David Horsey's cartoon illustrates a thoughtful piece he's done on Congressional representation and how rural areas have a strong presence in the House that may not correspond to their statewide numbers.
Which is true, though he seems to think of that as a bad thing and I -- as one of those rural hayseed types -- tend to think of it in terms of "checks and balances."
Start with the uncontroversial agreement that gerrymandering is a bad thing, and I was going to go look for the original "gerrymander" cartoon but then remembered this wonderful Tom Toles piece from 2002.
I don't remember the specific redistricting issue, but I do remember that it made me giggle and still does.
Cartoonists didn't do giggles in 1812, and here's the original "Gerry Mander" that illustrated and popularized the term.
I think it's important to differentiate between gerrymandering to preserve party strength and gerrymandering to avoid accurate racial balance, though that may be a distinction without a difference in most cases.
But I have a more personal issue with the idea of rural representation, because our point of view and our needs do tend to get drowned out as population increasingly shifts to the cities.
Let's stay on the historical topic for a moment: Jumping a century ahead of Elbridge Gerry and Elkanah Tisdale to 1911, we find women suffragists in California attempting to win a referendum on the vote, the matter having been declared a states' rights and not federal issue.
An 1896 attempt had been defeated by the liquor industry, which opposed the women's vote because women so dominated the temperance movement. This time around, then, the cagey California suffragists conceded the urban Bay Area and put their efforts into rural California, by which strategy they eked out a narrow victory, so that the state amendment went into effect.
Now, the victory was somewhat Pyrrhic, because the liquor industry had been caught napping, and in future referenda around the country was careful to pour money into statewide advertising (and bribery).
In any case, most states no longer have an even balance between rural and urban populations, so there are few places where you can blow off the city and win with the rural vote.
That Hillary Clinton got to the Senate by appealing to "Upstate New York" simply underlines what a stupid concept "Upstate New York" is, because it contains 57% of the state's population and includes four cities with populations in excess of 1,000,000.
Despite that, anything that happens in the roughly 94 percent of the state outside of New York City and Long Island simply happened ... out there ... Upstate ... somewhere inconsequential ...
Though, as Steinburg memorably illustrated, those of us from that great undefined here-be-dragons area ought not to feel alone. They feel that way about everybody.
But let's not get off-topic here, because "Upstate New York" has more at stake in this myopia than being blown off as inconsequential: Them city folks down there are not trying to make decisions for people who live in Wadena, Iowa, or Laurel Fork, Virginia.
Being ignored is not the worst of fates, and, if rural New York tends to be pretty conservative, maybe it's in part because urban New York makes laws about things like land use and firearms that don't reflect how people north of Kingston live.
Which, combined with the lesson of the California suffragists, might suggest a clue to progressives as to how to address the fact that, yes, rural people are represented in Congress.
And, as long as I'm feeling picked on ...
Jen Sorensen snickers over the new iPhone, asking the question of what problems it actually solves aside from Apple's need to sell a lot of iPhones to people who already have iPhones.
As said here before, I don't need Internet access on my phone because I work at home and travel overnight fewer than half a dozen times a year.
When I do leave the house, it's quite nice to not be connected, and my clients all know that, if they need me in a hurry, I'm carrying my phone.
Yes, a flip phone. Oh, the humanity!
Judging from a meme emerging from Millennial Hipster Central, the fact that I carry a flip phone means I'm a hopeless old fart with no knowledge of technology.
But I'm a hopeless old fart with enough technical knowledge to be able to go on line and see the hipsters also complaining about broken screens, and making fun of people so obsessed with their smartphones that they are missing the world around them.
Make up your minds, ya dumbass little punks.
And speaking of dumbasses with First World problems ...
Thank you, Ruben Bolling.
I've said my piece on this burning issue, but it does seem to refuse to die and I'm two weeks away from getting on an airplane.
With my flip phone, yes.
And with a deep hope that, if I have to listen to any crying babies on the flight, they are all actual children.