30 June 2008


When I first saw him, he was a slim, gray-stubbled man wearing a fading brown suit--vest and all--and a folded paper bag hat, atop a broad-backed horse. He rode with shy dignity as some kids called out to him: ¡Sombrillita! ¡Sombrillita! He sat atop his large horse, surveying the growing midday traffic jam and humphed softly as the policeman made a hash of the situation.

When traffic had snarled to a standstill and with some drivers yelling at the policeman to let Sombrillita handle this, the slim man sighed, came down off his bareback ride and held out his hand to the policeman. Without hesitation, the policeman handed over his whistle and Sombrillita started directing traffic. Within ten minutes, the parking lot had become city streets with moving cars. He surveyed the movement, nodded in quiet satisfaction and after cleaning the whistle with a bright white handkerchief, Sombrillita got on his horse and rode away. 

He collected newspapers, carefully folded into burlap sacks and slung on his horse, or later, after his horse died, carried in a heavy embrace through the streets of Cayey, a central mountain town on My Island. He walked with a steady, almost regal pace, eyes straight forward, his small face a picture of concentration. But ever so often, he'd wince at the catcalls and slurs. I never saw him react in any other way to them. And, surprisingly, I never called out to him.

My dad did, as Sombrillita had a habit of walking past Our house in the late afternoon, with either newspapers or his trademark umbrella collection in his arms. The exchanges between them began after a few months, when they nodded to each other, a blip of shared time. After a few weeks, Sombrillita said "Buenas tardes" to My dad, and a couple of weeks after that, a shy "¿Cómo está usted?"--How are you?

My dad wasn't very sociable, so I was surprised to see him standing at the low fence in front of Our house at about 4:15, in time to greet Sombrillita as he walked by. As I watched from a living room window, they exchanged greetings and suddenly, Sombrillita carefully set down his newspapers and umbrellas and started talking to My dad. He spoke with a soft voice and a rhythmic cadence that sounded both old-fashioned and elegant. Slowly, his gestures grew more expansive and animated and that rarest of sights, a smile, dropped years from his stubbled face. After a few minutes, he shook My dad's hand, gathered his belongings and walked away.

My dad watched him go, then came inside. I asked him about Sombrillita and he said "You never really know about people. That man is well-read, a lover of classic literature and history. He isn't a bum." I waited for more, and when nothing came I asked "Will you talk to him again?" My dad shook his head slightly and said "He wants privacy. But if he wants to talk to me, he'll know he can."

I saw them talking a few more times. A few months later, I left for a boarding school, then college and a few years later found out that Sombrillita had died. When and how I didn't ask. What I remember are his conversations with My dad and his knack for clearing traffic jams in minutes.

When I started this post, I wanted to end it by saying We need more of Sombrillita's "oddness" to help Us sort out Our Island's jams, but now I simply want to remember a quiet man of strong intellect and goodwill who did his best despite his flaws...and Sombrillita.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


19 June 2008

Special Bulletin: Eat Shit, Americans

From The New York Times:

Deal Reached in Congress to Rewrite Rules on Wiretapping 

WASHINGTON — After months of wrangling, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress struck a deal on Thursday to overhaul the rules on the government’s wiretapping powers and provide what amounts to legal immunity to the phone companies that took part in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The deal, expanding the government’s powers in some key respects, would allow intelligence officials to use broad warrants to eavesdrop on foreign targets and conduct emergency wiretaps without court orders on American targets for a week if it is determined important national security information would be lost otherwise. If approved, as appears likely, it would be the most significant revision of surveillance law in 30 years.

The agreement would settle one of the thorniest issues in dispute by providing immunity to the phone companies in the Sept. 11 program as long as a federal district court determines that they received legitimate requests from the government directing their participation in the warrantless wiretapping operation.

With some AT&T and other telecommunications companies now facing some 40 lawsuits over their reported participation in the wiretapping program, Republican leaders described this narrow court review on the immunity question as a mere “formality.” 

“The lawsuits will be dismissed,” Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 2 Republican in the House, predicted with confidence. 

