30 April 2007

Can't Fix Stupid

Pedro Stupid Rosselló has announced he will not be a candidate for governor in 2008.


According to Stupid, he had an affidavit drafted in 2006 stating he would not run for governor, but no one has ever seen it or even heard of it until now. The announcement comes at a time when Stupid marched out of a Congressional hearing because rules were being applied to him and a web of investigations is raising even more questions about his Stupid administrations.

But that's beside the point. What this con man with Tourette's Syndrome is doing is bypassing a primary--based on his iron-clad control of the party power brokers--to force a "popular" appeal to place him as the party's candidate. Why? Because he knows Luis "Head Beggar in Washington" Fortuño will kick his sorry ass in a primary.

Remember that Beggarmeister Fortuño polled more votes in 2004 than Stupid, that in fact, had Stupid not been--well, Stupid--the statehood party would have won the governor's mansion for Beggarmeister outpolled the Jellyfish as well. The party faithful--such as they are--are very much aware that Stupid Rosselló polarizes votes against their party, that another run by this rabid dog would do the party more harm than good and that even though Beggarmeister might be an embryonic jellyfish, he at least has the potential for attracting the few, but very necessary, swing votes needed for a win.

And remember that, despite Stupid's comments that he would "campaign for whomever was nominated," this is the same guy who limply chose a wooden-headed, spaghetti-spined successor, then got on an airplane and bailed from the 2000 election and its aftermath. And if he were actually dropping out of the race, he'd also relinquish the party presidency, as per tradition.

So rather than do what party regs and simple ethics require, Stupid decides he'll once again bulldoze his way to what he wants. At the party's general assembly, he will once again be the hypocrite, repeat being the liar, pretending he is out of the race in expectation of being "nominated" the party's candidate by "acclaim." What the party should do is accept the statement and leave Stupid Rosselló out of their 2008 plans. What the party will do is follow Stupid's dubious lead into a deceitful pre-campaign debacle.

Can Beggarman Fortuño stop Stupid? At the risk of repeating Myself, he can stop Stupid, but no one can fix Stupid.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

27 April 2007

Health (De)Capitation

Imagine that your doctor gets paid to not provide you with a recommended treatment, literally, that he or she makes money for not taking care of your health as would be objectively expected.

Don't imagine. If you live in Puerto Rico's so-called Health Reform--and what mirrors it in many parts of the U.S.--that is the reality: Doctors make money for not treating your health properly.

Of course, this aberration has a name: capitation. In essence, doctors get paid a stipend per patient, but if they recommend that the patient see a specialist or have a further examination their stipend is reduced to help pay for that additional service. So it quickly becomes apparent that it is in the doctor's best interest to deny a patient's best option for treatment because it "costs" the doctor much more than the patient.

Say it ain't so? Doesn't change the reality. Proponents of capitation say that the purpose of the system is to reduce unnecessary medical visits and tests. What they fail to see--or pretend to be blind to--is that the system places the doctor's interests ahead of the patient's. Expecting doctors to be filled with the milk of human kindness and generosity is one thing: asking them to live up to it in a daily grind is entirely another.

For one, doctors have expenses, some of which (malpractice insurance, for example) are going through the roof. Are there insurance companies out there paying out huge settlements without passing costs on to their customers? No. So don't expect doctors to eat added expenses without "passing the cost" to their customers, namely by not letting money in their hands go elsewhere.

Second, and reiterating the above, doctors are human and humans are possessive and self-interested. It makes no sense to try to pretend otherwise. The catch in the health system's blind use of capitation is that the neediest element is strictly beholden to the less needy. A sick patient needs help, but their need is in the hands of a person who can willfully, often negligently, deny their greater need for well-being in favor of a merely monetary whim.

Am I saying that doctors will endanger a patient's life for mere money? Yes I am. If you think money isn't the issue just make the rounds (pun intended) of several medical offices in any part of Puerto Rico. It won't take you long to see signs stating that "Cash Only" is acceptable. No checks. No ATM or credit cards. And certainly, no medical plans, though the doctor is almost certainly on one or more medical plan capitation systems.

