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.

Cold challenge in hot water
Sep17

Cold challenge in hot water

Every morning, as people wake up and log onto Facebook, it’s increasingly difficult to ignore the growing number of videos in their news feed showing friends having buckets of ice water poured over their heads and then nominating others to do the same.   As some scroll, they dread the day they’ll become the newest nominee dragged into the phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.   Where does the money go? Well-meaning donors, many of whom believe in the sanctity of life should know that large portions of their donations are going to fund stem cell research, to which they may have a moral objection.   In the process of bettering human lives that cope with ALS, money is going to the recreation and destruction of human cells for hit-and-miss scientific analysis––what many consider a most literal crime against humanity.   Also, there’s the breakdown of the funds the ALS Foundation receives. According to data provided by the ECFA, an organization founded in 1979 with the mission to promote the transparency of non-profit organizations, it’s not even a charity.   By that group’s definition, to be a charitable organization it must prove that 80 percent of its funds go to projects directly linked with its cause. In the case of the ALS Foundation, only 27 percent of donations go toward helping victims.   Also potentially disturbing is that the leadership of the ALS Foundation does quite well for itself in the non-profit business.   President and CEO Jane Gilbert makes nearly $400,000 a year, and Chief Financial Officer Daniel Renzikov makes more than $200,000 a year. Aside from the questionable salaries, what many express frustration with is the feeling of being forced against their wills. No one should be nominated for a charitable activity.   Generosity is a personal conviction. Individuals should be able to choose freely if they want to donate and what causes or organizations they donate to.   Further, one could argue the Ice Bucket Challenge is inherently disrespectful as it shifts the attention from ALS, its victims and possible solutions to the admittedly entertaining antics of screaming, gasping, shivering participants and their unsuspecting friends who must now give into peer pressure to continue the frigid cycle.   Another problem with the idea of nominating people for charity is the lack of consideration for others’ finances. What if someone who received that dreaded notification simply didn’t have the money to participate? What if he or she had already allotted an amount to give to an equally noble effort?   Guilt should never be motivation for giving. This leads to an unhealthy environment in which...

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The college struggle: It’s real
Sep17

The college struggle: It’s real

“My textbooks were so affordable!” — Said no one ever.   With a new semester comes another round of textbooks. Whether you’re paying $780 per credit hour at UMHB or $4,538 at Harvard, college is an investment. After attaining thousands of dollars for school loans and contributing all of the money made from summer jobs, many students enter each new semester with a feeling of financial uncertainty, worry and stress. The last thing they need is to fork out is the rest of their life savings for over-priced and sometimes unnecessary textbooks.   Students everywhere are feeling the pain of a broken textbook market. According to an article from U.S. News & World Reports, the price of textbooks has increased 82 percent over the past decade. We all know how expensive the books are, but how are they getting away with continually increasing the prices? The answer lies in a simple economic equation.   This problem stems from a lack of competition. Due to mergers and buyouts, there are basically three publishing companies in control of the majority of the market. Publishers take advantage of this unique market where college students will always need textbooks, encouraging them to make prices artificially high. Often times, professors are unaware of the price of the textbooks that are required for the course. Isn’t that scary?   Consumers (students) have no control over the textbook market. Because there isn’t much competition, publishers can keep costs up by printing new editions every few years.   They even make “custom” editions, preventing students from finding them used. There goes your chance of selling that $272 Business Driven Technology textbook back to the bookstore. Sorry.   Hopefully you chose to rent it for $153 instead.   According to U.S. News  & World Reports, 65 percent of students choose to risk a lower grade by avoiding the over-priced textbooks altogether. They are knowingly setting themselves up for an uphill battle to save their hard earned cash. That’s kind of sad if you ask me.   We need to stand up for ourselves and avoid giving in to the money-hungry textbook industry. Do your research and rent or share a textbook. It’s time to show textbook publishers that we will no longer be puppets in their vicious cycle.   I have one last word for you Crusaders.  ...

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Ray Rice: The bigger issue
Sep17

