Vote ‘Obama’ for change, reform
Oct21

Vote ‘Obama’ for change, reform

Ashli Lawson Voting gives hope to ideas becoming reality and is a great privilege we have in the United States. On November 4, I will be casting my ballot for Barack Obama for president of the United States. With Barack Obama as president, much-needed reform will be possible. Health care can become more available and affordable for families and businesses, alternative energy research will be encouraged and a war that never should have been started will be ceased. With an Obama-Biden ticket, change is possible. Health care has been the main concern for millions of U.S. families as premiums and co-pays have risen, choice of doctors has narrowed and people are turned away for pre-existing conditions. Under the Obama-Biden plan, heath care will be more affordable and more accessible. For children, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) will ensure every child has coverage from the time of birth. After age 21, a more effectively regulated health care system will instill competition between providers and mandatory access to service to allow families and employers to afford and receive coverage. Funding from this program will come when the Bush tax cuts on households making over $250,000 per year expire and a more progressive tax rate takes effect. A decrease in foreign oil dependence will not reverse the effects of current greenhouse gases. However, it will reduce the economic strain and push towards alternative energy. The Obama-Biden ticket supports government incentives for advanced car purchases and provides short-term relief for Americans at the pump. Obama will urge Congress to implement a profits tax on excessive oil companies and plug loopholes in the energy industry to prevent over-speculation in the field at the consumer’s expense. The war in Iraq began as the result of an attack on American soil. The Bush administration rushed into this war over intelligence reports that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and assertions that Saddam Hussein collaborated with al-Qaida terrorists. The 9/11 Commission report proved both false, but the war continued. The Bush administration then made it their mission to capture Suddam Hussein and make a defensive war into an offensive operation to bring democracy to Iraq. A war that was prematurely entered to protect Americans from terrorists soon became an imperialist mission to alter a political system. As North Korea’s Kim Jong Il was, and still is, testing missiles that could potentially reach the U.S., terrorism is not declining, and America’s economy is unstable, the current administration continues to supply more troops to the Middle East and exponentially allocate tax payer’s dollars to this mission. The United Nations does not back this mission, and America is...

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Plunging economy: What students, parents should know about America’s deepening financial crisis

Jordan Gustin Over the course of a month, the implosion of Wall Street shocked the world and has prompted many to search for the cause. The discovery of denial, greed and rampant corruption is unsettling. The great irony is that clues of the collapse have been around all along. So how could the signs be overlooked, and does it foreshadow the fate of America? A recession is a decline in economic activity (such as a drop in house purchases or a decline of the stock market) for six consecutive months. “There is an almost-certain 99.9 percent chance we are headed for a recession,” finance professor Dr. Larry Woodward said. Woodward offers his advice. “The problem isn’t caused by over-regulation or under-regulation, and we don’t need government to regulate more or regulate less; we need a thoughtful government.” As for whether or not America is headed for another Great Depression, Woodward thinks the only way to follow that path of disaster is if deficit spending continues. How does all this affect college students? Dr. Paul Stock, finance, accounting, and economics chairperson, said, “This crisis might affect college graduates looking for a job in the financial sector. If there is a recession, businesses will be looking to cut costs, and the first place they will cut are the number of employees. Unemployment will go up.” Stock believes that the crisis will impact students’ parents more than the students themselves. He said that parents who are retired “might lose some money in their retirement accounts, and those who are looking to retire in the next three to five years might have to wait. Unfortunately, if there is a recession, there is a good chance many of them will be laid off.” The origins of the financial crisis can be traced back to an act passed by Congress in 1977 called the Community Reinvestment Act. It has essentially forced businesses to sustain a minimum percentage of low-income mortgages every year or risk being fined. These mortgages eventually became the highest amount of loans in any income category. Lenders misled many potential homeowners into higher loans. Just about anyone, regardless of the ability to afford them, was able to take out a home loan. The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) received preferential treatment from Congress in 1991, giving them an advantage over competitors in that they were not subject to many of the taxes and standards other companies were. This allowed Fannie and Freddie to use their reputable appearance to sell risky low-income mortgages to gullible investors as low-risk investments. The Federal Reserve’s takeover...

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‘Beware the Jabberwock…’

By Joshua Thiering In a watershed moment for modern anthropology, a group of men from Georgia claimed they had found Bigfoot. However, when placed under the intense eye of scrutiny, the dead body of the monster was found to be — a rubber gorilla costume. The Bigfoot hoax of 2008 means only one thing. The monster is still at large and could be on campus. No official sightings of Bigfoot have yet to be recorded at UMHB according to the Director of Campus Police, Gary Sargent. However, many students suspect paranormal occurrences on campus are not infrequent. “I think I saw the Chupacabra in the Sesquicentennial Plaza in mid scurry,” sophomore Micah Lynch said. For those of you who aren’t “in the know,” the Chupacabra is a monster from Puerto Rican lore best known for attacking and sucking the blood of goats. Lynch agreed that the sighting has left him with a growing concern for the safety of unaccompanied girls walking through the plaza at night. Lynch did not mention, however, that if the girls were accompanied by goats, it would actually increase their chance of being attacked by the Chupacabra. *NOTE: Girls should not take goats for walks late at night through the Sesquicentennial Plaza. * Side Note: Wouldn’t “Raising Chupacabra awareness for the goat owners near the Sesquicentennial Plaza” be a great platform for the Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant? Pageant entries may never get the chance if Lynch gets his way. “I would like to set a trap to catch the Chupacabra. Maybe we can have a march, form a mob and get pitch forks,” he said. However, pitch forks are not available in bulk at Wal-Mart. There is no word yet if Lynch plans to take this issue before the Student Government Association. In other news of the paranormal, senior Brandon Blackshear saw a falling star the other day, but thought it “might not have been a falling star.” Junior Lindsay Hunt claims she has seen more falling stars than usual lately. Could an alien invasion be underway? Not likely. Hunt also claimed that she was the “tooth fairy.” Hunt has yet to take a DNA test. There was not much evidence to support the claim of a possible alien invasion except for a faculty member who commented off the record that some of the freshmen “look like aliens.” There are many theories circulating on campus; however, no hard evidence has been found to support any of the claims. Until more develops, keep an eye out for Bigfoot, and keep goats out of the Sesquicentennial Plaza. It’s better to be safe than...

