30 July 2010

Political Prognostication

Here are 4 political prognostications you can take to the (failed) bank of your choice:

1) (Non)governor Luis "The Larva" Fortuño will lose the opposition party's primary. (By "opposition party," I mean the statehood party. That he won under in 2008.) The Larva is toast. Cooked like a skinny goose. Walking around with a fork jutting out of his bony ass and several knives lodged in and through (non)vital organs. Done. The product of being a political baby with no plans, no guts, no charisma, no leadership mojo, bad judgment in selecting advisors and Cabinet members and no ability to defend his party base as it was eroded on all sides like a sand castle in a raging flood. On the positive side? He dodged an egg.

2) The Popular Democratic Party (neither one nor the other nor the other) will not select a candidate so much as pick the slowest-moving idiot who doesn't step back fast enough. Remember the Bugs Bunny cartoon where he's in the Army and the sergeant asks for a volunteer and everybody but Bugs steps back? Bingo. That's where the populares are headed. They ain't totally stupid: they know Our economy is a wreck (they helped make it that way) and they know full well that government cuts in jobs are vitally needed (they helped create that mess, too.) With the "threat" of a statehood shadow play--er, referendum--out of the way, why fight hard for a win 2012 when the global economy will still suck? Better to aim for 2016 and hold the fort until then. And who do you hold the fort with, your best guy or your most expendable one? If you find that to be a circular argument I created, then how about this: would the populares rather have Thomas "Mad Führer" Rivera inherit this mess (knowing he's bound to make it worse what with his brain-dead attitude and Pedro Stupid Rosselló connection) or one of their own? 

3) The youth (under 35) vote will become the prominent bloc. Although voting in Puerto Rico has traditionally been in the low to mid-80s (percentage), the bulk of the vote has always been the above-35 crowd. Not so in 2012: for the first time ever, the youth vote will decidedly swing the election. Why? The economy. Jobs are gone and with the (non)administration and the latrinous legislature We have, they aren't coming back anytime soon. (Yes, I wrote "latrinous." It's a word. Now.) The university students were not protesting over "academia's right to exist" or any somesuch bull crap, they were protesting for fear of losing their incubator of prolonged adolescence...and the alternative to finding a job. Think of this: the under-35 demographic is facing the reality of less opportunity, less growth and less reward, the first generation in 70 years to do so. You think the last 2 years haven't shown them--beyond a shadow of a doubt--that their future is looking more and more like garbage every day, that the implied promises of the value of education and hard work are looking more and more like lies, lies that look and sound the same as those the vermin in government spout about their own interests?

4) The campaigns will be almost totally about personalities and almost nothing about issues. We've already walked in that swamp, but the 2012 election will make that swamp look like a rose-water fountain. The 2012 campaign is shaping up to be the "Yo Mama" (or to use the local vernacular, Tu madre) elections. Aside from paying lip service to the economy (jobs, health care, education), but doing so with no hard data aside from self-serving "studies," the campaign will morph from mud-slinging to turd-tossing...and the Internet will lead the way. Unlike the U.S. of part of A., where there's still (barely) a tradition of the media holding candidates and parties accountable to the issues, and the Internet has developed a grass-roots strength, We have media with a long tradition of fearful butt-kissing and collaboration in avoiding serious issues, and Our Internet has the grass-roots ADD of a frat party beer keg Happy Hour. Who will "benefit" from that? The under-35 crowd, for whom technology is a substitute for thinking. And that's where the election will be molded, modded and mutilated. The winners will be those who hit first, hit often and hit with the cleverest lies (marketing, anyone?). The losers will be, as ever, Us.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

28 July 2010


Scenes in a mall:

--The freak show known as Wal-mart, slightly before sundown, a couple of women, apparently mother-daughter by the shared unattractiveness, are pushing a shopping cart overflowing with sugary cereal, 2-liter bottles of cola, cookies, chips, donuts, powdered drinks and other assorted foods of the non-natural variety. I assumed "party" and moved on. Had the misfortune of ending up behind them in the line as they checked out, surly, greasy-haired and slow. Just for the heck of it, I asked them if they were having a party. It was like I grew a second head from My neck. No, they said, just shopping. Paid with a Food Stamp Program debit card. Over $110 charged on it, so they probably have 2-3 kids, at least. Do the math and you'll see that healthier choices mean less food, which might mean less weight, but more pain. And maybe the surliness comes from the diet, or the feeling of not having enough amidst the "plenty" of Wal-mart. No excuse for the greasy hair, though.

--Another day. Early morning trip to Office Max for some office supplies. Decide I could use a little pick-Me-up and head for the hottest (temperature-wise) coffee in town. Sit down with it for My obligatory 12-minute wait to drink it and see several older folk chatting at nearby tables. I write some notes, read a bit and finally get to My coffee. Oddly, I have to come back in the afternoon to get My son some things. Passing by the same coffee shop I see many of the same old folk. Eight hours have passed since I saw them. No shopping bags in their hands or near them. They seem content, although also a little tired and out of sorts. Better that than loneliness or indifference.

--A crowded "dollar store," with merchandise hemming in haphazard aisles. A very pregnant lady is perusing baby clothes; blue ones. Almost three dozen shoppers surround her, almost all women, what few men are in the store are either passing through or passing time. Suddenly, the pregnant lady stumbles, swoons, leans against a rack of clothes, her purse slipping off her shoulder. She seems flushed. Women glance over, noticing almost immediately what has happened. The men notice a few seconds later as the woman tries to stand straight and reach for her purse at the same time. No woman moves, but a few have looks of--contempt--on their faces. I can't tell if the ones that do have a man with them or are alone. Two men gingerly approach the pregnant woman as I pass by. They offer to help her and do, making a call for her. I wait a few minutes and notice that the men are almost courtly in their behavior, talking with the woman and offering to get her some water, food or a chair, all of which she declines, while more of the women, seeing the scene, are smirking or tittering. Makes Me wonder, about the men and their desire to help, the women and their reaction (or non-reaction) to what happened and about Us as a society.

Scenes in a mall, like slices of tissue, can reveal a lot and not enough.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

26 July 2010

Gollum Greed

"Now, Let's see...Tackled sexual orientation, religious beliefs, what else...okay, one more: Independentistas are like Gollum."

Yeah. Wrote that a few days ago and urged you to Stay Tuned. Payoff time is now.

First, for those of you not of the fantasy literature persuasion/interest, a brief recap of Gollum. Created by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit, Gollum is a former hobbit named Sméagol who de-evolved into a wretched creature living deep underground due to his uncontrolled fixation on a ring of power, his object of visceral obsession.

You can see where I'm going with this.

Once a loving, peaceful and satisfied hobbit, Sméagol becomes a liar, a thief, a complete denial of what he once was and in order to enjoy his obsession and curtail his increasing paranoia, he seeks refuge away from the light, in the dark, where he can consort with his thoughts and fears, alienating even those who cared for him in his past life. Gollum eventually falls into the realm of the forgotten, emerging only when his needs overwhelm him, or when an accidental encounter forces him to react.

I give you now the independentista non-movement of Puerto Rico. Firmly planted in the loving, peaceful, proud tradition of Our people, who have known only foreign wars and who have struggled against fierce odds to survive and thrive, independencia became hooked and obsessed with the idea that turning its back on what We are in order to pursue power was the name of the game. The sterling, noble and righteous character of the ideal was subverted to political gains, the "voice of opposition," that joined the cesspool and not only learned to love it, but learned to depend on it.

Pursued by other powers, independencia went underground, afraid to reach out, afraid to stand up, afraid to insist on its own value, in order to lie and cheat and thieve and kill...and then call it "heroic." When the persecution ended, not by intellectual force of resistance but by external fiat, the Gollums emerged as twisted independence, blinking in the light and wailing in paranoia and for lost time, unaware that indifference had replaced admiration and dignity with disgust.

As the natural powers faded, what was once their fool's gold became their true gold, their one obsessive lust: money. Like clockwork, the Gollums come out every four years, receiving that which they slobber over son compulsively, cackling with glee, prancing like enfeebled chimps, only to return to their underground until the calendar's siren call wends its way across the Island.

The independentista non-movement is a wretched creature, too twisted to stand straight, too blind to look at reality's light, too infirm to fight and too addled to think straight. We--I--could put a name on this Gollum, but a name isn't necessary. What's tragic is that the natural expression of Our nation's growth has regressed from its rightful place of pride in Our hearts and minds to nothing more than a lizard-brain's timely greed. Hobbits may not be the strongest or smartest, but they are the bravest, and what We have left is not much more than a Gollum wallowing in abject cowardice...with money in its pocket.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

23 July 2010

Congratulations George, Jiacheng and Dr. Cáceres

Thanks to Jenius Reader Luis Herrero's buzz tracking, I found out something that I should have heard about, but given several factors, didn't until I stumbled across it: One of Ours won a Gold Medal in the International Math Olympiad.

Now I know I don't follow local media, largely because doing so is as useful as waxing a clean car with tar. But an achievement such as this, by George C. Arzeno Soltero, of winning a Gold Medal in such a competition is INFINITELY more worthy of Our attention than the flaccid buttocks of a "TV personality" or the sartorial wreckage of certain Fools We are practically forced to look at. George, who was on the 3-person team with Jiacheng “Jack” Feng and Dr. Luis F. Cáceres Duque, deserves more attention and applause for his win than some drug-addled "singer" or some over-surgeried "beauty."

Let's put George's accomplishment in perspective. Here's how tough the Math Olympiad is. Ignore the school-career length of the effort to learn math basics and then move into the advanced concepts. That eliminates 99.99% of Us right there. The preliminary competitions are tough, with several multi-hour tests needed just to make it to the national finals. Then more tests to earn the honor of representing your nation this year...in Kazakhstan. (Here: learn where it is. I already knew, but not because of "Borat.")

Halfway across the world, you will face (in the 51st Olympiad) 522 competitors from 98 countries. Some of them are Asians, who have a tradition of living and breathing math. We have a tradition of living and breathing in order to ignore math. You will take 2 tests, each four and a half hours long, to solve 6 problems. Your task is not to just find the answers to the problems, but to prove the answers as well.

Go ahead: think about that. Most of Us can't handle simple arithmetic without a calculator, as evidenced by the constant surprise I receive when I tally up My purchases mentally and have exact change for the cashier. Math is not just numbers, it is logic, ratiocination and discipline. It literally expands the brain, makes you a better thinker in some very basic ways. That's why it isn't easy, because to stretch a brain requires effort. Most of Us don't care to make the effort.

George was the highest-scoring student of the 73 participants from the Iberoamerica region, and ranked 17th in the world. 17th! Yeah, that's not first, but based on Our overall education system and cultural indifference to math, thinking and intellectual achievement, George's gold medal is like having a 300-foot tall redwood grow in the desert. And Let's not forget that Jiacheng was a Silver Medalist at the regional level, placing him amongst the best in Our hemisphere as well.

Much of George's and Jiacheng's success should be laid at the feet of the University of Mayagüez, for developing the Math Olympiad Program and encouraging students to join it. Kudos as well to Academia Perpetuo Socorro and Cupeyville School, where George and Jiacheng are students, and to their parents for supporting what can often be a lonely task.

We need to take a long hard look at the message We are trying to convey. At every turn We bemoan and bitch about the sorry educational system We have, as if it were somebody else's problem. We bitch about it, but don't pitch in to fix it. Let one of Our marginalized young men beat the brains out of some other place's "wrong side of the tracks" guy and We're mindlessly waving flags like drunken monkeys, but let a tiny handful of Our Own use their young and bright minds to climb a daunting intellectual mountain few could even attempt and We don't care...because We can't be bothered to even look at the mountain.

Sadly, George is another in an embarrassingly long line of national treasures We treat by waxing with tar. We may have even lost the capacity to honor him "officially," what with Our verminous legislature already on record "honoring" a self-admitted murderer and convicted drug dealers. It's up to Us to honor George, Jiacheng and Dr. Cáceres, but We don't care. Maybe it's best We continue this way...and watch as Our presence on the world stage is reduced to frippery on one hand, and the ones of Us who have success being only those who left Our debilitating cultural mindset--and island--far, far behind.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

21 July 2010

Blogs Closed, Bill Proposed: Wake Up

[A special Jenius Thanks (they're all special, right?) to Nicholas Laughlin of Global Voices Online for picking up My post on the ongoing Games and Frames We have now.]

