30 November 2009

Turd In The Cesspool

Just a couple of weeks or so after firing a drug dealer, Our malformed excuse for a Secretary of Education, one Carlos "Buffalo Butt(ed) Brain" Chardón, was also fired.

Now B.B. Brain claims he resigned, pointing to his designation as a member of the brand squeaky spanking new Education Consulting Board as his "transfer."

And what, pray tell, will B.B. Brain ever do on this razor's edge of educational progress come to light as a Board? Co-direct it with secretary of state (no, no capital letters here, folks) Kenneth "My Butt's In An F.B.I. Sling" McClintock.

Here. We. Go. Again. Two Fools in a pod.

Why don't We, right now, change Our motto about education from "It's the key to Our future" to "Fuck the future, We're insane"? At this stage of the game, with education levels plummeting like lead weights in Evian, with the funding process addicted to Federal monies like a crack skank--and equally capable of managing them--(and no, I am not referring to the drug dealer who managed the Federal Affairs Office and got his ass fired...nothing personal, you know...) and by fraud's extension the pathetic menagerie of crap-craniumed crooks elected to screw Us over keep making a mockery of their stupid stupid hallucination concerning statehood, now We come up with some cockamamie "Education Consulting Board"...and put a proven failure and a criminal suspect in charge of the fucking thing?

This is the result of either the infected seepage of a retarded brain or an open-handed bitch slap to anyone who gives a damn about this Island and its people.

I repeat: This is the result of either the infected seepage of a retarded brain or an open-handed bitch slap to anyone who gives a damn about this Island and its people.

Why does this frost My perineum so badly? Because this is not a step in any direction, it's a craven bailout. A throwing up of the hands, if not a throwing up in Our faces. Because it has NO relevance to even coming close to solving the broad and deep problems in Our educational system. This is a political "solution," "political" in the sense of "Let's just pretend to be doing something." 

Proof? If this so-called "Education Consulting Board" were truly aimed at making the educational changes so badly needed--educational, goddammit--then why in the bowels of the lowest levels of hell would you put a two-time education failure political tumor and a federally-suspect political handicap in charge of the cursed thing?

You mean to tell Me there weren't ANY other potential candidates to run this abortion? That in all of Puerto Rico there isn't at least ONE other person who could serve as the director of this mutant political turd? Or is that exactly why no one competent was found to serve, because this is nothing more than a mutant political turd, with B.B.Brain and "F.B.I. Boy" serving as aromatic enhancers?

Whoever comes into the Education Department now--and it seems the choice is Carlos Andujar, current Dean of the University of Puerto Rico campus in Arecibo--will not only have to deal with the hugest of cesspools, he or she will now have to deal with the "Board" as well.

What a crock of shit.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

27 November 2009

Black (Humor) Friday

According to some lamebrain Newsweek writer, none other than Our very own lamebrain excuse for a (non)governor, Luis "The Larva" Fortuño, is an "absurdly premature" name on the list of potential Republican Presidential candidates for 2012.




Fortuño-Palin for 2012?! One massacres English with a hokey accent and the other is The Larva.


Fortuño-Palin for 2012?! Are they gonna arm wrestle for the Oval Office? Palin'll kick The Larva's ass.


On an economic note more in tune with the day after stuffing turkey and stuffing oneself with said stuffed turkey, a turkey of a former NPP representative by the unlikely name of Nelson Del Valle (Nelson of the Valley...of the Dolls?) reported that $101,200 in cash was stolen from his home.

HAHAHAHAAHHahahawhatthe fuck?!!

One hundred one thousand two hundred dollars? In freaking cash?!? And, uh, Mr. Turkey Valley, why did you have said amount of cash in your house?

"My mom gave it to me."


Really, Mr. Turkey Valley? Your mommy--haha--gave you--HAhahaha--more than--HAHAHAHAhahahaha--one hundred thousand--HAHAHAHAHAahahahahHAHAHA--dollars? HAHAHAHAHAahhaahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA


Or maybe it was an absurdly premature campaign contribution to "Fortuño-Palin 2012".


The Jenius Has Spoken. 

26 November 2009

Thanksgiving Day

It is Thanksgiving Day...

Thanks for My Son's health, wit, attitude and charm. 

Thanks for My Sweetheart's presence in My life, her smile, her support and (you knew this was coming) her patience.

Thanks for My Family's well-being and sharing, for the constant connection through ups and downs.

Thanks for My Colleagues who see Me as a valuable resource, a fountain of creativity and wisdom and a sterling companion. Or don't and tell Me so on a weekly basis.

Thanks for Special Friends who share their joys and sorrows with Me, who come to Me to unburden or simply to explore what they can't with others. 

Thanks for Distant Friends who never seem as far away as the map would tell. They're in My Heart and thus, ever near.

Thanks for the challenges and obstacles, the accidents and surprises, the odd and the disjointed, for it keeps Me playing hard and amused.

Thanks for reading The Jenius. 

The Jenius Has Spoken.

25 November 2009

Blame Game(smanship)

"Merely observing someone publicly blame an individual in an organization for a problem -- even when the target is innocent -- greatly increases the odds that the practice of blaming others will spread with the tenacity of the H1N1 flu, according to new research from the USC Marshall School of Business and Stanford University."

Okay, I'm listening.

"Nathanael J. Fast, an assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business and Larissa Tiedens, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford, conducted four different experiments and found that publicly blaming others dramatically increases the likelihood that the practice will become viral. The reason: blame spreads quickly because it triggers the perception that one's self-image is under assault and must be protected."

No? Really? Stupid politicians. What else have they done?

"'When we see others protecting their egos, we become defensive too,' says Fast, the study's lead author. 'We then try to protect our own self-image by blaming others for our mistakes, which may feel good in the moment.' He adds that in the long run, such behavior could hurt one's reputation and be destructive to an organization and further to our society as a whole."

Oh, "protecting egos"? As in "insecure"? Maybe even "cowardly"?

"Fast says that when public blaming becomes common practice -- especially by leaders -- its effects on an organization can be insidious and withering: Individuals who are fearful of being blamed for something become less willing to take risks, are less innovative or creative, and are less likely to learn from their mistakes.

'Blame creates a culture of fear," Fast said, "and this leads to a host of negative consequences for individuals and for groups.'"

We can see that. Nice to know there's some science behind Our common sense here.

"Anyone can become a blamer, Fast says, but there are some common traits. Typically, they are more ego defensive, have a higher likelihood of being narcissistic, and tend to feel chronically insecure."

Someone whose super-ego and id frolic as self-love while the clash makes him/her anxious about his/her self-worth... That person would need public attention and evidence of external power to validate themselves and anything that threatens that power/attention construct must be rejected or at least redirected. Therefore creating an internal power/attention construct would reduce the need for defensiveness and blaming. Right?

"The tendency for blame to spread was completely eliminated in a group of participants who had the opportunity to affirm their self-worth."

That's what I said. 

Okay: Blaming is bad. Blaming comes from defensiveness which comes from incompetence and insecurity. (C'mon, if you're good at what you do and feel secure, you can shrug off mistakes.) Insecurity can't be cured by force...but incompetence can, especially in government and especially willful incompetence such as malfeasance or fraud.

Blaming is not productive. It merely points a finger at the iceberg as the ship takes on water. But pinpointing, exemplifying, highlighting, indicating, noticing, these can be often confused with blaming when in fact, blaming is defensive and the others are--in a way--offensive: they aim to take action. Saying that Fool A screwed up is blaming; saying that Fool A has screwed up in similar fashion several times and and is patently unfit to be in the position he is in is pointing out a trend and coming to a conclusion. (Exhibit A: William Ubiñas, former Federal Affairs Director of the local (un)Department of (Mis)Education.)

As a commentator, there is a fine line between blaming and being an analyst. In a society where "Not Me!" and "Cover My ass!" have become as ubiquitous as breathing, anyone who seems harsh and negative against others can be seen as contributing to the problem. But there's a crucial difference: blaming is part of the citizen's duties in a democracy. Assigning responsibility for what goes wrong is Our ultimate power with government. And yet, very few of Us do so unless political partisanship is involved, so We now get these constant ridiculous spectacles from Our government day after day and only a handful of Us do Our duty. In a fairy tale ending, everyone will point the finger of blame about the Emperor's parading unclothed, but very few would come right and say "The Fool is naked. And stupid."

