Our Sputnik Moment

No one can argue this is an important moment in US history. President Obama elegantly called it our "Sputnik" moment in his SOTU address.

But if this is our Sputnik moment, who is Russia in this comparison? In other words, who are we competing against? What's at stake? Who are the bad guys? China perhaps? Are we to beat China through better education and innovation? China has it's share of problems. They are also unsure of their educational system, which is regarded as too militarist in style. And they do not encourage any innovation. In fact, so starved, China's been known to steal innovation.

In our Sputnik moment, the key issues just may be education and innovation. We need to be educated and reminded who we are as Americans and what we as Americans stand for in the world. We're not just another country or participant in the global economy, but one who perpetuates the idea of self-governance. Of independence. Of freedom. Should our education system be one of strong union holds or of open competition that weeds out inefficiencies? Should our innovation come from subsidy and government favoritism often controlled by special interests and specific agendas or through a near chaotic free market, where ideas reap rewards but also the burden of failure on their own merits? Or do continually march away from our founding principles as Francis does here?

This is certainly our Sputnik moment, but this time the Reds are much closer than Cuba.


Missing the Target

Leftists want to ban 15 shot clips, thinking far less damage would have resulted if Jared Lee Loughner had fewer bullets. The reality is a person who wants to kill humans will practice switching clips faster or simply shooting more accurately, aiming for the chest or part of the head responsible for basic functions like breathing not higher functions which often can be reprogrammed. Or the next killer could learn karate to fend off good samaritans while changing clips. Why not use 2 guns, dropping the spent one to continue on your rampage "leave(ing) the gun… take(ing) the cannoli". Lastly, the potential killer would do what any Islamic terrorist who never experienced 2nd Amendment freedom and use home made bombs from everyday material to do real damage.

Legislation is never pro-active. They come after the fact. First someone tries to kill using a shoe bomb, then we remove shoes for travel. First someone breaks into the cabin of a plane to take down all souls on board, then we use better locks on the cockpit door. When one door closes, another opens. Legislation will never solve future problems accomplishing the mission to keep us safe. But legislation will make the political author look good. He did something, constituents would say. Yes… he fed his ego and bought votes from those who don't have a clue how to stop evil.

So what are we to do against such evil? What stopped Loughner, the Ft. Hood shooter, 911's Flight 93, or the shoe and underwear bomber? What stopped any horror we face? The nude scanners? Police? The Feds? Homeland Security? Government legislation? No. Ultimately we stopped them. Us. Regular people. Individuals who took responsibility to protect themselves and self-less enough to protect each other. The true meaning of the 2nd Amendment is not to preserve hunting or shooting ranges, but to "bear arms", to protect yourself, to always keep your guard up. That doesn't mean everyone needs to pack heat. But it does mean for everyone to rely more on looking out for yourself than expecting government to do it for you and to pay attention to each other's needs rather than looking away.

If leaders want to sure up our defenses, they would remind us that being American is to be brave and stop injustices. It does happen. We tell our kids if they see a classmate being bullied, they are to not stand idly by, defend the weak or at least run to get help. We shake stranger's hands in church to make ourselves known to each other, making it awkward to drive by when the other has a flat tire or in need of help. From helping an elderly woman across the street while another slows to give them time to cross, to pulling her off subway tracks, while another grabs the conductor's attention, we do what we are capable of to help one another and ultimately ourselves.

Just as God has given us free will, the government ensures we keep it. Regulating kindness effectively is to destroy free will and freedom. We are Americans. Land of the free and home of the brave. Our leaders should be reminding us from time to time instead of us reminding them.

Do I wish Jared Lee Loughner had a 8 clip rather than 30? No. I wish he found love 2 days before his rampage.


Hope And Change?

President Obama is fixing to deregulate to strengthen the economy. Wasn't that a bad thing like extending the Bush Tax rates so rates wouldn't increase this year, in effect creating the largest tax hike in US history? Leftists like Keith Olbermann will spew vial rhetoric if this novel "Regan-esque" deregulation and lowering taxes scheme takes effect.

Does our President mean business with this business? Or is his radical change just an inflection point? Sounds more like a typical middle of the road political approach to mean everything to everybody. What do you think?


Who's A Liberal?

This is a tribute to Patrick McDonnell's Mutt's character Mooch, who has a lisp and a rebuttal to my friend and political adversary Xeth Feinberg in his cartoon exclaiming a conservative doesn't believe in conservation

"Conservative" in terms of environment means to conserve our resources. Don't cut down all our trees and such. In terms of politics, it is to not use government as a solution to every problem we face.

