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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.

Thomas Jefferson     Portrait by Rembrandt Peale

Rand Paul, Marco Rubio debate in spirit of Founding Fathers

- The Washington Times

It’s still a long, long way to 2016 as the mud flies, but sniping has started early in both parties, and that’s good. The system is working exactly the way it’s designed to work. Some people, forever fretting about spilling tea on their crumpets, are looking for the ladies’ fainting couch. But here’s a toast and a cheer for contentious politicians.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks to supporters during a rally for Kentucky senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 369 meeting hall in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) ** FILE **

Democrats vie with Republicans to capture the working-class vote

Some people think Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts could pose a threat to the presidential ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton. She could. But she also could pose a threat to the next Republican presidential nominee. Her attacks on America’s big banks could get her more than just media buzz. They could generate lots of votes. Republicans would do well to take her seriously.

Academia Censorship Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Too many universities deal with unpopular speech by banning it

Omar Mahmood, a junior at the University of Michigan, writes for both the mainstream campus newspaper, The Michigan Daily, and university’s alternative conservative publication, the Michigan Review. At least he used to, until he became academia’s latest victim of political correctness.

There is no law against the presence of Christmas

There are at least two things you can count on when it comes to Americans and Christmastime. One is that they like to put up Nativity scenes. The other is that they don’t like being told what to do, especially by outsiders.

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Illustration on the political damage to Democrats from Obama by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Democrats on the critical list

The Democrats, who were in serious condition after being battered, bloodied and beaten in the midterm elections, are now on the critical list.

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:

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?

FILE - In this May 21, 2014 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping before the opening ceremony at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai, China. Angry with the West's response over Ukraine, Russia is moving rapidly to bolster ties with North Korea in a diplomatic nose-thumbing that could complicate the U.S.-led effort to squeeze Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear weapons program. Russia's proactive strategy in Asia- which also involves cozying up to China and had been dubbed "Putin's Pivot" - began years ago as Moscow's answer to Washington's much touted rebalancing of its military forces in the Pacific. (AP Photo/Mark Ralston, Pool, File)

Second Sino-Russian alliance shatters illusions

President Obama began his administration in 2009 believing that American restraint would encourage great-power comity and cooperation. While he may now realize that such hope was illusory, what he may not grasp is that American strategic weakness resulting from his restraint has only encouraged a gathering Second Sino-Russian alliance.

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.

Medicaid SGR Caduceus Screw Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

How to reform Medicare

Every year, Medicare physician payment rates spark a legislative fire drill. The complex formula for updating doctors' reimbursements, the sustainable growth rate formula, routinely threatens Medicare physicians with draconian payment cuts. Next year, the formula mandates a 21 percent pay cut.

A recent cover from The New Republic

Media in rocky transition: 30 New Republic editors resign, next issue cancelled

- The Washington Times

There have been rumors of change and differences of philosophy for a month. Multiple news sources now report that Franklin Foer has resigned as editor of The New Republic on Thursday afternoon, to be replaced by Gabriel Snyder, a digital guru at Bloomberg Media who formerly worked for The Atlantic Wire and Gawker. Some reports frame the event as an "editorial shakeup" in the immediate aftermath.

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.

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.

Illustration on the American Christmas tradition by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Ignoring the Christmas haters

Alas, it is over. I am speaking of the Thanksgiving Day celebration — one of my favorite holidays. It is a serious celebration as we give thanks for our many blessings. Yet it is also a jolly day, full of good food, drink and sport, perhaps touch football, more likely a televised game. The whole family comes together and, often in the company of friends, has a festive time. Moreover, there is a venerable sense of tradition to the feast that renders the whole holiday somehow reassuring.

Illustration on issues raised by Ferguson by Paul Tong/Tribune Content Agency

Racial sensitivity and militarization of police make an explosive brew

The city of Ferguson, Missouri, is now burned into our consciousness in a way that few other places are. In my youth, the race riots in Newark, Detroit and Los Angeles marked turning points in my own and in the public's awareness of the problems of a black underclass that perceives itself as being so unfairly governed by a white power structure that it resorts to violence.

Clancy Testimony on Broken Secret Service Agency Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

More effective protection for the president

By Dec. 15, a blue-ribbon panel is slated to recommend a new Secret Service director to the secretary of Homeland Security. If the panel has any doubt that an outside director is needed to reform the agency, it need look no further than the recent congressional testimony of Acting Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy.