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The Burning Of The Gaspee—A Good Thing As Far As I Am Concerned

(Blogger’s Note 6/27/12–I’m short on time today and I meant to run this post from last year a few weeks ago on the anniversary of the date of the burning of the Gaspee.  So I’m running it again today. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.) 

June 9, 1772 was the date of the burning of the Gaspee in Narragansett Bay off the coast of Rhode Island.

(Above–An 1883 engraving depicting the burning of the Gaspee.)

The Gaspee was a British revenue schooner that helped make sure Rhode Islanders paid colonial taxes.

From the Rhode Island Historical Society-

“The first open act of aggression toward Great Britain leading up to the American Revolution took place in Warwick on June 10, 1772.  The British revenue schooner, the Gaspee, ran aground in Narragansett Bay.  Before the ship could be set afloat, it was boarded by a battalion of men, led by Samuel Whipple and John Brown, and burned.”

As a school kid in Rhode Island at the time of the American Bicentennial, I was told that the burning of the Gaspee was a good thing. I recall we even once had a school play that recreated the burning.

While I’m doubtful about many things that I learned from my teachers, I still very much hold to the idea that the burning of the Gaspee was a good thing.

Here is an excellent collection of links to learn more about the Gaspee incident. 

Here is the link for the Gaspee Days that are held each year in Rhode Island to mark the great event.

It is up to each individual to learn our shared history.

American history is complicated. Events that took place in the 1770’s are not clear guideposts for what we should think and do today.

If somebody broke the law to impede the collection of taxes today, I would demand that they go to jail.

What is the difference between the burning of the Gaspee in 1772 and such an act today?

I can’t imagine there is much difference except my own view of British rule of the American colonies 230 years after the fact, in comparison to my support today of a federal government able to help everyday citizens and able to administer the day-to-day functions of the nation.

Figure stuff out for yourself.

Don’t let other people define your past, and then seek to shape your future while you stand idly by.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

May 4 Is Rhode Island Independence Day

May 4 is Rhode Island Independence Day.

On May 4, 1776 Rhode Island declared independence from Great Britain. It was the first of the soon-to-be former colonies to take this step.

If you were a school kid in Rhode Island in 1976, you got the day off as a holiday as part of Bicentennial observances that year.

I recall that as a good day. I lived in Rhode Island between 1968 and 1980.

(Below—The Rose Island lighthouse in Narragansett Bay)

Here is some history on Rhode Island ( Click here for the full link) —

Rhode Island was a leader in the American Revolutionary movement. Having the greatest degree of self-rule, it had the most to lose from the efforts of England after 1763 to increase her supervision and control over her American colonies. In addition, Rhode Island had a long tradition of evading the poorly enforced navigation acts, and smuggling was commonplace.

Beginning with strong opposition in Newport to the Sugar Act (1764), with its restrictions on the molasses trade, the colony engaged in repeated measures of open defiance, such as the scuttling and torching of the British customs sloop Liberty in Newport harbor in July 1769, the burning of British revenue schooner Gaspee on Warwick’s Namquit Point in 1772, and Providence’s own “Tea Party” in March 1775. Gradually the factions of Ward and Hopkins put aside their local differences and united by endorsing a series of political responses to alleged British injustices. On May 17, 1774, after parliamentary passage of the Coercive Acts (Americans called them “Intolerable”), the Providence Town Meeting became the first governmental assemblage to issue a call for a general congress of colonies to resist British policy. On June 15 the General Assembly made the colony the first to appoint delegates (Ward and Hopkins) to the anticipated Continental Congress.

In April 1775, a week after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, the colonial legislature authorized raising a 1,500-man ”army of observation” with Nathanael Greene as its commander. Finally, on May 4, 1776, Rhode Island became the first colony to renounce allegiance to King George III. Ten weeks later, on July 18, the Assembly ratified the Declaration of Independence.

(Below–The flag of Rhode Island along with a Revolutionary-era U.S. flag. This is a picture I took last summer in Newport, Rhode Island.)   

Here are some basic facts about Rhode Island.

Here is information on visiting Rhode Island. 

