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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.

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.

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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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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

Iran nuclear cheating calls for more missile defense

Iran is once again showing the world its leaders can't be trusted ("U.S. condemns Iran's detention of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian," Web, Dec. 7). They jail American journalists for no reason. And now they are allegedly cheating on the interim nuclear sanctions agreement that recently extended peace talks.

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."

Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Louis Farrakhan set back race relations progress

White Americans send their white children to black educators, get pulled over by black police officers, go in front of black judges, go under the knives of black doctors, admire black entertainers and sports professionals, and interact with black members of the American family in myriad other ways on a daily basis. The American civil rights movement saw massive, sweeping legislative victories on our soil, yet men such as Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan behave as if all this has not taken place, and they circumvent the idea of peace and cooperation between the races (as does the first black president). The onus is on black leadership in America to honor these legislative victories and extol their virtues rather than ignore them and foment racial strife, angst and division, thus doing real harm to race relations.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. With the government due to shut down in a week unless the lame duck Congress agrees on funding, Pelosi has encouraged House Speaker John Boehner to work with Democrats to work together on a funding bill while she confronts internal conflicts from rank-and-file Democrats. Though conciliatory about being in the minority, Pelosi cautioned her Democratic caucus not to rush to support a Republican plan until they know exactly what’s in the bill.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

EDITORIAL: Congress' budget compromise could be worse in form of 'cromnibus'

Nancy Pelosi is finished as speaker of the House — as in gone, finished, kaput. But the lady's famous assurance that Congress would have to enact Obamacare to see what was in it continues as the guiding spirit of this Congress. The congressional leaders negotiating the "cromnibus" were so determined to avoid a government shutdown that they were determined to let their colleagues be surprised by what they voted for.

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.

Doctor Lucy and Foundation Do-gooders Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Islamic extremists incapable of understanding or respecting other views

Violence in the name of religion is a world-wide phenomenon. Extremism fueling bloodshed is a daily occurrence. And for every act of intolerance and inhumanity, a new foundation, based on good will to mankind, bubbles to the surface. The intention is always admirable: "Understanding," "interaction" and "mutual respect" are the foundational words of these organizations.

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.

Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois G. Lerner has been at the center of a scandal involving her erased hard drive and missing emails. (Associated Press)

EDITORIAL: Obama's IRS faces scrutiny with Republican-led Congress

The corruption of the Internal Revenue Service is still under investigation, but the public has learned a lot already: The IRS targeted conservative and tea party groups for extra scrutiny and harassment, Lois G. Lerner tried to hide behind the Fifth Amendment to avoid prosecution for violating the rights of taxpayers, and the president of the United States assured one and all that there was not even a "smidgen of corruption" at the agency when he knew better.

Illustration on media protection of the Obama administration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

How do we protect Barack Obama today?

- The Washington Times

About six weeks before the 2012 presidential election, I was walking through Rockefeller Center in New York when I heard a woman's voice calling my name. I hesitated before I turned around: As a conservative in Gotham, I never know if I'll be accosted by a raving leftist screaming "fascist!" at me. (Yes, that happened.)