Russian Military Buildup on Disputed Isles Clouds Resolution of Row with Tokyo

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 reports: Even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed their recent agreement on joint economic activities on four disputed islands off Hokkaido is a step toward resolving the territorial row, the islands’ strategic importance for Russia is likely to continue complicating the decades-old issue.

Even if the agreed economic cooperation chiefly in the Russian Far East makes headway, the strategic importance of the Russian-held islands, claimed by Japan, bodes ill for Tokyo in its efforts to regain them, especially given the advance of China in the Arctic region and Russia’s need to maintain its nuclear deterrence, according to some analysts.

Japan claims that Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group are an integral part of its territory and were illegally seized by the Soviet Union after Japan’s surrender in World War II in August 1945. Russia maintains the Soviet Union took the islands legitimately as the spoils of war.

Russia has been modernizing its military on the islands, which delineate the southern edge of the Sea of Okhotsk where Russian nuclear submarines are deployed. Read the rest of this entry »


Justice Thomas Commencement Address

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas give the commencement speech to the 2008 graduation class of   High Point University Saturday, May 3, 2008  in High Point, N.C.  (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

“Next, remember that life is not easy for any of us. It will probably not be fair, and it certainly is not all about you. The gray hair and wrinkles you see on older people have been earned the hard way, by living and dealing with the challenges of life. When I was a young adult and labored under the delusion of my own omniscience, I thought I knew more than I actually did. That is a function of youth.

With the wisdom that only comes with the passage of years, the older folks warned me presciently and ominously, “Son, you just live long enough and you’ll see.” They were right; oh, so right. Life is humbling and can be hard, very hard. It is a series of decisions, some harder than others, some good and, unfortunately, too many of them bad. It will be up to each of you to make as many good decisions as possible and to limit the bad ones, then to learn from all of them. But I will urge you to resist when those around you insist on making the bad decisions. Being accepted or popular with those doing wrong is an awful Faustian bargain and, as with all Faustian bargains, not worth it. It is never wrong to do the right thing. It may be hard, but never wrong…

Stay positive. There will be many around you who are cynical and negative. These cause cancers of the spirit and they add nothing worthwhile. Don’t inhale their secondhand cynicism and negativism. Some, even those with the most opportunities in this, the greatest country, will complain and grieve ceaselessly, ad infinitum and ad absurdum. It may be fair to ask them, as they complain about the lack of Rememberingperfection in others and our imperfect institutions, just what they themselves are perfect at.

[Check out the book “Remembering Who We Are: A Treasury of Conservative Commencement Addresses” from Amazon.com

Look, many have been angry at me because I refuse to be angry, bitter, or full of grievances, and some will be angry at you for not becoming agents in their most recent cynical causes. Don’t worry about it. No monuments are ever built to cynics. Associate with people who add to your lives, not subtract; people you are comfortable introducing to the best people in your lives—your parents, your family, your friends, your mentors, your ministers.

Always have good manners. This is a time-honored tradition and trait; it is not old-fashioned.”

[Life Lessons from Justice Thomas – Powerline]

“It makes me wish every precious snowflake could hear this before they enter the real world.”

Elizabeth Price Foley

 


[CHART] Average Age of Death for Popular Musicians by Genre and Sex

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Reality Check: Places With More Guns Don’t Have More Homicides

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Robert VerBruggen writes:

In a new Voxsplainer on gun violence, Dylan Matthews claims:

Protestations of gun rights supporters aside, public health researchers who study firearms generally agree that increased firearm ownership rates are associated with higher rates of homicide. … Developed countries with more guns generally have more homicide; states within the US with more guns have more homicide…

"Legitimate self defense has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal misuse of guns." —Gerald Vernon, veteran firearms instructor

“Legitimate self defense has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal misuse of guns.”
—Gerald Vernon, veteran firearms instructor

The two assertions at the end are not true, and the first sentence explains why: If you want to give a good account of a debate about gun statistics, you don’t treat the consensus of “public health researchers” as gospel. The field is notorious for its anti-gun bias, and there’s a whole literature of work outside of it.

It’s true (as Matthews notes) that there are some studies showing guns to be associated with increased homicide once other factors have been statistically “controlled” (a highly subjective process that can be manipulated, even subconsciously, to make the data say whatever the researcher wants them to say). But there is no simple relationship between gun ownership and homicide rates as such, either among developed countries or among states in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »