- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Dec. 25, 2014

A season that everyone can appreciate

Christmas has a way of capturing the hearts, if not the souls, of people of all faiths.

Members of other religions may not share the same beliefs but they can’t resist the spirit of Christmas. The season of joy and sharing becomes infectious.

Some complain the season has become too long, with shopping beginning before Thanksgiving. Black Friday isn’t always viewed in a good light.

But Black Friday isn’t just about shopping; it’s a social event where people not only shop but swap stories and have a good time. There’s something in the atmosphere and it tends to make people happy. And if you are in a crowd of good cheer, it becomes difficult to be Scrooge.

Today, Christians celebrate the birth of their Savior, a man who led by example. His was a simple life of helping others, spreading the gospel and doing extraordinary things. His birth was celebrated by a diverse group who came to the stable and manger. A quiet beginning to a powerful life.

That his birth is still celebrated today is a remarkable testament to his message - one of love, helping the needy and the feeble. A message that has resulted in a variety of Christian denominations.

In a period that lasts less than two months our spirits are raised. If we see someone in need, we want to help them; if we see someone sad, we want to cheer them.

We are flooded with the sounds and sights of Christmas: decorated homes and businesses; the music, whether carols or pop. And the movies. “A Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” among others provide universal messages.

The messages resonate to those who worship a different creator. They get caught up in the joyful spirit of the season. It becomes not just about who you worship but how you lead your life.

Those taking part in ringing bells, singing carols, delivering Legion baskets and helping feed the hungry are of all faiths and sometimes of no faith.

Sadly there remain people who are committed to a life of terror and death. People who are focused on narrow beliefs that have no room for tolerance.

The Christmas season remains their enemy. A season of joy, sharing and tolerance threatens their existence.

The teachings of Christ have survived for thousands of years. During that time thousands of tyrants have surfaced but not survived.

Today Christians celebrate the birth of a special man and others rejoice in the spirit he brought to Earth that still lives.

Merry Christmas.


Minot Daily News, Minot, Dec. 26, 2014

Cyber threats imminent

Members of Congress are eager to provide military hardware to the Pentagon, whether the armed forces want it or not. The recently approved $1.1 trillion spending bill, including between $3 billion and $5 billion for warplanes, tanks, etc., the Defense Department did not request, is proof of that.

But what about an area of national security in which the United States is exceedingly vulnerable - cyber attacks?

Officials of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. have been left shaken and intimidated by an invasion of company computers conducted over a period of several months by hackers who may work for the North Korean government.

So cowed are the Hollywood executives that they cancelled the planned New York City premiere of a movie to which the North Koreans object.

For various reasons, including leaked email messages that embarrassed Sony, the company is expected to lose millions of dollars because of the attack.

Defending the private sector against cyber warfare has been left largely to the private sector. Given the government’s success with programs such as the Obamacare website, that may not be a bad thing.

But what, exactly, is the government doing to defend Americans against cyber attacks and retaliate against those mounting them? Not enough, clearly. Perhaps the next Congress should cancel funding for a few dozen unneeded fighter planes and use the money for cyber defense.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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