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In this May 22, 2020, file photo the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is visible through heavy fog in Washington. With COVID-19 cases hitting alarming new highs and a grim rising death toll, the pandemic's devastating cycle is happening all over again, leaving Congress little choice but to engineer another costly rescue. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

No party for moderate men: Blue Dog Democrats are confused, scared and all but neutered

There are not many Blue Dog Democrats, that old redoubt of moderate liberals, left these days. As our colleague David Sherfinski reported last week, this once influential voting bloc has been diminished to about two dozen members. Like strangers in a foreign land, these days they appear out of step with party aims, and relegate their "serious" actions to letter writing and, we imagine, various forms of hand wringing.

Josh Hawley is after big game

A lot of people are quite upset at Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley's announced decision to object during the Electoral College certification process this coming Jan. 6. It's, to be clear, a symbolic move, and will result only in two hours of debate in both chambers. At the end of the debates — the subject of which will be whether or not to count Pennsylvania's (and possibly other states') votes — Congress will still have to respect the Electoral College decision.

Beatrix Robb, 13, of Brattleboro, Vt., and her mother, Jen, look for a book at the Brooks Memorial Library, in Brattleboro, Vt., Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. The library plans to close its doors on Thanksgiving and reopen on Dec. 14, 2020, as the number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the area. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Home-grown cultural despots attempt to cancel the Western canon

As Meghan Cox Gurdon, a children's books columnist at The Wall Street Journal, recently reported, Lawrence High School, a public secondary school in Massachusetts, successfully pulled the poet Homer from the curriculum. As ninth-grade teacher Heather Levine put it, "Hahaha — very proud to say we got the Odyssey removed from the curriculum this year."

President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Biden's switch from gas-powered cars to electric will cost consumers

The holidays traditionally place a strain on the budgets of many Americans, and the sporadic COVID-19 lockdowns throughout 2020 have only added to the struggle to make ends meet. As if those financial challenges were not enough, Joe Biden has more in store. Change is hard, to coin a phrase, and the kind of "clean energy revolution" he has in mind is likely to cost a pretty penny.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, Dec 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

'A (Washington) Christmas Carol'

We've all read — or watched — Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." The story has so permeated our discourse that characters like Scrooge and Tiny Tim are employed as similes for miserliness and poverty. We also tend to remember, and use as metaphor, the trio of ghosts that visit Scrooge, ultimately precipitating a change in his soul for the better.

A sign advises visitors along Washington Street to wear face masks to try and reduce the spread of the coronavirus late Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in downtown Golden, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Freedom's fall has preceded rising COVID-19 coercion

As the last days of 2020 dissipate, coronavirus lockdowns, quarantines and isolation are escalating. The year will surely be remembered as one when freedom faltered. As natural as the morning light is the yearning for freedom, but fear of disease is erecting sturdy barriers that thwart the inborn desire for autonomy. Trends that predate the pandemic signal that the new year will likely bring additional challenges in the struggle against forces that oppose the irrepressible impulse to be free.

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