Japanese drumming in Dublin

Staff Reports

EitetsuHayashi (photo credit: S. Oguma)

EitetsuHayashi (photo credit: S. Oguma)

Dublin Taiko Group (photo credit: Ben Pachter)

Dublin Taiko concert with special guest master taiko soloist Eitetsu Hayashi Sept. 9

Dublin Taiko concert “The Legacy Continues …” featuring special guests Eitetsu Hayashi and EITETSU FU-UN no KAI

Sept. 9, 2018, 7 p.m., Dublin Coffman High School

DUBLIN, Ohio — (Aug. 21, 2018) Dublin Taiko, an ensemble that encompasses more than 120 Dublin students in grades 6 through 12, will perform a concert at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Dublin Coffman High School, 6780 Coffman Rd., Dublin, Ohio. Taiko is the art of Japanese drumming that includes both music and choreography, promoting themes of unity and diversity through dynamic performances. Tickets, which range from $10 to $20, are now on sale at www.dublintaiko.com.

The group began as a cultural exchange during the 2004-2005 school year, produced by Ohio Arts Council, Arts Midwest, Dublin Arts Council and the Japan Cultural Network at Dublin Davis Middle School. The project provided a yearlong artist residency with master taiko soloist Eitetsu Hayashi, who is visiting Dublin during a North American tour. He will be a special guest performer, along with his ensemble EITETSU FU-UN no KAI, during the concert.

Dublin Taiko, led by Susann Blair-Ewing, is now the largest K-12 taiko organization in North America, performing locally, regionally and internationally. The group’s mission is to develop student performers who demonstrate a passion for the artistry of taiko, promote diversity and expansion of cultural knowledge.

Seating for the concert is limited and advance general admission ticket purchases are recommended. A limited number of tickets may be available for on site purchase. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The Conversation

Why it matters that teens are reading less

August 20, 2018

Jean Twenge

Professor of Psychology, San Diego State University

Disclosure statement

Jean Twenge has received funding from the Russell Sage Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and is a consultant for JANA Partners.

Most of us spend much more time with digital media than we did a decade ago. But today’s teens have come of age with smartphones in their pockets. Compared to teens a couple of decades ago, the way they interact with traditional media like books and movies is fundamentally different.

My co-authors and I analyzed nationally representative surveys of over one million U.S. teens collected since 1976 and discovered an almost seismic shift in how teens are spending their free time.

Increasingly, books seem to be gathering dust.

It’s all about the screens

By 2016, the average 12th grader said they spent a staggering six hours a day texting, on social media, and online during their free time. And that’s just three activities; if other digital media activities were included, that estimate would surely rise.

Teens didn’t always spend that much time with digital media. Online time has doubled since 2006, and social media use moved from a periodic activity to a daily one. By 2016, nearly nine out of 10 12th-grade girls said they visited social media sites every day.

Meanwhile, time spent playing video games rose from under an hour a day to an hour and a half on average. One out of 10 8th graders in 2016 spent 40 hours a week or more gaming – the time commitment of a full-time job.

With only so much time in the day, doesn’t something have to give?

Maybe not. Many scholars have insisted that time online does not displace time spent engaging with traditional media. Some people are just more interested in media and entertainment, they point out, so more of one type of media doesn’t necessarily mean less of the other.

However, that doesn’t tell us much about what happens across a whole cohort of people when time spent on digital media grows and grows. This is what large surveys conducted over the course of many years can tell us.

Movies and books go by the wayside

While 70 percent of 8th and 10th graders once went to the movies once a month or more, now only about half do. Going to the movies was equally popular from the late 1970s to the mid-2000s, suggesting that Blockbuster video and VCRs didn’t kill going to the movies.

But after 2007 – when Netflix introduced its video streaming service – movie going began to lose its appeal. More and more, watching a movie became a solitary experience. This fits a larger pattern: In another analysis, we found that today’s teens go out with their friends considerably less than previous generations did.

But the trends in movie going pale in comparison to the largest change we found: An enormous decline in reading. In 1980, 60 percent of 12th graders said they read a book, newspaper or magazine every day that wasn’t assigned for school.

By 2016, only 16 percent did – a huge drop, even though the book, newspaper or magazine could be one read on a digital device (the survey question doesn’t specify format).

The number of 12th graders who said they had not read any books for pleasure in the last year nearly tripled, landing at one out of three by 2016. For iGen – the generation born since 1995 who has spent their entire adolescence with smartphones – books, newspapers and magazines have less and less of a presence in their daily lives.

Of course, teens are still reading. But they’re reading short texts and Instagram captions, not longform articles that explore deep themes and require critical thinking and reflection. Perhaps as a result, SAT reading scores in 2016 were the lowest they have ever been since record keeping began in 1972.

It doesn’t bode well for their transition to college, either. Imagine going from reading two-sentence captions to trying to read even five pages of an 800-page college textbook at one sitting. Reading and comprehending longer books and chapters takes practice, and teens aren’t getting that practice.

There was a study from the Pew Research Center a few years ago finding that young people actually read more books than older people. But that included books for school and didn’t control for age. When we look at pleasure reading across time, iGen is reading markedly less than previous generations.

The way forward

So should we wrest smartphones from iGen’s hands and replace them with paper books?

Probably not: smartphones are teens’ main form of social communication.

However, that doesn’t mean they need to be on them constantly. Data connecting excessive digital media time to mental health issues suggests a limit of two hours a day of free time spent with screens, a restriction that will also allow time for other activities – like going to the movies with friends or reading.

Of the trends we found, the pronounced decline in reading is likely to have the biggest negative impact. Reading books and longer articles is one of the best ways to learn how to think critically, understand complex issues and separate fact from fiction. It’s crucial for being an informed voter, an involved citizen, a successful college student and a productive employee.

If print starts to die, a lot will go with it.

Ban ‘killer robots’ to protect fundamental moral and legal principles

August 21, 2018

Bonnie Docherty

Lecturer on Law and Associate Director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection, International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School, Harvard University

Disclosure statement

Bonnie Docherty works as a senior researcher in the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch.

When drafting a treaty on the laws of war at the end of the 19th century, diplomats could not foresee the future of weapons development. But they did adopt a legal and moral standard for judging new technology not covered by existing treaty language.

This standard, known as the Martens Clause, has survived generations of international humanitarian law and gained renewed relevance in a world where autonomous weapons are on the brink of making their own determinations about whom to shoot and when. The Martens Clause calls on countries not to use weapons that depart “from the principles of humanity and from the dictates of public conscience.”

I was the lead author of a new report by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic that explains why fully autonomous weapons would run counter to the principles of humanity and the dictates of public conscience. We found that to comply with the Martens Clause, countries should adopt a treaty banning the development, production and use of these weapons.

Representatives of more than 70 nations will gather from August 27 to 31 at the United Nations in Geneva to debate how to address the problems with what they call lethal autonomous weapon systems. These countries, which are parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, have discussed the issue for five years. My co-authors and I believe it is time they took action and agreed to start negotiating a ban next year.

Making rules for the unknowable

The Martens Clause provides a baseline of protection for civilians and soldiers in the absence of specific treaty law. The clause also sets out a standard for evaluating new situations and technologies that were not previously envisioned.

Fully autonomous weapons, sometimes called “killer robots,” would select and engage targets without meaningful human control. They would be a dangerous step beyond current armed drones because there would be no human in the loop to determine when to fire and at what target. Although fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, China, Israel, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States are all working to develop them. They argue that the technology would process information faster and keep soldiers off the battlefield.

The possibility that fully autonomous weapons could soon become a reality makes it imperative for those and other countries to apply the Martens Clause and assess whether the technology would offend basic humanity and the public conscience. Our analysis finds that fully autonomous weapons would fail the test on both counts.

Principles of humanity

The history of the Martens Clause shows that it is a fundamental principle of international humanitarian law. Originating in the 1899 Hague Convention, versions of it appear in all four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I. It is cited in numerous disarmament treaties. In 1995, concerns under the Martens Clause motivated countries to adopt a preemptive ban on blinding lasers.

The principles of humanity require humane treatment of others and respect for human life and dignity. Fully autonomous weapons could not meet these requirements because they would be unable to feel compassion, an emotion that inspires people to minimize suffering and death. The weapons would also lack the legal and ethical judgment necessary to ensure that they protect civilians in complex and unpredictable conflict situations.

Under human supervision – for now. Pfc. Rhita Daniel, U.S. Marine Corps

In addition, as inanimate machines, these weapons could not truly understand the value of an individual life or the significance of its loss. Their algorithms would translate human lives into numerical values. By making lethal decisions based on such algorithms, they would reduce their human targets – whether civilians or soldiers – to objects, undermining their human dignity.

