh at yourself, you have problems.

If you can't laugh at politics, you are going to need a prescription to antidepressants. :)

As a Texan and an Austinite, it doesn't bother me that people derive entertainment from some of the kooky stuff that goes on here. But we're not kookier than average - we just have a larger population from which to draw our kooks.

In percentage terms, Washington DC has a lot more angry lunatics than Texas, or any other state for that matter - since all of us in every state have the good sense to elect them to public office and get them out of OUR back yards.

Y'all are welcome to visit Texas & enjoy it for yourselves. The food's good, the people are friendly, the music is great, and the weather - well, um, come in fall. Or winter.


Even though I disagree with the secession attempts, I care not to sit on the sidelines and cast stones. There's been far too much of that as of late.

We could kiss Texas goodby and admit Puerto Rico as a state--flag problem solved! And no more presidents from Texas. I am okay with that.

"it doesn't bother me that people derive entertainment from some of the kooky stuff that goes on here. But we're not kookier than average"

Tell me about it--I'm from Wisconsin, remember. :-)


Mike, LBJ would have called this: "swaydo"-satire. Brilliant!

Here is a book I just read that discusses the subject(s) of this blog post. It is about American culture and how it got that way. It also talks about secession and balkanization of the U.S.

"American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America" by Colin Woodard

BTW, your map of California looks like part of it has fallen into the sea. Has there been an earthquake I didn't know about? ;)

A funny symmetry: like the former Soviet Cosmodrome at Baikonur, now in independent Kazakhstan, Houston Space Center would find itself in seceded territory.

Houston, we have a problem, indeed.

In fairness, there were a lot of goofballs in my state (Washington) who were mumbling the same sort of shite when Bush was elected in 2000, and re-elected in 2004. That, or contemplating moving to Canada, until they checked out Steven Harper.

My brother came to the USA from England (note noot the UK), and Canada before that in 1980. He married and raised a family and is quite happy in the Houston area. He has always considered Canada a third world socialist country as the governments tend to be rather supportive. Then too Canada probably in his book could not defend itself against the armed forces of the greatest country in the world (his opinion).
He and family may never return to Canada ever again.
As for the Texas of old becoming Texas of the new, just wait. One of these days in one hundred or so year the USA and Canada will slowly drift apart along geological fault lines.
All arguments and pundits will be gone into a deep dark crevice. May Quebec be the first to leave.

The United States (a continental sized country) is no more logical than the Soviet Union was and China is. When Queen Elizabeth dies the UK, Australia and Canada are going to have to look closely at their constitutions, and almost certainly Canada will not exist as it does today. This could quickly have repercussions on the US, with various states looking enviously at an independent Western Canada (possibly 10 million population). I don't think it will be Texas goes first, more likely the western states with the rich and geographically isolated California having the most to gain.

As Jim Hightower, former Commissioner of the Texas Dept. of Agriculture, once said, "the middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos." Ah, Texas politics...

P.S. What I find most interesting about the revised map is that it's monochrome!

Wasn't the Republic of Texas basically a ten-year project of petitioning the United States to annex them following their independence from Mexico? Despite the romanticization of that period today, one would think that if things were going so great, they probably would've remained independent.

Too bad that Molly Ivins isn't still with us. I'd love to read her take on all of this.

"Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented."

Of course, Texas cannot secede no matter how much we might want them to. Great post. What fun it would be to watch. However, while they cannot secede, they *may* have the ability to split Texas into up to 5 mini-states. This could upset the balance of the Electoral College and give items like Mitt Romney a better chance at capturing the White House.

East Texas, West Texas, North Texas, South Texas, and Texas, now that would be something to worry about. Why haven't we heard from Judge Head? Surely he can set aside his planning for revolution long enough to weigh in with an opinion on this subject.

Mark Morris wrote: your map of California looks like part of it has fallen into the sea. Actually, it's just that the SF Bay region is depicted as having more water than it really does. The bite out of the coast just below that is Monterey Bay.

Mike, you are the best, as always. Why aren't you on TV?
"Don't mess with Texas", who does? In fact, who cares?

Free Baja Arizona!

No more silly than the state of jefferson...


Texas to an outsider like me meant Bush lately but more likely I would just recall Dallas, not the place but the drama i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Hagman who is the evil to me when I were young and watching too much TV.


Back to the real business - politics is not always by statistics. How many Tea Party are there? But how it affects the RP? Those small number who spend effort to write something, do not underestimate that. There is only one guy writing a thesis on the Church wall and note what that one Martin Luther got us.