A great book to learn about the American colonies is American Colonies by Alan Taylor.  

Below is a picture I took in 2008 of the famous Independent Man statue found on the top of the Rhode Island State Capitol.

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Saw Houston Mayor Annise Parker—Then I Saw A Chicken

A few hours back I went to the blogger lunch that is hosted each month by Charles Kuffner. Mr. Kuffner writes the top Houston and Texas political blog  Off The Kuff.

The guest at the lunch this month was Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Below you see a picture that I took of the Mayor at this lunch.

The Mayor has her hand raised as she takes a pledge to read Texas Liberal each day.

No–I’m making that up. I’m not sure why her hand was raised. She was making a point about something or other.

The Mayor was quite cordial and took questions for just over an hour.

In the days ahead I’m going to offer some thoughts about Mayor Parker, and issues related to moving forward in Houston.

My thoughts will be less about what the Mayor said at the lunch today, and more about the need for an effective and constructive progressive and liberal opposition in Houston.

Not an opposition that simply exists to oppose Mayor Parker when she veers more to the right than need be.

But rather a more long-term, consistent and hopeful force that helps change the political climate here in Houston, so that we don’t see again Council Democrats passing a law that criminalizes many acts of sharing food with the homeless.

An opposition can “govern” in the sense of offering hopeful alternatives to what we get from people in “official” positions of power.

An oppostion can “govern” in a fashion if it develops the capacity for disciplined and effective advocacy and leadership.

This is what I want to talk about the days ahead.

After the lunch, I took a long walk along Allen Parkway here in the city.

I’d say I walked for about five miles. This long walk gave me plenty of time to think about stuff.

While engaged in this thinking, I came across a chicken.

I do not believe there was any connection between Mayor Parker and the chicken.

Below is a photo of the chicken–

Here is a close-up of the chicken—

My Uncle Tom in Providence, R.I. saw these chicken pictures on Facebook. He insists that this bird is a Rhode Island Red.

Based on this Wikipedia entry, I think my uncle is correct.

As a former resident of Rhode Island, I’m very glad to have seen such a bird.

Thanks to both Mayor Parker and to the chicken for a good and productive day.

April 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Festival Ballet Providence Staging All-Star Benefit Gala Performance On 10/19—You Should Attend

My Uncle Tom in Providence, Rhode Island wants folks to know about the above event.

Tom Aquino is a strong supporter of Festival Ballet Providence.

Here are some details about this event—

“Festival Ballet Providence is presenting “Together we Dance” an All-Star Benefit Gala performance.  Featuring special guest artists from: American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Lithuanian National Ballet, and New York City Ballet. “

Here is some history of ballet. 

Below is a picture of Tommy that I took earlier this year in Providence.

I’ve parked the rental car in something of an improvised location so we could visit the Rhode Island Korean War Memorial in Providence.

My recently deceased father fought in the Korean War.

In this picture, Tommy is admiring my parking skills and is wondering who would question family members paying tribute to a fallen warrior.

October 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ve Found A Copy Of Fat Mutton And Liberty Of Conscience

I’m pleased to share with my readers that I just found at my mom’s house in Cincinnati this copy of Fat Mutton and Liberty of Conscience—Society in Rhode Island, 1636-1690. This book was written by Carl Bridenbaugh.

I’m very much looking forward to taking this book back to Houston for to read. I very much enjoy reading about Colonial America.

I just can’t imagine how–no matter how good a day you are havng—that you can have anything approaching the good fortune I have had to find Fat Mutton.

September 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Flights In Last 18 Months—We Can Always Book The Next Flight Even If The Last Flight Was Turbulent

Flights I’ve taken—all of which began in Houston— in last 18 months:

1. 2/10–Routine trip home to Cincinnati to see parents and friends.

(Above–The Ohio River is still hazy from the sky right before you are told to turn off all electronic devices on your approach to Cincinnati.)

2. 3/10– Unexpected trip to Chicago for a family death on wife’s side.

3. 7/10–Routine trip to Cincinnati to see parents and friends.

4 7/10—Vacation to Seattle with wife.

