When looking around for responses to Rangel's comments calling for a reinstatement of the draft, especially his claim that it's hypocritical to support the war but not support conscription, I haven't been able to find anyone pointing out the problem with that statement. Perhaps it's because it's been said too often and is too obvious, but it isn't for people who haven't given the issue much thought. Mr. Rangel, it's very possible to support the war and also believe that the best thing for assisting it to its conclusion isn't necessarily the addition of large numbers of unwilling, innately ill-equipped, or actively antagonistic people to the fighting force!
I've been in places (including a year in Germany) where there is a mandatory service year of the kind Rangel mentions -- in Germany, at least in 1998, the "year" of military service was several months shorter than the "year" of community service -- and I didn't hear too many complaints about it. It would be great in a place like France, because it would give all high school graduates a year of having to do something and would also both take them out of the potential work force for a year and give them some skills for when they decide to reenter it. It wouldn't go over too well here, though, as 1) we don't need a workforce reduction, 2) we're used to freedom (unlike many Europeans -- again, at least in 1998, German students had to a great extent their careers decided for them on the basis of pre-teen aptitude tests), 3) I doubt people would take too kindly to suddenly putting every 18-year-old in the country on the government's (taxpayer's) payroll, 4) colleges would have to add in even more remedial classes to compensate for a year without school (and, if it were after college (or you could defer it for college), you can bet people would try any loophole they could find to avoid doing mandatory community service or military service they don't want to do when they've got half-a-dozen offers for six-figure jobs upon graduation), 5) as is regularly shown, people are less likely to do things if they feel the money the government is taking from them is being spent on those things (like giving to charity), so the overall tendency might be to make "civic duty" volunteers (those who help because they feel an obligation, not because it's their lifelong dream to be a homeless shelter volunteer) pull out, thinking that that's what the government's paying the 18-year-olds for.
UPDATE: There's a first time for everything -- FHayek at DailyKos makes my top point, and is right on the money the whole way through. What's up? Is he a secret conservative troll, as some commenters think? Or is there really someone over there who has read basic economic theory?
Since we all know about the CofE bishop saying it's fine to kill disabled kids if you think they'll cost too much -- in line with the good old American practice of defining "mother's health" to include financial health in order to rationalize 3rd-trimester abortions -- I won't post about that. Instead, the Chronicle's Weird News section!
So, New Zealand kids can use text message shorthand in exams, eh? I hope they've trained teachers to understand what all the abbreviations mean, and have given them ESP to help them recognize which of many meanings for an abbreviation is meant in each circumstance... my cousin IMs with that, and I can't make out what she's saying most of the time.
In an article about a baby hatch where unwanted babies can be dropped off, you read:
"By installing the hatch, we want to rescue both parents and babies,"
said a hospital official. "Maybe there are some people who are
suspicious about it, but we should not pretend not to see them and let
them die. Babies are innocent."
Good counterpart to the news that babies under 25 weeks gestation are refused medical treatment in Holland -- there, apparently, they do pretend not to see them and let them die.