30 June 2006

Shoot Them Now

Now there's talk that maybe an 8% sales tax will be needed to "properly cover the government's needs." Uh-huh. Like the government really has "needs." And the unlegislating Fools are making noise about exempting themselves from the sales tax by being allowed to buy in military stores. Uh-huh. You want fries with that?

One minute while I leap off a seven-story building, land on My head and thus have the proper mental acumen with which to explain to The Fools how this works...

Threw Myself twice. I felt too smart for The Fools after the first leap. (I still do, but the neighbors are freaking out...)

Let's take this insipid phrase "government needs." I'll even walk The Fools through it, so bear with Me:

---We live in a democracy.
---In a democracy, the government serves The People.
---The People determine what the government can do.
---The government can ONLY do what The People allow.
---The People have NEEDS which they ask the government to serve.
---The government has DUTIES to fulfill those needs.
---The government CANNOT have needs because it exists to serve, NOT to be served.
---When a democracy places The People's needs in second place to anything else, it is a craven violation of trust, lawful authority and dutiful responsibility.*
---Because you don't get this, you should all be executed like blood-swollen ticks.

[*See also: lying and the Iraqi War, the murderous moron, Homeland Insecurity, wiretapping, suspension of habeus corpus, e-mail snooping, bank transaction records scrutinized...]

As for exempting yourselves by buying your knick-knacks in military stores, this one's even easier:

---Military stores belong to the Federal goverment.
---You Fools have no authority over the Federal government.
---Because you don't get this, you should all be executed like blood-swollen ticks.

Yeah, The Jenius is stepping it up a notch here. Waiting until 2008 is to give these fecal-filled fat-assed facetious freaks another 28 months to plunder, pillage, purloin, putrefy and otherwise pluck Us to Hell.

Shoot. Them. Now. Or rather, according to this post, stomp them until they are nothing but a greasy spot on Our shoes.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

28 June 2006

Sweden and Prostate

SWEDEN: For a few decades now, Sweden has been touted as the "perfect" """"socialist democracy"""". (Note the additional quotation marks that imply a deep-seated sarcasm.) Even independista Fool, Party-President-for-life, I-peaked-in-1974, Rubén Berríos has been spouting about Sweden for no apparent reason, simply because:

--(A) He says "We can implement a Swedish socialist democracy" and has never come up with anything resembling a cogent plan to do so because:

--(B) A """"socialist democracy"""" is an oxymoron along the lines of "honest politician", "favorable cancer" and "president bush has a brain."

Forget the independista Fool: most of us have already. Let's focus on the here and now, which according to this article in The National Interest, isn't really good for Sweden.

What's happened?

---The Swedish government has ballooned in size.

---The Swedish government has become ineffective, therefore it is also inefficient.

---The Swedish government is thus rife with corruption. (Too big and ineffectiveness are clear precursors to government corruption.)

---Taxes are getting higher.

---Health and public services are declining rapidly.

---The government-fed economy sucks and has been in a lengthy decline.

---The people are outraged and tired of it all.

Okay, here's the conclusion: Sweden and Puerto Rico are now identical twins.

Rubén, I hope you're happy. You got what you wanted without having to demean yourself by winning an election and actually doing something useful.

And to the idiotic economist who proclaimed that these Nordic societal models were "more evolved," screw you and the horse you sleep with. You're so far into your inferiority complex you couldn't find your butt with a map, a flashlight and two other economists to share the mental effort.

PROSTATE: The Jenius thinks it's about time someone mentioned how much of a (ventriloquist's) dummy the local house speaker, José "Put Words In My Mouth" Aponte, really is. A shapeless puppet of Dr. Pedro "Corruption is My Middle Name" Rosselló, Joe Slow has the "reamed deer in headlights" look of a beast being hounded into certain agony. Let Me save time and put it this way: Joey is the first man to ever have his prostate palped by his doctor's armpit.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

26 June 2006

Much Ado By Fools

When push came to shove, The Fools in the senate (forget capital letters here, folks, The Fools don't deserve that much respect) approved a budget and sales tax package that is literally--I mean literally--99% of what was proposed back in March.

