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Protesters chant as they rally outside Gracie Mansion in New York City on Dec. 15.

Murders like New York’s are not the fault of City Hall

- The Washington Times

Last week’s police shootings in New York City have rather predictably set off an epidemic of finger-pointing. In the 1990s, when Timothy McVey blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, President Clinton hinted not very subtly that the real fault lay with the “militia” movement. Later, politicians and some pundits blamed Sarah Palin, of all people, for the shooting of Rep. Gaby Giffords of Arizona, and when an emotionally disturbed Adam Lanza killed his mother, stole her guns and wreaked havoc in Newtown, Connecticut, two years ago, a chorus of finger-pointers blamed not Lanza, but the National Rifle Association and the manufacturer of the guns he used.

Illustration on the deterioration of arts and culture in American society by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Transformation and crisis at The New Republic

The crisis at The New Republic that led to the resignation of its editor, literary editor and numerous staff members is symptomatic of a broader cultural decline also manifest on the pages of The New York Times and other mainstream publications. Newspapers and magazines have been going out of business or are making desperate efforts to be more “readable” and “lively,” that is to say, more entertaining and better integrated into popular culture.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Complete Little Nemo’

Winsor McCay is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest cartoonists. His early 20th century comic strips (“Little Sammy Sneeze,” “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend”) and animated shorts (“Gertie the Dinosaur,” “The Sinking of the Lusitania”) are still among the most groundbreaking examples of both genres.

John Newton          Detail from a portrait by John Russell

The amazing grace of Christmas morn

- The Washington Times

In the clutter of Christmas morn, the Christ born in a manger 2,000 years ago lives, liberating the hearts of sinners and transforming the lives of the wicked. The redeeming power of the Christmas message is nowhere more vividly illustrated than in the incredible life of an English slaver named John Newton.

Illustration on the value of the Christmas story by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

There is everything to gain and nothing to lose in embracing the Christmas story

Suppose what some call the “Christmas story” is true — all of it, from the angels, to the shepherds, to the virgin birth, to God taking on human flesh. By this, I don’t mean to suggest it is true only for those who believe it to be true, but what if it is objectively true, no matter what the deniers say? What difference would it make? Should it make any difference?

Illustration on the order of the universe and the existence of a Creator by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Making sense of the Christmas mystery

The Christmas story of God, Creator of the universe, putting on a fleshly baby outfit and coming down to earth to be born in a dirty stable disguised as an infant, then eventually giving his life to save humanity, doesn’t make any sense to unbelievers. This frankly boggling account sometimes doesn’t even make sense to devoted Christians who pray, attend church and search the Bible to discover how and why God does what He does.

Power Plant Getting Taxed More by the EPA Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Obama’s green economic policies hit blacks hardest

The sad truth is President Obama’s agenda includes policies that preferentially harm blacks. In particular, Mr. Obama’s climate change policy, in effect, serves as a 21st-century version of Jim Crow laws owing to its economic impact on black households.

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The ‘renaissance admiral’ takes command

A 1976 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Adm. James Stavridis served for 35 years on active duty in the Navy, commanding destroyers and a carrier strike groups in combat, and for seven years as a four-star admiral, the last four years of which (2009 to 20013) were spent as the first Naval officer chosen as Supreme Allied Commander for Global Operations at NATO.

President Barack Obama listens as Dr. Nancy Sullivan, Senior Investigator; Chief, Biodefense Research Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a NIH tour of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Ebola virus survives a turf war

Turf wars are expensive, but they're popular in Washington. Every turf warrior thinks he's saving the republic by making sure his bureaucracy has a bigger budget and is more powerful than the bureaucracy across the street. Somebody has to pay for these wars, however, in both money and in kind, and that somebody looks a lot like the rest of us.

Wage raise hurts workers

Much of America, especially the black community, is being hurt by our nation's dire economic situation. This follows the very high hopes this community had during the beginning of 2009 when President Obama took office. Black wealth has declined since 2009 while the black poverty rate has risen. Overall black unemployment is tragically high and youth unemployment is an astronomical 36.8 percent. This 36.8 percent does not count the many who have given up hope and left the labor market altogether.

Illustration on comparisons between Barack Obama and Woodrow Wilson by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The decline of the American century, 1914-2014

On this date in 1914, in his second annual address to Congress, President Wilson signaled to the world that the significant role that his White House predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, had carved out for the United States as a strong military power was being relinquished. No matter that TR had built up the American Navy and displayed it on a global cruise in 1907, Wilson, at the beginning of World War I, washed his hands of a strong presence abroad.