Is this right? Depends on who you ask, a sick person or a doctor. A key point is that there are plenty more sick people than doctors...and that there is often a startling and depressing overlap of what sick can actually be.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

25 April 2007


Former governor Carlos "Horse Patootie" Romero recently wrote about current governor Aníbal "Jellyfish" Acevedo that he (Jellyfish) was "the biggest liar to ever live in La Fortaleza" (the Governor's Mansion.)

That's like Hitler saying Mel Gibson is "anti-Semitic."

Said Jellyfish is currently playing flip-flop with the budget--no money, some money, enough money, maybe not enough money-all in a desperate attempt to wrangle concessions from his cohorts-in-calumny, the legislature, and find some wriggle-room for the upcoming fourth quarter of the campaign period.

Meanwhle, Pedro Stupid Rosselló gets miffed because he isn't allowed to continue acting like an autistic dirtbag in the so-called Status Hearings, walking away from the whole thing for being asked--asked politely--to keep his blathering idiocies presentation within the established time limit.

Add to this unsavory mix the spectacle of three-time ex-governor Rafael "Culminated Colony" Hernández Colón being coy about his running again for the office he treated as his personal travel agency and you not only have a clear idea of how utterly devoid the Colonial Status party is as to leadership, but also how utterly bereft the Beggarmeister Party is as to the idea of leadership.

A pot calling a kettle black--and this particular pot being the blackest of blacks--is not even close to being leadership, falling lamely under the category of the schoolyard chant "Sticks and stones." And getting miffed that the long-established rules of procedure aren't ignored for you, hissy-fit to the point of abandoning the duty you're supposed to perform, is stupid. Stupid doesn't make for leadership, for as the whiskey-guzzlin' comedian said: "You can't fix stupid."

Flip-flopping while in a leadership position has all the effectiveness of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, worsened in this case by the chair-arranging Fool loudly singing off-key about ice, no ice, maybe there's ice or maybe not. And as for the ex-captain sitting on foreign shores and making the occasional announcement, keeping the "option" open to return to the bridge, here's a quaint notion: Stop being coy and acknowledge you lashed the wheel straight at the iceberg...then jumped ship in your own luxury lifeboat.

Leadership? Governance? We have obviously established the second without a shred of the first. And We may be losing what little is left of the second in a futile attempt to demean the first.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

23 April 2007

Made (Harder) in Puerto Rico

I often excoriate the pathetically drooling mummies at the Centro Unido de Detallistas (the local Retailers Union, supposedly a small-business organization) for their constant "Oh woe is me!" whining and "Protect me!" mewlings, acting like small businesses in Puerto Rico are so pitiful and the Big Bad MegaStores are soooo bad that We are nothing but drifting plankton being sucked down the ravenous maws of baleen whales.

That's their public stance: In private, they bumf--- each other for political gain. It's downright ridiculous how out-of-touch these Detallistas are with their supposed constituency.

Unrelated to all that buffoonery, good ol' James O'Malley, he of El Gringoqueño fame, invited Me to blog the local Puerto Rico Products Association convention, held this past weekend. Sadly, prior commitments kept Me away, but not entirely, for I was presenting conferences and consulting with small businesses and start-ups the entire weekend.

First, the convention. Unlike the asinine stance of the Detallistas, the Puerto Rico Products Association sees Us as creators of quality, as worthy players in the global marketplace. They have established an Hecho in Puerto Rico seal that isn't easy to earn, thus granting a measure of respect and praise for the local firms that receive it. And their constant push for progress is a far cry from the sniveling drivel the CUD spews endlessly.

However, even the PRPA would acknowledge that We have a hard road in Our efforts to make small-scale economic progress. We labor beneath an often-smothering morass of laws and regulations, the product of lamebrain legislators, pure greed and inadequate representation. (Yes, Disgusting Detallistas, I mean you.) Trying to launch a small business in Puerto Rico is to face a 9-12 month marathon filled with paperwork, red tape, the occasional bribe and stonewalling. And because small-scale economic progress is so difficult, large-scale--national--economic progress is almost nonexistent.

