Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The REAL Lesson Of The Donald Sterling Kerfuffle? Hypocrisy

Before I get started, let me be very clear right up front.
This post is in no way any kind of defense of the in limbo, titular owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, Donald Sterling.
What I want to share is the real lesson from this Le Affair d' Sterling.
That is the repugnant hypocrisy shown on all sides of the reason Mr. Sterling now being banned from the National Basketball Association for life, fined $2,500,000 and will be forced to sell the team.
BTW, the latter will be harder because there is no way Mr. Sterling will sell right away. In fact, I think that he could very well drag this out in the courts and expose the NBA to owners just as awful and corrupt as Mr. Sterling.
To understand why the NBA and Mr. Sterling came to this point, we have to get a flavor of Mr. Sterling himself and we need to go to the beginning.
Mr. Sterling is, essentially, a product of Los Angeles. Sure he was born in Chicago, Illinois, but his family moved here when he was two years old. His family surname, which he changed to the current one as an adult, is Tokowitz. He graduated Roosevelt high school in 1952. Roosevelt high is in the Eastside of Los Angeles when it was where a lot of working working-class Jewish people lived. He went to and graduated Cal State University, Los Angeles in 1956 and attained his law degree from the Southwestern University School of Law in 1960.
Clearly, Mr. Sterling has had some problem of his own upbringing since he changed his very ethnic, Jewish surname to a very Anglo-sounding surname. As the link indicates, Mr. Sterling had to start in law on his own because the opportunities to join a named law firm in the early 1960s were not all that great.
In starting the practice of law, Mr. Sterling became a divorce and personal injury attorney. Nothing like starting at the bottom of the law chain I suppose. I believe today we call Mr. Sterling's type of attorney an ambulance chaser. He made enough of a living there to purchase a 26-unit apartment building in Beverly Hills. And that was the start of the real estate empire that Mr. Sterling made it rich.
And in 1979 in a business deal with the man who bought the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings and the then Fabulous Forum, Dr. Jerry Buss, it became his gateway to eventually buying his own team in the NBA.
And in 1981, Mr. Sterling spent $12,500,000 and purchased the then San Diego Clippers.
A digression here.
The San Diego Clippers started life in the NBA as the Buffalo Braves. A now politically incorrect team name if there ever was one. And the Braves could not hang in Buffalo and after eight seasons, moved to San Diego. Bottom line. They sucked in Buffalo and sucked in San Diego.
After the purchase of the Clippers, the Sterling ownership era began.
And right then and there, the NBA should have known that he was going to be a handful of an owner that did not care about niceties or even following the rules.
In 1982, Mr Sterling was fined $10,000 for saying that he have no problem if the Clippers finished in last place in the overall league standings so that they would be able to to have an automatic first-round draft pick.
Openly telling the league and the fans that you don't care where you finish to get a quick-fix high draft pick is a no-no in any professional sports league. And it should be.
In 1984, Mr. Sterling decided to move the Clippers up Interstate 5 to Los Angeles.
Again, another nicety was ignored by Mr. Sterling.
He needed to get league approval to make such a move. And because he did not get league approval, the NBA fined Mr. Sterling $25,000,000 for doing what he did without league approval. Of course Mr. Sterling was going to keep the team in Los Angeles and sued the NBA for $100,000,000. Eventually, the parties involved settled and Mr. Sterling ended up paying $6,000,000. I suppose that for Mr. Sterling, forcing the NBA to fine him less was worth the legal effort.
But the Sterling era truly was major suckage.
The Clippers played in the even then dilapidated Los_Angeles_Memorial_Sports_Arena from 1984 to 1999 when they joined the Kings and Lakers and play at the Staples Center.
They did not draw all that many fans during that time. They often finished in last place in the Pacific Division and league overall standings. In fact, the first winning season the Clippers had took eight seasons as they finished the 1991-91 season with a 45-39 record. It would take another five seasons for the Clippers to have a second winning season in Los Angeles.
Mr. Sterling has been until recently one of the cheapest owners in any sport. In fact The Sporting News bestowed the honor of Mr. Sterling being one of the worst owners in basketball in decades.
Mr. Sterling did not want to pay a fan that one a contest. Being that the fan was a lawyer, he had to sue to get his money. Mr. Sterling did not help defray costs when an assistant coach, Kim Hughes had surgery for prostate cancer. It took four Clipper players to raise $70,000 to pay for the operation.
And here in the LA Weekly, are some more of the reign of error that has been Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
In 1983, this is what he asked a prospective head coach, Rollie Massimino:

"I wanna know why you think you can coach these niggers?"

