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MAP: A Republican in Arlington, Once Upon a Time

Veteran Rep. Frank Wolf (R) announced this morning that he was declining to seek re-election. First elected in 1980 after unseating a Democrat, his district, once based in Arlington and inner Fairfax Counties in Virginia and stretching out to then rural Loudoun County, his district marched steadily westward, fleeing the increasingly Democratic inner suburbs. A Republican representing Arlington in Congress–a completely unthinkable scenario now in a county that lacks a single Republican elected official on any level

Below is a quick map I prepared comparing his first 1980 district with his now second to last district in 2013. The purple area contains overlap, the red area parts of the district lost since the 80s, and the blue area gained since then, using this excellent trove of historical boundary data from UCLA.



Here is the same map, featuring the current district after the 2010 redistricting:


On Labor Day

It’s Labor Day.

Remember who’s disemboweling our generation and exploiting our labor for record corporate profit. Without single payer health care, our lives and deaths are shackled to our jobs, making moving or starting your own business far riskier than it should be. Without proper taxation of heiresses and the wealthy, our schools and universities crumble without funding, even as employers demand that we fund our own education and training while dodging their taxes at every turn.

The past generations fought and died for child labor laws, weekends, overtime pay, and better work conditions. In their day, the company provided for the welfare and training of the worker. Our generation’s bargain is fundamentally different. The corporation was slowly replaced by the government as society’s safety net, but these days the government’s been replaced with nothing. Companies shouldn’t have to provide healthcare, education, and training–our taxes should. We rely on our jobs or these “benefits” but for our generation they shrink and dwindle.

Our generation’s workers are constantly precarious, shackled to student loan debt brought on by the total evisceration of our public universities. We are left scrambling for whatever unpaid internships and jobs that are left as middle-class jobs are hollowed out. Productivity soars as wages stagnate.

Union-busting wage-depressing job-outsourcing tax-avoiding American looters are squeezing all they can out of us while they get rich. Who’s holding up our end of the bargain? Are you going to do something about it once your barbecue’s done? Our generation’s labor challenge: to restore society’s promise of opportunity. That takes a redefining of government’s role to provide a strong foundation for our generation to launch businesses, change jobs, and start families without fear of death or poverty.

MAP: Saint Petersburg Mayoral Election

On Tuesday, voters in Saint Petersburg, Florida voted in the first round of this year’s mayoral election, advancing incumbent Mayor Bill Foster and Rick Kriseman to the runoff election in November.

Below is a dot density map where one dot equals one vote. This graphic is heavily inspired by the Los Angeles Times maps of Los Angeles elections.


Beijing Bump to Chinatown

I’m on vacation with my family. Today we were scheduled to fly from Baltimore to Newark to Beijing to begin our journey.

NYC Subway

Don’t let that photo fool you, we never made it to Beijing. That’s an ad on the New York City subway selling health insurance.

We heard a magical sentence at Newark “Liberty” International Airport that few fliers get to take advantage of:

“*kssh* We are in an overbooking situation. United Airlines is looking for four volunteers to go on tomorrow’s flight. You will receive an $800 travel voucher good for one year, and a hotel room.

Sweet baby Jesus, make it rain!

As if renaming Washington National Airport after the president that broke the air traffic controller’s union wasn’t enough, Newark dared to lay claim to the entire concept of individual agency and self-determination. In the not-so-distant future, patriotic Americans will fly out of Spokane Freedom International on their way to Roanoke Second Amendment Regional Airport or something equally absurd.

Anyway, most travelers would have averted the gaze of the prowling airline staff, desperately hoping some other sucker would march to the denied boarding abattoir instead of them. Luckily for them, there are folks like my family, who are loath to check bags and love funding future travel for the price of a night at a hotel room we didn’t have to pay for in New York, a city that we love.

The baggage handlers were so ecstatic at not having to fish out a bumped passenger’s checked bag of lead weights and cement blocks from the very rear of the cargo hold that for one brief, shining moment they didn’t look aggrieved at the never-ending presence of infernal luggage.


9/11 Memorial

These children, and many more like them at the 9/11 memorial, likely had no memory of the event at all. Children born today have the same distance from 9/11–12 years–than my birth did from the start of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979. It is to them what the Iranian Hostage Crisis was for our generation, something that happened sometime between my parents meeting and possibly the sacking of Carthage. Either way, it was a long time ago.

We Millenials are now Old, where children will soon graduate from high school with no personal memories of 9/11, the formative event of our time.