(Below–Between Houston and Seattle. Though, as you might guess, this is much closer to Seattle than it is to Houston.)

5. 1/11–Visit with ill father in Cincinnati. Also saw friends.

6. 3/11–Visit to ill father in Cincinnati and death of father. Also saw friends.

7. 8/11–Trip to R.I. with wife to help put dad’s ashes in sea. Saw family. It was also a vacation.

8. 8/11–Trip home to Cincinnati next week to see mom and friends.

If we stay the course—and get can a window seat on the airplane since I enjoy seeing what the world looks like from the air—we can make progress in life and enjoy life even when things don’t always go as we would wish. We can always book the next flight even if the previous flight was turbulent.

(Below–Clouds looks pretty much the same no matter where you are in the sky.)

August 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taps

My father, a Korean War combat veteran who died last March, was recalled today with a rendition of taps and a brief service in his native Rhode Island.

August 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Long Time Dead Buried All Over Rhode Island

There are long-dead people buried all over Rhode Island.

This old burying ground with colonial time people buried in it is adjacent to the parking lot of the Marriott I’m staying in this week.

These colonial dead are watching over all the rental cars and hotel shuttle vans.

August 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Vacation Reading—Taking Rick Perry To Rhode Island

With a plane to catch soon and  time in Rhode Island ahead, it is time to select what book I’ll be reading while on the road.

I’d headed to Rhode Island for a final observance of my father’s life.  He spent much of his life in Rhode Island.

Tony Aquino lived 1930-2011.

I often get a great deal of reading done on airplanes and on vacation.

I’m considering this trip a vaction because I’m certain that this is how dad would have wanted me to imagine the trip.

For this vacation, I’ve picked books relevant to Rhode Island, Cincinnati and Texas—The three places I have lived in life.

I have The Cultural Life of the American Colonies by Louis B. Wright.  This book was published in 1957.

I don’t much about this book, but it is just the type of stuff that I often read.

Another book I have is The President Makers 1896-1919—The Culture of Politics & Leadership In An Age of Enlightenment by Matthew Josephson. This book is from 1940.

This is the 2nd book I’ve read by Mr. Josephson.  He wrote about the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era. In the President Makers I’m currently on the chapters involved the Presidency of Cincinnati’s William Howard Taft.

The final book I’ll bring along is Fed Up!–Our Fight To Save America From Washington by Texas Governor Rick Perry. This great work was published in 2010.

Fed Up! may provide me with a few quick blog posts while I’m traveling.  Also, since I’ll be wearing a Houston Astros’ baseball hat for much of the trip, maybe I’ll read the book while wearing the cap and make loud comments about seccession and bitching about how George W. Bush was not conservative enough.

It’s going to be a great trip and I’ll be posting from Rhode Island. Thanks to everybody for reading Texas Liberal.

August 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Some Observations On Debt Ceiling Agreement

An agreement to raise the debt ceiling has been agreed upon that may resolve the issue at least through the projected Mayan apocalypse at the end of 2012. 

So I guess none of us really have much to worry about from this point on.

Though the agreement still does have to be approved by both chambers of Congress.

I’m not happy with all the cuts and the absence of tax increases. How can this be what we are getting when we have a Democratic President and a Senate controlled by Democrats?

Though this observer at Daily Kos says that deal is not nearly as bad as it seems to many liberals. I don’t read Daily Kos very often, but somebody on my Facebook suggested the link. I do whatever it is that people tell me I should do on Facebook.

All 970 of those people on my Facebook are close personal friends.  (Feel free to send me a friend request yourself. I’ll take anybody!)   

Paul Krugman is not very happy about the deal. 

I’m not in a mood to be angry. I’ve got a trip planned in the next few days to help go and put my father’s ashes in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.  It is going to be a nice trip.

I’m just not into always being riled up by the 24 hour news cycle. And why be steamed about the agreement when I know I’ll have plenty of time and plenty of blog space to be angry as we proceed.

I will however, because I can’t help myself, make 5 observations—

1. If we wanted a better deal, than we should have all voted and worked harder in the 2010 elections. Republicans control the House because they won the election.

