Are we making too much of the red-blue maps (in whatever configuration)? I think I had my say about political divisions by region way back in October, and I don’t think that it is too useful to draw a straight line between the Civil War and the 2004 elections. Geitner Simmons at Regions of Mind has some useful reflections on why we should not emphasize race as a factor in understanding North-South relations. He notes that Nebraska lacked slavery, and that California was a horrible place for non-white despite the absence of slavery.

Joel at Far Outliers has two posts on Japanese perceptions of Hawai’i (here and here). He notes that Japanese fantasies about Hawai’i assumed that Americans would not be upset if they were to lose the islands. Similarly, American politicians believed that Hawai’ians would turn their backs on America to embrace Japan if the islands were occupied.