The Jenius Has Spoken.

24 November 2009

Underground Economy, Part III

Thanks again to Janine Mendes-Franco for selecting another Jenius post to appear on Global Voices Online. 

This won't take long...

Add the long tail of a 3-year recession/depression, with an economy tanking like Andre Agassi on crystal meth, with the government finally "forcing" the economic move that was two decades overdue--the firing of government pinheaded parasites--and toss in the repeal of the idiotic Closing Law now letting loose the forces of "shop 'til you drop" mania and what do you get?

Underground economy, Part III.

Part I was the basic "a little cash on the side and off the books" that kept Us slightly above water for decades.

Part II was the rocket-blast impulse to perfect the underground economy due to the new 7% sales tax, which as I predicted, ended up having an impact closer to 13-14% on the consumer and fell far short of projected revenue for the government. Note the widespread increase in "flea markets" and home-based businesses and a perceived increase in online shopping.

Part III will take the online aspect even further, but not as a tidal wave rush to embrace Internet technology, but as a way to bypass local stores for goods. Expect an increase in visits to websites such as Clasificados Online (the most-visited website in Puerto Rico) and a greater number of "barter" systems based on pooling resources. Facebook would be the venue for that movement.

Why? Uncertainty clashes with the seasonal consumer hunger to buybuybuy in order to feel "the Christmas spirit." A culture that views savings as money badly in need of spending is not going to let the vague spectre of a worsening economy make him or her back down from the Prozac-like relief that spending money brings them. So they will buybuybuy...

...But slightly smarter than before. More cash, less credit. More Internet searching, less mall crawling. More flea market and "I know a guy" than Sears-K-mart and "There's a sale!" More options that involve less money changing hands, preferably where the sales tax does not apply.

As the (smart) economists say, the recession is the recovery, but We don't see it that way. Our way is to buy Our way out of a bad cycle. Too bad We aren't fixing the bad cycle: We're just adapting better to it.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

23 November 2009

Jenius: Tone and Momentum

Thanks to Jenius Reader/Commenter Pax, I've become a little more aware of what I say and how I say it. From Day One of The Jenius, I've had gentle and even very ungentle reactions from My posts, in terms of words, concepts and tone.

Uh-huh. So?

Pax brings up a cogent point in one of his comments to "We're Number 35! We're Number 35!" in that a negative tone and sarcasm are not conducive to change and that by engaging in that manner, one contributes to the problem and not the solution.

Agreed. A positive attitude does help and I have commented long before Pax that I get down on Myself for the consistent negativity, a trait I don't evince in My off-Jenius life. However, I see The Jenius as the darker side and the permanent record of things I tend to say in public, about politicians, business leaders, the media and the gamut of topics covered here.

Does it make me right? No, My tone is probably--if not certainly--wrong. What makes Me right are My ideas, the framework they are presented in and the conclusions, which are very often right. Could I improve on it? Seems to me I could only do so by altering the tone...and I don't want to do that. Calling a muddy spade a dirty shovel is satisfying. Encapsulating a defective political leader with a nickname is fun (if you oppose him/her; otherwise, it ticks you off. Like I care.) And pointing out that what Our "leaders" are trying to do almost NEVER has anything to do with OUR welfare but has EVERYTHING to do with THEIRS--and WHY--is absolutely necessary--because not enough of Us are doing it.

Yes, We have tons of problems. Yes, We should try to enhance the dialogue rather than add to the shouting. But here's the thing: until you get the other's person full attention, you don't have a chance at a meaningful dialogue. If My tone brings someone up short and makes them pause, good: it's a start. If My framing of a situation makes a person tilt their head and say "Hey, I didn't see that before," good: it's an inkling of motion. If My conclusions and predictions are borne out as they often are, good: it creates momentum.

There will come a day, if I keep this up long enough, when enough people will see what I have done, absorb what I have presented and learned to separate the ounces of wheat from the megatons of chaff. They will add their voices, not to Mine, but to make a more meaningful dialogue happen. And that will help make a difference.

Do I believe that? I have 848 often snarky examples over nearly 5 years that clearly answer that question.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

20 November 2009

Larva "Leadership" Lowdown

From the blog Dumb Little Man, The 7 Signs of a Leader. Let's compare the list to Our very own (non)governor Luis "The Larva" Fortuño, shall We?:

1) Vision
Leaders are visionaries; they know where they’re going, and their committed to bringing others along. They have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish and their vision is so compelling that it inspires others to participate in the fulfillment of the vision.

Leaders (a) know where they're going, thus (b) have a vision and (c) the vision is crafted so as to inspire others. The Larva fails at (a)...thus failing at (b) and (c).

2) Discipline
Leaders are disciplined individuals! They are the first partaker of what they preach and they exemplify unprecedented discipline, focus, and commitment in the achievement of their vision.

If by "discipline" one means "stubborn use of inactivity and mealy-mouthiness," then We have a winner.

3) Emotional Strength
Leaders are not easily shaken. Leaders anticipate challenges and are not derailed by obstacles. Leaders remain strong when things get tough; they don’t faint when adversity strikes.

Leaders have an amazing level of emotional strength.

I don't think The Larva has fainted when confronted with challenges, but We can make a case for "lost his mind," "went catatonic" or My favorite "Set brain on 'Stun'!"

4) Experience
Leaders have experience. In other words, they’ve been around the block a few times and they know where they’re going. Their experience has taught them how to get things done and they can differentiate between activity and accomplishment, between efficiency and effectiveness.

Leaders focus their efforts on the tasks that produce the greatest rewards.

The "hidden" aspect here is that a leader embodies the "Been there, learned from that" principle, whereas  The Larva is more a "Been there and here I am again" kinda guy.

5) Respect
Leaders are respected and trusted individuals. Leaders have earned the respect of their followers by becoming an “example.” They chart the course, follow their destiny, and inspire others in the process.

Leaders are respected because they earn respect. The second they demand respect is the second they are no longer a leader.

The Larva has lost this battle: before the elections, when his party openly resisted his campaign and when he won, when party members made it very clear he was nowhere near being "The Man." Course not: he's The Larva.

6) People Skills
Leaders have great people skills; they are friendly to the unfriendly, they know how to respond in every situation. Leaders do not engage in personal battles, they save their strength for the task at hand.

Leaders treat people with respect and dignity; they connect with others on a personal and emotional level.

Really good "people skills" don't include hiring--and tolerating--people with verbal diarrhea, pre-taping a key policy speech on the firing of government workers and blaming the media when an egg whizzes by. Nor does it include changing your "final" decisions several times.

7) Momentum and Timing
Finally, leaders know how to create momentum, and they know when to act. Nothing great is ever accomplished without momentum and timing.

If by "momentum" you mean "not advancing at all, like a bald-tired, underpowered clunker on glass sprayed with WD-40," then yes, The Larva is momentum personified. As for timing, he uses a calendar for 3-minute eggs. 'Nuff said.

Okay, thus endeth the Leadership Lowdown for today. Please head for the exits. Next showing in 48 hours.

The Jenius Has Quoted.

19 November 2009

The Jenius Writes

Stared out My window for a minute, pondering. I've just finished Deborah Tannen's book The Argument Culture and it made Me pause.

For one, it pinpoints the problem We have with both communication and media in Our day, in the U.S. of part of A. and, by "monkey see, monkey do" imitation, Puerto Rico:

---Polarization, the either/or rhetoric that sees only black or white; gray is a color, too.

---Shrillness and loudness as a very poor substitute for thoughtful analysis and modest pronouncements.

---The cult of the sound bite, short, pithy, memorable and often as wrong as a baby on a barbecue grill. 

---Confrontation as a means to a "victory" instead of the means to uncovering greater truths.

And so on. Of course, I looked at the book's points in comparison to The Jenius, and I found plenty of common ground:

---A tendency to demonize rather than strictly analyze.

---Personal attacks that aren't part of the discussion. Larva or Jellyfish, anyone?

---A consistently critical tone, product of a near-continuous negative outlook.