The other reference is to George Orwell's "1984" term "Newspeak", which is to pervert the meaning of words to better control people's ideas. What you thought meant one thing, now means another. It's a way of changing history to better back an argument. It's the equivalent to saying Martin Luther King taught us we are all equal. Actually his message is for us to treat each other according to our character not color. That our actions define us not a pre-determined social standing, whether detrimental OR corrective.

Somewhere along the way, Conservative became Newspeak for war monger and Evangelicalism. It's causing me to re-think the title of Angie's 1st book… Perhaps the title should have been "Angie: A Liberty Loving Libertarian Lost in the Progressive Sea of Leftist Liberals, Statist Socialists and Relative Reds!" Perhaps for the next printing...


Government Colored Goggles

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum commented on the AZ shooting best by saying, "The left always looks at things through the prism of government, so they are saying: Where was the state, where was the school? I would say: Where were the parents, the friends, the neighbors?". One way grants power to the individual and family to solve the ills of society. The other the state and government. Only one way embraces freedom. And only one represents America's calling in the world. As the President mentioned, which would Christina Taylor Green want?


Convenient Collective Responsibility

For the past month I've turned off politics to finish a non-political cartoon called Family Pants' The Holiday Hedging Horror, celebrate Christmas and complain about rising gasoline prices. I somehow found a political undercurrent in the cartoon about limited government and anarchy and added a line or two about it in my post. Afterward I turned on the TV to find the Arizona shooting horror involving killer Jared Lee Loughner, with some bizarre wording similar to "limited government", "anarchy" and "the Tea Party".

Understanding today's vitriol, some of which I embrace for political humor, I did not want my intent misconstrued where I describe my lead character Frank Mueller as an anarchist. It was in the context of his wanting smaller government by means of simply refusing government and societal help and taking it upon himself to correct his situation on his own. It was a stretch since the cartoon was pure silliness so I decided to remove the political paragraph.

Never less it stressed individualism over collectivism and smaller government over intrusive government. This is always the undercurrent to conservatism. But never should anyone embrace the "anarchy" of smaller government through the killing government officials or anyone for that matter. Nor should people worry about Sarah Palin's chance or running in 2012 over the murder of innocents or use any tragedy as a tool to better silence opponents.

Name calling and even threatening remarks in today's politics are the result of heated debates in the age of the power of anonymity thanks to internet facelessness. Much like the ability to curse out a 6 foot 7 inch jerk who cut you off in traffic but saying thank you to the same Frankenstein as he steps on your foot in person on the train.

These threats are never literal, whether from the right or left. Like high school coaches telling the football team to "kill" the other team, no mentally stable kid thinks the coach means for you to actually kill them. If one player does so and cites the coach's command, we arrest the kid, not blame the coach. Unfortunately politically correct squads will try to regulate the aggressiveness of coach's future half time speeches only to the jeers of normal people who realize that kid was unstable long before he suited up that day as is the case with Loughner, who stalked his victim before the existence of the Tea Party. If it wasn't the coach's speech, Palin's "targets" or gun reference, it would have been a "Beavis and Butthead" cartoon or rap artist Eminem to take the fall.

Rather than focus on individual and personal responsibility, the coach's rhetoric gets the blame and unfortunately becomes a tool to advance the politically correct squad's agenda such as we should watch soccer rather than football.

The blame game abandons individuality.

The only evil here is Jared Lee Loughner, whose insane ramblings contain the words "anarchy" and "smaller government", but also left leaning subjects as pot smoking. We can no more pass off blame to Sarah Palin, the Tea Party or current political vitriol than we could blame the woman who wears a short skirt for being attacked on the street. The attacker is always the villain. If anything, the girl is displaying poor taste, losing her respect in some circles but oddly championed in others. Palin's target reference is subject to her own personal verbiage and judged by her audience and not to be the blame of violent acts of madmen.

The abandonment of individuality is common for the Left. In the Arizona shooting, such abandonment of individuality is actually a means to support collectivism; perhaps calling for a future regulation of political discourse, especially if it opposes Leftist ends. Maybe a banning of talk radio or town halls where voters can address concerns directly to politicians who are seemingly isolated from their constitutes' needs. Ironically rapper Eminem supports individualism and personal responsibility as he raps, "Just what damage can the pen do?" in "Who Knew" off his Marshal Mathers CD. And we all know Mr. Slim Shady is not a Sarah Palin supporting Tea Party enthusiast...