2. As I said above— How can this be what we are getting when we have a Democratic President and a Senate controlled by Democrats?

3. The response to losing elections and not getting the things you counted on from the people you supported is to keep working hard, and to apply more thought and imagination to what you are doing. You’ve always got to proceed.

4. The Republican opposition to tax cuts seems more like a religious belief than public policy.

5. We’ve got to really ponder the question that big money and greed has left this country in the hands of an oligarchy. We could not raise any revenue in this deal even as we were being told by Republicans that the future of the nation was at stake? Options like open protests and civil disobedience need to start being considered. We can’t simply be helpless in the face of powerful interests.  

With this being the first day of August, I hope you’re having a great summer and that you are moving forward. Let’s enjoy the lives we have and be involved in public affairs. Let’s be both thoughtful and forceful.

Below–Prudence Island is in Narragansett Bay.  Just because I’m not mad at the moment, does not mean I won’t be working hard for liberal values in the weeks and months ahead. Photo by junior75.)

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Burning Of British Ship Gaspee in 1772 Was A Good Thing—You Might See It A Different Way

June 9 will mark the 239th anniversary of the 1772 burning of the Gaspee in Narragansett Bay off the coast of Rhode Island.

(Above–An 1883 engraving depicting the burning of the Gaspee.)

The Gaspee was a British revenue schooner that helped make sure Rhode Islanders paid colonial taxes.

From the Rhode Island Historical Society-

“The first open act of aggression toward Great Britain leading up to the American Revolution took place in Warwick on June 10, 1772.  The British revenue schooner, the Gaspee, ran aground in Narragansett Bay.  Before the ship could be set afloat, it was boarded by a battalion of men, led by Samuel Whipple and John Brown, and burned.”

As a school kid in Rhode Island at the time of the American Bicentennial, I was told that the burning of the Gaspee was a good thing. I recall we even once had a school play that recreated the burning.

While I’m doubtful about many things that I learned from my teachers, I still very much hold to the idea that the burning of the Gaspee was a good thing.

Here is an excellent collection of links to learn more about the Gaspee incident. 

Here is the link for the Gaspee Days that are held each year in Rhode Island to mark the great event.

It is up to each individual to learn our shared history.

American history is complicated. Events that took place in the 1770’s are not clear guideposts for what we should think and do today.

If somebody broke the law to impede the collection of taxes today, I would demand that they go to jail.

What is the difference between the burning of the Gaspee in 1772 and such an act today?

I can’t imagine there is much difference except my own view of British rule of the American colonies 230 years after the fact, in comparison to my support today of a federal government able to help everyday citizens and administer the day-to-day functions of the nation.

Figure stuff out for yourself.

Don’t let other people define your past, and then seek to shape your future while you stand idly by.

June 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rhode Island Independence Day Is May 4

May 4 is Rhode Island Independence Day.

On May 4, 1776 Rhode Island declared independence from Great Britain. It was the first of the soon-to-be former colonies to take this step.

If you were a school kid in Rhode Island in 1976, you got the day off as a holiday as part of Bicentennial observances that year.

I recall that as a good day. I lived in Rhode Island between 1968 and 1980.

(Below—The Rose Island lighthouse in Narragansett Bay)

Here is some history on Rhode Island ( Click here for the full link) —

Rhode Island was a leader in the American Revolutionary movement. Having the greatest degree of self-rule, it had the most to lose from the efforts of England after 1763 to increase her supervision and control over her American colonies. In addition, Rhode Island had a long tradition of evading the poorly enforced navigation acts, and smuggling was commonplace.

Beginning with strong opposition in Newport to the Sugar Act (1764), with its restrictions on the molasses trade, the colony engaged in repeated measures of open defiance, such as the scuttling and torching of the British customs sloop Liberty in Newport harbor in July 1769, the burning of British revenue schooner Gaspee on Warwick’s Namquit Point in 1772, and Providence’s own “Tea Party” in March 1775. Gradually the factions of Ward and Hopkins put aside their local differences and united by endorsing a series of political responses to alleged British injustices. On May 17, 1774, after parliamentary passage of the Coercive Acts (Americans called them “Intolerable”), the Providence Town Meeting became the first governmental assemblage to issue a call for a general congress of colonies to resist British policy. On June 15 the General Assembly made the colony the first to appoint delegates (Ward and Hopkins) to the anticipated Continental Congress.

