31 October 2008

Head Beggars' Halloween Hunt

What We want in a Head Beggar, also known as Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in Congress, is the ability to bring in the goods. You know, the dinero, the moola, the big bucks cajoled from the huge (though shrinking) pockets of Uncle Sam. There is no other measure of results (success?) in this position except greenbacks, dead presidents (oh how I wish one of them were), you know, the piles of cold hard cash.

Part of the deal, apparently, is how they look, as Aníbal "Jellyfish" Acevedo's $3,000 suits proved. So if dressing up is part of the gig and just bringing back a huge stash is the mondo blast, then I suggest We cancel all future Head Beggar elections and just have them compete in a Halloween Candy Hunt.

The rules are simple: Each Head Beggar candidate is given $3,000 (the traditional amount, don't you think?) to outfit themselves. On October 31st, at exactly 5:59 p.m., the candidates are told where they have to go to collect their candy. They have exactly three hours to get to their designated location, collect all the candy they can--by themselves--and then have their bags of beggared loot weighed. Highest poundage wins.

The advantages of this system are numerous:

--No one cares that much about the Head Beggar candidates, so this puts them in the spotlight.

--We save tons of money on their useless campaign expenses.

--We get to measure the actual abilities a Head Beggar will truly need to be successful in Congress: opportunistic weaseling, fast feet and no dignity or sense of shame.

--The whole thing can be televised for a ratings blockbuster, thus generating money.

--Because the locations where the candidates will go will be chosen at random from anywhere on the Island (We must ensure the purity of this process), supporters of each party's Head Beggar would stock up on candy...so kids almost everywhere can make out like bandits with the surplus.

And as a final addendum to this process, We could save money on legislative elections by having each party's senate and house candidates (no capital letters merited) have an eating competition, whereby all the candy collected by the the Head Beggars is split into equal portions and the fastest eaters of their portion win a seat. I don't see this as being as necessary as the Head Beggar Hunt, but it would certainly amuse Me to see the piggish gluttons openly acting as such.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

29 October 2008

Broken Cogs

There are gaps in the cogwheels of Our engine of Progress.

We know this. We can even identify the main ones: education, business development, subsumed economy, brain drain and a few more. But the fundamental broken tooth in Our cogwheel is lack of belief. We don't think We can do it Ourselves.

Lacking this belief, this sense of confidence in Ourselves, We are like a bird with a broken wing. Aside from the mixed metaphors, the perception has evidence to support it: Listen to Our "leaders" so-called solutions and note how many depend on outside forces to make Us change.

Once you glom the tendency to passivity disguised as "solving," you quickly get fed up with the whole process. The consistent underlying or even overt tone, whiny and puling, of "We can't do it Ourselves" is a constant refrain that, in another metaphor, are drops of dirty water eroding Our stones. It has been going on for decades, has increased in the last several years and it simply has to stop.

On a figurative level, I'd appoint a "Whine Police" to vet every public utterance of a political, industrial, commercial or social "leader" so that these instances of "can't-do" get excised before they can pollute Our air. On a practical level, I suggest We start asking "Why not?" every time We meet this foolishness. Not "Why?", because even idiots can make up reasons, but "Why not?", because idiots can't argue that angle without exposing how shallow and useless their stance is.

To benefit Us all, the ideal "Why not?" questioners should be the media, but they fail Us at three levels: (1) Too dumb to really know what's going on; (2) Too scared to stand out for taking a position, even when doing so is the only valid option and (3) Too smug to to see how incompetent they really are.

The secondary questioners should be Our teachers, to lead the coming generations into a better future. But they fail Us at two levels: (1) Dumb as the media; (2) Too lazy to make the effort.

So it boils down to Us, as it almost always does, and We are failing Ourselves at only one level: We don't care. We only pretend We do. We let the media be dumb and cowardly, We let Our teachers be lazy and stupid, because in the end, We can't bring Ourselves to care. Like toddlers in a nursery, so long as there's food, drink, toys and a blankie, We don't care. 

