Lita and I are in Maui attending the annual International Society of Barristers convention. We arrived last Friday. I attend the morning talks and we drop in to the social affairs, but are really just relaxing after the trial. So, here are some random observations so far
The first night we attending a welcome cocktail party and were introduced to a couple from Washington D.C. He told us that he had worked for the CIA for some six years and I was in one of those moods, so I said "Well, have you ever made an honest living?" It became clear that this lawyer did not share my sense of humor. Even so, when he later said he had also worked for Condolezza Rice and that she had invited him to work for her when she was appointed Secretary of State, but he had declined and went into private practice, something snapped. I said, Well you clearly made the right decision that time." At that point, he turned away from me and didn’t talk to me again, which I can understand.
Later we ate in a restaurant at the hotel and I noticed the name tag on the young man pouring water. It read "Diogenes." I asked him if that was his real name and he said it was. I asked him why he had that name and he said his parents were involved in Greek mythology at the time. He shared with us that his sisters and brother also have names from Greek mythology. I wondered what kind of impact that name had on him as a youngster. Johnny Cash’s famous song "A Boy Called Sue" came to my mind. Interesting that he had not adopted a nick name or shortened it. I gather he was proud of his name.
Last night we ate a water side restaurant which is near a point of land the whales travel past. The water was full of pods of whales. They blew vapor clouds into the air, they surfaced and rolled and they dove exposing their tails. What a wonderful show to go along with a very beautiful Maui sunset. It was better than any expensive dinner show one might pay money to see.
This morning I went to church services and ran into a retired Tacoma lawyer I’ve known for a life time, Jim Moceri. What a small world this is. Jim was a partner in an plaintiff’s firm in Tacoma for many years. I stopped by the store for supplies on the way home and there was a man in front of me who clearly showed the effects of leprosy. I’ve never seen someone afflicted with that disease and it was startling. I think of it in biblical terms and forget people still suffer from this disease. The famous priest, Father Damien De Veuster cared for people with leprosy here in Hawaii for many years before his death after contracting the disease himself.
This morning the talk at the seminar was by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald best known for prosecuting Scooter Libby. He defended the Patriot Act on the basis that the threat of terrorism justified the suspension of due process as we know it under our constitution. From the questions afterwards, I don’t think he convinced many of the lawyers in the room. What I was tempted to say was that his argument was premised on the basic requirement that we must trust government in order to accomplish protection and that means the American people must accept secrecy. But, this administration has demonstrated in every possible way that it cannot be trusted and must not be trusted with the civil and constitutional rights of American. He struck me as a sincere young man, but in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. The fact there is one U.S. Attorney who has integrity doesn’t mean we can trust an administration that fires U.S. Attorneys for purely political reasons.