As I’m sure many of you have heard, Robin Williams was found dead today of an apparent suicide. He entertained countless people through his movies and comedy, establishing himself as one of the best comedians and comic actors of his generation, yet he also acted in a number of very serious roles. He was one of the few actors good enough to win major awards as both in both comedy and drama. He surely could have continued entertaining people and making people think for years to come. Irrespective of why this happened, the world has lost a great actor and great comedian and, perhaps most importantly, someone who spent his life making other peoples’ lives a little bit better.
There’s been a lot of articles published over the past few years about the massive economic problems plaguing Puerto Rico. This one in Slate is the most recent.
Basically, the economy has been terrible for a long time. It’s so bad, in fact, that the population has shrunk by over 5% since 2000. Incomes are very low, unemployment is very high and nearly half the population is under the US poverty line. When it’s easier just to move to the mainland to find better opportunities than to stay, many people will choose to stay. The economic trouble and the fact that PR is far poorer than any state are two things (though certainly not the only potential issues) that I suspect will prevent the island from becoming a state if the people ever decide to push for that. It also means that independence isn’t a serious option and won’t be for many years. So, even though few people actually want the status quo (outright independence is unpopular too: the population is roughly evenly split between statehood and being a territory with greater autonomy than now), it seems that that is what Puerto Rico will be stuck with for the foreseeable future.