29 April 2009

Tax Funneling or No Tax?

"In recent years, Congress has graciously refrained from raising our income tax rates. However, Social Security taxes have risen dramatically. Simultaneously, inflation, prompted largely by the rapid growth of government spending, has shoved more and more Americans into higher and higher income tax brackets. 

Thus there is less and less incentive to earn incomes that are taxable. So unless we like more leisure, we are increasingly inclined to enter the so-called 'underground economy'... 

...The phenomenal growth of such activities has become so substantial that, by some estimates, our “underground” activity may now be the equivalent of 20 or even 30 per cent of Gross National Product. Certainly, this production is, in some sense, less desirable than it would be if everything were out in the open. Besides that, our government is losing tax revenue which might otherwise be used to build schools or shore up our national defense. 

If tax rates fall, American workers will have greater incentives to produce goods and services for American consumers. Some people who are already working will leave the underground for the more efficient open economy. Thus, income subject to taxation will grow. 

In fact, it’s even possible that, though income tax rates fall, the increase in taxable economic activity will be so great that tax revenues will rise. That is the thesis underlying the now-famous Laffer curve, originated by the economist Art Laffer. The implication is that, while tax rate cuts will directly benefit individuals, in the end society as a whole will prosper."

This quote, from an article written by Russell Shannon in 1981, illustrates a couple of key points about taxes:

1) The economic impact of increasing taxes is largely counter-productive to an economy.

2) The "underground economy" will thrive to secure income by avoiding taxes.

These two points are obviously closely related and they have become the gist of a lengthy--very lengthy and very interesting--series of exchanges between The Insider and The Jenius over at his blog Puerto Rico: A Paradise Lost?

Fair warning: the exchange is very long, has a few dozen discussion points and is carried out with elegance (by The Insider) and a mildly snarky attitude by Yours Truly. I even apologized for it, which The Insider graciously waved away. In any case, the discussion is quite extensive and intense. You have been warned.

Oversimplifying as only a Jenius can, The Insider wants to use the local sales tax revenue to establish a points-based system of socioeconomic development. I, on the other hand, think We can do that simply by eliminating the sales tax altogether. I suggest We tax the monies held in banks as capital gains unless they are invested in Puerto Rico (at present they are almost always invested overseas) and adjust property taxes from their ridiculous 1950s values to at least 1995 market values, while exempting homeowners from the excess tax if the property has been developed since 1980 or is their single residence.

(Yes, I explained My side more than The Insider's. He does his side much better than I can. Go ahead and see what I mean.)

The evidence of sans sales tax economic benefit is clear, but does that mean that The Insider's plan is less likely to work? That's where the debate stands, with Me on one side looking to slash the sales tax to force government shrinkage and stimulate the economy and The Insider on another side getting Our society involved in making better decisions at the individual level. (You didn't see that coming? Well, he did that. I told you it was interesting.)

I'm sure We--The Insider and Moi--would both agree that there are other sides to this debate. We're on record as stating We'd like to hear about those other sides, or receive feedback about the sides We espouse. Bottom line, We are at least engaged in a debate; it still bears watching to see if this debate becomes something more.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

27 April 2009

Larva Numbers

---In case you're wondering how many government jobs (non)governor Luis "The Larva" Fortuño has chopped from the humongous tumor We have mucking up the Island, I think the current tally is 14.

What? You're not counting the several dozen high-paid consultants that got added to the payroll against the very underwhelming response to early retirement and voluntary cutbacks in hours? Puh-lease.

---On a scale of 1 to 10, how complete is The Larva's Cabinet? 6.

No Health Secretary and no broad second-tier department teams in place. I keep trying to avoid typing Chinese fire drill... Aw, hell!

---Number of options the local Department of Education has to avoid getting bitch-slapped by the Feds: 4.

But three of them are exile, being swallowed by a whale and time travel.

---Number of waffles The Larva has plopped on Us in his first 100+ days as (non)governor: 38.

On everything from taxes to budget to legislation to party politics to what he thinks is pop culture, The Larva seems to be a Laspeyresia saltitans. 

Don't say The Jenius never teaches you anything...

---Real level of unemployment: 50%. What The Larva will claim: 17%.

