Daily Update: Monday, August 15th, 2016

Assumption and 08-15 - National Day of the Acadians and Games of the XXXI Olympiad - Rio, Brazil

Today is the great Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (a Holy Day of Obligation), and today is also the National Day of the Acadians. And the Games of the XXXI Olympiad continue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the doctrine that Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven at the end of her life. Apocryphal accounts of the assumption of Mary into heaven have circulated since at least the 4th century, and the Catholic Church itself interprets chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation as referring to it. The taking of Mary into Heaven became an established teaching across the Eastern, Western, Coptic and Oriental churches from at least the late seventh Century, the festival date settling at August 15th. Theological debate about the Assumption continued following the Reformation and climaxing in 1950 when Pope Pius XII defined it as dogma for the Catholic Church in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus. In this dogmatic statement, the phrase “having completed the course of her earthly life” leaves open the question of whether the Virgin Mary died before her Assumption or whether she was assumed before death; both possibilities are allowed. (Perhaps the Assumption is the theological example of Quantum Physics, and both occurred.) It is normally a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning that the Faithful are obliged to go to Mass for this day; but when the Feast is on a Saturday or Sunday, the American Bishops relax the requirement. Today is also the National Day of the Acadians. During the first National Convention of the Acadians held at Memramcook, New Brunswick in 1881, the Acadian leaders received a mandate to set the date of this celebration. Given a choice between June 24th, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, or August 15th, La Fête de l’Assomption de Marie, in the end the members present at the convention decided on August 15th, and took the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Patron of the Acadians. The Vatican ratified the choice of the Acadian convention many years later in a proclamation issued on January 19th, 1938. The Acadian flag was established at the Second Acadian Convention in 1884 at Miscouche, Prince Edward Island.  It is a French flag (tricolor blue, white, and red) with a gold star at the top left in the blue field representing the Virgin Mary, patron saint of the Acadians. In 1965 the France-Amérique de la Louisiane Acadienne commissioned Dr. Thomas Arceneaux, of the University of Southwest Louisiana, to design a Louisiana Acadian flag to honor the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Acadians in Louisiana.  The three colors of the flag are divided differently, and on the flag are three symbols.  The gold castle on the red field represents the Spanish kingdom, who allowed and even assisted the Acadians in settling their new homeland.  The silver fleur-de-lis on the blue field represents their French heritage. The gold star on the white background represents the Blessed Virgin Mary, patron saint of the Acadians. Louisiana made this flag the official flag of the Acadiana area in 1974. And the Games of the XXXI Olympiad continue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Competition today is in Badminton, Basketball, Canoeing (Sprint), Diving, Field Hockey, Handball, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Volleyball (Beach), Volleyball (Indoor), and Water Polo, with Gold Medal Competition in Athletics, Boxing, Cycling (Track), Equestrian, Gymnastics (Artistic), Sailing, Swimming, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.

I posted to Facebook when I woke up that today was the National Day of the Acadians; I woke up tired, and did not do my Book Devotional Reading. I had seen on Facebook that there would be no trash pickup today, so we did not put out the bin. On our way to work we noticed that the skies were clearing, and that the water by the side of the road was quite high, higher than yesterday (and I did not do my Internet Devotional Reading). Once at the casino I called the Pharmacy and renewed a prescription. When we clocked in, Richard was on the second Mississippi Stud table, and I was on the Macau Mini Baccarat table. When my Macau players left, we closed my Macau Mini Baccarat table and opened up the regular Mini Baccarat table. I was falling asleep on the table, and when Richard came by he offered to switch with me, so I took over the second Mississippi Stud table, and he took over the Mini Baccarat table.

After work we went to the Clinic; on the Pharmacy side Richard picked up my prescription for me (thank you, Richard), and I had blood drawn and left off a urine sample for lab work ahead of my appointment with the Renal Specialist at the Clinic on August 25th. Richard got me my lunch from McDonald’s (thank you again, Richard). On our way home we noticed the huge amount of traffic heading west, as we were heading east; they closed parts of Interstate I-10 and routed the traffic up to US-190, which is the road we take every day. The water was demonstrably higher on the sides of the road as we were coming in, higher than when we came to work this morning.

Once home Richard mowed the grass, and I read the local Sunday paper (which was delivered last night) and today’s morning paper. I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update; when I finish this Daily Update I will go to bed early. I did not go to Mass on this Holy Day of Obligation; for one thing, they did not have a mass time scheduled that I could attend, and for another thing, I doubt they would have had Mass even if one had been scheduled (what with the town dealing with area flooding; the schools were closed today, and they will be closed tomorrow as well).