Turn your eyes north, for a moment. We do it anyway, but We don't really see what's going on. We see what what We want to see, Our own hair-thin niche of interest, whether it's political, social or economic. But two events, separated in many ways yet connected in ugly fundamental ways, have an impact on Us. They have to, since they are happening in the land of Our owners and We keep believing We are "free."

The first may seem merely technological: the closing of the Blogetery.com website that provided service to over 73,000 blogs. The closing was ordered by the U.S. of part of A. government...only the order and the order-giver are unknown.

Just step back a minute and take that in. Some 73,000 blogs are taken off-line, censored, shut down, by the ostensibly-democratic government We live under, for NO stated reason. Why should you care? Because if they could do it once, they could do it again.

"Sure, Jenius, you're just looking out for your own self-interests here." Bingo. But My self-interest happens to be yours as well: the difference is I'm willing to protest about this. There is NO way in hell that 73,000 blogs on one website could be ALL engaging in blatantly illegal action so heinous and treacherous to the common good that shutting them down together--at once--is acceptable under Our Constitution. That would be like arresting a whole passel of neighborhoods for the actions of one terrorist cell or even several living in the same general area. Or like bombing a series of villages to kill just 1 or 2 suspected enemies. (Bad example: the U.S. of part of A. practically patented that crime.)

Closing down 73,000 blogs can be seen as an example of "Not Me, so I don't care" thinking, reminiscent of an apocryphal Nazi Germany "joke," where the average German didn't care that Polish people were being rounded up. "Not Me, so I don't care." The same response was given when Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, Communists and Catholics were being rounded, each time a shrugged "Not Me, so I don't care." But when the Nazis started seeing enemies everywhere outside the party's core and they started rounding up "average" Germans, the response became "I wanted someone to protest and help Me...but there was nobody left."

I've been saying it for years: The U.S. of part of A. is goose-stepping, in its own way, into fascism. Even under Obama.

You don't care. Here's more.

From the mind and pen of career politician (a synonym for "lifelong thief") Charles Rangel, a "friend" of Puerto Rico like Brutus was a "friend" to Julius, comes this gem of a proposed bill. Here's the relevant text:

"To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes."

This, people, is called  a draft. Not as "to be edited,'" but as in "military." 

Now I have advocated, in the footsteps of writer Robert Heinlein, that all citizens should give 1-2 years of public service as part of their citizenship duties. But this is not the Heinlein model: this is a war draft, a government decree of reduced freedom, a heavy-handed clamp on present and future generations of potential opponents to government actions.

Proof? "...(A) member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security." That means you are either a soldier or a law enforcement agent, an order-taker for whom disobedience is punishable, has to be punishable, and the ultimate punishment for disobedience--often called "treason" in these organizations--is death.

Still don't care? Here's a thought. Until the Army jury-rigged its TO, the most-decorated unit in U.S. Army history was the 65th Infantry, composed almost exclusively of Puerto Rican soldiers. Its unofficial nickname in the Army was the Spic Squad. How did it get to be the most-decorated unit in U.S. Army history? Because it was made up of brave men and women that weren't white, and thus they were thrown into the worst battle sectors at the worst times and under the worst conditions. That's how you win the most medals, by bleeding, by losing body parts, by dying, supposedly to serve your own, but actually to serve the interests of others.

And the 65th Infantry was made up of volunteers. Do you want Our Brethren, your children, to be drafted and forced to serve a master who doesn't care about them except as tools for their own self-interest?

Rangel is crooked [Update: 23 July 2010: He's facing more ethics charges...] 1 August 2010: And increasing pressure to resign...], but he served in the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He may be a warmonger, most likely is trying to be war profiteer, but the aphorism that "Young men fight wars that old men start" is as true as the day the first cowardly leader convinced others to endanger themselves for his benefit. Rangel is old and cowardly, but greed is ageless.

Censorship takes many forms. Closing down blogs, like spiking printing presses or closing stations, is one way. Maybe Global Voices is next on "the list," because it brings together the often anti-establishment words of citizens in repressive regimes, some of which are "vital" to U.S. of part of A. interests. Think it won't happen? Think again. The government is increasingly giving no stated reasons for its actions, and make no mistake, the U.S. of part of A. is a repressive regime.

For repression also means use of force. What's more forceful than to absorb the people into becoming government drones? "All people between the ages of 18 and 42" is what Rangel proposes. Not "able-bodied men": all people. You may feel like your boss holds terrible power over you, but all s/he can do is fire you. The government, under the guise of military or security "concerns," can fire at you.

Blogs shut down and a sweeping draft proposed. Look north, My Brethren. Those aren't storm clouds anymore. Those are buzzards.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

P.S.:  Remember this name: Shirley Sherrod. And remember that Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda vermin said that all a lie needs is to be repeated often and loudly to make it seem like the truth. The U.S. of part of A. is trapped in a process of lies repeated often, loudly and incessantly, as Keith Olbermann points out with incisive force.  [Update: 22 July 2010: Ms. Sherrod has received an apology from the White House and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who offered Ms. Sherrod a job in the department. And if you haven't heard, Ms. Sherrod was fired because of an edited tape of her remarks concerning a white farmer's case was blatantly, openly and libelously created by Fox News to protray Ms. Sherrod as racist. Be clear on this: Fox News is pushing its openly racist "fear blacks" agenda and stupid white Americans were falling for it. Now others are. Lies created and repeated often and loudly enough will seem like the truth...only if We allow it.] [Update: 23 July 2010: The thing that pushed the Sherrod highly-edited tape is the same cretinous vermin that pushed the highly-edited--and legally eviscerated--ACORN tapes. This tapeworm's name is Andrew Breitbart. This fecal-feeder is worse than scum. The day he and his kind are trampled into roadkill will not be soon enough.]