The proposal — particularly the immunity provision — represents a major victory for the White House after months of dispute. “I think the White House got a better deal than they even they had hoped to get,” said Senator Christopher Bond, the Missouri Republican who led the negotiations. 

The White House immediately endorsed the proposal, which is likely to be voted on in the House on Friday and in the Senate next week. 

While passage seems almost certain in Congress, the plan will nonetheless face opposition from lawmakers on both political wings, with some conservatives asserting that it includes too many checks on government surveillance powers and liberals asserting that it gives legal sanction to a wiretapping program that they contend was illegal in the first place. 

Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who pushed unsuccessfully for more civil liberties safeguards in the plan, called the deal “a capitulation” by his fellow Democrats. 

But Democratic leaders, who squared off against the White House for more than five months over the issue and allowed a temporary surveillance measure to expire in February, called the plan a hard-fought bargain that included needed checks on governmental abuse.

“It is the result of compromise, and like any compromise is not perfect, but I believe it strikes a sound balance,” said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democratic leader who helped draft the plan. 

Perhaps the most important concession that Democratic leaders claimed in the proposal was a reaffirmation that the intelligence protocols are the “exclusive” means for the executive branch to conduct wiretapping operations in terrorism and espionage cases. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had insisted on that element, and Democratic staff members asserted that the language would prevent Mr. Bush, or any future president, from circumventing the law. The proposal asserts that “that the law is the exclusive authority and not the whim of the president of the United States,” Ms. Pelosi said.

In the wiretapping program approved by Mr. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks, the White House asserted that the president had the constitutional authority to act outside the courts in allowing the National Security Agency to target the international communications of Americans with suspected terrorist ties, and that Congress had implicitly authorized that power when it voted to use military force against Al Qaeda.

And that's not all, you Bush-fed coprophages:

CNN's Jack Cafferty tells Us about the murderous moron's little pardon deal he just rammed through the House like a high colonic. It's a video, so you can be add "illiterate" to "indifferent" and still find out what I mean.

This has been a Special Bulletin. Like you care.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

P.S.: Here's a third helping of steaming piles, from Freedom Works:

Senate Housing Bill Requires eBay, Amazon, Google, and All Credit Card Companies to Report Transactions to the Government 
Broad, invasive provision touches nearly every aspect of American commerce. 

Contact: Adam Brandon 
Phone: 202-942-7612 
Email: abrandon@freedomworks.org 

Washington, DC - Hidden deep in Senator Christopher Dodd's 630-page Senate housing legislation is a sweeping provision that affects the privacy and operation of nearly all of America’s small businesses. The provision, which was added by the bill's managers without debate this week, would require the nation's payment systems to track, aggregate, and report information on nearly every electronic transaction to the federal government. 

Call Congress and Tell Them to Oppose The eBay Reporting Provision in the Housing Bill: 1-866-928-3035

FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey commented: "This is a provision with astonishing reach, and it was slipped into the bill just this week. Not only does it affect nearly every credit card transaction in America, such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express, but the bill specifically targets payment systems like eBay's PayPal, Amazon, and Google Checkout that are used by many small online businesses. The privacy implications for America's small businesses are breathtaking." 

"Privacy groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology and small business organizations like the NFIB sharply criticized this idea when it first appeared earlier this year. What is the federal government's purpose with this kind of detailed data? How will this database be secured, and who will have access? Many small proprietors use their Social Security number as their tax ID. How will their privacy be protected? What compliance costs will this impose on businesses? Why is Sen. Chris Dodd putting this provision in a housing bailout bill? The bill also includes the creation of a new national fingerprint registry for mortgage brokers. 

"At a time when concerns about both identity theft and government spying are paramount, Congress wants to create a new honey pot of private data that includes Social Security numbers. This bill reduces privacy across America's payment processing systems and treats every American small business or eBay power seller like a criminal on parole by requiring an unprecedented level of reporting to the federal government. This outrageous idea is another reason to delay the housing bailout legislation so that Senators and the public at large have time to examine its full implications."

And while you're at it, you can call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 or the House switchboard at 202-225-3121. Hey, it's your country and it's your damn fault it's being stolen from you. 

