29 February 2008

Dump 'Em!

The local Federation of Teachers, led by a deluded hydrocephalic posing under the name of Rafael "I Am the Power" Feliciano, went on strike.

And promptly got fired.

Not the way I wanted to see these vermin eradicated, but by the judicial route that says "You don't represent who you say you represent." What the local Superior Court did was add legal muscle to what was already apparent: The Federation spoke for itself, not for all or even a majority of teachers.

The evidence trickled in as the number of schools shut down by the strike could be counted on two hands (out of some 1,530) and most of those were closed because parents and guardians kept their kids home rather than face trouble.

For trouble did emerge, as the Federation's desperate rats turned rabid. Video of small groups of teachers snarling and hurling insults, curses and even garbage at cars bringing students to the schools may have been very isolated incidents, but they were enough to show how shallow, how utterly useless these "teachers" in the Federation really are. Concerned about education? Hell no. Their only concern is to expand their comfort level within the narrow confines of their "I'm too stupid and too lazy to do anything" fetid mentality.

The Appeals Court also kicked the toothless and mindless Federation and within hours, what was left of Fart-Face Feliciano's pseudo-empire was offering a solution to "solve" the strike. Here's a newsflash, "Feliciculo": The strike never happened.

Does this mean the Education system is not a Titanic? No. Does this mean teachers don't have legitimate complaints? No. Does it mean teachers deserve more? No. Does it mean We have opened a window for progressive dialogue? No. All it means is that We let a handful of scumbags derail the puny efforts We say We make to somehow bail out the sinking ship of local education.

And if a system is only as smart as its lowest common denominator, then the evidence is clear: We're in deeper trouble than We imagined.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

28 February 2008

Bids Open

Here's an idea: Let's place Puerto Rico on eBay.

The purpose is to offer Ourselves as the prime material for someone's best idea, with "best" being "the most millions." Here's how I'd phrase the offer:

Sunny Caribbean island with 4 million eager money-beavers ready to make a move. Warm tropical environment peppered with high-tech facilities that are increasingly easy to pick up. Retail heaven what with an underground economy where cash is king, queen and prince. (That cash is looking for a home...if you catch my drift.)

Some slight damage involving regulations with cement-like fluidity and 35% "unemployed", but money can oil the hinges (if you know what I mean) and there are 200,000 - 300,000 "ultra-eager" money-beavers (from, uh, outside this island) that truly make up for their less-energetic brethren. (For more information, e-mail the Consulate of the Dominican Republic.)

Other perks? Plenty (plenty!) of Miss Universe contestants, fun-loving calendar and indecision-induced manipulability. Recent events in Cuba make bidding on Puerto Rico a must: High levels of economic anxiety are ratcheting upwards, tourism is expecting a severe downturn and the political scene has no clue. Bring your great idea to Puerto Rico, bid 'til you win and turn your idea into OUR idea...and rake in the bucks!

Of course, the bidders here would be nations, even though there are several individuals who have the assets to float a bid or two. Who would be the prime bidders? Here's a list with reasons:

Brazil: Access to primary U.S. markets
Colombia: Money-laundering
Eastern European republics: High-tech market penetration
Russian Federation republics: See Colombia
South Korea: Working vacations made easy
Japan: Golf and to deny South Korea its working vacations
Singapore: To create another economic colony
China: Because they can

Limit the contract to a 20-year period, open it at $20 billion and let the bids fly!!

What? Economic slavery? So what else is new? Dignity? Dignity stands up for itself: We don't. Political obstacles? Give Uncle Sam a 15% agent's fee and that ends that.

Let the bidding begin!

The Jenius Has Spoken.

25 February 2008

Carbonell HELL!

I brought it up in July of 2006.

And again in May of 2007.

And here We are, late February 2008 and I'm here to tell you: Carbonell Street is in worse shape--by far--than it ever was.

Now the street is blocked at the small curve where it meets Cabo Rojo's "gateway", just up from the Banco Popular and across the street from two small bars that trade patrons like flies. Can't drive through there most of the time, for there's only one lane left and that is so craggy and misshapen it resembles the remnants of 6.8 Richter Scale aftershock.