Nice. Very nice.
And here is a choice one.
Mr. Sterling was negotiating with Danny Manning and with the then NBA commissioner, David Stern, in the room, he made this comment:

"I'm offering a lot of money for a poor black kid."
Again, such a mensch.
But understand this.
Mr. Sterling was not just a basketball team owner. He still was very involved with real estate and development. And as with being a basketball team owner, he was a very immoral individual.
Again, from the LA Weekly, we read about what happened in 2002 when Mr. Sterling was sued one of many times for housing discrimination. Here is what the property manager said Mr. Sterling said. Keep in mind, this is under oath:

"That's because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they're not clean.. And it's because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day. I don't like Mexican men because they smoke, drink and just hang around the house. Is she one of those black people that stink?...Just evict the bitch."

Such the man. Such a compassionate landlord. Especially when he wants to evict a tenant.
And back to basketball, former Clipper general manager, Elgin Baylor, sued Mr. Sterling after he was let go by Mr. Sterling. Mr. Baylor said he wanted to fill his team with "poor black boys from the South and a white head coach". And that Mr. Sterling kept his salary at $350,000 while the White coach at the time had just been signed to a four-year, $22,000,000 contract. Somehow, Mr. Baylor lost the lawsuit.
The case against Mr. Sterling basically started from day one. It has been very important to recall some of the history because it leads to the hypocrisy that is what has occurred in current NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, and his handing down an essential death sentence to Mr. Sterling.
For many years, Mr. Sterling has basically tried to buy off all those groups that might have caused problems for him.
One is a glaring pact with the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP. He gave them money, they made him out to be a good guy. The good guy being sued for housing discrimination. The good guy that said black people smelled and attracted vermin. Before the kerfuffle of his spouting off to his mistress, one V. Stiviano, about her chumminess with Magic Johnson and why she should not show photos on Instagram and not to bring Black people to Clipper games, Mr. Sterling was to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles NAACP on May 15.
And Mr. Sterling may have kept the Los Angeles Times from going under gracing the Sunday main news section of pages of advertising touting, himself of course, his work on all sorts of charities and some of his upscale real estate properties. Sunday is the most expensive day to advertise in any newspaper and full page ads on this day cost a pretty penny.
And yet all, I mean all, of this has been known to the powers that be since the beginning.
There is no way that people did not know what kind of cretin Mr. Sterling is. What, did it really take a mistress tape recording conversations with Mr. Sterling and somehow, somehow it mysteriously leaked to TMZ? BTW, TMZ is a horrible gossip site and I am ashamed to even link to it. But there seems to be some kind of eternal justice that Mr. Sterling was outed as a horrible human being by TMZ.
What NBA commissioner Mr. Silver is doing is playing a game of CYA*. It may just work if Mr. Sterling just sells the team and slithers away quietly.
But it will not.
For if nothing else, when Mr. Sterling is not keeping the Times afloat with all his self-promoting ads, he keeps a lot of attorneys employed and rich. I guess hopefully for him, they are not lazy Mexicans and or smelly Blacks.
He will sue his way out of this. And I do not think that I would put it past him to drag other owners dirty laundry in the mix. Something that Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, alluded to. And Mr. Cuban is not a man without his own controversies.
So, after all of this, where is the hypocrisy?
The whole tenure of Donald Sterling being a sports team owner has been a case study in it. People like the former NBA commissioner, David Stern, and his basically helping Mr. Sterling become an NBA owner in the first place.
The same NBA that essentially allowed Mr. Sterling to break a big rule by moving the Clippers from San Diego to Los Angeles.
The same NBA that knew Mr. Sterling was a pretty in-your-face racist and misogynist. And a slumlord as the cherry on top.
All the race-huckster groups that took Mr. Sterling's money and looked the other way.
And all the sanctimonious crap that we have to hear now, thanks to everyone jumping all over to condemn what they already knew.
The lesson is not that there is a man like Donald Sterling and his racist, misogynist ways exists. Sadly, it does. But the real lesson is that when everyone knows it and does nothing to stop it until it gets real bad, is that hypocrisy reigns here.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Weekend Palate Cleanser: The Assault On Home Ownership Begins

Just when one thinks that the left might want to keep certain policies to themselves, we have to thank Ryan Cooper writing in The Week for beginning the assault on home ownership.
Yes, Mr. Cooper thinks that the American Dream of striving for home ownership is pretty bad. The really bad thing about home ownership is that it separates the haves from the have nots. No really, it does.
If you want Karl Marx 101, it is right here in this one sentence:

Homeownership has long been the way American society has divided itself into a responsible, stable bourgeoisie (owners) and an undisciplined rabble (renters). The divide used to be along stark, overtly racial lines, enforced by white supremacist terrorism, but nowadays the distinction is a bit more subtle.

