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Your School Sucks

Ok, it probably doesn’t, but there’s a good chance that it’s not as prestigious as it’s supposed to be. 

Today, universities are businesses. Not that they haven’t always been, but now that one can access hoards of information at the click of a mouse, the image of a university is much more of a priority. But what, exactly, is this image supposed to portray? Should schools come off as warm and welcoming? Diverse and holistic? Astute and superior? Each of these questions is given considerable weight when crafting the public image of a university which, in turn, affects our perceptions of how “good” of a school that university actually is. 

This is the dilemma behind national college rankings published by independent surveyors like Business Week, U.S. News and World Report, and The Financial Times. Take, for example, the ranking criteria for the U.S. News and World Report. A combined 40% of the weight is placed on two criteria called “Peer Assessment” and “Student Selectivity.” But let’s examine this further: the USNWP  defines “Peer Assessment” as, “How the school is regarded by administrators at peer institutions.” Now, this may seem fair, especially because it is the opinion of other school officials being counted and not that of measly laymen. Yet there is no denying that this category is measuring name recognition, visibility and public acclaim within the university system. 25% of the score that a university receives is based on this criterion alone. (Oh, and since we’re speaking percentages, the USNWR provides exactly 0% rationale as to why these specific weights were chosen.)

This method is a problem because respondents have the option to omit schools they do not feel qualified to rate. Consequently, some schools are evaluated by more respondents than are other schools, skewing the rankings. Further, this method produces artificially large differences among schools and even creates differences where none truly exist. For example, in 1998 US News reported that five schools (Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Columbia, and Michigan) tied for first place. It said the next four schools (Stanford, Berkeley, NYU, and Virginia) tied for sixth. This result could be obtained if all the respondents who evaluated the first five schools put them in the first quartile and all the respondents but one who evaluated the other four schools also put them in the first quartile. In other words, just one of the over 400 persons who returned questionnaires could change a school’s rank on the “academic reputation” factor from first to sixth which in turn could change its overall rank (such as knocking it out of the top 5).
Weights for National Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges
But wait, theeeeeres more! Another 15% of the final ranking of a college or university is placed on a category called “Student Selectivity.” This is where the big problem is: as schools increase the sums of money allocated towards marketing and promotional materials, they subsequently increase their level of exposure to potential students. As these students become more aware of the schools, they are more likely to apply. The more applicants a school gets for a limited number of spaces, the more they are required to deny, thereby increasing their “Student Selectivity.” So the logic behind this criterion is therefore false: Just because a large proportion of students are not admitted to an institution doesn’t mean that it is more prestigious, it simply means that, for one reason or another, more students are applying.

Taking this argument into account, we can deduce that money being spent on advertising campaigns, increasing media outlets, hiring additional marketing staff, and so forth are being spent on activities other than improving the educational experience for students and faculty. What is happening is that schools are actually declining in educational capacity while improving in national rankings. It takes a little to get a little, right? Not when you’re talking about the same thing.

It is criteria like these that artificially increase and decrease the final ranking scores of universities. Take, for instance, the case of Trinity College. It began in 88th place in 2004, dropped to 111th in 2005, climbed back to 78th in 2006 before moving up to 53rd in 2007. Last year, Trinity’s ranking was 49th. 

How is one supposed to explain the enormous and volatile fluctuations in a single university’s rankings? Year-to-year changes in curriculum can in no way justify these changes. So how are we, then, supposed to interpret such findings? We’ll let you sit on that for a while.

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If they want to steal, pillage and plunder – we should let them! Right? Well that seems to be the attitude that shipping companies and governments around the world are taking. 

Only until it comes to a situation where a hostage is being held in an enclosed capsule did the US Navy decide to do something. Now, let it be known that the 3 shots fired that took out these modern-day swashbucklers will go down in history as 3 of the most accurately placed bullets ever to be fired from a weapon. But, should we really take it to this point of uncertainty and risk before some sort of lethal action is taken? We think not. 