The new "project": A trench, 5 feet wide, almost 70 feet long and nine feet deep. That was supposed to have been dug 2 years ago.

Do I need to drive on or past this street every day? No. In fact, I go weeks without using Carbonell as anything but an example of FUBAR. For in fact, it is all that and a bag of buffalo chips: Carbonell Street is an unimpeachable example of greedy incompetence and of the butt-buddy system that pervades government and business in Puerto Rico.

Here's a length of roadway that covers about 250,000 square feet (about 0.7 miles long and by My generous estimate averaging about 65 feet in width) that has been under "construction" since mid-2004 with no other major goal in sight.  No new buildings have been added to that stretch since this putrid thievery of public funds began.  No electrical, telephone or cable TV cables have been placed underground.

In fact, only a 200-foot stretch of concrete pipe was placed for better drainage back in 2006. And the SAME pipe was replaced in 2007. And in those nearly four years of roadway robbery, the quality of Carbonell Street is so pathetic one can confidently state that whatever its name was back when Cabo Rojo was officially founded in the 18th century, it was in better shape.

I've asked experienced road construction companies how much they can do in a day and their estimate is 30,000 to 60,000 cubic feet a day. Give Carbonell Street a million cubic feet and one could expect the work to be done in 50-60 days (at less than 20,000 cubic feet a day.) Let a 6-man work crew do it by hand and they can average 4,000 cubic feet a day and finish the damn thing in 250-280 days.

With massive equipment, sometimes 16 people in a "work" crew, over 1,400 days and a budget that has moved into the millions, and what do We have? A dirt road, a muddy trench and an eyesore that reeks of theft.

And that's just one stretch of road in a town once-led by a sexually-ambivalent mayor. Imagine what else is going on in the 77 other towns of Our Puerto Rico.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

Update: 3 March: The street is now completely blocked, as the trench became an impact crater that took out the meager sidewalks as well.  Woo-hoo!

22 February 2008

On How to Live

Dr. Randy Pausch knows he's dying.

He's choosing to live. Every day, for as long as he can.

Here's his Last Lecture, one he's given to hundreds of people, and thanks to the power and clarity--and even joy--of his message, will ultimately reach millions.

Click here for the video. And remember the power of choice.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

20 February 2008

Breaking the Stranglehold

Imagine a banking system so pervasive, so utterly dominant, that it literally strangles growth by forcing any measure to fit its objectives and not those of a truly free market.

Imagine no more: Call it Banco Popular of Puerto Rico. Time and time again I've mentioned its stranglehold on Our economy, and I must admit, to little response. Oh, sure, there's the "Well they are expensive" response and the "It's all about politics", but they are also joined by "That's My bank" and variations of "So what?"

Valid responses, granted, but they miss the point: No national economy can grow with a single-source vision. And Banco Popular is the single-source vision in the following areas:

--Government cash flow
--Personal loans, both regular and high-interest
--Credit cards
--Commercial loans
--Construction loans, both private and commercial
--Auto loans
--ATM and credit card transaction processing
--Electronic payment/transfer processing

There is little doubt that Banco Popular achieved its dominant position by legal means; it is,
after all, a bank run under Federal guidelines. (Your mileage may vary.) But having done it by legal or "legal" means doesn't reduce the notion that the bank's position is contrary to Our best economic interest.

Call Banco Popular "Uncle Juan" and have Uncle Juan be the last word in the use of any monies within your extended family. Want to buy a house? Uncle Juan says yes or no. Want to buy a car? Uncle Juan says yay or nay. Feel like going on a trip somewhere exotic? Uncle Juan makes or breaks your plans with his decision. 

Small potatoes? Okay, talk about changing the rules of the game, expanding the family by bringing in a richer political uncle or another group of families with deep pockets and see what Uncle Juan says. Is his "no" in your best interest?

The problem isn't the obvious negatives Uncle Juan--or Banco Popular--throw into the fray: It's the "nos" that pre-empt potential developments, negative decisions that aren't made so much as they simply erase the possibility of a yes. And what do you call a system where the possibility of true growth is largely eliminated?