But toddlers have one advantage over Us: They believe they can do anything. Until their teachers, the media--and We--tell them, over and over and over again, that they can't.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

27 October 2008

Perfecting the Underground Economy

This won't take long...

It's called the "Super Pulguero," the Super Flea Market, along Road 2, between Mayagüez and Rincón. A large, peaked-roof, wood and zinc hangar with most of the floor still dirt. Stalls outside offering food and trinkets, and some 60 stalls inside offering from jewelry and pottery to tattoos, computer accessories and even contact lenses. 

Open 7 days a week, and on Sunday, the day I visited, the Super Pulguero was open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Why mention this? Because We have this idiocy called the "Closing Law" that limits businesses to 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, with a series of exceptions like drug stores, restaurants, bakeries and mom-and-pop stores, but even in these stores some items cannot be sold outside of the legal hours. (I'd go into detail, but it's stupid in too many ways.)

What's the upshot here? I predicted the sales tax would force a perfecting of the underground economy and noted that flea markets were the visible examples of that process. Now add this: Normal and even expanded business hours; now high-end products and professional services are being offered at cut-rate prices; "mall" format to make the shopping experience easier (the parking lot has lights for night-time customers); the ready chance to open a business in hours rather than months; paying lip service to the sales tax (every stall has a sign on how they "collect" the tax), but cash is the order of the day and the kicker: Municipal policemen as guards in the Super Pulguero.

When the Establishment becomes your partner--whether legimately or not--you have taken a big step from being merely "underground." Push that growing advantage and you will definitely "perfect" an underground economy.

Rest assured, there's more to come. 

The Jenius Has Spoken.

24 October 2008

Third-Party Shame

It's a phrase that has been popping up around Me with increasing frequency: vergüenza ajena. It means "shame for/over/about another person," but for conciseness, I'll translate it as "third-party shame."

Over the past few months, vergüenza ajena has gone from rare and seldom used, like tarragon, to conversational salt, added often and for the right reasons. The people who have used it range from strangers (to Me) off the street to broadcasters, from the unenlightened (the broadcaster) to the erudite. And every time it pops up, it makes sense, combining as it does a humanistic empathy with the recognition that what We are watching is a human train wreck.

Third-party shame is a concept that defies trends, specifically two widely-accepted ones: (1) That We are increasingly uncaring (for whatever economic, social, spiritual and/or technological reasons) and that (2) We are more intent on tearing down a person than building them up. Support for the concepts of these two trends abounds, from media use of "Me Generation" and "social strife" to the explosion of "hero bashing" and "tabloid journalism." And these trends are often visible in My Island. But vergüenza ajena is the opposite of these trends, for it says "I identify with that person, want them to do well, but they are failing and I feel embarrassed by that failure."

The physical manifestation of vergüenza ajena is cringing, the bodily turning away from the disaster one is seeing. Examples of these third-party shame moments are:

--Palin trying to answer any serious question.

--A rapper trying to host a debate with gubernatorial candidates.

--A beauty pageant contestant stuttering and stumbling her way to an inane answer. (This one applies to Palin as well.)

--The murderous moron acting like "global cowboy" when he's perceived by said globe as much more akin to a cowflop.

You know these moments, when what your eyes take in causes your neck to stiffen, your body arching back and even a diffuse pain runs through you as you try to accept what's happening, hoping it isn't, but ultimately slumping mentally as you are forced to accept that--yes--this is happening. Dammit.

Maybe it speaks well of Us, this empathetic expression of vergüenza ajena. Maybe it says that We are more alike than different, that We can look upon others and recognize the shared humanity despite gender, racial and social differences. But then again, is it a good thing to feel more vergüenza ajena as time goes by? Or would it ultimately be better to feel less?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

22 October 2008

The Leader We Need, Revisited

I've touched on this topic not once, but twice, the latter just a few weeks ago. It comes up again as the product of a conversation I had with My good friend, Alfredo. To his question of what kind of leader We needed to right Our foundering ship, I replied "Someone who meets two conditions: A visionary first, who, second, is willing to surround himself/herself with people smart enough to say "No" to him or her."

