12 November 2010



Once again, it's the tiME of the year to celebrate that most glorious of days, MY BIRTHDAY!! And it is also My 1,000th post as The Jenius. And it's MY BIRTHDAY!! But unlike the past few years, this one has a different twist:

This is My last post.

Back in December 2007, I wrote a post that was to be the curtain of The Jenius, but soMEwhere in the writing/posting, soMEthing clicked and I decided to continue. A month later, unrelated to that, My father died and I kept going, once again taking the whole process in stride.

But not anymore. A few months ago I realized that I wasn't as "into" The Jenius as I'd always been. Instead of a release--or catharsis--it had becoME soMEthing of a burden. That wasn't the point. After pondering for a day or two, I decided I'd make it My true curtain call on MY BIRTHDAY (which you may have noticed I've MEntioned a few tiMEs) and My (semi-coincidental) 1,000th post.

I had a few moMEnts of doubt about the decision, earlier this week, but that was more from thinking of what I'd miss rather than focusing on what I'd do. It's been said that in one's endeavors, you notice first when things are slipping, then your critics (your closest observers/supporters) and then the general public. Sure enough, a month or so after My decision, I wrote a post titled "Charity Really Does Begin At Home," about how We are, per capita, the largest supporters taking care of children through World Vision.

As I pointed out a few days later, that post was important, because it focused on Our charity regarding World Vision, but failed to indict the appalling lack of charity We have amongst Ourselves. The title, which I uncharacteristically wrote first, set up My premise; and yet, the post failed to deliver it in Jenius fashion. I chose that inaction.

A dear friend called Me the next day from Europe to tell Me he was worried about The Jenius. In his words, I had not been critical in the way The Jenius is. I told him he was right, that I preferred to leave it as it was posted rather than "take the shot." He told Me The Jenius always took the shot. I agreed, but that I had taken hundreds of shots over the years, had hit the intended target hundreds of tiMEs and that each tiME I did, I bled too, for these are, for better or for worse, also My people.

And that I was getting tired of taking shots.

He felt compelled to write a "Defense of The Jenius", saying he was concerned "about the character." I thank him for that, for he was and is 100% right. Parts of his essay are in the Comments of this farewell post.

The oft-repeated definition of insanity is to do the same things and expect a different result. The Jenius has plenty more to say, but the current format is no longer enough. Whether The Jenius returns here or in some other cyberspot or MEatspace is up for grabs.

To those who read My words over the years, your support has been amazingly profound. To the double-handful of people I MEt because of The Jenius, My life is much richer because of you. And to My critics, nice try. Maybe next time.

And a special Jenius Salute to Global Voices Online, especially Ms. Janine MEndes-Franco, for not only choosing so many of My posts for that wonderful forum, but also for being such a good sport in letting Me modify her naME to satisfy My preening BIRTHDAY celebration.

To My Special One, thanks for cringing and still supporting Me. And to My Son, never forget I love you.

TiME to go. For a while.

The Jenius Has Spoken. Thank You.

11 November 2010

"A Moment Of Zen" Answered

Back some years ago, on 24 February 2006 to be exact, I had My shortest post. In its entirety it read "What is the power of choice?"

I'm certain that said 6-word post would delight many of My Readers for any number of reasons, not the least of which is brevity. And though it is a question that I have answered indirectly many times, it behooves Me to answer it directly.

Some thinker, Robert Heinlein actually, pointed out that so long as one could think, one could pursue happiness. I like that observation because it makes it very clear that happiness is internally-guided and your own responsibility, not some external reward that "Life", "Government," "Society" or "the World" are obligated to give you.

It also makes very clear that it is your choice that sets the process of pursuing happiness in motion, and with little analysis, you can see that in fact, it is your choice that sets every mental/emotional process in motion. Given that, you can see that the power of choice is the ultimate power, the only true power any of Us has and that learning to use it properly is the difference between happiness and strife, success and failure and a progressive society versus what We have now.