 All of us know of Blackwater (now called Xe) and similar private security contractors. Certainly, such forces have been shrouded in controversy ever since their heavy involvement in the Iraq conflict, but THIS is the exact sort of situation that they were designed for. Private security contractors were misused in our wars in the Middle East because they were employed as a method of subverting Geneva Convention rules and general laws of war. As a “private security force,” however, they would prove to be entirely useful on the open seas. As a security force contracted to guard a shipping vessel, private contractors would have no opportunity to engage in hostile action without the threat of a pirate attack. Yet such hostile (and lethal) force is exactly what these shipping companies need. In fact, the costs of such forces (which are often cited by shipping companies) would likely be negated not only by the number of deterred attacks that they would result in, but significant drops in insurance costs. Surely the knowledge that one of its ships is occupied by an armed security detail would make an insurance company less weary about contracting a commercial vessel.

Currently, ships employ the use of “evasive maneuvers, water canons and barbed wire” to repel pirate attacks. We can assure you, though, that a water canon – although fun on a hot day – will not come close to standing up against a .39mm AK-47 automatic rifle. This is why merchant ships operating in hostile waters must. be. armed. 

Period.

Here is a map of every piracy and armed robbery incident reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Center in the year of 2008. If you take the time to view each one of these reports (which you can), you will notice that a common theme arises: nearly every vessel that was successfully boarded had absolutely no means of defending itself. 

Yet at the same time, all of these pirate boardings are conducted with tiny, 15-foot speedboats. A 500-foot merchant vessel being approached by a 15-foot speedboat is like an mouse attempting to force a small child into captivity. All it takes is a small team of armed security guards to deter such an attempt by firing a series of warning shots and, if necessary, delivering lethal force to deflect a potentially more lethal boarding. 

This is not a difficult problem to resolve. Maritime laws dictate that commercial vessels shall not be armed and Somali (and other) pirates take advantage of that restriction. Simply providing such vessels with the appropriate measures to deter piracy in advance would likely lead to the cessation of piracy altogether. Arming the crews of a commercial vessel does not necessarily mean that sea battles and shootouts are going to occur, but it means that years and years of complacency will come to an end and pirates will now have a reason not to unlawfully board vessels.

And that is really what it comes down to. At present, there is really no reason why pirates shouldn’t board commercial vessels. Pirates are poor, desperate and uneducated and their targets are unarmed and docile. Why not board and loot them? Well, we certainly know how to answer that question over here at Painefully Honest, but until the White House as well as the various doctrines concerning international water laws wake up and smell the saltwater, prepare to hear about more and more standoffs and hostage situations on CNN.

Just because we give them a gun does not mean they need to use it – so long as their enemy knows it is there is sufficient use itself.

You don’t have to look hard to find people who will tell you that humans only use 10% of their brains. You also don’t have to look hard to find a physician or scientist who would laugh at such a claim. Yet even though this claim is far from factual, there is a hint of truth to its meaning. Savant syndrome, defined by savantism expert Darold A. Treffert, is “the presence of unusual intellectual and/or artistic abilities in otherwise impaired individuals.” Usually suffering from Autism, savants (previously known in the medical profession as “idiot savants”) have mildly to severely impaired social or behavioral traits. Despite their impairment, however, savants have abilities called “splinter skills” – incredible mental capabilities that are far beyond the capabilities of a normally functioning brain.

Take, for instance, George Widener. Born with a condition called Asperger’s Syndrome, George has perhaps one of the most powerful memories in the world. Not only able to recall almost any piece of information after processing it only once, George can tell you the day of the week on any date you can name, both in the past or thousands of years in the future. If you ask him to list numbers to the power of 2, he can go on and on – to numbers over 20 digits long.

Derek Paravicini was born 15 weeks premature. Because of the oxygen treatment he received after birth, he became blind and developed a learning disorder along with autism. Derek has a splinter skill called “absolute pitch.” Put quite simply, he can hear any piece of music and play it back exactly – having never even heard it before.

So why is it, then, that some people have such extraordinary abilities yet are impaired in some of the most basic areas of human functionality? And further, do these remarkable abilities that savants exhibit mean that all humans have such capacities? Allan W. Snyder, a PhD and scientist has, along with an interest in very funky hats, a theory: Our brain can be most generally divided into two hemispheres: the right and the left. The left hemisphere controls all of our daily functions such as reasoning, speech monitoring and logic, to name a few. The right side is the more creative, intuitive and imaginative side of the brain, used for artistic or musical expression. Developmental disorders such as autism, Asperger’s Syndrome or even brain damage at any point in one’s life, can interrupt pathways in the left side of the brain, inhibiting its normal function. Snyder’s theory is that the right side compensates for the interrupted pathways in the left side of the brain, causing a savant to pay much closer attention to the particular details of an object or situation, as opposed to translating the individual parts into a whole, cohesive perception.

