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.

Facts before flattery: The truth about the public option

If a bill being debated right now in Congress could change America forever, shouldn’t the facts come first? Apparently, the answer is no for the Obama administration. Currently, different versions of health care reform legislation exist in the House and the Senate. Instead of clear discussion regarding the ideas presented in the bills, the president has persisted with his cheerleading-style support of them, often resorting to false promises and flattery. The specific details of the bills should be discussed transparently for all to understand. Transparency —that sounds familiar. Obama’s speeches supporting health care reform are not factual. He has been reduced to saying whatever his audience wants to hear in order to get this legislation passed. He does not mention hard details but rather increases hype for the issue. The president flatters the legislation by saying it’s good but rarely gives facts to back up what he says. Dismissing all opposing views as lies does not make for a very transparent discussion. He has the “Trust me; this will work” attitude when speaking about health care reform. He must believe that if he just says that it will all be OK and government- run health care is going to be good enough times, most Americans will start to believe him. The sad truth is that he may be right. The current health care reform legislation has many details, even if the president will not mention them. One aspect of health care reform legislation is the dreaded public, or government-run, option. The idea is that one more health insurance provider run by the government will increase competition among other health insurers and create more affordable insurance. This is not what will happen at all. The public option is what most of the debate on health care reform is all about. Many say it is a giant leap for a socialistic style of government in America. Is the public “option” really an option at all? The answer is no. When the government, which does not have to make a profi t to stay in business, competes with the other insurance companies that do have to make a profi t to survive, the government will always win, putting the other companies out of business until the government “option” is the only one for people to get health insurance. It will become, not optional, as Obama and proponents of the bill describe, but the government will be the one and only source of health insurance in America. People will be forced into the government system whether they like it or not. Few in America doubt the need for a reform of health insurance;...

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Greetings from the university president
Aug27

Greetings from the university president

Article by Dr. Randy O’Rear Welcome back to campus! (Or if you are new to UMHB, welcome to campus!) I hope that each of you had a great summer. I have had a chance to visit with many of your professors and members of the campus staff as they have been preparing for your return. I know that they are as excited as I am about welcoming you back to our learning community. Compared to the buzz of activity in the fall and spring, it was quiet here this summer (and very hot). But we took advantage of the down time to carry out several projects. In addition to the usual paint and repairs in the dormitories, we added new sand to the volleyball courts, created a new pizza/pasta station and an international foods station in the dining hall and remodeled the Crusader Café on the first floor of the Mabee Student Center. We hope you will enjoy these efforts to make your life on campus just a little bit better. As we start the new semester, I would like to encourage each of you to get involved this fall in the many activities available to you on our campus. Resolve to try something new—go yell with the Couch Cru at a football game, take in a musical production, attend a lecture on a topic outside your usual field of interest. There is no better time than now to expand your horizons and no better place to do it than the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. I feel certain that this is going to be a great year at UMHB, and I’m glad that each of you is here to share it with us. Welcome...

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Leader calls campus to embrace change
Aug27

Leader calls campus to embrace change

Article by Tommy Wilson Welcome to the 2009 fall semester at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. For those of you who are entering your first semester, we are pumped that you chose to be with us this year. For everyone else on your third, sixth or even tenth semester, we are glad to have you back as well. It is going to be a great year of adventure and new opportunities for all of us. As you walk around, you will notice several changes around campus. From a revamped SUB to a new sound system in the chapel, UMHB has upgraded some key features. We also have new administrators—Dr. Randy O’Rear as president, and Dr. Byron Weathersbee as vice president for Student Life. All these little changes are not so vast and radical that you say, “What happened to UMHB?” but they do bring a new feel and look to the life and appearance of our university. They will help bring out the best in our school and allow us to grow into what God is calling us to be. There were two things from my campaign last year that I still hold to. One is building community on campus. The second is striving to impact the world we live in. A motto that does justice to both ideas is “Building community inwardly to affect our community outwardly.” We will make every effort to unify the different cultures represented on campus, while still respecting their individual qualities. The community that I hope to affect is not just UMHB or Belton, but the world. We have a great chance to be a part of and make a difference in our global community, which starts here at home with us and spreads out all over the world. This is not an effort for just one person, but for our campus as a whole—stepping outside of who we are normally in order to meet new people, try new things and make new friends. It takes a willing attitude to sit with different people in Hardy, meet new people around campus and interact with new people in the classroom. This vision is not just something I have come up with, but something I believe God is calling our school to do as a whole. I am excited about our upcoming year and to looking back one year from now to see the changes that will have taken place. I hope you will share this passion with me to see this come about, knowing that together we can change our campus and the...