When he asked "What is the next step?" I confessed to not knowing, for after those two conditions are met, the plans can take virtually any shape. It boils down to someone with extraordinary talents rising above the muck of local politics who evinces enough self-confidence and maturity to seek out differing viewpoints in order to polish the end result of planning and execution.

In other words, We need a miracle. Catch me on a bad day and you'll hear Me say We need a fucking miracle. 

But, as the song says, miracles do happen, so when could that miracle occur? My best estimate is that the earliest a visionary leader could arise would be late 2009, after the current legal prosecution of two local political animals comes to a close. Why? Because each party will need to "freeze" itself as "proof" of innocence until the final gavel falls. It's basically the group reflex that multiplies the abject stupidity of the individual response of "I'm innocent because I stay."

Read that again, because it is correct.

Could a visionary leader appear outside of the two major (major as in herds, not major as in quality) parties? No. At least not one capable of generating the critical mass needed to start a positive change process against Our cultural/historical inertia and make it stick. A capable leader from a non-major party--if one ever appeared and shut up you Rubén "I Sink My Party" Berríos apologists--would end up a curiosity, a respected "voice" most often subjugated to minor issues. From that vantage point, We're better off learning history (something We don't do) because We're certainly not going to see any being made (except in the crime arena.)

Lastly, if the visionary leader who can change Us for the better appears, it will happen only after We receive a severe shock to Our psyche. Given how passive We are, that shock will have to be huge, on the level of political or economic disaster. Imagine "Katrina-rocked New Orleans" and you'll get a frame for what I think is needed. Anything less than that will basically elicit a response amounting to a deep sigh, a resigned shoulder shrug and the muttered curses of the perpetually-downtrodden. In other words, We'll find ways to put up with almost any negative in order to avoid actually doing something about it.

Now you can see why I answered "I don't know" to what happens after a visionary leader appears and selects a working group that combines intelligence and the will to challenge his or her efforts. Not because the leader will face constant opposition (s/he won't), but because what will emerge from that combinaton is the results-oriented friction to polish ideas and actions, to streamline concepts and processes. And that, people, is something We don't have now, so who can say what it will lead to?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

20 October 2008

Just Asking

Questions I would like an answer to:

--Does anyone remember the look on Jorge "Il Castrao" Font's face when he emerged from the local F.B.I. office, unarrested?

--Is it significant that Il Castrao has 32 charges levied against him versus "only" 24 for Our UnGovernor?

--Does anyone remember that the condominium built on public land is still there and We--the people who owned that land in the first place--are having to pay to keep that private building there?

--How soon will the U.S. politicos start bitching about Banco Popular's request for--oh--$300 to $900 million as part of a bailout?, seeing as how We don't pay federal taxes and Our Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac take is proportionately higher than almost all the States?

--What are the Las Vegas odds of Barack Obama completing his presidency? What are the London odds? What are the real odds?

--Will the launch of a new daily in Our sheep-flock make a positive difference? And what about the $1 million "investment" by the local Labor Department in this newspaper, in violation of local and federal laws concerning "freedom of the press"?

--Why do pollsters and political pundits--two sub-species of Homo idiotus--continue to harp on the "Undecided" vote? There is no "Undecided" vote, only voters who don't feel like saying who they will vote for either out of a sense of privacy or because they can't name any of the candidates. 

--How is it possible that, after one month, folks in the Corozo sector of My hometown of Cabo Rojo still have 1-3 feet of water in their homes? Where are the four pumps The Jellyfish said would be put into use? Where's the Army Corps of Engineers, those green-clad, rock-brained obstacles who should at least try to be helpful?

--Is the "Don't write in Pedro Stupid Rosselló" campaign a recognition that Il Castrao "leveled" the playing field? Or is it in recognition that Il Castrao's illegal activities will prove to gut the party and that they (the clueless statehooders) better grab what they can while they can?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

17 October 2008

Going Out of (Brains) Sale!