Carbon Tax Fossil Fuel Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The carbon tax canard

Last week I testified before Sen. Barbara Boxer's Committee on Environment and Public Works on the issue of energy and climate change. This was Ms. Boxer's swan song as chairwoman of the committee (thank God), so she predictably stacked the deck with a gang of climate change alarmists.

Liberal Bully of the Week: The nanny state

A week after a grand jury in Missouri decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown, a grand jury in Staten Island decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner. A second white cop avoiding indictment for the death of a second black citizen drew even more angry demonstrations.

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Boston Raphael'

The first Renaissance men admired the classical world's gods and heroes, the former acting like teenagers in pursuit of mischief, deception and sex, the latter displaying genius, courage and caritas. It was a wonder to this reviewer — writing book reports in fifth grade — that the nominally divine personages (i.e., gods) wreaked havoc while profane people performed glorious beaux gestes.

Let Freedom Ring is gathering signatures for two online petitions calling on Mr. Obama to reveal prior to the election his plans for the 2015 Obamacare premium figures. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

The science of the plop

The art of the spin has become a science in Washington, and just as important as the art of the spin is what we can call the science of the plop. The plop doctors drop the bad news with a resounding plop! on Friday afternoon, just as the guilty parties are on their way to Reagan National Airport or Union Station (few take the Greyhound bus) to flee for the weekend, leaving the bad news to marinate while the spin doctors cook up their mush for Monday morning. Every White House is staffed with Ph.D.s in both plop- and spinology. The Obama White House is particularly adept in both the science and the art.

Marchers with a group called Backbonecampaign.org from Vashon, Washington, march along 6th Ave. during the People's Climate March in New York Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Climate activists offer to help out Ferguson protestors

- The Washington Times

Other activists have been watching the unfolding events in Ferguson and elsewhere. That includes the same organization behind the massive, gaudy, drum-thumping People’s Climate March that drew 400,000 protestors to the streets of New York in September, and in 150 cities overseas. The group did not disband after their big event, which included celebrities and Democratic lawmakers among its marchers. They want to repeat their performance in the near future, and perhaps offer their street theater and resources to Ferguson-inspired protestors.

New government regulations just announced will require anyone who sells food to the public to count their customers' calories. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Government calorie-counting

The lot of the nannies at the Food and Drug Administration is not a happy one. They just can't get everyone to eat their spinach. The stubborn rubes out there in flyover land want to decide for themselves what to eat. But the new government regulations just announced will require anyone who sells food to the public to count their customers' calories.

American Dunce Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

A nation of the ignorant

Are we becoming a nation of numbskulls? If recent surveys, both formal and informal, are any indication, it's a real possibility. For example:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Remembering Barry's contributions

In recalling the long and storied political career of late D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, nearly every obituary and news account has noted that he owed his political fortunes to the District's poorest constituents. The implication is that he was the beneficiary of blind loyalty from those too unsophisticated to grasp the gravity of his personal troubles.

The sacredness of family possessions

Like one of those poor relatives or downtrodden governesses of Victorian fiction, the short story often seems anemic or slightly depressed. It is shuffled off into a corner, while its wealthy cousin the novel sits in the spotlit warmth, luxuriating in the depth and breadth that is its birthright. Lacking the novel's richness, the short story offers a Jane Eyre-like intensity, which some readers may find uncongenial or bought at too great a literary price.

East High School students participate in a protest against the Ferguson, Missouri grand jury decision, at a busy intersection in front of the state Capitol in Denver, Wednesday Dec. 3, 2014. Authorities said four Denver police officers were hit by a car while watching the high school students protest.  (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

More lunacy on the left

Dedicated party-line liberals — "progressives," they call themselves now that they realize they polluted the noble word "liberal" — look at the world differently than most people. They recognize the sins of their own country and see them as just as bad as the sins of other countries, however vile, and probably worse. It's this skewed vision that enables professors and their students to go from a gay rights rally exorcising the "homophobia" of Christians to a rally praising Muslim jihadis for whom homosexuality is a capital offense. For them, there's only a little difference, if any, in the values of the West and those of the patriots of the Islamic State. A crucifix or a beheading knife: What's the difference?