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Sorry to leave the school once hated, eventually loved

I hated UMHB at first. I chose it on a whim, a sense that it was the place God planned for me to go. Transferring in during the spring of my freshman year, it didn’t take long before I started having second thoughts. The school was too small, the people too cliquish, and the football games nothing like watching the Aggies. More like watching my high school team. Actually, my high school was bigger. In short, UMHB had none of the vanities I always imagined would accompany the college experience, and I made plans to transfer out as soon as possible. Then something happened. I couldn’t leave. The Lord spoke clearly into my life through many ways and told me to stay. I hated Him for it. I felt shackled inside a prison of a Christian bubble I desperately wanted to escape. Then, over time, something stranger happened. I didn’t want to leave. Maybe it was the people, the unimaginable, overwhelming friendships with so many generous souls who invited me into their lives and loved me unconditionally. Maybe it was the school, so small I could walk to any class or friend’s room in ten minutes, meeting a dozen people I knew along the way. Maybe it was the football games, where I shook purple cans filled with who knows what, dressed in a ridiculous suit of armor, and jingled my keys at countless vanquished opponents. Now, three weeks away from graduating, I think on the times I watched movies in the lobby of McLane, or when I made my first attempt at cooking in the on-campus apartments, and I treasure those memories more than anything. I think on how the Lord has grown me as a man and a follower of Christ here, and all the conversations with so many friends who know more about serving God than I could learn in a lifetime. I think of how the Lord has guided me, brought me to this newspaper and filled my heart with a passion to serve Him through journalism. It blows me away. I once hated this school, but now I cannot bear the thought of leaving, knowing how far the Lord has brought me here and how many fond memories I will carry in my heart. I don’t worry that much about leaving a legacy; that is in God’s hands. I know that I am certainly not the most gifted writer, the most loyal friend, the most diligent student, or the most faithful Christian. I only ask that I be forgiven for my faults and remembered for the way God used me in spite of them....

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Bridge of death

Staff Editorial Anyone who drives over the SH 317 bridge (the one over the railroad tracks on the way to Wal-Mart) will notice a flurry of new construction near the guardrails. Entombed beneath the orange cones and maintenance trucks is the story of a woman who made a fatal fall over a railing fit to protect no one. On Feb. 28, 2007, Marian Chimene, a 68-year-old Belton resident, was found dead under the bridge. While officials never claimed to know exactly how she plunged to her death, a stroll across the shaky overpass shortly after the incident allowed reasonable conclusions to be drawn. Reporters from The Bells found a mere two-foot guardrail that barely reached most of the staff’s knees. Senior mass communication/public relations major, Katelyn Dean, at the time a sophomore, said her legs “shook like Jell-O” every time a car passed, and she was “thankful to get off the bridge.” If a healthy 19-year-old was rattled crossing the bridge, what would happen if a frail, elderly woman tried to make it to the other side? Perhaps we already know. It does not take a genius to realize that a short railing will not stop any adult from tumbling over the side of a shaking bridge. This calls into question the foresight of the bridge’s designers. Maybe they simply were not given height standards. But that is irrelevant now, and it is sad that improvements to the bridge only came because of the elderly woman’s unintentional sacrifice. It should not take the loss of a life to prove to the city or the state the dangers of a piece of architecture, especially when there are clear signs of potential hazards. Because the highway is state owned and Belton monitored,  the lack of communication between both the city and state government entities failed citizens. While the height of the pre-existing railing was shocking, the breakdown in communication between Belton and the state of Texas is the most troubling aspect of this entire episode. Since more safety improvements are going to be needed in the future with the growth of the university, the city and state ought to get a better grasp of citizen needs. Already it is perilous business to pull onto Highway 317 from 9th and 10th streets during heavy traffic. Will a student have to be killed in a car wreck for something to be done? We applaud the fact that improvements to the bridge are now becoming a reality, and it indicates that government can be responsive to its citizens. However, if those responsible for Belton’s roads truly care about public safety, they will be proactive...

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Let the last battle begin
Apr21

Let the last battle begin

By Garrett Pekar Summer break is swiftly approaching. Does anyone else wonder where the year has gone? It seems to have flown by all too quickly, but this year was neither unproductive nor uneventful, by any means. Thinking back, one can recall friendships made throughout the year, and the many fun times shared with those people. Students endured hours in classrooms. At times, working on homework was like trudging through quicksand. It may not have been fun, but it prepared the way for more interesting, major-specific courses. Without mom or dad to cook, wash or clean, students learned to take care of themselves. They demonstrated responsibility and gained independence. A bunch of kids turned into young adults. Besides growing individually, some may have grown spiritually during this school year. God is not hard to find at UMHB. With chapel, Focus and the many churches near campus, students have a lot of support on their respective journeys of faith. Much has indeed taken place in the course of this year. School’s not over yet, though. Do not get in the summer vacation mindset before all the final exams; they’re way too important to blow off. The word “finals” carries a certain weight that makes it seem like some behemoth waiting to destroy unsuspecting students. When it comes up in conversation, those who hear it cannot help but shudder. Finals are not as big and bad as their legends describe, however. Students can defeat them with the proper amount of preparation. Final exams are important because good grades on finals can bring up bad averages, but bad scores can tear an A down to a B or a C. Grades that have been worked for all semester long do not deserve to be thrown away by the lack of preparation for a final test. Summer will come when it comes, and no amount of laziness will bring it about sooner. Prepare and study well for final exams. Don’t be lazy and slack off before upcoming tests. Take them seriously. Try not to stress out about finals too much, if that’s possible. Easier said than done, for sure. Study hard and prepare the mind, and there will be no need to worry. When it is time to take the test, relax and don’t race through it. Savor the taste of the battle with the beast, and claim victory over the dreaded...

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