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.

Santorum’s last-minute surge

A late bloomer in the Republican race, Rick Santorum has been gaining momentum as a candidate and confidence as a debater. Santorum, a socially conservative candidate would be popular on a campus like UMHB; a Roman Catholic, he is prolife and opposed to contraception. He is a very straight-laced and firm individual who stands firmly in his values with not much variance. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, recently switched his endorsement from Romney to Santorum, “What I’m seeing with Rick Santorum is a candidate who gets better and better every day.” Most can agree that Santorum began this race as the quiet kid in the back of the class, but has since slid on both knees into the spotlight to become the current frontrunner. Finding three consecutive wins in the states of Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, Santorum has secured his spot in the top three with Romney and Gingrich. Santorum’s positions on issues are those of a man of faith. He stands in accordance with the Catholic Church on gay marriage, abortion and contraception. His faith has lost him the favor of a large chunk of the American public, but his religion should not be a weakness for Santorum. I don’t know if you remember the last Catholic in office. He went by the name of John F. Kennedy. Santorum could be the president who re-instills the core values that built this country. On his website, the list of issues is the longest of any candidate’s website and shares the interest of the public. Santorum is opposed to raising taxes, for example. However, I couldn’t even seem to find a way to enter Mitt Romney’s website without having to contribute money to his campaign. How can we expect Romney to reduce taxes when he asks the public for money when simply entering his website? Santorum is doing well, but he has to continue to do so and did budget much time to afford any errors. The next debate will be in Arizona after almost a month-long break. The debate will be Feb. 22 in Mesa. Santorum will have to outshine the rest of the candidates in this debate to really secure his position. Peaking so late in the race, he has not been so closely scrutinized, unlike Mitt Romney who has seemingly been on 24-hour surveillance for taking the lead so quickly. By the same token, however, did he wait too long to bloom? Maybe DeWine is right, and he is improving every day. But does he have enough time to catch up to the crowd favorite Mitt Romney? Santorum has really come in from the back of the...

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Obama’s plan for education

America’s clench of education loosens as the years progress. More and more statistical evidence shows the dramatic downfall of the nation’s education system. According to the Broad Education Foundation, American students are ranked 25th in math and 21st in science out of 30 industrialized countries. Furthermore, eighth-grade American students are far behind in math compared to their peers in other nations, and 68% of American eighth-graders are not up to standards regarding reading. President Barack Obama is attempting to solve the crisis by funding money specifically for math and science programs. Speaking at a science fair held in the White house, Obama said he hopes to once again place America on top. Two of the most important subjects in school have become a lack of interest and  dreadful courses for children. In an effort to promote and revamp the subjects, Obama has requested funding of $80 million from Congress. In addition, he asked for $22 million from the private sector. This will allow 100,000 teachers to be trained specifically for math and science and teach one million recent graduates in technology, science, math and engineering in the next ten years. The hope is that in the long run U.S. students will transition into American working citizens in these prominent and much-needed fields rather than jobs going to foreigners. Many other countries are ahead of America in fields such as these because not too long ago their schools heavily stressed the importance of science and math. As a result, the students have translated what they learned to make money. The last time Obama tried to pass the proposal in Congress, it did not go through. In some ways, Obama is on the right track. So many jobs are being exported to foreign countries because they possess the necessary skills. Students today need to realize the importance of math and science rather than shrugging their shoulders and asking the stereotypical question, “When will we ever use this?” I hope Obama continues to push the issue of American education and to stress how bad the situation has gotten. As Americans, we must open our eyes and look into the future. If we do not invest now, we will no longer be one of the most powerful nations. Obama said in his speech at the science fair, “We’re a nation of thinkers, dreamers, believers in a better tomorrow.” Let’s keep it that way....

