Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Gov. Scott Walker: A higher degree of success?
Mar04

Gov. Scott Walker: A higher degree of success?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who has been outspoken on U.S. economic matters and is known for breaking up labor unions in his home state has been turning heads in both parties as he’s gained momentum as a possible GOP contender for the presidential nomination in 2016.   Walker’s critics, Democratic and Republican alike, have already begun their smear campaigns against him. Their point of focus: his lack of a college degree.   Howard Dean, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, appeared on cable news channel MSNBC’s talk show Morning Joe late last month and said Walker was unfit for office because he didn’t continue his college education past his junior year.   “I worry about people being president of the United States not knowing much about the world and not knowing much about science,” Dean said.   What Dean and many of Walker’s critics who share similar viewpoints fail to acknowledge is that the man became the governor of a state and enjoyed a fairly high approval rating without the help of a diploma. This fact, combined with his age shows he clearly has more insight into life and government than many college juniors.   Traditionally, while most recent presidents have had degrees, their successes and failures in smaller political arenas are what make or break their presidential campaigns and administrations.   Walker’s beginnings further illustrate that not everyone needs a college diploma to be successful. Upon leaving Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, accepted a job with American car manufacturer IBM. After success there, he took a marketing position at the American Red Cross. He worked his way into politics at the age of 23, winning a seat in the Wisconsin State Assembly, and became governor 17 years later in 2010.   In some ways, his lack of a college degree makes him more successful. He’s competed in the job market and the world of politics at a disadvantage, and he has still managed to rise to prominence. Further, it shows a resolve and a confidence on his part that his record speaks for itself.   The American people should not fear a potential leader who lacks a degree. In fact, those who would criticize Walker have an out-of-touch, elitist mentality. Less than 30 percent of American adults have a bachelor’s degree. It’s insulting to the other 70 percent to say that someone with a background similar to theirs is unfit for service to his or her country based simply on their educational level.   Is life experience completely valueless? Even within the halls of academia, real-world learning is essential. Internships, student teaching and observation hours play vital roles...

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Jon Stewart, signing off from The Daily Show
Mar04

Jon Stewart, signing off from The Daily Show

Jon stinkin’ Stewart signs off; he leaves The Daily Show at the end of the year. ‘Bout time. The only thing he contributed to the world was a sub-par satirical act and the occasional laugh when he attempted to combine the show with hard news.   The New York Times deemed him the nation’s satirist in chief. That seems to put him on the same level as our commander in sleep, Barack Obama: the hip, young, pointless president we all know and love.   I’ve got a Buzz Feed article for you. It’s entitled “The top three knuckleheads who make a joke out of our nation:”   1)   Barack, the selfie-stick groper, Obama 2)   Joe, the wife-groper, Biden and 3)   Jon stinkin’ Stewart   At least Stewart’s job description allows him to be an idiot.   He’s no Jimmy Fallon, however. Fallon’s no friend to a conservative base. Shoot, I wish he could be NBC’s only pundit, though. He’s hilarious. He and Bruce Springsteen spoofed The Boss’ Born to Run making fun of Gov. Chris Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’.   It’s real comedy, whether I agree politically or not. It’s like when Frank Caliendo impersonates George W. Bush. I get a little upset. Bush is a hero of mine. (Heck, he gave an amazing speech at the McLane Lecture). I still chuckle. Know why? It’s well-executed comedy.   Can’t say the same for Stewart’s 15 painful years on The Daily Show. So, what’s next for him?   There is talk of him taking Brian William’s spot. Let’s just hope Williams’ is responsible for that rumor. The only good thing the world ever received from The Daily Show is Steve Carell.   Stewart isn’t going anywhere. You think he’d disappear? Heck no. He couldn’t stand not getting to duke it out with Bill O’ Reilly and other conservative talking heads. And as cynical as this Op-Ed is to his comedic career, Jon Stewart might bring something viable to the media world’s table.   We saw a glimpse of it when he took a hiatus from The Daily Show to direct ‘Rosewater,’ a well-done film adaptation of Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir. He was imprisoned for 118 days after reporting on the nation’s disputed 2009 election.   In our field, Stewart is a necessary evil. For his entire progressive, pompous thought, not having him is like the Roadrunner not having Wile E. Coyote. It’s a relationship.   And as joyous an occasion it is to not have to hear his antics on The Daily Show, it’s also nice knowing the bird-brain’s coming back to the media world in some...

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What could top this year?
Feb18

What could top this year?

By Jayten Ames   For the past 12 years, the university has hosted the McLane Lecture for students and staff to hear from speakers who have been in positions of influence.   This year, the lecture received more attention from students than usual when it was announced that the speaker would be George W. Bush.   The prestigious guest caused students to seek access to this event with quite a bit of interest. Due to limited seating in the Mayborn Campus Center, attendance for the event required tickets for entrance. The day that tickets for the lecture became available, the turnout was large.   As one walked into the building, all he or she could see were lining the walls of the Bawcom Student Union so they could claim tickets to the event. The line stretched from the Campus Activities Center, down the wall past Starbucks and all the way out the door to the football stadium.   Interest in the event didn’t just end with students. Although numerous alumni and community members inquired about purchasing tickets, they were reserved only for students, faculty and staff in addition to special guests of the university such as trustees and donors.   The event was well received. The turnout was almost unprecedented, as there was a point that there was standing room only in the cram-packed arena. The president received a total of four standing ovations, and there was a private luncheon in his honor after he spoke at the lecture.   This was a moment on campus that many students will not soon forget. As students endeavor to live by the inspirational words of the former president, one must wonder what can be done to top this year’s...