And yet...While I missed the convention, I was surrounded by several small-business owners, each facing absurdly high obstacles in permits, financing, labor and taxes placed by Our idiotic government. They saw the obstacles...and they were undaunted. Despite facing more hardships than most U.S.-based businesses, these entrepreneurs were focused on the future, on making their way to success and not letting the government, their size or general stupidity slow them down. None gave a rat's ass about the Detallistas, but when I mentioned the PRPA, they were enthusiastic. And they should be, for no business, of any size, makes its way to the global marketplace without a healthy dose of self-confidence and pride, two virtues the Detallistas can only find in the dictionary.

Is it hard to launch a business and grow it in Puerto Rico? Yes, it is; I've seen it first-hand for over 20 years. But is it impossible, does it require the protection of a hothouse flower and shameless begging? Hell no. Just look at the growing list of Hecho en Puerto Rico products and you will see Our pride and Our energy making its mark. And it will continue to do so.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

20 April 2007

Personal Perspective

Ever so often, I get wrapped up in My own view of the world and start to see mountains where there are none. Time and again, the Universe has a way of teaching Me that I am wrong in doing so.

As I perused this year's Pulitzer Prize winners, I came across the Feature Photography winner, a 20-picture series in The Sacramento Bee, taken by Renée C. Byer, of a single mother and her young son as he loses his battle with cancer.

Before I reached the final photograph, I was crying. Not for Me, but for the courage of two people for whom the world has become small, yet filled with a titanic struggle that very few will ever understand...or hope to.

The images are stark, often unforgiving and utterly real. They aren't meant for everyone. But if you can find it in your heart to look at Life, and death, and learn from what you see, please explore Ms. Byer's series of photographs.

A clearer perspective indeed, even through tears.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

18 April 2007

Fool-Creating System

We have an overabundance, a surfeit, a plethora--yea, verily!--a veritable cornucopia of Fools. Now whose fault is that? Ours for electing them, as I keep pointing out? But what if Our choices are limited to Fool A, Fool B, Mega-Fool C and Damn Fool D? Is it Our fault then?

Sadly, that's what We have every time an election period squats in Our calendar. It seems obvious, but somebody has to say it: What We have is Fool-creating system.

And it's working perfectly.

Here's the rub: To participate in the Fool-creating system--the political election process--one can either be above-average, average or below-average. Or as I like to call it, a potential leader, a potential bureaucrat or a potential felon.

If you're a potential leader, an above-average person or an average person with true passion, the whole Fool-making process is anathema to you, like pouring fish guts into your morning coffee. There will come a time when the whole torpid stupidity of the process--either at the election level or when you inhabit Foolsville--drives you out of the Fool-creation system. You have to leave: The whole system is contemptibly beneath you.

If you're below-average, you see the Fool-creation process as Easy Street. Having no either real capacity, you will try to make it Easy Street and eventually (We hope) you will get caught and either be forced out or dragged out, supposedly to jail but more likely to a higher-paying "consultant" job. The trick, of course, is to avoid that nasty jail term thingy that the really stupid ones get slapped with.

So what's left? A herd of barely-average folks "at the top"--elected Fools--leading a herd of below-average folks--government careerists--who are too aware of their own limitations to go where competence is a requirement. And a smaller pack of below-average Fools who haven't been caught yet.

Is this a formula for leadership? Weed out the best players--through sheer inertia, innuendo, debasement and threats, if need be--and encourage thick-skinned, dim-witted bench players to take the field and play positions they can't handle? While leaving the door open for cheaters to roam the sidelines and stands?

Yeah, there's a system aimed at success. So come November, Our choices are, inevitably, Fools. There simply isn't anything else to vote for.