Or dying. Or hopeless. No matter the adjective, We're talking doldrums and maybe even despair.

But it isn't an impossible situation to change. No position is impregnable and Banco Popular has a 
soft underbelly. Will We find a way to attack it, to weaken the stranglehold Banco Popular keeps on Our collective throats?

I'm willing to bet that We will.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

18 February 2008

The Weight of Stupid

In three weeks, the local statehood party (species Sansdignitas ignoramus) will go to brown paper closets with stubby pencils and choose between a Never Was and a Never Again.

The Never Was is current Head Beggar in Washington D.C. (okay, Resident Commissioner) Luis "Larva" Fortuño, a nerdy excuse for a leader, a straight-laced Pee Wee Herman without the charisma. "Larva" has been around for several years, but for all that he wants to puff himself up, he really only has one one main distinction: He isn't Stupid.

Stupid is, of course, the Never Again Pedro Rosselló, ertwhile rapacious buffoon for two theft-filled terms as faux-governor of Ours. He named Larva to the latter's first major post and even consolidated three economy-related agencies into one so that Larva could run them all into the ground. (Although in defense of soon-to-mutate juvenile lifeforms, the agencies were headed south way before they were jammed together like crashing meteors.)

This primary once again seems to  epitomize the all-too-often repeated scenario that undermines the power of democracy: We are consistently faced with a choice between Blech and Blagh, a Devil's Catch-22 where you're damned no matter who you choose.

So what does this mean, this crappy crap-shoot, for Our immediate future? Here's My take: Larva wins, Stupid goes blotto and practically re-hands the governor's mansion to the current Jellyfish...which means We are headed for four more useless years.

Is this inevitable? No. I've mentioned before that governor Aníbal "Jellyfish" Acevedo is working to get Stupid chosen as his November rival and if that happens, the likely result is that Larva goes catatonic (he's almost there already) and Stupid polarizes the electorate again, re-handing the governor's mansion to Jellyfish.

Devil's Catch-22 indeed. The leading candidate for numbnut of the decade may end up being a two-time governor of Our Island simply because the opposition is saddled by Stupid: Stupid's past, Stupid's present and Stupid's future.  Like a barnacle-encrusted anchor attached to a canoe, Stupid weighs Us down. We don't cut him loose and We don't have any will to get a bigger boat.

The Devil's Catch-22 could be thus subtitled "Dead in the Water". ¡Viva la democracia!

The Jenius Has Spoken.


16 February 2008

Weekend Bonus: Life's Lessons

Seeing as I haven't posted anything on a weekend since who-knows-when, and coming across this particular piece at this particular time in My life and work, well... Here it is.

From the blog Dumb Little Man, soul-brother to The Jenius (one could say), comes this enchanting list of 20 Things Life Has Taught Me, written by Andrew Galasetti. I'm happy to say Life taught Me well, too.

Here are 20 things that I personally came to understand and believe in. Your 20 could be totally different. Perhaps you only have 5, it doesn't matter. The key is that you learn from your life, your failures and your successes. Neglect any one of those and you are taking a rocky road to learning and personal development.

1) You must create and look for opportunities: Opportunities rarely ever come knocking on the door of someone who's not seeking them. You have to create and seek opportunities for yourself. You have to take the initiative to get the ball rolling and the doors opening.

2) Negativity will only bring more of it: When you focus only on negativity, obviously that's all you will see. You will not seek out positivity, and even when positivity comes into your life, you'll look for the negative part of it.

3) Where you are does not determine where you can go: It doesn't matter if you're homeless or living in a mansion, poor or rich, or if you have a 4.0 grade point average or "failing", it won't make any difference in the future. There are countless rags to riches stories to back this point up. If you have the drive and talents, you can go anywhere. You create your own limitations and horizon.

4) If you can't help others, you can't help yourself: Even if it's just to hold the door for someone or some other simple gesture, it will do wonders for your life. You'll feel great and you'll eventually be returned the favor sometime during your life, whether you realize it or not. If you don't want to help others, then others won't want to help you, and nor should they.