In March. Before the local bonds got dropped to junk status. (A similar status to commonwealth, but I digress...)

Back before the local government closed down for a fortnight.

Back before The Economist mistook tubercular cyanosis for Truth and simply reflected what Americans generally think about Us.

Back before the entire flim-flam, fraudulent, freak show We call "the national sport" sunk to a level so low that even some The Fools feel apologetic about receiving cost-of-living adjustments. Yeah, you heard right: The "legislating" Fools who fornicate Us get raises...automatically.

Should I point out that no other local government employee gets an automatic raise? That even in the midst of the most pathetic and repulsive excuse for demagoguery ever perpetrated in Our history, these ambulatory road apples We elected stand to make more money next year?

Independentista Fool Victor García San Inocencio claims he "deserves" what he gets paid because of his "22 years' of experience" in the pigpen--er, legislature. What a dumbass. A parasite is not more valuable to its host because it has spent more time sucking the life out of it. And anyway, Vicky-boy, you frequently parade your dislike of the U.S., but you love dem Uncle Sam greenbacks! Here's a word you might want to learn: hypocrisy.

In the end, the sales tax is exactly what was suggested, the budget will need upward adjustment to almost the $9.7 billion the jellyfish faux-governor requested ($9.48 billion was approved pending additional line items) and compared to the beginning and end points, the wreckage strewn all around Us makes for a nauseating comparison.

Much ado...and We got nothing new. Woo-hoo!

The Jenius Has Spoken.

23 June 2006

My "To Do" List

---Thank James O'Malley, El Gringoqueño, for giving me a 1 gigabyte pen drive where I can "keep My whole Life." Thanks, Jim. -----OK!

---Pass on Jim's generosity in kind. And link to his blog!-----

---Mention Aníbal Freytes' wickedly appropriate bitch-slap to the rabid dog ex-governor, faux senator and overall piece of offal Pedro "Schizoid is My Middle Name" Rosselló. -----OK!

---Remind Yourself that you said You'd run The World's Best 10K next year. -----OK!

---Try to ignore Your body's protests as You try to get into shape for that run. -----

---Mention in passing that in a Google search for "gil puerto rico", You were the 19th result!! NINETEENTH!?!?!? Excoriate Google for being a kludgy piece of bassackwards malgorithms. -----OK!

---Trademark "malgorithms." -----

---Make a remark about governor Acevedo's $3,000 suits paid for--allegedly coughcough winkwink--with Our public monies and illegal contributions.

Why does a jellyfish need $3,000 suits? It's still a jellyfish! -----OK!

---Point out that You and 93.6% of all the wild monkeys between Cabo Rojo and Cataño have peed sounder economic notions than the Center (haha) for the New (hahahahaha) Economy (hahahahahahahaha.) -----OK! (hahahahahahahaha)

---Lighten up The Jenius: He's been sounding sour lately.

Center for the Nehahahahahahahahahaha. -----OK!

The Jenius Has Spoken.

21 June 2006

All Hail the Center for The New Economy!

I can barely contain Myself... It's a wonder I can keep My trembling fingers from doubling-up every letter I type as The Jenius marvels--marvels I tell you!--at the latest offering by the Center for the New Economy.

It's a book. But not just any book. No sir! It's a book about--be still My beating heart!--fixing Puerto Rico's economy! Oh frabjous day! Callooh callay!

The title bears the majestic simplicity of gravitas: "Restoring Growth in Puerto Rico." Slap My knee and call me Sally! This title's a winner! Growth is good! Restoring stuff is good! Puerto Rico is My home! Judge a book by its cover I always say!

Oh, vision of Mine, please clear up so I can read through My tears of joy the wise pronouncements of the CNE. As My vision clears, I notice that "CNE" includes the formula for cyanide...

Bad Jenius! Bad Jenius!

Ohohoh! There they are! My chin quivers as the profound insights into Restoring Growth in Puerto Rico leap off the page and drill into My fervid brain...!

Here they are:

1) Create jobs.

2) Promote the development of the private sector.

3) Improve worker skills.

4) Invest in infrastructure.

