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.

American icon going European

The well-known Ford mustang is possibly getting a European style makeover. While still only a concept, it is scheduled to arrive in 2014 at the New York Auto Show as a 2015 model, which is coincidentally the 50th anniversary of the pony car. According to autoguide.com, Ford said that the Mustang will be more modern because of the previous announcements about their One Ford global model policy. This means that the Mustang will be exported to markets outside of the U.S. Ford has been tight-lipped about the new pony, but the rumor mill is flooded with insider reports that it will be smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient and feature less of a retro look than the current car. Foxnews.com said that Ford is so diligent about its overseas expansion that the company will even offer a right-hand-drive version of the two-door coupe in the U.K. Some fans aren’t sure, though, that going global is a good idea for Ford. “It doesn’t seem like it’s an American-made car anymore, and that’s what people want. And that’s what I would think about when I heard ‘Ford Mustang,’” sophomore Christian studies major Ryan Morris said. The European style is very different and unique from the “classic” Mustang, and yet, it is high-class. Ford seems to be marketing to the upper class and not as much to the younger generations. As for the body of the car, junior nursing major Tim Phillips knows about the body of the muscle car. “The new style is interesting. Like so many other car manufacturers, they are trying to be on the brink of innovation and style. And the Mustang being the original pony car, they are not about to be left behind in this race. It is simply put a slim and sleeker body than the current models. They say it may end up a little shorter than current models as well,” he said. No doubt the Mustang has come a long way since 1961 when Lee Iacocca, vice president and manager of the Ford division came up with the idea. In 1964 the first Mustang rolled off the assembly line. The biggest change to the car; a new fastback model was made in 1965. It became the basis for Carroll Shelby’s GT350. The Mustang is, of course, one of Ford’s most classic and well-known vehicles, making it an American classic. Ford seems to be going over the top with this new design, possibly to compare to the new style of cars that are beginning to evolve, like the Fiat. With the new European look to correspond with the rest of the world, it is possible...

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Muslim film plays key role in world riots
Oct02

Muslim film plays key role in world riots

There is an old English proverb; “The mob has many heads but no brains.” In the last two weeks there have been a series of brainless mobs in the Muslim world protesting a blasphemous film. Many of these protests have turned violent and resulted in several deaths The film is called the Innocence of Muslims. Along with being offensive to Muslims for referring to Muhammad as a pervert and many other blasphemous things, the movie is also an affront to anyone who has any respect for the art of cinema. The film appears to have been shot entirely on green screen, ad-libbed and done all in one take. It seems ridiculous for anyone to protest such a frivolous movie. But once you consider the power of an unruly crowd, then you realize how easily rational people can be driven to do irrational things. Most people have been involved in the social phenomena of a crowd. Whether it is in a school cafeteria or a sporting event, the herd mentality is visible in the crowd. Even though groups consist of different individuals often with different motives, they tend to move in the same direction. In order to fit into a crowd or group, people may choose to do things that go against their better judgment. This is fine as long as a crowd is coerced into doing something silly, but when a group is persuaded to do something dangerous, the outcome can be scary. The 2011 riots in the U.K. are a prime example of a crowd turning into a chaotic and violent mob. This tragedy began with an angry protest over a perceived injustice. A crowd in Tottenham gathered around a police department and demanded answers for the shooting of a suspect. The relatively peaceful protest became more unruly. The police were heavily outnumbered and completely unprepared for the crowd. As soon as the crowds realized this, they slipped into unfettered chaos. The looting and general violence that took place was senseless and irrational. It had nothing to do with the protest and only existed because of the irrational behavior that was masked by the herd instinct. The Tottenham riots were leaderless and random. The riots in the Middle East were organized by political leaders. In Egypt, the film was heavily publicized on two Islamic TV stations, and in other countries, Islamic clerics publicly denounced the movie. For the leaders of Pakistan, it is politically profitable to defend the honor of Islam so the government of Pakistan organized a national holiday and a protest. When the protest got out of control, it caused the death of 19 people. Under...