"What about instinct?" you ask. What about it? If you ask that to claim that instinct can consistently and regularly overcome your power of choice, then you're saying that a human being is no better than a base animal. True in the case of Fools, but they aren't human anyway. If you ask because instinct has a way of causing thought and emotional processes, then yes, it does, but it is still your power of choice that determines whether you are ruled by them or you rule them.

Follow the train of thought and you will see that your present condition--whatever it is--is the product of your power of choice. (I'm assuming you're an adult. Kids under the age of 16 or UPR students on strike are exempt because they are still in the "Take care of Me" stage of Life.) And by extension, where We are as a society is the sum product of Our power of choice...or refusal to use it, which is still a choice.

In that sense, you are not unique, for the power of choice is the same for everyone; thus in that sense, as a society, We are not unique either. We are where We are--and are not--because We have chosen this situation. And because We chose Our way into this, We can choose Our way out of it.

Some choice cannot be unmade. That's Time's irreversible flow at work. But many choices can be modified, ameliorated and ultimately changed by making more choices, by actively seeking amongst the options We have and can create. We simply have to be aware that Our choices matter, that We choose to ignore matters and that what We choose to focus on will ultimately defines Us, as individuals and as a society.

What is the power of choice? The power to truly Be.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

10 November 2010

End The War (On Drugs)

Federal Judge Juan Torruella, to reasoned legal analysis what Daffy Duck is to veterinary medicine, hit the front pages of the largest local puppy pee-pad with his statement that "marijuana should be legalized because the war on drugs has failed."

Now if it isn't obvious by now, My level of support for "Tort(ellini)" Torruella is on the par with My desire to pick a blind squirrel to play shortstop for My fantasy baseball team. But even a mentally-challenged blind squirrel--as the saying goes--finds a nut now and then. And Tort(ellini) is spot-on right: the war on drugs has been a colossal failure and legalizing marijuana is an option worth exploring.

Remember Prohibition? Neither do I, but Let's glance back at history. An anti-liquor (temperance) movement swept through the U.S. of part of A., led largely by women for whom alcohol was a key factor in violence, dissolution and poverty. The 18th Amendment, ratified in 1919, just past the end of World War I, made the sale and possession of liquor a crime.

Now how long has alcohol--wine, beer, hard liquor--been a part of humankind? Exactly. People didn't stop drinking, the demand stayed about equal, but now there was a huge price increase in spirits...but not the kind the temperance movement cared for. Enter clandestine stills, speakeasies, organized crime, gangsters and the Mafia culminating in the horrors of NASCAR rolling ads going in endless circles.

How bad did it get? Only one amendment has ever been repealed? Go ahead, guess which one...Right. By the 21st, in 1933. The cost of trying to police/prohibit human nature reached a point of total imbecility.

Fast-forward to 1970 and Tricky Dick Nixon's public relations-fueled "War on Drugs." Penalties were increased, new crimes redefined, law officers empowered, troops deployed and 12 years after the 1998 "deadline", what do We have for this "War on Drugs"? Plenty of drug use, plenty of drug-fueled violence, the largest peacetime prison population in a democracy, with a higher percentage of minorities in jail than South Africa at the height of apartheid.

Are We winning this "war"? How about asking how badly We are losing it? The fact remains, since 1970: people want to use drugs and because demand stays high, prices and profits drive all sorts of consequences, from street-level violence to international arms dealing, the government-prison-industrial complex and a society gutted by fighting a "war" that is caused by its own desires.

So is marijuana legalization a solution? The failure of Proposition 19 in California notwithstanding, (and Let's make this clear: marijuana is California's #1 cash crop and is close to the #1 cash crop in the nation), legalizing marijuana and other drugs is an option. Given the horrendous cost and colossal failure of this "war on Our people's greed for drugs," legalization, and its ally decriminalization, should be explored immediately.

Now most of you will say "Nuh-uh, Jenius. Never happen. Don't work." I have one word and three links to make you rethink your nuh-uh: Portugal. Link One. Link Two. Link Three.