5) Create a more efficient tax structure.

My jaw drops.

Bounces off the floor, careens off a walker, caroms off a bookshelf featuring vegetarian cookbooks and slides back into place in time for Me to say "Golly."


Create jobs?! Of course!! That means MORE MONEY in people's pockets!

Develop the private sector?! Of course!! Where ELSE will the "more jobs" come from? Do you SEE--nay! SMELL!!--the brilliance of the CN(E) here? It's enough to take your breath away!

Improve worker skills?! Of course!! New jobs in a New Economy require new skills! The mental prowess in linking these concepts together is..., well, it's...why, it's staggering!

Invest in infrastructure?! Of course!! "Build it and they will come"-thinking is so avant garde! Why do We have to wait for the CN(e) to point it out?

Create a more efficient tax structure?! Of course!! Taxes can be BOTH attractant and revenue, so the greater the efficiency, the greater the yield. My head SPINS in the presence of such profound wisdom!

It's obvious that the fathomless depths of The Brookings Institution played a major role in uncovering these heretofore unimagined breakthroughs for Restoring Growth in Puerto Rico. Let Us not linger on the fact that the book--a holey book as far as The Jenius is concerned--really doesn't say how these ideas can be implemented. Nor does the combined mental gigantism of TBI (which includes the abbreviation for tuberculosis... Bad Jenius! Bad Jenius!) and the CyanideE really know how to explain Puerto Rico's low level of labor force participation.

Of course!! Tuberculosis(I) and cyanide(e) have no time for the mere studiousness of the unwashed, also known as "researchers," who grub up their minds with actual observations and analysis. Fools! Tubercular cyanosis, their new science aimed at restoring growth in Puerto Rico, rises ABOVE such puling pedantry and REACHES for the purest of thoughts, those that "explain" the Universe, leaving the work of actually making something happen to the unenlightened masses. Meaning you and Me.

I bow My head in awe at the thought that We have squandered--squandered I tell you!--over 500 years of Our existence awaiting for the moment when tubercular cyanosis would appear and lead Us to a promised land filled with 1960s thinking.

Did I say "1960s thinking?" Bad Jenius! Bad Jenius!

The Jenius Has Spoken.

19 June 2006

Connectivism Misconnected

From a recent piece I wrote for an educational conference:

As an analogy, think of education as the combination of a guide and a map. Traditional education gives the student a limited map and lets the guide tell you what is there. Successful interactive education provides you with a detailed map of a limited area, a general map of what surrounds that limited area and teaches you how to be your own guide. The distinction is vital: interactive education focuses more on teaching how to learn than on teaching what to know.

Interactive education demands that a large majority of students be able to “guide themselves”; otherwise, the learning process breaks down, frustration sets in and the endeavor fails to deliver a satisfactory conclusion. For one must remember that online education happens in an environment in which the information flow is vast and constant. Unlike a traditional classroom, where the knowledge sources are limited to teacher and textbook, the knowledge sources on the Internet are practically unlimited and range in value from authoritative to useless. Thus students must also be taught how to evaluate sources in terms of relevance and importance.

Traditional learning theories have never taken technology into account. Their focus has been the teacher-student interaction, the student’s internal processes and motivation and the school environment, as centered on the classroom and per-group interaction. Given the changes technology makes in the very foundations of traditional education, a new learning theory must be implemented.

The learning theory that takes into account the new realities of technology and information sources in education is called connectivism. First postulated by George Siemens in an online article, the basic principles of connectivism are:

• Learning has an end goal - namely the increased ability to "do something".
• Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources. A learner can exponentially improve their own learning by plugging into an existing network.
• Learning may reside in non-human appliances. Learning (in the sense that something is known, but not necessarily acted upon) can rest in a community, a network, or a database.
The capacity to know more is more critical that what is currently known. Knowing where to find information is more important than knowing information.
• Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate learning. Connection-making provides far greater returns on effort than simply seeking to understand a single concept.
• Different approaches and personal skills are needed to learn effectively in today's society. For example, the ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning.
Learning is a knowledge creation process...not only knowledge consumption. Learning tools and design methodologies should seek to capitalize on this trait of learning.

It is obvious that connectivism integrates technology and its impact on learning, but it also addresses the issues of continuous learning and core career skills. To connectivism, the world changes constantly and thus information changes constantly, placing a premium on staying “up-to-date.” This need means that what we know today is less valuable than what we need to know tomorrow, so knowing where to find new knowledge is a valuable skill. In fact, being able to create connections and thus to create knowledge is the most valuable skill a person can have in this digital age.

The true environment for learning these digital age core skills is online. The isolation of the classroom is no longer an advantage: being at the center of the digital network, seated in front of a computer, is where the future of education and personal progress now reside. Any educational platform has to deal with these realities as a true, powerful facilitator in order to achieve profitable success.

How much of the above is actually known by local educators?

How much of the above is actually understood by local educators?

How much of the above is targeted by local educators?

How much of the above means jacksquat to local educators?

My guess is that the first 3 questions TOTAL about 10% and the last one about 90%. And that, according to local department of (mis)education standards, equals 100% so We get a passing grade!

What's the use of wittily skewering somebody who doesn't understand they are the butt of the joke?

The Jenius Has Spoken

16 June 2006

God And Sewage--Part II

A local union leader and his criminal cohorts take over $15 million from the union's medical plan. They get caught, charged and are found guilty...and yet, in the courtroom, someone, someone so fucking stupid and so fucking devoid of any shred of human dignity, decency and morals, cries out as the accusers are being sentenced ¡Maldita sea! ¡Maldita sea! (Damn it! Damn it!)

To whoever said that: fuck you. I hope your body parts rot into liquid putrefaction and that until the final nanosecond of your worthless life you suffer ungodly pain and agony. And that you reincarnate as a sewage pipe so you can take a step up to a higher plane (or cylinder, as it is.)

The pieces of filth you try to defend stole money earned legitimately by hard-working people who often live at the edge of subsistence. While the fatcats-now-convicts gorged themselves buying mansions, taking long trips to distant resorts and continued gaming the union rules to stay on top by plundering its finances, many of their victims were watching their health deteriorate, or worse, lived the agonizing despair of watching their child suffer because medical treatment was--suddenly and unfairly--out of their reach.

But The Jenius awaits to see what the result of this smashing sentence will be for one archbishop of San Juan, a man of tattered and sullied cloth. Read about it here, for I have no more time to waste on moronic maggots, except to say that back then, I barely avoided calling the union president a shitty crook. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Hector René Lugo is a shitty crook.

I fervently hope he was the one who said ¡Maldita sea! ¡Maldita sea!

The Jenius Has Spoken.

14 June 2006

Leverage Void

We complain. We bitch. We moan. We sigh wearily. We throw Our hands in the air, exclaim "ay bendito" in any one of its 748 variations and We continue to complain, bitch, moan and sigh.

How many of Us are actually doing something--anything, any goddamn thing--to make Our situation better?

I'd say about 15% of Us, on a good day. And We don't have many good days.

Let Me define: Four million residents on this Island of which some 800,000 are children. Some 420,000 adults work in or for the government, so We can say maybe 5% of those are of any use. Over 260,000 are college students; scratch them. (Yeah, I know some of them have to be doing something useful, but I don't see it and neither do you.)

That leaves about 2.6 million people here and if 20% of them are doing something to change Our Increasingly Pathetic Island, We'd all be surprised. So My estimate of 15%, as noted above, holds up very well.

Now it's absolutely true that the power of the individual to effect change is virtually limitless. But it requires the process of leveraging, the addition and multiplication of efforts to achieve greater results.

In an astounding discovery, certain to derail the scientific progress of math and physics for decades to come, the universal principle of leverage is no longer "universal." For in Puerto Rico We have created the "leveraging void."

If leveraging is the doughnut, We are the hole, the one place a doughnut don't work. (I live to write lines like that.) Where leveraging continues to work even in the deepest bowels of the deepest void of intelligence, common sense and decency known to the media (currently known as "the Oval Office"), in Puerto Rico the intricate meshing of the intangible gears that reinforce and drive actions to occasionally spectacular outcomes simply...doesn't...work.