If you toss in the welfare slackers, We're closer to 35-40% unemployment. Throw in the undergrounders who often also inhabit the welfare slacker group and We're technically in the 50% range. Half Our adult population doesn't work and of the other half, the government half just doesn't work. When 50% of your people are slackers or off-the-books opportunists and 25% are government drains, what's the other 25% to do?

---Number of times The Larva will successfully impose his decisions on his party, 2009-2012: 2.

Yeah. He's leadership material in the way wet vermicelli is to a tanker anchor chain...

---Number of times We deserve The Larva and his ilk: 0. 

Unless you go with the theory of a democracy electing the government it deserves, in which case the number is 100. As in percent.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

24 April 2009

Carlitos Way Ward, Part II

After three horrible marriages that ended in gut-wrenching divorces, the kind where crockery gets smashed and legal writs fly like confetti, your parents await anxiously for your next fiancée to be presented to them. You've told them you're serious this time, that you've seen the light, you've gotten the message and that now--this time--you are going to find the right person.

So imagine your parents' shock at presenting them with a skanky crack whore.

Would you expect your parents to embrace you with loving arms? To give you a pat on the back and say "She'll be like a daughter to us?" Would you really expect them to continue to give you support, especially when your previous fiancées were miles above skanky crack whores? Would you expect them to respect you anymore for openly lowering yourself to the level of skanky crack whoreness?

So you can imagine how the Federal Department of Education feels right now, when they open the door to see "Our choice," the one who will "become part of the family" of federal entitlements and see a convicted felon, a moral failure who's already proven at least four times that his word to the government is crap. A loose-headed cannon who confuses whim with vision, who when in his own words, was "unfairly targeted" with "no reasonable basis to support the allegation" of drug use, refused--refused--to take a drug test, a decision that makes no sense whatsoever if the persecution, as so brazenly alleged, was falsely based. False accusation of drug use? RUN to take the test and PROVE it's wrong, then you can do and say whatever you whimsically choose to. 

Afraid the "false accusation" will prove to be true? Then RUN from ANY potential chance to reveal it.

We can't run, in this case, from what is a fait accompli. Our MisEducation Secretary Carlitos "Three-Time Loser" Chardón has made his choice, unfortunately in Our name. Daddy Thomas "Tantrum" Rivera and Mommy Luis "The Larva" Fortuño have embraced the choice, who knows with what moral sense, if any. So it will be up to Us to run this ill-made choice away, to simply reject a decision so putrid, so ridiculously devoid of character that it boggles the mind to think that Carlitos couldn't come up with a list of 50 others much much better-suited for the job in under 2 minutes.

"Certainly, if an inquiry concerning an applicant's criminal past is to mean anything at all, then a knowing misstatement in response to that inquiry cannot pass without penalty. Should no punitive action be taken by any of the appropriate authorities in response to Ubiñas's lies, then others with criminal records would not only not be deterred from concealing this relevant information, but would be all the more encouraged to follow suit; those individuals with criminal histories would certainly know that they would stand a better chance at the job if they concealed their past, and, in any event, would know they would go unpunished if they were caught."

Quoted from page 22 of the Investigative Report, Case #91-460, June 19, 1991, of one William Ubiñas, current Director of the Puerto Rico Department of Education's Office of Federal Affairs.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

22 April 2009

Carlito's Way Ward

Dime con quien andas y te diré quién eres.

Tell Me who you pal around with and I'll tell you who you are.

In the case of just-confirmed MisEducation Secretary Carlos "Republican Retread" Chardón, here's My assessment of who you are: An incompetent jerk. 

Because you placed an incompetent jerk in the most sensitive departamental position you have.

William Ubiñas is more than an incompetent jerk, he is a convicted drug felon and a liar. And you, Carlitos, picked this moral wreck to run the Federal funds arm of the department.

Channeling Olbermann: You, sir, are an idiot. For only an idiot could choose someone so woefully ill-prepared and ill-conceived to be the face and putative head (case) of the single biggest problem your department has: dealing with the long history of Federal fund malfeasance your party pretty much made institutional.

Now, My assessment of both of you cannot rest on hearsay, and Carlitos, you know it doesn't. You know damn well that calling Ubiñas an incompetent jerk is but the single conclusion from My experiences in dealing with his crap, a man who told me not once, not twice, not three times, but four times in a period of ten days that he had borrowed thousands of dollars from his brother--more than once. Borrowing thousands of dollars when his living expenses were virually nil, his business expenses were being underwritten by--amongst others, you, Carlitos--and who didn't buy anything visible to show, share or give anyone, combined with seriously erratic behavior...well, you draw your own conclusions.