Yup, if the shoe fits, throw it at the murderous moron. The Jenius does have aspects that fall into Tannen's analysis of "an argument culture." But here's where The Jenius rises above that limited perspective:

---A focus on defining the issue in order to present the argument. "Define your terms" is the basis for any cogent discussion. If I call Pedro Rosselló Stupid--and heaven knows I do--it's not because of personal animosity, but because based on his defined terms concerning his leadership abilities and (total lack of) knowledge regarding the widespread corruption that permeated his close advisors and his (mis)administration, only Stupid fits his definitions.  So I call him Stupid. Conclusively.

Without defining the terms, one can only present a bubble in a vacuum, not an argument of merit. The Jenius always defines his terms and thus creates the basis for a cogent discussion

---A willingness to look at more evidence. Time and again The Jenius revisits a topic and gives it another look-see. That alone would disqualify Me from ever being a Republican.

---A willingness--reluctant, but managed--to admit being wrong. Doesn't happen often, but The Jenius--I--admit when I'm wrong. Obviously if I were as wrong as the Fools, I'd have no reason, sense or potential to ever speak again.

So why the self-analysis? Because a finger constantly pointing outwards is the physical cramp of a dead mind. The Jenius is not perfect. He freely admits to hating politicans and thus is not an objective observer of that lowest form of life. (See?) He sometimes thinks the worst of a Fool and his/her actions, but is often proven right. And in a culture that does not read, barely can manage English and thinks the Internet is for socializing and porn, he expects his words to actually make a difference,

And yet, The Jenius writes because he wants to see a bigger, better, bolder, brighter Puerto Rico. A place that lives up to its promise of being "The Island of Enchanment." To someday witness this Isle of the Caribbean exuding the power and passion of its minds and hearts in building a greater future. He writes to shine a light on what he cannot change directly, while working on what he can.

The Jenius writes to argue for Us. Some hear that, loud and clear. But not enough. Heaven knows, not nearly enough.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

18 November 2009

We're Number 35! We're Number 35!

I have got to take a look at this.

Transparency International has just released its 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The CPI score indicates the perceived level of public-sector corruption in a country/territory, based on up to 13 surveys. You can read about the methodology here. (Why is the methodology important? Because it avoids the Internet Society of Puerto Rico syndrome of "Yanking Numbers Out of One's Ass.")

Who were the top finishers, the world leaders in confidence and low levels of corruption? The Top 10 are: New Zealand, Denmark, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Iceland. (The country's bankrupt, but honest.)

Uh, where did the U.S. of part of A. finish? 19th, after an England-Japan tie.

And Us? We're Number 35! 

A few remarks: There's a good number of Nordic countries there in the Top 10, with extensive social welfare political structures, based on very high (50+%) taxation and highly-regulated economies. Does it mean these systems are better? Not really, as 5 of the other six (Singapore being the exception) are "open" democracies with less taxation, although as noted, Iceland is practically broke. (But they will eat healthier now.)

Here's the 2009 Top 10 in the Competitiveness Index: Switzerland, U.S., Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Canada and Netherlands. Notice that 7 of these are also in the Top 10 of the CPI list. You could say there's a higher correlation between lack of corruption and competitivenss than there is to political structure and competitiveness. Especially if you note that the three "Not Top 10" on the CPI list (Germany ranked 14th) are now-traditional powerhouse economies combining natural resources and industrialization to very high degrees, whereas the smaller economies are competitive largely because they are more transparent.

So the lesson for Us is: Transparency is a distinct, measurable and thus tangible competitive advantage. Let Me make it clear to the Fools in terms they can understand: Less corruption means more money for all of Us.

I just lost them. Big whoop.

Note that Puerto Rico only has 4 of the 13 surveys upon which to base the end result on. Why only 4? The other 9 didn't get a big enough bribe to fill in lies.

Or not. Just saying.

But in the wake of Manny Pacquiao's dismantling of Our Miguel Cotto, We can take up the cry of "We're Number 35! We're Number 35!" and take heart in the fact that We were tied for 36th last year.


The Jenius Has Spoken.

17 November 2009

Power Plays

The comments that prompted Me to go daily rather than three times a week--I'm referring to Jenius posts--made Me realize something: The oligarchy that runs Our country into the ground has gotten smaller, but the overall pool of potential "oligarchists" has gotten larger.

Let Me explain. My friend's rant about how "Those people have gained control" was tinged with more than just a soupçon of "And they left me out!"  However, over the past decade, the number of participants with the oligarchy has increased. Proof? Look at the number of scandals involving corruption. There's a wider cast of (lack of) characters ranging from business people to clerical staff and the possibility of joining into the power-junkie fray is thus demonstrably wider.

This pattern of a "smaller oligarchy, but larger candidate pool" is not new. It dates, in fact, to about World War I and proved to be extremely effective at running a country...into the ground. Although that took some 60+ years and with Our talent base, We could beat that record by 20-30 years easily.

Who created this form of government control? Vladimir Lenin, placing the Communist Party as the "pool" and what eventually became the Politburo as the "inner circle," the true oligarchy. The "pool" was much larger than the old aristocracy, but the "inner circle" was actually smaller than the size of the Romanov-nobles groups and their direct supporters, so although more people had "access" to power, the resulting level of oligarchic control was actually higher. Since getting into the "inner circle" was theoretically possible, but under the control of the oligarchy, people worked harder at pleasing the oligarchy and staying away from its bad side in order to become Communist Party members and maybe rise to Politburo power.

Now don't go half-cocked and say I'm equating the current oligarchy in power with the flatulent failure of the Communist Party. They aren't that smart. What I am saying is that the pattern is the same: smaller "power" group, but partnered with a "certain doors open" policy that leaves My friend definitely on the outs, but allows others--selected others--in.

We could call it the Fajardo Syndrome in honor of former secretary of education Victor "Jailbird" Fajardo, a lameass would-be teacher who was appointed by Pedro Stupid Rosselló to run the biggest department in Our government based on one criteria and one criteria alone: Jailbird's ability to raise money for the statehood party.

(Objections, statehooders? I'm surprised. I thought you'd be waaaay past non-righteous indignation and be fully into rigid denial by now.)

But that's a bad example because the oligarchy used a mental and moral defective to benefit from his money-grubbing skills and when he went illegal on their butts, they dumped him. (Yes, the phrasing, nuances and analogy are all appropriate for the topic and subject. Let's just agree I'm right and move on.)

Who "proved" that the Leninist system worked? A cobbler's son, country-bred, who moved boldly into a position of notice, then quickly rose through the ranks of power with unadulterated ambition and when Lenin died, seized the opportunity to run the country. Into the ground.

His (changed) name: Joseph Stalin.

Whenever the Communist Party wanted to "prove" it was "open" (and Stalin was the Communist Party), he/they pointed to the story of "a peasant overcoming poverty to serve the nation." Skip the romantic angle of the story and you'll see the subtext: "anyone" can belong, "anyone" can gain power, but only if "anyone" does what the oligarchy chooses to support.

Now where's the tie-in here, on Our Island? Who's the person who will "prove" that a outsider can make it to "the inner circle"? Who was selected, annointed if you will, to take the first steps on the road to oligarchy? Who took that notice and parlayed it--with open ambition--into a seat well within the realm of inner power? Who is waiting for the opportunity to reach for and seize the pedestal of ultimate power?

None other than current (out)house of representatives president Jenniffer "Gluttonny" González.

--Selected in 2002 to replace Edison "Child Rapist and Crook" Misla, a former outhouse president himself with Rohypnol on the brain.

--Immediately placed--note the emphasis--on the key House Treasury Committee.

--Elected in 2004 as an At-Large (I...will...not...say...it...) Representative, meaning her party base was wide enough (no...don't...say...anything...) to develop broad (oh...god...no...) appeal, a task that took less than two years. For a rookie politician.

--Held or holds various key party positions, a clear strategy of creating and cementing a power base, in essence, moving from the outside to the deepest inside, culminating in becoming the youngest (out)house of representatives president in Our history.

--Open and early supporter of Luis "The Larva" Fortuño, current (non)governor, but someone I predicted she would dump as quickly as feasible in order to satisfy her own ambition. And she already has.

Now there are only two ways this woman compares to Stalin, who was a vicious thug and mass murderer of historic proportions: she's openly ambitious (with a careful facade) and she's seeking her goal in a similar power structure framework.

