Category Archive 'USS Constitution'

06 Oct 2015

Last Navy Ship That Sank an Enemy

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Ironsides
USS Constitution

The Washington Post recently took note of the curious fact, that with the decommissioning of one particular guided missile frigate, the US Navy retains on active service only one ship that ever sunk an enemy, and that ship is the USS Constitution which sunk the HMS Guerriere in 1812!

As the Navy closes in on its 240th birthday, it has reached a milestone: Only one ship remaining in its fleet has ever sunk an enemy vessel—and it’s the USS Constitution, which earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” for withstanding British bombardment during the War of 1812.

The USS Constitution’s crew noted the detail on its Facebook page Tuesday, underscoring how uncommon major encounters are between navies in the 21st century. The only other remaining Navy ship to sink an enemy vessel was the USS Simpson, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate that was decommissioned Tuesday.

The Simpson is best known for combining with the USS Wainwright, a cruiser, and the USS Bagley, a frigate, to destroy an oil rig used as a Iranian surveillance post and the Iranian patrol boat Joshan in Operation Praying Mantis. It was carried out April 18, 1988, during the Iran-Iraq War after the USS Samuel B. Roberts was badly damaged by an Iranian mine in the Persian Gulf. …

The Constitution, a three-mast wooden frigate, was retired from active service in 1881, but has remained a part of the Navy and was designated as a floating museum in 1907. It fought in the Mediterranean Sea during the First Barbary War in the early 1800s, but is best known for its altercation with the HMS Guerriere on Aug. 19, 1812.

About 400 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, the two ships tangled shortly after the War of 1812 had broken out. The Constitution badly damaged the Guerriere, which was eventually boarded by U.S. sailors and set ablaze.

24 Jun 2012

Waiting For the Decision, Democrats Look Sad and Confused

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As the fatal hour when the Supreme Court announces the fate of Obamacare’s individual mandate draws near, the New York Times reports that a lot of Washington liberals today are looking embarrassed and trying to come up with new excuses for their past overconfidence.

With the Supreme Court likely to render judgment on President Obama’s health care law this week, the White House and Congress find themselves in a position that many advocates of the legislation once considered almost unimaginable.

In passing the law two years ago, Democrats entertained little doubt that it was constitutional. The White House held a conference call to tell reporters that any legal challenge, as one Obama aide put it, “will eventually fail and shouldn’t be given too much credence in the press.”

Congress held no hearing on the plan’s constitutionality until nearly a year after it was signed into law. Representative Nancy Pelosi, then the House speaker, scoffed when a reporter asked what part of the Constitution empowered Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance. “Are you serious?” she asked with disdain. “Are you serious?”

Opponents of the health plan were indeed serious, and so was the Supreme Court, which devoted more time to hearing the case than to any other in decades. A White House that had assumed any challenge would fail now fears that a centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s presidency may be partly or completely overturned on a theory that it gave little credence. The miscalculation left the administration on the defensive as its legal strategy evolved over the last two years.

“It led to some people taking it too lightly,” said a Congressional lawyer who like others involved in drafting the law declined to be identified before the ruling. “It shouldn’t strike anybody as a close call,” the lawyer added, but “given where we are now, do I wish we had focused even more on this? I guess I would say yes.”

Watch Nancy Pelosi confidently predict Obamacare being upheld 6-3 and then assuring reporters that she knows the Constitution and the bill is “ironclad” and laugh.

01 Feb 2011

Time For Some Gloating Over Obamacare’s Loss in Federal Court

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Ouch! Not only are a majority of states in court challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, federal judges keep ruling in their favor.

The Washington Times cherishes Senior United States District Judge Vinson’s use of Barack Obama’s own words in a footnote.

In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.

“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end [page 76] of his 78-page ruling Monday.

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The Wall Street Journal gave Judge Vinson’s ruling a rave review, describing it as “introduc[ing] ObamaCare to Madison and Marshall.” Everyone is collecting great passages from Judge Vinson’s opinion.

    ‘If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

Federal Judge Roger Vinson opens his decision declaring ObamaCare unconstitutional with that citation from Federalist No. 51, written by James Madison in 1788. His exhaustive and erudite opinion is an important moment for American liberty, and yesterday may well stand as the moment the political branches were obliged to return to the government of limited and enumerated powers that the framers envisioned.

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Don Surber found another of the best apothegms in the decision.

“It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.”

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11 Nov 2009

Old Ironsides Under Fire From Bourgeois Neighbors

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Michel Felice Corne, The Constitution and the Guerriere

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon’s roar; —
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes’ blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o’er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor’s tread,
Or know the conquered knee; —
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!

–Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1830

The Boston Herald reports that the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship in all the world’s navies, is under attack again.

Her haute bourgeois neighbors are unmoved by the martial glory the renowned frigate won almost two hundred years, earning the nickname “Old Ironsides” as British cannon shot bounced off her double-built oaken hull when she humbled the pride of Nelson’s Navy.

They don’t like listening to the National Anthem every morning when the Constitution’s colors are raised, and her war-like cannon salutes are spoiling the digestion of their brie.

Old Ironsides’ upscale Charlestown neighbors are trying to pull off what British, French and Barbary pirate guns failed to accomplish in more than two centuries – silencing the cannons of the nation’s oldest commissioned naval vessel.

Miffed residents of a posh condo complex have invited the commanding officer of the USS Constitution over for a glass of wine so he can hear for himself that the frigate’s twice-daily cannon blasts – a tradition dating to 1798 – are “more disruptive to the neighborhood than you might have imagined.”

Commanding Officer Timothy Cooper received the most recent complaint two weeks ago from neighbors suggesting naval officers assigned to the historic vessel eliminate the morning and evening blasts on weekends, reduce the size of the gunpowder charge and turn down the volume of the national anthem recording played during the daily flag raising and lowering ceremonies.

“The residential population and congestion of this area has (sic) grown significantly and, it seems to us, that the cannon charge/noise is excessive,” the unidentified resident first wrote in an Aug. 26, 2009, letter obtained by the Herald.

High-end condominium developments have sprung up across from the Charlestown Navy Yard over the past decade, transforming the once hardscrabble waterfront into a toney enclave.

“Over the summer, we have entertained several times, and we have had guests sit up in shock when the cannon goes off,” the resident wrote. “It has also awakened them at 8 a.m. while they are vacationing and then blasted them again at sunset.”


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