Yes, you who are fortunate to be home owners and myself are bourgeoisie. And dammit, we maintain our bourgeois lifestyle by overt racism and even terrorism. I'm sorry, that was before. No, no, no. It's no longer so overt.
You must read all at the link to get the flavor of Mr. Cooper and ho at a level he does not really understand why home ownership is why America is the way she is.
First, some personal background.
As I am pushing 50 years old, Mrs. RVFTLC and I are pretty new homeowners. This May 15 will be our three-year anniversary as home owners. Before that we were renters. Yes, in many ways, renting is easy. All we have to do us write a check to our landlord once a month and that is it. Maybe included in the rent are utilities. Maybe not. And when one rents, if something goes wrong, like plumbing, or any other thing that is wrong, call the landlord. When the landlord feels like it, they will call someone to go over and take a look at the problem. And that person will notify the landlord. They determine if a total repair is going to be made or not. And renting one can choose an apartment, a condominium, a town home or even a home. Why if it is a home, don't worry about how the front yard looks. The landlord will send a gardener maybe every week or more likely twice a month. But you can't do anything YOU want to the front yard. Nor the back yard. Nor inside the domicile. You can't paint any wall willy nilly. And maybe you have to use approved nails by the landlord to hang your wall coverings, pictures, photos and the like. You can't choose carpet or hardwood floors. It's up to the landlord.
See, renting is great if you don't mind having most of your freedoms at the cost of the whim of a landlord. Or if you don't mind getting things done on a landlord's schedule and not your own.
But what is the wonder of home ownership?
Well, even though you are paying a mortgage for up to 30 years, it is yours. And the most obvious is that the mortgage payment never changes. The only way it does if one chooses to refinance the loan at a lower interest rate. Which lowers one's payment. Get it. It never goes up and can go down.
Now when Mrs. RVFTLC and I bought our current abode nearly three years ago, we decided that we did not want the work of owning a single-family dwelling. So we saw our dream, a town home. It is a compromise because of the way that it is layed out. It is in eight sections of about six to eight units each. And they have a detached garage, a little back yard, the unit and a little front yard. Perfect for our needs. As I alluded to, we belong to an HOA or Home Owner's Association. So it is our monthly mortgage and HOA payment. In three years no payment hike. Our HOA has only gone up $20 or an average of about $6.75c a year. The year before we moved, our rent went up $50. And was more than our two payments here combined.
And one thing that our current federal tax system does is give tax incentive to home ownership. Whether or not that is a good thing or not is for another time and another post.
By allotting a mortgage deduction for home ownership and improvements, I can assure you we have already recouped our investment by breaking even, federal tax wise. Even Mr. Cooper acknowledges that but in a snarky, disingenuous way. From Mr. Cooper:

The most prevalent is the mortgage interest deduction, which racked up a bill of $100 billion in 2009.

