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.

International media notices female American politician

The Republicans revere her, and the Democrats demean her. She is regarded as a hero by the Tea Party, and a nitwit by liberals. No matter which way you slice her, Sarah Palin is often the topic of attention in American news. One wonders if the rest of the world even takes notice of Palin’s antics. Is it only in America that the media seems to be emphatic about this female politician? Think again. In many other countries, Palin is also often disputed in the news. It is amazing how one woman, who is no longer a state governor or a candidate for the vice-presidency, can generate so much debate and discussion. In Spain’s Hispanidad, Eulogio Lopez thinks his country could use a political figure who is as innovative as Palin. He says Washington has been “perverted, not only by Obama’s Democrat’s,” but by Republicans, as well. Lopez lists cutting public spending, shrinking the state and abolishing abortion as ideals Palin supports that are needed in Spain. According to Mark H. Teeter at The Moscow News, Palin has made a “spectacle” of politics in America. He despises the politician’s outspokenness and considers it irrational for her to make a run at the presidency, calling her “unemployed.” In Germany, some think Palin is a rock star. Ralph Sina on Tagesschau.de calls her “the perfect Lady Gaga for the new Republican platform.” He calls her a “self-marketing genius” and finds it astonishing that she could still make a run at the presidency. James Neilson at the Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina contends that Palin is one tough lady when it comes to the abuse she takes from the media. He wishes that Argentina’s president, Cristina Kirchner, was more like Palin. He says Kirchner gets upset when she is criticized by the press. She has even talked about nationalizing the media in Argentina so that she won’t receive as much condemnation. Palin takes the abuse she receives by the media everyday in America without complaining. She shows strength that this Argentina writer wants his own president to possess. The fact that Palin’s views are discussed in the media in other nations proves that she has a lot of power in politics, even though she stepped down from her position as governor and lost the election as a vice-presidential candidate. She is a passionate, outspoken figure in the conservative movement. Many people in America are dissatisfied with the direction Democrats have taken the nation. People want conservatism. This was proven by the takeover of the House by Republicans in the recent midterm elections. If Palin runs for president in 2012, she will be...

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Happy Meals banned by city

Happy San Franciscans may want to celebrate their World Series trophy by taking the kids out to McDonald’s for a meal that reflects their mood and even contains a toy. However, the city board of supervisors voted to ban Happy Meals in an effort to combat childhood obesity. The well-intended move is attacking one small culprit of a much bigger issue and is restricting the freedom of both businesses and parents. A veto-busting majority approved the ban, which will require any meal that is given with a toy to have only a set number of calories and serve fruit or vegetables. Supervisor Eric Mar said, ‘We’re part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice.” Apparently, the best way to spend taxpayers’ time and money is restricting what people can eat. Wouldn’t the Founding Fathers be happy? As capitalism has spread throughout the world, McDonald’s has been like the democracy’s handmaiden, following closely wherever she goes. We celebrated to watch the restaurants open in Eastern Europe and Asia. McDonald’s has been a popular, yet admittedly pudgy, ambassador of the United States. It has become a symbol of capitalism and freedom. The communism museum of Prague, Czech Republic, proudly and ironically sits next to one of the fast food giant’s millions of restaurants. In fact, the former Soviets even brag that you can find the museum “between a McDonald’s and a casino.” One unfortunate product of capitalism is that, just as people can improve themselves in the system, they also are completely free to harm themselves, and, to an extent, their children. McDonald’s food is cheap, easy and tasty, perfect for the American family on the go and on a budget. Plus a toy to keep Timmy quiet or to use as a bribe to eat his McNuggets is exactly what people want. But the effects of this fat-filled feeding can have nasty effects on the body – just like anything else used without     moderation. The government’s job is not to excessively police restaurants. That is what some nations did before our McDonald’s got there. Happy meals themselves are not the enemy. To battle obesity, health education, an economy where people can afford quality food, requiring nutritional information on packages and youth sport and recreation programs should be the main goals. These tasks fit perfectly with the job description of the government. Restricting what children can eat with their families does not. The city supervisors mean well and should be applauded for their efforts. But restricting freedoms and business practices is a step in the wrong direction. Americans don’t need any more decisions made for them....

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Students miss autumn break

With roughly five weeks left in the semester, UMHB students are spending weekends and evenings deep in books or enveloped in projects, while other students all across the country are enjoying a couple of days of freedom and relaxation to refuel for school. UMHB did not take a fall break this year, so students were stuck in their studies instead of enjoying time off. The school usually has good ideas, but this is a bad one. Students have been working nonstop, often finding themselves with little or no time to sleep due to the amount of work required for classes. This is an acceptable scenario for a few weeks at a time, but after a while, the goal of learning becomes replaced with the goal of simply getting it done. With fall break gone, students have no time to recharge their batteries, breathe for a moment, reorganize and re-strategize. Was the break dropped simply so that we can get out for Christmas a day or two earlier? The university seems to be growing less keen on taking days off. Last semester, finals were scheduled to start the day after regular classes finished. How were students supposed to find the time to study for finals between getting out of their Wednesday night class at 9 p.m. and their first final at 8 a.m. the next day? Fall break, like dead days before finals, is a time for both students and faculty to enjoy life a little more, put aside the books and papers for more than a few hours and enjoy the company of the  people around them. Not only is it a time of refreshment and a time of regaining interest in chosen areas of study, but it’s a time to go home for a visit. For some students, such as freshmen, fall break is one of the first opportunities to return to their parents’ house to indulge in home-cooked meals and missed hugs. Taking away that chance to spend time with family from freshmen who have lived away from home for the first time ever is not good for these studious young minds. Students need to be reminded that life is about more than books, essays, labs and tests. More than diplomas, internships and grades. It’s about actually living life here and now and not preparing to live it eventually. Fall break is a helpful reminder of the reality of the world outside the college campus. Taking it away runs the risk of creating a false world where success is determined only by a letter and days are run on schedules of 50-minute increments. Not only is the...

