Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ronald Reagan's First Inauguration

Ronald Reagan is sworn in as the 40th president of the United States on this day in history.

During his eight years as president of the United States, Reagan moved the center of American politics away from the liberal Democrats and towards the conservative Republicans. Reagan continued to celebrate the mythic independence of the western pioneer as a parallel to modern conservatism. Reagan made frequent retreats to his California ranch, where he rode horses, fixed fences, and cut firewood. Reagan was a cowboy at heart and astute politician.

Minutes after his inauguration as our 40th president, the U.S. captives held at the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran, were released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis.

They knew there was a new sheriff in town. He will always be my hero.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Act of Kindness and Honesty

George Washington Rain's sidearm returns to the Museum of the Confederacy due to this lady's kindness and integrity. Rains was an expert maker of gunpowder for the Confederacy, a native of New Bern, NC and brother to Gabriel Rains, Confederate torpedo (mine) inventor.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Ben Franklin!

On his birthday, I think it would behoove us to visit Mr. Franklin's plan of thirteen virtues. Happy Birthday!

1."Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."
2."Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."
3."Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."
4."Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve."
5."Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing."
6."Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."
7."Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly."
8."Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."
9."Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."
10."Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation."
11."Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."
12."Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation."
13."Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates."

Battle of Cowpens - January 17, 1781

Daniel Morgan's decisive victory over Banastre Tarleton which helped bring about a renewed spirit among the Patriots.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Moonlight Battle

British Admiral Sir George Rodney, with 18 ships-of-the-line, engages an inferior Spanish squadron of 11 battleships commanded by Don Juan de Langara off the southwestern coast of Portugal at Cape St. Vincent, in what comes to be known as The Moonlight Battle. (Ships-of-the-line is the 18th century term for ships substantial enough to be used in a battle line, a tactic of war in which two lines of ships faced off against each other.)

The Spanish, who were at war with the British because they had chosen to back the American rebels in the War for Independence, saw the British fleet in pursuit and attempted to retreat home to the port of Cadiz. As they fled, Rodney decided to ignore the accepted rules of naval engagement, which involved two lines of ships bombarding one another with cannon much like two lines of infantry confronting one another across a battlefield. Instead, he decided to attempt to overtake of the Spanish ships by giving orders of general chase--having each British ship chase the Spanish fleet to the best of its ability. The British hounded the Spanish until 2 a.m., when the Spaniards finally surrendered.

Four Spanish battleships and two frigates escaped capture, but the British took De Langara's flagship and five others before running into shoals and ending the chase. One Spanish ship with its entire crew was lost in battle. Thirty-two Britons died, and 102 were wounded.

Credit for the British victory belongs not only to their greater number of ships and Admiral Rodney's decision to give chase, but also to the British ships' barnacle-free copper bottoms, which allowed them to outpace the less technologically advanced Spanish fleet. The fact that the two fleets engaged in battle overnight was an anomaly in 18th-century sea warfare, and earned the encounter the title The Moonlight Battle, and a painting by Francis Holman, despite its comparative insignificance in the Revolutionary War.

Friday, January 7, 2011

1811 wreck of Oliver Hazard Perry's ship discovered off RI

Divers: 1811 wreck of Perry ship discovered off RI

The Associated Press
Friday, January 7, 2011; 11:17 AM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A team of divers say they've discovered the remains of the USS Revenge, a ship commanded by U.S. Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry and wrecked off Rhode Island in 1811.

Perry is known for defeating the British in the Battle of Lake Erie off the Ohio shore in the War of 1812 and for the line "I have met the enemy and they are ours." His battle flag bore the phrase "Don't give up the ship," and to this day is a symbol of the Navy.

The divers say the wreck changed the course of history because Perry wouldn't have been sent to Lake Erie otherwise.

They hope the Navy will salvage the remains, which are mostly metal objects such as cannons and an anchor. Sunday is the wreck's 200th anniversary.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Martin Luther Excommunicated!

On January 3, 1521, Pope Leo X issues the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, which excommunicates Martin Luther from the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther, the chief catalyst of Protestantism, was a professor of biblical interpretation at the University of Wittenberg in Germany when he drew up his 95 theses condemning the Catholic Church for its corrupt practice of selling indulgences, or the forgiveness of sins. He followed up the revolutionary work with equally controversial and groundbreaking theological works, and his fiery words set off religious reformers all across Europe.

In January 1521, Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther. Three months later, Luther was called to defend his beliefs before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms, where he was famously defiant. For his refusal to recant his writings, the emperor declared him an outlaw and a heretic. Luther was protected by powerful German princes, however, and by his death in 1546, the course of Western civilization had been significantly altered.