I drew Mine. And I know I'm right.

Why you did it, I don't give a rat's ass. How you did it is easy to explain: you used your willingness to step into the Education latrine and keep it occupied, knowing full well that others with talent, experience and/or leadership ability would never take on the job. With that leverage--and a thief-in-the-night ramrod confirmation process backed openly by Thomas "Tantrum" Rivera--you wanted to stick Ubiñas where maybe you could pay someone back or maybe he could pay you back. In any case, you picked the wrong man for the wrong position at the wrong time for the wrongest of reasons.

Dime con quien andas... We aren't the only ones who judge by friendships and relations: the Feds do to.

...y te diré quién eres... And they will eventually--if they haven't yet--reach the same conclusions I have.  And We--Puerto Rico--are worse off for it.

Thanks for nothing, Carlitos.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

20 April 2009

The Few Thousand

This won't take long...

Athens, at its height during the Greek city-state empire, had about 160,000 inhabitanta, a large minority of them slaves.

Rome, during its imperial heyday, had about one million inhabitants in the city and surrounding plains, with half of those (or more) being slaves.

Florence under the Medicis never topped 150,000 inhabitants.

Silicon Valley launched itself with barely 400,000 residents. And Singapore, that island-nation global economic powerhouse, has 4.4 million inhabitants.

Or about 300,000 more than We do.

It doesn't take millions of people to make a huge, historical difference on the global stage. It can take as few as one--in the right place at the right time--but more often it takes a few thousand. Not everyone in Athens, Rome, Florence, Silicon Valley or wherever was directly involved in making the historical impact; it happened because a dedicated subset aimed at a loftier set of goals than just mere subsistence and comfort.

Puerto Rico has roughly 4 million inhabitants, so where are the few thousand that are capable of coming together to make a historical difference on the world stage? Cynics would say 80% of those are living in Orlando or some other Stateside suburban park. Cynics are often wrong.

The few thousand that can make a historical difference are still here. They have to be: they are committed to Puerto Rico. By definition, they are the ones who choose Puerto Rico, so they are the ones who can--potentially--make a difference.

Are they a few thousand, several thousand, or merely a few hundred, maybe too few to ever make a difference? We don't know. Yet.

Are they scattered too loosely to effect change, are their efforts too small to reach critical mass or is there direct sabotage/opposition of their efforts? Yes, to all three.

Will it take an abrupt event to bring the few thousand together and open the future to what could be Our historical difference on the world stage? Yes.

But only if We know what We want to do on the world stage. And for that We need to understand that there is a world stage and that We definitely can be an effective actor upon it.

Yes, My friend Alfredo, that is a matter related to education. How We--We few thousand--are going to bridge that yawning (literally) chasm is the vital mission of Our Future.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

17 April 2009

Heartwarming, Uplifting...Again

I posted a link to a video like this, from the same show, almost 2 years ago. Well, here's another moment of sheer inspiration, discovery and joy. 

Why do I--like so many others--feel for this kind of moment? Because it reaffirms the power of hope, dreams and desire. 


The Jenius Has Spoken.

15 April 2009

Jenius Phone Calls

Here are some phone calls I'd like to make and how they might turn out:

To Our (non)governor, Luis "The Larva" Fortuño: "Hello? Can you describe your current administration in terms of measurable positive results in terms of leadership?... Hello? Hello?"

To the local sheep We call media: "Hello. When was the last time you asked any significant local leader a probing, well-researched question challenged their expressed views?... What do you mean that's a trick question?"

To nominated Education Secretary Carlos "Limbaugh's a Liberal" Chardón: "Hello, Carlos. How many days left before you split that wreck of a department and go back to slinging hash with the national Republican Party?... Less than 51, but more than 1?... Can you be more precise or are you talking about statehood?"

To Head Beggar Pedro "Justice is (Conveniently) Blind" Pierluisi: "Hello. What's on your agenda for today?... Okay, how about tomorrow?... Next week?... I see.... When will you have something useful to do?... Good. What will you be doing then?... That's all? You're not getting paid for this vacation, are you?"

