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.

Note to Republicans: A McCain defeat has a silver lining
Nov04

Note to Republicans: A McCain defeat has a silver lining

They say the last stage of grief is acceptance. Like many American conservatives, I have gone into fits just thinking about the near-certainty that Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. No wonder election day is so close to Halloween. While the specter of Obama pulling the levers of executive power will no doubt fill pharmacies with Republicans seeking anti-depressant medication, this dark cloud has a silver lining. Unbelievable as it may seem, from the ashes of the Second Republican Massacre can arise something even Obama wouldn’t begrudge a conservative: hope. It is an unfortunate reality that most Americans have no idea how their government works. They see the president on television and in the newspapers, and since they probably can’t even name their own congressman, they think the president is responsible for everything. When things go wrong, they blame him and his party. As a result, President Bush’s catastrophically low approval ratings have trickled down to Republicans in general as they are associated with one of the most hated men in America. Even though a McCain victory would bring Republicans out from under the shadow of Bush, it would not save them. A President McCain would be blamed for everything that goes wrong during the next four years, while Democrats, though they control both houses of Congress, could sit back and say, “Don’t blame us. The president is a Republican.” And the public would agree with them. If conservatives truly believe their ideas are better than those of liberals, they should not worry about a President Obama wildly succeeding. His tax-raising, over-regulating, free-spending economic policies will run the country into the ground, while his weak-kneed foreign policy will embolden enemies to strike U.S. interests around the world. Republicans should welcome this opportunity to sit back and let the Democrats take the blame for failing, but that will not be enough. They must offer Americans a viable alternative, which is why this time will be equally important for the Republican Party to do something long overdue: remake itself. Republicans need to figure out who they really are. The grand coalition Reagan built has shattered. On one side stand the social conservatives in the mold of Bush, who want to expand government so it can enforce their moral agenda. On the other stand the fiscal conservatives, who don’t care so much about social issues but are fanatics about balanced budgets and cutting the size government. If the “Grand Old Party” wants to have any chance of winning elections, it must reconcile these two camps. But it will take fresh leadership to do so. Republicans need to...

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Don’t blame media for pregnant teens
Nov04

Don’t blame media for pregnant teens

Society cannot blame its problems solely on the influence modern pop culture has on younger generations. The movie Juno did not embellish the life of a pregnant teenager, nor did it make it attractive. Jamie Lynn Spears did not encourage 16-year-old-girls to carry around a baby as this season’s newest style. But somehow today’s culture has swept the real sources of youth ignorance under the rug and covered it up by pointing fingers at the media. Television shows, magazines, movies and famous people do have an influence on adolescent actions. However, no one should disregard sloppy parenting, rebellious spirits, experimental mentalities, boredom and the absence of unfailing love in a child’s life. These, perhaps are the real, attackable issues at hand. The most recent and major publicized event concerning this matter is the pregnancy pact among 17 teenage girls in Gloucester, Mass. The nation is seeking answers on why so many high school students are bonding together to raise their children and what statement they are making by getting pregnant at such an early age. Has a pregnancy epidemic already arrived? We must stop blaming the media for our youth’s problems and then hoping they will just fade away. Action is more profitable than ignorance. Plan B should not be encouraged by public schools. Condoms, contraceptives and women’s health clinics have no place in our educational establishments, nor should the government pay for daycare in this regard. There should be a balance in sex-education curriculum. Abstinence is best, but being naïve is counterproductive. Yes, teenagers will prematurely sleep around, and parents should be aware. Being blindfolded to the issue is more dangerous than addressing it. Education is vital, and self-discipline needs to be encouraged. Enabling pregnant students is promoting the misconceived idea that children can raise children. Nancy Gibbs wrote in TIME magazine that people should view higher teenage pregnancy rates as a step in a positive direction. She said, “Surely they deserve more sympathy and support than shame and derision, if the trend they reflect is not a typical teenager’s inclination to have sex but rather a willingness to take responsibility for the consequences.” Optimism is a great concept, but 750,000 teenagers becoming pregnant every year is an issue. Every child deserves the chance to be born, and I applaud any female for not using abortion as birth control. But the truth of the matter is that if girls were responsible earlier on, they wouldn’t be faced with such a tough decision. Rock music, hippies and GenXers have all defined a past generation. Perhaps we can name the upcoming future the overweight, overstressed, computer-generated baby...

