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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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"Bumpering" Hillary 2016 Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Pining for Elizabeth Warren

Barack Obama is so yesterday. The elitists who supported him as the great "progressive" hope are abandoning him in droves as his popularity plummets. The Washington Post describes him as having the "worst" year of anyone in Washington, and as Republicans prepare to take over the Senate, he looks more and more like a lame duck incapable of delivering much more of anything to his base.

Illustration on Obamacare's mandate to share medical records with multiple government agencies by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Another Obamacare blow to personal privacy

Get ready to fight back: Last week, the Health and Human Services Department announced a plan to share your medical records with over 35 federal agencies — all in the name of "health care," of course. All in the name of "efficiency," the favorite excuse used by fascists wherever they appear.

Karl Rove, a personable fellow who was deputy chief of staff in George W. Bush's White House and is sometimes credited with being the genius of George W.'s success, turns out to be a big fan of "rectal feeding," as used by the CIA to persuade terror suspects to spill their secrets.  (Associated Press/File)

Be careful who takes you to lunch

- The Washington Times

Lunch can sometimes be a big deal in Washington. Lunch is where alliances are struck, deals are made, and sometimes where foes become more or less friends over a shrimp cocktail or a chicken salad at the Palm. But if Karl Rove invites you to lunch, be sure you get to pick the restaurant.

Illustration on the failings of Common Core by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Common Core doesn’t make the grade

It's one thing to experience "buyer's remorse" when the product is something you can return easily, from new clothes to a set of high-end speakers. It's another when you're talking about your state's educational standards. Yet more and more states are finding that there's simply no living with Common Core. Parents, teachers, students and lawmakers have become increasingly vocal in their criticism of the federally backed standards — and more and more of them are taking action.

Information-leaking double standard

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is sitting in prison for letting out secrets that damaged our nation's safety. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is living in self-imposed exile in Russia for letting out secrets that damaged our nation's security. Yet Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, is a hero to the liberal news media for letting out secrets that could damage our nation's security and cause harm to Americans here and abroad.

Socialist policies undoing success of South America's strongest economy

Why do very successful nations often adopt policies that lead to their undoing? After a revolution or major reform, some countries allow a high degree of economic freedom, establish the rule of law, protect private property rights and establish low tax rates with strict limits on government spending and regulation. The economy takes off, the citizens become far richer and then the government mucks it up, usually by attempting to redistribute income and expand state control.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).