5) Follow your passion, money will follow: If you have passion and have fun doing your job, then I wouldn't consider it a job. You can focus on creating even more passion for that subject and money will eventually follow you. If you focus only on the money, it won't come because you're focused on the quantity of your work and not the quality.

6) Enjoy yourself: Have fun as much as possible, don't take everything so seriously. Push your worries aside and bring enjoyment closer.

7) If it were easy everyone would do it: This is why get rich quick schemes will never be true. If it was so quick and easy then everyone would be millionaires. Making money and accomplishing tasks is hard work, but well worth it.

8) Planning is good, but so is being spontaneous: Planning ahead in business and in life is important but so is being able to quickly change that plan. Various people and events will get in the way of your plans, so you have to be able to modify or forget your plans at times. Be spontaneous once and awhile, it makes life interesting.

9) You have many talents: You may be a talented athlete or musician but you probably have ten more talents you don't even know about. When people find something they're good at, they only focus on that instead of seeing what else they can do.

10) Don't work hard without rewards: What's the point of working hard to follow your dreams if you aren't going to treat yourself along the way. Each little or big goal you accomplish should be rewarded with a proportionate treat, maybe a day off or a big slice of cake.

11) Money does bring happiness: As I said, you shouldn't be chasing money but when you do earn it, you know you've been accomplishing something. It feels great and brings you happiness because you know you'll have more freedom and time to do what you want.

12) Someone always has it worse: At times you may be having a bad day, but stop yourself and think about it; there has to be millions of other people are having a worse day than you.

13) You'll need others: Make as many friends as you possibly can and never burn bridges. You will need others for your success.

14) Being open-minded is the key to more knowledge: If you want to know more about the world you have to be open-minded. Give everything a chance.

15) Failure is great: One of the most important, if not the most important steps to success is failure. You have to fail at least once, but it's better if you've failed multiple times. You can learn so much more from your failures than you could any other way. And when you finally achieve success, you'll appreciate it so much more.

16) Most people are actually nice: This is something I've only recently realized. Most people are nice, but not usually to strangers. Once they get to know you and you get to know them, they will most likely seem like very nice people.

17) Words and thoughts control everything: What you say and think will ultimately become reality. If you say you're going to fail, then you will because you'll find a way to make it happen. If you say you're going to succeed, the same will happen, you'll find a way.

18) Your view is the reality: How you see an event or situation is how it exists. If you see something as tragic and negative then that's what it means to you. If you see something as exciting and positive, then that's what it is.

19) Inspiration and motivation are everywhere: I don't care where you are, there is something there that can motivate and inspire you. You can be at war is some far away country, in horrible conditions, but there will be something there to keep you going and strive for something better. You just have to recognize it and keep it with you.

20) You can change the world: Every single person has the ability to change the world whether directly or indirectly. When you change your life and the lives of those around you, you've changed the world. Small things that you do can make a huge impact on the world.

The Jenius Has Quoted.

15 February 2008

Santayana Was Right

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

---George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

Germany, 1932: Adolph Hitler's party wins a minority of seats in the Reichstag, Germany's Parliament. Through extra-electoral means, despite decreasing vote support, he gets himself a central seat of power, much like a president stealing another election after losing Congressional seats.

To continue the story of history repeating itself, the Populist Party blog has this post, reproduced here:

It'll Never, Ever, Ever Happen Here

by Cliff Carson

I was reading about the rise of Hitler to power and found that there were eight things he asked the German people to give him (each of the eight were a surrender of a right they enjoyed per their Rule of Law) so that he and his administration could "protect" the German people from their enemies.

They gave up the rights gladly because Hitler preached that Germany would once again be a great nation if they would be a Christian Nation and trust him to pull them up out of their poverty.

Over 90% of the Germans supported him. Once they had given up their rights, they woke up one morning to find that they, the people, were the enemies of the Government.

Every one of those eight have been usurped by this Administration here in the U.S., and way too many people state "If you're doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear". That's exactly the rationale that the Germans used to give up those rights.

One day it was too late to disagree.

