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James M. Scott W. W. Norton & Company

A brand new book, Rampage, details the absolutely barbaric behavior by the Japanese during the World War Two battles for control of the Philippines.  Don’t read it unless you have a strong stomach for barbarity against civilians. Which brings us to a couple questions. First of all,  how can a culture that is thousands of years old change so quickly? We’ve lived in Japan, and, even a generation ago, even their biggest cities like Tokyo were, and are, super safe. It’s impossible to imagine the white collared salarymen of Japan engaging in violence. Japan is now a country with a diminishing birthrate, in part because the people seem more interested in porn than actual sex.  Japanese men now seem most interested in getting drunk with their office workers, reading comic books, and maybe groping a woman on the subway. But just a few generations ago Japanese soldiers were barbaric, engaging in gruesome violence and rape. This occurred not just in the Philippines, but even more notably in the Rape of Nanking.  Have the Japanese people changed at some fundamental level as a result of their defeat in World War Two and the complete dismemberment of their society?  Or are all the changes a result of changed circumstance? Interesting questions explored in this book, but with more of a commercial angle. Secondly, there is an almost endless stream of American books and movies about the evils and barbarities of Nazism during World War Two, but far fewer about the equally savage activities of the Japanese. Why?

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Halsey Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

If you listen to rap - and we hope you don't - you'll notice that the overriding theme is basically "How great I am! No one thought I would be anything, but now I'm just so great". Halsey has a different approach; She's telling you you'll be disappointed if you actually meet her, even if you're a big fan. More importantly, the song is captivating.

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Michael Bentt, Surya Bonaly, Mauro Prosperi 

We’ve highlighted one of the excellent episodes of this series before. Today we’re recommending the whole series about athletes who have been defeated and profited in some way by that defeat by learning something about themselves by changing direction,

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Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo Terry George

This is the kind of adult movie we like, with real-life themes; love of children, guilt, the cruelty of fate. What would you do if you were a decent man who accidentally hit a child with your car? What if you knew the child couldn't be saved? What if you had your own child to raise?

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Groom Media Quotes
Phillips Brooks
Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process. ,,


- Phillips Brooks (1835 - 1893)
American Episcopal clergyman, particularly remembered as lyricist of the Christmas hymn, "O Little Town of Bethlehem".

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Smart People - Stupid Quotes
Lawrence Lessig, an American academic and political activist, on government transparency.

We are not thinking critically enough about where and when transparency works, and where and when it may lead to confusion…

Lawrence Lessig, an American academic and political activist, on government transparency.
From the review: "Because the public cannot interpret or understand much of the data released by the government, transparency leads to wrong conclusions about actions and motivations of elected officials and civil servants. Learning which industries fund your senator can lead to harmful cynicism about the political process as a whole."

Attitude Media: Despite the fact that we live in a democracy, where people are trusted to elect their public officials, voters are, according to Lessig, too stupid to really understand what is going on. So the government should only be transparent on occasion, when smart people like Lessig think you may be able to understand what is going on, and it won't confuse your little head.
The New Republic, by Lawrence Lessig, October 9, 2009

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NetFlix and the Strange World of Modern Media

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