Let's see how fast she becomes the "poster child" for the "anyone can belong, anyone can do it" Big Lie campaign.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

16 November 2009

Questionable Quest

Here's a head-scratcher: According to a local fish-wrapping rag named El Nuevo Día, Our (Faux)Secretary of (Mis)Education, Carlos "What? Me Worry?" Chardón is going to Qatar.

In fact, he is there right now, unless Qatar barred his entry.

For you statehooders, Qatar is an island in the Persian Gulf. For you commonwealthers, the Persian Gulf is east of Africa. Which is a continent. Africa, not the Gulf.

Why is the Bumbling Behemoth going to Qatar, the only country whose name begins with a "q"? To foul the air of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE)

This after Selector of Drug Trafficker basically sold out a major chunk of the local Education department's present and future budget by continuing to suck at the Microsoft cesspool instead of exploring the many viable open source options that cost Us--Us, the freaking taxpayers--nothing.

Apparently the Worry-free Whale has everything under control...unless you count the horrendous showing Our students had on standardized tests (Example: less than 1% of Our high schol students scored "Proficient" in Math)...unless you count the fact that the Federal government is again threatening to slap the department and government with the "You Be Crooked" stamp...unless you count that the Federal Affairs Office is in the hands of someone who came on board less than two weeks ago...that the firings throughout the department are frozen, creating greater uncertainty...that there are several investigations going on concerning potential fraud in the use of ARRA and Title funds dating to this year alone...and that there's an increasing outbreak of violence and even swine flu in Our schools.

Nope, Overgrown Oaf is on the ball. In Qatar. Says technology can keep him in close touch. Uh-huh. Like the Fire Chief can put out the fire in San Juan while on vacation in Mazatlán.

Am I implying the Broad Bulge is on vacation? Of course...not. Uh, no. No! He's, uh, trying to find solutions to Our educational problems...in the farthest fucking corner of the planet he can imagine because his fat brain and fat-assed cronies can't find any solutions anywhere closer. 

That or he's getting out of Dodge before the sheriffs show up. Either way, he's wasting his time and Our money,

Here's the thing: We are at the point in Our educational system where it isn't a matter of finding a solution in a desert, it's a matter of implementing proven ideas, processes and techniques that you can find in about an hour's worth of research on the Web. (Note to the Jumbo Jetsetter: The Web, too, is a technology that can keep you in touch with your job. The right way. Not like the 767 you just wedged yourself into.)

Here's an example: The Kumon Math method. Yes, it's a business, but it has a method. Same as Montessori: a conceptual framework for education. No one has to go to Qatar or Liechtenstein or Myanmar to "learn" about education. Here's the quick list of sources the Voluminous Vagabond can use to find good ideas closer to home: teachers, edcuation students and entrepreneurs. 

--Teachers: Yeah yeah yeah, I call most of them "too lazy and too stupid to do any other job," but there are plenty of dedicated men and women who do know how to teach and have ideas that could make a world of difference. And if you want to visit a "q" place, Super-Sized Secretar(iat), may I suggest "Quebradillas"?

--Education students: They don't know better, having no experience with the actual classroom, so they are bound to latch onto some things that just sound cool. And given that We have sucked at almost everything We've tried to do to fix education, letting over-eager wannabes bring their energy and something cool to the classroom could be a step in the right direction. It's not like We're making a ton of progress now, is it?

--Entrepreneurs: Kumon is a business concept centered on education results.  It works because it damn well better work or some other business concept centered on education will come along and kick its sorry ass to the curb. We need results--results, dammit--not wild goose chases and butt-buddy thievery masquerading as "Taking care of Our most important asset."

And if that quick list doesn't inspire the Immense Idlemind to seek solutions, I once again suggest he crank up Explorer on his Windows 7 P(iece of) C(rap)--paid for by Our idiotic generosity--and browse around until the silicon version of swine flu wipes out his hard drive.

The he can use Linux and the quick list to get some REAL work done.

The Jenius Has Spoken. 

13 November 2009

Privatize Federal Fund Management Now

Look, I'm still celebrating MY BIRTHDAY!!, it's Friday the 13th and I have The Sports Guys' The Book of Basketball to get back to, so here's the skinny:

Let's privatize Federal fund management in Puerto Rico. Now.

No, it can be done, And I submit it has to be.

Outside of retirement, pension and Medicare payments--that are almost exclusively handled by the Federal government--Puerto Rico receives some $6.7 billion a year in other federal transfers, monies that go (or are supposed to go) to education, housing, social services and the like.

But Let's take Education as an example, specifically the Federal Affairs Office. Aside from formerly having a convicted drug dealer as its pinhead, the Office itself has about 230 employees. (Keep that in mind.) Despite receiving over $380 million a year (with a local budget of about $1.1 billion) and receiving additional grants averaging about $260 million a year for the past 9 nine years, the (Lackwit)Department of (Mis)Education has over $1 billion in unassigned federal funds.

That's right: the local excuse for a Tweedledeefective/Tweedledummy Convention has monies in hand, stagnant, equal to its own annual budget.

And yet the Federal Affairs Office has 230 employees. California has about 6,252,000 students enrolled in its public school system; Puerto Rico has about 597,000, or about 9% of The Governator's demesne. By that ratio, California should have about 2,630 government employees to manage federal education funds, right?  

It has about 770.

---Puerto Rico: 230 employees to serve 597,000 students "moving" about $1.6 billion in State/Federal funds. That's 2,596 students/$6.96 million per employee.

---California: 770 employees to serve 6,252,000 students moving about $64 billion in State/Federal funds. That's 8,119 students/$83.12 million per employee.

Multiply that level of inefficiency shown above by a couple of dozen agencies at the State and Municipal levels and there is no rational argument against privatizing Federal fund management in Puerto Rico.

Here's the short list of benefits:

1) Reduced costs: I asked several highly-experienced people--in Education and even the Federal Affairs Office itself-- how many employees it would take to run the operation effectively and they all concurred it would take between 24 and 44. That's about 10-15% of the actual employee count. Say We need 60, to cover contingencies and new approaches; We'd still be saving the salary/wage packages of 170 or so dimwads. That's a start. Multiply that by all other agencies, using integration rather than job-cramming and you have major savings.

2) Enhanced focus: In March of 2009, I asked a long-time employee of the Federal Affairs Office how many people were assigned to identifying opportunities for new Education programs, i.e., locating grant programs and creating proposal plans to enhance local education. Out of 230 employees? None. Let Me repeat thet: n-o-n-e. And they only had 2 grantwriters whose total output over the previous 18 months was 10 proposals, n-o-n-e of which received funding. Note that these are not assigned funds, these are competitive funds, funds that can launch new programs or exploit opportunities. Not only was there no one "on watch," We have Little Leaguers where We need at least Double-A level. With a privatized agency, the more money coming in, the more it can do, unlike these feebs for whom more money is akin to contracting swine flu.

3) Effective fund disbursement: The reason Education has a backlog of funds and non-profits wait months for Municipalities to release federal funds (that they cannot use at all, but keep anyway) is because there is no incentive in government to release monies. The end result, to the government, is not a consideration. But as non-profits and private companies know, end results are everything, and fund disbursement under a privatized agency would work on the principle of "Money out = Results/Data in," the kind of feedback system the Federal government demands and seldom gets from the Our government.

4) Solutions-oriented mindset: Related to point #3, the backlog in Education, Housing and other departments is due to no one caring enough to tackle the issue of finding solutions, plans or methods to use the monies, and no one having enough responsibility to do so. When 230 are "in charge" of this, no one is really in charge. 

5) Transparency: A private agency, starting from scratch, would be developed to match Federal disbursement, management and reporting standards to a T. Now for those of you who think that this means "catering or kowtowing to gringos," let Me remind you of one basic, undeniable Truth: It's their money so it's their rules. We take their money, We play by their rules, but whereas Our government plays "keepaway" with the funds, We can have an agency that plays "straight up." I don't care if you think that's "catering," but I bet you're willing to take the benefit of gringo money if it came cheaper, faster and more directly to your pocket. 