Some of the highlights: reduced drug use and abuse; reduced street crime; lowered prison population; national budget savings and greatly-reduced rate of AIDS/HIV cases. Does that sound like the apocalypse?

Now Portugal didn't legalize much in terms of drugs: it chose a middle path of reducing penalties for its possession in small quantities and personal use. But the results, heading now into their 6th year, are indisputable: an option exists to a useless war on drugs.

Maybe the fact that a federal judge makes the statement is what causes consternation. Granted. Or that it's coming from someone with the acumen of houseplant. Granted. But if 1,000 monkeys typing at random can ultimately produce Hamlet, does it make the play less of a classic?

Ignore the messenger, because he's the wrong one, but glom on the message...because it's absolutely right.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

09 November 2010

For Sale: Puerto Rico

Like contracting dysentery when afflicted with cholera and treating it with Ex-Lax, the flow of stupidstupidstupid ideas in this (non compos mentis)administration continues. The latest fetid batch-dump is the """""idea""""" of selling houses in Puerto Rico to folks in the U.S. of part of A.

Let's look at this closely, holding Our noses in silent comment of the validity of this crapfest.

Puerto Rico has one of the highest rates of homeownership in the U.S. of part of A. Bully for Us. We also have the lowest income per capita--by far--in the States, so what's going on? How can people who are comparatively "poor" be so successful in owning homes?

Credit. The average Puerto Rican family--usually a young couple-buys a house and makes it the basis of their financial portfolio for growth, relying in tough times on family and even friends to help meet payments so as not to lose the property to foreclosure. But with low income comes a need for low income-accessible housing...and what We have on the market are boricua McMansiones sitting empty.

As I've posted before here, when land is as expensive as it is here, contractors have to find a way to insure their ROI. But the tendency went from affordable housing to "mega-projects," with gates, security guards, tennis courts and prices hitting $400,000 for a shack (but with benefits!) and regularly hovering around $600,000 and more. Rather than "many houses sold," contractors (and their partners in crime: see below) went for "exclusivity."

Politicians and government weasels, of course, loved this scam because it allowed more money for greasing the skids. Banks loved it because it's always good business to charge high interest on more money. (Note the many mortgage scandals that shit-spotted Our banking industry in the past decade.) And We, as pathetically envious, image-obsessed, keep-up-with-the-Jimenez's dirtbrains bought into this.

The first projects sold very well: there was a market for them. Second-wave projects sold fairly well, with many houses bought by people who didn't live in Puerto Rico. Third-wave projects, started and built in the last 3-4 years are empty of residents...and are now being offered for sale to people in the States.


Politicians and government weasels are not getting their skids greased anymore. Bankers aren't shoving high-interest mortgages down birdbrain gullets anymore. And contractors, those skid greasers and abetters of mortgage rape are sitting on houses set to self-destruct in the coming months.


Sell the houses to folks in the U.S. of part of A.? Really? Who'd buy them, Oh Larva of Lunkheaded Limpness? (For those of you late to this party, The Larva is My dismissive nickname for (non compos mentis) governor Luis Fortuño, Nature's answer to the question "Can a vacuum occupy space?") You're sitting on a crappy economy, a crime surge, an increased tax load, upward price spiraling, declining jobs and constipated political and economic deadlock that you are significantly responsible for? What the hell is your sales pitch? "Puerto Rico: not as crappy as you think?" Or are you going to go with: "Overpriced concrete beats cheap wood"? Or how about "No power, no water...no problem"?

I once suggested that Our slogan should be "Puerto Rico: Closed for Repairs," but you Limp Larva have actually put up a "Puerto Rico: For Sale" sign. It does make clear one thing though: your voter base is not "the poor" that statehood supposedly cares so much about, but the fat wallets that slime your (non compos mentis) administration's hooves and tentacles.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

08 November 2010

Another (Yaaawn) Student Strike

The students at the--yawn--University of Puerto Rico are--yaaawn--protesting again and threatening another strike.

Yaaaaaawn. Reminds Me it's sunny and warm in the Sahara today. Big deal.

Of course, the students are protesting the socioeconomic inequality that undermines the very foundation of Our nation...

