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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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FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2010 file photo, a student uses an Apple MacBook laptop in his class in Palo Alto, Calif. New warnings are emerging of a security flaw known as the "Bash" bug, which cyber experts say may pose a serious threat to computers and other devices using Unix-based operating systems such as Linux and Mac OS X. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Tech experts warn of an escalating cyber 'arms race'

- The Washington Times

Now that the first cyberwar is underway, the IT experts are taking a close look about the particulars. And with every war comes weaponry, and predictions that privacy technology must keep up with aggressive hackers. It's a reality of the "knowledge economy" - where business and enterprise is fueled by data at lightening speed, and often personal data at that. But it’s complicated. Even the United Nations is laboring on a resolution to put before the General Assembly that calls upon nations to "respect and protect a global right to privacy." Is it possible?

Illustration on the damage being done by Obamacare by Paul Tong/Tribune Content Agency

Obamacare's Christmas surprise

Get ready for the largely underreported rule that will allow CMS to change Americans' health plans without their knowledge.

In this Dec. 17, 2014, file photo, a poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Hollywood cowers at this laff riot over 'The Interview'

- The Washington Times

Movies may not be better than ever, as a Hollywood marketing slogan in yesteryear boasted they were, but the critics take movies seriously in North Korea. The chief movie critic in Pyongyang can kill a movie with a single review. He might even kill anybody who goes to see it.

Putin KGB to the bone

Vladimir Putin was born Oct. 7, 1952. He joined the KGB in 1975 after graduating from the International Law branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University. Mr. Putin remembers the Cold War.

Illustration on Obama's normalization policy towards Cuba by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Obama adds Cuba to his list of sellouts

President Obama continues to embrace low-tier, go-it-alone executive actions to pad the last two years of his mistake-filled, empty-agenda presidency in a hopeless hunt for a legacy. His arrogant decision this week to re-establish diplomatic relations with communist Cuba is the latest example of a president desperately searching for something do without having to deal with Congress.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sentences New York to further economic stagnation

New York just gave Vladimir Putin and the Middle Eastern energy sheikhs an early Christmas present. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after considerable dithering, finally did what everyone assumed he would. He banned fracking and gave up the bounty lying beneath his state. He sides with the radical environmentalists of the Democratic Party against the interests of his 19 million constituents, wasting an opportunity to fire up the rusty economic engine of high-tax, slow-growth New York. So much for the Empire State's boastful claim that "New York is open for business."

Michelle Kosilek, sits in Bristol County Superior Court, in New Bedford, Mass. A federal appeals court on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, overturned a 2012 ruling ordering Massachusetts prison officials to provide taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery for the inmate born as Robert Kosilek, who had been convicted of murdering his wife in 1990. (AP)

No free sex changes

In a rare triumph this week for judicial restraint, a federal appeals court in Boston overturned a lower-court ruling, telling the state of Massachusetts that it doesn't have to pay for reassigning a prisoner's sex — or "gender," as the excessively delicate insist. (Nobody ever called Marilyn Monroe a genderpot.)

Illustration on steps needed to protect U.S. intellectual property by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Lessons from the Sony hack attack

The hacking attack of Sony Corp. and the compromising of its intellectual property should send a wake-up call to American business. If Sony can be hacked, so too can our companies that make defense technologies. This attack reveals that the very innovations that give us our competitive edge in the world, both commercially and strategically, are gravely at risk.

IRS statement regarding FOIA lawsuit

There are a number of news accounts that incorrectly identify the Internal Revenue Service as being involved in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit with Cause of Action (D.C. District Court Civil Action No. 1:13-cv-01225-ABJ). That lawsuit involves the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and its investigations, not the IRS.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Hounded'

It gets off to a rousing Rosenfelt start with a murder in a house otherwise occupied by an 8-year-old boy called Ricky and a basset hound called Sebastian.

Illustration on continued access to Juvenile criminal records by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Allowing access to juveniles’ records hurts their chances of going straight

By incapacitating violent and dangerous offenders, incarceration can promote public safety. But a point of diminishing returns is reached as prisons sweep in more and more nonviolent, low-risk offenders. These circumstances are even more alarming when you look at the juvenile justice system and consider that 95 percent of youths in this system have committed nonviolent offenses, including some that weren't even a crime when many of us were kids.

Illustration on Congress' continuing resolution provisions eroding Constitutional liberties by Alexandr Hunter/The Washington Times

President and Congress are heedless to the limits of their power

When the government is waving at us with its right hand, so to speak, it is the government's left hand that we should be watching. Just as a magician draws your attention to what he wants you to see so you will not observe how his trick is performed, last week presented a textbook example of public disputes masking hidden deceptions. Here is what happened.