So is it Our fault? Yes. We have allowed the system to evolve, by supporting a media more intent on gossip than facts, by supporting a party symbol rather than evaluating leadership, by focusing on ideology rather than progress, by being largely indifferent to reality and focusing obsessively on opinion, by letting the below-average not only get away with their weaseling, but by actually making many of them heroes...simply because they're "My" weasel.

Can We change the Fool-creating system? Not immediately. This kind of lumbering, doddering, sewage-spewing clunker isn't fixed by tinkering or by slapping paint on the whole thing. Nope. What will probably do the job is smashing it so hard it breaks, to literally rip the system apart by overwhelming force and imposing--either through will or the exigencies of urgency--a new system.

Yeah, that sounds suspiciously like a revolution, like some sort of uprising that storms the walls and takes no prisoners. Sounds like it. Sounds ugly, too.

But then again, We gotta do what We gotta do.

The Jenius Has Spoken

16 April 2007

Words For Today, Part II

This won't take long...

He denounced excessive partisanship, most especially when it took the form of political parties pursuing an ideological agenda or sectional interest groups oblivious to the advantages of cooperation.

These are the words written by Joseph J. Ellis, in Founding Brothers, about a certain politcal leader's take on what he (the leader) saw as a fatal flaw rotting the pristine process of national leadership.

That leader? George Washington, in his later-titled Farewell Address. Of 1796.

Two hundred nine years later, Our pathetic excuse for political leaders here in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. of part of A. continue to make the same rotting mistake.

A murderous moron's hyena-like cabal gnawing away in Washington D.C.; a jellyfish's limp-brained never-will-bes festering in San Juan.

Let's hear it for...Washington. George, that is. (For you statehooders, I mean George Washington.) (Sheesh.)

The Jenius Has Spoken.

14 April 2007

Options For Educational Improvement

When an entity consistently, continuously and even criminally fails to perform a vital function, what remedies apply? The general choices are improvement (including improvement by forcible means), substitution or tolerance.

What if that vital function is public education and the entity in question is a historically incompetent government? What then?

In that case, the private sector eventually steps in to create a substitute. Witness the local explosion over the past 30 years of private schools, from dubious church-sponsored pre-kinder/daycare centers to nationally-recognized academies. But are they really a substitute? After all, they are still beholden to the laughable "standards" and bureaucratic procedures of the government's education lamebrains. In fact, the substitution, for what it's worth, is to the government's benefit: Fewer public school students means there's more budgetary fat to feed on.

At first glance, We can't force the government to improve, for any number of reasons: lack of unity amongst Us, general and imposed indifference to the true value of education, The Fools' kids don't go--oh nonono!--to public schools so they have no reason to give a damn and so on. Homeschooling, a combination substitution/forcing move, still depends on the lamebrain overseers who are trying desperately to gain even more control over it as We speak. And the ultimate substitution--moving out of Puerto Rico--is used increasingly, but only by those who have the means, a significantly low minority.

So what are We left with? Tolerance? Our historical non-reaction to the government's utter failure to properly and adequately prepare Our children for global competition? I hope I don't need to tell you that tolerance is and never was acceptable. Let Me be blunt: This educational failure cannot be tolerated anymore. The only possible choice is to use both other options, substitution and forcible improvement, to start making the change We desperately need.

How? Let's try these options:

--Build new schools or modify existing ones to establish high-effectiveness schools. Can't be done? Check out what Aspire is doing...with public schools.

--Locate areas where students are badly underserved by existing schools and create quality schools for them. Can't be done? Look into what Civic Builders is doing.

--Want to avoid building schools and use what's in them already? Okay, how about empowering the bare handful of true teachers We have with funding for their educational projects. Where will the money come from? Click over to Donors Choose and learn a little something.

--How about recruiting the high-quality Education students right out of universities to target daycare and pre-school classrooms? That's what Jump Start does and God knows a ton of church-based operations could use professional help. And look at what Teach For America does, using high-quality graduates to transform embattled urban and rural schools.