18 June 2008

Status and Status Quo

Over at Dondequiera, MC Don Dees is pissing Me off: First, because he jumped on an incisive Star Trek reference to compare Our status idiocies to and second, because he adroitly encapsulated Our penchant for adhering mindlessly to the status quo.

I hate having to sling adjectives around in other people's favor...

Let Me play catch-up and maybe vault ahead for a few minutes. In tangential form, Our status issue has been woven through this Jenius blog and can be summarized as:

---"Associated Republic" -- Ha!

---"Statehood" -- No way

---"Independence" -- Get real (No, I mean it: Show up and be real, you ghosts)

The U.S position has always been: We're not giving you anything... unless you ask for it specifically. In other words, "No tickee, no laundry." We have no tickee. And We never will.

For as the irritating Dees also points out, We have this asphixiating need for "No change" which leads to the paralyzing shutdown response of "Whatever" when it comes time to actually deal with change. In terms of status We've moved from "Be Our sugar daddy" (literally) to "We'd like to be like a sugar daddy...someday." We've gone from having Our hand out to raising it to get attention, sometimes as a fist, at other times as a wave and quickly putting it down when We'd rather not get noticed.

Our status issue has very little impact on Our daily lives, where Our status quo is best described as resigned despair. Like any sports team will show you, morale is key to improved performance, for only a winning attitude leads to developing a winning tradition. The more We let Our attitude slide, the less We achieve. And in that vicious downward spiral, We lose sight of how much We are actually losing by not deciding Our own status issue.

It biols down to this: The status issue is mishandled by a handful of sub-standard sycophants. Our status quo sucks too many--maybe a majority--into a whirlpool of inaction. We'd be so much better off if only We could switch the many and the few... and then let the few drown.

The Jenius Has Spoken. 

16 June 2008

Eggplants and "Education"

Ever so often I'll retry or rethink something I've made up My mind on. Not many things, mind you, for I am a Jenius and there's nothing wishy-washy about that. It's simply a good exercise in rational analysis.

For example: Eggplants. Don't like 'em. They look like a bruise and taste like one. However, about every two years, I'll try some eggplant. I did so recently and My verdict is: Don't like 'em. Taste like a bruise.

So imagine My reaction when I woke up one recent morning with the idea of going back to college. Going back? To Me that's like having your nuts kicked by a donkey, every day, for four years. (Substitute an appropriate genital part if you lack nuts...) But in the spirit of "Give it the ol' college try" (hahaha), I mulled it over, pondered it, pored over the idea from a variety of angles and nine seconds later arrived at My verdict: Donkey kicking nuts, every day, four years, no way.

In less-descriptive terms, college is a game of half-and-half with no strong upside: Fifty percent "Learn what I tell you to" and fifty percent "Shut up." For Me, that adds up to 100% of "Why the hell should I care?"

Now I know there are exceptions to My formula, but even the die-hardest, tweed-jacketed, pseudo-intellectual will admit that they are exceptions. The norm is the "50/50 Formula" under the guise of "classical,"  "modern" or "career-enhancing education." In My view, listening to claptrap from a dimwad who can't abide by exploration is like...donkey, nuts, daily, years... You get the picture.

Why should I play the narrow-slanted guessing game of test-taking (one at which I was phenomenally successful, so there's no sour grapes here) when I can freely absorb the larger picture to My satisfaction? Why should I accept less--less knowledge, less exploration, less commitment to learning--while investing more time and more energy? Does this make sense to anyone? It didn't to Me back then, and as soon as I could, I closed that door and had only cracked it open a few times (usually because I was offered a scholarship.) I have closed that door firmly and without further thought.

I know in a year or two, maybe three, I'll try eggplant again. But now I know that I will never consider sitting in a college classroom ever again. Unless I actually want to become an eggplant.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

12 June 2008

IMPEACH The Murderous Moron

From Dennis Kucinich, on the floor of the House of Representatives, June 10th, 2008.

The 35 Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush:

#1: Creating a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false case for war against Iraq.

#2: Falsely, systematically, and with criminal intent conflating the attacks of September 11, 2001, with misrepresentation of Iraq as a security threat as part of fraudulent justification for a war of aggression.

