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PDF Editor FAQ

What do you think of Texans strongly supporting background checks for all potential gun buyers?

Well, I don’t think Texans actually strongly support background checks because surveys about gun issues are inherently flawed due to bias and because Texans, like folks in the rest of the United States, haven’t been told the truth.In the first place, a poll is only as good as the source and the source of the Dallas Morning News/University of Texas - Tyler poll is legitimately suspect.The majority of those polled were selected from a group of people who had previously said they were willing to participate in polls so there is an inherent bias in this group. Only 305 participants were canvassed by telephone solicitations. The study does not indicate how many attempts were made to find the 305 people willing to participate. According to the Texas secretary of state, there are 15,823,406 registered voters in Texas. That means 0.0019% of voters were polled. There are 254 counties in Texas so the pool of random respondents likely favors the larger urban concentrations of population, which in Texas are more liberal than the rest of the state.Here are some facts:635 people have been murdered by mass shooters who passed background checks. Another 1,131 people have been wounded. People are often quite surprised to learn this.California enacted universal background checks in 1991. According to the FBI, the homicide rate in California dropped 65% from 1991 to 2018. Texas did not enact a universal background check law and the homicide rate in Texas dropped 70%. Almost nobody is aware of this.According to the Gun Violence Archive, California not only has more mass shootings than Texas, it has a higher rate of mass shootings per 100,000 population. Over the past five years, California has had more of these mass shooting incidents than any other state. Illinois has had the next highest number. Media and gun control advocates go on and on about the number of mass shooting incidents but never seem to mention where they happen.Studies of universal background check laws have consistently shown them to be ineffective largely because they are unenforceable without universal gun registration. A 2013 memo from Greg Ridgeway to President Obama said exactly this. Yet this has not been communicated to the American people. Note that the cited survey in the Dallas Morning News said that most were not in favor of gun registration.So what do I think about the statement that Texans strongly support background checks? I think it’s bunk.

Can you pick one interesting fact about every state in America?

I’m going to steer clear of the interesting facts that are horrifically obvious or have been done to death in other answers (“Rhode Island is the smallest state,” for example). I’m going for the wack factor here, people. Buckle up.Alabama - full of rocket scientistsHuntsville, Alabama is known as “the rocket capital of the world.” The Marshall Space Flight Center, activated on July 1, 1960, was responsible for the creation of the Jupiter C rocket (which propelled the first U.S. satellite into orbit) and also built the Saturn V rocket (which launched the Apollo 11 spacecraft). Yes, that’s right: Alabama, at one point, was the home of the world’s highest concentration of rocket scientists. And here you thought Alabama was full of nothing but racist hicks, didn’t you?Alaska - a bit warmer than you thoughtThink it doesn’t get that hot in Alaska? A record high of 100 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded at Fort Yukon in 1915. (Just in case you were curious, the record low was -80 degrees Fahrenheit, recorded in 1971 at Prospect Creek Camp.)Arizona - where the fishing’s fineDespite being one of the most notoriously arid and desert-coated states in the country, Arizona has two native species of trout—one of which, the Apache trout, is found only in Arizona. Unsurprisingly, it’s the official state fish.Arkansas - diamonds in the roughArkansas is a girl’s best friend. The largest and most valuable diamonds ever found in the U.S. were discovered in the state, including the 8.52-carat Esperanza gem discovered in 2015 (pictured above; estimated value $1 million). Arkansas is jam-packed with gems, minerals, ores, and semi-precious stones. The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Pike County allows visitors to search for precious and semi-precious stones, including diamonds, quartz, amethyst, agate, jasper, and garnet.California - an agricultural giantBetter known for the Hollywood film industry and Silicon Valley, California’s real economic powerhouse is its agriculture. More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state, so raise a glass to the Golden State next Thanksgiving. California also produces 300,000 tons of grapes (and 17 million gallons of wine) a year, plus 20% of the nation’s milk and simply staggering amounts of fruit, vegetables, beef, and chicken. Almost all of America’s almonds, figs, apricots, kiwi fruit, olives, dates, nectarines, prunes, pistachios, and walnuts are grown in California—and almost 100% of America’s commercially grown artichokes as well. True story: in 1948, a pretty 22-year-old woman named Norma Jean Baker was crowned California’s first “Artichoke Queen” in Castroville, a few miles north of Monterey (a hotbed of artichoke cultivation). She went on to become actress and bombshell Marilyn Monroe.Colorado - pretty far up thereThey don’t call it “mile-high” for nothing. Not only is Colorado’s largest city, Denver, a mile above sea level, but Colorado also has the highest mean altitude of any state in the country. The highest paved road in North America (14,258 feet at its highest point), the highest auto tunnel in the world (11,000 feet), and the highest incorporated city in the United States (Leadville) are all located in Colorado. Seventy-five percent of all United States soil higher than 10,000 feet is in Colorado. And the views in Colorado, unsurprisingly, are breathtaking. The poet Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write “America the Beautiful” in 1893, after she and some of her coworkers climbed to the 14,000-foot summit of Pike’s Peak (pictured above).Connecticut - birthplace of the hamburgerBeing one of America’s oldest states, Connecticut is a land of firsts. After copper was discovered in Simsbury in 1705, America’s first copper coins were minted in Connecticut in 1737. America’s oldest public library—the Scoville Memorial Library—started up in Salisbury in 1771, after the owner of a local blast furnace solicited contributions from the community and bought 200 books in London to start the collection. America’s first phone book was published in New Haven in 1878 (it only had 50 names in it). The