Happy Birthday, Nathan Hale

Whilst driving in Long Island to visit the in-laws, the subject of Connecticut state hero Nathan Hale somehow arose. Mrs. Kuhl informed the boys and me that Hale came ashore and was seized by the British in her hometown, in a neighborhood since dubbed Halesite. I was astonished; I knew the story, but didn’t realize he was captured in the Loyalist stronghold of Huntington. Upon asking if there is a plaque commemorating the event, I learned that not only is that the case, said memorial lies but a hundred yards from my father-in-law’s boatyard.

The tires squealed and a detour was made. We disembarked and examined the marker — whereupon we realized coincidentally today is the 255th anniversary of Hale’s birth.

So happy birthday, Nathan Hale! Though your career in espionage was short, we remember you many years after your murder.

And hey, New York — how’s that King George thing working out?

Plum Opportunity

Plebeian crowds may yet swarm Plum Island — “America’s first line of defense against foreign animal diseases,” and, if you’re a conspiracy theorist, source of Lyme disease*:

The general public could someday get access to the 840-acre pork chop-shaped oasis now that the federal government is moving its animal disease research functions to a new lab in Manhattan, Kan. With a “For Sale” sign about to go up at Plum Island, the General Services Administration is seeking community input on what should be done with the property. A hearing was held Wednesday in Connecticut and another is scheduled for Thursday on Long Island.

Full story here. I realize the island has long been deemed a security threat due to its proximity to New York City and its airports, but I have to question if moving a laboratory researching animal diseases to the heart of the Midwest is sound.

Regardless, what’s shocking to me is the feds actually asked for input from the Constitution State. Opening Plum Island is a rare chance to create another Block Island, Shelter Island, or Fishers Island, and most tourists would enter via the same Cross Sound Ferry running out of New London to Orient Point. But I doubt Plum will be sold for private development; a more likely scenario is that it will be turned over to the Parks Service. At least then perhaps overnight camping would be available, something none of the aforementioned islands allow.

A New York congressman lowballs Plum Island at $50 to $80 million. Still, my guess is it will be at least a decade before the island is closed, cleaned, and pronounced suitable for civilians.

(*I’m not generally, though even I think it’s overly coincidental that Lyme disease, a vector-borne pathogen, appeared less than 20 miles north-northwest of a facility researching just those things.)

From the Halls of Massapequa to the Shores of Port Jeff

Michael Trinklein, author of the book currently topping my Amazon queue, says the scheme for Long Island to break from New York has legs:

Seceding from the nation is illegal and, practically speaking, impossible. But seceding from a state to form a new state is allowed by the U.S. Constitution — and the specifications are straightforward. Article IV Section 3 says a proposal first needs to get the approval of the existing state legislature. Dozens of plans have been debated in statehouses over the years, and in a handful of cases, legislatures have passed measures to split their states. In 1819, for example, the Massachusetts legislature voted to release its northern district — unconnected to the rest of the state — to become the new state of Maine.

Trinklein goes on to argue that potentially liberal new states — likely to send more Democrats to Washington — need to pair themselves with conservative secession attempts elsewhere to encourage bipartisan Congressional approval. That’s reminiscent of state-making efforts early in our country’s history, when the southern states agitated for the creation of Kentucky and Tennessee to balance the addition of abolitionist Vermont.

Trinklein’s essay in the WSJ here. Me on Lawng Island secession here.

Lost States has a bonus backstory further endearing it to my heart: the original edition was self-published. Yet more disproof of the corporate lie that self-publishing is harmful to a writer’s career.

Give Me Armband Tattoos or Give Me Death

During a visit to Long Island last weekend, my in-laws were grousing about their high taxes and the proposal to make it easier to dissolve villages, which would reduce local control. My brother-in-law argued Nassau and Suffolk counties should secede from New York and become their own state.

Apparently he isn’t alone:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Long Island Wants to Secede

As someone who went to school upstate, worked in NYC, and married a Long Island girl, I’ve always found New York’s personality to be apples and oranges and bananas. For one or more of those selves to break away isn’t as crazy as it might seem.

Though it may not matter in the end. I think my in-laws are moving to Florida.

More 51st-state talk here.