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.

Israel blamed for Hamas’ blood lust
Aug27

Israel blamed for Hamas’ blood lust

Not even a full day into the cease-fire on Aug. 1 between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization plaguing the Gaza Strip and two Israeli soldiers laid wrapped in tallits — preparing for the afterlife.   Peace and cease remain irrelevant to both factions, but the United States would rather play politics than address the situation for what it is: Israel and the Palestinian citizens of Gaza remain under attack by radical Islam.   Hamas is a guerrilla group claiming concern for the lives of the 1.7 million people living in Gaza. They say they fight for a better economy and a better way of life for Palestinians.   And whom do they blame for their suffering? Israel. They claim Israel’s occupation and blockade of the Gaza strip nearly a decade ago as the reason for the violence. But the humanitarian issues plaguing the Gaza strip stem from a terrorist organization controlling the Palestinian state. It wasn’t 10 years ago that Israel withdrew its military and yielded control of the strip to the Palestinians. Israel gave Gaza 3,000 greenhouses in an effort to boost their economy, but looters ransacked those facilities and proved the states’ lawlessness.   Hamas lives only to eradicate Israel while Israel does all it can within its power to protect Palestinian citizens. Hamas fires rockets at will into Israeli cities, while the Israel Defense Force warns Palestinians of imminent missile attacks.   One way they do this is by contacting Gaza residents before launching a deadly strike. Sometimes it’s by phone or a process known as “knocking on the roof,” where a smaller missile explodes above the building before the larger, lethal attack.   Humanitarian groups complain that Israel’s “knocking on the roof” tactics are ineffective and the targeting of terrorist militia members violates international humanitarian law.   Have these same groups forgotten that Israel is suffering its own losses? It’s true that more than 1,800 Palestinians have died in the conflict. Many blame Israel for attacking civilian infrastructure, but Hamas runs its military operations using Palestinian citizens as shields.   The UN found a stockpile of Hamas munitions in one of UNRWA’s Gaza schools. “We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school,” UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness told The Times of Israel. This is the third time the UN  found rockets in its schools.   Hamas uses mosques, homes and marketplaces for its quest to vanquish Israel. Any notion vowing Israel is the evil fueling this conflict is absurd. The common denominator of all deaths, Palestinian and Israeli, is...

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Void in Rangers’ front office hitting home
May06

Void in Rangers’ front office hitting home

THE BELLS — Although there isn’t a lot of history to be celebrated within the Texas Rangers organization. It would be fair to say that the majority of their success in Arlington is a result of Hall of fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. This includes his play on the mound and his executive decisions made from behind a desk.   After Nolan Ryan was nonchalantly stripped of his CEO position last year he decided to officially step down in October. This put fear into many of the diehards who recognized that Ryan’s attention to detail while he was running the organization was what led the Rangers to two World Series in 2010 and 2011. There is no doubt the anxiety of losing a legend in the front office is still lingering around because the identity of this year’s team has yet to be displayed.   The Rangers have been known for their bats, but their rise to contention began because of careful moves to bring in quality pitchers. Ryan understood that pitching was what would carry a team throughout the playoffs.   Brian Honea of Yahoo Sports said, “The Ranger brass is saying all the ‘right things’ now as well as Ryan departs to ride off into the sunset and spend more time on his ranch outside of Houston. They believe they have the pieces in place for a winner. It’s just hard to imagine it happening without Ryan.” Only time will tell if they are right, but not every game is won during nine innings. Having the right people making the big decisions is imperative for success.   Just over twenty games into the season, the Texas Rangers are 22nd in the league in pitching, giving up roughly four runs a game. Compared to seasons past, this should be a scary statistic. It doesn’t help that the hitters the organization brought in during the offseason have been struggling at the plate.   It is still too early to count the Rangers out, but it is never a fun sight to see a Ranger legend and former CEO sitting behind the plate for the Houston Astros. Only time will tell just how much Ryan will be...