idea for the Polaroid camera was born at a boy’s camp in Connecticut in 1922, with the first camera being sold in 1934. The world’s first practical helicopter, the VS-300, took flight in Stratford in 1939. But those probably aren’t the best and most beloved of Connecticut’s “firsts”—America’s first hamburger was served in New Haven in 1900, at a spot called “Louis’s Lunch.” According to local legend, a customer asked owner Louis Lassen if the “ground steak trimmings” they’d just ordered could be served to go. Lassen slid the ground beef patty between a pair of bread slices, and presto! Burger-ception.Delaware - workin’ on the night shiftReggae legend Bob Marley resided in Delaware from 1965 to 1977, working at the Chrysler plant in Newark and for the Dupont Company, saving up money to move back to Jamaica and start a record company. His song “Night Shift” (one of my favorites by Marley, actually) is rumored to be based on his time there. How apropos that Marley, spokesman for the downtrodden and oppressed, should take up residence in Delaware, a hub of the Underground Railroad. Pennsylvania-born Quaker Thomas Garrett, a close friend and benefactor of Harriet Tubman, was a “stationmaster” for the Underground Railroad in Delaware in the years leading up to the American Civil War. He is thought to have helped over 2,000 escaped slaves reach safety; Garrett’s personal (and very modest) estimate was 2,700. Now that’s workin’ on the night shift.Florida - crocs and gators, gators and crocsEven by American standards, Florida is a weird place. For starters, it’s the only place in the world where both crocodiles and alligators exist side by side (in the Everglades). Another fun Florida fact: Saint Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the continental U.S., having been founded by the Spanish in 1565. (I couldn’t decide which fact was more interesting, so I included them both.)Georgia - Blackbeard’s hideout, maybeNotorious buccaneer Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, terrorized the Caribbean and the southeast coast of British North America in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Legends say he may have had a hideout on Blackbeard Island just off the coast of Georgia, and may even have buried some of his treasure there. Either way, the United States Congress set aside 3,000 acres as the “Blackbeard Island Wilderness Area” in 1975.Hawaii - what isn’t interesting about it?There as many interesting facts about Hawaii as there are grains of sand on its beaches. Let me throw a few at ya:Hawaii is the only U.S. state which grows coffee.There are only 13 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet—five vowels and eight consonants.Waialeale Mountain on the island of Kauai is considered the wettest place on earth, with an average rainfall of 488 inches.The only royal palace in the United States, Iolani Palace, is located on Oahu.The biggest contiguous ranch in the United States is located on the Big Island of Hawai’i—the Parker Ranch, at roughly 480,000 acres.The Big Island is home to the world’s most active volcano—Kilauea.The two tallest mountains in the Pacific (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa) are also located on the Big Island.Idaho - deep canyons, tall waterfallsThought the deepest canyon in the United States was that big one in Arizona? Nope. Hells Canyon in western Idaho is the deepest river gorge in the country at 7,993 feet—about 1,900 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon. Oh, and Shoshone Falls, also on the Snake River (in Twin Falls), is 212 feet high—45 feet higher than Niagara.Illinois - one of the flattest flats that ever flattened a flatIllinois is the second-flattest of the lower 48 states. (The only flatter state is Florida, with all those low-lying coastal plains.) It lies, on average, 600 feet above sea level, except down near the Mississippi River, where it reaches as low as 279 feet above sea level. The highest point in the whole state, Charles Mound, is a mere 1,235 feet above sea level. That’s less than a thousand feet of elevation change in an area of almost 58,000 square miles. Quite a difference from Colorado, eh?Indiana - the popcorn capital of the worldHawaii grows coffee. Georgia grows the “three P’s”—peaches, peanuts, and pecans. California grows…almost everything. Indiana, however, grows corn. Almost half of the state’s farmland is devoted to growing corn. Not surprising, given that Indiana is the home state of Orville Redenbacher, and produces 20% of the United States’ popcorn. In 2014, Indiana farmers planted 91,000 acres of corn just for popcorn.Iowa - rivers, lakes, and mammoth bonesDespite lying almost smack-dab in the middle of the United States, Iowa is the only state whose eastern and western borders are 100% water. It is bounded to the west by the Missouri River and to the east by the Mississippi. Much like Illinois, Iowa is quite flat—mashed into a pancake by the glaciers that marched across North America during the last Ice Age. The Iowa Great Lakes in Dickinson County were scooped out by these glaciers. Not surprisingly, Iowa is saturated with woolly mammoth bones—the big hairy critters once dominated the region.Kansas - they got a lotta breadIn addition to being the state that’s less flat than Iowa only because it’s got a hill or two, Kansas is America’s breadbasket. Almost literally. In 1990, Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 33 billion loaves of bread—enough to give every single human being on Earth six loaves apiece. The Kansan wheat farmers broke their record in 1997, producing enough wheat to make 35.9 billion loaves of bread. Dang, dude. Pass the butter and jam…Kentucky - not just a part of Virginia anymoreBluegrass. The Kentucky Derby. Kentucky Fried Chicken. Mammoth Cave. Fort Knox. The song “Happy Birthday.” Kentucky’s famous for a lot of things, but not many folks know that Kentucky wasn’t even its own state in the beginning. It was originally a county of Virginia. Kentuckians got fed up with having to travel such a long distance to the capital of Richmond, and successfully petitioned to break away and become the 15th state in 1792.Louisiana - where you won’t make the parish lineMaybe this isn’t the most interesting fact about the Bayou State (supposedly it’s where the turducken was invented, popularized by the chef Paul Prudhomme in his New Orleans restaurant K-Paul in the late 1980s). But I’ll throw it out there anyway. Louisiana is the only state in the Union (aside from Alaska) that doesn’t have counties. (Even Hawaii has counties, for Pete’s sake. Alaska has boroughs and census-designated areas.) Louisiana has “parishes” instead.Maine - secluded but beautifulMaine is kind of a lonely place. It’s the only state in the lower 48 that borders just one other