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Stephen of Hungary, King (died 1038), and the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil continue. Tomorrow competition will take place in Badminton, Basketball, Equestrian, Field Hockey, Football, Handball, Volleyball (Beach), Volleyball (Indoor), and Water Polo, and Gold Medal Competition will take place in Athletics, Boxing, Canoeing (Sprint), Cycling (Track), Diving, Gymnastics (Artistic), Sailing, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, and Wrestling. Tomorrow is the Friday of our work week, and Richard and I will work our eight hours. In the afternoon I will take a nap, and after lunch I will head to Lafayette to attend the Third Tuesday Book Club Meeting at Barnes and Noble to discuss Quicksand House by Carlton Mellick III.

Our Parting Quote on this Monday afternoon of the Feast of the Assumption and the National Day of the Acadians comes to us from Bert Lance, American banker and businessman. Born as Thomas Bertram Lance in 1931 in Gainesville, Georgia, his father, Thomas Jackson Lance, had served as president of Young Harris College in northeast Georgia, and in 1941 the family relocated to Calhoun, in Gordon County, when Lance’s father became superintendent of that city’s schools. Lance attended college at the University of Georgia, married LaBelle David, whose family owned the Calhoun First National Bank, in 1950, and graduated in 1951. He attended graduate school at LSU in Baton Rouge and Rutgers University. After graduation Lance became a clerk at the Calhoun First National Bank, and within a decade became its president. He became acquainted with Jimmy Carter during the latter’s time as Governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975 and served as State Highway Director during his administration. Lance ran to succeed Carter as governor in 1974, but lost a bid for the Democratic nomination, finishing third in the first primary behind Lester Maddox and the eventual winner, George Busbee. During the campaign, Lance accrued campaign debts of nearly $600,000. He then became president of the National Bank of Georgia in Atlanta in 1975, a position he held until 1977. Lance was an adviser to Carter during his successful 1976 presidential campaign. After Carter’s victory over President Gerald Ford, Lance was named Director of the Office of Management and the Budget (OMB). According to former OMB officials, it was well known in the department that Lance and President Carter prayed together every morning. However, within six months, questions were raised by the press and Congress about mismanagement and corruption when Lance was Chairman of the Board of Calhoun First National Bank of Georgia. William Safire’s article written during this time, “Carter’s Broken Lance”, earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1978. It was an embarrassment for Carter’s administration, particularly as it occurred soon after President Nixon’s Watergate scandal and President Ford’s pardon of Nixon just before he could be impeached. To insure there was no hint of similar impropriety in the Carter administration, Lance resigned his position. On Saturday Night Live, soon after Lance’s resignation from the Carter administration, John Belushi (playing Lance) and Dan Aykroyd (playing Carter) appeared in an advertising parody of an American Express credit card commercial. On an episode of Good Times, JJ referenced Lance while offering to make out a check for the family budget knowing they have no money. And in the “Making Out” episode What’s Happening!, Rerun confused Bert Lance with Cyrus Vance while trying to impress a date who was a political science major. In January 1978 Lance sold his stock in National Bank of Georgia to Ghaith Pharaon, while on the same day, BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi paid off Lance’s $3.5 million loan at the First National Bank of Chicago. The following month, Lance helped BCCI with their hostile bid for Financial General Bankshares of Washington, which failed. After a well-publicized trial in 1980, Lance was found innocent on nine charges of misusing the funds of two Georgia banks he headed, and the jurors could not reach a decision on two counts charging Lance lied in financial statements and one count charging that a loan Lance made to a co-defendant through the National Bank of Georgia was a misapplication of bank funds. In 1981 Lance returned to the Calhoun First National Bank as Chairman.  That same year BCCI secretly acquired Financial General Bankshares of Washington (renamed First American Bankshares) using 15 Arab investors as nominees with the help of Lance and Arkansas-based power investor Jackson Stephens (who had been Carter’s classmate at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis). The next year Lance introduced Jimmy Carter to Abedi. Lance then made something of a political comeback in 1982 when he was elected Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party. In 1984 Walter Mondale, who was the Democratic candidate for United States President, sought to name Lance as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but was forced to withdraw his name after opposition from Democratic party members. Lance’s subsequent appointment as general manager of the 1984 campaign lasted only a few weeks. In 1986 he left Calhoun First National Bank.  In 1987 First American Bankshares acquired National Bank of Georgia from Pharaon. Lance was an advisor to Jesse Jackson during Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign. BCCI was terminated in 1991 (with Lance and Stephens making millions), and it was subsequently revealed that the bank had engaged in many illegal activities, including secretly controlling several United States banks, in violation of federal banking statutes. In 1991 Lance (with Bill Gilbert) wrote The Truth of the Matter: My Life In and Out of Politics (died 2013): “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

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