It is now time to examine some of the actions the Third Reich took and the individual liberties they removed from German Law during this period, and then compare them to our "War against Terrorism Laws". Remember (that) our Constitution bans the practice of these items:

1) Denial and Restriction of  
habeas corpus
2) Unauthorized rampant militarism without Congressional approval
3) Warrantless spying on all citizens
4) Arrest and indefinite imprisonment without trial
5) Secret detention
6) Secret Prisons
7) Torture
8) Unfair trial practices

George Bush already has claimed a right to adopt, and has put into practice, every last one of the eight Constitutional protections listed above. He has claimed the right to ignore these banned practices.

The Germans never thought it could happen to them. Neither do a majority of Americans.

The murderous moron marches on, ignorant and insidious, a sock-puppet gamboling with destructive intent before a surfeit of indifference.

Germany, 1932; the U.S. 2001. Launch points of what can only be called fascism.

Santayana, Orwell, Lord Acton... History ignored. History repeating itself.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

13 February 2008

Git Along, Lil Doggie!

The local Teachers Federation, a.k.a. The Cud Chewers Club, has threatened to go on strike. The non-governor and his bow-tied monkey mouth platitudes about "meetings" and "common ground."

Here's My suggestion: Let them go on strike.

Then fire their asses.

You say it can't be done? I got three words for you: Air traffic controllers.

Back when Ronald Reagan was displaying Stage I Alzheimer's and the media called it "folksiness," he did have a moment of absolute brilliance. The air traffic controllers union, a bloc of government workers who by law were not allowed to go on strike, threatened to do so; Reagan floated the idea of firing those who went on strike and hiring new people.

Many people scoffed. Fire air traffic controllers? What would happen to the U.S. economy? The image of thousands of grounded planes, stranded passengers and commerce grinding to a halt was so phantasmagorical, a huge number of Us thought "That can't be done."

Unfortunately for them, the air traffic controllers' union thought the same way and they went on strike.

And their asses got fired. The Great Communicator had spared words and simply flipped them the bird.


Did the U.S. economy collapse? Did commerce and travel grind to a halt? Barely a blip on the radar was the end result: New traffic controllers stepped in, some coming back from retirement, others filling in temporarily from the military and even a handful from other countries who helped expand the knowledge base of the U.S. system.

I won't belabor you with the parallels:

--The teachers are government workers who cannot, by law, go on strike.
--If they break the law, they can be fired. In fact, the only response possible is dismissal.
--When they are fired, We can bring back retired teachers, bring in new teachers, switch qualified personnel from other agencies and private industry and maybe bring in some teachers from other countries to help Us round out Our knowledge base.
--We can easily survive firing the current herd, while developing a new group of teaching professionals.

We cannot let the threat of an illegal strike force an appeasement: That would be tantamount to having the Cud Chewers walk over Us. And We definitely cannot let an illegal strike happen without punishment. That would be tantamount to letting the Cud Chewers take a dump over what's left of Our miserable education system.

We can make Our educational system better, but not by letting these crass underachievers run the show. If they cross the line and walk, We have to make sure they keep walking, all the way out of the system. We absolutely have to.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


11 February 2008

Jellyfish Sting, Part II

So after Our non-governor Aníbal "Jellyfish" Acevedo says "Down with the sales tax!" (from 7% to 2.5%), he adds that We should go back to using the old 6.6% import tax as well.

Then, in the kind of math idiocy that is the perfect product of Our idiotic educational system, The Jellyfish says that by ADDING 6.6% after SUBTRACTING 4.5% would actually make the effective tax rate "close to zero percent."

Pigs fly.

Now there are some local economists, known as "retards", who vociferously point out that the taxes The Jellyfish talks about are applied at two different points of the economic system and thus, could maybe possibly and in some specific cases quite randomly in accidental fashion perhaps cause a slight reduction in the tax paid by some fictional consumer. Stripped of their academic verbiage and politically-inept sophistry, what their saying is: No way, José. 