state and the only state in the country with a one-syllable name. Mainers speak a completely different language than the rest of the United States. But despite these setbacks, Maine has a lot to offer. Ninety percent of the nation’s toothpick supply is produced in Maine, and they also supply 40% of the nation’s lobster. Jaw-droppingly beautiful Acadia National Park (pictured above, in a photo that won a U.S. Department of the Interior photo contest in 2018) consistently ranks in the top ten most-visited national parks in the country. Oh, and Maine is also home to a rather obscure horror writer named Stephen King.Maryland - home of the U.S. Naval AcademyColorado has the U.S. Air Force Academy, and New York’s got West Point, but Maryland has the U.S. Naval Academy, founded October 10, 1845. (Notable graduates include state governors, ambassadors, cabinet members, Congressmen, Nobel Prize winners, astronauts, and even a U.S. president.) The location of the academy isn’t surprising. Sixteen of Maryland’s 23 counties touch the tidal basin, and Maryland, despite being less than 12,500 miles square, has 4,431 miles of shoreline. Annapolis has been called the sailing capital of the world.Massachusetts - birthplace of basketballAnother New England state with a rich history of “firsts,” Massachusetts can boast of the very first subway system in the United States; the invention of the sport of volleyball (originally called “mintonette”); the namesake of the Fig Newton (Newton, Massachusetts); America’s first planned industrial city (Lowell); America’s first public park (Boston Common, 1634); and the very first game of basketball, played in Springfield in 1891. That may have something to do with why the Basketball Hall of Fame is located in the state.Michigan - land of magicMichigan doesn’t just do cars and rock and roll—the state leads the U.S. in the production of peat, gypsum, and iron ore, and was once home to the world’s largest cement plant, the world’s biggest limestone quarry, and the world’s biggest herd of Holstein cows. But Michigan is known for mass-producing something else, too, something a bit more…whimsical. The city of Colon is the self-proclaimed “Magic Capital of the World.” Every summer the city hosts a four-day magician’s convention, to which amateur and professional magicians flock from across the country. There’s a magic museum, a Magician’s Walk of Fame, and of course, a Magic Capital Cemetery—dozens of famous magicians are buried there. (Or are they?)Minnesota - land o’ lakesJolly Green Giant canned vegetables. Scotch tape. Wheaties. The Bundt pan. Bisquick. Water skiing. The pop-up toaster. Armored cars (and Tonka trucks). The stapler. The Mayo Clinic. Paul Bunyan. The Mall of America—the largest shopping center in America, the size of 78 football fields (9.5 million square feet), with 520 stores, 60 restaurants, and an indoor theme park. Minnesota is famous for a lot of stuff, but it’s most famous for its lakes. Known as “the Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota actually has 11,842 lakes over ten acres in area. Again—blame those damn glaciers.Mississippi - performing surgical wondersThe first lung transplant and the first heart transplant were both performed in Mississippi, in 1963 and 1964 respectively.Missouri - birthplace of the world's tallest-ever manAside from inventing iced tea and ice cream cones, and falling victim to the deadliest tornado in U.S. history (the Tri-State Tornado of 1925, which claimed 695 lives and destroyed 15,000 homes), Missouri is also the birthplace of the tallest man in modern medical history, Robert Pershing Wadlow (8 feet 11.1 inches tall). EDIT: On another Quoran's suggestion, I've amended my answer to say that Wadlow was born in Missouri. He lived most of his life in Illinois.Montana - where the deer, elk, and antelope outnumber the humansNo two ways about it: this state is just plain wild. I’m gonna pull a Hawaii here and throw some more facts at ya:Largest migratory herd of elk in the country.Largest breeding population of trumpeter swans in the lower 48.Most likely more golden eagles than any other state.Largest nesting population of common loons in the western U.S.A moose population of 8,000—not bad, considering moose were thought to be extinct south of the Canadian border in 1900.Largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48.One average square mile of Montana contains 1.4 elk, 1.4 pronghorn antelope, and 3.3 deer.The Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area may contain as many as 300,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swans during a typical migration season.Forty-six of Montana’s fifty-six counties are “frontier counties,” with an average population density of less than six people per square mile.Nebraska - drinkin’ the Kool-AidConnecticut’s got hamburgers, New York has French fries, Missouri has ice cream cones, and Florida has Gatorade…but Nebraska is the birthplace of Kool-Aid. Back in the 1920s, Edwin Perkins of Hastings invented a sweet punch he called “Fruit Smack.” But he needed a way to cut production costs. In 1927, he hit upon the idea of selling it as a powder (in his mother’s kitchen, no less) and the rest is history.Nevada - the last bastion of the world’s oldest professionLet’s skip the obvious stuff—casinos, the mob, nuclear testing, Hoover Dam. Let’s get sexy. Nevada is the only state in the Union where some forms of prostitution are still legal. Prostitution is legal in every county in Nevada except Clark County, wherein lies Las Vegas. (Sorry, tourists.) Even so, it is illegal for “freelance” prostitutes to ply their trade—prostitution is illegal except for that practiced in the state’s 21 licensed brothels, such as the famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Mound House.New Hampshire - pretty dang windy, as it turns outThought Chicago was the Windy City? Think again. The winds and weather around Mount Washington, New Hampshire are notoriously wacky and unpredictable. On the afternoon of April 12, 1934, the Mount Washington Observatory recorded a wind speed of 231 miles per hour—three times faster than a Category 1 hurricane. (Two other quick New Hampshire facts—the state declared its independence from Britain six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed—way to go, guys. The state’s motto, unsurprisingly, is “Live Free or Die.”)New Jersey - a seething mass of humanityNew Jersey is pretty much the polar opposite of Montana. Every single one of the state’s 21 counties contains, in whole or in part, a metropolitan area. Ninety percent of the state’s population lives in one of those metropolitan areas. The state has the highest population density of any U.S. state—over a thousand people per square mile, which is 13 times the national average. New