Editor's note

It was two months ago today that Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. The long delay in restoring essential services like power and in reopening schools and hospitals has forced tens of thousands to leave for the mainland U.S. So have these Puerto Ricans left the island for good? The answer could determine the future of Puerto Rico – where a government plan to recover from bankruptcy relies on stabilizing the population. Alexis R. Santos-Lozada, a demographer at Penn State, explains how he set out to answer this key question. Learn more about the crisis in Puerto Rico with these essential reads and our ongoing coverage.

Ever played the game of hot potato? If so, argues Colorado State economist Steven Pressman, then you can understand the GOP tax plan, specifically the large chunk intended to leave companies a whole lot richer. Spoiler alert: American workers could be stuck holding the potato.

And for those wondering whether to take an extra sip of their favorite spirits this holiday season, historical theologian Michael Foley suggests: Ask the saints.

Emily Costello

Politics + Society Editor

Puerto Rico

Will Puerto Ricans return home after Hurricane María?

Alexis R. Santos-Lozada, Pennsylvania State University

A demographer at Penn State surveyed Puerto Ricans on the mainland to see if they had plans to return to the island.

Puerto Rico two months after Maria: 5 essential reads

Catesby Holmes, The Conversation

Scholars answer key questions about Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Huricane Maria, which destroyed the island two months ago.

Need another reason to help Puerto Rico? It's a key US economic and military asset

Lilian Bobea, Bentley University

If humanitarian need can't move the Trump administration to save Puerto Rico, then perhaps American self-interest will: The island is a crucial part of the country's economic and military machinery.

Why Puerto Rico 'doesn't count' to the US government

Jay L. Zagorsky, The Ohio State University

Although Puerto Ricans are American citizens, what happens on the island tends to stay there, at least in terms of economic data.

Why Puerto Rico is getting the brunt of 'donor fatigue'

Samantha Penta, University at Albany, State University of New York

Charitable giving and government aid can shortchange disasters that follow other disasters.

3 things I learned from delivering medical aid to a remote part of Puerto Rico

Asa Oxner Myers, University of South Florida

It's hard but feasible to make a difference, as long as you work with the locals and don't become a 'disaster tourist.'

Economy + Business

Environment + Energy


Health + Medicine

  • The dangers and potential of 'natural' opioid kratom

    C. Michael White, University of Connecticut

    The herb kratom has a large following and is so popular that it is sold in vending machines. The FDA recently issued a public warning about the herb, which contains low levels of opioids.

Arts + Culture

Ethics + Religion

  • Feeling guilty about drinking? Well, ask the saints

    Michael Foley, Baylor University

    For those wondering whether it is sinful to drink, even moderately, a scholar goes into the history of alcohol and its distillation to show how early monks and priests contributed to it.

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Today’s quote

So what happened to pudding? Why did this broad culinary category, a defining part of American cuisine for more than a century, largely disappear?

  Helen Zoe Veit