The newest retail sales strategy in Puerto Rico is easy to describe:

1) Wait for a major storm system to blanket the Island.

2) Pray--beg the gods, dammit--for the storm system to lay waste across Our homes through wind and water.

3) Open the store early.

What happened to turn "natural disaster" to "retail boost"? Thanks must be laid at the gelatinous hemline of Our UnGovernor Aníbal "Jellyfish" Acevedo who promoted the idea of eliminating the sales tax on such disaster-related essential items as plasma screens, laser printers, washing machines and  stereo systems. Spank My hiney and call Me Becky! This is great news!

See, now, when the weather turns foul beyond belief and the ravages of Nature slap Us around to the point of desolation, now We don't have to sit around just munching Vienna sausages, saltines and drinking lukewarm water while bemoaning the lack of air conditioning and cable TV...now We can go shopping!

Isn't this just political genius? Turning a disaster into a holiday for mass consumption? And doesn't it just warm the cockles of your heart to know that at a time when people could be coming together to rebuild Our Island, We can have one group rebuilding and another mall crawling? Isn't this f-----g brilliant?

Now We can look forward to a time when by the vagaries of Nature, Our home is spared the ravages of wind and water so that, when the sun comes out, We can trundle down to the big box retailer and load up on a home entertainment system that'll knock the socks off anything the freaking neighbors might have (left) AND save the 7% tax to boot! 


Make sure to buy a heavy-duty electric generator before the storm-based tax holiday, for you see, electrical generators, very useful when the power grid is down (which has been known to happen even before a storm hits Us), are not exempt from taxes after a storm hits. Funny thing, right? Post-storm, plasma screen: tax-free. Post-storm, electric generator: taxed. 

But you can get a tax credit for buying one before the storm. Only you have to pay the 7% tax to get the tax credit... Buy hey, there's still a few days before the election. Send your wish list of "To Buy" items to The Jellyfish, imply you're undecided about your vote and maybe he can set up some more nifty discounts for you.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

15 October 2008

Stupid of the Year

Why don't We hand out "Stupid of the Year" awards? Here are My nominees:

1) Jorge "De Castr(a)o" Font walks up to the local F.B.I. office and asks to be arrested. They ignore him. Il Castrao walks out with a weasel smile, "vindicated." Of course, the F.B.I. later arrested his skanky ass--at the time and place of their choosing.

2) No, that's it.

Now I know We're still in mid-October and that given the (low moral?) quality of the competition, there's plenty of potential for an even more deserving Stupid of the Year. But really, can We pass this one up?

A) Il Castrao knew that what he had been doing was illegal and for how long he'd been doing it.

B) He knew investigations were going on, if for no other reason than the fact that investigations of politicians are always going on.

C) And he knew--beyond a shadow of any doubt--that the investigation had progressed to the point of no return, that Il Castrao was no longer a "person of interest," but an actual criminal suspect. And he taunted the F.B.I. anyway. These are the same people that pepper-sprayed local media sheep and then acted like it was akin to dusting a basement shelf.

Now I ask you: Is going up to the F.B.I.--knowing you are guilty--and saying "I dare ya!" anything but an act of total, irrefutable and unredeemable stupidity?

I rest My case. But I know the F.B.I. will gladly keep theirs with laser aim on Il Castrao's weasel-skanky ass. (Especially now that his "defense" is whining "I was just following orders.")

The Jenius Has Spoken.

13 October 2008

Damn Debate

Happy Birthday, María!

If I had a nickel for every time a local politician came up with a good idea I'd be begging for a nickel to just be able to touch one. And if I had a a dime for every time the local media did its Fourth Estate job properly, I'd be begging for two more freaking nickels to make frigging change to get a freaking dime.

The latest double fiasco was a governor candidate debate led by none other than the renowned journalistic icon Daddy "Damn" Yankee. A rapper that came out of some closet to support McCain and thrust himself in the middle of Our D-grade campaign, the whole idea of four gubernatorial candidates showing up to field questions from a clueless singer is an utter failure of both political vision and journalistic integrity.

