Michael Shear of the New York Times: "Just days after his party was routed in the midterm elections, President Obama said that he and his White House team had not succeeded in effectively selling the benefits of his policies to the American people, calling it a 'failure of politics' that he must change in the final two years of his presidency. 'It's not enough just to build a better mousetrap,' Mr. Obama said in an interview that was taped Friday at the White House and broadcast Sunday on the 60th anniversary of CBS's 'Face the Nation' program. 'People don't automatically come beating to your door. We've got to sell it. We've got to reach out to the other side and, where possible, persuade'":
Sari Horwitz & Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "President Obama on Saturday nominated U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch as his next attorney general. If confirmed, she would be the first African American woman to serve in that post":
Thomas Frank in Salon: "Once again, Republicans used their patented brand of fake populism to make Democrats look like chumps.... After deliberately breaking Washington, the Republican Party just rode to power by protesting Washington's brokenness. Having done all they could to enrich the rich and empower the powerful, the GOP has now succeeded in presenting itself as America's warrior for social justice."
Andrew O'Hehir of Salon: "... what the dire 2014 midterms really tell us is that the entire electoral system is on the critical list, stuck in a 'Groundhog Day' wave pattern of bitterness, stagnation and cynicism.... Can anybody, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell included, tell me what the Republicans are for? OK, they're for war and they're for oil. Obama is for those things too, so I guess their problem with him is that he isn't for them enthusiastically enough. Oh, and he's black."
Mike Lillis of the Hill: "Democrats aren't planning a shakeup despite the thumping they took at the polls on Tuesday. Leaders in both the House and the Senate -- including Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- are expected to retain their spots atop the party in the next Congress, while the White House, in similar fashion, says it will keep its top staff largely intact. 'The president is somebody who doesn't make personnel changes just for cosmetic reasons,' White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday."
Mark Stern of Slate: "... conservatives [launched] an unprecedented campaign this election cycle to vote out left-leaning state supreme court judges in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kansas, and Montana.... They were completely and utterly trounced. In all four states, conservatives failed to flip the court; in fact, they failed to oust a single supreme court judge. Aided by progressives and bipartisan state bar associations, the judges fought back and won big.... At the end of the day, most Americans understand that a judgeship should not go to the highest bidder or the biggest spender."
Sarah Kliff of Vox: "The people who wrote Obamacare think the new Supreme Court case is ridiculous.... 'It was always intended that the federal fallback exchange would do everything that the statute told the states to do, which includes delivering the subsidies,' says Chris Condeluci, who worked as tax and benefits counsel for the Senate Finance Committee Republicans during the Affordable Care Act debate.... John McDonough, who worked on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee during the health reform debate, wrote in an email. There is not a scintilla of evidence that the Democratic lawmakers who designed the law intended to deny subsidies to any state, regardless of exchange status.'"
Obama Stuns Romney. Again. Mario Trujillo of the Hill: "Mitt Romney said Friday that he was stunned by reports of President Obama's letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 'That the president would write a letter of this nature, in effect legitimizing a nation and a leadership that is violating international norms and is threatening the world, is so far beyond the pale, I was stunned. I was speechless,' Romney said according to Haaretz newspaper and a number of other media outlets." CW: "Speechless" is good, too.
Hudson Hongo of Gawker: "According to Robert O'Neill -- the former Navy SEAL who claims he shot Osama bin Laden -- the Al Qaeda leader 'died like a pussy' and 'knew that we were there to kill him.'" CW: This guy should STFU. His language & assertions are extremely unhelpful. ...
... Here's the CNN report, by Chelsea Carter. With video. ...
... ** Shane Harris of the Daily Beast: "On Tuesday, Fox News will air a highly-anticipated documentary about a former Navy SEAL named Robert O'Neill, who claims to be the man who fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden. Several of O'Neill's former brothers-in-arms are coming forward to say his story is way, way off. In interviews with The Daily Beast, former special operations officials, as well as other sources who are familiar with the events of the 2011 raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, accused O'Neill of misstating key facts and wrongly taking sole credit for killing the world's then-most wanted man.... O'Neill insists that he was the shooter. But others -- including a fellow SEAL who was standing within feet of O'Neill when the final encounter with bin Laden went down -- say another, still-unidentified man likely fired the round that caused a lethal head wound." ...
... Steve M.: "You might think that a guy like O'Neill would be reluctant to put a debunkable story like this out there -- but hey, presumably his check from Fox for that special has already cleared. And, of course, Fox's audience will believe whatever makes them feel good or self-righteously angry, so they'll watch the special anyway, however much its facts have been disputed, the same way they continue to buy Sharyl Attkisson's book #34 at Amazon as I type this), even though her alleged video evidence of computer hacking has been widely debunked."