P.P.S.: And on this day (21 July), an Attorney General who clearly violates the law by firing Justice Department attorneys because they refuse to follow executive policy, fires these attorneys because of politics, not because they failed at their jobs or committed a crime, and yet this same Attorney General sanctions further violations of domestic and international law by approving the use of torture, even against citizens that have not been charged with any crime, this walking piece of rancid cow dung named Alberto Gonzales is...walking away, uncharged. It isn't just the Republicans, people: the Democrats are goose-stepping mightily as well.

[Update: 22 July 2010: On the blog shutdown issue, the following excerpt (emphasis and bracketed comments Mine) is from a BBC article concerning the matter:

"A web hosting company has said it shut down a blogging platform that was home to over 70,000 bloggers because a "link to terrorist material" and an al-Qaeda "hit list" was posted to the site. [The Jenius notes that 2-3 links do not merit the shutdown of 73,000 blogs.]

BurstNet said Blogetery.com also posted "bomb-making instructions". [Jenius: Which are available on hundreds of other websites. Do the search yourself and you'll see.]

The company said it acted after receiving "a notice of a critical nature from law enforcement officials".

But the move has angered bloggers who use the platform and say they were given no notice of the shutdown.

In response Blogetery.com said its server had been "terminated without any notification or explanation."

The site added that it is trying to resolve the situation.

BurstNet defended its position.

"The posted material, in addition to potentially inciting dangerous activities, specifically violated the BurstNet acceptable use policy" said the web host firm.

BurstNet also claimed that the site had a history of previous abuse.

The news blog Cnet.com reported that officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told BurstNet on 9 July that al-Qaeda materials had been found on Blogetery's servers. [Jenius: "AlQaeda" is to Us what "communist" was in the 1950s: a buzzword aimed at inflaming the debate to "don't question" status. As such, fuck al-Qaeda and fuck the people who use it as cover for their abuses.]

It also claimed that material allegedly found on the server included "the names of American citizens targeted for assassination by al-Qaeda" as well as messages from Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the terrorist organisation. [Jenius: So shutting down the site--and tons of others--will HELP these idiots find the other idiots?]

BurstNet's chief technology officer, Joe Marr, said that the FBI sent a "Voluntary Emergency Disclosure of Information" request to the firm.

Sources have confirmed to the BBC that this was the case but FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said the bureau does not comment on active investigations.

However he did say that the FBI had not asked for any websites to be shut down.

The FBI does not have the power to remove content from websites or to take them down. That can only be done with the authority of a judge. [Jenius: But they and the government are working on this. Bet on it. Because the issue is no longer "protection"--if it ever was--it's "power over the people."]

20 July 2010

Bad Views, Bad News

The Central American & Caribbean Games are being held right now, with host city Mayagüez doing the honors...and all  Puerto Rico doing the dishonors. Take the opening ceremony...please. Take it anywhere. Take it back, take it to hell, just take the damn thing, because as an emblem of Puerto Rico, it was absolutely hideous.

The run-up to the Games have been plagued by mismanagement, graft, incompetence and the usual barrel-loads of greedy stupidity that mark Puerto Rican sociopolitics at its worst. The Games were deemed "iffy" because facilities were incomplete or in disarray. Just a 3-minute walk from Chez Jenius are the new tennis courts, made on coarse clay/gravel ground with the cement being laid down in a week. The courts were finished in early June, just in time for the pre-final inspection. Since then,  a casual glance will show that some of the courts have settled, creating dips or hollows that the players will find anything but enchanting. And reports are that most of the facilities are equally sub-par.

But those are not seen by the world at large. What is seen is the Opening Ceremony, where a careful display of competence will at least provide a handsome public mask to cover up the pockmarked hag underneath. Only We acted like competence on public display was unworthy of Our attention and put on a show so abysmally awful, so uncoordinated, so bereft of professionalism and integrity, We would have been better off canceling the damn thing and putting on a rerun of "Green Acres." At least there the pig had talent.

And on the subject of being on camera and stinking up the joint, how about Our so-called police force using undercover agents to record video of marchers and protesters under the supercilious mouth-fart notion of "protecting the police force's and protesters' rights."

Really. If you believe that, I have an Opening Ceremony tape I want to sell you...

If the police want to record their own video of public events, then they have to do it--they have to do it--openly, not with undercover agents. In the same way that law enforcement procedures require a legal basis for recording private (and ostensibly illegal) events, so must law enforcement have a reason to record public events, and the reason has to be communicated to the public. Having hidden cameras secretly recording public events is not the act of a government worth supporting, and if We reacted to this underhanded and cowardly act in the way We should, the police force would have a new chief and We'd have a new governor by the time the Closing Ceremony took place.

Which I hope, for Our sake, is handled with a level of competence above that of addled monkeys...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

19 July 2010

The More We Do, The More We Can

[Note: My very belated Thanks to Janine-Mendes Franco for picking up a recent Jenius post on the local "strike."]

The More We Do, The More We Can. Mientras Más Hacemos, Más Podemos.

That's the name of My "Let's get more grant proposals written and submitted" plan, mentioned in My previous post.

The purpose of this plan is to significantly increase the number of federal grant proposals dealing with Puerto Rico's social and economic woes and not only gain much-needed experience of how to be successful at it, but also gain the much-needed funding to correct or halt the downward spiral We see in so many areas.

My initial point was to reduce My fee per proposal from $3,000 to $600. The expertise is the same, the writing ability is the same, but the accessibility has changed. By making My abilities more accessible, it opens the door to more organizations and individuals to participate and learn. And for those concerned about My income, I can always fall back on "I'll make it up on volume." Maybe, maybe not. But the goal is "more proposals," and that's the only measurement I count on My side.

There are four additional points that make up the core of this plan. The second point is that the increased number of proposals means an increased level of feedback. My goal is to take that feedback and share it with every participant that submitted a proposal with Me. The benefit is that they will (eventually) learn in days what could take them months or years to absorb: the bottom-line details and fine-tunings that make the difference between a grant and "good try."

