Daily Update: Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Irenaeus

Today is the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr (died 202). And today is the only date each year where both the month and day are different perfect numbers.

Today’s Saint was born 130 in Smyrna, Asia Minor (modern Izmir, Turkey), and was a disciple of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, who himself had been a disciple of Saint John the Apostle. Ordained in 177 in Lugdunum in Gaul (now Lyons, France), the clergy of that city, many of whom were suffering imprisonment for the faith, sent him (in 177 or 178) to Rome with a letter to Pope Eleuterus concerning the heresy of Montanism; the letter also bore emphatic testimony to his merits. Returning to Gaul, Irenaeus succeeded the martyr Saint Pothinus and became the second Bishop of Lyon. As a Bishop, he worked and wrote against Gnosticism, basing his arguments on the works of Saint John the Apostle, whose Gospel was often cited by Gnostics. Considered the first great Western ecclesiastical writer and theologian, he emphasized the unity of the Old and New Testaments, of Christ’s simultaneous human and divine nature, and of the value of tradition. Irenaeus’ best-known book, Adversus Haereses or Against Heresies (c. 180) is a detailed attack on Gnosticism, which was then a serious threat to the Church, and especially on the system of the Gnostic Valentinus. Irenaeus is the earliest witness to recognition of the canonical character of all four gospels and his writings were instrumental in the formation of the New Testament Canon. A Father of the Church, he is also honored as a martyr, although only scattered legends attest to his actually having been a martyr. Turning to today’s Date, a Perfect Number is one in which the number is equal to the sum of its proper positive divisors, that is, the sum of its positive divisors excluding the number itself. The first perfect number is 6, because 1, 2, and 3 are its proper positive divisors, and 1 + 2 + 3 = 6.  The next perfect number is 28 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 7 + 14. So June 28th is a date made up of two different Perfect Numbers. (See, you learn stuff from my Daily Updates!)

There was some scattered thunder and lightening when we left for work, but no rain, and we brought the ice chest to work, as we were to get some more green deer sausage from our coworker Georgia. Before we clocked in I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Saturday, June 27th, 2015 via WordPress for Android. Once we clocked in Richard was first on Macau Mini Baccarat until they closed his table, was then on Switch Blackjack until they closed that table, then was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, with the second Mississippi Stud table added to his string later. I was on Mini Baccarat (and on a table that, after about 7:00 am, had no players to speak of), and on my breaks continued reading Forty Whacks: New Evidence in the Life and Legend of Lizzie Borden by David Kent.

When we got home from work I read the Sunday papers, then (as Richard and I had discussed while still at the casino), we headed for Opelousas to eat Chinese for lunch at the Creswell Lane Restaurant. We arrived back home at about 2:00 pm, and I finished reading Forty Whacks: New Evidence in the Life and Legend of Lizzie Borden by David Kent. I then went to bed for the day, without either doing my Book Review for Forty Whacks: New Evidence in the Life and Legend of Lizzie Borden by David Kent or doing my Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. It is also a Monday, the first day of the current pay period at the casino.

