In "Serve the (Old) People" (page 18), Paul Thornton rants about the scourge of compulsory "national service," an idea rearing its ugly head again. Thornton, 26, says the issue boils down to a war of the old vs. the young: "The idea of forcing people into labor only sounds bad when you're the one doing the labor." An assistant articles editor for the Los Angeles Times editorial page, Thornton lives north of L.A. in Glendale, California, and blogs at opinion.latimes.com. In his youth he "did a fair amount of community service and did it very grudgingly."
"Defense spending is one of the things that get my blood going these days," says economist Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center. In "The Trillion-Dollar War" (page 20), she tracks the ballooning costs of supplemental spending bills. Everyone has his finger in the pie, says de Rugy, but the worst offender is the Pentagon. "Even if the war stops tomorrow—which it won't—we will have emergency bills for a long time," she says, "because the Pentagon has figured out that they are the best way to get weapons and tanks and all sorts of toys without having to cut waste elsewhere."
Dan Hayes, an assistant producer at reason.tv, regularly films features for Reason's new video website. Among them: Matt Welch's interview with the filmmaker James Tusty, an edited transcript of which appears on page 13. Tusty's documentary The Singing Revolution tells how Estonians pushed back against Soviet oppression with rock concerts and song festivals. Before coming to Reason, Hayes, 24, filmed and edited Brothers in Song, a documentary about a men's choir at his alma mater, Miami University of Ohio. "It takes a bunch of individuals coordinating an effort to get a result bigger than themselves," he says. "In The Singing Revolution that was to overthrow communism. For glee club, the stakes weren't as high. But it was still a very moving experience."