The third point addresses a weakness I have dealt with before, but must do so again: few people know where to look for grant funding. And beyond that, they also need to know/imagine what would work in Puerto Rico and what won't. For that, I have started a daily Twitter feed under @FederalFundsPR that quickly lists grant programs that I believe have high applicability to Puerto Rico. In some cases, Puerto Rico has the "minority" advantage, in others it might be related to socioeconomic factors. In any case, follow @FederalFundsPR (you can see it at the top of the left sidebar here on Gil The Jenius, under "Federal Grant Programs") and learn what's available.

I'll point out that the programs apply as well to the Greater U.S. of part of A. My focus is My Island, but proposals that could help Puerto Ricans or others in the States are equally valid in My plan. The money might stay "there," but the experience will come "here."

A fourth point is the launching of a Facebook page and a website--www.factorefectivo.com--to help support the plan and extend the levels of contacts to reach as many entities as possible. I'm not happy so far with the Facebook effort and the website has a broader application that is under development, but they will become part of the plan.

And the fifth point is a PDF I wrote, which I will update periodically, titled Cómo Conseguir Fondos Federales (How to Get Federal Funds.) It is free. Yes, free, for now. Just leave your e-mail address in the Comments, send Me a Direct Message tweet over in @FederalFundsPR or wait for Me to update this post with a link to download a copy (free; I mentioned that already, right?) from Facebook and/or FactorEfectivo.com.

The More We Do, The More We Can. Mientras Más Hacemos, Más Podemos. 

Join Me.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

16 July 2010

Grants And Guarantees

There are times when putting your money where your mouth is is not the best option, it's the only option.

For several years now, I've been saying that Puerto Rico's horribly poor results in competitive federal grant programs is due to "not getting Our at-bats in," in other words, We don't try often enough, so We don't get any better.

(Two other reasons We suck at competitive federal grants is government stupidity and government corruption, but in the private sector, "fewer at-bats" is the top reason.) (It's also a reason in government, where for example, the 220+ employees of the local Department of Education's Federal Affairs Office average 1 grant proposal every 90+ days and 1 failure to achieve a successful result every 90+ days.)

So what's the basis of the problem?

1) There aren't enough experienced grant writers, and...

2) The ones we have charge a lot of money to write grant proposals because...

3) Writing good grant proposals isn't easy, therefore...

4) There aren't enough experienced grant writers to write the proposals.

A Catch-22 that requires some force to break the cycle. That force can come from within, from an experienced grant writer saying "I'll charge less in order to help Us get more proposals in. We'll get better by actively getting better at competing grants." In essence, We're going for more at-bats.

That's My role now: putting My money where My mouth has been for years. Since 2006, I've been charging $3,000 or more per federal grant proposal, with over $4.7 million won by them...not a dime of which was for Puerto Rico. My understanding is that there are less than 150, maybe even less than 100, good grant writers on this Island, many charging less than Me, but still charging in the $1,800-$3,000 range. Our Catch-22 can only be broken by making that investment easier, and short of printing money, the fastest way to make it easier is to drop the fee. A lot.

And that's what I have done. From now until June 30th of next year, I will charge $600 for a 15-page or less proposal and $900 if the proposal exceeds 15 pages. My quality guarantees remain the same (they are measurable), but since no one can guarantee federal funds to anyone, another guarantee emerges from this effort: We will be more successful at winning grants.

I know from experience that the worst position in baseball is pinch hitter, the player who gets only one shot every few games or so to make a difference. Unlike regular players or even regular substitutes, a pinch hitter gets one chance and only that chance to be a success. The player either delivers or fails, with no second chance. That's Us in federal funding proposals: We take one swing and that's it. Or worse, instead of "pooling" Our talents to raise Our potential batting average from .046 to at least .220, We take separate horrendously feeble swings and fail across the board.

If a change is going to be made, then it's time I stopped yapping about it and started doing something concrete. And since most of My Brethren only believe in money as a commitment, here it is: I'm committing Mine to help Us get more of the funds Our society needs to make truly significant changes.

I certainly can't do it alone. It will be a matter of time, energy and will on Our parts to see how many join Me in the next year to prove that We can compete and We can make the changes We know are needed, every day, across Our Island.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

14 July 2010

Of Butts And Buttheads

When last We encountered the priapic-minded penepé moron Antonio "Hire A 'Model' To Do Nothing" Soto, he was blabbering like a gasping fish about defending the hiring of a so-called model/TV "personality" to work in his senate office, a hiring based more on the so-called model's butt than on her bachelor's degree. The attention given to this butthead's matter caused said butt to have her contract rescinded and We thought--hohoho--that we had heard the last about "Butthead" Soto for a little while.

Do tell.

Barely a day past this butt-hired-by-butthead scandal comes the "news"--okay, the news--that "Butthead" is a believer in spiritism, a blend of religion and "magic" which can be described as "drunk animalism." Or "dopey primitivism," take your redundant pick.

Now I'm treading on patchy ground here, for after all, although Butthead may be a public figure and thus open to flamethrower levels of criticism, certain things are not kosher, like religion or sexuality. Just as I defended former senator and then-San Juan mayoral candidate Zaida Hernández when she was verbally attacked for being a lesbian (and I would do the same for Jenniffer "Gluttonny" González if the verbal innuendos rose above scattered whispers, because she is a lesbian), I would defend any person's right to their own sexuality (Zaida's, Jenniffer's, name your choice here), but in terms of religion...well, there's thoughtful and there's brain damaged.

Butthead is in the brain-damaged group...along with Scientologists, Mormons and people who think Avatar is real. [For the record: Scientology is a scam created by a sci fi writer and perpetuated by people too cowardly and too young to join Hitler's Youth Movement and Mormons think some Mesoamerican civilization of white people (why else were the evil ones "cursed with dark skin"?) arose where Olmecs, Toltecs, Mayas and Aztecs lived for centuries and didn't EVER mention these whities, who somehow left NO traces of their "glorious," "Christ-visited" "splendor"...except for some "gold plates" buried in upstate New York, which are obviously the writings of only one or two 19th century hucksters. Jesus wept. And for you Avatar freaks, better dead than bred.]

Back to Butthead. I am not one to believe that "cultural relativism" means that I have to accept fathers fornicating daughters (Old Testament and some Ozark Mountain tribes) as something "good because of its cultural context." Stoning women to death because they have a job is not "culturally acceptable" to Me: it's a sign of lunacy. Becoming a martyr for Allah in order to get served by 72 virgins is to Me barely one step below drinking Drano to relieve constipation. I believe in no religion...but I support believing in some more than others.