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FAA keeps economy grounded due to slow regulation of drones
May06

FAA keeps economy grounded due to slow regulation of drones

THE BELLS — The MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can employ four air-to-ground Hellfire missiles and a guided bomb. It’s the kind of drone that Call of Duty fanatics foam at the mouth for, hopingto use its power during gameplay. But drones are no game. Enemies of the United States can attest to that fact. Drones have been around as agents of war, mostly for reconnaissance purposes, since the Spanish-American War (that is if you count a kite with a camera attached to it as a UAV), but no one doubts their capabilities today. Drones offer us so much more than an upper hand on our enemies.  Commercial America has much to gain if it accepts the use of these vehicles. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shocked the nation when he revealed his big R&D project to 60 Minutes in December. His “Octocopter” is set to deliver packages to customers doorsteps in 30 minutes or less. UAV’s are predicted to be most useful flying over miles of farmland. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, it’s expected that the commercial market for drones will find about 80 percent of its work in an agricultural setting. Kevin Price is an employee of RoboFlight, a Denver based company that sells drones and analyzes field crop data. “It is endless right now, the applications in agriculture,” he told USAToday. Farmers “are going to be able to see things and monitor their crops in ways they never have before. In the next 10 years, almost every farm will be using it.”   The drone industry is in limbo right now due to the Federal Aviation Administration’s slow response to establish guidelines for commercial use. Certainly, much thought must be put into regulating drones. Problems can occur if they inhibit the flight paths of airliners and civilian aircraft. According to its website, the FAA’s top priority is safety.   The FAA has set up two camps of UAV operations: Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems and (UAS) Public UAS. Civil UAS is where farmers would fall. Their website says that “Obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate for a particular UAS is currently the only way civil operators of unmanned aircraft are accessing the National Airspace System.”   This is causing a holdup, and although the FAA is attempting to improve its current Civil UAS (i.e. farmers) regulations, nearly 100,000 potential jobs sit unfilled. Public UAS is a more complicated issue because much of it surrounds urban areas where commercial airliners dominate the airspace. The FAA must step up and realize the positive economic impact both UAS sectors could have on our...

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Discrimination in higher education
May06

Discrimination in higher education

Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was published previously in print on the opinions page. Opinions do not necessarily reflect the adviser’s, staff and/or the university’s viewpoint. THE BELLS — Controversy is brewing as the Supreme Court last week upheld the University of Michigan’s decision to ban the use of racial considerations in admissions, further strengthening the state’s constitutional amendment, which nullifies affirmative action. This brings up questions of institutions and individuals in the United States engaging in what some like Dr. Benjamin Carson call “reverse discrimination.” If equality of opportunity was what universities cared about, why should race matter?   In a piece he wrote for townhall.com titled “Beyond Affirmative Action,” he says, “…Let’s take a child who is a member of a racial minority with parents who are successful professionals who have given their child every imaginable advantage. The child applies to a prestigious university with a 3.95 grade-point average, excellent SAT scores…. This child would obviously be an excellent candidate for admission.” He contrasts the first student with another. Carson writes, “Let’s take another child who is white, but whose father is incarcerated and whose mother is an alcoholic. Despite these disadvantages, the child still has a 3.7 grade-point average, very good SAT scores and a resume that includes several low-paying jobs. Without taking any other factors into consideration, the choice is clear: The first student would be admitted over the second.” This does nothing when trying to overcome racial discrimination. In an attempt to right the wrongs of the past, minorities have been given preferential treatment when it comes to higher education, scholarships and job applications. To an extent, this may have been warranted, but now as progress is made on the racial front, do we need to keep the same programs in place? Trying to reach the goal of unity by focusing on differences is like riding a bike and staring at a wall you’re trying not to hit. The result is almost always a collision that could be avoided. Is it right for an African-American student to get into an institution while a Caucasian student who has a higher GPA doesn’t get admitted because of a noble intention? No. Where is the equality in that? Why does any state still allow these rules that only artificially level the playing field? Is it racist for a Caucasian to get a job because he or she happens to be more qualified than an African-American candidate who applied for the same position? The fairness that comes from true equality would tell the employer that race is truly a non-factor...