Don't you like how Mr. Cooper implies a cost? There is not a cost but $100,000,000,000 that does not go into the politician's pockets in Washington. It ends up staying in the local economies and taxes end up being collected locally rather than in Washington. So there is not a cost but not a redistribution of wealth either.
Speaking of taxes, being a home owner means that one has to pay property taxes.
And in California, for a roughly $300,000 home (yeah, there are some, but this is just a figure to use) the annual property tax is roughly $3,700. And in Los Angeles county there are special districts that the property tax goes to such as flood control, county parks, our local library. There are 11 extra assessments which adds roughly about $500 more to our property tax bill. So yes, being a home owner has the perk of paying for many services that renters do not directly pay for.
Something to think about, eh Mr. Cooper?
Without homeowners, who would pay for schools? Flood control districts? Storm drain channels? Community colleges? Shall I go on?
Here is something to think about.
In the United States, as of 2009, the home ownership rate was 67%. a majority of Americans. And yes, it is true as Mr. Cooper points out, many homeowners are underwater because of the housing bubble bursting in 2007. But unlike the gloom and doom of the millions that he mentions (and I have to doubt that broad number), one of the aspects of the investment into a home is for the long run. In other words, one can buy a home at $300,000 and stay in it 20 years. And maybe in that time, the value will go down. but at 20 years, if you sell it you will more than likely sell it at a profit. Yes if one buys a home just as an investment, it does take a lot of work into researching all case scenarios.
And while Mr. Cooper bashes some of the subsidies and or federal tax breaks as for the rich, again the fact is that the Home Mortgage Deduction is why at this point many, many American families have not been victims of the housing bubble.
What Mr. Cooper fails to point out is why the last bubble occurred.
It is due to the fact that pressure was put on lenders by the federal government to provide loans to people that were not prepared for home ownership. Down payments were a bare minimum. The lenders made all kind of exceptions and were encouraged to do so. Regrettably, this was to try to get more minority families into home ownership. No, not regretting that it was aimed at minorities. The regret is that is why many of the lenders were called predatory. It would have been beneficial to have the potential home buyers have more of a down payment. It would have been a good thing for the lender to have poor credit risks clean up their credit problems before they proceeded with their loans. In many cases, they did not.
Before we continue, home ownership is NOT for everybody for a lot of reasons. One is mobility and especially among younger, generally college graduates. For many of those will have to for job prospects. Another is that for some people, home ownership is not their American dream. Many of those are single people. And they are probably more interested in long-term travelling. They do not want to be tied down with having to deal with what home ownership brings. And most of all, there are those that can not afford it and all of the above is OK.
What Mr. Cooper does not explain in his piece is who should be homeowners, What kind of society will it be if most of the homes were owned by a few and the majority were forced to be renters? Is he comfortable with maybe five people owning 95% of homes in any given substantial city?
He does not say.
What Mr. Cooper does suggest is that there really should be no difference between a home owner and the renter:

Most of all, though, there is simply no reason for home ownership to occupy the cultural perch that it does. Renting is just as legitimate a form of paying for shelter as buying.

No, a home that is bought is not just for shelter. If you put it to that level, what you end up with is something along these lines.

This is what housing looked like in the old Soviet Union. Many cities and towns have rows, rows and endless rows of this kind of simple housing. Because since it was owned by the state and it really is for shelter after all, it does not have to look like anything, oh I don't know, unique. Individual.
And the dirty secret that Mr. Cooper will not tell you is that is what his idea on home ownership lead to. The abolition of private property and that includes and is eventually home ownership.
If Mr. Cooper went that far in this piece, he would be called a socialist nut-job. What he is doing is setting up the idea that home ownership is something of a bygone era. That renting is OK. Who cares? It's just shelter after all. What is the big deal?
The big deal is that private property and home ownership are the bulwarks of the American experience.
And people like Ryan Cooper see that as an affront. And he has begun the conversation that is the assault on home ownership.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Loss Of The Sunday Family Get Together