And which do I support? The ones I see helping people day-to-day. The ones that make a difference in the lives of their believers. Not based on the group, but based solely on the ones I meet. So if My friend is Baptist and is happy with her life, productive and engaged, then I support that. For her. Same with Catholics, Methodists, Buddhists and Adventists...that I know. For them and everyone else, believe what you want, and I will do or not do the same. But for those who think lizards "seeded" the Earth and pay tons of money to find that hairy chestnut out, or those who think the New World could hold a huge unknown civilization in a distant jungle, only to find out later that the jungle was explored and nothing was found, but they still believe that hairy chestnut anyway, and for others whose beliefs strain My tolerance to indifference: buzz off. You're all loony.

And Butthead, with a spiritism center in the Dominican Republic: Buzz off now. Go there. Take your witch doctor with you and leave Us the hell alone.

Now, Let's see...Tackled sexual orientation, religious beliefs, what else...okay, one more: Independentistas are like Gollum.

Stay tuned.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

[Update: 1 August 2010: And did I mention polygamy and rape as part of the Mormon "culture"?]

12 July 2010

New World Eyes

My nephew and I are walking back from the bakery in the downtown Cabo Rojo area, a lazy Saturday afternoon, muggy and cloudy as most days have been lately. We are walking down the street that dead-ends at the large drainage canal behind My house. Nearing the bridge that crosses it, on the left, is a vacant lot where a small house stood until 1998, when Hurricane George hit the area, shortly after My arrival here.

Some days I wonder if I had anything to do with that...Curiously, the nephew I'm with was almost 3 months old back then.

We're talking about basketball and football, just talking, and as We come up parallel to the vacant lot, My eyes take in an odd sight, blink, and then I say to him, interrupting My sports comment: "Mira eso." Look at that.

Just to Our left, about 3 feet from My nephew, atop some rubble overlaid by a corrugated zinc sheet, lies an iguana. Not the garden variety, 12-inch, smooth, gray-skinned-with-black-markings kind, but a veritable lizard monster, stretching 5 feet from its dewlapped neck, craggy head and gimlet yellow eyes to its long hind claws and snake-like tail. It was staring Us down as My nephew and I gawped at each other.

The lizard didn't move. I measured it again with My eyes, from spiky head to where its right hind claw perched on some wood, My gaze moving clearly from My right to My left. Maybe 6 feet in length, if you add the tail. My nephew asked Me if I had ever seen one before and I answered not in downtown Cabo Rojo or anywhere else outside of a zoo. Every other specimen I'd seen was smaller by far. I wondered what it ate and we both looked down at the supermarket bags filled with fast food papers and garbage just underneath the lizard's perch. Partial answer there.

We moved away slowly as I kicked Myself mentally for not having My phone with Me. We raced up the stairs, across the bridge then down the other side to My house and told My son, My older nephew and My Special One to come see a surprise. My son, aware that I seldom act this excited, gave up looking for his other shoe and followed Us wearing one tennis shoe and only a sock on the other foot.

The lizard was gone. I showed the others where the lizard was when We saw it and how far it extended atop the rubble. It was then that I looked at the vacant lot, the blank space that in My mind was just the remnants of an old house and a muddy field when it rains. I took in the tall grass near the canal's wall and how the grass grew very high at the back of the roughly triangular lot. Two large trees dominate that far corner, each over 50 feet, covered with kudzu. The grassy area is pockmarked with the house's debris, mainly wood and metal in ramshackle piles low to the ground. Water accumulates in small deep puddles left by tires as cars and trucks park in the grassless area every once in a while. To My left, a mechanic's garage and behind the vacant lot lies only the canal. The few houses across the street are either owned by elderly folks who live alone or are doctor's offices,  largely empty during the week.

Where once I saw a dead-end street for traffic that gave Me a shortcut to town, now I saw a tiny pocket of wilderness, an open terrarium for a huge lizard. To say that My daily walks into and out of town are going to be different now is to understate the impact of a simple truth: When eyes see a New World, they see everything again...better.

And yes, I intend to take the lizard's picture one day.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

09 July 2010

Confessing About Good People

Early Tuesday, 5:54 AM. The right rear tire starts to rumble. I pull off into a gas station and take a close look at the tire. It seems okay, so I drive out.

6:04 AM: The rumble is now a penetrating vibration that rocks the steering wheel. The traffic in western Ponce is light, but it takes Me almost a minute to edge the car onto the side of the road. When I check, the tire is absolutely flat, a fist-sized hole punched into it.

And the spare is even worse. The spare was the shredded tire, product of a blowout last month, that sat in the trunk of My car, as badly damaged Tuesday early morning as it was when it failed. My bad for not getting it replaced.

I was near a Ponce City facility, so I walked less than a hundred feet and asked the gentleman out front if I could park My car there, out of traffic. He insisted I do so, for safety. I did, slowly, and as I parked, I noticed the facility was the City's Vehicle Maintenance garage.

6:10 AM. I tell the gentleman I'll be crossing the highway (5 lanes of traffic, 3 more in construction) to get something to eat and will be back at 7:30 to remove the tire and see if someone from the facility could take Me to a nearby tire center (about 5 minutes away, by car, without traffic.) He tells Me he'll have to ask the boss if that's okay, but he thinks it will be.

I get My shoes muddied going and coming as the ground between the different lane areas is almost soupy from the recent rains. A cup of coffee and some 110+ pages of a sci fi novel later, I'm back at My car. It's 7:12 AM.

7:31 AM: The idiocy of using air-powered "guns" to tighten wheel bolts comes home to Me full force as I have to bang the 4-way wrench with the jack base to loosen each bolt. (An aside: it pisses Me off to see how often "loose" is used for "lose" in current writing. I've even seen it in "professional" websites, an instant descent into YouTube troll status. "Lose" is defeat; "loose" is not tight. O, see the difference?) What should have taken Me 4-5 minutes took almost 20.