9/11 Memorial

Beijing is for tomorrow. What better way to lead into a visit to Real China than a United Airlines-funded trip to America’s finest China theme park, New York City Chinatown? The land of egg tarts and barbecue pork, the great lodestar of hungry ethnically Chinese immigrants and their American-born, chopstick-wielding hair-dying grad-schooling offspring? (I have not dyed my hair.)

Last Remaining Xiaolongbao
Xiaolongbao are hard to photograph because there is a tendency to destroy them before even remembering to pull the camera out.

Entries and Exits: Map of a Day on the Washington Metro


The above graphic maps, per hour, entries and exits per station on a typical weekday on the Washington Metro, similar to this animation of the London Underground. Station data by hour was provided by WMATA for October 2012.

Red stations have more exits than entries in a given hour, while green stations have more entries. Early in the day, commuters flood in from outlying suburban stations and exit in the downtown core. During mid-day, suburban stations are quieter while downtown stations have balanced entries and exits. The commute flow reverses in the evening. We can divide stations into three types as land-use patterns and a station’s purpose can be discerned by their coloring and size behavior.

1) Job centers. The core contains most of the area’s commuter destinations, with Medical Center on the Red Line a notable outlier. During the lunch hour, ridership is higher than in bedroom communities. Riders exit these stations in the morning and enter them in the evening.

2) Bedrooms and park and rides. These stations, mostly outside the core, are nearly empty outside of rush hour. Commuters enter in the morning and exit at night.

3) Transportation hubs. These stations tend to remain white in the map with largely equal exits and entries as long-distance passengers use Union Station and National Airport. Pentagon, despite being home to the world’s largest office building, also sees even entries and exits during most of the rush hour with a large portion of transferring passengers using the Pentagon bus terminal.

4) Mixed-use areas. Arlington County stations between Rosslyn and Ballston are good examples of areas with both jobs and residents, giving them largely even entries and exits during rush hour.

Stations are mapped to their actual geographic location, which looks substantially different than the diagrammatic official map.

INTERACTIVE MAP: June 11 VA Democratic Primary by Polling Place

The following maps show precinct-level unofficial returns for statewide offices in the June 11, 2013 Virginia Democratic Primary.

Each dot represents one polling place, totals for polling places with more than one precinct are combined. Click to retrieve individual results, and use the zoom and pan tools to zero in on a neighborhood.

Democrats nominated State Sen. Ralph Northam and State Sen. Mark Herring to join gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe. Republicans held a statewide nominating convention last month, which I mapped here.

Absentee ballots in Virginia are not broken down by precinct, and are not included in the maps.

For interactive county-level maps, check VPAP. I geocoded polling places obtained from the State Board of Elections directory in lieu of obtaining shapefiles from each locality.

These maps both look very similar. Both Northam and Herring assembled closely associated coalitions.

Last Updated: June 12th, 1:08 AM.
2508/2534 precincts (99% reporting)

Lieutenant Governor

    Candidate Votes Percent
    Ralph Northam 76,463 54.28%
    Aneesh Chopra 65,997 45.81%

Attorney General

    Candidate Votes Percent
    Mark Herring 71,037 51.63%
    Justin Fairfax 66,547 48.37%

GIF: Mapping EW Jackson’s RPV Convention Victory


The above map shows the winner of each city or county’s delegation from last month’s Republican Party of Virginia convention. A handful of counties and cities were combined into the same delegations, and that is reflected in the map.

If you haven’t heard of E.W. Jackson, this year’s Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor in Virginia, by now, you certainly will by Election Day. After muscling out six competitors in four ballots at last month’s Republican Party of Virginia convention in Richmond, Democrats immediately reacted with glee. Jackson is a melon-smashing, gay-bashing, segregation-defending right-wing Tea Partier who blurs the lines between the truth and satire. Like it or not though, he led every round of balloting at the RPV convention and held his ground as the chaotic opposition scrambled from candidate to candidate. One wonders how many exhausted delegates leaving an all-day marathon balloting session thought they’d rather have an instant-runoff primary.

The convention format is not kind to moderates. Only diehards would stomach the thought of traveling for hours (the farthest reaches of Southwest Virginia are over 6 hours away from Richmond) to spend all day in a convention hall. Bill Bolling and Tom Davis knew this when faced with a convention for higher statewide office, and Tom Davis’s wife Jeannemarie (no conservative slouch herself, but this is within a Republicans-only electorate here) learned the hard way this time around.

Official RPV results are here.