A Scientific Lesson for the Geographical Journalism Party

Scientific thinking requires that the more outlandish the claim, the more compelling the evidence must be. It is this thinking that rejects the libertarian’s love children: Freakonomics, The Bell Curve, or nearly any book by Malcolm Gladwell.

During lunch, I exhausted my daily newsfeed and started to troll the top hits on digg when I ran across [this linked article in which a journalist and amateur geographer explains the Tea Party movement][geography tea party].

Here is the central claim that forms the basis for the author’s entire argument:

> We’ve never been a nation-state in the European sense; we’re a federation of nations, more akin to the European Union than the Republic of France, and this confounds both collective efforts to find common ground and radical campaigns to force one component nation’s values on the others.

[geography tea party]: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/novemberdecember_2011/features/a_geography_lesson_for_the_tea032846.php “A Geography Lesson for the Tea Party—Washington Monthly”

What a load of crap!Continue reading about regionalism after the jump

Are democrats more educated?

Balloon Juice links to a Brookings study that measures educational attainment by metropolitan area and notes that 24 out of 25 areas are in states that went for Obama in 2008.

This made me immediately wonder which the outlier was. A quick scan said that the post is incorrect and that there are two outliers according to that metric. The first is Austin-Round Rock at #14 and the second is Tucson, AZ at #25. Doug was probably referring to Austin. But why talk about states, when we have the county breakdown? The county Austin resides in (Travis, TX) actually went for Obama by almost 2 to 1 (64-35%)—seems a shame to pick on Austin simply because it happens to be in a red state.

PResidental breakdown of Travis County

Continue reading about education and voting patterns after the jump.