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An exterior view of the Sony Pictures Plaza building is seen in Culver City, Calif., Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving the satirical film, "The Interview," about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader. He pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

The ill wind through Hollywood

Terrorists can only defeat America if Americans let themselves be terrorized. With an otherwise meaningless movie in play — wit and humor at the level of "The Three Stooges" — the terrorists have won. Well, Hollywood was built on hyperbole like that. It's important to keep in mind, however, that America was not a combatant in this war, though it took collateral damage. Published December 21, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Effect change, don't loot and riot

As a second-generation law enforcement officer on total, permanent disability from a combination of war wounds received in Vietnam and job-related injuries, I believe there has been a serious injustice perpetrated against the police of this country by our president and his cohort, Attorney General Eric Holder. Published December 21, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Christmas not especially Christian?

Every year as Christmas approaches we see the same two teams going at it again. Quite frankly it is getting a little old. Anti-religious zealots often go too far trying to expunge Jesus and nativity scenes from the public square. People have been so cowed into saying "Season's greetings" and "Happy holidays" and avoiding "Merry Christmas" at all costs that we now have some people saying "Happy holidays" at Thanksgiving time, as if "Happy Thanksgiving" would offend anyone. "Season's greetings" is as vacuous as wishing someone a "Happy Wednesday." Personally, I have never cared whether someone wished me a happy anything. My true happiness does not depend on it. Published December 21, 2014

The Cato Institute finds that inexpensive smartphones, like the Firefox handset that sells for $35, along with satellite technology, offer the tools to map out and stake their claim.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Property rights for all

The key to economic growth isn't culture, access to the just exploitation of natural resources or even religion. Property rights trump all. The recognition and respect for property rights, and the expansion of property rights to the poor and unprivileged, is crucial to improving the living standard in developing countries. Published December 21, 2014

Putin KGB to the bone

Vladimir Putin was born Oct. 7, 1952. He joined the KGB in 1975 after graduating from the International Law branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University. Mr. Putin remembers the Cold War. Published December 18, 2014

IRS statement regarding FOIA lawsuit

There are a number of news accounts that incorrectly identify the Internal Revenue Service as being involved in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit with Cause of Action (D.C. District Court Civil Action No. 1:13-cv-01225-ABJ). That lawsuit involves the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and its investigations, not the IRS. Published December 18, 2014

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.) Published December 18, 2014

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." Published December 18, 2014

Washington Nationals shortstop Steven Souza rounds third base after his second home run of the game during the fourth inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Fla., Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Reports: Nationals trade Steven Souza to Tampa Bay as part of three-team deal

Souza, the outfielder best-known for his over-the-shoulder catch that provided the final out of Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter on Sept. 28, will be traded to Tampa Bay with the Nationals obtaining a pair of prospects from San Diego in return, according to multiple reports. Published December 17, 2014

Terrorists don’t respond to questioning

The Feinstein hit on the CIA has occasioned a new round of soul-searching ("Democrats define 'politicization' with so-called torture report," Web, Dec. 15). Can we define torture, or is it subjective? Should we apply the Potter Stewart approach to the definition of torture, recalling that the Supreme Court justice acknowledged that he could not define obscenity but knew it when he saw it? It seems that torture, like beauty or obscenity, is in the eye of the beholder, that waterboarding holds water in some quarters but is torture in others. Published December 17, 2014

Greenpeace has legacy of destruction

Greenpeace's desecration of the World Heritage-designated Nazca Lines in Peru is just the latest appalling offense the ultraradical organization has committed ("Greenpeace's Nazca lines stunt prompts Peru to seek criminal charges," Web, Dec. 11). Greenpeace activists have attempted to storm oil platforms, have destroyed crops and trespassed at nuclear power facilities. While these activists may think they're getting their message out, all they're really doing is disrupting life for the public and now risking doing grave damage to what the United Nations has determined is "a masterpiece of human creative genius." Published December 17, 2014

This photo released in a statement by the Pakistani Taliban on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 shows the Taliban fighters who stormed a military-run school in Peshawar, Pakistan on Tuesday, killing more than 140 people, most of them children. In an email on Wednesday, the Pakistani Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurasani claimed the attack was justified because the Pakistani army has allegedly long been killing innocent children and families of their fighters. (AP Photo/Pakistani Taliban handout)

Death in the name of Allah is inexplicable to decent men everywhere

Human decency died in Pakistan. Islamic extremists wielding weapons of mass hatred had forfeited any shred of respect from decent men and women everywhere, but the massacre of children in Peshawar sets them apart from the merely evil. They are monsters, pure and simple, and any hand of peace should be withdrawn. Published December 17, 2014

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. Published December 17, 2014

Protect Yellowstone buffalo from hunting season

We've been given no other choice but to seek Endangered Species Act protection for the Yellowstone buffalo ("Many ideas floated over Yellowstone park bison," Web, Dec. 14). This important action has been taken by the Buffalo Field Campaign and Western Watersheds Project. Published December 16, 2014

Black lives matter, even 19.7 million fetal lives

In recent weeks and days, we have seen thousands of people marching the streets carrying signs that read "Black Lives Matter." This has struck me quite profoundly as a Christian believer in the sanctity of life. Published December 16, 2014

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. Published December 16, 2014

A giant Christmas tree and a light show decorate the Grand Place in Brussels, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2014. The Christmas tree is a gift of Riga, capital city of Latvia and European cultural capital 2014. This exceptional Christmas tree measures 22 meters (72 feet), one of the highest to have adorned the Grand Place, and is one of the many attractions the Brussels' Christmas market has to offer. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Searching for Christmas in the Old World

Someone stole Christmas in Europe, and it wasn't the Grinch. There's something missing, and it isn't just the snow. Shops dependent on tourists are praying, so to speak, that the unseasonably warm weather will give way in time for a white Christmas, but the Continent's secular obsessions have put a chill on the premier Christian holy day. The Christmas spirit in much of the old country is only what you drink. Published December 16, 2014

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. Published December 15, 2014