Dr. Treffert made a reference to this theory in an interview:

“Some savants, because of prenatal, perinatal or postnatal central nervous system damage, from a variety of genetic, injury or disease processes have substituted right brain capacity in a compensatory manner for left brain dysfunction and limitation. Simultaneously, because of those same injurious factors, these savants have come to rely on more primitive cortico-striatal (procedural or habit) memory rather than higher level cortico-limbic (semantic or declarative) memory. This combination of right brain skills coupled with procedural memory produces the constellation of abilities and traits that is savant syndrome.”

So now its clear: maybe we don’t use 100% of our brains. Maybe there is the potential in all of us to have the gift of conditions like hyperlexia without the burden of a mental impairment. Dr. Snyder wants to know for sure.

In an ongoing study of brain usage activity, Snyder uses a process called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to temporarily inhibit the small electric charges released within the synapses of a person’s brain during the firing of axons. His theory, quite simply, is that the right hemisphere of the brain will compensate for the temporary disablement of the left. And his results? Amazing. Forty percent of all of Snyder’s test subjects have exhibited newfound talents or skills after only 10 minutes of TMS. “You could call this a creativity-amplifying machine,” says Snyder. “It’s a way of altering our states of mind without taking drugs like mescaline. You can make people see the raw data of the world as it is. As it is actually represented in the unconscious mind of all of us.” In particular, subjects have seen tremendous increases in drawing and artistic ability. One subject, a New York Times writer, found that his graphical depiction of a cat went from a stick figure to a cat so detailed it had facial expressions. The article describes his whole experience.

And now we arrive at the whole reason for this post: There is clearly a wealth of compelling evidence that there are certain dimensions to the human brain that not every person can experience or explore. In all of us, there lies a hidden arsenal of extraordinary capabilities that we simply can’t access. Our brain, in an effort to synthesize and categorize every bit of sensory input that we absorb, in essence, dumbs us down. We lose sight of the simplest, most finite details, to the point where a cat becomes just a stick figure. And if these talents exist in all of us, who’s to say that there aren’t more? Just where exactly does the true capability of the human brain end?

I’ll leave you with an interesting observation by Dr. Treffert:

We know from centuries of medical history, including the emergence of various medical oddities over the years, that certain components in every brain are equipped with incredible technical capabilities — capabilities normally suppressed by other components so that the brain can do its main job, which is to balance out function and help a person lead a normal life. For example, in my book The Forgetting, I discuss the famous Russian patient “S” who literally remembered every detail he came across in his entire life. He could recite verbatim conversations or random number lists decades after the fact. Sounds cool, but this was actually a huge liability — remembering every detail makes it impossible to form intelligent summaries of details, which is the basis of all intelligent thought and communication. The ability to forget — get rid of sensory detail — turns out to be just as important in the brain as the ability to form new memories.

So maybe we need to limit ourselves in some ways just to function in others. Maybe ridding our memories of mundane sensory details to view the larger picture is actually more efficient. But maybe, just maybe, we have a whole different set of incredible skills that we don’t even know about, and those that we do know about only use…say…10% of our brains.

Pinching large sums of money from other institutions is no way for California to solve its budgetary crisis – and that’s exactly what the state is trying to do.

In May, California state voters will be voting on a series of propositions which claim to be pieces of an overall solution to the state’s enormous budget deficit, but the very propositions on the ballot are veiled in a shroud of vague (and sometimes downright untrue) wording. To start, the state of California is looking for an immediate solution to the budget deficit which, as The New Democratic Review notes, is the worst solution possible. The state plans to implement it’s immediate solution by commandeering large sums of cash from other, more vital portions of the state’s monetary allocations. Not only is this a gross lack of consideration for some of the state’s most important institutions (ahem, EDUCATION?), but it completely fails to examine the future effects of actually passing any of the given propositions. 