Right? Of course you would. And they'd be happier, too. That's called a win-win situation, something We have to learn to stop paying (hypocritical) lip service to and make it a regular tool in Our mental toolbox.

And before you ask, how big do I think the private fund management agency would be and who would work in it? I see a 90-120 employee office staffed with fully bilingual personnel, of which 30% are accountants, auditors and lawyers (27-36), 10% are agency management (9-12 "executives") and the rest are split between Fund Managers, people whose job it is to match available funds to qualified recipients as quickly as possible, and Fund Finders, people who match needs to federal fund programs and do so by writing the required proposals. 

This means that employees are clearly and directly responsible for the funds they are assigned to manage or the needs they are assigned to act upon. This allows effectiveness to be measured simply and quickly and We know that what gets measured gets done and improves.

And would the agency hire any of the substituted employees dumped from the government? Only if they pass a written test on English and Spanish skills and can explain in 5 minutes or less how any specific fund program can be implemented and improved within local conditions. Yes, I'm saying they have to be tested, otherwise the agency would be hiring the very problem it is trying to replace.

And how would the agency be funded? Easy: from the savings on the government side and from funds received through grant proposals. If it isn't self-sufficient after Year One, it isn't privatized. And if it isn't effective by the end of Year Two, it gets dismantled over time to let agencies and the government take over.

But that wouldn't happen because when it comes to handling government money, the government is the worst manager possible.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

12 November 2009


Just when you thought I'd forgotten: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!

Everyone that knows ME!! for longer than, oh, 15 minutes, knows I'll slip in My Birthday a couple of times at first, then ever so often in every conversation as The Blessed Day gets near, like say, beginning in March.

Not everyone knows, though, that I do so because I genuinely like birthdays and do My best to reME!!mber those of My family, friends and colleagues (those that want to share them.)

I have been know to wear a "Birthday Boy" faux-blue ribbon medal on My fedora, cap or shirt on the odd day (most of My days are odd, thank you very much) and it tickles ME!! when people smile and ask "Is it your birthday?" and I get to say "No, but I'm celebrating it anyway!"

Unless the person is a walking dead, they smile and think it's a good idea. (Exception: some women I know, who would rather NOT have their birthday mentioned at all, thank you very much. Sad.)

So what is the takeaway from this year, on this, The Most Perfect Of All Days, My Birthday?


Business picked up quite well for ME!!, been very busy, better focus on ME!! and My projects.

I'm engaged. Getting married next August. You might be invited.

Realized I'd been settling for less and amped up the Go Get It ME!!ter; it paid off.

Took on several new challenges in projects that are "out there," but coming closer to being "somewhat implausible" rather than "What the hell are you trying to do?"

Having a blast with My new workstyle--more creative, less reactive--though I'm still trying to find a new work/rest/play balance.

Did I mention I'm getting married? Did I mention My Friends are very happy for ME!!--I mean, Us--but then turn around and ask the fortunate lady "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Happened several times already. Okay, happened every time already. Sheesh.

And I've cranked up the Jenius Juice to not only take on the good, bad and the large amount of ugly happening on My Island, but also to give ME!! another birthday salute...

Yes, the first letter of every paragraph is all for ME!!

The Jenius Has Spoken.

11 November 2009

Not Then, Not Now, Not Ever

This won't take long...

Oklahoma -- 1907

New Mexico -- 1912

Arizona -- 1912

Alaska -- 1959

Hawaii -- 1959

Puerto Rico has been the property of the U.S. of part of A. since 1898. Three States were added since the Spanish-American War to form the contiguous 48. The addition of non-contiguous states happened once, for Alaska and Hawaii, 61 years after Puerto Rico became war booty.

To complete the nationalization and permanence of the territorial limits in geopolitical terms, essentially, to make everybody belong to the same government, it made perfect sense to add Oklahoma (in the central portion of the country, for you statehooders) and Arizona and New Mexico in the southwest (on the border with Mexico, for you commonwealthers.) 

Adding Alaska, a landmass equal to roughly 25% of the entire "lower 48", and Hawaii, a Pacific sinecure, also made sense, as both were long-held territories where American interests were ripe for development. In the case of Alaska, it turned into federal reserves; in Hawaii, tourism-related development.

So, if--IIIIIFFFFF--Puerto Rico were to ever become a State djqwgfcbkfegkgdsklipkx (sorry, I fell on My keyboard laughing), it seems that post-1898 has shown what the basic criteria are for being invited:

1) Political expediency, i.e., the forging of a potentially stronger political unit, or

2) Economic enhancement.

Do We satisfy either or both of them?

Hell no.

By 1959, We were already being plucked by American interests and as they say in My neck of the woods: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? (Usually reserved for discussing pre-marital sex, but given the sad reality of Our economy, the intercourse analogy holds up well, doncha think?) There's no doubt the U.S. of part of A. makes tons of money off of Us, so statehood is really not an economic enhancement for them and in fact, is widely considered either a chance to carry freeloaders or a bottomless pit of economic rehabilitation. Usually both.

So what about political expediency? Well, We're not Anglo-Saxons. Or Protestants. Or native English speakers. Or descendants of the same parts of Europe that they are. Toss out all that as a unifying factor. We are way south of the border, and unlike Alaska, We are tiny with no natural resources and unlike Hawaii, We don't occupy a strategic location under U.S. interests. We did in 1940; We didn't by 1945.

If Puerto Rico--in the eyes of its political owners--were deemed worthy of statehood, it would have been decided between 1912 and 1945, when Our economy was nonexistent, the potential for American sacking--er, investment--was very high, Our strategic location could have been considered vital, Our population small enough (and in their eyes, stupid enough) to absorb and the "lower 48" were a unitary done deal. That it didn't happen then means it ain't gonna happen at all. Ever.

The sooner a good chunk of Us get that through Our heads the sooner We can focus on other matters, like finding a new path to Our development that doesn't involve begging a jaded suitor with what's left of Our decrepit charms. What's past is past, but as long as We continue acting that what's past should happen now, We will continue to look back with muddled eyes instead of forward with sharp ones.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

10 November 2009

Ain't Enough


The "big" protest of October 15th led to massive action erupting from thousands of dissatisfied people that has the Fools trembling in their diapers, has rocked the dark underbelly of Our Society and has flung open the long-closed Door to a Better Future.

Uh-huh. In your dreams.

What was the general remark after October 15th?: "Let's see what happens on November 6th." The day the government firings were supposed to take place. And didn't.

No, "the people" and "their protest" can't take the credit for the non-firings: I've already made a case for the real reason and over time, as the evidence mounts, We will get the chance to evaluate the events in their proper perspective and We will all see that I am right.


Given the economic depression and government decadence We are simply awash in, like a long-standing cesspool, where's the massive uprising, the revolutionary spark, the "Tear down the oligarchy!" passion that so many of you--of you, My Brethren--have spouted so much mouthgas about?

Ain't none. Or more acurately, ain't enough.

According to the theory defined in the Logic of Political Survival, by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith, Randolph Siverson and James Morrow, revolutions--and that is what We are talking about--depend greatly on the amount of public goods and the perceived risk of their success or failure to come about. In brief:

---If public goods decrease, the risk of revolution increases, but the success of the revolution decreases.

---If public goods increase, the risk of revolution decreases, but the success potential of a revolution also increases.

Why is this? The amount of public goods (services, money, infrastructure) is a key component for a revolution's success: the greater the amount and quality of public goods, the easier it is to "take over" those goods because they are organized and readily available, although obviously, because of their widespread access and quality, the motivation to do so decreases.

This seems counter-intuitive, since the image of revolution is the romantic notion of a passionate group of freedom fighters (or reformers or blockheads or thugs) storming the Establishment and overthrowing the powers that be by dint of righteousness and a few well-placed weapon caches. That's the romantic notion. And it is wrong.

A revolution need not be violent, but it must be swift and decisive. A revolution by definition is a radical change, happening quickly and that fundamentally alters the status quo. It isn't the sweeping away of what exists: it is the forceful redirection of what exists.


If there are few public goods, destroying them is easier than redirecting them, but destroying these public goods dooms a revolution to a seriously uphill climb. Trying to destroy widespread, quality public goods is a hugely difficult task, but redirecting them is much easier.

