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.

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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Is there freedom to grieve?
Oct19

Is there freedom to grieve?

Thank God for dead soldiers. Those are the words written on protesters’ signs outside of many military funerals. “Thank God for dead soldiers” when mourning the loss of a son, daughter, mother, father, brother or sister. In Topeka, Kan. members of Westboro Baptist Church frequent funerals to bring awareness of what they believe is God’s punishment of Americans for allowing homosexuals. God is punishing America by letting soldiers die for its sin, they say. Using poster boards and markers, these people are robbing families of their last moments celebrating the life of a loved one. How can they be allowed to do that? The U.S. Supreme Court is asking the same question and seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. This is not an issue of freedom of religion; Westboro Baptist Church members have the right to believe in whatever doctrines they want, even if they are misinformed and detrimental to the image of Christianity. The issue is freedom of speech, found in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. When protesting, the people stand in public areas, but their words travel into the funeral services through the hearts and minds of those grieving. They follow the procession to graveyards, but their hurtful words are often not buried with the fallen one. Some families of soldiers who have died believe there should be restrictions on when and where these people can protest. They don’t want their last memories of the person they lost to be tainted with images of people thankful that their son or daughter died to prove God’s hatred of homosexuals. The Supreme Court heard the case on this issue Oct. 6. Their verdict could be a landmark in American freedoms. If they do nothing, they disrespect the families who have been hurt by the protests and who lost someone in protection of the freedoms the court upholds. If they set limitations on free speech, though, they draw a line that is not supposed to exist. Once drawn, the line is difficult to erase. Should there be different laws for military families and funeral processions? A case relating to this issue arose in 2009 concerning the media’s use of flag-draped coffins. Was it right to show pictures of a coffin on the evening news? There is, after all, a person underneath that red, white and blue. After review, the United States Defense Department lifted the ban on media using the photographs. Now, it is up to families to decide whether they want press there or not. Unfortunately, the other issue is not as simple to resolve. No one asks protesters to come....

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Recession still far from being over; job creation must be part of efforts

The economic recession is not over. Despite what guests on various talk shows have been optimistically stating for months (without substantial quantitative data to support their claims), the fiscal state of country is still in a slump. In fact, more than 1,200 NASA employees who have worked on the shuttle program since it started in the early 1980s will be laid off on Oct. 8. Even though Congress recently passed a $19 billion budget for NASA, it is not enough to keep the agency from laying off its workers. Even more ironically, 85 Minnesota job counselors (people whose jobs are to help others find jobs) were laid off last week when stimulus money used to pay their salaries ran out. The national average for unemployment is currently at about 9.5 percent. To bring down these numbers, the president and the federal government have been trying to force jobs into the economy with the stimulus program. As is the case with the job counselors though, many stimulus-funded jobs are temporary at best. With enough stimulus money, the president could give every person in America a job. The government could pay everyone to count how many clouds are in the sky every day. The cloud counters would all earn enough money to support their families. Many jobs created by the stimulus program are “cloud-counting jobs” that is, they are filler jobs created for the sake of providing someone with work. They do not have a real benefit to society. If these jobs don’t serve a purpose by meeting a demand in society, once the money to pay the salaries runs out, the jobs are gone, leaving people unemployed. How then can jobs with substance be added to the economy? According to The Washington Post, “It turns out that entrepreneurship (essentially: the founding of new companies) is crucial to job creation.” Real jobs come through supply and demand. Entrepreneurs create a demand for a product or service and then create specific  spaces to be filled by employees. According to The Post, older companies create jobs too, but they also lose them, such as when a company goes out of business. Jobs added and lost by existing companies basically cancel each other out. “All the net job increases occur among startups, finds a study of the 1992-2005 period by economists John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland and Ron Jarmin and Javier Miranda of the Census Bureau. The article went on to say that, because most startups are necessarily small, these tinier firms have a statistical edge against bigger businesses, but the effect entirely reflects the impact of new business. If the administration...

