The first week of 2013 doesn’t exactly feel like it’s ushering in any fresh start in Washington, now does it? Maybe next week will be better, but don’t hold your breath. Here are some final items for the day:

* Harry Reid is privately saying he won’t raise any separation-of-powers concerns if Obama chooses to bypass Congress on debt limit.

* Mini-relief bill for Sandy victims passes House, with 67 Republicans voting against it; Senate passes it on voice vote.

* Word is Chuck Hagel will be nominated for Defense Secretary next week. Expect objections from left and right.

* At Ten Miles Square, Keith Humphreys mulls the under-reported decline in the U.S. incarceration rate.

* At College Guide, Daniel Luzer notes that 529 college savings plans mostly benefit relatively affluent families; cost to feds could fund 288,000 Pell Grants.

And in non-political news:

* Mock NFL draft at Sporting News has West Virginia’s Geno Smith going first; 6 of ten top players from SEC.

Sam Knight will be at the blogging controls this weekend.

Since Sunday is the Feast of the Epiphany, here’s the relevant portion of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, as performed by the Windsbacher Knabenchor and Munich Bachsolisten in 1991.

YouTube video


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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.