Young women enjoy themselves during a macrobotellon (drinking session) in Sevilla, southern Spain March 17, 2006. Hordes of teenagers and students swarmed onto Spanish streets on Friday for mass drinking sessions, defying legislation introduced to stop the binges. REUTERS/Alejandro Ruesga
REUTERS/Alejandro Ruesga
I first read this as a title to a newspaper article: Teenagers concerned about their rights.

Teenagers and parents are locked into a battle over teenager rights. What rights are those? According to the article, the teenagers get to choose whatever those rights might be.

What is this? Well, for one thing this is a cultural and class issue; in other words, kids from affluent homes need to "get a life." They are spending way too much time on the internet, text messaging their friends, and cogitating their navels. And, parents are allowing this to happen. Who are the parents here?

Kids in control? Give me a break! Of course, when parents relinguish control to teenagers, the teenagers are going to take it. But, what can we expect when kids don't have to face old fashioned responsibilities like a job or household chores?

Here's a radical suggestion: what about kids joining the military after high school graduation, or at least participating in some sort of Universal Service like the Peace Corps or Americorps for a year or two. Their angst under these circumstances might just be a good thing as opposed to worrying about how to "get one over" on their parents or when the next big party is! JUST SOME THOUGHTS...

Phil Mickelson: A Winning Athlete Who Gives Back

Phil Mickelson chips to the tenth green during the rain delayed third round of the 2006 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 9, 2006. Mickelson took a one-shot lead after the third round. (Robert Galbraith/Reuters)
(Robert Galbraith/Reuters)
Sunday, Phil Mickelson, pro golfer, won the U.S. Masters tournament at Augusta National - his second within three years. Mickelson has also given back to our young fighting men and women.

A Soldier's E-mail:

Last year, every time Phil Mickelson made a birdie or an eagle, he donated money to Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds handicapped accessible homes for soldiers like me. (I lost both my legs in Iraq.)

In October, my wife and I moved into a home HFOT provided us for free. And for that, this soldier will always consider Phil Mickelson one of his most admired athletes of all time.

Corporal Bobby Isaacs
U. S. Army
Leasburg, North Carolina

A soldier watches as a statue of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad in this April 9, 2003 file photo. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters) 
(Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)


Yesterday, April 9, was Freedom Day in Iraq commemorating the third anniversary of the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue in Firdos Square in Baghdad( the fall of Baghdad).

Freedom Day(yesterday) was marked by violence; at least 5 car bombings in Baghdad killed 3 people and wounded several. Mayheim and violence are still the order of the day in Iraq three years later.

Many Iraqis think they are worse off today than before the fall of the Hussein regime. Others say they are thankful Saddam and his regime were ousted and know freedom comes at a cost and are willing to pay the cost for that freedom; we can only hope and pray; the sooner the Iraqi government and people can get their act together, the sooner our troops can get back home.

An Iraqi man walks past the (AFP/Sabah Arar)
Freedom Day in the US came and went without much fanfare not unlike it did in Iraq. No protests against the war like the old Vietnam style protests( whether the ones during the Nam war did any good or not).

And, from what I read, the few protests that were held didn't get much attention and very few young people showed up or had any interest it seems. Why? Simply, kids, like most adults, don't have any vested interest in the war in Iraq. It really is not affecting them.

Life goes on; and, since there's no draft, America's young people don't have to think about service to country. So why get excited?There's a war. But who cares? Someone else is doing the fighting. What is the big deal?

In some ways, activism has not waned. From various reports, students are getting involved in Teach America, there's been a resurgence in the Peace Corps, and many high school and college students went to help in New Orleans after Katrina. Maybe, it is just the idea of an abstract war going on somewhere else- a war not really affecting anyone other than those fighting or their families.


Without a draft or any sort of Universal Service, kids, by in large, don't have any incentive to serve. I talk to parents of kids who are draft eligible with great regularity; and rarely do I talk to any parent who has considered military service for their child.

These parents are not to be blamed; the country is to be blamed. The gutless and self-serving politicians who are willing to let America's working class youngsters put themselves in harm's way are the major culprits.

Lance Cpl. Cory Mince, left, of Simi Valley, California and Pfc. Ruben Almaraz, of Surprise, Arizona, scan rooftops for insurgents from their position in the open back of a humvee in Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraq, in this Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 file photo. Flying kites to help aim mortars, releasing pigeons to warn of the arrival of U.S. troops, and fake funeral processions complete with rocket-stuffed coffins are some of the latest tricks being used by insurgents in Ramadi.(AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg, File)  
(AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg, File)
I understand guys like Cheney not supporting universal service or a draft. He had "other priorities" during Vietnam. We were probably better off without Dick in Vietnam. The guy shot a buddy hunting; no telling what he might have done at war.

But, there is no excuse for men like Senators John Kerry, John McCain, Chuck Hagel and former Secretary of State, Colin Powell. They are all Vietnam veterans who have seen young men die in combat. They, of all people, should have been able to put aside politics and demand that all Americans make a sacrifice. If fighting in Iraq is truly a fight against terrorism, it is a fight for all Americans, not just for those willing to serve.

April 13 2006
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