Nightcap

  1. Democracy in Puerto Rico
  2. Sweden, the lockdowns, and the rest of Europe Scott Sumner, EconLog
  3. A new history of the Vikings Tom Shippey, London Review of Books
  4. Musings on the future of remote work Robin Hanson, Overcoming Bias

RCH: The Successful Failure of Truman Assassination Attempt

The Truman assassination attempt by Puerto Rican nationalists is the topic of my Tuesday column over at RealClearHistory. An excerpt:

Torresola and Collazo didn’t have much of a plan. They took a train from NYC to D.C. and approached Blair House, planning to shoot their way to Truman. Torresola walked up to the guest house and shot guard Leslie Coffelt four times at point-blank range, and Collazo started a gun fight with several guards. Torresola tried to find Collazo, leaving Coffelt for dead, but Coffelt somehow managed to get off a shot and it hit Torresola in the head, immediately killing him. Collazo was shot several times but managed to survive. It was the heaviest and longest gun fight in Secret Service history.

Please, read the rest.

Vox on Puerto Rican statehood

Vox, a left-wing publication founded by a fellow Bruin (Ezra Klein), has a pretty good piece up on Puerto Rico’s inability to “gain statehood,” i.e. to become a full-fledged member of the American federation. I say “pretty good” instead of great because the author, Alexia Fernández Campbell, does too much Trump-bashing and not enough focusing on the issue at hand.

Look, I didn’t vote for Trump. I don’t like Trump. But the Left’s infatuation with him is unhealthy, the way the Right’s infatuation with Obama was unhealthy. When Obama was president, I wanted so badly to rely on the right-leaning press for excellent opposition coverage of the Obama administration but, with few exceptions, all I got was garbage. The experience jaded me, and I expect less of the press, so the Left’s inability to look at the Trump administration’s many wrongdoings with clear-eyed sobriety is annoying rather than disheartening.

For instance, Campbell points out many problems facing the pro-statehood faction in Puerto Rico: a century-old racist SCOTUS ruling, the lack of a clearly-defined process for gaining statehood, anti-statehood factions in Puerto Rico, Washington’s lack of interest in adding another state, and Donald Trump being A Very Bad Man. One of these problems doesn’t fit into Puerto Rico’s decades-long campaign to gain statehood. Can you guess which one? Annoying!

At any rate, Campbell misses one of the problems facing pro-statehood factions: Puerto Rico would be a “blue” state (overseas readers: “blue state” means a reliable vote for the Democratic Party). If Puerto Rico really wants to become a member of the American federation, its policymakers would do well to start looking for a “red” state (reliable vote for the Republican Party) lobbying partner.

RCH: “10 Places That Should Join the U.S.”

That’s the title of my weekend article over at RealClearHistory. An excerpt:

9. Puerto Rico. Officially an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico was acquired by Washington, along with Cuba and the Philippines, in the course of the Spanish-American War of 1898. Not quite an annexed state and not quite a colony, the island has been in legal limbo since the war with Spain ended. In 2017, a referendum was held on the issue of statehood (the fifth of its kind since 1952), and an overwhelming majority of those who voted preferred statehood to independence or the status quo.

Unfortunately, “those who voted” only accounted for about 23% of the island’s population, and referendum was popularly-held, meaning that the legislature didn’t vote on the matter (which is what the federal congress would require in order to consider a Puerto Rican application). Despite the odds being stacked against a Spanish-speaking state, there has never been a better time than now to join the union, especially if representatives could work in tandem with representatives of Jefferson. The history of American statehood is one of balance in the Senate. If Maine could join as a free state, then Missouri could join as a slave state. If Hawaii could join as a blue state, then Alaska could join as a red state. If Puerto Rico joined the union it would be as a blue state, and Jefferson could be the red yang to San Juan’s yin.

Read the rest.

Worth a gander

  1. good piece of American sociology by Jeffrey Friedman (h/t Alberto Mingardi)
  2. Daniel Larison on the devastation in Puerto Rico
  3. Don Boudreaux has the best take I’ve read or heard on the Trump-pro athlete fiasco, and remember when conservatives blasted Obama for sticking his nose where it didn’t belong when cops killed a black kid in Baltimore?
  4. Chris Dillow explains Leftist confusion about Brexit
  5. smart Leftists talking about smart things (penguins, of course!)