To the main offices of the Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico party: "You have reached a number that has been disconnected and was never really in service. Don't bother looking for another number: there won't be one."

To former (un)governor Aníbal "The Jellyfish" Acevedo: "Hello. You've spent 16 years in public life spinning everything related to you into your own angle. Why have you been so quiet after your "not guilty" result? Is it because you are very very aware that it was dismissed on technicalities and you want to make sure nothing else is coming back at you? Or have you been warned the other shoe is about to drop?"

To government employees: "Hell, you guys aren't going to allow 30,000 of your fellow parasites to get lopped, will you? You want this bloated gravy train to keep lurching along, don't you? So let Me guess: your plan is to slow everything down so that even less gets done, right? Nobody told Me...but you just confirmed it."

To those of Us who get it: "Hi. What are We to do now? Short of a coup, what options do We have? And why are there so few of Us left?... True, but if We don't make an honest effort, are We really the kind of person We think We are?... Hey, tough times require tough questions. Now ask yours."

The Jenius Has Spoken.

13 April 2009

(Un)Welcome to Puerto Rico!

You are about to take a much-needed vacation and want to head for the Caribbean. Makes sense. I live here, so the attraction is undeniably high. You whisk your merry way through the GoogleNets and find three offers:

---Four days and three nights in a Jamaican seaside villa; $448 for two, afternoon cocktails tossed in to lubricate your whistle.

---Six days and five nights in seashore resort Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, all-inclusive, two persons, king-size bed: $688.

--Three days, two nights at the Rincón of the Seas, for two adults: $749, plus tax.

Okay, choose.

Uh-huh. I hear you, mon. Merengue and steel drums are calling!

Now before My brethren here on the Island start bitching, I am not saying that Jamaica or the Dominican Republic are "better" than Us. What I am saying is that they have been consistently drubbing Our butts when it comes to price/value for vacationers and We have consistently been screwing up what was once Our world-class tourism position.

Local hoteliers moan and complain that We simply cannot compete with other islands because Our wage structure is much higher than theirs. And that's true. The average hospitality industry wage in Puerto Rico is about $11.40, whereas the average for the major Caribbean islands is closer to $4.00. So yes, We pay more for Our people.

But Our people suuuuuck when it comes to earning that pay with service.

A few examples: Airport personnel who refuse to speak English; cab drivers who openly refuse to take on "short" fares; maids (that's what they are and there's no shame in that) who criticize guests while cleaning other rooms; desk personnel who know almost nothing about Our Island or its amenities... The list could--and does--go on. When to comes to service, to being of service and providing service to others, We act as if doing so violates Our integrity and humiliates Our souls. We confuse service with servility and act accordingly.

No I don't mean everybody, of course, but the number of "servility phobics" is so large and so common to encounter that it tinges everybody. Year after year, intra-island tourism is swamped by stories of beds not made, unclean rooms, restaurants closing at 3:00 p.m., dry pools and a whole slew of other complaints that boil down to one simple conclusion: It ain't worth it. And if you can't even convince your own people the stay is any good, how do you convince others?

Back to prices. Local industry players say that service is better "over there" because tips in (once)good U.S. of part of A. (vapid)dollars--when compared to local wages--are very good. That argument sounds nice, but it neglects two simple points: Tips are not required, they are earned. And tips are mostly relative to established prices and service needs. A dollar a bag in one place is $4 a bag in another. So, no, the "tips theory of lazy service" doesn't convince. It serves as an excuse and I don't know about you, but I am freakin' tired of Our excuses.

So you're on the InterTubes and see those three offers: Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. $448, $688 and $749. Yes, you compare the quality of the hotels (Rincón of the Seas is rated at 4 stars.) You add up the travel costs of getting there and back. And you read the comments of people who have stayed at each place and--yes, you know this is true--you base your final decision on what place has the best reviews.

And once again, you'll find We suuuuuuuck at the new digital world of tourism.

Our Tourism Company has about $22 million a year (or roughly $160 million in the past 8 years), of which almost 60%--ye gods, six-freaking-ty per-freaking-cent!--have been spent on TV ads and magazines. This egregious waste of money flies in the face of the rising trend--now topping 60% in most States--of travelers heading first to the GoogleTubes to check out travel information before doing anything else related to their travel plans. When most of your customers are looking online and finding increasingly negative reviews of your offering, it makes sense, doncha think, to spend your money right where they are looking.