#3: Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to believe Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, to manufacture a false case for war.

#4: Misleading the American people and Members of Congress to believe Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States.

#5: Illegally misspending funds to secretly begin a war of aggression.

#6: Invading Iraq in violation of the requirements of HJRes114.

#7: Invading Iraq without a declaration of war.

#8: Invading Iraq in violation of the U.N. charter and international law.

#9: Failing to provide U.S. troops with body armor and vehicle armor.

#10: Falsifying accounts of U.S. troops deaths and injuries for political purposes.

#11: Establishment of permanent military bases in Iraq.

#12: Initiating a war against Iraq for control of that nation’s natural resources.

#13: Secret task force for directing national energy policy.

#14: Misprison of a felony, misuse and exposure of classified information and cover up (Plame outing).

#15: Providing immunity from prosecution for criminal conduct for contractors in Iraq.

#16: Reckless misspending and wasted U.S. tax dollars with Iraq contractors.

#17: Illegal detention – detaining indefinitely, and without charge, American citizens and foreign captives (suspension of habeus corpus).

#18: Torture – secretly authorizing and encouraging use of torture, as a matter of official policy.

#19: Rendition.

#20: Bush is guilty of an impeachable offence based on Article 20, imprisoning children. Personally, and acting through agents, has held at least 2,500 children in violation of the Geneva Convention and the rights of children in armed conflict, signed by the U.S. in 2002.

#21: Misleading Congress about threats from Iran.



#24: Spying on citizens violating the 4th Amendment.

#25: Directing telecoms to illegally collect databases on U.S. citizens.

#26: Announcing intent to violate laws with signing statements, and then violating those laws.

#27: Failing to comply with congressional subpoenas, and instructing others to do so.

#28: Tampering with free and fair elections. Corruption with the administration of justice. False allegations of voter fraud in selected districts, immediately preceding elections. Undermining electoral processes.

#29: Conspiracy to violate Voting Rights Act of 1965.

#30: Misleading Congress and the American people in an attempt to destroy Medicare.

#31: Hurricane Katrina and the failures of gross negligence of the administration.

#32: Misleading Congress and the American people by systematically undermining debate and policy about global climate change. Article 2, Section 3: Personally and through subordinates including the Vice-President, for not protecting property of people vis-á-vis global climate change through deception. Failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Editing reports - 294 edits by a lobbyist to add data which called into question the facts by muddying them, or diminishing scientific findings about global climate change.

#33: Repeatedly ignored and failed to respond to high level intelligence warnings of planned terrorist attacks in U.S. prior to 9/11.

#34: Obstruction into the investigation of 9/11.

#35: Endangering the health of 9/11 first responders.

Here's a thought: The murderous moron has thus been accused with more Articles of Impeachment than all other past Presidents combined. He lasted eight years too long.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

[Update: 5 April 2012: The man called "Curveball," the man whose "information" about Weapons of Mass Destructiom was used to "justify" the Iraqi invasion, admits he lied about the WMDs. 

He, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, lied.

And rather than confirm the "flimsy, even sketchy"--Alwan al-Janabi's own words--the badly-misnamed "intelligence committee" and the murderous moron's criminal administration "sexed up" the unproven "information" to launch a war with no valid reason, causing thousands of deaths, billions in losses and billions gained for walking shits that have not been prosecuted.]

10 June 2008

Answering My Readers

In response to reader comments:

To Joe, who commented on My latest education post, here's My response: The basic tools We need to be self-educated--that schools absolutely fail to teach--are:

1) Contextual thinking: The "why" about things and the relationships between facts. In essence, schools fail miserably at providing the connective framework needed to develop knowledge. Yes, Columbus discovered America in 1492; most kids know that. What most kids don't know is Columbus' nationality, the reason he sailed for Spain rather than the mighty sea empire of Portugal and what conditions made this trip anything but a foregone conclusion.

Many of you will say "Who cares about all that crap?" and that proves--beyond a shadow of a doubt--that you're the quintessential product of a stupid factory... in both senses of the term. Without context, without connections between facts, knowledge cannot emerge. The skill needed to develop this tool is the curiosity to ask "why" and add facts as they come into view. Once you learn how to do it, you can learn anything you choose to focus on.