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New rule: faster speed
Oct02

New rule: faster speed

Staff Editorial Lead-footed drivers in Texas will soon have a place to legally entertain their need for speed when a new 41-mile stretch of toll road opens between Austin and San Antonio. Approved by the Texas Transportation Commission, it will boast the nation’s highest speed limit of 85 mph. The development, however, comes with both potential benefit and harm. Some drivers across the state are looking forward to what the increased speed will mean for traveling near the normally congested area, viewing it as a great way for people who live in a city known for its traffic, like Austin, to be able to reduce their travel time during their day. Another possible benefit of the road’s fast pace is a potential decrease in speeding violations. Hopefully, fewer people will break the law when they can legally drive fast. Some people argue that 85 mph is not a safe speed limit, but drivers are still reaching similar speeds regardless of traffic laws. If drivers are going 85 mph legally, they will be less distracted, not being on the lookout for police. But, this may be continuing a dangerous trend. As new laws are set, people try to find out just how far they can push the envelope. This is why we are raising the speed limit even higher than ever before. What was once fast, is no longer. It makes sense to have an 80 mph speed limit on a sparsely populated Interstate 10 out in West Texas, but not an 85 mph limit in the heart of the state. In Austin, drivers are not modest with their gas pedal, and most will risk speeding by five or so miles per hour. They draw the line at reckless driving, which in Texas is 10 percent or more over the speed limit. Ten percent of 85 is 8.5, meaning drivers will be flirting with a speed of 93 miles per hour. Thrill seekers will consider Texas 130, Texas Autobahn. Law Enforcement better spare a few cruisers to watch this stretch of highway. Safety, of course, is the biggest concern in regard to speed. The faster vehicles move, the greater the chance of fatalities. As much as we all like to test the limits of our car’s engine, the increased speed will probably do more harm than good. Soon after being declared the fastest highway in the nation, it could potentially be declared the deadliest as well. The concerns, however, may be overlooked because of the financial benefits of the road. It seems that by posting the speed limit so high, it is merely an incentive to getmore people out on...

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Opinions vary for voter ID law
Oct02

Opinions vary for voter ID law

Bipartisan controversy over voter ID laws has many legislators and voters engaged in heated argument. Voter fraud and speculation of illegal immigrants casting ballots in states such as Arizona have added kindling to the fiery debate. Those opposed to the legislation say that the laws would disenfranchise the poor and other demographic groups. It is ridiculous that customers have to show their IDs for insignificant transactions, such as buying liquid paper, but not for the right of voting, for which precious American lives have been sacrificed. The most recent event linked with the controversy occurred when a federal court in Washington, D.C., struck down a law proposed by Texas legislation. The trio of justices on the court’s panel rejected Texas’ plan, saying that the bill was the strictest of its kind. Sophomore political science and theology major, Zach Craig has been keeping up with the court decisions and said, “You’re restricting a lot more people than you’re actually stopping from voting illegally.” Senior cell biology major Jake Bowen believes voters should be required to show an ID. He said, “I think that’d be a good idea. They should have a photo identification of somebody before they voted. You know by their name, and by their looks that they are that person.” According to the New York Times, the panel said calling for a form of identification combined with redistricting of electoral maps violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The opposition to voter ID legislation argues that it is too difficult for some citizens to obtain picture identification, despite that five different forms are accepted. Dr. Janet Adamski, professor of history and political science at UMHB said, “There are five forms of ID acceptable in Texas. A driver’s license, a passport, a concealed handgun license would be acceptable. One of the things that the court was pointing to was that some places are either making a free form of ID available, or they’re allowing multiple forms of ID.” The problem concerning the unpaid election ID is the requirement of a birth certificate. If they’re missing that document, they have to request a copy for $22. Adamski sees a common goal through the rhetoric. She said, “I think one of the things both sides would agree on is nobody wants folks to vote who shouldn’t vote. I think where they might disagree is on the scale of where that’s...