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Or not to skip?
Nov04

Or not to skip?

“You deserve it.” Where did that idea come from? It’s heard in commercials for everything from new Hummer H3s, Suave shampoos and Pop-Tart ads. America is inundated with the notion that the world owes its citizens whatever they deem themselves worthy of receiving. What has been the result? Keep your eyes and ears open during your next trip to Wal-Mart. A parent slapping his or her kid’s hand as he or she reaches for candy in the checkout line is a normal sight to see. American commercialism seems to say people deserve whatever it is they want. The freedom to make the decision doesn’t mean each of the choices is right. Americans have grown with “healthy” breakfast cereal — call it sugar drowning in a homogenized dairy product. What people have grown are spoiled, selfish brats. It’s not just children who gorge on all the Lucky Charms marshmallows first, either. College students routinely expect to get good grades for just showing up, and they don’t want to take any notes when there. Since when were college classes reduced to the kindergarten level in the minds of students? They show up for naptime or spend the whole time texting and doodling. Do they realize they (or their parents) have spent nearly two grand for that class? If the class meets three times a week, then each class period costs about $42. For two days a week, it costs about $63. Attending a class is the same as a new outfit from Target, including the shoes and handbag. Maybe they don’t stop to think about it when they press snooze for the tenth time and decide they can still pass even if they skip. They don’t take into account that somewhere down the road they may really need to miss a class. Just like the kid who eats all the marshmallows in the breakfast cereal first, leaving a soggy mess of Cheerio-like shapes to be the taste left in his or her mouth at the end. Every session has value, almost a dollar for every minute. Don’t forget to set the alarm clock and set aside more time than a late night cram session the day before exams. Eat breakfast. Lucky Charms semi-counts since it’s been shocked with vitamins. But save some marshmallows for the last few...

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To skip?
Nov04

To skip?

Why skip a class that costs students more than most of their weekly budgets? Missing a class should be optional because when students choose to skip a class they have paid for, it is the same as buying a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and choosing to throw it away. If someone buys something, they should be able to do with it what they want. This statement does not mean that missing class is recommended or that it won’t have consequences on grades, but attendance policies should be made independently by students according to how much they want to learn and what kind of experience they expect. For instance, if someone could afford to miss a class more than the allowed absences by a professor and still be happy with their grade they make on tests, then they are better off for it. The responsibility of a person’s education and attendance should be their own rather than being looked over by professors and administration. What are we, high school students? There are days that are too pretty to go to class. There are days that are too ugly to go to class, and there are the grueling days in between. So if someone feels they can afford it, why not miss some of those days? The university stipulates that students cannot miss more than 25 percent of classes in order to be able to finish a class. In most cases, this “absence allowance” is to encourage students to pass their classes by being in class more, but natural selection would imply that students who don’t go to class would faze themselves out of the university anyway. This university holds students to a higher standard than many, keeping men and women separated in residence halls, making sure students go to class, ensuring that everyone parks correctly and handing out fines when university shareholders break the rules, but how does that help teach life lessons? It fails to teach that students are accountable for their own actions and takes the power to choose from the students. Our generation needs to step up and take accountability for their actions in an ever-growing world and the university should not hinder students’ ability to reason. Yes, going to class is the right choice to make, but why not put that decision in the hands of the people that it...

