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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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FILE - In this undated file photo released by Forest Guardians, a prairie dog eats in southwestern Utah. Cedar City residents who say prairie dogs are overrunning parts of their town are set to argue Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 against federal regulations protecting the animals. Residents suing in federal court say the prairie dogs have done damage to the city's golf course, airport and at the cemetery, even interrupting funerals with their barking. (AP Photo/Forest Guardians, File)

EDITORIAL: Dogging it on the prairie

Prairie dogs, with more important things to do, don't engage in interstate commerce. That was the finding of a federal judge last week in a decision that could unravel the Endangered Species Act and restore a little respect for private property.

Former President Ronald Reagan. (The Washington Times) ** FILE **

EDITORIAL: The Wall came tumbling down

When President Reagan traveled to Berlin to mark the 750th anniversary of the city, celebrated at the Brandenburg Gate in front of the Berlin Wall, the most consequential line in his memorable speech nearly didn't make it into the final draft.

In this Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, file photo, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg smiles prior to be conferred with the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by France's Foreign minister Laurent Fabius, at the Quai d'Orsay, in Paris. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has bestowed an honorary knighthood on the billionaire businessman and former New York mayor. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

EDITORIAL: Bloomberg's wasted millions

Mike Bloomberg put $50 million into Tuesday's elections, and he doesn't have much to show for it. Someone, perhaps the Koch brothers, ought to treat him to a Big Gulp. The onetime mayor of New York City organized a group called Everytown for Gun Safety, meant to rival the National Rifle Association, and with a lot more money. The new group was supposed to put gun control on the front burner. Instead, the gun-control candidates got scorched on the back burner.

** FILE ** Sen. Harry Reid. (Associated Press)

EDITORIAL: Harry Reid's last hurrah

Congress will convene soon as a convention of lame ducks, and ducks usually don't do much. Five senators who were just escorted to the door will have the opportunity to cast one last vote for Harry Reid. The Republicans should know better than to allow these disgruntled few to make mischief. They'll clock out at the first opportunity.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., celebrates with his supporters at an election night party in Louisville, Ky.,Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. McConnell won a sixth term in Washington, with his eyes on the larger prize of GOP control of the Senate. The Kentucky U.S. Senate race, with McConnell, a 30-year incumbent, fighting off a spirited challenge from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, has been among the most combative and closely watched contests that could determine the balance of power in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

EDITORIAL: Now, to lead

Midterm elections are about incumbent presidents even when they aren't on the ballot. President Obama acknowledged this when he declared that "every single one" of his policies would be up for a vote Tuesday even though his name wouldn't be on anybody's ballot. On election eve, the White House hedged with the claim that since many of the closest Senate races were in states Mr. Obama didn't carry two years ago the results had to be taken with salt.

Maryland Gov.-elect Larry Hogan speaks at a news conference, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Annapolis, Md. Hogan campaigned relentlessly against tax increases and stuck to a pro-business message to win a big upset against Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in the race for governor in heavily Democratic Maryland. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

EDITORIAL: The Republican wave

Pollsters everywhere are wiping egg from their faces, and a lot of the egg is scrambled. They predicted Republicans would have a good night, but their numbers were about as accurate as the television weatherman's 10-day forecast.

A nurse holds a dose of experimental vaccine "cAd3-EBOZ Lau" at the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. Swissmedic approved the application for a trial with an experimental Ebola vaccine at the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV). It will be conducted on 120 volunteer participants. The trial continues the series that began in the USA, the UK and Mali. The vaccine, based on a genetically modified chimpanzee adenovirus will initially be administered to healthy volunteers who will be deployed as medical staff in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. (AP Photo/Keystone,Jean-Christophe Bott)

EDITORIAL: Beware the Ebola snake-oil remedies

The quality of mercy is always strained, but snake oil comes raw and unfiltered, harvested from ever more lethal snakes. You might think the accounts of the suffering of those stricken with the Ebola virus would soften the hearts of snake-oil salesmen.