Sunday, January 30, 2005

Rolling Stone magazine warns of "The Return of the Draft" and features Wycleff and Johnny Depp

Krista has e-mailed about Johnny Depp many times and feels that we should draw attention to him to support the fact that he shares politics. I have no problem with doing that; however, I haven't seen any reason since Krista began e-mailing about Depp to note him. (He did get an Oscar nomination for best actor as she pointed out this past week.)

However, I did check the mail today (for what arrived yesterday) and among the many things in the box (mainly junk mail) was the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine.

Krista will be happy to know that Depp is on the cover and inside (WARNING, many f-words) there's a feature article on him.

Here's an excerpt:

He smiled his slightly fractured, slightly raffish, entirely vulnerable smile and said that he was looking forward to a few months off before relocating himself and his family -- his girlfriend of seven years, French pop singer and actress Vanessa Paradis, and their two children, Jack, 2, and Lily-Rose Melody, 5 -- to Los Angeles to begin making the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean, the 2003 blockbuster that got him his first Oscar nomination, in the Best Actor category, for his swishy rendering of Capt. Jack Sparrow. "Between now and then, what I'm going to do, I guess, is slobber and drool, space out, play Barbies with my daughter and sword-fight with my son,'' he said. As well, he let it be known that if anything like Lily-Rose's Barbie train set was in his immediate future, he might just go nuts. "I mean, those things are a real bastard to put together,'' he muttered, still smoking and obviously trying to remain calm. "So frustrating that they will send you onto the verge of a nervous breakdown."

I'm not a big fan of celebrity profiles (especially this one with "He said" and taking up so much of the fifth page of the feature -- warning the link above takes you to an excerpt, not the full interview) and less enchanted with Depp profiles to be honest. (I've heard him go on about breasts at length and speak of separation anxiety from his urine in past interviews with Premiere or Movieline, I don't remember which.) I'm not sure that he comes off well in feature articles. (Though that may be more a criticism of feature articles themselves.) But Krista, we've noted him and we're glad to do so.

Having taken care of that, let's use it as our entry way to spotlight an article by Tim Dickinson
in the same issue of Rolling Stone. It's entitled "The Return of the Draft: With the army desperate for recruits, should college students be packing their bags for Canada?" and is available (in full) online:

But with the Army and Marines perilously overextended by the war in Iraq, that volunteer foundation is starting to crack. The "weekend warriors" of the Army Reserve and the National Guard now make up almost half the fighting force on the front lines, and young officers in the Reserve are retiring in droves. The Pentagon, which can barely attract enough recruits to maintain current troop levels, has involuntarily extended the enlistments of as many as 100,000 soldiers. Desperate for troops, the Army has lowered its standards to let in twenty-five percent more high school dropouts, and the Marines are now offering as much as $30,000 to anyone who re-enlists. To understand the scope of the crisis, consider this: The United States is pouring nearly as much money into incentives for new recruits -- almost $300 million -- as it is into international tsunami relief.
"The Army's maxed out here," says retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, who served as Air Force chief of staff under the first President Bush. "The Defense Department and the president seem to be still operating off the rosy scenario that this will be over soon, that this pain is temporary and therefore we'll just grit our teeth, hunker down and get out on the other side of this. That's a bad assumption." The Bush administration has sworn up and down that it will never reinstate a draft. During the campaign last year, the president dismissed the idea as nothing more than "rumors on the Internets" and declared, "We're not going to have a draft -- period." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in an Op-Ed blaming "conspiracy mongers" for "attempting to scare and mislead young Americans," insisted that "the idea of reinstating the draft has never been debated, endorsed, discussed, theorized, pondered or even whispered by anyone in the Bush administration."
That assertion is demonstrably false. According to an internal Selective Service memo made public under the Freedom of Information Act, the agency's acting director met with two of Rumsfeld's undersecretaries in February 2003 precisely to debate, discuss and ponder a return to the draft. The memo duly notes the administration's aversion to a draft but adds, "Defense manpower officials concede there are critical shortages of military personnel with certain special skills, such as medical personnel, linguists, computer network engineers, etc."

Rolling Stone was rightly cited as the most improved magazine (no one misses Ed Needham at the helm who's e-mailed this site) in our year-in-review last December. So please take the time to check out the story on "The Return of the Draft" by Dickinson as well as the Depp feature if you'd like.

Having noted Depp, will also note that Wycleff pops up in the news section:

Haitian-born rapper's new organization brings aid to his homeland Haitian-born hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean returned to his homeland in January to launch Yele Haiti, a multipronged effort that will bring aid and attention to the impoverished Caribbean nation as it endures what the former Fugee calls "a mini civil war."

To learn of what the group's attempting, click on the link above the excerpt (it's a five paragraph item online and in the print edition).

[Note: The word Depp uses, "bastard," is in the dictionary. If anyone was offended, my apologies but I'm not of the belief that the word will get you in trouble at work even if your job has a strict policy on language. I could, as always, be wrong.]