No? Yawn.

Then they must be protesting the rampant corruption that pervades what We sneeringly call "government" and "business" in order to help focus attention on how much We are losing day after fershluggin' day...

No? Yaaawn.

Hold on, I'm wiping My eyes here... Seems the students are protesting over--money. Again.


A new--yawn--$200 fee that the University wants to charge to offset--yaaawn--debts.

A debt that the federal government has agreed will be covered by the Pell Grant. Yaaawn.

It means that some students will see a small decrease in the amount of money they get from Pell Grants, adjusted as they were last year. But the idea that these students could be out some $85 or so every semester has them in a frenzy--again--because Let's face, nothing upsets one of Our students more than seeing money given to them for nothing going to someone else. Burns their britches. Pisses them off. Makes them want to act, you know? 'Cuz this is important, man!

Here are some words of advice, Oh Students of Free Money: Get a job. Be frugal. Focus on the big picture. And learn something, instead of using college as a social club/adult day care center.

One more thing: stop making Me yawn.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

05 November 2010

Still, Loud Silence

Blaring next to Me as I write this--loud enough to make an elderly woman cringe under her umbrella--is a loudspeaker-laden little truck jabbering about a local candidate, in a primary scheduled for December 5th...23 months before the next local election.

Now why does a party--in or out of power--schedule primaries almost 2 freaking years before the election? There's only one reason: They consider their supporters nothing but weak-minded dullards.

The argument--for they do have one--concerning the (il)logic of this practice is that primaries this early allow time for the party to "heal" before the elections. In other words, the primary process is so divisive, so painful, so filled with struggle, strife and sturm ünd drang that their very presence threatens to destroy the party come election time unless the party faithful are given enough time to forget what happened. About two years should be enough.

Weak-minded dullards, unite!

That this is the party that supports the current status We, uh, """""enjoy""""", is not a surprise, for this is the party of "In shit up to Our necks, but I can smell fresh air when the wind is right." To wit: the party of "Don't think, be happy."

The secret, of course, is to take things on faith, to avoid any proper use of rational faculties and simply accept things for what you are told they could be. Faith. Like "enhanced commonwealth" or "associated republic," words you cannot--no, no no!--actually question and ask a simple definition for, but must take as "concepts" that are "in the works," in much the same way that powdered water is "in the works."

Faith, like ignorance, can be a matter of simple passivity (you believe because you never get a chance to think about it, i.e., you're never told about the concept, so you follow the prevailing trend) or choice (you believe because you don't want to think about it.) As such, the burden of proof remains with the presenter of the concept--enhanced whatever, associated thingamajig, divine somesuch--but the reaction and acceptance or rejection of the concept equally remains with the recipient audience of the concept.

So what does this mean for the blaring idiocy of an idiot running in an idiotically-early primary? Only that the party faithful should have told the """""leaders""""" of their clustergangbang to stop treating them as slow-witted sheep and make the primaries a stronger case for re-energizing government than merely a shadow play by people whose IQs are as high as that of shadows and their morals just as deep.

Maybe next time. Then again, these are the same people who have "waited" 30 years for "enhanced reaming" or "associated raping" to be plopped on the table...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

03 November 2010

Puerto Rican Roulette

The idea has the appeal of greed on both sides. We, as consumers, get a chance to win maybe $1,000 a week in a lottery. The government, taking asswipery to a new low, try to force businesses to report their sales in order to collect the sales tax, known locally as IVU, as in "I violate u."

Enter the IVU-Lottery, or IVU-Loto as it is called. Every customer is now expected to request a receipt with a unique serial number, in order to participate in two weekly drawings of $1,000 each, or after the government takes its cut, about $620.

Not bad money, right? Just for buying stuff? The usual stuff you usually buy? So why, Oh Jenius, is this such a bad idea? In fact, Jenius, you say it's one of the worst ideas from a government that practically perfected the stupid idea factory?