Our Sunday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Robert Byrd, American politician. Born as Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr. in 1917 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, his mother died in the 1918 Flu Pandemic. In accordance with his mother’s wishes, his father dispersed the family children among relatives. The infant was given to the custody of his uncle and aunt, who adopted him, renamed him Robert Carlyle Byrd, and raised him in the coal-mining region of southern West Virginia. Byrd was valedictorian of his high school and, in 1937, he married his high-school sweetheart, Erma Ora James. He worked as a gas-station attendant, grocery-store clerk, shipyard welder during World War II, and butcher; in 1942 he joined the Ku Klux Klan, and his local chapter unanimously elected him the top officer of their unit. Byrd held the titles Kleagle (recruiter) and Exalted Cyclops. He won a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1946, representing Raleigh County from 1947 to 1950. In 1950 he was elected to the West Virginia Senate, where he served from 1951 to 1952; during that time, he was an official witness at the first use of the electric chair in West Virginia in 1951. In 1952 Byrd was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives for West Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, succeeding E. H. Hedrick, who had decided to step down to run for Governor of West Virginia. He was reelected to the House twice, and served in total from January 3, 1953 to 1959; during this time he began night classes at American University’s Washington College of Law. Byrd defeated Republican incumbent W. Chapman Revercomb for the United States Senate in 1958 (a campaign in which Revercomb’s record supporting civil rights became an issue which played in Byrd’s favor). He was reelected eight times. He was West Virginia’s junior senator for his first four terms; his colleague from 1959 to 1985 was Jennings Randolph, who had been elected on the same day in a special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Matthew Neely. In 1963 he received his law degree; President John F. Kennedy spoke at the commencement ceremony and mentioned Byrd by name. He joined with other Southern and border state Democrats to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964, personally filibustering the bill for 14 hours, a move he later said he regretted. Despite an 83-day filibuster in the Senate, both parties in Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Act, and President Johnson signed the bill into law. He also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In 1969 Byrd launched a Scholastic Recognition Award; he also began to present a savings bond to valedictorians from high schools, public and private, in West Virginia. He was a member of the Senate Democratic leadership starting in 1967, when he was elected as secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference from 1967 to 1971. He became Senate Majority Whip, or the second-ranking Democrat, for six years beginning in 1971. From 1977 to 1989 Byrd was the leader of the Senate Democrats, serving as Senate Majority Leader from 1977 to 1981 and 1987 to 1989 and as Senate Minority Leader from 1981 to 1987. While Byrd faced some vigorous Republican opposition in his career, his last serious electoral opposition occurred in 1982, when he was challenged by freshman congressman Cleve Benedict. Despite his tremendous popularity in the state, he ran unopposed only once, in 1976. On two other occasions (in 1994 and 2000) he won all 55 of West Virginia’s counties. In his reelection bid in 2000 he won all but seven of West Virginia’s precincts. Byrd was elected to an unprecedented ninth consecutive full term in the Senate on November 7, 2006. Byrd was well known for steering federal dollars to West Virginia, one of the country’s poorest states. In 1985 Congress approved the nation’s only merit-based scholarship program funded through the U.S. Department of Education, which Congress later named in Byrd’s honor. As the longest-serving Democratic senator, Byrd served as President pro tempore four times when his party was in the majority: from 1989 until the Republicans won control of the Senate in 1995; for 17 days in early 2001, when the Senate was evenly split between parties and outgoing Vice President Al Gore broke the tie in favor of the Democrats; when the Democrats regained the majority in June 2001 after Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican party to become an independent; and again in 2007, as a result of the 2006 Senate elections. In this capacity, Byrd was third in the line of presidential succession, behind Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. In July 2004, Byrd released the book Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency about the Bush presidency and the war in Iraq. He became the longest-serving senator in American history on June 12, 2006, surpassing Strom Thurmond of South Carolina with 17,327 days of service. On November 18, 2009, he became the longest serving member in either House in congressional history with 56 years, 320 days of service, passing the record set by Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona in 1958. Previously he had held the record for the longest unbroken tenure in the Senate. Considering his tenure as state legislator from 1947 to 1953, his service on the political front exceeded 60 years. Byrd, who never lost an election, cast his 18,000th vote on June 21, 2007, the most of any senator in history. Upon the death of former Senator George Smathers of Florida, on January 20, 2007, Byrd became the last living United States Senator from the 1950s. Not only was he the only person to remain in the Senate for that entire period, but he had outlived every other senator who had seniority over him, and he was the last surviving senator to have voted on a bill giving statehood to a U.S. territory. Although his health was poor, Byrd was present for all of the crucial votes during the Senate’s December 2009 health care debate; his vote was necessary so that the Democrats could obtain cloture to break a Republican filibuster. At the time of his death, he had served in the Senate longer than ten of his colleagues had been alive, including Louisiana Senator David Vitter and former Illinois Senator and current President Barack Obama (died 2010): “Only dictators and kings can get away with never admitting their mistakes.”

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