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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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Destroying the myth of Queen Victoria

Neither the formal portrait of the aging, reflective mournful figure that takes up most of the front cover of the book nor the richly adorned matron in her prime on its back cover has much to do with the woman so vividly brought to life in these pages. In fact, they might be said to reflect the very images A.N. Wilson wants to correct.

Illustration on Saudi Arabia's strategic use of its oil supply by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Saudis allow falling oil prices to squeeze archrival Iran

Conventional wisdom in Western capitals holds that Saudi Arabia has held firm in sessions with its OPEC partners against lowering production — which would restore higher prices — in order to maintain its market share in countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and to dissuade investors from pouring more money into growing North American shale and tar sands production.

ACLU's Gift of Starvation Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The ACLU’s Christmas gift to orphans

When a local charity teamed up with a middle school in San Marcos, California, to raise money to feed orphans in Africa, they didn't expect to take any heat. But the ACLU caught wind of the project and blew it to kingdom come. In a threatening letter Nov. 20, the ACLU warned the school to stop aiding the group or face legal trouble. It's all because the charity is infected secondhand with the virus known as Christianity.

Jumping the Tax Code Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Special interest pleading via the tax code is government at its worst

The latest disgrace out of Capitol Hill in this lame-duck session is the "tax extenders" bill. This has become an annual Washington ritual with Congress waiting until the very last minute to approve dozens of expiring tax credits, deductions and loopholes. It is a microcosm of everything wrong with the way Congress operates.

Liberal Bully of the Week: Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Remember how Democrats and their media pals told you Benghazi was "old news" five minutes after it happened, and only right-wing Fox News fans still cared about what actually happened? Well, now they're saying the hottest story in town is a report by Senate Democrats on CIA interrogations that happened over 10 years ago. Some old news is a lot fresher than other old news.

Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Kazuo Hirai speaks how to use its new PlayStation Portable "NGP" at PlayStation Meeting 2011 in Tokyo in this Jan. 27, 2011, file photo. Sony's online PlayStation store was inaccessible to users for part of Monday in the latest possible cyberattack on the electronics and entertainment company. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

Hacked in Hollywood

Liberal hypocrisy in Hollywood? Malice in Tinseltown? Pettiness among the stars? "Say it ain't so, Joe." Oscar Levant, the movietown piano player with a sharp mind and a sharper tongue ("I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin") once offered a hopeful analysis of what's wrong with the town: "Hollywood is made of tinsel, but if you get beneath the tinsel you'll find the real tinsel." The hackers of Sony Pictures took the challenge, and have revealed the details of the malice, pettiness and tinsel in purloined emails, and La-La Land is beside itself with fear, loathing and mortification.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Republican establishment plots to get the candidate it wants

The Republican establishment, which gets so many things wrong, is trying to manipulate the party rules to make sure it gets the presidential candidate it wants in 2016. The party chiefs put it another way, of course: They're just trying to make sure that the party nominates a "respectable" candidate who won't be mortally wounded before it's time to fight Democrats. Some of what Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, wants to put into place makes sense, but many of the suggestions from other quarters don't.

Hill squabbles cost Americans — again

"Dereliction of duty" and "a pox on both their houses" are the phrases that come to mind in reviewing the most recent actions of tragic comedy in what we call Congress ("Leadership courts centrist support for $1.1T spending bill as shutdown looms," Web, Dec. 10).

Fanning racial flames

Are various political and religious radicals in the United States deliberately increasing racial tensions and mistrust in order to convince the poorly informed that they need these radical leaders for protection? I believe so, and I think those willing to remove their politically correct blinders will see the evidence, too.

Illustration on impending EPA regulatory takeover of U.S. "waterways" by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

A vast land grab to ‘protect’ water

In November, comments closed on a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redefine "waters of the United States," as set forth in the Clean Water Act of 1977. While Sen. Edmund Muskie, Maine Democrat, author of the 1977 law, required 88 pages for his entire statute, this spring's Federal Register notice ran 370 pages, not counting appendixes, one of which hit 300 pages alone. Little wonder the new "wetland" rules have generated controversy and a likely Supreme Court case.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice'

Who was to rule China after Japan's surrender? The ruling Nationalists were led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, but their writ did not run to many parts of the country. The Communists had controlled China's northern provinces for most of the war, and the alliance between the Communists and the Nationalists had been fragile.

The World War II era Civil Air Patrol has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their intrepid service. (Image from CAP Historical Foundation)

They flew 24 million miles: World War II-era Civil Air Patrol awarded Congressional Gold Medal

- The Washington Times

At long last, a Congressional Gold Medal has been awarded to the founding members of the Civil Air Patrol, which began operation under the Office of Civilian Defense on Dec. 1, 1941. Using civilian aircraft and their own money, the unpaid volunteers provided essential support to the U.S. Army and Navy, including armed convoy and antisubmarine patrols off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

CIA Director John Brennan pauses during a news conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Brennan defending his agency from accusations in a Senate report that it used inhumane interrogation techniques against terrorist suspect with no security benefits to the nation. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The CIA and the lack of political morality

- The Washington Times

Efficiency was once a precious American virtue. America is great because America is good, in the words once credited to Alexis de Tocqueville, and when America is no longer good it will no longer be great. Whether he actually said them or not, the words are true.

FILE - This  July 16, 2014, file photo shows the U.S. Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington.  America's unofficial end of summer this week marked the unofficial beginning of the campaign that may give Republicans control of the Senate, an outcome that could utterly close down President Barack Obama's legislative agenda in his final two years in the White House. Republicans already have an unassailable majority in the House of Representatives. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Fed-up Americans take political gridlock personally: 86 percent say nothing can be done

- The Washington Times

Politicians who think that Americans overlook the constant, stubborn impasse on Capitol Hill are kidding themselves. The public takes it to heart: 71 percent report that the problem of political gridlock is "very important to them personally," this according to a new Associated Press poll released Wednesday. Sadly enough, another 86 percent say there's nothing that can be done about it. And the most cited reaction to the current political climate is "disappointment," the survey found, followed by "frustration."

Illustration on the opportunity for Republicans to lead Congress' efforts against illegal drugs by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Drug control policy in Senate Republicans' grasp

When the American people gave Republicans majorities in both houses of the next Congress, they certainly indicated dissatisfaction with the performance of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. But soon, the voters will ask what the Republican Congress has done with its leadership of the legislative branch.