Even in death, John McCain sends message of hope: America is already great

Chuck Otey's Pro Bono Barrister

September 4, 2018 By Charles F. Otey, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
John McCain's funeral procession. AP photo
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When presidential candidate Donald Trump demeaned the service of Vietnam War hero Sen. John McCain because he was captured — held in captivity and tortured for five years, refusing release to support his comrades — he hit a nerve in the American psyche in a way that no other candidate ever had.

Trump seemingly got away with this foray into horrible taste and judgment and, to the surprise of millions, Republicans in the Senate and Congress who claim to be his friends now defend and support the Trump agenda.

Their fear is that he has a lock on a hardcore group of far-right voters who will follow his directions to support or oppose any Republican congressional candidate who dares to cross him.

This striking incongruity stood out during the week that was dedicated to McCain — who is regarded as an American hero by most of us — while the man who avoided the military draft five times due to bone spurs now presides in fits of pique at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

When Meghan McCain proclaimed that “America was already great,” her bold comment must have struck a chord among many fearful senators and congressmembers.

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Columnist’s Note: We were pleased to hear from former Brooklyn Law School Dean and current Professor Nick Allard, who had some touching and revealing remarks dealing with the relationship between McCain and Sen. Ted Kennedy, as well as the singular status each has earned. His message, in its entirety, can be accessed at www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-boss-ted-kennedy-john-mccain-times-disagreed-yet-moved-nick-allard.


Justice Sylvia Ash Sets Next Civil Court Forum for Sept. 18

Justice Sylvia Ash has announced that the first Goldberg-Aronin Civil Court forum will take place on Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. in the 11th floor boardroom at 360 Adams St. The forum is named in honor of late Justices Richard Goldberg and Irving Aronin, who directed its operations in its earlier years.

Way back in the 1990s, then-Administrative Justice Michael Pesce initiated the Civil Court forums to deal with the problems of jam-packed court calendars that were wreaking havoc with the personal lives of several trial attorneys. These barristers were upset because expensive and extensive trials, especially ultra-costly medical malpractice matters, were being scheduled for the “dog days” of summer.

“Scheduling expert witnesses for July and August trials was a nightmare,” one veteran practitioner told this writer a few years back. “Something had to be done.”

Perceiving that there was indeed a failure in communication between bench, bar and the all-controlling clerical sections of what was then called the “big house,” 360 Adams St., Pesce worked with Chief Clerk Tom Kilfoyle Justice Joseph Levine and several other senior judges to schedule regular forums at which attorneys, judges and court clerks could reach a solution to this perplexing and persistent problem.

“We needed a regular meeting at which attorneys, judges and lead court personnel could exchange their views on day-to-day matters like calendars, filing papers, motion parts as well as TAP [Trial and Assignment Parts],” a veteran colleague reminded me the other day.

The Civil Court forums succeeded so well that they have since become a valued institution and a smooth way to iron out bureaucratic snags that otherwise would needlessly hamper the effective dispensation of justice and fair play.

Ash, who heads the court’s Commercial Division, has several dedicated predecessors in this vital endeavor, including Justice Donald Kurtz and Justices Aronin and Goldberg, for whom the forums are now named. Other retired justices who have led the forums include Levine and Hon. Abraham Gerges, both of whom served as interim administrative judges.

Principal Law Clerk Hajin Suh advised those who will attend, “If you have any matter that you wish to be placed on the agenda, please feel free to contact me by email at [email protected]. As always, refreshments will be served.”


Russo, Oliviera Lead Way: Chamber Event Spurs ‘Shapers of Brooklyn’s New Century’ Program 

Cheers to Acting Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Rick Russo and event co-chair Investors Bank Senior Vice President and Regional Manager Ana Oliveira on the success of the recent “Building Brooklyn” initiative highlighting the “Shapers of Brooklyn’s New Century.”

Leaders like this dynamic duo — with strong backing from Borough President Eric Adams — and award winners like architect Adam Meshberg and Dean Marchi of the Grand Staff Development staff demonstrate how quickly and well Brooklyn is capitalizing on its many assets and remarkable growth as we move well into the 21st century.

Thanks to these folks and the others who presented “Building Brooklyn,” our borough is no longer pinned to the insulting moniker “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” which for decades suggested to the rest of the nation that ours is a barren concrete expanse. Rather, Brooklyn is the focal point of positive development and a place where an enriching culture can blossom.

Those who might have missed the excellent report on “Building Brooklyn” should read the “Shapers of Brooklyn’s New Century” article by Andy Katz that appeared in this newspaper’s editions of Aug. 9.


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