The gentleman I spoke to earlier drives out in a lime-green eyesore of a car and tells Me he spoke with the facility's boss and that someone was coming over "To see if we have a tire for You." I thanked him and said a ride would be plenty, but he waved and took off into traffic like a lime out of hell.

7:44 AM: A small, compact man with steel-gray hair comes out and asks Me what size rims My car has. Just in case, he checks himself and says "We may have a tire here that fits this. It's used, but it'll get you to the tire center." Before I can object, he lifts the flat tire and walks off briskly. I make do arranging the things in My car.

7:57 AM: The compact man rolls the tire back and tells Me that I got lucky with the used tire. As I bend over to raise the jack a little more, he plucks the wrench from My hand, jacks the car up another few inches and remounts the tire. I tell him My name and he says people call him "Pichy" (sounds the same as "peachy" to you non-boricuas out there.) I chuckle and tell him that must be a nickname and he gives Me a tired glance, spinning the bolt on quickly.

"So what is your name?" I ask. He smiles and says "It's not a common one: Confesor." Means "confessor," but you non-boricuas figured that out, right?

Another chuckle. "Father and grandfather?" He laughed. "Yeah." Seeing his look I added: "But not your son?" He was starting to lower the jack. "No way," he said. "It's time to make a change."

He helped Me repack the items in the trunk and told Me to not rely on the tire for long because it had been lying around for about a year. He gave Me directions to two tire centers and a suggestion to go to the farthest one because they offered a good 2-for-1 deal that could get My spare replaced as well. We shook hands and he refused any payment. "The tire's free and I'm glad I could help."

He watched the heavy traffic to make sure I could back out safely and We nodded as I left. It was 8:06 AM. I was back on the road and though I never forget it, it's good to be reminded that yes, good people are everywhere.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

08 July 2010

Animal Waste

So let Me get this straight: The supposedly-shrinking senate, led by the statehood potty, buys a building--cash--from a statehood toilet that got his ass dragged to jail for fraud against Our government revenue and the commission on the sale, some $180,000 of Our monies, goes to a statehood latrine that's been smearingly involved at every level of the potty since 1968.

Holy crap.

And who are the turds in this toilet bowl? They are the senate president Thomas "Mad Führer" Rivera, the building owner/resident agent Tommy "Hijack Tax Monies" Habibe and the real estate agent smarmily charging "only 3% instead of 6%" for being part of a shitty deal, Carlos "Four Feet Behind the Horse's Head" Romero.

Tommy the Hauled-to-Jail-Hijacker went to the hijacker hoosegow  for defrauding the government in the digitalization of the Municipal Tax Revenue Department, known locally as CRIM. And Carlos the Horse's Hindquarter Center was Mayor of San Juan, governor, head beggar in Washington, giving him the trifecta of having royally and completely screwed-up all key political positions in Our degenerate system.

And how much did this fiasco cost Us? $3.2 million. And according to the article, there's more real estate targeted for acquisition.

Hee-haw. You can lead a Horse's Ass to money, but it helps if a Mad Dog leads the way.

Oh, and We're the donkeys for putting up with it all.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

07 July 2010

Laugh and Curse

Two items that dropped in front of Me within seconds of each other:

Item the First: One of Our senators, Antonio Soto, hired a local TV "model/hostess" known for having a backside you can balance a gin-and-tonic on, to work in his office. At Our expense. And then he "defends" the decision for hiring her on her physical attributes rather than on any possible intellectual or professional qualifications.

You think it's a joke, right? One, that "Tone the Bone(head)" would actually hire a "model" as an aide and two, that he would then admit he hired her for her ass and not her intellect. And you would point out that he was on a radio morning show known more for idiocy than wit, so he was "just playing along," so it is a joke. Right?

Wrong. She's on the payroll. Our payroll. As a hunk of flesh most likely serving a senator's pubic interest than anything remotely related to the senator's public interest. Blithering imbeciles--otherwise known as "statehood supporters"--will no doubt claim that their man from the District of Guayama can hire anyone he wants. No, he can't. He works for Us and his job isn't to facilitate his sex life. With Our money.

If this prick can't keep his pecker in his pants, then he should join the Tiger Woods Alliance for Skank Therapy and leave Us entirely out of the equation.

Oh, and as for the model, I'd say the difference between her and a street whore is merely the periodicity between payments.

Item the Second: Joke in My Inbox as I finished listening to what prompted Item the First. A near-perfect antidote to the rising flood of abject stupidity We see every day from Our government.

A government employee visits a farm and talks to the owner, an elderly gentleman. He tells the farmer that he wants to inspect the farm's water wells. The gentleman says he can do that, but to please not enter the distant fenced-in area.

The employee grabs his I.D. and says "Listen, old man, I'm the chief authority in my agency and this I.D. right here says I can go ANYWHERE, on ANY property to do ANYTHING I want to with NO restrictions, NO questions and not have to give ANY answers! You got that? You want me to explain that to you again?"

The gentleman shrugged his shoulders and walked off. Several minutes later, he hears terrified screams and rushes over to the fenced-in area. The government employee is running desperately from a raging, long-horned bull. The man's screams rise in volume as the bull gains on him. "HELP ME!! HELP ME!!" 
The gentleman cups his hands around his mouth and yells back: "The I.D.! Show 'im the I.D.!!"

The Jenius Has Spoken.

06 July 2010

It's Academic

As the media and twittericans slobbered all over themselves to howl platitudes about the recent university strike, I said it was all about money and nothing but money.


Not the first time; won't be the last. Then the strike ended and the ONLY "tangible" result of the "historic" accord--if "historic" is now a synonym for "useless"--was that the new student fee would be imposed on or after January 2011. As for the rest of the accord, it amounted to chalk on toilet paper...as subsequent events are proving, what with changes to the University System Board and more restrictive legislation snaking its way through the sewage system We erringly call the legislature.

Therefore, the strike, the "historic challenge in defense of free thinking" in the words of one so-called pundit basically boiled down to some students saying "We want more money for Our freeloading" and university leaders saying "We need more money for Our freeloading."

Today the University of Puerto Rico president José R. De La Torre issued a press release stating that the university system had lost about $200 million in federal student aid funds, according to a federal Department of Education letter, because of the "interruption of academic offerings unrelated to normal vacation periods or natural disasters."