I can't remember if I have shared this lament at all, but if so, get ready for another round of the loss of  a component of strong families.
The Sunday family get-together.
Growing up in the 1970s was very trying in so many ways. Ugly fashions, big hair, the continuing breakdown of what we now call today, traditional values.
There are two of those values that have changed are what we call with disdain the "blue laws" and the family get-together.
The "blue laws" basically limited business and or business hours primarily on Sundays. Because of the federal, decentralized nature of our republic, most "blue laws" were left to the states to decide., it is amazing to see how many are still in force in the United States. In most states, it certainly involves alcohol sales. California did not make the list because the only thing is that all liquor sales are prohibited between 2:00am and 6:00am. And while almost all "blue laws" were more or less religious in nature, the U. S. supreme court has upheld them on several occasions. And regrettably many of the strictest laws were eliminated during the 1970s. And in some states there are movements to try to rescind others. The reality is that we need more, not less.
I will explain why later.
But what does it have to do with the Sunday family get together?
Having stores open with basically unlimited hours and other non-essential business is making Sunday just another day. For many people, it is not a day off but a work day. And for the families, club sports have made a big change in the family dynamic. By club sports I mean like AYSO, baseball, basketball. Anything not played at a school level. And because most households have mom and dad working, it makes it harder to carve a big chunk of a day like a Sunday to simply be together as a family.
The loosening of the "blue laws" directly relates to this trend.
Does anyone remember the term "Banker's hours"? That is when banks did not have ATM machines, were only open Monday thru Friday and the hours were 9:00am to 3:00pm and 9:00am to 6:00pm on Fridays. Now some banks are even open on Sunday.
I get the reality that we do live in a global economy. I know that people have very busy lives. But why can't we take a stand now for restoring that day in our lives?
What I remember is that while there was little religion in my home growing up, there were those Sundays. Sundays in which we would all be together and maybe go to the park, the beach, and maybe one of those rare stores that was open 12:00noon to 6:00pm. It was not a time for getting together with friends so much because we were all doing the same thing. It was a time to talk about school and or the other events of the week. And dinner no matter what was always together.
But as the 1970s moved into the 1980s and I entered high school, my mother went to work and that changed and not for the better. But the value of making time on Sunday went on when I married and we made Sunday night a for sure family dinner night. If possible we all tried to spend time together throughout the day. But our son worked limited hours in high school as a lifeguard for the local YMCA.
What the "blue laws" did good was really force families to go to church. Then maybe brunch at home. Have some fun time after brunch. And a Sunday family dinner.
That is just not possible in today's world to many people.
I suppose that the Thanksgiving kerfuffle over stores opening on Thanksgiving night prompted my thinking about this. But it was this past Easter Sunday that really opened my eyes.
Mrs. RVFTLC and I were going to Easter Brunch at one of our favorite restaurants in Pasadena. We were walking from our parking stall to the restaurant and passed by Macy's. It was closed I told Mrs. RVFTLC. She could not believe it. But after brunch as we were going back to our car, we saw people leaving Pottery Barn for Kids and yes, they were open.
And hold on to your hats, but the anti-capitalist came out of me and I lamented that they could close for one day. Why was Pottery Barn for Kids, a SWLPL* establishment if there ever was one, open but not the behemoth Macy's? It made no sense to me.
Last night I was engaged in a long Facebook conversation that prompted lively discussion. It made me realize how shallow our society has become that people can't get that family time is most important. Really, most people can wait til noon to shop at Target. Or any store for that matter one day a week.
I would love to see a movement to having some kind of moderate "blue law" restoration. Something that yes, makes families have to spend time together. It will not solve all of the problems that modern families have, but it could be a way for some to connect and reconnect.
I do lament the loss of the Sunday Family get together and hope that this makes people think about making a positive change to bring some of it back.

*SWLPL-Stuff White Liberal People Like

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Lord Is Risen! The Lord Is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

This is the Gospel according to St. John, 20: 1-18 (KJV):

1The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

Here is to a very Happy and Blessed Easter to you and yours. And remember:


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Can Republicans Break Through Any State-Wide Office In California?

One office that California Republicans are really going to have a tough time winning statewide is the governor's office.
And since there is no candidate running for Lt. Governor, one has to go down ballot for the seven statewide elected constitutional offices to see hope at the end of the tunnel.
In the latest "non-partisan" Field Poll for governor, the current governor, Jerry Brown, has a commanding 40%-yes 40% lead over the nearest opponent, state assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Hesperia), leasing by the numbers 57% to 17%. A couple of other Republicans, Laguna Hills mayor Andrew Blount and businessman Neel Kashkari can't even muster more than five percent of all voters.
In the June primary, all candidates are placed on one ballot with party identification by their name.
And while Gov. Brown has 57% votes of likely voters, it does not look good for Republicans based on his job performance. On that front, Gov. Brown has a 59% popularity rating and only 32% disapprove of his job in office. Only nine percent have no opinion.
So would appear on the surface that Republicans will have a tough time trying to unseat Gov. Brown. But there are several issues that they can highlight and maybe knock some of his popularity down some notches.
One is the issues of water for Central Valley farmers. There is a huge bone that Central Valley farmers have with both Sacramento and Washington. The main issue is regarding water.
Then there is the issue of whether or not we are, as a state, having a water shortage problem. And in another Field Poll on the topic, it shows the dyslexia of the California voter. About 88% of California likely voters do think that there is a serious water shortage in the state. But in regards as to what to do about it, one has to look at things in a regional perspective. Reading the data, there is no question it is the usual battle between the Nor Cals and the So Cals.
Another topic is the "reform" of the California prison system that has, essentially, dumped many state prisoners in county jails. The right candidate can point out the failure of this and how it will lead to more crime. If it has not already.
So now let's look at a down-ticket race.
The race for California state controller.
Here is the surprising nugget from this Field Poll on this race
A Republican woman is leading the field at this point and the Democrat vote is divided between a Nor Cal gal and a So Cal dude, it is a promising sign.
Republican Ashley Swearingen is the current Republican mayor of Fresno, the largest city in the Central Valley with well over 500,000 residents. Her two Democrat opponents are state Board of Equalization (tax board) member Betty Lee and former state assembly speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles). Between those two it is a classic Nor Cal vs. So Cal race. Mrs. Yee is more liberal than Mr. Perez. But that is really in a matter of degree. As far as the race goes, Mrs. Swearingen is leading the race with 28% of the votes. Mrs. Yee is coming in second with 19% of the vote and Mr. Perez with 14% of the votes. The bad news for all candidates is that 38% of voters are undecided. The good news for Mrs. Swearingen is that more than likely she has the Republican vote. Now in this early stage she can try to sway some independent voters and maybe even some Democrats.
In other words, the California GOP may not win the governor's race or the Lt. governor's race, but there are races like state controller that the party needs to consider spending money to win on.
And I think that the Republicans are going to get enough seats in the state senate and assembly to stop the Democrat super-majority. And also will gain congressional seats as well.
So it looks like the California Republican party still has a lot of work to do but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Maundy Thursday