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Staff editorial: Turnitin.com
Apr02

Staff editorial: Turnitin.com

THE BELLS — Turnitin.com may not be convenient for students, but many professors view it as an effective way to prevent plagiarism. As long as students continue stealing others’ intellectual property, turnitin.com may be a burden that everyone must tolerate. The website could be a necessary nuisance. It’s a pain to have to go through the process of submitting papers through the site, but due to the dishonesty that is rampant at all levels of education, it may be for the best. Some believe students should embrace turnitin.com because it could encourage their creativity. The fact that professors can see how unique one paper is from another helps students try harder to be set apart from the pack before their papers are read. However, there are some inherent flaws to the system worth noting. Some users don’t experience problems, but many do. It can become incredibly frustrating, but still others believe it’s a good concept. A lot of people don’t like turnitin.com because it doesn’t detect whether a source has been cited, leading the site to assume that every student plagiarizes. The system could be updated so it recognizes that phrases in quotation marks are cited material. As for now, it’s an unneeded source of stress and aggravation, only adding to the tension students are already coping with. Another solution could be hard copies and a face-to-face turn in. It seems to eliminate a lot of possible technical problems by handing in a hard copy. What if the Internet crashes? Turnitin.com is a massive accident waiting to happen. Unfortunately, that’s already become a reality for some users. There are multiple accounts of students uploading their papers only to have them disappear into cyber oblivion, causing professors to give students zeros or late grades in return for weeks of preparation for papers and research projects. This is a problem that should be remedied. In addition, there is a moral and ethical problem with the website. One of its main purposes is to check for plagiarism. Making students upload their papers to a website to be checked for plagiarism before they’re graded is inconsistent with the American ideal of being innocent until proved guilty. By uploading work,  students have to prove themselves innocent to receive a...

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College of Humanities feeling left out, un-Heard
Apr02

College of Humanities feeling left out, un-Heard

THE BELLS — When people think of the College of Christian Studies, they think of the Meyer Christian Studies Center; when they think of the College of Nursing, they think of the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center. But when the College of Humanities is mentioned, no specific place comes to mind. The only building the humanities have now is Heard, which is designed for offices, not classes. “I have heard it said about this building that everyone does a stint in purgatory,” said Dean of the College of Humanities, Dr. Daniel Mynatt. “We’re here now while we’re waiting to see what sort of opportunities open for the humanities. … At the minute, there’s nothing on the drawing board.” It’s time for the university to consider a building for the College of Humanities that houses offices and classes. Without one, the humanities may get left behind as the school continues to grow. This is a dangerous prospect as the value of the humanities is irreplaceable in a college education, a fact that Mynatt points out. “The humanities were designed to teach people how to live better. … They teach students how to think critically and be aware of a large body of knowledge.” The power of having a building to associate with a college cannot be understated, and when there is none, the influence of that college lessens among the student body. “It undermines the importance of the humanities,” said Kelzye Isham, a freshman public relations/political science major. “It undermines the value, which is funny since the humanities are the foundation for all the others.” And not only that, but “Everyone will have to take courses in the College of Humanities,” she said. “… It’s going to affect their education in some way.” Each new semester brings another announcement about record numbers of students, and even though the study of the humanities may be declining nationally,  Mynatt said, “Enrollment for the College of Humanities has been holding its own.” Even so, the college can sometimes feel like an afterthought in the grand scope of the university’s growth. Audrey McCambridge, a freshman English major said, “You say College of Humanities, and you have no mental image. We don’t have a building. … It’s like we don’t have a home.” UMHB is growing like never before, and it’s time to take another look at where the College of Humanities fits in the grand scheme of the university’s master...

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