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.

Facebook insanity: Election-related Facebook statuses dredge up hurtful topics, ignore national progress
Nov18

Facebook insanity: Election-related Facebook statuses dredge up hurtful topics, ignore national progress

Let me preface the following statements by admitting to being a strong advocate of the Republican Party during this last election. While disappointed about the final results, there are limits to expressing these feelings and emotions to the general public. Sadly, many people have crossed this line—on both sides. While Facebook statuses are great ways of revealing emotions and thoughts of friends, it has been taken to the extreme. It now blasphemes, ridicules, belittles and annoys others and their politics. Why are Facebook wars necessary? Can these things not be civilly discussed in person? I have many friends who voted for Obama. While we disagreed on several levels, we had many enlightening conversations without raising our voices or calling people names that should not be repeated in public. Doing these things in private with trusted friends can be acceptable. However, the line is drawn when opinions are made to purposefully ridicule and demean others to prove oneself, or one’s opinions, better. If you cannot say it without yelling, can it really stand on its own? Why is it that race is still a factor when the truly important issues are in a person’s credentials, experience and moral issues? I have a problem with some of these qualifying factors, but race has no place in deciding elections. The only time it should arise is during an attempt to eliminate racist behaviors. People should not cast racial judgments. Many racist jokes or slurs have been made, but it really only makes those people look like loud, pigheaded jerks. On the flip side, many people voted solely on basis of the pigment of the candidates’ skin. While it makes history, it will make no other trivial difference. Racist issues still exist, but it is a dying factor that belongs to people who cannot think outside their little box. One of the benefits of this election was that Obama is this nation’s first black president. This is a truly amazing feat, considering the segregation issues that were considered normal and acceptable less than a century ago. Another important result was the rise in voting turn-outs across the nation. The final turn-out of voters went from 55.3 percent in the 2004 election to 64.1 percent in 2008. While I actually like some of the words President Bush created, it irritated many. Now we won’t have to worry about listening to comedians mock the president’s latest verbal mishap. With Obama in office, the nation can also enjoy an eloquent State of the Union Address every year. Most importantly, there will no longer be any argument as to how the word “nuclear” should be pronounced. The...

Read More

Corporate corruption hurting us all

By Jordan Gustin Here’s a riddle. How does Congress solve a problem in America? They throw taxpayer money at it and hope it sticks. Since a riddle is a solution shrouded in a mystery, this answer wasn’t much of a riddle. Congress’ nonchalant mismanagement of our money has long been known. They explain their reason for spending during times when saving is needed, but even the blind could see right past the greed and corruption that grins beneath. When a CEO is laid off due to corruption in a corporate scandal, no one is surprised. When a congressman is put on trial for accepting gifts and is found guilty, no one is shocked. So why does everyone allow these CEOs and congressmen to handle their money and spend it freely? It happens because of the corrupt mindset most people unknowingly accept growing up. From a young age, Americans are taught that if they become very rich, they have a right to hoard all of that money for themselves. They’ve earned it. We reward wealth in America. The problem is that most of the rich people in our country haven’t worked very hard to get it. Why is it that we praise our teachers, police officers, fire fighters and military personnel as heroes but pay them next to nothing? Why allow our least respected paper-pushers and money-manipulators to make more money than anyone else simply by “knowing people who know people?” Haven’t the real heroes earned more than just respect? Something is very wrong with this picture. It’s time for a change. Democrats and Republicans alike have caused this problem. Corporate giants have paid our congressmen and congresswomen copious amounts of cash to vote in their favor. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were doing this for more than 10 years until they were taken over by the Federal Reserve in September along with other companies. Then the issue of a bailout came up. Once again, Congress predictably infused cash into the bloodstream of the problem — $800 billion (and counting) to be precise. In the process of deciding whether or not to pass the bailout, Congress uncovered some shady characters. Take for example Richard Fuld, former CEO of Lehman Brothers, who knew his company was going bankrupt and still decided to keep $480 million plus additional payouts. Still living in a $14 million oceanfront villa with a million-dollar art collection, he complained to Congress that he didn’t get any severance pay and that he lost more than $10 million. Congressman Waxman set Fuld straight by reminding everyone, “You made all this money taking risks with other people’s money.” So why...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Page 60 of 62« First...102030...5859606162