In other words, una boricuada of the first order. And man do I hate having to say that.

Now I know wrestlers, actors, former child actors and comedians run for governor and president in the U.S., but that's politics. What you don't see--ever--is a debate led by anyone other than a journalist, even if said journalist is another brainless sheep, because even a brainless journalist lends a measure of gravitas to the otherwise empty spectacle of over-extended soundbites. But a rapper? Are you serious? 

Did anything worth noting happened at the Damn debate? Not unless you count the perceived fashion faux pas of Rogelio "Egofabulous" Figueroa, who tried to dress "young" (maybe he should have tried cross-dressing) and that a riot damn near erupted outside the venue. Ideas? None. Journalism insights? No. Embarrassment? Plenty.

Here are some instructions for the players in this debacle: The two outright losers, the candidates of the PPR and PIP, should just forget to appear in any future debate. Don't even invite them. They're like kibitzers at a tic-tac-toe game. The tic-tac-toers, the "leading" candidates, should have another debate, but this one moderated by a journalist brought in from the States. (Yeah, I said it.) Someone who'll ask all the obvious questions the local sheep don't, simply because s/he won't know any better.

And the Damn Yankee? He should go chase McCain's ass around the States to help him drum up the stupid teenager vote. That's about 20 million votes right there.

The Jenius Has Spoken. 

10 October 2008

Writing and Ideas

I've been reading less lately and consequently, writing less. You can tell the difference between a serious writer (even if unpublished) and a mere dilettante by asking them what they are reading. Serious writers are always reading; would-be writers "don't have the time" or "want to remain pure" or some-such crap like that. Reading fuels writing, even if what you're reading are the early drafts of your own works as you furiously edit them.

Another thing about writing is that many people want to do it, but they project doing it "someday" or "when I have time." Fact is, you always have time to write, just as you always have time to fire-bomb City Hall. It boils down to a matter of choice. Somerset Maugham said it best: "If you are waiting to write, you are a waiter, not a writer."

Some people ask Me where I get My ideas. I tell them "Wal-mart", or if I'm in a snarky mood, "Condom World." It's a dumb question because there's only one source for ideas--the mind--and you get ideas because you want to get ideas. That applies to any endeavor, from business to arts. My deficiency here (if it can be called that) is that I don't use alcohol or drugs to "free My creative mind." There's long been a connection between creativity and substance abuse, often to the detriment of the artist. In My case, I guess I work on the opposite manner: My mind runs free and I rein it in most of the time. 

If I were to break down My thoughts re: expressing them, I figure they break down about like this:

A) Stuff no one ever wants to hear -- 15%

B) Stuff that would wreck My reputation (such as it is): -- 10%

C) Gross stuff -- 15%

D) Witty-but-awful stuff -- 20%

E) Witty-and-snarky stuff -- 20%

F) Cogent observations on Life and stuff -- 30%

G) Silly stuff -- 20%

H) Brilliant stuff -- 35%

I) Filler stuff -- 15%

J) Polite nothings that sound like good stuff -- 10%

K) Weird, weird, weird stuff -- 15%

L) Logical stuff that deadends in just logic -- 15%

M) Blogging ideas stuff -- 45%

N) Blogging stuff I write about -- 1%

Categories add up to over 100% because they do.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

08 October 2008

De Castr(a)o

Happy Birthday, Vi Marie!

Current legislator Jorge De Castr(a)o had 32 charges filed against it--him--by the F.B.I., covering fraud, money laundering and maybe even serial stupidity. As a public service, the F.B.I. told Us that the evidence against The Castr(a)o consists of 13,741 telephone conversations, 10,314 text messages, 26 audio and video tapes and 7 CDs of photographs.

Hoo-whee! Slap My butt and call Me Sally! That's a lot of stuff!