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MIA: British star’s “attack” on Americans
Feb21

MIA: British star’s “attack” on Americans

Artist MIA’s obscene gesture during the halftime performance of Super Bowl XLVI raises questions of intended terrorism. There have been Janet’s boobs, Rosanne Barr’s desecration of the national anthem and a finger belonging to vocalist MIA that have upset the American public. MIA, born Maya Arulpragasam, looked into the camera and gave the middle finger during Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime performance Feb. 5. The gesture sent outrage and discomfort through enough of the 111.3 million viewers tuned in that night to issue dual press statements from NBC and the NFL. “The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans,” they said. Madonna weighed in on the ill-fated salute saying, “It’s such a teenager, irrelevant thing to do…. What was the point? It was just out of place.” She may have a point here, but apparently a portion of the viewers that evening believed her gesture was a direct attack on America, considering her self-described label as a supporter of terrorism and her affiliation with the Sri Lankan militant group, Tamil Tigers. While Madonna stuck to sex and sacrilege for her headlines, MIA is compelled by a violent separatist movement and the politics of resistance, although she lives a lifetime away in a plush home in Los Angeles. Her allegiances have fueled her music and rhetoric, and no defense she gives indicates that she wants it any other way. MIA’s affinity for the provocative has been her claim to fame since she went into labor while on stage during the 2009 Grammys with the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I. and Lil Wayne present, but insisted on finishing the show and then proceeded to beg for attention for  her actions. In junior psychology and sociology double major Marisa Fannin’s mind, her most recent ploy for attention is basic marketing. “It’s obvious that sufficient buzz hadn’t been stirred up,” she said. “They needed something to talk about, and MIA provided them with just that.” Fannin didn’t witness the salute, but in the weeks since it aired, she has grown weary of the buzz. “There are so many other good things going on right now that I didn’t even notice this, and that’s exactly how the situation needs to be handled.” She has a point. Who, among the minimum wage, one-car, working class Americans without the luxury of a private jet, really cares? What’s one more middle finger in the midst of another performance that cost more than the income of 10 of the families watching the spectacle? In a society when the three most important things in life are what you’re wearing, who...

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Contraception battle

Before 1965 it was illegal in Connecticut for married individuals to purchase or use any form of contraception. This law was ruled unconstitutional in the Supreme Court case Griswold versus Connecticut and a right to marital privacy was established. The government seemed to be taking a neutral role on the issue of birth control by neither denying it nor affirming it. If President Barack Obama has his way, it will be unlawful for insurance providers to fail to provide contraception as a standard part of their policies. Obama’s announcement of mandating that religious institutions offer contraceptives in their insurance coverage has created a backlash from many religious organizations. The president quickly backtracked, but the real issue that seems to have surfaced is a perceived erosion of freedom. The weight of responsibility of something as personal as sexual relations is being moved onto the back of a lumbering bureaucracy that appears to be out of touch. The government was put into place so citizens could live freely with the responsibility that naturally accompanies those freedoms. Many of our health care providers are affiliated with or were founded by religious organizations. Expression of faith in these religions (Catholicism in particular) includes rejection of any kind  of birth control. Why is contraception such an important part of health care? In a brief speech on the issue, Obama promoted free preventative health care measures including check-ups and mammograms. He also explained that birth control has many preventative purposes and are beneficial to women’s health. The president acknowledged that many religious organizations are opposed to providing any form of contraception but also wanted to ensure that all women would have access to birth control. His plan is that health care insurance and not religious organizations should pay for the birth control. This still does not address the violation of religious expression of individuals caused by this bill. The Constitution encourages religious freedoms which apparently have been trumped by the right to condoms and the morning-after pill. The science behind how condoms prevent pregnancy and diseases is apparent. However, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented by a simple and much cheaper method — abstinence. Hardly anyone supports providing free health care for smoking-related diseases because they are self inflicted. Sexually transmitted diseases are also self inflicted. Just as smoking is a choice, so is sex (except in the case of rape). Breast cancer, on the other hand, is not a choice, and a mammogram is not equal to a contraceptive. The problem with requiring all health insurance companies is that some are religious organizations, and some religious organizations are self insured. Their...

