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.

Animation outshines most other film styles

By Emily Keahey Action movies no longer rule the box office, but neither do thrillers, horrors or romantic comedies. The movies that are the most impressive are the animated films. These cartoons should no longer be thought of as for kids only. Compare two movies that recently premiered in theatres: The Clash of the Titans and How to Train your Dragon. The action-packed mythological movie, Clash, was highly publicized and had quite a few big name stars in it, but the film is a huge disappointment. The story line is flat, the acting is so-so, and the supposedly awesome Kraken, is lame. On the other hand, the animated movie, How to Train your Dragon, about a young Viking is absolutely amazing. The story line appeals to viewers of any age, the characters are both humorous and engaging and, personally, I left the theater wanting a pet dragon like Hiccup. With the increase in 3-D films it is no surprise that both of these movies took advantage of the newest Hollywood trend; but what is surprising is that How to Train your Dragon was far superior in that category as well. In fact, in most cases the animated films are much better in 3-D than live, action movies. Another reason why live action movies are becoming increasingly disappointing could be because the acting is lacking. It seems that it is becoming easier to leave the theater and find an actor’s or actress’ performance completely unconvincing. Animation movies do not have this problem because whatever emotion the character displays is going to be believable because it is, after all, a cartoon. Live movies are just not producing the same level of material that the animated movies are. With the release of Up, 9 and The Princess and the Frog, animation stole the box offi ce. In fact, Time magazine’s top three movies of 2009 were all animated. The highly anticipated live movies like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Jennifer’s Body and Land of the Lost were a complete waste of time, money and brain cells. Animated movies are not only appropriate for children to see, which is becoming increasingly more difficult to find today, but even the most cynical college student could find enjoyment as they watch them. The animated movies are fun and give older viewers a glimpse back at their childhood and the innocence and simplicity that surrounded it. It would be a lie to say that there have not been any live movies to come out recently that were not good, but in comparison to the animated movies, they just do not compete. Animated movies have stepped up...

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Is sex addiction real?

By Sarah Sattelberg Accountability for one’s actions seems to be lost in today’s society. Many appear to believe they can act however they wish with no consequences for poor moral choices. Some blame their inexcusable behavior on addictions. Tiger Woods and Jesse James say their extramarital affairs were caused by a sex addiction. This leaves questions: Is this a true medical or mental health issue or a way not to answer for their wrongdoing? Addiction is typically considered chemical dependence on a drug substance. When addicts don’t have a fix, they go through withdrawal. A lack of promiscuous acts cannot make an individual physically ill. Woods has been a role model for many young Americans. He appeared to be the picture of perfection on and off the golf course. When he fell from his pedestal, the real man came out through the slew of women he had bedded. His stint in rehab and apology appear to be sincere. One nagging problem lingers. A monetary interest was at stake, so was his speech heartfelt or wallet felt? Jesse James was not an athlete but the cool guy married to the sweetheart of the big screen, Sandra Bullock. When the skeletons came tumbling out of his closet, he admitted only a small amount of wrongdoing. His stint in therapy was short lived as he left when Bullock would not take his calls. It would seem he cares little about whom he hurt. These men are not the first nor will they be the last to blame their poor choices on something they supposedly cannot control. What does this cycle of behavior say to the youth of the country? Soon anyone will be able to blame any socially unacceptable behavior on mental illness. Coddling is the new method of discipline. Excuses make everything better. The next generation will lack any moral compass if role models like Woods and James are not culpable for their sins. Saying you’re sorry and checking into rehab does not make up for cheating on your spouse with strippers and porn stars. Excuses do not equate to remorse. Rehab does not mean that one is clean. Blaming a nonexistent medical problem for a moral failure makes the incident all the more disgusting. No one should take Woods’ apology at face value. Actions speak louder than words, and this former fan is waiting for him to show his true...

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Too much spirit

By Christi Covington Athletic events with a healthy dose of team spirit create some of the most vibrant memories for college students. They draw us together as a community, and boost a university’s reputation — except when they don’t. When my dad attended Southwestern University around 30 years ago, he played baseball, giving him the chance to interact with other teams and their fans. One school particularly impressed him with what they did not do. No one heckled, no one cussed, no one made rude or foul gestures as they played. That impression was so strong, so unique even to a college-age guy that two decades later, he encouraged his oldest daughter to visit this university versus the one a little farther south where her parents had met. That university was the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and I was that daughter. If it was not for Dad’s brief interlude with this school, I would never have paid attention to small UMHB. I thought I wanted to go to a large, state college and that was where I planned to apply. However, after getting on campus and talking to the admissions staff, I was a Crusader for life. Since then, two sisters and a cousin have also joined these proud ranks. We laugh that UMHB is our family’s college of choice. I always spread the good news of this beautiful university hidden in the small town of Belton, especially among the youth at my church. Unfortunately, I learned not everyone is so impressed after visiting our campus. Recently, three of the youth staff from my church attended UMHB’s basketball game against Wheaton College. They knew one of the star players for the opposing team, and wanted to see him play. These are three people who exercise a great deal of influence over many high school students’ lives, including what college to attend post-graduation. Will they recommend UMHB? Instead of the welcome that my dad experienced decades earlier, what they saw were a vocal, obnoxious group of Crusader fans who were rude with their words, dress and body language. You know who you are. Keep on your pants, guys. My three friends graduated from public universities. They are not overly sensitive about expressive school spirit, but certain UMHB fans gave them a particularly bad display of it. I was a student at UMHB only four years ago; I was proud of the Couch Cru and its team spirit leadership, but cheering for your school is not the same as acting like an immature goober, for lack of a better or more printable label. Remember, what you do today is the heritage...