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Love not bound by day
Feb18

Love not bound by day

Did you spend your weekend picking “love me, love me not” flower petals? Did you rush to the store on Sunday to buy up all the chocolate and heart-shaped goodies at 75 percent off, or did you buy yourself a bouquet on Saturday to relinquish your feelings of loneliness?   If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you have probably suffered from the singleness-on-Valentine’s-Day epidemic that plagued the nation this past weekend. Sigh. It’s OK my friends. I’m right there with you.   Gather around all you single ladies (and I guess men too). I know it’s not easy braving the world alone on Feb. 14.   Couples are holding hands; flower bouquets are shoved in your face and the empty dinner timeslot on your planner seems a bit haunting. Suddenly, you might realize your love life is about as exciting as watching a snail cross the sidewalk. Reality check.   A Valentine’s Day for those of us repping the single status, in most cases, becomes what you make of it.   If you proudly embrace not being someone’s other half, this worldwide love celebration might be just a typical day for you. You are probably immune to the masses of red and pink hearts that exist everywhere you turn, or it just gives you a perfect excuse to indulge in those 10 chocolate covered strawberries without having to share.   Maybe the day of love hits you a little harder than most. Just embrace it with a good romantic comedy, a cup of hot cocoa and a best friend. After all, it’s just another 24 hours to push through.   For some, love is something people hope for with every open door, yet for others, they probably don’t believe in that fairy tale shenanigans. Maybe you are the one who goes chasing after every semi-positive encounter with a member of the opposite gender, or on a totally different spectrum, you are all about the independent life. However, if you are anything like me, you can’t decide what toppings you want on your ice cream, much less what you’re looking for in your dream man.   Whether you are the hopeful romantic, the cynic, the desperate, the independent or just plain confused, Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be the yearly reminder that you are still single.   Let it be the one of the many reminders of the merciful, patient and everlasting love that only your heavenly father can provide.   Whatever your love story may be, or lack there of, just know that you are adored, highly favored and abundantly blessed by the...

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“Better Call Saul,” y’all
Feb18

“Better Call Saul,” y’all

Breaking Bad fans went crazy last year when it was said that a spin-off of the popular AMC show was coming in 2015. The two-episode premiere of Better Call Saul ran at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8 and the following Monday.   The show delves into the life of the conniving criminal lawyer, Saul Goodman, portrayed by Bob Odenkirk, on the former show before he was successful and was helping out Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. His tagline for his cheesy and poorly produced commercials was “Better Call Saul,” hence shot the spin-off show got its name.   The first episode starts off with the events after Breaking Bad ended. He is working at a Cinnabon, just as he said in his final scene. He is a depressed alcoholic, and it’s actually kind of sad.   Then the show jumps back to 2002 and his not-so-successful career as a lawyer representing small cases and involving himself in scams to earn money.   He is having major money problems, he can’t pay his bills and he gets involved in some sketchy predicaments that will probably be elaborated later on in the series.   Fans get more of an idea of who Saul was before he was the goofball lawyer on the previous hit television series. He was born James McGill, but came up with his alias on a play of words “S’all good, man!” Clever, but nothing we didn’t already know coming out of Breaking Bad.   Saul has a brother, who is also a lawyer and after a mental breakdown, is getting ripped off by his law firm.   While it was hard to catch on at first, and a tad bit confusing, people will be glad to know that some key points in the show also clicked with Breaking Bad. This was good news, considering the writers of the shows, Vince Gilligan and Pete Gould, said if any ties to the show were going to be made, it would be starting in season two.   Of course, if you’re a true Breaking Bad fanatic, you’ll see all of those hidden gems in a heartbeat, even if they weren’t making direct references.   The episode ends with the audience on the edge of their seats, so thankfully they didn’t have to wait an entire week to see what happened next.   The show did pretty well as far as ratings go. The first night Better Call Saul aired, it had 6.9 million viewers, the highest-rated debut of a series in history.   Monday night, the viewers dropped by half, but a big part of that reason was that...

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NFL plagued by flurry of scandals
Feb18

NFL plagued by flurry of scandals

The National Football League is, without a doubt, the most popular sporting league in the US, if not the world. But has it gotten too big for its own good? A flurry of scandals and arrests over the past year have many fans wondering if the league can get its moral compass pointed in the right direction and change the culture within its locker rooms.   The NFL was in the news routinely last fall as prominent players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson along with a handful of others were involved in domestic violence scandals. Video of Rice emerged in which he struck his wife across the face in a casino elevator. Peterson was charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child as he allegedly took a switch to his 4-year-old son.   To make matters worse, it wasn’t just a few knucklehead players who were in the news. It’s clear there was foul play going on in the commissioner’s office as well. After Rice was indicted last March on charges of third-degree aggravated assault, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a two-game suspension. Many felt Rice would be suspended for the season, but his punishment ended up being half as much as the league suspends for positive marijuana tests.   After facing criticism for his ruling, Goodell claimed he hadn’t seen the video of the Rice incident, which seems highly unlikely since it had been plastered all over the Internet for months. Goodell finally suspended Rice for the remainder of the season in September, but not before his own team, the Baltimore Ravens, terminated Rice’s contract.   As the off-season begins, it seems probable that both Rice and Peterson could find themselves back on NFL rosters as if nothing ever happened. If the league wants to change its image, it has to make its players afraid to commit these acts. There used to be a time where players respected the league and tried to uphold its image. Now, the players know that no matter what they do, the league will eventually welcome them back with open arms.   Maybe it’s time to consider lifetime bans for certain offenses. Short-term suspensions obviously haven’t dissuaded players from committing these crimes, but threatening to take away a player’s whole livelihood might just put him on his best behavior. If the NFL is serious about improving its image, it needs to put its foot down and take control of the league back from the players.   Probably the biggest reason why the league has been slow to change is because these scandals haven’t affected its bottom line. However disgusted fans may...

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