Dictates of public conscience

The growing opposition to fully autonomous weapons shows that they also conflict with the dictates of public conscience. Governments, experts and the general public have all objected, often on moral grounds, to the possibility of losing human control over the use of force.

To date, 26 countries have expressly supported a ban, including China. Most countries that have spoken at the U.N. meetings on conventional weapons have called for maintaining some form of meaningful human control over the use of force. Requiring such control is effectively the same as banning weapons that operate without a person who decides when to kill.

Thousands of scientists and artificial intelligence experts have endorsed a prohibition and demanded action from the United Nations. In July 2018, they issued a pledge not to assist with the development or use of fully autonomous weapons. Major corporations have also called for the prohibition.

More than 160 faith leaders and more than 20 Nobel Peace Prize laureates have similarly condemned the technology and backed a ban. Several international and national public opinion polls have found that a majority of people who responded opposed developing and using fully autonomous weapons.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of 75 nongovernmental organizations from 42 countries, has led opposition by nongovernmental groups. Human Rights Watch, for which I work, co-founded and coordinates the campaign.

Other problems with killer robots

Fully autonomous weapons would threaten more than humanity and the public conscience. They would likely violate other key rules of international law. Their use would create a gap in accountability because no one could be held individually liable for the unforeseeable actions of an autonomous robot.

Furthermore, the existence of killer robots would spark widespread proliferation and an arms race – dangerous developments made worse by the fact that fully autonomous weapons would be vulnerable to hacking or technological failures.

Bolstering the case for a ban, our Martens Clause assessment highlights in particular how delegating life-and-death decisions to machines would violate core human values. Our report finds that there should always be meaningful human control over the use of force. We urge countries at this U.N. meeting to work toward a new treaty that would save people from lethal attacks made without human judgment or compassion. A clear ban on fully autonomous weapons would reinforce the longstanding moral and legal foundations of international humanitarian law articulated in the Martens Clause.

Civil lawsuits are the only way to hold bishops accountable for abuse cover-ups

August 21, 2018

Timothy D. Lytton

Distinguished University Professor & Professor of Law, Georgia State University

Disclosure statement

Timothy D. Lytton is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Law Institute, and the American Association for Justice.


Georgia State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

Last week, a Pennsylvania grand jury documented 70 years of concerted efforts by Catholic bishops in that state to conceal more than 1,000 cases of child sexual abuse by priests – including rape, sadomasochism and producing child pornography.

These revelations are shocking but not surprising given the history of the church’s sexual abuse scandal.

Since 1984, similar disclosures from around the country have made national headlines and brought shame to the church.

Yet the few criminal prosecutions of church officials for such cover-ups have either been dropped or resulted in small fines or, in one case, probation.

Civil lawsuits – legal claims brought by abuse victims for money damages – have consistently been the only effective way to make Catholic church officials publicly and concretely accountable for their decades long cover-up of unspeakable crimes. I argued this in my 2008 book, “Holding Bishops Accountable.” It is still true today.

But victims seeking justice for abuse that in many cases occurred decades ago face a significant legal impediment to mounting such lawsuits – statutes of limitation that limit the number of years that a victim has to file a lawsuit.

Unless lawmakers across the country pass reforms to extend or suspend the statute of limitations in their states, I believe that the church will never provide a full accounting of the scandal.

A brief history of the scandal

Church files around the country contain complaints of child sexual abuse by priests dating back to the 1930s. By the 1970s, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops supported the development of programs within the church specifically designed to treat priests who sexually abused minors.

From the 1960s to the 2000s, when victims complained to church authorities, bishops quietly referred priests to treatment programs and then transferred them to other parishes where congregants were unaware of the danger that they posed. Church officials also admonished victims not to voice their complaints to anyone else lest they bring scandal on the church.

In 1984, a Louisiana lawyer successfully sued the Lafayette diocese on behalf of a 10-year-old boy and obtained a million-dollar verdict. The boy was one of dozens of victims molested by Father Gilbert Gauthe.

The lawsuit revealed that church officials moved Gauthe and other priests from parish to parish for more than a decade whenever victims complained.

Subsequently, state authorities prosecuted Gauthe for his crimes, and he went to prison. Additional lawsuits brought on behalf of abuse victims against the Lafayette diocese for covering up similar crimes forced the diocese to pay those victims more than US$22 million.