--Or what if We expanded after-school programs to focus on leadership and life-affirming skills? Talk about something new... Check out BELL, Building Educated Leaders for Life. And they even do summer school programs!

--What about expanding education to take in more than just under-prepared, overwhelmed and indifferent "educators" to include professionals from a wide variety of fields? That's the premise behind Citizen Schools. Or combining corporate employees with adopted schools for short- and long-term projects? That's what The Hands On Network does.

All of these organizations, all of their programs, are meant to replace the horribly deficient government effort with targeted new initiatives. In doing so, they force the government to improve, if not directly, then by the indirect path of raising public awareness of what can actually be done with education when it's managed with focus, expertise and passion.

We have run out of time. We have been misled, misused and mistreated by Our own indifference and incompetence in selecting those who would ostensibly lead Us to growth and progress. But with the same power of choice, We can choose--We must choose--to alter the spiraling descent of Our future and turn it into a steady, even if slow, rise to Our fulfillment.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

13 April 2007

The Sty is Faking, Again

In a move so telegraphed it was like skywriting, Our pigsty of a government is snuffling again about shutting down because--grunt--there ain't enough money to last until June 30th. (That stampede you hear in the background are Our teachers rushing to an early vacation...again.)

Of course, Our media simply has to play the role of Chicken Little (Brains) and scream "The skywriting is falling! The skywriting is falling!" while pretending to portray the public's reaction to Foolish inanity as verging on "hysteria and panic."


On the other hand, you have business and economic pundits lashing out with comments along the lines of "We told you so!" and "What the hell?" Remember, last year's porcine ballet was carried out to shoehorn the sales tax into Our lives so the whole fecal fiction wouldn't be repeated. And yet...here it be again.

Did the sales tax work? Of course not: It wasn't supposed to "work." It's primary function was to create an artificial budgetary crutch and it serves that purpose quite well. Notice how it's being used right now.

Isn't the proper solution to this fake-as-a-Fool's-morality situation a policy of fiscal restraint by the government? Of course, but cutting budgets makes for cranky voters who vote against you, a fear so utterly paralyzing to a Fool that s/he will prefer to get in bed with the opposing party rather than do what's needed. Remember, the money "needed" to cover the budget is on hand: What's lacking, again, is the integrity to take the required Fool-wracking steps.

In recent days, legislation to tax unprocessed foods and set the Municipal sales tax at 1.5% (instead of allowing a 1% tax) were bandied about, along with talk of raising the overall sales tax to 8%. Woo-hoo! Like drunken sailors flushed with cash and just raring to catch a degenerate disease, The Fools have no intention--none!--of even thinking about restraint. They are pigs after truffles at this point, and lest you miss the point of My simile, truffles are fungi that grow in rot.

And We are the rot.

We don't have to be the rot. In fact, We really aren't rot. But letting The Fools continue this obscenely manipulative charade, aided by a media so bereft of a nervous system it classifies as a mineral in "20 Questions", is to embrace the status of rot like a drunken sailor hugs a whore.

And while I'm mixing My metaphors here, you know exactly what the sailor does to the whore, again and again.

Until the money runs out, of course.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

09 April 2007

Prejudice, Bias Revealed

Puerto Rican students finished dead last in standardized math tests given to fourth and eighth graders. Local secretary of miseducation, Rafael "My Mouth's a Suicide Weapon" Aragunde claims the tests are "culturally biased."

Skip over to the Topix page, featuring a forum on the Orlando Sentinel report of this news item. Here are excerpts of some of the comments made, presented with their original misspellings:

--From "Welcome to the OC," of Orlando, FL: This is a surprise...TO NO ONE!!!!

--From "skyla2551," of Orlando, FL: Its troubling that Puerto Rico is ranked last on our national tests. But for Orange county schools to go and recruit there teachers is even more troubling, Let just import there educational problems here.

--"Stepheno3," of Orlando, Fl weighs in with: I am certainly not surprised to see this: Based on the way they act here in Orlando, I am surprised that they ever get above last place! I think perhaps a place to start would be some parental control at home, but I guess that is to much to ask!

--From "john," of Altamonte Springs, FL: Wow, ranked last, that beautiful island that everyone praises as such a great place. Sad to say I don't think our little county is far behind. We are being dragged down daily from what a promising and beautiful place Orange County used to be. Think there is any correlation?

--From "Excuse me," in Oviedo, FL: How do you put bias in a MATH test?????? Their response makes them look ignorant.

--"Edwin Berríos," of Orlando, FL: I wish the Puerto Rican officials would quit hiding their head in the sand and realize they have a terrible education system on their hands. In spite of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the local and federal government in the education system in Puerto Rico, it is terrible.

How could a math test be "culturally biased"? Isn't 2 plus 2 yields the same result, whether you are a kid from the ghetto or from Isleworth? Whether you are black, hispanic, white, asian or any other ethnic or ethnic group, math is math.

Your life experiences based on the amount of money you have, the language you speak or the music you listen to do not change the result of a math problem.

Mr. Aragunde, why don't you just face the fact that your Department has always been a fiasco, no matter what political party is in power. Your Department recently returned millions of dollars back to the federal government, because your Department did not find any use for them. On top of that during the past few years, your Department has had to return hundreds of millions of dollars to the federal government that have been misspent.

--From "Trailer King," of Winter Park, FL: they didn't translate the numbers correctly must be a racist that converted it.

--Unfortunately, "amazed." from Jamison, PA clumsily misfires in several directions: Wow ignorance is bliss isn't it? I'm sure you've read prior article and have notice that most of you all are racists against even your own kind. Puerto Ricans are dumb huh? Try and research (and by the looks of it...must who are commenting here probably have never done so, but research is the diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc.) Once you do this, you will find that must of the hardest positions to obtain in this country are occupied by Puerto Ricans. A great example would be Sergeant General Richard Carmona. Isn't it an interesting fact that more then 50% of Puerto Ricans go on to higher education in comparing to the low-lives that sit in their trailers and criticize others to make themselves feel better? But no one cared to pay attention to that. Keep expressing your jealously, we understand that you cannot expand your mind further then what you're being told. It’s ok that we are able to speak two languages and most others can’t. After all we are the ones walking away with your jobs. Oh, and yes... we are "using YOUR free money" too…right? So wouldn't that make us reallllllllly smart :) If you haven't caught on to it by now (I know must who read the Orlando Sentinel only do have a 7th grade reading level - and this is factual, I actually do my research before I comment on something and sound like and idiot or should I said must of you here) I am a proud Puerto Rican who holds an MBA. I guess the education system did me right somewhere, huh? Let Me be blunt here, "amazed": Take your "research skills," your MBA and your obviously false notion that you can make an argument for Us and cram it so far inside of you that not even a Surgeon General can find it.

--And lastly, from "Carter Burke," of Farmingdale, NY: "Puerto Rican officials are dismissing the test, administered to fourth- and eighth-graders, as culturally biased." That kind of thinking promotes mediocrity through "victimhood" and deflection of responsibility while horribly shortchanging the children who won't be equipped to excel in the world.

To just dismiss the test wholesale is a complete disregard for the responsibility educators have even if Puerto Rican children's brains somehow "work differently" than "white peoples"(which honestly sounds like self racism and am shocked they used that as an excuse).

"Carter," you may not have expressed it with complete precision, but you did hit the nail on the head. Our so-called educators prefer victimhood over maturity, an inferiority complex over self-respect and blaming others rather than responsibility. It undermines Our collective self-esteem, leading to either crass passivity or the excesses of "amazed."

We are last in math in a country that doesn't rank in the top 15 worldwide in math. If We don't set Our own standards--Our own, not those of an educational failure--We will continue to languish and lose ground.