But no, We sling ads on cable TV and glossy magazines that sit on bookshelves. And then when We get visitors here, We slap sneaky taxes on their tushies (about 14% worth, all told), treat them like they are a problem and then We wonder why the Dominican Republic is the #1 Caribbean destination--the championship spot We used to own.

By any measure of geographical beauty and variety, Puerto Rico is a wonder. But instead of developing--extending, really--Our culture of hospitality, We've strangled it with greed and misplaced vanity. Instead of being proud of what We have and how courteous We can be as hosts--hosts, damnit, not "servants"--We literally thumb Our noses at Our guests. And instead of a cohesive strategy to develop the industry and present it to the world in all Our shining glory, We have sycophants and dunces at the helm of a Caribbean Titanic.

Only We're the iceberg, too.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

10 April 2009

Needed: Education Reform

Following up on the Education theme of My last post, I partially quote this article by Dr. Judy Willis, in--of all things--Psychology Today. Seems to sum up what's needed now in exemplary fashion:

Top Ten Necessities of Education Reform

"...1. Collaborate: Students in the U.S. need new skills for the coming century, not to be superior to students worldwide, but to be ready to collaborate with others on a global level to find creative solutions to problems now and in the future.

2. Evaluate Information Accuracy: ... Students need to know how to find accurate information and use critical analysis to assess the veracity/bias and current/potential uses of new information. These are the executive functions students need to develop and practice in school today, or they will be unprepared to find, analyze, and use the information of tomorrow. 

3. Teach Tolerance: In a global world of collaboration communication and tolerance (openness) to unfamiliar cultures and ideas will be the educational currency for the jobs and problems of the future. School needs to provide opportunities for experiences and discussions to help students learn about and feel comfortable communicating with people with other cultural norms and practices. 

4. Assessing Student Knowledge: Standardized tests for federal NCLB funds test rote memory of isolated facts. Assessments need to include ways for different types of learners to demonstrate their knowledge. Once teachers do not have to teach-to-the-tests of rote memory, classrooms can become places of inquiry, student-centered discussions, and active, engaging learning.

5. Beyond Differentiation to Individualization: ...One size does not fit all in assessment and instruction. The current testing system and the curriculum that it has spawned is unidirectional and leaves behind the majority of students who do not do their best with the linear, sequential instruction. With greater differentiation of instruction we can lower the barriers, not the bar as all children learn to their full potentials.

6. Inspiration and engagement open the brain's information filters (reticular activating system and amygdala) to accept sensory input. In the absence of these qualities at the beginning of a unit of instruction the brain, at an unconscious level, does not admit the input that is not determined valuable to survival or pleasure...

7. Lower Stress. React or Reflect? The amygdala is an emotion evaluating structure through which all sensory input must pass. The state of stress or well-being determines if the input is directed to the reflective, higher cognitive "conscious" decision-making brain, or to the reactive brain where the only "choices" at this unconscious level are fight, flight, or freeze. These are often misinterpreted by teachers as ADHD, acting-out, or signs of low intelligence. The students are not consciously misbehaving. Their brains are simply in the reactive state in which they have no conscious control. 

8. Using Learning Beyond the Classroom. New "learning" does not become permanent memory unless there is repeated stimulation of the new memory neural pathways. This is the "practice makes permanent" aspect of neuroplasticity where neural networks most stimulated develop more dendrites, synapses, and thicker myelin for more efficient information transmission. These stronger networks are less susceptible to pruning and become long-term memory holders. Students need to use what they learn repeatedly and in different, personally meaningful ways for short-term memory to become permanent knowledge that can be retrieved and used in the future.

9. Teach students (and educators) the Brain Owner's Manual. The most important manual students and educators can read is the owner's manual to their own brain. When we understand how our brains take in and store information, we hold the keys to operating our brains most successfully. Understanding that they can change their own brains and intelligence (neuroplasticity) builds students' resilience and willingness to persevere through challenge.

10. Teaching is not brain surgery. It's Harder. When teachers receive the recognition, status, and more of the autonomy I receive as a neurologist, we will attract the best and brightest to teaching and keep professional educators longer than the current five year average."

Feel free to discuss and count Me in as agreeing with Dr. Willis.