The state has already levied a 1% increase in sales tax – a measure many would argue might actually lead to a reduction in California’s sales tax revenue. The tax increase even has it’s own secret booby-traps: Some cities have added local levies, bringing the soon-to-be new sales tax to a whopping 11.25% in certain areas. 

But that is just the icing on the cake. Let us first examine some of the ballot measures that we so woefully discussed a second ago:

Proposition 1B: “Education Funding. Payment Plan.”
Ah, how lovely! A way to reform funding for California’s schools by reformatting the way payments are made! Actually…no. This ballot “requires supplemental payments to local school districts and community colleges to address recent budget cuts. Ohhh, so it actually takes money away from local colleges and universities. Keep syphoning Mr. Schwarzenegger, it’s not like we need any more smart-alecs running around anyway.

Proposition 1C: “Lottery Reform Act”
Ha! We love this one. Besides repealing the current requirement that all proceeds from the California Lottery be spent on education (which is ironic, right? Seeing as if this ever happened in the first place, everyone would be smarter than to play the Lotto!), it also requires that a certain portion of the proceeds be spent on the budget deficit. But here’s the kicker: It plans to “improve the marketing of the Lottery” so as to sell more tickets. So essentially, the government is filling the minds of its people with thoughts of playing the lotto, taking their money, and then using it to pay off the deficit. Wow, sounds like a movie idea!

Proposition 1D and 1E: “Protects Children’s Services Funding. Helps Balance State Budget.” and “Mental Health Services Funding. Temporary Reallocation,” respectively.
These two propositions are similar in that they plan to take funds specifically allocated towards certain sectors of California’s educational and mental health services and redirect it towards the deficit. The text of 1D, which claims to “protect children’s services funding,” is riddled with rhetoric about redirecting funds like tobacco tax proceeds towards children’s health, contributing a hefty $600 million. What it doesn’t say is that it plans to remove $1.6 billion in funds which are already there. 1E is similar in that it eats $450 million in mental health services funding to use for the resolution of the deficit. $450 million? That’s drops on a fire. It is a terrible waste of time and money and more so, a smack in the face to those who truly need to employ such services.

If we had elected officials who actually knew how to effectively spend money, then perhaps these budgets would not be so large in the first place and pinching a little money here and there wouldn’t really hurt. But that’s not the issue here. The issue is that California is engaging in the same sort of irresponsible business practices (yes, this is a business) as the Federal Government. A desperate search for a quick fix is not what we need to solve this state’s nor the nation’s budgetary crises. 

Richard Riordan is the former mayor of Los Angeles and today he wrote an op-ed addressing very similar concerns. He claims that the focus should be on restructuring the way money is spent, not reallocating money from one budget to another. This is the former mayor of Los Angeles here, he has some serious experience running an enormous business (excuse us, “city”). He knows that a simple solution is not what we need.

The state of California and the United States as a whole need to have an epiphany. And because we’re nice over here, we’ll give them a little hint: In order for these budget crises to be solved, the entire way we now know how to run our governments must be considered obsolete. There is no amount of measures, propositions, laws or acts that can be passed that will solve this hole we have dug for ourselves. Only until we entirely rework the way we have come to know politics to operate can we truly find ourselves on the road to recovery.

There is no worse mistake than voting for an idea.

In the current tumultuous state of our nation, there are a number of decisions to be made that will largely affect the outcome of the various crises that we face. Being that we live in a democracy, many of these decisions will be made based on one of the most inefficient and reckless principles possible: identity politics.

The reason why voting is such a poor process with regards to decision making is that instead of promoting a collaborative effort, it provokes battles of allegiance. In such a circumstance, voters are inclined to pledge their support for the sake of winning rather than solving a problem. The more engaged in politics that nominees become, the more we (the people) lose sight of what their actual qualifications should be. This is one of the reasons why we believe candidates for elected positions should not be allowed to have public images, but rather should be elected solely based on qualifications. The “virtues” of persuasiveness and suavity are nothing more than hidden viruses, causing unqualified and incompetent individuals to be elected to vital decision-making positions.

The problem is as follows: Political figures who focus primarily on their public images (who we call “politicians”) effectively formulate ideas as to how they will perform while in office. The simple notion that “If the public likes me, I must be good at the job” is the primary concern of most political nominees today and, to be frank, it’s true.