Aside from the fact that the sales tax was (a) a bad idea and (b) too large to boot, the needless additional death blow was that (c) it was applied horrendously. For you see, as Your Immodest Jenius pointed out (along with a few non-retards) eliminating the 6.6% import tax was not the same as actually eliminating its effects. Instead of prices dropping, prices went UP and stayed that way, a result even a retard could have predicted. Why? Because there was no incentive to drop prices due to factors (a), (b) and especially (c).

Therefore The Jellyfish, in his free-floating anxiety attack, has decided that (i) he needs a political boost, but (ii) he still needs revenue to cover his administrative booty (pun intended), so he tries (iii) a blatant double-switch: Drop 4.5% here, add 6.6% there and then LIE about the expected result.

Just like the first time, when he dropped 6.6% and added 7%...to do (i) and (ii) with the first version of (iii).

Now please, somebody explain My math to the retards...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

08 February 2008

Games We Shouldn't Play

So all of a sudden, Aníbal "The Jellyfish" Acevedo, purported governor of Our Island, calls for the reduction of the sales tax from 7% to 2.5%.

Allow Me to point out that's been said before by another "J": here.

According to The Jellyfish, the sales tax has failed, has, in fact, been a disaster, and he wants the damn thing rolled back to "stimulate the economy." Like an overpalped prostate, Our economy doesn't need stimulation: It needs to be fixed. But leave it to The Jellyfish to play politics to impose the sales tax and play politics to have it removed.

Political ploy One: Against history, research and common sense, The Jellyfish proposes a sales tax to help cover deficits he keeps incurring. Regardless of whether the deficits were largely caused by The Freakin' Fools of the legislature (they were) or by cost over-runs left behind by previous incumbent Sila "Quitter" Calderón (ditto), it is the spineless wonder's responsibility to find solutions and the basic one here was stop spending.

By almost every basic objective study, Our government's budget is so laden with fat that just reading it qualifies as a health risk. At a time when Jellyfish and Fools were playing footsie and causing the government to shut down, were they doing it to "stimulate the economy?" Hell no. They were playing politics. And the 7% sales tax was Aníbal's 7-up-his-sleeve.

1) He knew he could get it approved despite the legislature being against his every move. Greed is SOOOOOO predictable.

2) It would give the appearance of forward progress by pushing expenses from the central government to the municipal level, the mask of decentralization covering incompetence.

3) And when the sales tax failed--when--he would have an out: The Fools did it! And so he claimed in his recent "cut the sales tax" speech.

Political ploy Two: Time drags by and Our economy sinks into the crapper. The numbers were evident from the start, and as they got worse, We stopped hearing about them. Jellyfish sees his potential gubernatorial opponents duking it out in what promises to be a bloody political primary.

Let Me foreshadow by reminding you of this.

Center stage, The Fools swamphouse, national TV...drop the 7-up-his-sleeve again. And make Pedro Stupid Rosselló look good in time for a primary push.

1) Stupid had vehemently argued (through his monkey-puppets) for a 4% tax, and even bandied about a 2.5% "solution."

2) Stupid is running behind in the polls, for although he isn't actually "running" (Stupid is as Stupid does), he is the other candidate in a two horse's-ass race, so polls are taken. 

3) And as discussed before, if Stupid wins, Jellyfish is practically a lead-pipe cinch to win his second useless term simply because Stupid coalesces the "anti-candidate" fence-sitters known as independientes (not to be confused with the less-impactful independentistas.)

So where do We stand on this spineless sales tax stupidity? Acephalic "experts" most likely rehired by amoral Fools are now wailing that eliminating the sales tax would be a disaster. A previous description by Yours Truly made it clear that having a sales tax was never a good idea. Eliminating it, or reducing it to 2-3%, would help jump-start rampant consumerism, the alleged basis for Our economy.

But if We want to truly solve Our economic malaise, We need to break new ground 
by breaking way from the self-serving restrictions the U.S. of part of A. keeps us under. Until We do that, until We take control of Our own productivity and profits, We will be merely playing silly, spineless, stupid games, like children pretending to be adults.

And I, for one, am definitely not amused by this.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

06 February 2008

Life Actions

A big Gracias to Gabriel Pagán for sending Me a notice about an upcoming Roberto Clemente graphic novel. Must buy!