As for prejudice and bias, they will always be a part of humanity. And they work both ways, for We are certainly not above them. But not everything is biased against Us...unless We prefer to see it that way.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

06 April 2007

CNE = Trash Dump

I was asked once again why I continue to slam the so-called "Center for the New Economy," a local stink tank.

Because they are frauds.

But don't take My word for it. Let's use the words of an acknowledged guru of "think tank" policies and procedures, Joseph Overton, to reveal the fraud behind the CNE mask. The quotes used here are from this article.

In short, Overton realized that policy-making is constrained by what is felt to be achievable. Since human beings and politicians act from self-interest, they will weigh possible options from within the range of possibilities and choose those most likely to benefit them personally.

Overton called this the "window of political possibilities," and what he suggested think tanks and policy-making advisors do is to "focus on educating lawmakers and the public in an attempt to change the political climate."

So far so good. Makes sense. Now We come to the so-called Center for the New Economy, a vapid, insipid whisper in the cacophony of Our daily life. Who makes up this misaligned "center"? The Chief Corporate Partners are:

--Grupo Ferré Rangel -- Owners of El Nuevo Dia, major stockholders in the largest local cement-producer and major stockholders in...
--Banco Popular de Puerto Rico -- the largest bank in Our neck of the woods
--Microsoft Caribbean -- 'nuf said
--Banco Santander de Puerto Rico -- second-largest bank in town
--Doral Bank
--First Bank
--The Ford Foundation

Four banks, including the two largest. The biggest printed media conglomerate with extensive holdings in cement (87% of Our buildings are built with cement) and banking. The leading software provider to the local government, even if it doesn't work for crap. These are the Chief Corporate Partners leading the way to a "New" Economy? That's like having hyenas lead the way to a vegetarian lifestyle.

Again, quoting the article about Overton's window: "Think tanks can shape public opinion and shift the Overton window by educating legislators and the public about sound policy, by creating a vision for how things could be done, by conducting research and presenting facts, and by involving people in the exchange of ideas."

Are think tanks or the so-called Center for the New Economy going to present a vision that isn't completely in accord with the self-interest of its Chief Corporate Partners? What "vision" could these well-entrenched powerbrokers have: one that strengthens their lofty holdings or one that endangers the same in search of a new alternative?

What the so-called CNE has produced is pathetic in both range and scope. Their "research" is sophomoric at best, asinine at worst. Their "findings" have all the intellectual grasp of a junior-high book report, stating the obvious in dull ways. A brief glimpse of their publication list is all that's needed, for not only is it woefully short (they've been around since 1999), it also displays a limp-wristed weakness for superficiality. And their so-called Information Bank is even worse.

I lambasted the CNE's soft-headed book "Restoring Growth in Puerto Rico" because it compiled rather than advised and when it feebly tried to advise, it was as much as 70 years behind the times. As far as being a think tank, the CNE stinks; as far as being a policy-shifting tool it reeks of sanctimonious hypocrisy and raw greed. We deserve better.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

04 April 2007

Our D-grade Student

If Puerto Rico's educational system were to sit in a classroom, it would be in the back, with the other D-grade students, wearing shockingly expensive tennis shoes (unlaced), too much bling-bling, a Yo Soy Boricua cap tilted to hell and a look of total contempt smeared across its face. It would give off those fake bad-ass vibes, the kind that say "I'm a mean motherf-----" but you know that if you push the pathetic wannabe it will instantly back off, mumbling about "the shoes" and "later," while pretending to have a threat to toss back.

A D-grade student who can't speak Spanish properly, never wrapped his tongue or brain around English (after 100+ years), has the math skills of a child and the science knowledge of a monkey. Who knows exactly as much about Our history as it knows about classical music, which is light-years behind what it knows about the latest telenovela, action movie or Miss Universe pageant.

A student so bored with learning that it chooses to let its standards slide rather than exploring their declining significance. One who has stopped demanding improvement because even demanding is too much work. One who sees education as the business of highlighting weaknesses to throw increasingly-large amounts of money at the problems, and that if there is no money to be had, then there is no problem to solve.