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Unlikely officer takes on cartels

Mention the word police chief, and what comes to mind? Older man with a belly, and we live in Texas, so probably a mustache too. Not a 20-year-old college criminology major who is also a woman and a mother. But Praxedis, Mexico, a quiet farming community near the Texas border, has just that since Marisol Valles Garcia took office. The reason she got the job: no one else wanted it. Her predecessor was shot in July 2009, and the town could not find a replacement for more than a year. Honestly, she’s nuts. No one else was interested in stepping up because the drug lords keep assassinating public officials. The former mayor was killed in June. Garcia claims she took the position to help people become less fearful. Does she realize she probably just added a lot more fear to the people’s lives? She’s a 20-year-old who stands in the way of the drug cartels. They kill people. Is she trying to be some modern-day Joan of Arc? Yes, someone has to stand up, and her courage is applaudable. Let’s face it. Half the men in Mexico probably wouldn’t take this job. But where are her parents? She’s an adult, but young and hardly ready for her new position. If this was some small town in Texas, it would be no big deal. But we are talking Mexico. More shocking is that she does not even know how to shoot a gun. But no worries because she will have two bodyguards. The first thing she should do is get a big gun and learn – fast. As awful as it is to say, she is going to have to watch her back. Or on the other hand, she might be fine because the cartel is probably laughing behind her back, thinking how much easier she just made their lives. Her approach is non-violence. And she wants to add more women to her force. Currently, three of her 13 officers are female. She wants the members of her forces to be unarmed. That is not a typo. She wants them to go around protecting the people of the town against members of the cartel without guns. Of course, no one likes violence, but Garcia may be sending the message ‘come out and shoot us. We won’t do anything about it.’ She needs to be at home with her husband and newborn baby, not out fighting  unarmed against the cartel. A Mexican man needs to step up and take the reins of his town from a naïve...

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A generation without gentlemen

Twelfth century knights embodied courtesy, generosity and valor. Today, society has eliminated these values. Though people cling to the belief that men should display good manners and respect toward women, many men, including some Crusaders, have yet to understand or demonstrate this concept. Media and music today often imbue negative messages and images about women into the minds of men across the country. Derogatory terms aimed at women appear in various musical genres, especially rap. Most mainstream rappers use words with negative connotations to classify women. Some fans argue that this is just how the artist refers to women. Please. A derogatory term is still an insult—no matter the context. Hurtful words still carry their true meaning, even after people try to change the original denotation. As it becomes more common to use offensive terms to refer to women, the general respect for them declines. Constant exposure to pessimistic messages about women lower them in the eyes of men. So when a guy takes a girl out and he does not open her door or pull her seat out, it’s OK. This becomes acceptable behavior. Lately, singers have become obsessed with the “independent woman.” Though this seems harmless and even praiseworthy, it’s not. Flattering a woman because she pays for both meals on dates, makes her look independent but makes the man look like a moocher. This is just another way for men to deter becoming gentlemen. Independence is great and desired by both sexes. However, the idea that the attractive woman is the independent one eliminates the duties and responsibility of a true man. Everybody wants to be needed by their significant other —needed, not needy. Both sexes have a role and an important part they play in a relationship. This may sound a little traditional, but it’s significant. A woman cannot be the only giver. The man has to give, too. Real men open doors, pay for meals, work hard for their families or the future they plan to have with that amazing woman. They occasionally send flowers, too. These attributes stick out. Men who display them embody courtesy, generosity and valor. They are not only true men but 21st century...

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Polls predict victory for GOP
Nov02

Polls predict victory for GOP

Today marks a monumental day in the course of America’s history. All summer long, incumbent politicians have been sweating in anticipation. It’s Election Day. The 2010 midterm elections are held across the country today. All of the seats in the House of Representatives, 435, are going under the knife. Thirty-seven of the 100 seats in the Senate will be decided. And 38 state and territorial governorships have the potential to change. In the 2006 and 2008 elections, Republicans took major losses. They gave up the majority they had held in Congress since 1994. After the public’s dissatisfaction with George W. Bush’s administration rose to its boiling point, a Democrat was elected to the White House. President Obama will not be up for reelection quite yet, though, to the dismay of conservatives. However, they have bragged all summer that the GOP is going to take back control of the Congress. Will their hopes and dreams prove true? The polls say yes. According to Election Projection Online, as of Oct. 31, Republicans could acquire 62 seats in the House of Representatives. This is the tipping of the scale many voters have anticipated. It would confirm the optimistic anticipation of many conservatives and give the GOP the majority in Congress. They would hold 241 seats, while Democrats would occupy 194. In gubernatorial races, more of the same is expected, according to EPO. Republicans are projected to take 30 governorships, an increase of six, with the Democrats controlling 19 after the election. Gains in the Senate are still predicted for the GOP, but they are not as significant as those in the House. Republicans are expected to gain eight Senate seats, which would give each party 49 seats (EPO). Two seats are currently occupied by independents and are not expected to change hands. This shift of power in Congress can be attributed to several factors; however, the current condition of the nation’s economy is the most prevalent issue with voters and candidates alike. Voters have taken the wool off of their eyes. They are no longer blind to the effects the Obama Administration’s policies are having on the country. Health care, bailouts, taxes and deficits are the menacing behemoths looming between people and a vote for Democrats at the poll booths. People have not forgotten the “accomplishments” made while the Democrats controlled Congress, as the party had hoped. The polls confirm that many people are upset with the leadership of the country and the direction in which it is moving. America is ready for a change, this time in the direction of conservatism. Voice your opinion....

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