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Free vaccinations encourage healthier living

By Angel Bell Students are busy, but in a world full of germs and disease waiting to attach themselves to flesh, it is important to make an effort to prevent sickness by vaccinations. Sophomore sociology major Stacey Davidson believes they are a great idea. “It’s important for students to get vaccinated in order for them to have the best health possible,” she said, “especially at school where diseases have a tendency to travel fast.” The university offered several vaccines in a free shot clinic this month. Sophomore nursing major Megan Skarpa thinks clinics are a good way to help control sickness on campus. “When someone is vaccinated, it not only is a good health choice for them but those around them,” she said. “Being in college, viruses travel fast, and it’s important to take care of yourself and also those around you. The free shot clinic is a very good idea because college students typically do not have a lot of money to spend.” At the clinic on Sept. 29, students were offered five vaccinations. The shots were only available on a first come first served basis and included the meningitis, Gardasil, hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and tetanus booster vaccines. Many students may not be familiar with the newer Gardasil vaccine, which is used to help prevent certain strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer. UMHB Nurse Debbie Rosenberger believes this vaccine has potential to help protect women against cervical cancer, but she also thinks that people must carefully consider what is done with their own body. “If you are female up to age 26, it is recommended that you receive the Gardasil vaccine,” she said. “You can insure your personal health habits. What you can’t control is your future mate. (Because of) poor choices, this person could carry HPV and give it to you without any symptoms themselves. Then you develop cervical cancer.” The meningitis vaccine is recommended for students living in campus housing. Rosenberger thinks it is better to get rid of a disease before it happens and is looking to attract students to the free clinics who are not able to pay for vaccines. “Prevention beats intervention any day of the week,” she said. “The purpose of (a) shot clinic is to enable those who can’t afford the vaccines to get them. If folks are under-insured, meaning they have insurance but it does not cover vaccines, then they can come.” Rosenberger also recommends an alternate program for younger students. “Any 18-year-old falls under the federal program (called) Vaccines for Children,” she said. This allows them to “receive immunizations at the...

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Hispanic independence culture draws awareness
Sep30

Hispanic independence culture draws awareness

By Krystle Danuz “La fe mueve montanas”; faith moves mountains. With this message in mind, El Grito, the Mexican cry of independence from Spanish rule was yelled out in 1810. Beginning in mid-September and running through Oct. 15, Hispanics all around the world are celebrating independence, freedom and justice. A cultural event on campus hosted by Professor of social work, Dr. Jose Martinez, honored the president for the Heart of Texas chapter of The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and community leader, Jose (Joe) Landez for his contributions to the Hispanic public. Also honored was director and treasurer of the Multi-Ethnic Cultural and Arts Association (MECA), Dr. Daniel Kott, for his continuous work in cultural music and dance education. Martinez spoke of Hispanic holidays that are integrated into the American culture and thus have created a unity between Spanish and Texas customs.( Of the main Hispanic cultures that are unified with the state is that of Mexico.) Martinez said that Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican national holiday that commemorates victory over the French army, for example, is celebrated throughout Mexico and America because 60% of all Hispanics are Mexican-American. The celebration is received all over the world because “We (Latinos) recognize each other as far as our heritage is concerned. We appreciate each other,” Martinez said. But Cinco de Mayo is more than an anniversary of independence. “The significance is … the idea that some people that are poor, sometimes powerless, can accomplish and can achieve,” he said, “in particular, against those who are powerful.” Joe Landez is helping to educate individuals about Spanish cultures and expose the contributions, which he feels have often gone unnoticed, made by Latins in American history. “I do have a story, and I do have a passion,” Landez said. “As I was growing up down the Rio Grande Valley (in) McAllen, we felt, I felt, we were not Americans. We refer to other folks that are not Mexicans as Americanos. … with that negative self-esteem, we were conditioned to believe that we were not part of the system. I thought of myself as a non-Americano.” Landez soon came to the realization that he, too, was American, but his Hispanic culture that was a part of his identity was being underrepresented in society. Mexican stereotypes were abundant, and he thought he was looked at negatively. “My passion began to ignite about me and my “raza,” my race,” he said. After spending 18 years in the Army, Landez was drafted into the race relations field where he learned a great deal about Hispanics and their largely overlooked participation in American history. “We were...

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