Jersey—thanks to its proximity to New York, probably—also has the densest and most tangled network of railroads and highways in the country. And yes, Jersey Shore fans—NJ has no fewer than 50 seaside resort towns and cities, which get horrifically busy during the season.New Mexico - high and dryDenver may be the “Mile-High City” (a mile, for non-Americans reading this answer, is 5,280 feet, and Denver’s elevation ranges between 5,130 and 5,690 feet). But Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, sits at a staggering 7,000 feet. The state is not only high, but also dry—I read somewhere that New Mexico is so arid that 75% of its roads have been left unpaved. They never wash out.New York - always on the verge of a catastrophic subway floodThe trouble with really old cities it’s that it’s pretty dang difficult to modernize them. In New York City’s case, the subway system had to be built below the sewers and storm drains. Over 750 pumps prevent 1.3 million gallons of water from flooding the New York subway system every. Single. Day. I remember reading Alan Weisman’s amazing book The World Without Us, in which he said that the first thing that would happen if humanity suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth is that the New York City subways would flood, and the streets would collapse.North Carolina - flying, jazz, golf, and missing colonistsWhat do aviation, Andrew Jackson, John Coltrane, Nina Simone, and Thelonious Monk all have in common? They were all born in North Carolina. Oh yeah, and it’s also where Babe Ruth hit his first home run, where Arnold Palmer honed his swing (at Wake Forest University), and where the first English colony in North America was established (at Roanoke Island). Yeah, that colony. The one that mysteriously vanished. Oh yeah, and the state’s motto is “Esse quam videri” (“To be, rather than to seem”). How cool is that?North Dakota - protecting “mom and pop shops”Aside from being home to the geographical center of North America (located in Rugby), North Dakota has also become a symbol of the fight against Big Pharma. By North Dakota law, pharmacies must be owned by local pharmacists. You can scour North Dakota from one end to the other and you’d be hard-pressed to find a Rite-Aid or a Walgreens. The law is intended to protect small business owners from being squeezed out by big chains.Ohio - infrastructure galoreYou might say Ohio had the best interest of its citizens at heart. The city of Cincinnati inaugurated America’s first professional fire department on April 1, 1853. Twelve years later, that same city started up the nation’s first ambulance service. A Dayton shopkeeper invented the cash register in 1879 to keep his customers’ sticky fingers off his profits. The city of Akron was the first to use police cars (or rather, police carriages) in 1899. The city of Cleveland installed the nation’s first traffic light in 1914. Ohio also has a long and loving relationship with rock-’n’-roll and aviation—the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland (and the official state song is “Hang On Sloopy”). Ohio is the birthplace of the Wright Brothers and also Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.Oklahoma - birthplace of the electric guitarWhen you think of the phrase “coolest state in America,” Oklahoma probably doesn’t spring to mind. But did you know that that’s where the electric guitar was invented? By a fellow called Bob Dunn in 1934? Didn’t think so. I don’t think even he knew what he was kicking off. Fun fact: the invention of the electric guitar predates the invention of the parking meter (also invented and implemented in Oklahoma) by a year.Oregon - home of the world’s largest (and most terrifying) organismI could say a lot of things about Oregon—the beautiful coastline, the dormant volcanoes, that really deep lake, the wines, the full-service gas stations—but what I really ought to say is that this state is home to the largest organism on earth. It’s a fungus 2.4 miles wide. It’s called a “honey fungus”—an innocuous and dangerously misleading name, in my opinion—and it’s spread itself out over Oregon’s Blue Mountains. I’m sorry, I don’t trust any living thing more than a mile wide. Kill it with fire.Pennsylvania - home of “The Raven” (yes, that raven)Yet another of those old northeastern states rich in history and “firsts,” Pennsylvania is the home of Hershey’s chocolate; the first daily newspaper (1784); the first zoo (1859); the first baseball stadium (1909); the first automobile service station (1913); and the first computer (1946). But Pennsylvania’s claim to fame may be even more profound than that. If you go to the rare book department of the Free Library of Philadelphia, you’ll see a taxidermied raven. It was once the pet of Charles Dickens. But the stuffed bird most famously inspired a certain melancholy Baltimore poet named Edgar Allan Poe to write a poem called “The Raven.” EDIT: This answer previously said that Pennsylvania was part of New England. I've corrected that error on the suggestion of another Quoran.Rhode Island - founded by a true AmericanYes, Rhode Island is the smallest state—let’s get that out of the way. But it’s so much more than that. The colony of Rhode Island was founded by a man who just might have been the most moral American who ever lived. His name was Roger Williams. He was a Puritan minister, author, and theologian who pretty much laid the foundation for the Bill of Rights. Williams was a staunch advocate for religious freedom, firmly supported the separation of church and state, and wanted the colonies to deal fairly with the Native Americans. He was also one of the first abolitionists, way before it was cool. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both acknowledged Williams as a major influence on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. After being excommunicated by the Puritan leadership for espousing “new and radical ideas,” Williams founded the Providence Plantations in 1636, offering what he called “liberty of conscience.” If that’s not American, I don’t know what is.South Carolina - shakin’ and quakin’California by no means has a monopoly on earthquakes. On August 31, 1886, an earthquake believed to have registered 7.6 on the Richter scale rocked the city of Charleston, killing over a hundred people, leveling the city, and causing $5.5 million in damages—about $136 million in today’s currency.South Dakota - dyin’ place of a Western legendAmong its many claims to fame—the location of Mount Rushmore, birthplace of Tom Brokaw, homeland of the Sioux nation—South Dakota is also famous for being the place where the legendary gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok met his end. ’Twas in Deadwood, in 1876, when jealous gambler Jack McCall shot Hickok in the back