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Nashville Cats

On Friday (Oct. 11), I’ll deliver a talk on the utility of a standards approach (as opposed to a rules approach) to the integration of information and communication technology into the practice of mediation. The session is presented, or at least organized by the Administrative Office of the Courts in Tennessee. I’m particularly happy to be involved because of the opportunity to go back to Tennessee, the chance to see some good friends and valued colleagues, and a chance to talk about something to which I am committed. I’m also glad to be back in Nashville because it is a return to a venue near the one that was, back in 2018, my first bit of work and first public appearance after my cancer hiatus. I am grateful to Larry Bridgesmith for both invitations.

09
Oct 2019
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ODR Certificate Program

This is a screen shot of the first class meeting of the ODR certificate program that Ana, Alessandra, and I are running in English and Portuguese. This was taken near the end of the first session when we were looking at a poll of opinions about barriers to ODR. Eleven weeks to go.

26
Sep 2019
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Upcoming – I will be speaking at each of the events below.

Online ODR Course in English and Portuguese, beginning on Sept. 25.
Register at ODRfoundations.com



17th Annual Advanced Mediation Technique Workshop – hosted by Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN on October 11.

Annual ODR Forum, hosted by the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, VA, Oct. 27-29.
Register at www.ODR2019.org
10
Sep 2019
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Whom Should We Fear?, Part II

My comments about violence and who commits it have been responded to by some as though I were directly attacking Trump (whom I did not mention), and as though I were suggesting that only one group is responsible for mass violence. Let me come at it from another angle.

Much of our public discourse is ugly. Much of our public discourse is hate-filled. Much of our public discourse is aimed at creating fear of immigrants and illegal immigrants. Any one who would argue that any of these statements are incorrect has not been paying attention to the nasty back and forth dominant in the media and on the Internet for the past few years.

My main point was that being fearful of immigrants and illegal immigrants is less rational than being fearful of other groups. The Cato Institute, which could never be accused of being a liberal think tank, reports, “Since 1911, large nationwide federal immigration commissions have asked whether immigrants are more crime-prone than native-born Americans and each one of them answered no . . . .” Measuring the propensity of illegal immigrants to engage in violent behavior is much harder, but the research does indicate that violent crime among illegal immigrants is markedly lower than the violent crime rate among native-born Americans. Does this mean that immigrants and illegal immigrants do not commit crime? No, of course not. And it does not mean that one should feel any better about being a victim of immigrant violence just because it is statistically less likely to happen than it is to be a victim of non-immigrant violence. It does mean that the hate-filled, jingoistic, de-humanizing vitriol aimed at immigrants is just flat wrong on a factual basis, and is just flat un-Christian and immoral on a spiritual basis.

09
Aug 2019
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Whom should we fear?

Three public shootings in the past week have set off my moral radar enough to make me risk having an opinion in public. You know what happens on the Internet to people who make that mistake.

John F. Kennedy, and many others, have misquoted Dante Alighieri as having written some version of, “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in times of moral crisis remain neutral.” Of course, Dante wrote no such thing. He did, however, in Inferno, canto iii, express the foundation of this thought about neutrality or silence in the face of moral crisis. At a particular level of Hell, the Master was asked about a set of poor souls, and the reason they were suffering. His rather longer answer can be abbreviated: these are sorry or worthless souls who lived “sanza ‘nfamia e sanza lodo” (without disgrace or controversy and without praise). According to the Master, we should “non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa” (not speak or argue with them, but merely look and pass them by).

The modern transformation of Dante’s words are a bit more pithy – language in 1317 was a bit more dense and obtuse, but even today we can get the gist: if things are going to Hell in a handbasket, one should not keep quiet.

So, I said all that to make this observation about violence in our society, and whom we should fear.

We have had a constant barrage of vitriol for the past three years about the sub-human infestation of refugees and migrants who want to come to the US from shit-hole countries around the world: how they are criminals and dangerous, and how we should fear them.

I find this attitude beyond cosmically ironic.