Now the questionnaire before Us is:

Do We have increasing public goods or decreasing public goods? I think it's safe to say We have decreasing public goods and have for some time.

Is the quality and access of these goods limited-easier to destroy--or widespread and adequate--thus easier to redirect? The answer is clearly that the public goods We have are widespread and adequate. Don't agree? Some 64% of Our people are on government dole. Case closed.

Is the risk--to the Fools in their diapers--thus higher now than it was before? Yes, it most certainly is. Giving this much thought and seeing how We've reacted after the October 15th MiniMarch on the Mall, I'd say that on a scale of 1 to 100, with 80 being "The Revolution is On! Fire Tweets at Will!" I'd say the risk of the revolution happening went from 4 to 6.

Maybe 7.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

09 November 2009

The Larva = The Legend

(Non)governor Luis "The Larva" Fortuño is the only other of Puerto Rico's governors who directly compares to Our legendary first-elected governor Luis Muñoz Marín.

That statement offends statehooders, who hate the idea of a jíbaro with a better understanding of "their" U.S. of part of A. than they have ever had.

That statement offends commonwealthers, who hate the idea of anyone comparing to El Vate, though his concepts and plans have been proven sterile and the end results a proven dead-end.

That statement offends independentistas, who hate th-- Aw, who cares what those four people think?

Now before We get off on the wrong tangent, there's only one specific way a neophyte wannabe (non)governor with barely 10 months of residence in La Fortaleza can compare to a four-term,  hugely popular (pun intended), internationally-renowned society-changer. And that is:

Neither man had to worry about getting re-elected.

In the case of LMM, it was because he had no real challengers. In the case of LTLF, it's because he has no chance.

Now I wrote about this with former (un)governor Aníbal "The Jellyfish" Acevedo before he was charged (and subsequently cleared) of electoral fund fraud, stating that he should use this "freedom" from trying to cling to power to make some serious changes in Our Society.

Now imagine what would have happened if he had tried that instead of playing politics-as-usual. Take the government jobs issue, for example. The Jellyfish could have pushed the idea forward--because it is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the RIGHT thing to do--and let the statehooders bleat and bray to their jackasses' content...only to have to turn around and actually propose doing it anyway.

End result: a step in the right direction and a political coup for a dying party. 

Then again, maybe it was best for The Jellyfish to just sink slowly into oblivion.

Back to LMM and The Larva. By casting aside all considerations for electoral success, in essence focusing on the job of doing what's best for the nation rather than what's most expedient for a political career allows a leader to make deeply significant changes. In the case of LMM, he did, to a historical degree still discussed. In the case of The Larva, well, We're dissing him daily.

The Larva has approval ratings that match median college ages for undergraduates and they are not even close to bottoming out. His own party despises him, his hand-picked "advisors" redefine loose cannon as "big mouths with rusty iron for brains" and he's chosen "isolation" as his preferred form of dealing with the public, akin to a priest consorting with whores in terms of raising his image in Our eyes.

So why not go for true leadership rather than polls? Why not stand up and educate Us on what's really going on, what the government really is and what this all means to each of Us? Why not take a stand against the entrenched imbecility and lead a charge against it? 

True, LMM had a poor country desperate for change, eager investors greedy for profits and an eventually-friendly Congress to further support his vision and intelligence. The Larva has only shown glimpses of intelligence and maybe--maybe--We are desperate for change. But that's two partial scores in a realm of potential progress versus huge zeros in the political arena he wallows in now. There's no doubt he'd be better off with a small percentage of something instead of zero percent of a whole lotta nothing.

And what would We gain from it? A champion in the government highly-placed enough to make Us fully aware of how Our government treats Us like servants, how they mismanage Our present and future and how they--Our elected Fools--must be reduced and eliminated before they finish Us.

Will We like it? Maybe. Will the Fools? Hell no. But unless someone like The Larva makes the effort, We will continue with petty political pettifoggery covering up the massive destruction of Our future.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

06 November 2009


The elected leaders of a democratic government basically deal with only three "tools" with which to accomplish their goals:

1) Establishing a tax rate, the revenue the government will receive for it to spend.

2) Assignment/management of public goods, such as schools, utilities, roads, etc.

3) Assignment of private goods, such as contracts, incentives, etc.

Now Let's be clear on one thing: the primary purpose of elected government leaders, if not of all government leaders, is to ensure they remain in power. They have no other primary purpose, no matter how much they lie about it. Again: their primary purpose is to ensure they remain in power. And the only tools they have to do so are listed above.

When handled for the larger benefit of the people, tax rates are proportional to the cost of government assignments and management. But this happens rarely, mainly because revenue amounts can vary widely, costs can be easily over- or underestimated and "friction"--a polite term for corruption--adds largely-unseen costs to the system. Then there's debt, which shouldn't happen in well-run governments, but can and does cast an ever-darker shadow of doom over the whole process.

Now what happens in a government where revenue is dropping and is projected to drop even further, costs are rising and are projected to continue rising and the "friction" in the system blocks reforms? What happens when you, the elected leaders, know you can't remain in power if you raise taxes? What happens when you know you can't sustain the public goods or keep assigning the same private goods as before, because they cost too much, you project insufficient future revenue and making the required cuts will obviously cost you power? What happens then?

You change the rules.

You take the power base of public goods--government control--and you redefine and reassign them as private goods, essentially making them profit-based assets. You keep a measure of government control, but now have profits tossed into the mix as a substitute for the revenue you cannot receive (tax base)...and you use the funds to accomplish your primary goal: staying in power.

And you give it a name like Public-Private Partnerships, code for Public-Private Plunder.

You doubt it? Here's the listed Approval Flowchart of the Puerto Rico PPPlunder process:

Summary of Public-Private Partnerships Approval Process

Step #1 Government Entity
Any government entity is authorized to establish a public-private partnership and to award a corresponding Partnership Contract related to any function, service or facility, in accordance with the public policy set forth in Act 29.

Step #2: Public-Private Partnerships Authority (PPPA)
The PPPA Board of Directors determines the need to request a Study of Desirability and Convenience.

Final Decision
After evaluating the Study of Desirability and Convenience, the PPPA Board of Directors will determine whether to proceed with the evaluated project.

Step #3: Naming the Partnership Committee
The Authority will create a Partnership Committee for each referred project that it has deemed appropriate and viable.

The Partnership Committee will be constituted by:

---the President of the Government Development Bank or his/her delegate;

---the officer of the partnering government entity with direct authority in the project or his/her delegate;

---one (1) member of the Board of Directors of the partnering government entity or, in the case of government entities with no Board of Directors, the head of the given partnering government entity; and 

---two (2) officials from any government entity chosen by the PPPA Board of Directors for their knowledge and experience in the kind of project that is object of the Partnership under consideration.

The Committee will evaluate the potential proponents and the proposals submitted in order to select the best one(s).
Step #4: Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposals
The Partnership Committee will evaluate all the potential proponents’ qualifications and the proposals in order to facilitate the selection of a proponent and awarding of a contract.
Step #5: Partnership Committee
Following the approval of (a) proposal(s) that, at the Committee’s discretion, best meets the established criteria, the Committee will hold or oversee the negotiation of the terms and conditions of the Partnership Contract. 
Step #6: Board of Directors and Government Entity
The PPPA Board of Directors along with the participant government entity will approve the report and the Partnership Contract through a resolution.

Following the PPPA Board of Directors and the government entity’s approval of the report submitted by the Partnership Committee, the report will be submitted to the Governor, or to his (her) official representative for the purposes of approval.

The Governor, or official representative, will have thirty (30) days to approve or reject the Partnership Contract.

And where's the legislative outhouse in all of this?

Joint Committee on Public-Private Partnerships
The Joint Committee on Public-Private Partnerships of the Legislature of Puerto Rico is created, to be composed of four (4) senators and four (4) representatives, from among whom one (1) in each House shall belong to the Parliamentary Minority. The Joint Committee shall have jurisdiction to examine, investigate, evaluate, and study all matters relative to PPPs.

Folks, people, Brethren, where do We appear in this process of assigning Our goods and Our services to whoever the government chooses?

That's right: We don't. But We damn well will pay for it, every last bit.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

05 November 2009

¿PPPor Qué?