Over at ZenHabits, an occasional refuge from mundanity, there's a post about "11 Ways to Expand Your Mind." Here's the abbreviated list:

11. Reading
10. Writing
9. Puzzles
8. Mathematics
7. Painting
6. Cooking
5. Music
4. Poetry
3. Meditation
2. Learning a language
1. The Number One Way To Expand Your Mind Is Through Questioning Everything

As a Jenius, I can tell you I do #s 11, 10, 9, and 6 often, 8 and 5 occasionally, just picked up #2 (Italian) and I do #1 all the time. (The rest I don't care to try.) And I believe that puts Me in a group best described as "aberrant."

As I said recently in a phone conversation, most people move as automata through their daily lives, waking, moving, sitting and eating as passive vessels moved by sheer inertia to mark Time.

Don't shake your head: You know it's true because in an instant you can think of half a dozen people just like that. What's bewildering to Me is that even when you point out to these drifting husks that they can enhance their lives by making an effort, they agree it can be done, but don't 
do it. 

Some are in denial and may agree with Me just to shut Me up. (It's been known to occur.) But others dance around the real reason they agree with Me, but continue plowing through Time like oxen: Because it takes effort to "be alive."

Uh-huh. Instead of seeing their lives as massive disconnects leading to barren wastelands of missed opportunties, disconnects that require an almost superhuman effort to achieve because it means denying one's own faculties of curiosity and imagination, they prefer to see living as the effort and their choice as "the easy way out."

That's like starving a child to make him grow healthy and strong.

Is reading harder than watching TV? Of course it is. It's the difference between a mind awake and a mind with the thought processes of a carrot. Is writing harder than taking in a movie? Yes. It's the difference between adventure and ad revenue: In one you act, in the other you get taken for an idiot. Even the activities I eschew--painting, poetry and meditation--require more of you to engage in than a soap opera, TV cartoon or video game. Even in the quiet pose of the zen meditator, you are more alive than plopped in front of a screen.

Should you start doing these things, if you aren't? Should you start living...if you aren't?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

04 February 2008

Who Launches Our Renaissance?

My humble thanks to The Afropolitan Network for being kind enough to include Me in their Caribbean Rock and Blogroll. Not only am I pleased they noticed Me, I'm also pleased to have added them to My weekly Blog Reads. 

If Puerto Rico were to have its own Renaissance, where would the primary thrust of it come from?

(Go ahead, ponder. It'll make for an interesting mental exercise.)

Some assumptions:

1) Puerto Rico is stuck in a modern "Dark Age." Our options are severely limited and Our outlook has taken some of these limitations and turned them into titanium blinders. Unlike the Middle Ages, We have access to ALL kinds of information. So it isn't a matter of can't, but a matter of won't.

2) Renaissance periods are launched from within, not without. If an outside force changes a society or nation, it's either conquest (of some sort) or adaptation (to a more general trend.) A Renaissance, for purposes of this discussion, is a self-generated transformation that redefines the society primarily along lines it chooses.

3) The Renaissance must ultimately alter a society--Our society--for the better, though the path may be strewn with upheaval and even some losses.

Given those ground rules, let's look at some likely sources for launching Our Renaissance:

--Government? Ha. Ha. No, really, Ha! At most they can be supporters; at worst, and they frequently are at their worst, they are obstacles.

--Religious groups? No. Not only are they fragmented, they cause fragmentation amongst Us. And they have a tendency to side with Government to "return to the past," the exact opposite of what a Renaissance launch source needs to do.

--Universities? They are often the flints sparking revolutions of different kinds, but in Puerto Rico, they are more like incubators or day care centers: Their job is to allow a safe, almost painless exit. Students are basically whiny pukes more intent on going home than on making an honest-to-goodness effort to think, analyze and absorb information. At the administrative level, professors are tenure-paranoid, feeble-minded consumers of power politics. You can't launch a Renaissance with peabrains, young or old.