A D-grade student in a world that rewards A- and B-levels. A D-grade chronic underachiever in a world where learning is vital and more important every day. A slacker with the open-mouthed dullness of inbred incompetence, the incestuous product of greed and indifference. A subnormal spaz with lizard-brain ethics, barely rising above instincts on its best day. A money-grubber, constantly sniffing for the easiest path to cash.

Is there potential in this D-grade student? Certainly. Even rocks can deliver water if squeezed hard enough. But unlike the aforementioned rock, the D-grade student that is Our misbegotten education system can choose to become better, can opt for the progress and growth, can elect to make itself a C-grader, then maybe a B or--dare We hope--an A student. The choice, the basic choice that needs to be made, is not about curriculum, or educational theory or de-unionization: It's about totally separating politics from education. The choice is to get the D-grade student out of the illegitimate, ill-intentioned and crassly debased hands of the gang of Fools and placing it squarely in the hands of social developers, educators, researchers and professionals for whom a positive social result in education is the only goal worth pursuing.

Only one choice is needed, albeit a seemingly hard one. For only a D-grade slacker knows how hard it is to stop being comfortable in failure and strive for excellence. For the A- and B-levels among Us, the only hard thing about it is tolerating the all-too-many who settle for all-too-little.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

02 April 2007

Selling Out (of Place)

Uh, noted: Google "deepest outhouse." Go ahead, google it.

Sigh. Just when I think I'm making progress...

Several days ago, Puerto Rico hosted an event to sell the Island as a "worthy investment." In New York City.

I feel an analogy coming on:

That's like reciting poetry to Milton. No.

That's like giving Nero a fiddle. No.

That's like selling ice to an Eskimo. Bingo!

Pause for a moment and contemplate: Do We really--I mean, REALLY--need to tell investors and venture capitalists in New York City about Puerto Rico? New York City, where there are as many Puerto Ricans as in either half of the Island? New York City, where easily 75% of the Fortune 500 companies already here have central offices?

Reciting poetry to Milton or giving Nero a fiddle actually enhances their lives, if only a tiny bit (figuratively.) But trying to sell ice to an Eskimo (no, I won't be PC about this) is to simply waste time and effort when it is obvious--obvious, I tell you--that the time and effort are better invested elsewhere.

Yes, New York City has plenty of money. Oodles and oodles of it. In fact, it has so much that whatever monies needed to find their way to Puerto Rico have either done so or will do so no matter how many fake "high-powered" events We want to burn cash on. The whole "effort" is like glossy tissue paper: Expensive, wasteful and more likely to smear than improve the situation.

The usual gang of powermongers and pathetic wannabes were behind and beneath this event, focused entirely on witless style rather than wise substance. What would have made the difference? Holding this type of event in Santiago, Buenos Aires or Río de Janeiro.

If the event were truly aimed at enhancing the investment image of Puerto Rico, it needed to go where (A) would-be investors could learn more than they already know about Puerto Rico and (B) where Puerto Rico represents a unique and/or clear advantage over other current options.

Condition A is satisfied easily, for Puerto Rico's image in South American investment circles is practically a shadow. Why? Because We make very little effort to court, explore and do business with South American markets. The primary reason is U.S. tyranny over Our economic options, a tyranny We tolerate and even foment with Our wishy-washy political spinelessness. But another primary reason is simply Our basic xenophobia, born of ignorance of the world outside Our geographically-limited borders.

Put the two together and you get a "selling" event in a market that knows Us probably better than We know Ourselves and has for at least 50 years, rather than a selling event in markets that could learn about Us as We learn about them. And that could use Our access and knowledge of the U.S market to their great advantage, which fulfills Condition B.

So We end up trying to sell ice to Eskimos rather than ice to the ice-challenged. Leave it to Our feckless "leaders" to wax ecstatic over the wrong event run by the wrong people in the wrong market for the wrong reasons. And blame Us for neither caring about this or what won't happen because of it.

The Jenius Has Spoken.