2) Critical thinking: Beginning with logic and running the gamut to include even knowing how to trust your instincts, critical thinking is absolutely vital to self-education. Without it, a comic book and a textbook have the same learning value: None. With it, a comic book and a textbook have immense learning value: Each in their own way. Lack of critical thinking makes an average moron a murderous one, and makes an average person an unwitting dupe to lies, falsehoods and propaganda. Once you learn how to do it, no man or concept is your master

3) Imagination: School does everything it can to quash imagination, because imagination has the power to explore beyond all horizons. The school system wants to act like the end-all and be-all: Imagination places it within its proper context of "tiny wasted space." Imagination, cultivated so it doesn't roam willy-nilly, but soars on currents it can only feel, flows naturally from why, what about, how about and maybe. Think back over your school days and remember the reaction to questions or answers that began with those words. To a hammer, the whole world is a nail. Imagination leaps the gaps--for there are always gaps--and prepares the way for a bridge to "over there." And no, you don't teach imagination: You teach how to use it. Once you learn how to use it, there is no limit to how much you can learn.


Joe asked Me what We can do to "give The Fools what's theirs, sideways and with the sharp corners exposed." Gabriel posted a link to a "furious and indignant" local Fool Cristobal Colón (one of three who voted against freezing the automatic legislative pay raise) who had this to spew about his "reduced" benefits and now-frozen 22% pay raise:

...(P)risoners in Puerto Rico have more rights than legislators because they vote two days before the elections. "If they die that night (of the elections), their vote still counts. If we die the day of the elections, our vote doesn't count."

Are you shitting Me, Colon-Breath? Here's an idea: Drop dead. And take a prisoner with you.

Back to Joe. Here's the simple formula:

A) Vote them out of office.

B) Whoever stays or comes in gets microscopically watched. I'm talking 24/7 colonoscopy of their legislative and gubernatorial actions. The Information Soldier talked about a "political memory" website, and there are a couple of congressional watchdog sites doing their thing. The Internet is perfect for this, We don't need many volunteers (retired teachers would be perfect at this) and the media would slowly pick up on the trend so that it eventually dawns on The Fools that their asses belong to Us... and We are aiming kicks.

In any case, drop by My post "Mass Transit Woes" and check out Joe's lengthy and fascinating comment. To MC Don Dees, who suggested I join a chess club: Good idea. It's a silent game. To The Information Soldier, thanks for the encouragement and welcome back. To The Picky Gramar Lady: No, I don't spell-check. And to the rest of you who call to tell me what you think, thanks for reading.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

09 June 2008

Give It to Them

We're about to get hit with a 22% "fuel adjustment" rate hike in Our next electric bill.

Twenty. Two. Percent.

My nearest neighbor is a 74-year old woman who has a pension, Social Security and one-third the rental income of a four-apartment converted house. By and large, she's pretty much upper middle class when it comes to retirees. Her usual electric bill will rise from $34.00 (a low average for a thrifty couple, but she has respiratory therapy equipment running every other day) to about $41.00. No big deal, right?

She has no car, using public transportation to get around. Rates there have risen about 35%, so that her weekly average of $25.00 in fares is now closer to $34.00. No big deal, right?

Food prices have surged 12-25% on some items. She has chosen to switch to lower-priced items, but cheaper foods are often less healthy. As a diabetic, she has to be careful. Her grocery bills have gone up from $260.00 a month to $325.00...and she eats less. No big deal, right?

The rental income she shares with her two sisters is what keeps My neighbor off the public dole. She doesn't receive food stamps or any other government aid. Her pension was earned through 28 years of factory work and she paid for her Social Security. The rental income she receives every month adds $370.00 to her fixed benefits, enough for her to buy medication and an occasional trip to San Juan to visit the Old City.

Now the government is asking her to pay the 7% "consumption" tax on that income, claiming it is not her "primary income." That's right: The Fools want her to fork over $26.00 every month of her "secondary income."

No big deal, right? It's just $26.00 a month.