Situation analysis: I guess Texas (and all US states) is already like Scotland in terms of devolution of power. Hence, if Scotland can be thinking about moving on, can Texas do that thinking as well. Further, it seems that is something allowed Texas to split into 4 countries even now. ( Or, as one of the commentator said about split into 5 states etc. I did try to read that document but its English a bit beyond my allocation of brain power to understand it. )

Let Texan move on but may I have an important suggestions as an outsider - please do let in one more state within the same year. After the 9 planets (sorry 8 now), please keep the 5x states of US of America. Otherwise, other than taken the share of US national debt (and super-carrier etc.), please give us some money back for forcing this change of our textbook. (We do not normally list the state name and hence that change in name does not affect us.)

The whole thing IS amusing, but it's no good making too much of it.

First of all, while the White House has promised to "respond" to petitions that get enough signatures, the fact is that neither the President nor the Congress has any power under the Constitution to allow or cause a state to be separated from the United States.

Second, nobody has to "work on" a Whitehouse.gov petition. One person can start one. There's no vetting of the signatures, and one casual analysis suggests that there are a lot of folks who have signed all 30 (or so) of the secession petitions. So it's way less than 1% of Texans.

More likely it suggests that there are a hundred thousand wing-nuts in the US who really don't like the government. Say 3/100 of 1% of all US citizens. That's not news.

I've heard it suggested that the signatories should be offered the opportunity to surrender their hated US citizenship and free passage to someplace else. I'm OK with that.

Here's a (much compressed) paraphrase from that bastion of Socialism, the Wall Street Journal:

"Take the seven states which have gathered 30,000 or more signatures to secede: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

In the most recent year for which the numbers have been compiled, those seven states have pocketed a $60 billion subsidy from Uncle Sam. That works out at about $700 for every household in the rest of the country."

I'll say that again: every family in the Socialist North paid $700 to subsidize the "small government, low taxes" Confederacy.

We'd save a boatload of money if we just let them go.

Here's the link: http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-11-16/finance/35251340_1_federal-tax-fewer-government-services-bad-news



See how an off topic post gets so many comments!

Here in the UK you can still sometimes be told that Maggie Thatcher (our prime minister 1979-1990) made the UK what it is today. You can be told this both by people that loved her and what she achieved, and by those who hated her and all she did.

Have faimliy in Tx and find it all very confusing especially after reading this.
There are fifty states in the U.S., but four of them—Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia, and Massachusetts—officially call themselves commonwealths. And the difference between a commonwealth and a state is, well, nothing. Constitutionally speaking, they’re identical.

Understanding why these states chose the commonwealth moniker and continue to stick to it so proudly is a lot easier once you consider the history of those states. The original meaning of the word commonwealth was a nation or body governed by the people, not some king or tyrant. In fact, the time in British history during which Cromwell and Parliament ruled instead of a king is known as the Commonwealth Period. So when it came time for the American colonies to throw off the yokes of oppression and tea taxes and the excessive use of the letter u in words like colour, the three hotbeds of revolution—Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—were most eager to signal the difference in government. Perhaps remembering the Commonwealth Period, they declared themselves commonwealths. So what about Kentucky? Kentucky had once been merely a giant western county of Virginia (before that, it was called Transylvania). When it started doing its own thing in 1790, Kentucky kept the commonwealth status. Not to mention the whiskey.

But surprisingly enough, those four states aren’t the only ones in our happy American family that are commonwealths. Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands also go by the moniker. In this context, it means that they have certain rights under the U.S. Constitution and fall under our protection, but they don’t qualify for the full benefits of statehood—meaning they don’t get any senators and they also don’t get to eat deep-fried Twinkies, because they don’t get to have state fairs. (Kentucky, on the other hand, has a state fair each August, apparently unperturbed by the fact that it is not, technically, a state.)

State of Dissatisfaction
After the commonwealth of Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, several northwestern Virginia counties went ahead and seceded from the seceders, choosing instead to stay in the Union. Those counties formed the state of West Virginia, feeling no compunction to keep the commonwealth label

Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/difference/state-vs-commonwealth/#ixzz2DKJyecqL
--brought to you by mental_floss!

I believe Puerto Rico may be petitioning for statehood. Couldn't you just give them Texas' star to solve the flag problem?

Mike - little bored today? Trying to start a big 'ol fire? I thought politics was off limits for TOP?

I'm not especially "politically inclined" and while I live in Texas, I'm a transplant from the 'Nawth' (right across the river from you, in MN) and have no particular love for Texas, or any other state. In fact, if I had my choice I'd probably pick Northern CA, Washington or Oregon just for the weather -

I feel this kind of commentary is a little beneath TOP and your typical high standards of acceptance and openmindedness.

I'm sad to have read your article. Until now you had kept this site focused on Photography, not partisan politics.

[Seriously? You think I'm being partisan because I don't want to secede from the Union?!? --Mike]

Wish you wouldn't include political commentary on your site. It is your right to do so, but I find it self-serving and irritating. You know what they say about religious and political views...

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