It's like discovering that wheels roll everywhere, except in Puerto Rico.

Why is this so? How can a universal law that Voyager might learn applies in some other 0.000000000000000000000000000001% of the Universe (more space than you'll ever see), how can it NOT be a Truth on My Island?

Obviously: We make it fail. Like perverse wheel makers who turn out square wheels sold as round, We pretend to leverage efforts, but in fact, We sabotage them to prove that things here are different.

We do it because We can't stand success. We can't stand the responsibility that goes with making Our own destiny. We hate the idea that someone can achieve a result that makes Our "barely above comatose" walk through Life look like what it is: a shabby, pitiful state of affairs. We pretend to help in order to assuage a guilty conscience, product of overreligiousity (as opposed to spirituality), and fail to develop a true conscience. We live in festering jealousy, a permanent boil easily pricked for effluvia. And rather than face these facts, We retreat, into a waking coma, indifference, a bottle, a TV set, drugs, rage or Florida.

Leverage doesn't work where efforts cannot be combined, where partnerships are false, where alliances are facetious, where honesty is a vice, integrity is synonymous with well-managed hypocrisy and your victory is never--never--Mine.

And yet, I believe We can change. Voids can be undone. Even 1% of anything can nullify a void...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

12 June 2006

Trouble in the Overfed Fat Cat

---KUDOS! To My Mom, who today received her Master's Degree in Education. I owe My Mom for many things, but her achievement today is a shining example of striving for knowledge and excellence, regardless of age. I love you, Mom.

---Oh, Lucy, joo got some 'splainin' to do! Go ahead and Google "brain dulled", sans quotation marks. Go ahead! Or click here. Yeah, ranking up there at Numero Uno is none other than Yours Truly. How's that for a Monday morning greeting?

---But wait! There's more! Do that Google thing with "jenius monkey", again sans quotation marks. Or, well, click here. Not only is Moi Numero Uno, He is also Numero Deux. A Top Two in jenius monkey?! I say We invade Canada and build a wall around its icy sneeringness!

---Thanks to My lovely friend, Laura Homar, for sending Me a link to a recent Economist Magazine article titled "Trouble on Welfare Island." How could you not love an article with so gentle a title as that?

Based largely on an interview with the Mayor of My birthplace (Aguadilla), Carlos Méndez, the article makes reference to the recent Brookings Institution report on the local economy. (The so-called Center for the New Economy co-authored the report, but that falls squarely in the category of "lipstick" to the Brookings Institution "pig.")

Some chosen gems from the article:

The territory's economy...has fallen further behind the national one over the past three decades. Bad government—not just locally, but also federally—is largely to blame. Yet most Americans are oblivious to the Caribbean island's problems.

Now that The Economist has made it clear, maybe you statehood pukes will grasp that The Jenius has been right about this point all along.

...Puerto Rico grew impressively in the decades after the second world war, even outperforming Asian “tigers” such as South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore (which has roughly Puerto Rico's population). Since the 1970s, however, Puerto Rico has been outpaced badly by the Asian tigers and Ireland, another place to which it is often compared. It has also diverged from the United States, losing ground even to lowly Mississippi.

The Jenius lived in Mississippi. The Jenius studied in Mississippi. The Jenius knew Mississippi. And you, Puerto Rico, are certainly no Mississippi. And as the article graphic points out (nicely titled "The Overfed Tiger"), Our GDP per person as a percentage of that of the U.S. has declined steadily since the early 70s and is now barely one-third that of Singapore. And dropping. Translation: We are sucking big time.

Puerto Rico's bloated government also bears much of the blame. Around 30% of the territory's jobs are in the public sector. Among other things, a big and coddled bureaucracy undermines Puerto Rico's educational achievements in two ways. First, nearly half those on the education department's payroll are not teachers; quality has fallen because of low accountability and mismanagement. Second, because of the small private sector, too few well-educated Puerto Ricans are gaining useful skills and experience in the marketplace.