Ray Rice: The bigger issue

  “Ray Rice is a heck of a guy that made a mistake…” a comment from Baltimore Ravens head football coach John Harbaugh shortly after the arrest of his star running back in late July.   Not only did the Ravens organization drop the ball on this incident, but so did the Atlantic City police department and the NFL.   Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, made the decision to suspend Ray Rice for the first two games of the 2014 season. This immediately raised eyebrows on the lack of repercussions for domestic violence cases within the league. Just as it seemed everything was going to blow over for Rice, the Ravens and the League, TMZ released the whole video of Rice punching his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer in an elevator at the Revel Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The video is hard to watch. Hours after the video was released, the Baltimore front office made the decision to terminate Rice’s contract and cut him from their roster. The NFL quickly followed suit and suspended him from the league indefinitely.   They washed their hands of Rice, trying to say that they hadn’t seen the video until it was released by TMZ.   This brings me to the major issue I have with the NFL. Athletes have been notorious for seeming to be above the law. Although the NFL has become more strict over the last five years, they have failed terribly with their domestic violence policy … or should I say, lack thereof.   Players are getting suspended for an entire season, for violating a very picky and particular substance policy, and then you have notable players getting arrested for domestic violence, only getting a two game suspension.   There is obviously something wrong with this equation.   As big as the NFL is in American culture, it has been a trailblazer when it comes to dealing with issues such as this. They have ultimately dropped the ball. They had a chance to prove to the world that football is more than just a game and how you perform in society means much more than the 60 minutes of play Sunday afternoons.   Since the video was made public, the league has made plans to revise its’ domestic violence policy.   They have already come out and said that a domestic violence infraction will result in a six-game suspension for first time offenders and a possible lifetime ban for repeat offenders.   A more detailed policy is a must for the league. If they want to save face, they need to make a conscious effort to rework...

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Entertainment not too Grande over summer
Aug27

Entertainment not too Grande over summer

Hits and misses have been in the workings this summer in the entertainment industry.   Power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z ruled the world with their On The Run tour that went all the way around the country and will be finishing up in Paris, France. Their ticket sales topped $100 million as it wrapped up in North America in early August.   The tour’s success hasn’t really stopped the rumors floating around about the duo’s rocky marriage. At this rate, they have plenty of reasons to stay together since they are grossing about $5 million a night.   The first six months of 2014 left movie-goers excited for the summer movie season, but generally, people were disappointed with the turnout for most of the highly touted about films.   Another Transformers movie was released, and we can only hope it’s the last one. Things just aren’t the same since Shia Labouf isn’t in the picture anymore. We should give Mark Wahlberg a pat on the shoulder for trying, though.   Michael Bay frustrated action film viewers once again with the no-plot story line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.   Shailene Woodley took over the box office for the second time after Divergent to bring us The Fault in Our Stars, which was one of few films this summer that was actually worth seeing.   When the love story that captured the hearts of bookworms everywhere came out in theaters earlier this summer, it had everyone falling in love with the characters all over again on-screen.   The film made about $50 million in the opening weekend and won multiple awards at the Teen Choice Awards.   The music industry gave us plenty of new music to enjoy, including songs from new artist Iggy Azalea. The Australian-born rapper had two songs in the top places of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming only the fourth female solo rapper to top the charts with her song “Fancy.”   In the same week, her featured song with Ariana Grande “Problem,” rose to number two and joined The Beatles as the only entertainers to rank at number one and two simultaneously with their first two hits.   She has also passed Lil’ Kim as the female rapper with the longest-leading number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, proving that she is someone we all need to be looking out for in the future.   This summer might not have been the best in entertainment, but we can almost guarantee the rest of this year will make up for it with Mockingjay Part One being released in November and The Walking Dead starting back...

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Gay: Not the new black

It’s a sad day when people are so uneducated about their country’s history that they indiscriminately compare historical events and attitudes, when in reality, there is no comparison.   There’s a misguided movement within the LGBT community and among those who advocate for it to compare its fight for equality with the troubles of racial minorities who endured centuries of discrimination, violence the threat of physical harm, and in some     cases, even death.   Gay is not the new black.   Those who subscribe to the idea that the two are inherently linked need to ask themselves, “When, because one was gay, did he or she have to leave certain towns by sunset? When, because someone was gay, did he or she have to drink out of a separate water fountain from someone who was straight?”   When did a group of homosexuals have to be escorted into a public high school by the National Guard to keep heterosexuals from killing them before they made it to the door? Do straight people generally buy or sell gays like property because they don’t agree with their sexual orientations?   Have lesbians ever been counted as three fifths of a person? Has a single transvestite been denied suffrage? Is it illegal for a gay man to own land or learn to read?   History would answer with a resounding “No.”   Even groups like Westboro Baptist Church, which spew the rhetoric, which is perceived as the most hateful, don’t take to dressing in sheets, burning crosses and lynching those with whom they disagree.   It’s a slap in the face to African Americans in particular who, as a people, worked with the help of those who sympathized with them to achieve the near reality of a society where blatant racism is mostly a distant memory.   To compare the fight for marriage equality with the Civil Rights Movement is ludicrous and abhorrent to many people who’ve experienced true discrimination.   It shows a lack of ingenuity. There are thousands of people in all minority groups who disagree with the lifestyle choices of gays, lesbians and trans-genders.   Why lump them together and pretend they all stand for the same causes when in countless individual cases, they don’t? Further, who’s to say those of alternate sexual orientations can’t be racist?   Many who identify with the homosexual and transgender effort champion individuality and self-expression but refuse to acknowledge that many of the people in the group with which they try to identify passionately disagree with them. How’s that for profiling?   If the LGBT community expects its cause to stand, it needs...

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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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