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Solemn remembrance for 9/11
Sep11

Solemn remembrance for 9/11

It seems that most Americans have their own 9/11 story. There are those who had their flights delayed, those who found out from their sobbing teachers and those whose parents tried to shield their children from the tragedy. Some stories from overseas were not so different. I found out just as I was riding home from school in Germany where my family was living at the time. Since I was only nine, I certainly did not appreciate the gravity of the situation. All I knew was that my friends who knew people in New York were very concerned. My father’s story was different from the typical story. He was at the gate of a refugee center in Frankfurt, Germany, when he heard the news. His first reaction was not one of shock. He assumed that some small two-seater aircraft had run into one of the towers. When he entered the complex, he saw that the usually busy area was all but deserted. The refugee center was home to mostly Kurds, Turks and other Middle Easterners. It was uncharacteristic of them to stay inside and not be hospitable. One of my dad’s acquaintances invited him inside where four other men were watching the TV. No one in the room said a word. They all just stared at the TV. A Kurdish man stopped my father as he left the complex and told him in Turkish, “This shows that you can’t trust anyone–these were men of God who did this.” During the days following the tragedy, the world rallied around America. The German schools in our area closed their doors on Sept. 12. Non-Americans all over the world showed solidarity by holding mass vigils and grieving America’s loss. Some of my father’s Muslim friends even wrote him and apologized for a despicable act committed by their fellow Muslims. The tragedy had brought out the best of people, but it did not last. All the sympathy was soon lost as conspiracy and prejudice took hold. The United States invaded Afghanistan about one month after 9/11. Two years after that they invaded Iraq. International support soon began to fade. It started with Middle Eastern countries condemning the U.S. then continued with the populations of European countries as they removed support. Eventually, the initially ardent American public began to question the United States’ presence. More than 10 years later, we still have soldiers in Afghanistan, and Osama Bin Laden is dead. No doubt some good may have come out of sending soldiers to Afghanistan. However, once our soldiers leave, then all the good that was done will likely be undone. Was it really the...

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Why I chose to be a vegan

In a country that reveres barbecue, has a fast food chain on every corner and believes bacon should be a form of currency, I am a minority. I am vegan, meaning I do not eat any animal products (meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.), nor do I wear anything that exploits animals (fur, leather, wool, silk, etc.). I eat and wear nothing that comes from a sentient being. In a society that worships meat, I’m considered crazy to most, but there are three truths I have learned. First, did you know that humans are not natural omnivores? Crazy, right? Who would have thought humans, creatures with no claws or sharp teeth, are herbivorous? When was the last time you killed a cow with your bare hands and ate it on the spot? Our digestive system and jaw structure reflect those of herbivores. Just because we are capable of digesting meat does not mean we should eat it. I can also digest cardboard. Does that mean I should eat it? And why is it before we eat meat, we have to cook it then smother it in cheese, butter and ketchup? Also, why are we the only species that drinks milk long after infancy? Shouldn’t we stop drinking milk after being weaned just like other mammals? Second, if humans are natural meat-eaters then we wouldn’t see the difference between eating a pig and a dog. Carnivores in the wild do not discriminate between the “cute” animals; they typically attack the old, young and sick regardless of species. Why is it OK to eat one species of animal but adore the other? Pigs are ranked fourth in intelligence behind elephants, dolphins and chimps. Are they not better than dogs? We are all animals, and we do not have the authority to decide which animals should live and die. Finally, the global impact of veganism is huge. It has been proved if every person in the world went vegan, it would end world hunger. The amount of water and grain needed to feed livestock would feed more people than the meat of the cow. It doesn’t make sense to feed 70 percent of grain grown in the U.S. to cows while there are starving children on the world’s streets. You may be laughing while reading this, but vegans are making a bigger difference than perceived. Just look at the statistics. Not only is my chance of having a heart attack, stroke or cancer greatly reduced, but after being vegan for a year, I will reduce 3,267 pounds of CO2 emissions, save at least 25 animals and prevent five people from starving. Oh, and...

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