I am loaded with topics for the next couple of weeks, but let Me take on a "newsy" item: the Economic and Fiscal Restructuring Board (JREF, in Spanish) paralyzed the firing of some 11,700 workers, due to become effective November 6th.

Do tell.

In the words of SecState Kenneth "You Know the F.B.I. is On My Case?" McClintock, "(T)he laid-off employees should not view the move by JREF as a setback for the administration, but as extra time for them to 'reorganize their finances for their transition to the private sector.' 

'This should not be a free-for-all for them. This is like a doctor telling a cancer patient he has a year to live instead of three months,' he said in a radio interview Wednesday evening."

Sheesh. And some people call Me insensitive... All I ever said was that I don't care about the jobs lost because it was like amputating a gangrenous limb: amputate  or die. 

Now let Me get this straight: the jobs are rightfully being eliminated because there is no money to keep paying for uselessness, but then they can't be fired on schedule because the ones to be fired need "time to reorganize their finances"? 

Okay, so what you're saying is: We'll keep paying you...until after Christmas.

In the words of the Church Lady: Now isn't that special?

So, let Me see again: The Larva (non)governor Luis Fortuño fires the employees and his hand-picked JREF squad (Secretaries of Treasury, Labor and Economic Development and Directors of the Office of Management and Budget and Economic Development Bank) say "Uh-uh."

Really? They stop him? For what purpose?

Ah, the plot thickens. While everyone else is screeching and howling bloody murder about irrelevancies, the basic question, the key question, is "Why?"

Why are these jobs being saved for two months?

If this were prior to an election year, the answer would be painfully obvious: to court votes. But, 2010 is not a local election year. Nope, that's not it. Let's try again.

Some 11,700 jobs deemed unnecessary are prolonged--at Our freaking expense. The little progress The Larva had made in terms of "imposing" his agenda is thwarted. The barest step forward on the path to possibly rescuing Our government's future--Our future--is turned back. These are not positives, people; there is no upside in these angles.

So where is the benefit? The only possible gain for the executive branch--er, twig--is thus political expediency: they benefit from this self-imposed "setback" because it gives them some extra political clout.

Go ahead, tell Me I'm wrong. Now tell Me specifically why I'm wrong. Tell Me where the benefit is, because there is no way--no freaking way--this suspension of firings was done without forethought, or what passes for forethought in the peabrains of Fools.

It's a fact that The Larva and the legislature are at loggerheads. The moment The Larva said "I'm firing government employees" those Fools said "How DARE you?" and set themselves up as the "good guys" to the milquetoast "bad" guy. Thomas "Tantrum" Rivera and Jenniffer "Gluttonny" González made grunting noises about "evaluating the measure" and "keeping government jobs safe," reinforcing the concept of "Me good, him bad" they'd set up with their erstwhile party president.

And now this, an action taken by The Larva's own people that cannot do anything else than undermine his own rickety position and further weaken his mangled reputation, not to mention make almost impossible any further job reductions in 2010. And Gluttonny is already on record as saying that "The firings will continue." Oh, now that's a change.


I don't know. But here's a thought: Watch closely what emerges from the legislature and The Larva's twig in the coming weeks. Where do their interests coincide the most? Where is the mutual gain potentially enormous? Where do both sides need to scratch each other's backs to make a killing?

Public-Private Partnerships.

And who moved from the Economic Development Bank to the JREF and then to La Fortaleza recently? The current Larva Chief of Staph, Marcos "Mouth Fart" Rodríguez, he of the fascist bent and foolish beat. 

Think the PPP potential isn't firmly in his mind? In the minds of the Fools?

Think again.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

04 November 2009


Ding dong the drug dealer done got dumped. Carlos "NOW I Follow Orders" Chardón, so-called education secretary of Our Island, finally fired the Federal Affairs Director William "Double D" Ubiñas (the "Double D" is for drug dealer and drunk driver.) Some so-called journalists are asking why he was fired; the only question worth asking was why he was ever placed there in the first place.

With the local (mis)education department on the Fed's shit list and local standardized test results so bad they are abominable, even the firing of a convicted drug dealer has the patina of progress. We are failing Our children by having the suckiest education system this side of Hoover sales school; We are failing them by electing--and tolerating--mealy-mouthed pegheads like Our (non)governor and his obese-atriopore of a (mis)education secretary.

Which leads Me directly (in My mind, at least) to the tempest-in-a-teacup that is forming around the notion that the hog farm of a (non)administration misled by Luis "The Larva" Fortuño is about to slap legislation onto the books that is supposedly aimed at bloggers.

Hey, blogueros, chill. Don't be so eager to reveal your desperate needs for legitimization and attention. The bill--as drafted--is aimed at you in the same way the Sun is aimed at you. (Clarification: the Sun isn't aimed at you. Like I said, chill.)

Here's My translation of the pertinent portion of the drafted text, as posted in a local blog, basically a paragraph from a 12-page bill, that has blogueros shuddering with the idea that Terminator 3 is about to be unleashed on their asses:

[CHAPTER 4: Crimes Against A Person and Privacy]

Section 1. -- Damage via Electronic Media

Any person who attacks the moral standing of another person with defamation, insults, written or in images, photomontages in electronic media or by way of the Internet, will incur a fourth grade misdemeanor and will be sanctioned with punishment of prison not exceeding six (6) months or a fine not exceeding five thousand ($5,000) dollars. An additional charge will be incurred for any who falsify, alter or modify real images, but that have been obtained or captured by illegal means or that have been published without due authorization of the affected party.

Now compare that to the following definitions of libel:

Definition of libel 3: Defamation of an individual or individuals in a published work, with malice aforethought. In litigation, the falsity of the libelous statements or representations, as well the intention of malice, has to be proved for there to be libel. In addition, financial damages to the parties so libeled must be incurred as a result of the material in question for there to be an assessment of the amount of damages to be awarded to a claimant. This is contrasted to slander, which is defamation through the spoken word.

Definition of libel 4: Libel per se describes statements, which are widely understood to be harmful to a person's reputation. For example, referring to an individual as an alcoholic or criminal, or any description, which would lower the reputation of that individual in the eyes of others. These words are harmful and libelous.

Definition of libel 5: A written, printed, or pictorial statement that unjustly defames someone publicly. Prosecution of libel as a punishable offense puts some measure of restriction on freedom of the press under the First Amendment.

Definition of libel 6: To defame, or expose to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule, by a writing, picture, sign, to lampoon. A tort consisting of false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person.

Definition of libel 7: To publish in print writing or pictures, broadcast through radio, television or film something that is false about someone else which would cause harm to that person or his/her reputation by bringing the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn, or contempt of others. Libel is defamation, which is written, or broadcast and is distinguishable from slander, which is oral defamation.

Definition of libel 8: A malicious publication expressed either in print or in writing, or by pictures, effigies, or other signs, tending to expose another to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule. Such publication is indictable at common law.

Did you notice a trend there? Is the "electronic Armageddon" version making blogueros go wee-wee in their pants substantially different in content and intent from the other definitions presented?

No. It simply specifies that libel extends to electronic media as well as traditional media.

Whoop-dee-doo. All this is the closing of a loophole that is about a decade behind the times. And the bill is actually addressing electronic crimes of many types, from fraud to data destruction to broadband theft, a sweeping redefinition that takes into account technology that most of the people voting on this bill don't use, don't really understand and don't know what it means.

What is disturbing is that those of Us who do are largely behaving like Chicken Little rather than using Our natural superior and (usually) effortless intelligence to recognize this bill for what it is: a copied patchwork "solution."

Silver lining? At least the Fools are trying to think about technology. And in this case, take a look at what the U.S. of part of A. Senate is rolling out for bloggers. Line up over here to bet on the over/under in years it will take for Our Fools to catch up. I'm in at 3.5.

So, blogueros, pop a Valium or something. The libel laws haven't changed, only now the medium you spend your time with will have to officially play by the rules other media do. If you think that's a problem, then you're de facto supporting lying and deception as "standards."  If to do what We do requires that as a standard, then I'm outta here.

But because it doesn't, because I can stand by everything I write without any--any--hint of anxiety concerning the breaking of any law, I can blog as long as I want on anything I want.