The government directly employs almost 30% of the workforce; if you add indirect jobs, the number comes closer to 43-44%, a staggeringly overbloated festering tumor currently mismanaged by a jellyfish, hyenas, Fools and outright crooks (led by Pedro "I'm the Poster Child for Mental, Emotional and Moral Voids" Rosselló.")

And one more little factoid: teachers make up barely 50% of the (Mis)Education Department, but only 29% of its payroll. Yep, them "upper-level" swamp hogs gobble up most of the payroll, but add nothing to the classroom except static.

And here's the closing:

As he walked through Aguadilla's town hall recently, Mr Méndez boasted about each employee's university or graduate-school credentials as he introduced them. The trouble, he says, is that “All they want to do is find security only. They have no ambition...Everybody wants to work for the government.” Manuel Reyes, of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, also sees little hope that the government's role will shrink. “There is no light at the end of the tunnel,” he says, “because we are still in denial.” And the rest of America is still indifferent.

Seeking "security." Lacking ambition. My people in denial. And Americans indifferent to Us. Nothing--nothing--The Jenius hasn't hammered at repeatedly. It's about time the rest of the world caught up with Me. I wonder when the rest of Us will.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

09 June 2006

Information to Knowledge

From the ever-impressive Dave Pollard, in How to Save the World, comes this fascinating exploration of the relative impotence of most information. Dave states a point The Jenius has also stated before about information requiring a personal context for it to acquire meaning (become knowledge.) The problem is that We are overwhelmed by "information" and underserved as to context, therefore We are woefully under-informed.

I have excerpted Dave's post, but I urge you to read the whole thing. And explore Dave's blog, for I assure you, it's a journey through a brilliant mind.

The Impotence of (Most) Information

Information has meaning only when we have enough context to understand its import, what it 'brings to us'. Implicit in import is that this information enables us to live better lives, either by better understanding why things are the way they are, or by realizing what we need to do as a result of it...

So we're left with thin, context-free information that is meaningless and un-actionable, whose only effect is a (brief) emotional charge, lingering information anxiety, and a case of 'information impotence'.

What can we do? Three things:

1) Acquire the personal discipline to stop reading and listening to and watching shallow information media. Avoid especially the sensationalistic stuff that doesn't even try to inform, just to shock us, but also avoid content that isn't either (a) actionable (immediately or likely at some point in the future) or (b) presented with sufficient detail and analysis to at least get us to the point we understand much better why something is the way it is. Don't avoid fiction -- stories are the best way to provide detail and context, and even invented stories based on an author's personal knowledge, in-depth research or exceptional imagination can be enormously informative.

2) Re-evaluate your personal information networks to find (and then trust) people who can filter out the crap and point you to genuine information -- detailed, well-analyzed, context-rich stuff that either is actionable or significantly deepens your understanding of subjects you care about. One of the greatest advantages of a blog is that it makes it easier to find such valuable friends. No one can keep up with everything that's important alone.

3) Develop a personal method to keep track of information that is important, and what you're going to do about it, so that when you need it you can find it, and so that you act on it appropriately and promptly. This is my pet peeve with weblogs, del.icio.us etc.: Stuff disappears into the archives and gets lost, and too much focus is placed on how current information is, rather than how important it is.

Information impotence is another example of learned helplessness -- we get overwhelmed, so we just give up. There are a lot of people out there exploiting that. Some of us need to stay genuinely informed to keep them honest. Or at least a little less dishonest.

The Jenius Has Quoted.

07 June 2006

Death Foretold

It is estimated that you will die at the age of 62 Years Old.

That grim forecast of My future is from the well-named DeathForecast website. Here's the thing: that forecast is down from 69 years of age, given to Me at the same website about 16 months ago.


Rationally, I'm aware that what's being forecast is a statistical average. I could die tomorrow or 47 years from now. Rationally, what's being offered is the end result of a numerical exercise wherein the bulk of people displaying My characteristics ended up dead at or around the age of 62.

Rationally, this has little more validity than the horoscope you read in the daily newspaper. And once again, the rational purpose behind the forecast is not accuracy, but the creation of an awareness of the strong link between behavior and life expectancy.