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Absurd law raises eyebrows
Feb07

Absurd law raises eyebrows

The Occupy movement in Washington, D.C., has become plagued with rats, and a recent D.C. health code may cause problems for Virginia and Maryland. Most people assumed the Occupy movement came and went like any other short-lived fad but, it is still alive. In D.C.’s McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza hundreds of protesters have gathered, and health officials report that the rat population has erupted. There are major health risks for people living in such squalid conditions. The close proximity of the tents and the lack of plumbing have turned the parks into slums. Rats complicate the problem even more. The city of D.C. has adopted the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010, an absurd law regarding pest control. It calls for relocation instead of extermination of vermin. Pest control experts are no longer allowed to use any type of kill trap or traditional methods of rat eradication like poisons, glue traps or spring traps. Instead they are supposed to use no kill traps which are designed solely for capture. Another stipulation of the law is that they must capture entire rat families. Captured rats are to be released in the wild, at least 25 miles from the site they were captured to insure that they do not make their way back. The law is complete oversight on the part of the city government. D.C. city council member Mary M. Cheh, who sponsored the bill, clearly does not take her job seriously or refuses to research before creating laws. The idea of removing entire rat families is preposterous. The law was either designed to prevent proper pest control or was meant to be ignored. There is good reason rats are considered vermin. They can survive in almost any environment, live without water longer than a camel, and reproduce quickly. The worst part about rats however is that they carry disease. During the Middle Ages they were infamous for transmitting fleas that carried the bubonic plague. Today they still carry a number of diseases including rabies, tuberculosis, Lyme disease and Weils disease. For good reason, rats are exterminated. There is no need to be unnecessarily cruel about it, but there should be an efficient way to get rid of the animals. Otherwise they will pose a serious health risk. It is bad enough that the law is completely inefficient, but it is worse still that the policy would require D.C. to pass off its problems to Virginia and other surrounding states. It is aggravating that the government assumes that it can just pass off its problems to other states. When the government makes laws like this it discourages people. It’s hard...

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Campus calendar outdated

Wondering when Cru Knights is? Check the campus calendar. Click month. Pretty sure it’s in February. Let’s see, softball practice, Antioch Community Church, CON Testing – whatever that is men’s golf workouts. Maybe it would be easier to just Google it. Type UMHB Cru Knights 2012 in Google search bar. The first three links to the UMHB Master Calendar don’t work. Back to the calendar. Pretty sure it’s Feb. 17. Click on link that says “14 more.” Scroll down past sports practices, past MUSI 3381, keep scrolling … there it is at the bottom of the list right above Chinese Bible Study. The title is a link. Click for more information. Waiting. Still waiting for the white pop -up box to load. Stop here. The box will never load. It will just say “This webpage is not available.” Finding an event on the campus calendar online will take you quite a bit of time and a lot of determination. So many events on the calendar apply to only a small group of students that the bigger, more important events fall to the bottom of the list into oblivion. If students are in softball, or golf, in a certain class, or go to a particular church, it’s safe to assume they are observant and responsible enough to know when their practices or meetings are. The online calendar should be for events that apply to a bigger population on campus. If an alumni, community members, or students who aren’t very involved on campus went to the calendar to search for an event, it’s probably more likely they would give up and not come than that they would find what they are looking for. Why are the events scheduled on the calendar they way they are? Is there not a priority setting to allow the bigger events on campus to jump to the top? True, you can filter the calendar by five color-coded topics but even then, some events don’t make it on the main page. When you finally do find the event you are looking for, don’t bother clicking for more information. If the links in the titles aren’t going to work when people click on them, they should be taken out instead of staying in and causing people frustration. The bottom line is that the online calendar doesn’t accurately display all that UMHB has to offer. It should be redesigned to be easier for people to find out what events the university has going on and to encourage attendance....

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