The Jenius Has Quoted.

08 April 2009

Learning and Education

From teacher Dean Shareski, in his blog Ideas and Thoughts:

"While I do my best to provide you with some outcomes, indicators, rubrics and feedback I still feel my assessment of your learning is fairly trivial or at best a thin slice indicator of what you’ve learned. I realize many would love to believe that the number or grade you get is pure, accurate and will provide future instructors, institutions or employers an indication of your proficiency, understanding or knowledge. If anyone of these groups were to ask me about you, I could tell them what I’ve seen and observed. That may have value, the grade, not so much...

...At the beginning of the term I told you I had 4 goals for you. I wanted you to see that:

++ Learning is social and connected
++ Learning is personal and self-directed
++ Learning is shared and transparent
++ Learning is rich in content and diversity"

In a time where the U.S. of part of A. Education Secretary is bleating about "longer hours" in school, where the Orwellian doublespeak No Child Left Behind program has further crippled an already paraplegic educational system and the effective methods of physical education and arts exploration are deemed "useless," is it any wonder Our children are getting the poopy end of the learning stick?

I'd love to homeschool My son, to extend the frequent, albeit brief conversations We have on history, languages, math, sciences, geography and just plain "what, why and how" to a deeper exploration of the world and its fascinations. That would let Us focus on Shareski's second and fourth points, that learning is personal and self-directed and rich in content and diversity.

We would continue to espouse his third point, learning as shared and transparent, because I would be directly involved in the learning process and have yet to deny My son the right to ask a question, even if My answer is "I don't know." Questions are at the very heart of learning, and blocking questions out of fear or ignorance--or as My son's current school proves, both--is the very opposite of education.

And to those who claim that homeschooling "isolates" kids, longitudinal studies dating back to the early 1980s show that homeschooled kids are actually more involved in community and social activities. Why? They have the time and freedom to to do so. Some of it may be due to income level, but much of it is due to simply being able to pursue their own interests rather than be smothered by the school system's blockheaded indifference.

School is not--and never has been--the place where a person learns the most. It is a place where one goes to become indoctrinated in a certain methodology, a way of thinking and a way of behaving that "makes sense to society." You are told what to learn, how to learn it and sometimes given false reasons as to why. Is this the kind of institution We want for Our children? Or do We want them to actually learn?

Indoctrinated teachers marching zombie-like to waste the time of Our children who struggle heroically to rise above the zombies. "Education administrators" and "lawmakers" snuffling like pigs around truffles to uncover more money aimed at "helping" Our children, but ending up somewhere else. Our children spending more time with the boob tube and its brainless messages than with Life and its lessons. That's the non-educational system We--at least some of Us--agonize over.

But just as a democracy deserves the government it elects, doesn't a society deserve the educational system it allows to happen?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

06 April 2009

Microsquishing Our Economy

Companies around the world are closing facilities due to economic strife. Even blue-chip companies are getting hammered, with cash-rich titans such as Microsoft announcing cutbacks.

Except in Puerto Rico.


For some reason (stick around and you'll find out a few), Microsoft announced a $640 million expansion in Puerto Rico. In typical Microsoft-in-Borinquen fashion, the dollars are flashed, but the specifics are unflashed. All that's trumpeted is the $640 million, which could turn out to be nothing more than warehousing some 160,000 useless Vista installation CDs. (The CDs work: Vista doesn't.)

Now why would Microsoft pony up--in these times--a staggering amount of money to expand in Puerto Rico? Is it because We are "tax haven deluxe"? No. Is it because We are "megaproductive central"? No. Is it because We are "global strategic nexus"? No. We are none of those things (and We should be.) But what We are--mark My words here, folks--is for sale.

Not as in My "bid for Puerto Rico" sense, but in the "bribe a Fool" sense. For you see, the Puerto Rican (non)government is in the midst of acquiring technology, lags far behind State developments in that realm, lacks the widespread technological know-how to properly evaluate technology and the decision-making purseholders are rampant thieves.

In other words, Microsoft sees in Puerto Rico a cretin with plenty of cash. And by Jove's left testicle, they are smack-dab right.