This could be no better illustrated than in the re-election of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Despite being a failure as a student and a lawyer, he has also been a failure as our city’s mayor, having fulfilled not one of his campaign promises and let down the entire LA Unified School District along with many other aspects of our beloved city. Yet aside from his myriad of shortcomings, he has two things going for him: First, he is Latino. This means he has the virtual undying support of 45.5% of the entire population of Los Angeles, all of whom are of Latino-American heritage. This element of appeal is not only the strongest for a candidate, but it is the hardest for an opponent to overcome – even when his or her argument is based on legitimate, applicable qualifications. Second, voters are stupid. Instead of looking into his performance and track record, many assume that Villaraigosa’s experience as already having been mayor and his (unfortunately) decent public image mean that he is invariably going to be a good mayor the second time around. Because most people don’t take the time to evaluate the performance of their elected officials, candidates are often elected for second terms in error. Many would argue that if this weren’t the case, President Bush wouldn’t have been re-elected for a second term. What happens is that the public forgets that elected officials work for them, not vice-versa. That is the beauty of our government: if an official isn’t doing his job, you can fire him.

Sadly, however, our own “public intellectuals” perpetuate and reinforce this deadly habit. One of these “intellectuals” is Marc Cooper. In an op-ed he wrote for the Los Angeles Times before the election, he concluded saying: “I recognize his faults and failures. I just as easily confess to still liking and even admiring him. Moreover, I even retain some of that newfangled Hope in him.”

Hope? What is hope? Hope is what you have for your alma mater’s failing football team. Hope is what you have for that parking space right out front of the bank. Hope is most certainly NOT what you base your vote on when electing an official to manage the eighth largest city on the entire planet.

Because the astute Mr. Cooper was voting for Villaraigosa as mayor so as not to have to vote for him as governor, he cast a vote for a person who is arguably the worst mayor this city has ever seen. Apparently, Mr. Cooper believes there is a difference between “hope” and “Hope,” as if there is some tangible, personified quality to the latter (which he “hope’s” he can find in Villaraigosa).

Now, Obama ran on a platform of hope and change, and we are not criticizing that. In fact, he used such a platform to gain the attention of the general public (which it so obviously would) and then inject his true, meaningful qualifications while he held their attention captive. This, if anything, is admirable because he was at the very least able to keep the public’s attention while he talked about the real stuff, before quickly resorting back to enormous pep rallies to snap everybody out of the confused daze that such “mundane” information elicited.

This country saw an undeniable spike in its rise to power during the years when there was no television, Facebook or cellular telephones. Candidates couldn’t gather a following on Twitter or Digg. Candidates had to genuinely express to the public that they would do a good job in office and, more importantly, why. If we continue as a society to cast our vote based on who has the best hairdo or whose body language conveys the most assertiveness, we will continuously be electing the suave, personable con artists rather than the people most qualified for the job. Of course, there is a certain element of leadership that is necessary for every government official, but if you ask us, we want the nerdiest, geekiest, most socially awkward person possible to be our City Controller. Why? Because they are probably the best at it!

Stephen Baldwin is enormously entertaining as the president of NBC on the show “30 Rock,” but there is a reason why he doesn’t actually run the corporation. Only until we begin electing people who are actually good at the job rather than being good at getting elected will we really see the change in this country that we so desperately hope for.

These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
– Thomas Paine; “The American Crisis”

At present, there is a war (yes, war) in progress between the Mexican government and the Mexican drug cartels. The cartels, backed by billions of dollars in funding and a nearly endless supply of “soldiers,” are posing a clear national threat to not only the country of Mexico, but the United States as well. Since the Iraq War began on March 19, 2003, there have been 4,256 American casualties. Just last year, the Mexican drug war claimed over 5,300 lives. Clearly, we’re starting to get nervous. The United States has already started contributing UAV’s (Unarmed Arial Vehicles) and helicopters to the Mexican army to lend support.

