May 4, 2008

May 4: Rhode Island Independence Day

Monique Chartier

Will Ricci over at The Ocean State Republican points out that

Today marks the 232nd anniversary of the declaration of independence by the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations from Great Britain on May 4, 1776. As Rhode Island did not ratify the US Constitution until May of 1790, it was for all intents and purposes a “free and independent state” for 14 years!
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Conservatives would have been Tories during the revolutionary period.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at May 4, 2008 6:46 PM

...and then I noticed the sign. It said "Please don't feed the trolls". Sound advice, I thought, and moved on hastily. No matter how loud the troll yelled I refused to indulge him and soon he dyed of starvation.

Posted by: Greg at May 4, 2008 7:10 PM

I'll be filing suit against Bass Ale for making me misspell "died".

Posted by: Greg at May 4, 2008 7:11 PM

How's that "funding formula" looking this year Pat?

Posted by: Mike at May 4, 2008 8:21 PM


Modern conservatism traces its roots back to Edmund Burke, supporter of the American revolution and a leading Whig of his day.

But keep trying. Eventually, you're bound to get some political science or history fact correct.

Posted by: Andrew at May 4, 2008 9:15 PM

Pat-I normally bust your chops,but I am going to be serious for a minute-although you may doubt me I was a rank and file public employee union member for 25 years,on both the state and federal levels-I don't get the attitude of those unions in RI-the public employee benefits here are more than generous and the disability retirement provisions are frequently abused.I currently pay 50% of my health benefit premiums for a very minimal Blue Cross plan-since I am on the VA health care system,I only need it for my wife,who got zero health care benefits from the non-profit she retired from.The point I am trying to make is that public employees have to shoulder some more of the burden because everyone else is getting pretty well crapped on these days.I always believed the union's main purpose for public employees was to protect them from unfair treatment on the job.I do not believe that public employees should strike.That is fine for private sector unions because their salaries are paid by people who profit from their labor.Public employees are paid involuntarily by the taxpayers and should have some humility on that issue.Job security these days and health care to any degree are valuable assets becoming less available every day in the private sector.
One more thing-really bad timing on your parade-the people you blocked were not a bunch of tycoons-they were just motly workers trying to go home without wasting gas.An hour earlier or later would've been the right thing to do.The organizers of this were apparently oblivious.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 4, 2008 10:04 PM

Typo Alert:I meant "mostly" workers-I don't want to be misquoted as saying what sounds like "motley"

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 4, 2008 10:08 PM


And you would have been tarred and feathered, but I digress...

It's pretty interesting that the term "tory" was originally used by the British to refer to Irish outlaws. ;)

By the way, the Tories (at the time of the American Revolution) were pro-monarchists; not pro-republican.

Posted by: Will at May 4, 2008 10:12 PM

Joe makes a good point about the timing of the parade of "Workers of the Westin" or whatever you want to call it .... not a good PR move to cause a rush hour traffic mess.

Posted by: Will at May 4, 2008 10:16 PM

Andrew, mi amigo,

Since you brought up Burke as the proud father of U.S. conservatives, it might be a good idea to shed some light on him and his ideas. Conservatives seem to pick and choose from the Burkean menu, preferring a la carte selections to a whole meal, some of which they would find indigestible. For example: Burke argued against unrestrained royal (executive) power....Modern day conservatives should pay more heed to that particular Burkian doctrine. They should be howling in the streets about the abuses and uses of executive privilege and pardoning power, and they should be seriously demanding tighter congressional oversight of classified documents. They should be attempting to re-balance governmental powers between the executive branch and the legislature.

Edmund Burke first entered the House of Commons by representing a pocket Borough in control of Lord Fermanaugh. Like many conservatives he owed his office to a rich, well connected patron, and represented him well. Burke did the same for Lord Rockingham when Rockingham became Prime Minister. In representing his patrons, Burke advocated doing whatever “was advantageous instead of what is legally just and right.” This idea, of course, makes it easier to serve a master (the few) rather than the voters (the many). In short, Burke knew how to butter his political bread.


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at May 4, 2008 10:40 PM

OTL-I think maybe you're referring to the Libby case.If so,he wasn't pardoned.His sentence was commuted.Big Hdifference,because he is still a convicted felon.Clinton's pardons of Marc Rich and the FALN terrorists(don't give me the freedom fighter line please-they set off bombs in public places)were horrendous.The power to pardon should not be unlimited.on the other hand,a really weak executive authority,such as in RI leads to legislative dictatorship.In RI that means one party rule-every totalitarian's dream.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 5, 2008 1:21 AM

I think even less of Clinton's pardons than I do of Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence. I'm not a Democrat, I'm an old style lefty linked more to Herbert Marcuse and Frantz Fanon than to Clinton and his middle-right ideas.

I will, however, point out that Libby suffers not for his crimes. His fines were taken care of by others, and unlike most felons, he has a well paying job. Whether you call it pardon or commutation, Libby is living Scott free, with the possible exception of a painful conscience.

If the executive branch is weak in Rhode Island and the Executive is too strong federally, than I'd like to hear you decry the imbalance in the federal government at least as much as you decry the imbalance in the state government. One item of vital civil liberty importance is the overuse of secrecy by the executive branch. You know the old saw, "Doctors bury their mistakes, the government classifies them." You'd have much better conservative credentials if you spoke about the current administration's power grab and its closed ranks, lock step government.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at May 5, 2008 12:06 PM

We wouldn't have one party rule if the alternative to the Democrats were not the Republican Party. Voting, for me, is the choice between being devoured by the tiger on my left and the lion on my right. I usually choose neither. I reject the Dems because they care nothing for the poor and downtrodden , and I reject the Repubs. because they care even less for the poor and downtrodden.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at May 5, 2008 12:16 PM

I didn't vote for this gang of neocons in DC either time.The Federal system is much more balanced than the state system here.The Federal government has to deal with national defense,security,and fighting wars,which the states don't have to deal with. It's not the federal structure,it's the abuse of power that screws things up.BTW-I would've been fine with that neocon rat Libby in the hoosegow.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 5, 2008 5:59 PM

Isn't it noticeable that "progressives" like Crowley and Jerzyk drop in here to make a smart remark(Crowley) or respond to a personal insult(Jerzyk),but neither is willing to deal with an issue dispassionately on a level playing field?Maybe because they have nothing to offer in a two way debate.I recently dropped in on their "drinking liberally" event and spoke with Ian Donnis and Chris Blazejewski.Chris was an interesting guy and really decent to discuss things with.Donnis wasn't bad either-not as though I expected to convince him of my point of view.If Jerzyk was there I couldn't tell because I really don't recall what he looks like from the tv show I saw him on once and in the Phoenix blog photo he looked totally unfamiliar.In any event,I don't think he likes the idea that he just might not have the last word on a particular subject.Something about his writing style tells me that.From the perspective of a guy in his sixties I have found out that the more I learn,the more I realize how little I really know.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 5, 2008 9:17 PM
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