Tee. Hee.

Joey the Bad News Bear blamed the students for the interruption and that "they had been warned this could happen." He also stated that the UPR had appointed a team to "lead the titanic effort to reapply and restore these funds" to the system.

Titanic. He actually said "titanic." Gotta change the nickname now...

Now Captain Joey the Kangaroo, helming the U.P.R. Titanic, thought he was bitch-slapping the strikers and anti-university naysayers, but he ended up getting bitch-slapped and branded a full-fledged liar when the aforementioned letter was produced.

I'll save you the trouble of reading it: All it says is that the UPR needs to reapply for the funding programs. That's it. No lowering the boom. No death sentence. There's even an offer from the DE to help the UPR complete its individual campus-based applications.

Now unless Joey the Dumb Kangaroo is incapable of reading English, then the only explanation is that he deliberately set out to lie about this issue and he was backed by the political wing of the university system Board (pretty much all of it) in broadcasting the lie. To what effect? To hammer home the point that this whole deal is about money. 

Not academics. Not educational freedom. Not about social progress. It's all about money. Pure and simple.

The hyenas are feeding and the students with their idiotic strike were nothing more than crows cawing above a carcass. They settled for pecking a flaccid sliver from the carcass...instead of plucking the eyes and smashing the heads of the bigger hyenas feasting on the remains of a proud university system.

That's what you get when you're young and can only see as far as your pocket and the next Happy Hour: stupidity. But sadly, in this case it spreads far beyond the ivy-covered walls of academia to encompass the entire Island.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

05 July 2010

Shrinking Numbers

Just ponder these numbers:

--Almost half (49%) of Our working-age adults are on welfare, pensions or "not employed" (as opposed to the "unemployed" who are jobless and technically looking for a job.)

--Of the remaining 51%, roughly 44% are employed part-time in service/retail jobs, such as fast food restaurants, stores and service jobs. Of that 51%, about 26% are directly employed by the government.

--The above reduction means that some 30% of 51% of all Our working adults are "builders" instead of "maintainers" or "expense." (Yes, government workers are an expense. Internalize that and deal.) For the math-challenged, what I'm saying is that barely 15% of Us working-age adults are "builders"...and We are losing the battle to grow Our numbers.

By "builders" I mean folks whose work activities create something new, as opposed to merely moving a product from point A to point B or--in the government's case--making it more difficult to move a  product from Point A to Point B, or merely supporting those who move or obstruct product movement. By My definition, a doctor is a "maintainer," moving drugs or services from a provider to a patient, unless s/he establishes an office or clinic where other folks are hired and thus services are expanded.

Most people call these kind of workers "entrepreneurs," and I don't disagree, but there's a financial search element to that word that is not included in My term. Why? Because "builders" are often people who can make things happen without the angst-laden pursuit of "capital."

Cases in point: The mushrooming of flea market businesses and "pop-up vendors." One can argue that all they are doing is moving a product from point A to point B, but unlike the fast food drone or retail store zombie, the people developing these stalls/ambulatory sales spots are assuming a risk to develop an alternative distribution channel. The drone and zombie risk only dropping dead from boredom or apoplexy, whilst the drone zombies working in government run a slight additional risk of being beaten to a bloody pulp by an irate citizen. The builder takes a risk: the rest are sheep.

And you can't build an economy with 85% sheep.

Furthermore, if the government hyenas keep making it harder and harder to be anything but sheep, then We are allowing them to consistently undermine Our future. It is no mystery why Our economy has an improper amount of suction: the mystery is why We keep putting up with it, if not actively encouraging their sabotage.

Our numbers are shrinking. Think about what foretells.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

[Update: 21 July 2010: From Change.org, a sobering look at employment. In their article about low-paying jobs keeping a person poor, 2 of the "bottom" 3 are fast-food workers and cashiers, positions that form a significant bulk of Our "marginally employed." And these are the jobs that make up Our fastest-growing sectors for 2011 and 2012, based on franchise and chain store expansion numbers. Woo. Hoo.]

02 July 2010

Later?! Really?!

This past Wednesday, June 30th, some hell broke loose at Our Island's Capitol Building, where the heavy-handed illegal banning of the press from the Constitutionally-mandated open proceedings in the senate (product of the feeble lizard brain of Thomas "Mad Führer" Rivera) had led to protesters gathering and attempting to enter the public space Our tax monies and votes allow. The police and security guards responded with tear gas, pepper spray and multiple beatings of unarmed citizens, including a mother-daughter pair that suffered notable injuries.

The bruiser tactics led to property damage, including police and press vehicles and widespread condemnation of the events by many, including the ACLU, Amnesty International, the local Press Associations and the enlightened citizenry of My Island. (The rest are...confused. I'm being polite.) In an attempt to harness the indignation that naturally arises from a situation like this, some "organizers" decided to hold a meeting at the Puerto Rico Bar Association's facilities.


That notion didn't last long, as many lawyer's notions do, and the meeting went "open," until the "organizers" stated that they were in the process of  "organizing" a "massive" protest against the (non)government's abusive and ill-conceived (I'm being polite) policies and actions. And to strike while the iron was hot, to hammer home the points raised by the events of June 30th, spread around the world in hours, they decided to hold the protest...July 18th.

Really? Really?

To the imbeciles (I'm being polite) who came up with this crapfest of an idea for a protest, here's two points you might want to consider:

1) The (non)government is a pro-statehood party.

2) July 4th, the BIG statehood shindig political date on Our calendar is only TWO FUCKING DAYS from now.

Do you imbeciles need Me to connect the dots? Okay: Use the momentum and anger generated two days ago to totally screw up the huge Public Relations sewage the party you want to slap down is holding two days from now. 

July 18th?! Really? On an Island that by next Tuesday will have some other, very unworthy social or political scandal to distract its hyper-ADD nature? When by the middle of next week Our feeble collective will, as solid and powerful against the waves of inertia as wet toilet paper, will have dissipated like a fart in a gale?

July 18th? Really?

Fucking imbeciles.

The Jenius Has Spoken.