In April 1775, a week after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, the colonial legislature authorized raising a 1,500-man ”army of observation” with Nathanael Greene as its commander. Finally, on May 4, 1776, Rhode Island became the first colony to renounce allegiance to King George III. Ten weeks later, on July 18, the Assembly ratified the Declaration of Independence.

Here are some basic facts about Rhode Island.

Here is information on visting Rhode Island.  I’m gald to say that I’ll be spending a week in Rhode Island this summer.

Below is a picture I took in 2008 of the famous Independent Man statue found on the top of the Rhode Island State Capitol.


May 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Anthony S. Aquino

Anthony S. Aquino lived September 20, 1930-March 12, 2011.

Tony was a third-generation Italian, a Rhode Islander, a combat veteran of the Korean War who saved many lives as a medic in that war, a committed liberal, a reader of books and newspapers, an award winning reporter, and my father.

Just like the boats and ships in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, Tony would want for me and for all of us to stay the course.

So that is what we will do.

At the top of this post is a picture of Narragansett Bay at Providence, Rhode Island. This is a scene Tony would have known well.

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 11 Comments

Chafee For Rhode Island Governor—He Offers Adult Solutions To Tough Problems

I have a number of home states. Regular readers know that I often write about Ohio as well as Texas.

(Above–The Rhode Island State House in Providence.)

In addition to these great states, I also lived in the Great State of Rhode Island between 1968 and 1980. So please allow me to offer up an endorsement in the Rhode Island Governor’s race.

Independent  Lincoln Chafee  is one of the few politicians this year, or in any year, offering an adult solution to a tough problem.

Mr. Chafee, a former Republican Senator for Rhode Island who was defeated in 2006, has said that tax increases are needed to address Rhode Island’s budget deficit.

This is such a break from the relentless anti-tax drumbeat in America that puts lowering taxes over the public good.

For those concerned that Mr. Chafee was a Republican, it should be noted  he was the only Republican to vote against the Iraq War and that he endorsed Barack Obama in 2008. Since he is running as an independent, elected Mr. Chaffee will not result in a Republican victory.

Here is the web home of the Chafee campaign.

In contrast to Mr. Chafee’s leadership ,  the Democrat in this race, Frank Caprio, has told President Obama to “shove it” for not endorsing him this race.

In tough times, honest and steady governance is needed.

Lincoln Chafee will provide such governance for the people of Rhode Island.

If people think that they can have good services without taxes, they are wrong.

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up W/Picture Of Providence Hurricane Barrier

At the bottom of this post is the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The Texas Progressive Alliance is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

Above is a picture of the hurricane barrier that protects Providence, Rhode Island. I took this picture last year. I lived in Rhode Island for 12 years.

Little Rhode Island is as good a place as is Texas. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.  

The round-up— 

The Texas Cloverleaf reviews proposed changes to the city of Denton’s charter that will be on the November ballot.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notices Rick Perry has had a busy week what with channeling Glenn Beck and messing up a wrongful execution investigation.

TXsharon of BlueDaze had a hard time keeping up with all the fracking, moving, shaking and gasping for toxic air in the Barnett Shale this week so there is a BS recap that includes a recently released URGENT alert for all current and former residents of DISH — formerly Clark — Texas to complete and submit a health survey.

Bay Area Houston wonders what $640 a frickin hour buys you in the Houston mayor’s race.

If a Republican holds an online event, will they properly provision for the people who want to join it? McBlogger’s pretty sure they won’t and isn’t terribly surprised that they blamed it on the nefarious actions of others.

At Texas Vox, Citizen Andy fills you in on the Senate incarnation of the climate change bill. Waxman-Markey, meet Kerry-Boxer. Continue reading

October 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

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