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Curse of increasing 3-D movies

A new pandemic is sweeping our nation, and the most frightening part of this disease is that no one seems to realize it exists. People spend their weekends engaging in pastimes that riddle their bodies with the virus, and no one has stopped to wonder why. Soon enough, the entire nation will be infected, and no one will be left to save us. The new plague that is sweeping the planet is the disease known as 3-D movies. Recently, the U.S. has been inundated with films designed to be 3-D, which is meant to make the audience feel more immersed and like they are actually in the action. Instead, after a two and a half hour long movie in the next dimension, one is known to feel the same symptoms he would after blacking out at a frat party: confusion, wobbliness and a dull throbbing behind the eyes. The heart of the matter is that films are made in 3-D to sell a movie ticket at twice the normal price. The audience is forced to sit there wearing drunk goggles while a bouncy ball rolls toward them because the producer thought it was a cool effect. Hearing about how great 3-D movies are reminds me of an episode of the TV show Futurama where the cast goes to watch an “interactive” film. Like a “choose your adventure” novel, the audience in the show is allowed to pick what they wanted the actors to do. But the machines just wind up breaking, and the cast is forced to sit and watch a man file paperwork for the movie’s duration. The technology just doesn’t exist yet to make a movie that is actually three dimensional. People want more and more for their buck, so producers continue to give it to them. A few years ago the big craze was Imax theaters; a few years from now, we could see the start of holographic movie images. That is not to say the technology can’t exist. It just isn’t worth the cost right now to see a slightly more rounded film just because someone thought it was a neat effect. Maybe in a few years, when science gives a way to see images walking in the aisles of the theaters, maybe then 3-D movies will be worth it. But not now. The idea of seeing a 3-D movie seems like watching a crazed animal do funny tricks at the local zoo. It sounds like a fun experience at first, but you still don’t want to reach out and touch...

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Rules might actually save your life
Oct19

Rules might actually save your life

“Thanks for the rules, UMHB.” It’s not a phrase heard often by students or faculty. We grumble when the MTV Music Video Awards are on and we can’t see Kanye’s antics. Twenty-one-year-olds can’t have alcohol — period. Girls and guys still separate by 1 a.m. all over campus. We even have a foul language policy. It is easy to criticize the sometimes oppressive regulations. One aspect of college life is that it is a time for teenagers to become adults. Being policed about public displays of affection sure doesn’t make us feel like adults. My parents seem to think they can kiss whenever they want, and, honestly, that’s more damaging to my mental health than a few kisses in the McLane lobby. But I see the other side. Last week a friend of mine was raped at her university. She’s a freshman, like everyone else in her dorm, and, like everyone else, she was drinking last weekend. At her school — a large and well respected university — alcohol and drug use are the norm. Finding a sober student on a Friday night is harder than finding a drunken one here. The school turns a blind eye to the partying and fraternizing. After all, it is college. She went to a friend’s room and had a few drinks like normal after a hard week of class. But the girl, barely 18 years old, soon forgot everything. She woke up beaten and bloody. Her lips were shredded — a mere illustration of the abuse the attacker inflicted on her body. Doctors found drugs in her system, obviously hidden in the drinks she was given. The other clues from the evening — marked in her skin, hair and blood — are too graphic to describe. I shake with anger just to write about it. But she woke up to this reality. It is something she will wake up with for the rest of her life. According to a 2000 study by the U.S. Department of Justice, one in five girls experience rape or attempted rape during their time at a four-year college. That’s 20 percent. Ninety percent of the incidents are related to alcohol use. If you have five sisters who go away to get their education, statistically speaking, one of them will be attacked. America is a civilized, developed world power. Rape is a crime of ignorance and savagery. And yet, in our institutions of education and scholarship, the most basic of human offenses is common. I will be the first to say that sometimes the rules here feel fascist. But truthfully, that’s all hyperbole. No one is hurt by...

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