Why Hawaii Means AAAH

Why Hawaii Means AAAH
(written the day before the tsunami scare)

To all you urban dwellers—let alone northeast urban dwellers: why, at this time of year, when people say ”I’m going to Hawaii” do you all think “AAH! If only…?”

I’m on a plane back from Hawaii and I think I know something now that I’d like to share.

“AAH” isn’t about the weather- (although that helps). It’s about being able to see the horizon…

Just think. In our urban environment, what we look at daily is verticality. Our urban landscape is in a continuous active battle —with gravity. What we see is an energized landscape, forever fighting to stay upright. Sure, we don’t think about it consciously. That’s for the architects and contractors and city overseers to worry about. But implicit in what we look at every day is a death-defying fight. We accept it but it affects us deeply, since we too are fighting that same overwhelming force daily, throughout our lives. So we’re not only doing it, we’re surrounded by it. And we’re doing it in throngs — people and buildings.—full to bursting with it. How exhausting!

Now —Hawaii. What does one see there? Not only spaces where the world is at rest. But no one and nothing is fighting anything. The landscape and the ocean are simply there. And the horizon? It lays there- peacefully, simply marking the end of the sea we can see. It’s horizontal—far off but so definite and reassuring. It’s just laying there, giving us the gift of the ocean and its waves. Letting them roll onto the shore. Letting us experience its power, but so gently. And – no effort. The moon does it all. No work, no struggle. Just rhythmic. Even. Regular. Dependable.

What great words to say to any city dweller. Contrast our lives with those words. That landscape. All you need to do in Hawaii is sit. Watch. And breathe… There’s the AAH.


Jurors in the Age of Google

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Hello my Blog Colleagues—

I’m off to Hawaii (yes – I hear the groans from you snow-bounders). But I’m really off to work! The Federal Bar Council, made up of appellate and federal judges and the lawyers empowered to appear before them, is meeting to discuss a very serious new issue appearing in our trial court.

The name of the program is Jurors in the Age of Google…

And the problem? Jurors, who are required by law to make decisions based only on the evidence they see and hear in court, are now going home and googling everything about the trial they’re sitting and judging! Checking out the backgrounds of lawyers, the witnesses, the information, the technical or medical evidence and so on. And since they do this in secret, how are we now to handle this? What can now constitute a fair trial? Will the courts make accommodations for this phenomenon? Pass new laws?

My role is to help the assembled members understand what happened to communication and how TV, computers and the Internet have drastically changed us.

I’ll discuss the origins and effects of these changes and the new demands we all make now about how we learn- let alone listen- or don’t. And then to explain the Generation Gaps and how these very different groups process, accept or reject information and what that’s based on.

Then I’ll present some new skills and new approaches to help lawyers and judges reach jurors more effectively.

When I return I’ll tell you all about what happened at this exciting meeting and what was decided that can affect us all…