* “Joe Biden, it seems to me, knows Ukraine better than the previous president.”–Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine.

* “China is definitely an adversary, but it isn’t really an ideological competitor the way the Soviet Union was. … China’s ruling ideology is much better understood as nationalistic, with bits of oligarchy, aristocracy, racism and imperialism thrown in.”–Jonah Goldberg, The Dispatch.

* We are all in the same boat.”–Pope Francis, in emphasizing unity among people during his Christmas message.

* “This is exciting for Mike Pence, getting vaccinated is the only time mother ever does shots with him.”–Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel.

* “(Trump) will be astounded at how irrelevant a president becomes after losing re-election. Ask Jimmy Carter. Ask George H.W. Bush.”–Presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

* “The head of the student council in your middle school was elected by a popular vote. I know it’s an old-fashioned notion, but the most fundamental democratic value is that all votes would count equally.”–Harvard historian Alexander Keyssar, the author of “Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?”

* “This wall is the largest impediment to wildlife movement we’ve ever seen in this part of the world. It’s altering the evolutionary history of North America.”–Biologist Myles Traphagen of the Wildlands Network, in reference to crews working on a border wall section in San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge near Guadalupe Canyon in Arizona.

* “What I know now is that I will not allow the world to make a big difference in me. That’s what’s incredibly important. I’m not going to let the fact that I live in a nation with a bunch of fools make a fool out of me.”–Author and poet Nikki Giovanni.

* “While Republicans have made the political calculation that they must cough up some money while control of the Senate is still in doubt, they’re clearly getting ready to invoke fear of budget deficits as a reason to block anything and everything Biden proposes once he’s finally sworn in.”–Nobel economist Paul Krugman.

* “Trumpism is a specifically American iteration of generic fascism. … ‘America First’ is actually a retread of an isolationist, pro-Nazi slogan from the 1930s. … The truth is fascists are passing as patriots, and they must be challenged.”–Veteran Republican strategist Mac Stipanovich, now a NPA.

* “I think it’s very hard to get back to the way things were. … If you have 70 percent of Republicans thinking that Biden stole the election, that’s a hard hole to dig out of.”–Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.

* “(Mike Pence) is clearly continuing to try to stay in Trump’s good graces as well as court the GOP’s wing nut base in order to keep his political future alive.”–Joan Walsh, The Nation.

* “The truth is, members of Congress are getting the vaccine because it’s the law. … The very folks who downplayed the virus, partied maskless at the White House and called the coronavirus a hoax created to hurt President Donald Trump are getting the vaccine ahead of front-line and essential workers, and even vulnerable residents in long-term care facilities.”–Petula Dvorak, Washington Post.

* “Leaders eat last; it’s one of the first lessons a soldier learns as early as basic training.”–Florida Republican Rep. Brian Mast, in criticizing members of Congress for cutting in line to get vaccinated.

* “Walmart knew that its distribution centers were using an inadequate system for detecting and reporting suspicious orders.”–Jason Dunn, the U.S. attorney in Colorado, on the Justice Department’s suit against Walmart that accuses it of fueling the nation’s opioid crisis by pressuring its pharmacies to fill even potentially suspicious prescriptions for the powerful pain-killers.

* “The Confederacy is a symbol of Virginia’s racist and divisive history, and it is past time we tell our story with images of perseverance, diversity and inclusion.”–Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, in announcing the removal of a state of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington.

* “The 2020 (hurricane) season (June 1 to Nov. 30) was the busiest on record, and I’ve urged the federal government to lengthen the season to better capture the increase in activity.”–Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy.

* “The vaccines are going to be targeted where the risk is going to be greatest, and that’s in our elderly population. We are not going to put young, healthy workers ahead of our elderly, vulnerable population.”–Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

* “The few businesses in the community who aren’t good citizens have to be addressed.”–Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, as Tampa code enforcement officers began enforcing the county’s orders on mask use and bans of dance floor crowds.

* “Really? Are we really going to have that discussion? It’s amazing to me.”–St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, in response to those who say they have a right to go dancing.

* I think the history-making nature of this appointment, combined with his 41-year career in the military, makes him the perfect choice for this.”–Former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, on President-elect Biden’s choice of retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin III, the former commander of the U.S. Central Command at MacDill AFB, as secretary of defense. Austin, the first black commander of Central Command, would also be the first black defense secretary.

* “I loved every minute of it. I could do it 24 hours a day. … I had an appointment every 15 to 20 minutes with whoever wanted to come. We got so much done.”–Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, reflecting on his City Hall years.

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