Today is the beginning of the Great Three Days of the Christian liturgical calendar and this first of the days is Maundy Thursday.
In the simplest of explanations, it is the remembrance of The Last Supper in which Jesus Christ told the disciples that this was his last meal with them and that to always remember that meal in the celebration of the Holy Communion until his return.
The Christian Orthodox depiction of The Last Supper below is what both the Western and Eastern churches imagine the scene to be.
So what happens at a Maundy Thursday service?
For most in the Western liturgical traditions, it can begin with the blessing of the Chrism oils to be used on The Great Vigil of Easter for the newly baptised. Before celebrating the Holy Communion,
often times there will be a washing of the feet. No, it is not a pedicure, just a simple bit of water being poured on the feet of the congregants as a commemoration of what Jesus did. Then is the Holy Communion. Once that is done there is a ceremonial stripping of the altar. Everything is taken off the altar and the remaining communion bread/wafers and wine are taken to a box of reserved sacraments to be used at Good Friday services. Some stripping of the altars are more elaborate than others. A good explanation is in this link.
In the Eastern Orthodox churches, it is celebrated differently and also tweaked for local custom. Most Orthodox churches are based on ethnicity and geographically. Again a good explanation is found here.
One aspect of this day is the division in American Christianity.
There are whole Christians that have absolutely no idea of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the Great Vigil of Easter.
Regrettably this is due to strong theological differences between fundamentalist Protestants and some evangelical Christians.
It is one of the reasons I admit I have a great deal of disagreement with by evangelical brothers and sisters.
What they miss is that the three days are true to the biblical account of the Last Supper, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection on Sunday morning.
I suppose that a rightful objection is the bells and smells aspect for some evangelicals. I mean, if one belongs to Anglicanism, Lutheran or any other Protestant liturgical church, why is there so much ritual, especially on these days?
Speaking as an Anglican, I can say that some churches are High Churches and they emphasise the Catholic tradition. Vestments, albs, chasubles, incense and the like. In many but certainly not all Anglican/Episcopal churches today, much of this list is found in any given worship service. At this point the catholic, small c, forms of worship are predominant in worship. But the big ones, well they come out in this time of the church year.
But, many evangelical Anglican/Episcopal churches do not go all liturgical crazy. They do celebrate the Great Three Days in a more subdued manner and remember the meaning in this remembrance.
I for one consider myself a Protestant but have no fear that a little tradition and ritual will suddenly make me a papist.
Yet there are many Christians can not get past that and thus do not appreciate the whole of why there is  a Christian church of any kind.
It is the Last Supper, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It would be a wonderful thing if all Christians can unite and celebrate the Great Three Days together. But alas, we can not.
As for me, it is very important to recognize the whole meaning of Jesus Christ. And the Last Supper, aka Maundy Thursday is a great way to start.

Why My Lack Of Blogging

I have not blogged very much lately.
The last post I had before this was March 29, 2014.
That in Blogland is a long time.
The primary reason for this is that I have had a lot of medical problems. None of them are serious but because of the several of them, I have been to doctors, labs for blood tests, poop tests, and last but not least physical therapy for my neck.
Today is the first day in quite a few weeks that I have felt well. Well enough to get back to the key board!
There is, as always, a lot to write about. But the problem is narrowing it down.
But for now I am back ready to tackle issues of the day!