--Business groups? Ha. Ha. No, really, hahahahaha. At least the government has an incentive every 4 years to actually pretend to care... Business groups here range from petulant to putrid, and take your pick on who is what. They spout the usual tripe, often a parody or pale copy of the government's tripe, and then go academic-whiny on Our butts. If they started a church, they'd hit the trifecta.  Oh wait, some peabrain named Font already did that...

--Entrepreneurs? Now We're getting somewhere. Unlike Renaissance efforts in other societies, Ours will follow the pattern of "individuals first," but never--I mean this: never--reach the point of "institutional support." The only way We'll have a Renaissance is if those of Us who fight Our national inertia tooth and nail every day reach the point where We destroy some, maybe many, of the "inertia-invested idiots" who would rather be captains of a pathetic sinking ship than passengers on a world-class vessel.

You knew where I was going with this,  or at least you had a good idea. Now let's add this to the mix: What areas should entrepreneurs focus on to make Our Renaissance happen before its too late?

Topic for another day...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

01 February 2008

Three Strikes

Strike One: Our teachers want to go on strike. Forget the fact that it is illegal for government workers to go on strike. Forget the fact that Our schools suck like a Dyson and have fewer class days than any other country bereft of a civil war. No, let's forget that and focus on teachers leaving their jobs behind and going on strike.

These lazy, stupid obstacles to Our Highest Progress should go on strike, and a local mayor's plan to hire retired teachers and pay them $50 a day to keep his town's schools open should be emulated by every other mayor. Yes, teachers deserve more than $50 a day, but the experiment of hiring teachers who actually want to work might yield results that We can all focus on.

Strike Two: The local Permits and Regulations Office has decided--if pusillanimous waffling can be called deciding--that the controversial Paseo Caribe building can be demolished.

You read that right: A building can actually be destroyed. Will wonders never cease?

Of course, they refer to the fact that said building is solidly founded on public land, a fact known since 2003, before the building went up. And that it was this same Pusillanimous and Retarded Office that gave the many green lights to let the building be erected. Not once, but twice.

So will the building adjacent to the Caribe Hilton and historic (if by historic you mean "in ruins and smelling of wino piss") Fort San Gerónimo be crashing into rubble anytime soon? 

No. For in this case, We're more into waffles than Aunt Jemima.

Strike Three: There's a movement to call a special election for Resolution 99, the first ever attempt at amending Our Constitution. Over its 50+ year history, Our Constitution has stood inviolate, unmodified and largely unknown to Us and especially to those who blithely call for it to be rewritten over any old subject. Like in this case.

For you see, Resolution 99 is aimed at amending Our Constitution to "define marriage as between a man and a woman."

Our first amendment is not aimed at rejecting Our humiliating colonial status, or throwing off economic shackles no self-respecting country would put up with. Nor is it even about correcting a government system so rife with laws and exceptions We make the Byzantine Empire seem like a game of Old Maid. No, it's about defining marriage as "between a man and a woman."

Marriage; that basic institution of Our society deemed so vital to Our present and future. That same institution where the failure rate is almost 50%. So instead of trying to develop a society where its most vital institution has a better than 1-in-2 chance of failing, We aim to restrict said institution to "man and woman" only.

What a crock. Let's really make this an amendement worth wasting money and time on. Let's have a resolution to define marriage this way:

"The union of two adults, who have shown by their actions in society that they understand and accept the responsibilities of being exemplary citizens, trustworthy friends and community supporters in both good times and bad. Furthermore, these two adults must show a willingness to earn their income, save and invest part of it and eschew overconsumption. And finally, these two adults must have shown from the above actions and community service that they understand and accept the responsibility of bringing and raising children into Our society, that they can and will provide for them in proper levels of nurturing, health and education from before birth until death part them."

If at that point you want to define marriage as "between man and woman," good luck. Because Those of Us who agree with the above standards--or close to them--and seek to provide as much for Our children aren't going to give a rat's patootie if it's a man and a woman or a man and a man or a woman and a woman striving for the same level of achievement. Because in the end, a 50% failure rate at such a fundamental level of Our society is exponentially more damaging than trying to regulate the private lives of people who truly want to care for each other "until death do you part."

The Jenius Has Spoken.