The process is as old as the hills: Pretend to offer a lot in order to get a lot. Flash "$640 million" that never gets spent to secure licenses and dependency worth twice that. Use Puerto Rico to bolster an increasingly-shredded reputation versus opens source-based e-government success and if a double handful of Fools makes a few scattered million dollars in illegal payments, who cares? Everybody wins, right?

Of. Course. Not. What's happening here, with the (non)governor Luis "The Larva" Fortuño practically slithering on his own saliva around Microsoft's boots, perpetuates three obstacles:

1) Our idiotic pay-for-play excuse for an economic development plan, based more on "who pockets the up-front cash" than "what We build for Our future."

2) Our idiotically-willful ignorance about technology, its power and uses, relying instead on slavish aping of others.

3) Our idiotic reliance on morally-defective mental defectives to handle situations that require supra-canine intelligence to at least understand properly.

Don't be surprised if Our next brilliant economic move is Our government's purchase of a fleet of Edsels. Hey, GM is a blue-chip company, too!

The Jenius Has Spoken.

03 April 2009

Crouching Larva, Hidden Vermin

[My Thanks again to Janine Mendes-Franco for picking up two more of My posts for Global Voices Online. I'm beginning to feel like saying "You read Me! You really read Me!"]

Our (non)governor, Luis "The Larva" Fortuño, a man I'd describe as "overmatched" if he actually had any chance of ever being "matched" in his job, is facing increasingly open challenges to his (non)leadership by irascible senate president (I don't capitalize a word I have no respect for) Thomas "Tantrum" Rivera and by greedy house (ditt0) president Jenniffer "Gluttonny" González.

What. A. (Non)surprise.

Stick a feeble excuse for a leader in a highly precarious position that has long been utterly bereft of effective resources amidst a ravenous horde of carrion-feeding vermin who can't wait to rip the feeb a new one so they can become the next feeble excuse and you have Our progress-paralyzing media-based melodrama in an adjective-laden nutshell.

Here We are, entering April, with a (non)governor who flopped into La Fortaleza on January 2nd, and how many of his "Key 3 Nominees" (Treasury, Health and Education) have been confirmed in Tantrum's Toilet?

One. Treasury. And that because without a Treasury Secretary, the Fools don't get paid.

So far, the noise is that the Health Secretary nominee is going to be rejected because he has too many ties to the leading opposition party. Maybe so, but his real mistake is that of getting caught between (wait for it...wait for it...) a crouching larva and heretofore hidden vermin.

The signals are now becoming evident to the less-perceptive amongst Us: the (non)governor says one thing, Tantrum says another and Gluttonny speaks for a while and ends up saying nothing. The Tantrum says something, Gluttonny says another and The Larva still another. The latest outbreak comes as The Larva tries to push the idea of Public-Private Alliances (privatization with Downs Syndrome) to revamp government and Tantrum plays the "We'll hang your Health nominee and maybe Education, too" card. 

And suddenly, it's 2005 all over again, only then it was Aníbal "The Jellyfish" Acevedo butting (soft) heads with opposing party legislative Fools. This time, it's the same thing.

Why opposing? Because Tantrum represents the party-controlling hyena herd of Pedro Stupid Rosselló supporters who see The Larva as worse than opposition: they see him as a traitor. Tantrum is even pushing the idea of naming the Puerto Rico Convention Center after Stupid, making it the Stupid Convention Center, which is perfectly apt as the damn thng is too small to attract mega-conventions, too big to adequately serve a majority of local expos, has lousy architecture that makes it non-modular and is saddled with too many parasitic employees to make it cost-effective.

So, yes, it makes perfect sense to name it the Pedro Stupid Rosselló Convention Center, but by ramming that down The Larva's throat and by making the naming of the white elephant an equal-par issue with The Larva's cabinet--key players in any chance We have of making progress in the here and now--Tantrum is flexing political muscle in brainless fashion. Nothing new there. And The Larva is waffling and sidestepping. Nothing new there, either.

And yes, all this was predicted by Yours Truly. Except for the part about The Jellyfish getting away, but that only adds problems to The Larva and makes the Tantrum and Gluttonny even more aggressive in their efforts to stomp him. It. Whatever.

How will this play out? Health nominee hung, Public-Private Alliances tabled, Convention Center named Stupid, Education nominee confirmed and the sequel "Cringing Larva, Horrid Vermin" playing out before Our bloodshot eyes...

The Jenius Has Spoken.