As admittedly only one measure of whom we should fear, let’s look at the mass killings in the US over the past three years. By mass, I’ll use the common definition adopted by the press – three or more dead, excluding the gunman. Under this definition, the shooting last week in Southaven, Mississippi, where only two died, didn’t even make the news cycle in competition with El Paso and Dayton.

What, then, do we have? Since 2017, at least nine mass killings. Here’s the basic info.

Las Vegas
58 Dead – Semi-Automatic Weapon – White Male, 68 years old.

Southerland Springs Church
26 Dead – Semi-Automatic Weapon – White Male, 26 years old.

Stoneman Douglas High School
17 Dead – Semi-Automatic Weapon – White Male, 19 years old.

Thousand Oaks
12 Dead – Semi-Automatic Weapon – White Male, 28 years old.

Pittsburgh Synagogue
11 Dead – Semi-Automatic Weapon – White Male, 46 years old.

Santa Fe High School
10 Dead – Shot Gun and Pistol – White Male, 17 years old.

Gilroy, CA
3 Dead – Semi-Automatic Weapon – White Male, 19 years old.

El Paso
20 Dead – Semi-Automatic Weapon – White Male, 21 years old.

Dayton
9 Dead – Semi-Automatic Weapon – White Male, 24 years old.

Commonalities? Semi-Automatic weapons, White Male US citizens, far right/white supremacist Internet postings.

Lesson? Perhaps that one is much, much, much more likely to be killed by a young white male US citizen with an automatic weapon and a white supremacist fingerprint on the Internet than one is ever likely to be harmed by an immigrant.

And yet the hate, the vile language, and the demonization continue. As a people we should be better than this. And by “this” I mean both the propensity to acts of mass violence and the willingness to dehumanize our fellow human beings. As that wise sage, Pogo, once observed, “we have met the enemy, and he is us.”

05
Aug 2019
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NCTDR Fellows

It is an honor to be associated with all of the Fellows, from all over the world, who have been at the forefront of development and research in online dispute resolution.

01
Aug 2019
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Webinar: Justice Layer of the Internet

This afternoon I’ll participate with Jeff Aresty and Larry Bridgesmith in a webinar addressing the Justice Layer of the Internet. Topics will include a discussion of what “The Justice Layer” is, how current legal systems have failed, how the Justice Layer fits with the UN Sustainable Goals, and what it means to have a “social justice” agenda today. I’ll post an audio of my comments as soon as they are available.

26
Jul 2019
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ODR CME

The Virginia Supreme Court has approved the development of a technology course to add to the menu of training for mediators certified to accept court-referred cases in Virginia.

The CME (continuing mediation education) course will, in the words of the Supreme Court mandate: “provide training on how to use electronic tools such as e-mail, Drop-Box, and other file sharing tools in an ethical manner that ensures preservation of confidentiality of information both during and after the mediation. . . . [and] may be expanded to summarize issues surrounding online dispute resolution, the way in which artificial intelligence can support Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), and the ethical considerations associated with both. Depending on responses to the CMEs, the module also may be included in the mandatory training mediators must undergo in order to be certified as court-referred mediators.”

As a member of the SRL Committee I suggested the development of the course, and I am a member of the sub-committee that will develop and test the module. Although some state bar associations have made technology training mandatory for lawyers, to my knowledge this will be the first ODR/technology course endorsed as a mediation CLE by a state supreme court in the US.

13
Jul 2019
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InternetBar.Org “Member of the Month”

Some very kind words from Jeff Aresty .

12
Jul 2019
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Latin America

In September, Ana Maria Goncalves and I will host a course consisting of a series of webinars and online exercises leading to a certificate of completion in e-mediation. The course will be offered in Portuguese and English simultaneously. The English langauge flyer can be found here: E-Mediation.

By September or October Alberto Elisavetsky’s new book, “La mediacion a la luz de las nuevas technologias” (Mediation in Light of New Technologies) should also be published. Alberto asked me to write a short blurb on the future of ODR, which can be found in English and Spanish here: ODR.

14
Jun 2019
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