And so should you. Once you calm down.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

03 November 2009

Triptych III

Panel The First: Following up on My post about teacher's unions serving as craptacular protectors of crap disguised as "teacher's rights" and "education," a New York Times op-ed by Susan Engel adds solutions to the unneeded and undeserved educational puzzle, this time at the college level, where teachers are (mis)trained.

Ms. Engel has a three-part solution:

1) Raise admission standards for education degrees and make it free, as well as adding a three-year contractual service period in public schools. Me like. The incentive for high-GPA students (less smart than they used to be, as the education system has been increasingly failing them) to turn away from medicine, law, engineering and business needs to be a combination of recognition and savings. But in exchange for that opportunity, they have to give back to students. To argue against this is to argue that better teachers happen by chance, not planning.

2) Get the student-teachers to train they way they learn best: in classrooms, with frequent supervision. None of this "four years of theory, one year of dealing with a dyspeptic loser who gave up years ago as a part-time supervisor." Exposure to teaching, like exposure to any other profession, breeds experience and confidence, as well as cementing knowledge. It also culls the losers before they can be career lumps of non-teaching flesh.

3) Give incentives to schools to hire these student-teachers in groups. Ms. Engel suggests in groups of at least seven, but I'd be willing to go as low as five. In any case, the purpose is to open doors to new, willing teachers and provide a support system to battle against the entrenched forces of crap protection. Teaching isn't easy, but when you also have to battle pea-brained retreads masquerading as colleagues, it can be brutal. (Just ask a good teacher; they'll give you horror stories.)

What Ms. Engel suggests is very viable and aims at the future rather than the present, which can reduce resistance. It also makes college attractive at a time when attendance is dropping. And furthermore, it sidesteps the issue of evaluation in favor of "When We get smarter, more motivated candidates, We get smarter, more motivated and more effective teachers."

This should start happening now. And it never should have been needed in the first place.

Panel The Second: On the subject of government employees, what happens when the government employee numbers rise substantially, their pensions get bigger and then they start retiring...and living longer? 

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the government coffers are headed for deep doodoo. For a more technical explanation, click here. For a vivid in-your-face example, stay tuned to Puerto Rico Live, the network SyFy would be if were run entirely by zombies. Really corrupt rotting zombies.

Panel The Third: CAPECO, the Caribbean Petroleum Company of Puerto Rico, blew up last week. Busted windows. Big fire. Lots of smoke. Turns out--as expected--that the company had a long history of bad maintenance leading to serious environmental and safety concerns. By the muse and grace of Fortuna's left tit (not be confused with "Fortuño, the titmouse left in disgrace"), no one was killed. The company filed for bankruptcy in December, 2001; the local Treasury got $32 million. But it seems that CAPECO was the beneficiary of a $154 million debt amnesty (of $191 million), given to them under the (mis)administration of Pedro Stupid Rosselló. Then-Treasury Secretary, Xenia Vélez, refused to answer questions about that amnesty she was part of, stating that she is "now a private citizen" and that "her comments would add nothing."

As you might expect, Xenia is a lawyer. Ho hum.

Let Me set you straight, Xenia "Worrier Princess": You will have to answer questions about this matter. For one, you served as Treasury Secretary and the unexplained amnesty happened on your watch, with your approval. For two, you were doing so as a public servant of the People of Puerto Rico, not just as the rubber stamp of a megalomaniac with selective vision. And for third, your status now is irrelevant: what has become obviously relevant is your refusal to step up with candor, dignity and professionalism and do your duty as a citizen and legal representative. If the media had the gonads of a flea, they'd rightfully and righteously keep on your tail until you did the right thing. As it is, it will be up to developing circumstances to be the lever that pries your gullet open.

The Jenius Has Spoken. 


02 November 2009

Too Many (Horrible) Cooks

Mr. Pereira, My 11th grade Chemistry teacher--correction, fat loudmouth slob aping the notion of being a teacher--was also My 10th grade Biology f.l.s.a.t.n.o.b.a.t. His degree was in Physical Education and he had spent 14 years as a Math teacher before waddling blindly into sciences.

Mr. Rivera, My 10th grade Spanish teacher--correction, hideous lying gnome lacking sense and morals--was a rambling idiot with loose hands, a fact I and several other students pointed out then, others had pointed out before and nothing was done until a decade later when he was forced to resign after being caught physically forcing himself on one of his students. In school.

Mr. González, My 11 grade Geometry teacher--correction, deluded self-obsessed ingrate--was a drunkard who routinely showed up in the classroom reeking of alcohol, often passed out between classes and once pissed himself while trying to argue with Me over his inability to remember My name. 

And before you fling some notion of sour grapes at Me, I finished high school with an "A" average...after being skipped into it at age 13. 

Yes, I had the wherewithal to overcome morons parading in front of classrooms, but the problem isn't merely that many teachers are too lazy and too stupid to do any other work, it's that the worst ones are treated as equally valuable as the best ones. 

And note that two of these dregs of humanity were teaching core courses, the "difficult" disciplines of Math and Sciences. Why? Because they were willing to take a paycheck for doing worse than nothing. And why could they? Because it was nearly impossible to fire them for being grossly incompetent.

How did these guys fare, aside from the statutory rapist? Pereira and González retired. Full pensions. And hundreds, even thousands of students, received idiocy instead of instruction. And the grossly incompetent are still nearly impossible to fire.

A recent article in The New Yorker describes how a group of teachers spend the whole day--every day--sitting inside a "rubber room," basically serving time, but collecting their teacher paychecks. It's government employee Nirvana and it's killing Our educational system. Because where New York has a rubber room, We have...the classroom.

Most of the blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet of teacher's unions, who in their greedy push for power have taken the notion of competence in education totally out of the equation, leaving Us with the cretinous framework of an educational system where results don't matter, but policy does. That's like running a restaurant where the food tastes like reheated crap, but you simply must keep the cooks in the kitchen.

And in Puerto Rico, the educational system has been used to stuff useless wads of flesh onto the public payroll, again favoring imbeciles over students and policy over educational progress. I know We are not unique in that sense, but I wish We were unique in reversing that trend.

Can a teacher's union be a force for positive change in education? Of course it can be, but only by focusing on excellence in education as the goal. As long as a union--any union--is a self-serving leech with two suckers, one draining its membership and the other its patron entity, then a union is nothing more than a posse of thieves with license to undercut, undermine and under-deliver. 

It's way past time for unions to step up and set new standards for overall progress. For the teacher's union in New York, Puerto Rico or Mississippi to do that, it must recognize three basic truths:

1) Excellence in education means adequately and openly measuring everything in the system, including teachers.

2) Some teachers are better than others and some are worst; it's called human nature.

3) For excellence in education, the best ones should get better compensation and the worse ones should be dismissed.

Why teacher's unions insist on denying these points is an indication of how far their vision is from reality. In nearly every walk of life, excellence gets rewarded with more benefits while incompetence gets dismissed. In the classroom, their "system" would have the top-notch students, the failures and the stay-at-homes all getting "C"s and no one being left behind for any reason other than death. Teachers don't want their power to "grade" students taken away from them, but Our right (We pay for their services and have a direct stake in the result, therefore We have the right) to grade them? Nuh-uh.

In My high school, I dealt with a Math teacher who several times tried to cheat Me on My final grade, a Spanish teacher with the gall to try to discuss novels, including Don Quixote, without ever having read any of them and a History teacher who could discuss the topic only as related to her trip to Russia in 1967. 

I called them all on this and much more, the fat slob, the drunkard, the pervert, the cheater, the know-nothings and more, often and loudly. Was I a pain on the ass? You bet I was. Did I deserve their rejection? Uh-huh. But I didn't deserve their incompetence and inability to do even a mediocre job as teachers. None of My classmates did. No student ever does.

Teachers make a lot of noise, usually in protest and pseudo-defense of their "rights." If they really want to make a difference and recover the respect they once enjoyed and that their colleagues in other countries enjoy, then they have to earn it by being at the front of the debate of excellence in education, exemplifying the standard, rather than on the streets behaving like drop-outs.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

Update: 19 Nov. 09: The Boston Teachers Union blocks performance bonuses to deserving teachers because the others don't get any. Makes me want to re-evaluate My stance on gun support, too.