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Media bias is no joke
Oct21

Media bias is no joke

After endless months of covering campaigns and invading personal and public lives alike, cameras and recorders have captured every detail of the presidential election on an unprecedented level. This year’s intense reporting has become a landmark in the news industry and has caused readers and viewers to question media ethics and proper reporting. Conservative talk radio host Sean Hannity stated himself in a program interview during the Values Voter Summit that the media is one sided. He said, “We are going to look back at 2008 as the year journalism died.” As an extreme conservative, it is no surprise Hannity is annoyed by the left-wing bias that has consumed the mainstream media. Never before have consumers needed to protect their minds to this level when absorbing any news related material. McCain is not America’s next top model, but Obama isn’t Miss Illinois either. Yet, popular magazines and newspapers such as People, US Weekly, The New York Times, and USA Today are proving through a series of unfortunate photo shoots and tendentious headlines that Obama has a more glamorous face and therefore is running on a prettier platform. Liberally slanted journalists have conveniently forgotten Obama’s relationship with America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright and have failed to properly investigate the senator’s close ties with former terrorist William Ayers. Instead, the nation’s voter energy been redirected toward Palin’s Down syndrome baby and young, pregnant daughter. Obama’s headline reads “Family man” while Palin’s reads “Family drama.” The media have purposely crept into consumers’ minds, causing them to become brainwashed by partisan coverage. Americans, if they can untangle themselves from overused objectives, have every right to distrust the mass media. The art of journalism has been put to shame by various publications and corporations. But not all reporters and journalists are doing the field an injustice. “There is a misconception in broadcasting that you have to be rude and deceiving to be successful,” Rudy Kalis said. Kalis is the WSMV-TV sports director out of Nashville and has won the AP award for outstanding sportscaster in Tennessee 12 times. “Trust is better than a good story.” The truth should be what every journalist seeks to embrace. Unfortunately, it is unlikely media will reach that point any time soon. In response, consumers need to guard themselves when reading and viewing, but by no means should they ignore the existence of the one thing that keeps this nation in check. Countless athletes have abused steroids, but fans haven’t stopped watching the game. There are still good players on the field. FOX News Radio’s Todd Starnes is aware of the media bias. He said it is important for people...

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Send John McCain to White House
Oct21

Send John McCain to White House

In the movie Gladiator, Russell Crowe’s character, Maximus, declares, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” The same could be said of the 2008 presidential election. On Nov. 4, citizens of the United States will face a choice that could alter the trajectory of the country for a generation, a choice that will define what America and its people stand for. Americans can choose to elect Barack Obama, a smooth-talking charlatan who is at once the most frighteningly leftist and egregiously unqualified presidential candidate in history. Or they can send to the White House a decorated war hero, a proven reformer, a man of character with a distinguished record of public service, a man named John McCain. The choice is clear: McCain for president. The United States today faces unprecedented challenges, and while McCain is far from perfect, he has shown that he has the experience, knowledge and judgment to be an effective president. The same cannot be said for Obama. McCain has the right ideas about fixing America’s economy. Throughout the campaign, he has advocated sensible economic policies such as low taxes to encourage job growth and restraining government spending to reduce the nation’s massive budget deficits that eat away at its future prosperity. Obama’s plan to raise taxes and massively increase federal spending will drive away jobs, bloat the national debt, and lead to economic ruin. McCain’s health care plan gives Americans tax credits to purchase their own insurance, giving individuals control over their health care. Obama promises government mandates and massive expansion of already unsustainable federal programs that put health care into the hands of bureaucrats. To achieve energy independence, McCain wants to utilize all of America’s resources, including wind and solar energy, but most importantly, expanded offshore drilling and nuclear power, two of the fastest, most reliable ways to increase domestic energy production. Obama’s reluctance to support increased drilling and his ridiculous plan to punish the oil companies who bring our fuel out of the ground is both unfortunate and extremely counterproductive. McCain has consistently demonstrated a solid grasp of world affairs and has the right approach to dealing with America’s enemies. He was an early critic of the Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq and a vocal proponent of the troop surge, which has reduced violence in the country to a level where American soldiers can now return home in victory, leaving behind a stable, democratic Iraq. McCain understands the danger posed by rogue nations like Iran and its resident madman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who vows to obliterate Israel — and North Korea, which finds it amusing to test nuclear-capable missiles over the Pacific Ocean....

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