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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.)

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.”

Protesters outside of Cafe Versailles on Calle Ocho in Miami,  decry the exchange of convicted Cuban spies, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014,  for USAID subcontractor Alan Gross, who has been held by the Cuban government. (AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald, Roberto Koltun)  MAGS OUT

Making nice with the Castro brothers betrays their victims

Sen. Marco Rubio calls President Obama’s remarkable gift to the Castro brothers, and agreement to “normalize” American relations with Cuba, the work of a “willfully ignorant” man. We hope so. Ignorance can be corrected. Perhaps, to put the most generous face on it, this deal originated in the bowels of White House incompetence that is the mark of this administration. But Mr. Obama may not be ignorant at all, willful or otherwise, but proceeding skillfully to radicalize America’s place in the world to fit the wishes and dreams of the determined and radical left from which the president sprang.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Dec. 12, 2104, as the Senate considers a spending bill. The House has passed an additional stopgap spending to make certain the government doesn't shut down at midnight Saturday when current funding authority runs out. The move would give the Senate additional time to process a $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill.  (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Ready, fire, aim

Ted Cruz is a brave conservative who, unlike some of his fellows, does not quail at the sound of the guns. He sets an example others could emulate. His tenacity, both at the grass roots where he has many friends and in Washington where he seems to have few, gives the conservative coalition a much-needed shot of testosterone in its flabby arm. His stand-up attitude is particularly valuable as Democrats try to figure out who they are and who they want to be in the wake of the thumping they took in November.

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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?

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.

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.

Illustration on the negative impact of Obama's immigration action on black Americans by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Another Obama promise broken

When President Obama promised six years ago that his administration would be the most transparent in history, Americans, weary of being misled and misinformed by their government, were eager to put aside their skepticism and believe him. Those innocent Americans have learned since to fear that Mr. Obama is trying to give away their future.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks with reporters following a closed-door policy meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Obama’s petulance spoils a deal for the quacks on the Hill

The noisy quacking of the lame ducks out to despoil the grass on Capitol Hill had convinced most Washington insiders that Congress would dutifully pass what are called "tax extenders" and then go home. "Tax extenders" are legislative provisions providing more than four dozen tax breaks and special treatment to a variety of groups and industries, whose clever lobbyists have always persuaded Congress that the very future of the republic and everyone who lives in it depends on their clients getting special breaks at the expense of everyone else. The wonder is that the republic has lasted so long.

In this Oct. 20, 2014, file photo, Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press in Baltimore. Gov.-elect Hogan says he remains committed to pursuing tax relief in his first year as governor, despite a projected budget shortfall of more than a half a billion dollars. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

A bad tax law puts the government in the preaching business

Flawed and cumbersome tax laws afflict taxpayers everywhere, but few are as irksome, as silly and as constitutionally dangerous as Maryland's "stormwater remediation fee," also known as "the rain tax," including whatever penumbras and emanations that followed. Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, a Republican, vowed during his campaign to free taxpayers from the overreaching state law that claims to protect the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways from polluted runoff, flooding and erosion. Together with others, he argues persuasively that it amounts to little more than a weather levy, with accompanying clouds.

A lame-duck Congress, Will Rogers once observed, "is like where some fellows worked for you and their work wasn't satisfactory and you let 'em out, but after you fired 'em, you let 'em stay long enough to burn your house down." (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

EDITORAL: Congress, go home

Congress returned from the Thanksgiving holiday stuffed with more than turkey to begin the lame-duck session of the 113th Congress. A lame-duck session is popular only with members who have been retired or fired, eager to inflict one last bruise on the body politic. They have only until next Friday, Dec. 12 — the likely final day of the 113th Congress — to put their marks there. It's the last opportunity for the lame ducks, many more turkey than duck, to help their friends, hurt their enemies and pay back their supporters.

National Guard trucks haul residents through floodwaters to the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina hit  in New Orleans, Tuesday, Aug. 30,  2005. Officials called for a mandatory evacuation of the city, but many residents remained in the city. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

FEMA flunks out

In the days and weeks after Hurricane Katrina blew a path of destruction through New Orleans in 2005, Americans took notice of the bungling of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its dysfunctional performance. Many began to question why the agency exists.

Skilled computer hackers love Cyber Monday, and sneaky business spikes on this day. (Denver Post via Associated Press)

Mischief in cyberspace

With the arrival of Cyber Monday, a substantial part of holiday Internet sales — and the hopes of legions of retailers — ride on the seamless function of the complex network crucial for online commerce.

Renting government workers

Union membership has fallen, but the impact of public-sector unions on federal politics still seems as strong as ever. How could this be? It sounds like a mystery, but it isn't.

Bargain-hunting motorists willing to drive to another state can save up to 10 percent on Black Friday shopping.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

When black turns to blue

Black Friday bargain hunters are scouring circulars and combing through websites in search of ways to save on Christmas shopping, and many of them are missing a bargain they could get by driving to shops and stores in states with low — or no — sales taxes.

Illustration: Thanksgiving prayer by Linas Garsys for The Washington Times

Grand'ther Baldwin's Thanksgiving

When you've dined at Grandma Baldwin's you will know as well as I. When, at length, the feast was ended, Grand'ther Baldwin bent his head, And, amid the solemn silence, with a reverent voice, he said: "Now unto God, the Gracious One, we thanks and homage pay, Who guardeth us, and guideth us, and loveth us always!"

FILE - In this June 16, 2014 file photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they carry the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad. The Islamic State group holds roughly a third of Iraq and Syria, including several strategically important cities like Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. (AP Photo, File)

EDITORIAL: ISIS is the enemy

Chuck Hagel will soon leave his post as secretary of defense, but the threat from the barbarians grows. The threat from the Islamic State, or ISIS, looming over Iraq and Syria and the entire Middle East is compounded by the Obama administration's confusion and cultivated weakness. Nobody with a clear understanding of what the world is about is in charge of the nation's security.

EDITORIAL: The pigs find a loophole

"Earmarks," small, large and enormous pots of taxpayers' money that congressmen give themselves to fund pet projects in their districts, usually in return for votes, are a lot like Count Dracula. They won't stay dead. But last week the Republicans in the House put down an attempt by one of their own to resurrect them.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the media after the closed-door nuclear talks with Iran, in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. Facing still significant differences between the U.S. and Iran, negotiators gave up on last-minute efforts to get a nuclear deal by the Monday deadline and extended their talks for another seven months. The move gives both sides breathing space to work out an agreement but may be badly received by domestic sceptics, since it extends more than a decade of diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's nuclear prowess. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

EDITORIAL: Iran stalls again

The lot of a diplomat is not always a happy one. Life in striped pants can be challenging. So much Chablis and brie, so little time. It's not all polite chatter. In the matter of the crucial talks over the future of Iran's nuclear program, all the pushing and pulling of policy, all the huffing and puffing of inflamed egos, will probably be for naught. Sooner or later, unless the Israelis rescue the West from fear and indecision, Iran will have its Islamic bomb.

Republicans will soon be empowered to adopt a number of much-needed reforms that will point Congress in the right direction. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

EDITORIAL: Putting momentum in harness

Congressional lethargy and inaction in the wake of the Republican wave of 2010 is not the fault of the Republicans, no matter how loud the cries of frustrated liberals. Over the course of the current Congress, the House of Representatives passed nearly 350 bills, only to see them die in Harry Reid's Senate. Some of them surely deserved death, but not all.