While gas prices rise, making her electric bill, bus fares and groceries more expensive. Her added expenses for those basic necessities is already about $110.00 and rising. But why worry! She can just charge more rent, right? No big deal.

Two apartments were vacated in the past month as both tenants lost their jobs. The apartment above mine is rented to her niece, who pays half-rent. Her $370.00 "secondary" income is now only $200.00. She's lost $170.00 a month while adding $110.00 in expenses, a $280.00 negative swing. On a fixed income of about $1,050, that's almost a 30% loss. That is a big deal.

But who cares, right? The government has to make up its shortfall in some way, right? The same government that has steadfastly refused to find alternative energy sources to crude oil, that mismanages Our utilities to the point of criminal indictments, that dithers and dallies as Our economic prospects dwindle to mere pinpoints and represents Our best interests in exactly the same way AIDS represents a healthy immune system... Yeah, they have to get theirs, don't they?

Well I say We give it to them. Sideways. And with all the sharp corners exposed.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

06 June 2008

Mass Transit Woe

Once again, M(an)y Thanks to Janine Mendes-Franco for posting Jenius on Global Voices. This time it was in the Elections blog. Always an honor.

Is it possible for Us to develop an effective mass transit system? We do have a high population density (1,000+ persons per square mile) on a land mass that's barely 3,600 miles in area. We have a main hub (San Juan) whose population more than doubles by day, as roughly 800,000 people move into and through it on weekdays. And We have an elevated train/bus system in place with a population that has relatively low income per capita to pay for ever-rising expenses, such as gas and acquiring heavily-taxed new cars. 

But We have more roads per square mile than any place in the U.S. of part of A.

So We're doomed. Because those roads are proof positive of two things:

1) Not enough centralized destinations to increase population density, and...
2) An ingrained culture of getting there at leisure.

The only places where mass transit works are where population density is enormous (Tokyo, New York City, Central London), traffic is slow and/or expensive (same cities) or where incomes are too low to buy and service cars (Mexico City.) San Juan's lack of urban planning has created a city where hundreds of thousands of people need to gather (work, services, entertainment), but in a scatter-shot way. So you get a relatively high density (close to 11,000 persons per square mile), but they must move in too many disparate directions.

The two solutions would have been to build up (as in height) so as to concentrate more people in smaller areas or plan for a hybrid "long distance/short shuttle" system that reached out to extend San Juan's "reach" while cutting down walking distances to most locations to under 8 minutes. The first solution is engineering; the second is social engineering.

The local Urban Train/Metro Bus systems fails to become a true mass transit option for many reasons, but the two basic ones are that it continues to force people to drive into San Juan for access (so you might as well keep on driving) and it truly covers only 35-40% of the final destinations passengers may have. Yes, it does "pass through" about 75% of the City, but when you have to walk 20 minutes to reach an office or store, you aren't close enough to use mass transit: You're better off using a car.

The old público system, "public cars" that drove set routes between outlying areas in towns and between towns worked well when cars were uncommon. On an Island where the average family owns 1.9 cars, this system is obsolete. Taxis are tourism-oriented in San Juan, thus they are expensive. Over the rest of the Island, taxis are públicos with a higher price; that's not a mass transit solution, either.

To create a mass transit system for San Juan would require tearing up most of the City's current structure and dropping a train/shuttle hybrid network in its place. That network would have to reach out about 10-12 miles from San Juan, so that commuters can drive quickly to access points and get into the City easily, while still being able to ride to within a short walk of their destination. (And if you think I'm harping too much on proximity, you're wrong and I'm right. When was the last time you walked 10 minutes through an urban area to get somewhere?)

Combine a high numbers of cars, a high number of paved miles and a high population density and you have a formula for gridlock. Toss in rising gas prices, increased taxes and government gouging in the form of penny-ante bureaucracy and you have a formula for road-based rage.

It's going to happen. If this Island's so-called leadership was stupid enough to let truckers block most of San Juan's traffic for one day over a mere dispute over license fees, imagine what will happen when truckers and cab drivers and private citizens fed up with feeling helpless while trapped in their vehicles for hours a day decide they want to make themselves heard?