of the head at point-blank range while Hickok was playing poker. In Hickok’s hand were aces and eights—known forever after as “the dead man’s hand.” Though Hickok’s star had faded over the years, his folk hero status was such that Jack McCall’s trial was swift and merciless. In 1877, he was convicted of murder, hanged, and buried in an unmarked grave in Yankton.Tennessee - home of the braveTennessee’s history is a martial one. Tennessee earned its nickname (“the Volunteer State”) due to the valor exhibited by Tennessean volunteers who fought under Andrew Jackson during the Battle of New Orleans at the close of the War of 1812. Davy Crockett, the famous American frontiersman, soldier, folk hero, and politician, was born in Tennessee and went on to die a glorious death at the Alamo in 1836 during the Texas Revolution. Tennesee sent more soldiers to fight in the American Civil War than any other state—120,000 to the Confederacy and 31,000 to the Union. Alvin C. York, born in Pall Mall, became one of the most decorated soldiers of World War I. More than 3,600 Tennessee National Guardsmen participated in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Aside from its indisputable martial prowess, Tennessee is also famous for whiskey (Jack Daniels, anyone?) and music—it’s the birthplace of country music (and Dolly Parton), the location of Elvis Presley’s home of Graceland, and the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the longest-running live radio program in the world. It’s been going nonstop since 1925.Texas - a pretty damn big placeI’m afraid I’m going to have to go with the most obvious interesting fact about Texas, guys. Texas is big. Like, mega-big. The state’s King Ranch is larger than the state of Rhode Island. The city of El Paso is closer to Needles, California (two states away) than it is to Dallas. The state is home to the country’s largest population of whitetail deer and is estimated to be home to 16 million head of cattle. Texas makes up 7.4% of the United States’ total area all by itself. Texas’s largest county (Brewster) is 6,208 square miles—larger than the state of Connecticut (and the nation of Montenegro). Texas itself is 268,597 square miles, which would make it the 40th largest country if it was a country by itself—slightly larger than Burma, and slightly smaller than Morocco.Utah - addicted to gelatinThe state seems to be a little bit obsessed with Jell-O. Salt Lake City has the highest per-capita consumption of the gelatinous stuff in the entire world.Vermont - milk and maple syrupVermont seems to be a bit…removed from the rest of American culture. A mere 22% of Vermonters attend church regularly. The state capital, Montpelier, doesn’t have a McDonalds. Like, anywhere. And until 1996, there were no Walmarts in the state either. (Vermont, much like North Dakota, tends to favor local businesses over nationwide chains.) Vermont has the highest proportion of dairy cows to people—its 1,000 dairy farms and 135,000 cows produce 2.3 billion pounds of milk per annum. Vermont also produces more maple syrup than any other state. (And they’re pretty snobby about it, too.)Virginia - steeped in historyNo discussion of American history is complete without Virginia. It was the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America (Jamestown—sorry you disappeared there, Roanoke). It was the location of the first Thanksgiving. The birthplace of eight U.S. presidents (and six president’s wives). The site of the British surrender during the Revolutionary War (Yorktown). The location of numerous battles of the American Civil War, and the location of the Confederate capital (Richmond). The home base of the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic fleet (Norfolk). Rumor has it that 50% of the people in the United States live within a 500-mile radius of Richmond, Virginia…in which case the Old Dominion would be the “center” of the United States, even more so than Rugby, North Dakota.Washington - home of the world’s biggest buildingWhile Washington State is famous for a number of things—being the only state named after a U.S. president, growing fantastic apples, having more glaciers than the other lower 48 states combined, being the birthplace of both Jimi Hendrix and Bing Crosby—Washington is probably best known for being the headquarters of some of America’s wealthiest and most well-known corporations, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing. It’s also home to the largest building in the world—the Boeing assembly plant in Everett, which is a staggering 4,280,000 square feet in area and 472 million cubic feet in volume.West Virginia - birthplace of the ballsiest test pilot in historyYet another piece of the state of Virginia that broke away, West Virginia split away from its mother state in 1861, after Virginia voted to secede from the Union. Only 17 of the 49 delegates from the northwestern corner of the state were in favor of secession, so a convention was held in Wheeling and the notion of becoming an independent state was floated. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation formally admitting West Virginia to the Union, making WV the only state to be admitted to the Union via presidential proclamation. The state is probably most famous for two things: producing 15% of America’s coal and producing Chuck Yeager, the heroic WWII triple ace and test pilot who broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 in 1947.Wisconsin - milk, cheese, cranberries, and…ginseng?Wisconsin sees Vermont’s 1,000 dairy farms and raises ’em 9,920. Wisconsin’s cows produce 25.4% of the country’s cheese and 13.5% of its milk. Wisconsin’s abundance of arable land allows it to grow 60% of the nation’s cranberries and 97% of its ginseng. Wisconsin also grows plenty of green peas, snap peas, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, cherries, apples, and corn. The city of Milwaukee was once home to four of the world’s biggest producers of beer: Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst, and Miller. Only Miller remains, but Wisconsin’s craft brew scene is thriving. Wisconsin is also the birthplace of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, magician and escape artist Harry Houdini, entertainer Chris Farley, actor and producer Orson Welles, author Laura Ingalls Wilder, painter Georgia O’Keeffe, circus impresarios Charles and John Ringling, and pianist Liberace.WyomingUniversal suffrage! Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote, in 1869–51 years before the 19th Amendment was ratified.And there you have it, Quora. Fifty exhaustively researched (heh) facts about the American states. Hope you enjoyed it. My information may be out of date, so please suggest any corrections in the comments section. And thanks for reading.

Is the Democratic Party morally superior to Republicans and libertarians?

I don't see how parties have morals. This is about the people who embody the party, it's policy vision and overall ideals, including moral preferences.Here is an uncomfortable fact:The Republican party is number one with racists, misogynists, bigots and theocrats.Why is that?There is no doubt the intent of the party is not about these things, yet that fact remains and I find it very troublesome.Now, before somebody jumps into the comments with "But the liberals", let's be clear here. This is about the people, and the left is up front about these things being always wrong. Seriously wrong, and that clarity tends to push those behaviors and ideas away from the party mindshare. The left has crappy people in it too. No question.But that fact remains. Why is that? Can't we fix it?It's particularly troublesome to me due to Republicans often running on moral purity, family values, and so on. The Democrats and the left in general doesn't do this to anywhere near the same degree.It's one thing to have people with character issues as members of a party. Happens. People align with parties. But running on purity while having such large numbers of arguably not pure people? It pains the mind.Through some discussion, I realized I failed to make two primary points in this answer:1. The left has the superior moral view on social issues.It's an ugly discussion too. Painful, but progress will be made, and is being made rather quickly on some fronts.2. Neither party has an economic superiority over the other.The Democrats have progressives holding the flag for the far left on economic issues, while the Republicans have the Tea Party holding the flag for the far right.Neither of these extremes are so well aligned with the economic best interests of the vast majority of Americans, yet both see ideologically pure economic policy visions as means to a better end. This is unproductive.The dominant economic bloc enjoys a majority in both parties, which makes finding solutions more difficult than it really should be at this time.I'll just leave this here:Carey Lee Cramer, political consultant and producer of negative presidential campaign ads, convicted of molesting two young girls, one of whom lived with him, and was 8 yrs old; the other starred in an anti-Kerry commercial. political skullduggery.Lewis Libby, former Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. In 1996 published a novel containing bizarre sexual content, including bestiality and pedophilia.Bill O'Reilly Right-wing conservative talk show host on Fox News, sued for sexual harassment by his producer. The suit included graphic details, including tape-recordings. O'Reilly's wife was pregnant at the time. O'Reilly settled and paid millions of dollars rather than have the details become public.Judith Regan, Conservative Republican writer and pundit has had several well-publicized affairs and marriages and divorces, and tried to publish a book by O.J. Simpson that wasn't even up to FOX's low standards.In the Fall of 2009, yet another conservative Christian Republican fell from grace.Assemblymen Michael Duvall of Yorba Linda, CA. made the mistake of bragging before a "hot mike" to a fellow legislator, about his sexual conquests with female lobbyists, at "the head table" of a legislative hearing room, . This champion opponent of gay equality was a married man with two children who had earned a 100% rating for good Christian family values organizations. Now, he's joined the cavalcade of disgraced hypocritical Republican former politicians.Adelphia Communications Corp.: Donated large sums of money to some of the most conservative members of Congress. They are also the first cable company to offer hard-core adult movies to subscribers. [ "Moral values" hypocrites take porn money ]Mike Bowers Former State Attorney General of Georgia, prosecuted the famous "Bowers vs. Hardwick" case, based on Georgia anti-sodomy laws. Admitted to a 10-year adulterous affair.Andrew Buhr, Republican politician, former committeeman for Hadley Township Missouri, was charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.Robert Bauman (R-MD) was campaigning for his fourth term as a Maryland Congressman in 1980. A practicing Roman Catholic with a wife and child, he was one of the most vocal conservatives in a very conservative Congress. He regularly rallied for old-fashioned values and attacked all supporters of abortion and homosexual rights. His campaign looked rock-solid, before it changed overnight with a series of shocking revelations. The public learned that Bauman had been charged with soliciting sex from a 16-year old boy he picked up at a gay bar, and that he had been the victim of an extortion scheme by a man who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with him. This, combined with an alcohol problem (which did not seem to bother his fellow Congressmen before), doomed his political career.Randy Cunningham (R-CA): In their corruption case, which resulted in a prison sentence of several years, Federal prosecutors also investigated allegations thatCongressman 'Duke' Cunningham was periodically supplied with prostitutes.Sue Myrick, Congresswoman (R-NC), describes herself as a "devout Christian." Yet she's divorced and now married to the man with whom some say she has admitted committing adultery when she and he were married to their prior spouses.Jim Bunn, (R-Oregon) With his success due in great part to support from the Christian Coalition, Bunn won his congressional seat, then left his wife (and mother of his five children), married a staffer, and put his new wife on the state payroll with a salary of $ 97,500.Ed Schrock, two-term republican congressman, with a 92% approval rating from the Christian Coalition. Cosponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, consistently opposed gay rights. Married, with wife and kids. Withdrew his candidacy for a third term after tapes of him soliciting for gay sex were circulated.Rep. Vito Fossela. (R-NY) another "family values" Republican lost his seat when it was revealed that he had fathered a child with a woman not his wife.Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) 's estranged wife claims in a lawsuit he had an affair that ruined their marriage while Pickering was in Congress and living in a Christian building for lawmakers on C Street, near the U.S. Capitol. Pickering, 45, was elected to Congress in 1996, retired in January and is now a lobbyist in Washington for Cellular South, the company that is owned by his mistress's family.J.C. Watts (R-Oklahoma): has said "Character is simply doing right when no one is looking." Watts has tried to cover up his out-of-wedlock child.John Schmitz (R-CA), former extreme right-wing Republican fathered two children by a mistress — a former student named Carla Stuckle whom Schmitz taught when he was a professor at Santa Ana College. One of these children was once admitted to an Orange County hospital with hair tied in a square knot around his penis so tightly that it was almost severed.Congressman Schmitz' daughter, Mary Kay LeTourneau, made national headlines when as a school teacher, she was arrested twice for having sex and producing two children with an underage student of hers (beginning when he was only 13 years old).Don Sherwood (R-PA) Had a five year adulterous affair which only ended when his mistress sued him for physical abuse (and attempted murder?) in 2004.Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond had sex with a 15-year old black girl, which produced a child.Donald "Buz" Lukens (R-OH) was found guilty of having sex with a minor and sentenced to one month in jail.Ken Calvert (R-CA) said in 1998, "We can't forgive what occurred between the President and Lewinsky." This is the same Christian Coalition ally, who was caught by police in 1993 receiving oral sex from a prostitute. His ex-wife also sued him for failure to pay alimony.Dan Burton (R-Indiana) was the Chairman of the House Government Reform & Oversight Committee. He hated President Clinton so much that he publicly called him a "scumbag". Following an expose, Burton was forced to admit that he fathered an out-of-wedlock child, a fact he denied for years.He has yet to admit, however, that during 38 years of marriage he has committed adultery with dozens of women, sexually assaulted others (including a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood), and kept mistresses on his campaign and public payrolls – to the tune of at least a half-million dollars.Charles Canady (R-Fl), Judiciary Committee member. A leading opponent of abortion, Canady lied to his constituents about his adulterous affair with Sharon Becker, which caused her divorce from Florida businessman Robert Becker.Dick Armey (R-TX): as an economics professor before entering Congress, was accused of sexually harassing female students, according to the Dallas Observer.John Peterson (R-PA): has been accused of sexual harassment and hostile-work-environment claims by six women.Helen Chenoweth (R-ID): one of first to condemn Clinton, admitted to having a six year extramarital affair with a married associate. The Spokane Spokesman-Review, but now she claims a pardon from a higher authority: "I've asked for God's forgiveness, and I've received it," she revealed. (She has since divorced and remarried – no doubt with the Lord's blessing!-)Newt Gingrich (R-GA) According to L. H. Carter, reported to be one of Gingrich's closest friends until a falling-out in 1979, "Newt is amoral. There isn't any right or wrong, there isn't any conservative or liberal. There's only what will work best for Newt Gingrich."Mary Kahn, wife of Mr. Gingrich's Congressional campaign manager during the 1970s said, "Newt uses people and then discards them as useless. He really is a man with no conscience. He just doesn't seem to care who he hurts or why." Keep those to quotes in mind as you read what Mr. Gingrich told the Washington Post on January 3, 1995: "I have an enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet. And I am doing it."Bob Livingston (R-LA) was about to replace Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House until he resigned in disgrace when it was revealed that he admitted to had been involved in several adulterous affairs, (while attempting to crucify Democratic President Clinton for having done much less)!Bob Barr (R-GA) the principal sponsor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, has been married three (or is it now four) times. And at a party in 1992, Barr actually licked whipped cream off the breasts of two women, neither of them his current wife. Now that's family values!Rep. DesJarlais,who is also a doctor, made the unfortunately rather common decision to cheat on his wife before assuming office. However, that's not all he did. You see, besides cheating on his wife, Rep. DesJarlais' choice of partners bears mention – specifically, he…Cheated with his coworkersCheated with his own patients.Wrote false prescriptions for one of his mistresses to get drugs, and…Pressured his own wife to get an abortion – twice – while campaigning as a supposedly family values-friendly candidate.The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports:A decade before calling himself "a consistent supporter of pro-life values," Tennessee physician and Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais supported his ex-wife's decision to get two abortions before their marriage, according to the congressman's sworn testimony during his divorce trial Obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the couple's 2001 trial transcript also confirms DesJarlais had sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn. During one affair with a female patient, DesJarlais prescribed her drugs, gave her an $875 watch and bought her a plane ticket to Las Vegas, records show.Senator John Ensign (R-NV.) confessed to serious cheating on his wife with a staffer and caught paying hush money to the husband, his chief of staff.Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), confessed to serious cheating on his wife after leaving his state unsupervised for a week.Senator Larry Craig (R-ID.), caught in a gay sex sting operation in a Minn. bathroom.Senator David Vitter (R-LA), found to have been a client of prostitutes in D.C. & Louisiana.Rep. Mark Foley, (R-Fl.) forced to resign when he was found to be having inappropriate communications with male pages.In Connecticut, the holier-than-thou Republican party chose the mayor of one of the state's largest cities as its candidate for the U.S. Senate. If Joe Lieberman had caved in to Republican demands in the year 2000 that he not run for relection to the senate at the same time that he was running for the vice presidency, then our nation would have had a Republican Senator from Conn., named Philip Giordano at least until he was sentenced to serve his 37 year sentence in Federal prison as a result of the FBI investigating him for financial shenanigans and discovering in the process that this crooked, disgusting Republican office holder had been repeatedly molesting two pre-teen little girls related to his prostitute-mistress (in the mayor's office among other places).Bob Packwood, Senator (R-Ore.), resigned in 1995 under a threat of public senate hearings related to 10 female ex-staffers accusing him of sexual harassment.Republican anti-abortion activist Howard Scott Heldreth is aconvicted child rapist in Florida.Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty tomolesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 yearsin prison.Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.Republican anti-abortion activist Nicholas Morency pleaded guilty topossessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty toanybody who murders an abortion doctor.Republican legislator Edison Misla Aldarondo was sentenced to 10years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence infederal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.Republican campaign consultant Tom Shortridge was sentenced to threeyears probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year old girl.Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmondhad sex with a 15-year old black girl which produced a child.Republican pastor Mike Hintz, whom George W. Bush commended duringthe 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admittingto a sexual affair with a female juvenile.Republican legislator Peter Dibble pleaded no contest to having aninappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.Republican activist Lawrence E. King, Jr. organized child sexparties at the White House during the 1980s.Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties atthe White House during the 1980s.Republican Congressman Donald “Buz” Lukens was found guilty ofhaving sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of childporn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sexcrimes involving children.Republican activist Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attemptedsexual assault on a child.Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor workingas a congressional page.Republican activist and Christian Coalition leader Beverly Russelladmitted to an incestuous relationship with his step daughter.Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger allegedly had sex with a16 year old girl when he was 28.Republican congressman and anti-gay activist Robert Bauman wascharged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gaybar.Republican Committee Chairman Jeffrey Patti was arrested fordistributing a video clip of a 5-year-old girl being rapedRepublican activist Marty Glickman (a.k.a. “Republican Marty”), wastaken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexualactivity with an underage girl and one count of delivering the drugLSD.Republican legislative aide Howard L. Brooks was charged withmolesting a 12-year old boy and possession of child pornography.Republican Senate candidate John Hathaway was accused of having sexwith his 12-year old baby sitter and withdrew his candidacy after theallegations were reported in the media.Republican preacher Stephen White, who demanded a return totraditional values, was sentenced to jail after offering $20 to a14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.Republican talk show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty to exposinghis genitals to an 11 year old girl.Republican anti-gay activist Earl “Butch” Kimmerling was sentencedto 40 years in prison for molesting an 8-year old girl after heattempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.Republican Party leader Paul Ingram pleaded guilty to six counts ofraping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.Republican election board official Kevin Coan was sentenced to twoyears probation for soliciting sex over the internet from a 14-yearold girl.Republican politician Andrew Buhr was charged with two counts offirst degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.Republican politician Keith Westmoreland was arrested on sevenfelony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to girls under the ageof 16 (i.e. exposing himself to children).Republican anti-abortion activist John Allen Burt was charged withsexual misconduct involving a 15-year old girl.Republican County Councilman Keola Childs pleaded guilty tomolesting a male child.Republican activist John Butler was charged with criminal sexualassault on a teenage girl.Republican candidate Richard Gardner admitted to molesting his two daughters.Republican Councilman and former Marine Jack W. Gardner wasconvicted of molesting a 13-year old girl.Republican County Commissioner Merrill Robert Barter pleaded guiltyto unlawful sexual contact and assault on a teenage boy.Republican City Councilman Fred C. Smeltzer, Jr. pleaded no contestto raping a 15 year-old girl and served 6-months in prison.Republican activist Parker J. Bena pleaded guilty to possession ofchild pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 monthsin federal prison and fined $18,000.Republican parole board officer and former Colorado staterepresentative, Larry Jack Schwarz, was fired after child pornographywas found in his possession.Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate RobinVanderwall was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sexfrom boys and girls over the internet.Republican city councilman Mark Harris, who is described as a “goodmilitary man” and “church goer,” was convicted of repeatedly havingsex with an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to 12 years in prison.Republican businessman Jon Grunseth withdrew his candidacy forMinnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming inthe nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.Republican director of the “Young Republican Federation” NicholasElizondo molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to sixyears in prison.Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A.Dasen Sr., was charged with rape for allegedly paying a 15-year oldgirl for sex. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children andseveral grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the pastdecade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number ofyoung women.Former South Dakota Republican state Rep. Ted A. Klaudt was arrested on multiple charges of rape and other sexual offenses against two teen girls.There is what a party stands for and then there is what it's members actually DO. I'll leave the judgement of superiority up to you the reader.

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