Prior to civil lawsuits like those in Louisiana in the 1980s, public officials, including police and prosecutors, typically refused to investigate or prosecute perpetrators because they were unwilling to confront powerful local Catholic bishops eager to conceal crimes by priests.

By contrast, trial lawyers, motivated by a mix of righteous indignation and the prospect of lucrative contingency fees, filed a growing number of civil lawsuits against church officials.

The Gauthe case in 1984 set off a slow and steady chain reaction. Litigation generated media coverage. Media coverage emboldened increasing numbers of victims to come forward. As an increasing number of victims realized that they had not only been abused by priests but betrayed by bishops, they filed new lawsuits.

Successive waves of litigation pushed the scandal into national headlines in the mid-1980s, again in the mid-1990s and, most dramatically, in 2002.

The media coverage of clergy sexual abuse during these periods of heightened attention to the scandal was based primarily on documents from lawsuits. The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Spotlight Team, as the movie about their work makes clear, relied heavily on the pioneering work of trial lawyers in their reporting on the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese.

As media coverage stoked growing public outrage, grand jury investigations and criminal prosecutions eventually followed, starting with a 2002 Westchester County, New York, grand jury report that documented efforts by church officials to cover up sexual abuse of children by priests.

‘A few bad apples’

Catholic bishops and other church defenders have consistently attempted to blame the scandal on “a few bad apples” in the priesthood. They have offered periodic public apologies and instituted a series of reforms. However, only five U.S bishops have resigned for their active concealment of clergy sexual abuse.

In the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for a Vatican investigation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who stands accused of molesting children and young seminarians for decades.

This focus on McCarrick’s crimes is a new version of the bishops’ “bad apples” strategy of deflection. The real issue is not the abusers but the church officials who provided them refuge from prosecution and, in the process, enabled them to abuse thousands more victims with impunity.

Bishops are also again offering public displays of contrition and promises of reform. In many cases, they have apologized for the misdeeds of their predecessors and peers, emphasizing that much of the abuse alleged in the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report is from decades ago and that church reforms have dramatically reduced the incidence of abuse.

But this misses the point. Although the abuse in many cases took place long ago under the watch of prelates who have since died or retired, the cover-up continues today. It has taken 35 years of civil litigation, investigative journalism and grand jury probes to uncover what appears to be merely a small portion of an ongoing conspiracy at the highest levels of the church to conceal crimes.

In 2014, Pope Francis appointed a special commission to advise him on responding to the scandal. But the pope has failed to implement its recommendation to establish a Vatican tribunal to hold bishops accountable for their misdeeds. In the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, the pope offered an apology but no concrete plans to further investigate the cover-up or sanction the bishops responsible for it.

Cardinal Bernard Law, forced to resign as archbishop of Boston after it was revealed he covered up sexual abuse by priests, never faced criminal charges. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Civil lawsuits

I believe that civil lawsuits remain the most effective way to hold the bishops accountable.

The Vatican remains unable or unwilling to sponsor a credible investigation and to punish bishops who continue to conceal sex crimes. Criminal prosecution is not an option because in most cases the statute of limitations has expired and cannot be retroactively extended due to a series of U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

As they have in the past, more civil lawsuits filed by victims could compel bishops to disclose additional information still hidden away in secret diocesan archives and to answer questions under oath in recorded depositions.

Moreover, civil lawsuits would continue to provide a platform for ongoing media coverage and would likely provide hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements for victims.

Statutes of limitation

Civil litigation has been most effective in a handful of jurisdictions where state legislatures have passed laws extending or temporarily suspending the civil statute of limitations.

This allows victims who come forward decades after their abuse to file lawsuits. To be sure, there are valid concerns about the difficulties of obtaining reliable evidence decades after an event. Nevertheless, I believe these concerns are outweighed by the need for full disclosure and accountability.

Church leaders, however, have led successful lobbying efforts to defeat such legislation, including in Pennsylvania.

Whether the Pennsylvania grand jury report will generate the necessary pressure to convince legislators to extend or suspend the statute of limitations and open up the door to more civil litigation is not clear. But the only realistic path to holding bishops accountable is through that door.

EitetsuHayashi (photo credit: S. Oguma)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/08/web1_EitetsuHayashi.jpgEitetsuHayashi (photo credit: S. Oguma)

Dublin Taiko Group (photo credit: Ben Pachter)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/08/web1_DublinTaikoGroup_2018.jpgDublin Taiko Group (photo credit: Ben Pachter)

Staff Reports