It's a dumbfuck stupid idea because the reward system is wrong: it doesn't reward the customer for forcing the retailer to conform to the law, instead, every week, it punishes all but 2 customers in exchange for the government increasing imposition of a numbnuts tax that doesn't work.

First, a sales tax of 7% was too high to begin with and instead of making the collection of government monies easier and larger, it did the opposite. That was clear to bright minds long before The Jellyfish and his cabal in both major parties rammed the buttplug up Our descending colon. Not only was the tax too high--3-4% would have been better, if at all--but the whole reporting process was so hideously complex and asinine that it cost the government more than triple its expected implementation and management cost...for less revenue.

Second, because the tax was stupid, too high and too complex to deal with easily, it forced businesses to bypass it altogether and opt for a gray market approach. So the stated purpose of "tapping into the underground economy" went unfulfilled and it actually did the opposite: it helped make the underground economy more fertile.

Now the asshats We elected want Us to play the numbers so they can get more money and piss it away like the retarded VD-infested monkeys that they are...and We'll end up paying more for it. 

Ya don't think? Here, take a ponder on this one: what do you think stores that already report IVU will do when their competition has to spend money to become part of the program? Think it through. I pointed out years ago that the IVU would raise prices by about 13-14% and the statistics bore Me out to a penny. Will the situation change just because it's three years later? Uh-uh. Stores that already report IVU will marginally raise prices because the cost of compliance by some (about 35%) of their competitors will be passed on to the customer. It's simple business economics: if I have to pay more to provide goods and services, I pass on the costs to My customers or I close up shop.

And that means that the IVU Loto will place upward pressure on prices that only 2 customers a week will benefit from, while the rest of Us lose another percentage point or two to unneeded inflation.

Woo. And hoo.

What will the underground economy do? Think it through. If the gray market knows it has the advantage of a cash-based economy, with the customer holding the trump card of "I can report you," do you think prices will rise or fall in that economy? Exactly. Now where will you go to buy those "gray market optional" items, which have now increased beyond "flea market junk" to fresh fruit and vegetables, new clothing, electronics, eyewear and even appliances?

Right. You'll go where your dollar has greater buying power, not where your dollar gives you less than a 1-in-a-million chance of winning a few dollars...to be taxed.

Once again, the IVU Loto is another boon to the underground economy and its effects will be noticeable within weeks, not months. How will We know? When flea markets expand in size and numbers.

Were there better options? Damn right there were, but what can you expect from retarded VD-infested monkeys other than screeching, scratching and stealing? Here are two options that would have been better-suited to the government's uncontrollable lust to get and thus waste more of Our cash:

1) Drop the sales tax to 4%. It might seem counter-intuitive, but hundreds of economic studies across decades and frontiers have shown that when consumption-based taxes are reduced, consumption--and tax collection--goes up. For one, the 3% difference means customers can get (by demand and competitive pressure) "instant savings," and nothing spurs consumption that the feeling of getting a sweet deal. Just as the underground economy, for Pete's sake.

2) Switch collection to quarterly. Once again, the hassle of complying with the idiotic tax every month needs to be assuaged in order to make it easier to comply and manage. To the monkeys and their monkey-groupies who say that revenue needs to be collected monthly for proper collection, I have two words for you: April 15th. Once a year, and it works (somewhat) okay. Plenty of business and corporate taxes are paid/collected quarterly and with one "free" month in the three-month period, enforcement can take a higher priority.

But no, since these ideas require the R.V.D.I.M.s to (a) drop "their" percentage and (b) reduce "their" control, they will avoid the ideas like cowards flee from dignity. They are and they do. In their disease-ravaged minds, it is better to have Us all play a version of economic Puerto Rican Roulette and increasingly risk suicide than to think things through and do what's right.

So what else is new?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

01 November 2010

Politics As (Un)Usual

If you haven't read it, take a look at My previous post. Make a note of it. I'll be referring to it again soon.

A little over a month ago I saw a campaign poster for a local candidate, running for mayor. He wants to dethrone the current mayoress, a woman with the visual charm and accomplishments of a drunken train wreck. You might wonder why I bring this up, seeing as there are elections in the U.S. of part of A. tomorrow.