Take notice that over 5,700 of those phone calls were recorded with the consent of one of the parties involved. (For all you statehooders out there: That consent wasn't given by Il Castrao, okay?) So this pile of evidence (and what's behind it that wasn't mentioned), leads to couple of thoughts, a couple of conclusions and a prediction:

Thought #1: All that evidence was needed. One or two tapes are enough to bust a person, even a two-time treacherous senator of a colonial backwater. 

Thought #2: All that evidence ties Il Castrao to dozens or even hundreds of people. Unless he was calling a sex line 43 times a day...

Conclusion #1: The evidence piled up because Il Castrao may have been the initial target, but he isn't the only target now. 

Conclusion #2: This arrest has nothing to do with the elections: It simply indicates that Il Castrao has served his purpose and the investigation can now move on to other targets before they can react.

Prediction: Another major political figure, and a few business/industry leaders will go down in the coming weeks. If I were to name a possible political target, I'd go with Orlando "CowMan" Parga, Il Castrao's crony in the "Don't kick me out of the party I'm just doing my job" debacle. And given Il Castrao's past party allegiance, don't be surprised if an across-the-aisle senator is nailed. Because after all, greed makes strange bedfellows...even for castrates.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

06 October 2008

Numbskull Nirvana

Given My recent personal experience with the subspecies Empleatus gubernatalis, otherwise known as the common government employee, I reached a point where I simply had to look at this creepy-crawly with fresh eyes, to actually take in what I was seeing in  a new light. It was like being in a roach-infested cottage after a three-week confinement and suddenly realizing "Hey, they don't all look exactly alike!"

And in that observation period, a sort of rediscovery of the underside of a large damp rock, I noticed a quiet creature ambling through the muck. And when I saw one, I saw several, as when the laser-dotted picture you look at with your eyes crossed instantly goes from "cloud" to "castle."

There they went: Placid, serene, almost-but-not-quite indifferent to the environment. Moving with a combination of purpose and drift that apes an empty sailboat in a modest wind. When engaged by another person, they invariably have the same first expression, a sort of semi-smile that is 2 parts tolerance, 1 part recognition and their eyes focus an inch in front of the person's face then defocus to a horizon about 600 feet away. The face of amused patience, as if a ladybug had landed on their desk.

Once recognized, I simply had to meet them, or at least, some of them. Powering through their ladybug look with fierce concentration, I asked a few of them: "What do you like about your job?"

Bingo! Couldn't have done a better job of smacking them awake if I'd hit them with a pitchfork. Eyes widened, hint of panic, a look around, refocusing on Me (good choice!) and a stuttered-startled attempt at an answer that boiled down to "I don't know."

Oh but they did! My next question was usually "How long have you been here?" followed by "Have you searched for another job since?", at which point the confusion gave way to suspicion. I told them I was looking for a job and thought that maybe...

And they invariably went back to form! The 2 parts tolerance, 1 part amusement face clicked into place, but now it had glinty eyes. They talked, they seemed eager to talk, almost bragging about their niche, their space. Six people, some 90 minutes of conversation and their answers could be boiled down to three major pieces of advice:

1) Don't be ambitious.

2) Pretend to pay attention.

3) Once you know what you have to do, let the rest hang.

Don't think, don't feel, don't try too hard...

Numbskull Nirvana.

Once you see the first one, you'll see all of them.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

03 October 2008

Hodge-Podge, Part II

More stuff floating around... ("Floating"!! Get it?!? Get it?!? I'm so funny!!)

--The local gubernatorial candidates had a debate. That was like four retarded cowboys trying to lasso a cactus...and failing. Here's My plan for future debates: One topic per debate, six debates, on education, health care, crime/public safety, legislation and the economy (2 debates). Each debate is two hours long, with questions prepared by journalists and citizens and selected at random, with each candidate having 90 seconds to answer. The final half-hour of the debate is for candidates to ask each other questions based on the questions asked before (make sure they were paying attention), 60 seconds to answer. At least We'll get a glimmer of information rather than a freak show.