Carmaggedon is too harsh a word...but it won't be far from the mark.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

04 June 2008

Hillar(it)y and Ba(r)ack(o)

Hillary Clinton won the local Democratic primary.

By a landslide.

Two-to-one margin over Barack Obama.

The fate of the presidential election of 2008 in the U.S. of part of A. hung in the balance and We were at the crux of the matter, at the center of political primacy, at the very tipping point of it all as the power brokers to and of the most-watched election in history...

And We don't mean jack-shit to any of it.

Not to Hillary.

Not to Barack.

Not to Democrats.

And not to the U.S. of part of A.

Will Hillary come back to campaign here in her potential run for President? Hell no.

Will Barack come back to campaign here in his potential run for President? Hell no.

Is this an argument for statehood for Puerto Rico, the idea that We should have a vote for President? Hell no.

It's an argument for waking up and smelling the fucking coffee: To the U.S. of part of A., to Hillar(it)y and Bar(r)ack(o), to the Democrats and the Republicans who deign to notice Us and to the rest of the nation, We mean nothing more than easy cash

Once We acknowledge that, and act upon it like responsible, self-respecting adults, We'll make some progress. Until then, We'll continue to wag Our tails and tongues like lapdogs while desperately hoping someone from "up there" will scratch Our ears so that We can keep pretending it means We're "partners".

It's hell to bark up the wrong tree, ain't it?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

02 June 2008

In Black and White

I never thought I'd see it during My lifetime: A black man--an African-American man--running for President of the United States.

Does this mean that the U.S of part of A. is "over" racism? Is the Pope Jewish? There is, however, a sliver of light for other paths of progress, and that brings Me back to Willie "Too Dark" Miranda, Caguas Mayor and close-but-not-quite candidate for Governor for the misnamed Popular Democratic Party.

Around here the thinking usually goes "If it's done in the States, it can be done here," especially when it comes time for unions to negotiate salary and benefits. Sometimes that "monkey see-monkey do" thought process leads to potential, as in "If a dark-skinned man could break whitey's hold up there, maybe a dark-skinned man could do the same here." And the answer is: Not a chance, compai. Not a chance.

Taken as political talent (an oxymoron, but flow with Me here), Senator Obama and Mayor Miranda can be considered comparative equals. Obama has very few years in Congress, but has crafted a reputation for original thought and straight-speaking that matches Miranda's lengthy (12 years) of successful administration in a growing city. Let's call that level ground.

Like Miranda, Obama is trying to overcome the political muscle of an incumbent, but Obama is doing so as an equal whereas Miranda has to topple the party's "leader." (Hold on a sec... I just ruptured My dictionary by calling The Jellyfish a leader... Hadn't happened since I called Stupid Rosselló an asset to Us... Oh, that's right: I never did that.) On the other (dirty) hand, Miranda's local opponent is facing 19 federal charges.

Quick conclusion based on these elements: Yes, what happened up north could happen here.


The issue of race--based on skin color--is acknowledged in the States and covered up in Puerto Rico. And you cannot change a situation until you acknowledge it exists. Though there are other reasons that Miranda will not be the gubernatorial candidate, some of them, perhaps the main ones, will be related to "He's not white." Some might add "enough" to that sentence: The Party doesn't.

Why do I insist on this? Why do I pick at this possibly-unseen scab? I've been told that there is no racism in Puerto Rico, which is akin to claiming there is no lying in the media. Of course there's racism in Puerto Rico. Of course it affects politics. But if you pretend it isn't happening, that it simply doesn't exist, then of course We're going to continue to limit Ourselves and Our future.

Lest you think this is some veiled form of support for Rogelio "I'm Hiding Something" Figueroa, the black candidate of the PPR, I'll summarize My analysis of him this way: Rogelio is as useful to Our politics as a baby bottle is to an auto mechanic.

That the U.S has a historical candidate and a potential historical precedent as its Commander in Chief is a marvelous happening. Watch it closely, especially you numb-brains called statehooders. If you're capable of learning, you'll learn a lot. The rest of Us would do well to use it as an imperfect mirror to see what We can do to make Our society stronger.

The Jenius Has Spoken.