Innocent people are getting caught up in this war, which is subsequently killing the country as a whole. Despite some manufacturing income, Mexico is a country largely dependent upon tourism, and this is seriously killing their economy. But along with the economic costs, drug cartels are executing terrorist-like attacks to incur political costs as well. Mexican president Felipe Calderon is the true target of civilian casualties, with the intention of forcing an end to the government’s crackdown on drug cartels by turning his persistence into the villainous activity. The U.S., along with damn near everyone else, never expected the cartels to fight back with such vigor and ferocity as they have, but who can blame them? They are fighting to put food on their families’ plates doing the only thing they know how to: manufacturing and distributing drugs. America, however, has no intention of those families ever being fed again – or at least not through drug money.

This is where we must follow the words of Paine and really stay strong. Calderon is exactly what Mexico needed in that he has made a commitment to nobility and the fight against corruption. No longer will Mexican officials be able to comfortably engage in subversive or illegal behavior. A country which has been ravaged by criminal activity all the way to its White House equivalent is finally on the path of a significant turnaround and the fight will most certainly not be easy. But there is a bright future in sight for Mexico in terms of both the drug war and Calderon’s term in general. If Mexico can eradicate the roots and sources of its major problems, we very well may see a newer, brighter neighbor to our south. Perhaps America may soon have its own little China sitting below us. For now, though, our main concern is this war (again…yes, war) not just on the Mexican cartels but on Mexican corruption and immorality as a whole. The fight may in fact be rough, but the future is brighter so.

NOTE: Due to the urgency of the matter, this posting has been re-posted for maximum visibility. Please read it. 

DISCLAIMER: This is a VERY SERIOUS post that you must read with caution if you are weak at heart or have any particularly fond attitudes towards Los Angeles’ pathetic mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. We are harshly critical of some things, and utterly praiseful of others. In this case, we are advocating one thing and one thing only: a serious denouncement of the performance of Mr. Villaraigosa. 

Proceed with caution.

Los Angeles’ mayoral Primary Nominating Election is on March 3rd, and Villaraigosa ‘thinks’ that he is unstoppable on a path to an inevitable victory.  However, based upon the turnout in LA’s last mayoral election, the most qualified candidate – Walter Moore – only needs 75,000 votes to oust Villaraigosa and win the mayoral election. In the city of Los Angeles there are roughly 3.5m people, and statistically, only about 4% of them will show up on Election Day. This means that if we get the word out that Walter Moore is a superior candidate, and if we get our friends to the voting booths, we can take this election!

Last September, LA Weekly published a brilliant article entitled: “The-All-About-Me-Mayor.” In short, the journalist who wrote it analyzed exactly how our current mayor spends his time, and the conclusion is that only 11% of his “work time” goes to city business, while 89% of his time is spent at ribbon-cutting ceremonies, traveling, taking photos with babies, etc.

Antonio Villaraigosa is undoubtedly the worst mayor in LA’s history, and it is incumbent upon us to pass this word around, get our friends to the voting booths, and unseat him. His refusal to allow police officers to check the immigration status of individuals is a threat to our city’s security (Special Order 40). His inability to balance our cities budget has led to high taxes and will continue to lead to tax increases. His oversight and “sympathy” for illegal immigrants (of all nationalities) subsequently makes Los Angeles a safe-haven for illegal immigrants and has literally bankrupted our schools, hospitals, and prisons, not to mention the tax paying citizens of our state.

Villaraigosa has not fulfilled a single campaign promise. Even his “Plant a Million Trees” campaign was a boondoggle, and to this day only 40,000 have been planted. The guy is a power hungry politician, and as a mayor, frankly he is a loser.

Walter Moore on the other hand has vowed to increase our police force by 3000 officers, balance our budgets, eliminate our city’s corporate tax, end our sanctuary city policy, reduce traffic, and make it easier to do business in Los Angeles, thus creating jobs and stimulating the economy. He graduated from Princeton University with Honors, and then from Georgia Law with honors. He is smart, and we need that. After four attempts, Villaraigosa couldn’t even pass his Bar exam. Walter Moore is a successful lawyer, not a career politician; and most importantly, he cares about this city as much as we do.

Please encourage everybody you know to get out and vote for Walter Moore on March 3rd. We CAN win this election. It only takes about 75,000 votes. Here is a link to Walter Moore’s website where you can view his platform and biography. This is a very serious matter considering the impending economic developments that we will see in the coming months – and considering the fact that we need a legitimate mayor. Please, do the research, spread the word, and if we haven’t yet convinced you, convince yourself.