--Speaking of debates, when was a debate between vice-presidential candidates ever worth spending more than 30 seconds on? Enter Sarah "Dubya As A Woman" Palin. I actually watched the damn thing and here's My take: I'd rather wade through muck for a day than listen to Palin babble. She's a pre-schooler at a philosophy convention. A toddler at a marathon. A Special Olympian on "Jeopardy!" I can't wait until she disappears back into a moose or wherever she came from. But given the sub-normal level of intelligence of the average voter--and particularly Republicans--she'll probably be around longer than malaria. And cause more harm.

--And speaking of really stupid people, Jorge "Somebody Put Me Out of My Misery" De Castro, exiled senator from one party, former fundraising hero, gadfly and tabasco sauce enema to another (which is what got him kicked out of the other party), was arrested for taking bribes. Or so the feds say. And they say--drum roll, please--that they have De Castor Oil on tape. You hear that huge sucking sound? It's the Cuban contingent that supported the walking laxative running away from him as he goes down. And rest assured, he will go down. Anything else should be cause to burn all legislative offices to a pile of ashes.

--Puerto Rico got pork from rum. As part of the bailout bill, Congress gave Us $192 million in excise taxes from rum production. Don't thank Congress, or The Jellyfish governor We have or the Larva running against him: This was a rider added to force completion of a process that had to be done anyway. Those tax monies were to be returned at some point. In other words, that rider was a time-saver, sweeping "dust" off the table to get to the real con job. Let's see how The Jellyfish and the Larva spin this fiasco as "My Power in Washington," Fractured Fairy Tale # 3,592. 

The Jenius Has Spoken.

01 October 2008

Hodge-Podge, Part I

What with mud all over the place, some of it even in My house, here are some thoughts that need to be released into the wild:

--I know I'm not a bad person, that, in fact, I try to be a good person, but I tend to think nobody notices. I'm wrong: They do. Well-wishers have called, e-mailed and commented; I am grateful and humbled by it. I wish I knew why I deserved it, but I'm very happy to see that in the eyes of very good folks, I do.

--Did anybody notice that the local government asked for a loan to cover its expenses? Seems The Jellyfish and legislative Fools don't understand--at all--a very basic premise of budgets and money at the state/natonal level: A government does not run out of money by accident. It is always--always, damn it--a deliberate action.

With all the controls, redundancy, documentaton, audit processes and reporting, it is impossible for a state or national government to not know whether it has enough money to cover its expenses or not. Not only do governments work a year ahead (budget), they work within a very stringent framework so that the money flow is always in view. So the fact that the local pigsty We call government asked for a loan is simply an act of political thievery: They are not only stealing Our money (who pays for that fershluggin' loan, huh?), they are stealing Our level of control, which quite frankly, is pretty much non-existent at this point.

--About the flood in My area: It is clear that the lack of Municipal attention to a critical juncture of the main drainage canal caused a problem. I asked--out of curiosity--some of the people who suffered damages from this whether they would sue the Mayor/City Hall. To a person, none said they would. All but one (13 of 14) had actually seen the evidence--the trash and debris piled high. So I asked if they would vote for Her Ugliness; they all said yes. Some of them were even offended that I would ask, not because it's a private matter, but because I would actually doubt she deserved their vote.

--Here's a new wrinkle: Mini-casinos in supermarkets. Uh-huh. Stick "adult entertainment machines" into a spare corner of a supermarket and watch the old folks turn the whole place into a senior citizen center. Okay, there are plenty of younger folks there, too, but what was once a common sight in real casinos, then "arcades," then bakeries has invaded the "family food center." Serve the coffee, sandwiches and finger food and--hey!--profit center. More gambling! Breads and circuses to fleece the marginally-subsistent! (Let's ignore their stupidity for the moment.) Here We are, an Island with a sickly economy, where the goverment is trying to privatize the electronic lottery and I have three questions: (1 & 2) If the electronic lottery was supposed to generate funds for education and was a great business, where'd the money go and why are We trying to give it away? and (3) When will We stop this trend of organized crime against the citizenry?

The Jenius Has Spoken.