Well, We don't have elections until 2012. And two years is a damn long time.

I should be used to it, having arrived here in the summer of 1972 in full campaign season. I remember an evening in Orocovis where two political caravans, each loaded with dozens of cars and hundreds of blowhards, met down the only big street the little central mountain town had--birthplace of My father--and created a raucous, blaring, overwhelming, nauseating traffic jam-barrage of car horns, shrieks, exhaust and so-called music that made Me sick. Literally. I spent the rest of the night throwing up and wondering if My head was going to fall off into the toilet.

Almost four decades later and My aversion to politics and political campaigns continues. In 2008, I walked the streets of Cabo Rojo as the election results came in and noticed there was more energy and passion placed in celebrating victories than in actually doing anything in the campaign outside of dissing the opposition. People were jumping and shouting, many racing to winner headquarters for their expected reward--or promise of one. The happy grins included Me until I didn't respond, at which point I was dismissed as having supported a loser and thus of no consequence. No matter. Political campaigns bore Me and I pay them very little mind.


Last Thursday, a gentleman I met a few years and who asked for My help in setting up an antique car show, called Me before 9:00 a.m. He told Me his sister--who I helped with a medical claim within the U.S. Postal Service--had received her due and was happy. Then he said he was working with a guy who wanted to run against the mayoress in the primary, that the guy would win, and that I could be a valuable resource to this guy. Would I like to meet him? That day?

Primaries will be in late 2011 or early 2012. I had some stuff on My day's agenda. I said yes.

We met for lunch at a local restaurant and the glad-handing was out in full force as candidate and pseudo-frontman were greeting and meeting like the election was a week away. Except Me. I barely got a glance. Maybe the glad-handing is all the time, but it never includes Me. No reason to.

I got some background on the candidate and he told Me his basic pitch. I gave him Mine: I get paid for My work and nothing else. I get no jobs in the Municipality, I do no favors and I ask for none, for anybody. I do no campaigning or public work except writing. And I don't have to agree with the candidate, but as long as I see honest work for the town's progress, I stay. The guy gave Me a long appraising look and said yes.

Later on, over dominoes, it seemed to help a great deal that one of his grandkids came over and started talking to me about basketball and the current league's season. The man said his grandson never spoke to anyone as easily as he did to Me and that simple act impressed him a great deal. I've known the boy a little for 2 years and...well, his team did eliminate Mine in the current league.

So where am I with this? Don't know. We discussed a few general ideas as We pasted Our opponents in dominoes (don't care to play it, but I hate to lose at anything) and found Our viewpoints to be compatible. What that leads to, Time will tell. My prediction is that I will present several good ideas, hear a couple in return and as the campaign heats up and things start rolling into chaos, I'll simply stop being an active contributor and become a distant advisor, a troubleshooter with specialized knowledge.

But one thing is clear to Me: I'm trying something new because I have to give Myself the chance. In the best case, I can become an active agent of change; in the worst, I piss off a few people I don't care about. Somewhere between those two extremes, there's ample margin to carve a niche I can make a difference with. That is the seductive lure of this dirtiest of games, the one where no one wins.

Since I've made My case clear that I don't care for a government job or to become a broker for political favors, I have eliminated the two major hooks for getting caught up in politics. And as plenty who know Me are aware, My penchant for showing how much of a smartass I can be in the presence of pomposity and idiocy makes Me useless as a seeker of public repute in a political context. I want to piss certain people off and they roam in herds within politics. If the choice boils down to whether I should shut up and let it slide to benefit My plans or speak out and the hell with the whole shebang, I know exactly what I'll choose; I often have already. That might mean that My efforts are doomed to fail, that it's simply a matter of time before I let fly and damn the consequences. Agreed. But even a small effort could lead to decent results down the road. It has before, far from Me so that no proper credit could accrue. Politics.

However. Once again, and in a different way, I think it's worth the effort...but once again, for as long as it remains aimed at progress and not politics.

The Jenius Has Spoken.