That's all rational. And yet, I can't rationalize that this is unimportant. I can't discount it as merely statistical, a subjective warning or a possible hoax. In My answers for the questionnaire, I can see the harsh reality of wasted time looming ahead.

The most recent drop is due largely to My divorce and no longer having a pet. I hope the lack of a spouse weighs more against My life expectancy than the loss of Engie Benjy (My son's dog, who I fed, bathed and bought toys for.)

The largest drop, from 104 to 69, happened because of My marriage, as I stopped being highly-active and My interaction with friends and family went from "Frequent" to "Rarely." My diet changed, My cholesterol level soared, I became overweight by about 20 pounds, I barely saw anyone outside of work and My exercise time went from 8-10 hours a week to zero. Yeah, looks like that marriage really agreed with Me.

Now I'm not going to obsess about 62 or 104 or any other number. I am going to obsess about exercise time, diet, My relationships and the ways I deal with stress. I'm already ahead of the game, as I don't smoke, seldom drink and never used drugs. But it also means, as the old joke goes, that when the doctor tells Me I have only 6 months to live unless I give up smoking, drinking and drug use, I'll really have only 6 months to live.

If I change what I can control, My forecast rises to 78 years of age. Again, it's only a number within a statistical cloud. But the years it implies, the day-to-day living they hint at, is filled with better health and thus more joy.

Then again, if I change everything I can control AND become a female, My forecast soars to 85 years of age.

I may look into that a little more closely. Just for research, of course…

The Jenius Has Spoken.

05 June 2006

Political Architecture

---Update: Pedro "If Hitler Was Austrian Then I'm a Crook" Rosselló" is already firing broadsides against the jellyfish governor Aníbal Acevedo for "implanting" a 7% or higher sales tax on the Puerto Rican voter. Do tell, Peter-Peter Pickpocket Peter. The Jenius had you pegged all the slimy way. And Peter the Plunderer's "surprise" announcement that he's gearing up for the gubernatorial race in 2008 (yes, We are late for everything but the elections) by choosing a political fetus as his Head Beggar candidate is simply fulfilling The Jenius' prediction. With the jellyfish saying "Yeah, I'll wriggle in 2008" and "Willie" Miranda, Mayor of Caguas implying "I'll jump in when I get my cash flow set up," We're waiting for current Head Beggar and junior jellyfish Luis Fortuño to make the Four Fools scenario a nightmarish reality.

Switching gears...

When it comes to building a new movement, the converse proposition, “politics is architecture” holds true as well. The architecture (structure and design) of political processes, not their content, is determinative of what can be accomplished.

Just as you can’t build a skyscraper out of bamboo, you can’t have a participatory democracy if power is centralized, processes are opaque, and accountability is limited. Politics needs a new architecture, not just a new coat of paint. We need to renovate the house (and Senate).

The architecture team, that is, those who collectively will determine the structure of political processes cannot be composed of an elite, whether technical or political. Who is sitting at the table as the new politics is designed and implemented and the experiences and perspectives they represent matter enormously.

The Internet, if kept open and accessible to all, is a tool we can use to reform our politics and create new democratic processes and institutions. By using the Internet and building upon its open decentralized architecture, we can help give every person a voice and offer them a forum to participate in creating a healthy politics. The Internet provides the tools to build bottom-up systems that are both globally interconnected and locally controlled. As the printing press was the technology that helped birth modern self-government, so the Internet can be the tool to build a new democratically controlled participatory politics.
(Emphasis added.)

This quote is from Mitch Kapor's poli-tech blog. Mitch is the President and Chair of the Open Source Applications Foundation and has long been an advocate of greater integration of the Internet in political processes. One of the launch points for The Jenius was exactly this issue and given the torrential flow of idiocy The Fools are creating and the gaping void of leadership We continue to tolerate, it's high time to bring the matter up again.

Unlike the U.S., where voter turnout is low because of abject indifference, Puerto Ricans go out to to vote in 85+% numbers...but do so blindfolded and deaf. They refuse to see what's going on, or watch the madness with slack-jawed numbness, occasionally stirring to protest and refuse to listen to anyone who espouses a view that isn't strictly in accordance with their party's spastic positions. (That almost no one is worth listening to is also part of the problem.)