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The cost of freedom
Apr13

The cost of freedom

By Sarah Sattelberg Many have laid down their lives in pursuit of it. American history is full of battles waged to maintain or gain it. Across the world people stand up to governments who have ripped it from their grasps. This thing is called freedom. Some people living in America, where personal choice is everywhere, forget that something as simple as clothing preference is a privilege. Recently someone told me freedom is free. He felt it existed like air. All I could think was did you never learn history in school? Many individuals believe that people are inherently decent. This is an ignorant notion. Humanity has never had an absence of malevolent individuals. Good and evil have and will always be at battle. Freedom has a hefty price that brave men and women pay every day. Corp. Nathaniel Aguirre a 21-year-old combat medic was a month out from completing a yearlong tour in Iraq. While on a mission, his security detachment encountered sniper fire. A fellow soldier was wounded. Aguirre rushed to his side to give medical aid. In the process he was shot and bled out on that foreign soil while his brothers in arms desperately tried to save him. His funeral was filled with weeping aunts, uncles and grandparents. A tough first sergeant broke down sobbing with one look at the soldier he had trained and befriended lying lifeless in a coffin. Tears dripped from his mother’s eyes onto his cold grey face while she whispered her goodbyes before he was lowered into the ground. Every tear represented not only his sacrifice but the sacrifice of everyone who loved him as well. Many soldiers make it back from war but face the loss of body parts, eye sight or brain damage from explosives. Recently a double amputee blind Marine re-enlisted. A lieutenant colonel in first Cavalry lost both of his legs this past summer and had been shot the tour before in Iraq. He doesn’t let the tragedy slow him down. He pushes toward recovery, so he can get back in the fight. These men have the heroes’ hearts that are necessary to keep liberty alive. There is no refund for lost lives or limbs or permanent disfigurement. Some of these brave human beings look at their burned faces and stumps not with regret but pride in what their injuries stand for. They know what is at stake should the bad guys win. History is filled with valiant heroes who looked certain death in the face so that future generations would not be enslaved to tyrants. We are privileged to be Americans. We all have been given...

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Decline of the great American empire

Is America an empire? It has been a major global superpower since the end of World War II. But is it an empire? Merriam-Webster Online defines an empire as, “A major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority.” Welcome to the American empire. In the past, our nation has meddled in the affairs of other countries whenever it saw fit. A leader among countries can pave the way into the future for others to follow. As long as our motives are just, we should lead the rest of the globe. However, many other countries don’t like the idea of a “bigger kid” bullying the others into submission. Even if it is done with good intentions or for a righteous cause, no one likes being told what to do. But America can be the one to pick up the scrawny kid who is in need of a hand. Should America step down from its position of leadership though and simply blend in with other nations? Since it came into power, the Obama administration has been transforming the U.S. from a leader into a follower. With a new nuclear policy doctrine that further disarms the United States and makes it vulnerable to attack, we take another step into submission to the rest of the world. President Obama signed a nuclear arms control agreement with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday to reduce the stockpiles of nuclear weapons of both nations. The agreement, called the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, builds on a previous Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that expired in December. If passed, it will cut the number of both countries’ nuclear weapons by about a third. With policies like the START agreement, the public health care bill and charging terrorists in American civilian courts, the Obama administration is weakening the United States’ power to influence other nations. We are stepping down from our destiny instead of rising to the potential of a world leader. Was our country founded to stand out or fit in? That’s the question America has to ask itself to decide what role it will play in the future of the global...

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Student loan overhaul doesn’t quite cut it

If you’re like the majority of college students, at graduation, you will be handed more than a pretty piece of paper with calligraphy writing on it. According to the Project on Student Debt, in 2008 the average college senior had $23,300 in debt. In a lagging economy, graduating seniors will carry more than job search woes. Being a conservative voter, I often find myself shuddering when I hear anything on the news that sounds like big government takeover. But the news about the government’s student loan overhaul hardly made headlines. It was packed quietly in the health care bill. So, while Independents, Republicans and Democrats alike bickered on national television about what the health care bill would destroy or construct, provide or deny, college students (like you and I) were likely flipping the channel. Why? The news was too confusing, too complicated or too irritating. Most of the nation ignored the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act during the heated talk about health care. This piece of legislation was passed with little to no deliberation. It was “small” in the shadow of the overall bill, which clogged our House and Senate for months. Coming at the topic as if I were just a student with loans without a political predisposition, here are the facts. Pros (according to supporters of the bill): – The government gets to cut out the middlemen (banks) between the students and their funding. – It’s supposed to save $60 billion within the next 10 years. That money will go to support Pell Grants. With more Pell Grants (which don’t have to be paid back) more low-income students will receive financial aid for college. – It’s supposed to be easier for students to repay their loans. The cap for payment will be dropped to 10 percent of a students’ income (a 5 percent drop from the old system). Repayment should be less confusing. – Some banks will still get “federal contracts” to service the student loans, according to the National Review. – Private loans will still be available for students, but they will be significantly weakened by the legislation. Cons (according to naysayers): – Cutting out the middlemen of private financial institutions puts the government in charge. (If the government can’t run the post office, how can it possibly be responsible with student loans?) – Stafford loans are eliminated. The funds will come directly from the government. – Thousands of other bank employees could lose their jobs. An estimated 8,500 Sallie Mae employees (1/3 of its employees) will be let go due to the loss of business. – Schools used to choose the lender (whether private...

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