Our current political processes would love to be bamboo, but barely rise above slime mold. Cleaning up the current cesspool requires recreating the way government is supposed to work and using the Internet to achieve that recreation is necessary. The Fools, of course, don't want this. First, because they can't understand it. Second, because they sense, like flies savor the air for the stench of dung, that the Internet is dangerous to their status. And just like flies know crap when they smell it, The Fools know danger to them when they sense it.

All the more reason to make the push, to create an architecture that strangles the shenanigans and damage and allows for Puerto Rico's best future to emerge. Over at The Information Soldier, Aníbal Freytes is creating a website to track "political memory," so that The Fools' stupidity of today is recorded and archived for review, comparison and attack when the time comes to punt their butts out.

Aníbal never said attack. But attack is what is needed to clean this modern-day, Puerto Rican version of the Augean Stables. (Dung, flies, horses' asses...yeah, the analogy is perfect.) The Internet will be Our cleansing river, if We choose to be Hercules.

Politics as architecture is what Mitch was talking about. Instead of a monument of political effectiveness, We have a filthy stable. No wonder We're stuck where We are.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

02 June 2006

Toynbee and Lizard Brains

"A possible interpretation is that the Toynbee reference comes from the science fiction writer Ray Bradbury's short story "The Toynbee Convector", which alludes to Toynbee's idea that in order to survive, humankind must always rush to meet the future, i.e. believe in a better world, and must always aim far beyond what is practically possible, in order to reach something barely within reach."

Serendipity. I tell you, that stuff should be bottled and sold under the counter... While reading about some strange tile placements in cities around the world, The Jenius came across the quote reproduced above (in the Wikipedia link.) (Oddly enough, despite being a Bradbury fan, I can't remember ever reading the story "The Toynbee Convector." Something to look forward to.)

"...(B)elieve in a better world...always rush to meet the future...always aim far beyond what is practically possible, in order to reach something barely within reach." If Toynbee is right--and I believe he is--then Puerto Rico doesn't measure up to achieving a great future.

Puerto Ricans tend to pay lip service to a better world, and may honestly want one...if someone else builds it for them.

Puerto Ricans don't rush to meet the future, unless it has a "20% OFF!" sign and a "No Payments Until We've Screwed You Royally" sub-offer. Why rush? is the typical attitude, a cavalier cover-up for what is essentially fear. Puerto Ricans fear the future. They cling to the present--or worst, the past--with an almost convulsive grip, latching like voracious lamprey to current misery and not even making a decent effort to look beyond today into tomorrow.

The Fools know this and play the fears constantly, lizard brains texting each other in gutturral cacophony, a fear nerve touched here, another there, until the collective lizard brain shuts down into indifference. If true progress is running at the future, Puerto Ricans prefer advancing towards it in a plastic lawn chair with a neverita of beer at their side. Or in a fetal position. Or with their heads stuck in the oily sands of gossip. And We know what happens to castles built on sand.

To aim far beyond what is practically possible is, to Puerto Ricans, comer mierda, literally, to eat shit. Funny how the single path to extraordinary progress is equated with an act engaged in by the lizard brain.

As a child, I heard a "joke" that lobster fishermen around the world toss lobsters into a basket and cover it to keep the crustaceans inside. But not in Puerto Rico, for here, no lid is needed, as the lobsters in the basket will grab and pull down any so bold as to try to climb out.

I was offended then. I'm offended now, but for very, very different reasons.

And why is The Jenius so--down--on His People at this moment? Because in My finite wisdom, I can see the chances for great progress being picked off, or dropped by the wayside, with clockwork regularity. If some societies collapse from running too hard in the wrong direction, meeting their fate in a painful collision with reality, Puerto Rico will simply fall to sleep with a wet snore, beer can in hand, lawn chair sagging asymetrically, the flickering images on a 58-inch flatscreen TV showing a coward's puppet blathering endlessly about lies and nothing.

And the lizard brain will never know the difference of what could have been.

The Jenius Has Spoken.