Arturo Garcia of the Raw Story: "Fox News contributor Keith Ablow shot back on Friday at a former president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) after he condemned Ablow's on-air commentaries about President Barack Obama.... The dispute began following an Associated Press feature on Ablow published on Thursday, in which ex-APA leader Jeffrey Lieberman blasted Ablow's activities. 'It is shameful and unfortunate that he is given a platform by Fox News or any other media organization,' Lieberman said. 'Basically he is a narcissistic self-promoter of limited and dubious expertise.'" Via Garcia, Here's a Media Matters mashup of some of A-Blow's greatest hits:
Jim Yardley of the New York Times: "Pope Francis on Saturday sidelined a powerful American cardinal who has emerged as an unabashed conservative critic of the reform agenda and the leadership style that the Argentine pontiff has brought to the Roman Catholic Church. In an expected move, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke was officially removed as head of the Vatican's highest judicial authority, known as the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. He was demoted to the ceremonial position of chaplain for the Knights of Malta, a charity group." ...
... "Cardinal Burke's Excellent Maltese Adventure." Mark Silk of Religion News Service: Burke's "new position is Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, with the task of promoting the Maltese knights' spiritual interests. The appointment has a certain appropriateness, if you have a taste for Jesuitical irony. Although originally established to care for sick pilgrims to the Holy Land, the Knights Hospitallers (as they were called) soon became a major crusader militia, and through the centuries served the Church as one of its fiercer fighting forces."
Don Babwin & Tammy Webber of the AP: "The Archdiocese of Chicago on Thursday released thousands of internal documents showing how it hid the sexual abuse of children by 36 priests, adding to similar disclosures made earlier this year and fulfilling a pledge by an ailing Cardinal Francis George to release the files before he retires later this month.... [The documents] show how the archdiocese routinely hid the histories of abusive priests by moving them between parishes, did not swiftly remove the men from ministry and in some cases helped them remain priests long after allegations against them were deemed credible."
Be Afraid, Christian Soldiers. Kyle Mantyla of Right Wing Watch: "Rick Santorum recently stopped by the Christian Post for an interview about his latest film, 'One Generation Away,' which is about the supposed persecution of Christians in America. While admitting that 'persecution' in America today is nothing like what Christians in the Middle East are facing, Santorum warned that Christians in the U.S. must nevertheless remain vigilant because the sort of deadly persecution faced by Christians around the world does not just happen overnight." Via Steve Benen. ...
... In South Florida, Christian Charity Is against the Law. Elizabeth Chuck of NBC News: "Two church pastors and a 90-year-old man were charged for feeding homeless people in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, under a strict new city ordinance that virtually bans private groups from handing out food. Despite a looming court date and the threat of being fined or jailed for violating the ordinance, the men said they plan to feed more needy later Wednesday." Via Benen.
Is Not-Religion a Religion? Adele Banks of Religion News Service: "The Oxford-educated man who unsuccessfully sought to be the Navy's first humanist chaplain is suing the Pentagon, claiming unconstitutional discrimination. Jason Heap is certified as a humanist celebrant by the Humanist Society, which joined in the suit and is challenging both the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense for not recognizing the group as an endorser of chaplain candidates."
Beyond the Beltway
Monica Davey & Mary Walsh of the New York Times: "Less than 16 months after Detroit became the largest city in the United States to file for bankruptcy, a federal judge on Friday approved a plan intended to help it escape years of financial ruin and begin the hard work of becoming viable again." ...
... Jordan Weisman of Slate has more on how the deal saved Detroit's world-class art museum.
New York Times: At the Brandenberg Gate, Germans commemorate November 9, an anniversary that of the fall of the Berlin wall, as well as some horrible events in German history.
Washington Post: "U.S. warplanes launched airstrikes on what U.S. officials said was a gathering of Islamic State commanders near the militant-held city of Mosul on Friday, in one of the most prominent assaults on the Islamist group's leadership since the air war started here in August."
Reuters: "Iran sees no alternative to a diplomatic settlement with six world powers on its nuclear program and believes both sides are resolved to reach a deal by a self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline, its deputy foreign minister said on Saturday."
Guardian: "The Obama administration has prevailed in the first court challenge to its controversial force-feedings of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, even as the judge ruling in the government's favor criticized its lack of 'common sense and compassion'. Gladys Kessler, a federal judge in Washington DC, denied Abu Wa’el Dhiab's request to significantly change the manner in which the US military transfers, restrains and forcibly feeds detainees on hunger strike to protest their confinement."
Reuters: "A group of protesters set fire to the wooden door of Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto's ceremonial palace in Mexico City's historic city centre late on Saturday, denouncing the apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers. The group, carrying torches, broke away from what had been a mostly peaceful protest demanding justice for the students, who were abducted six weeks ago and apparently murdered and incinerated by corrupt police in league with drug gang members."
AP: "Tensions between the major powers have pushed the world closer to a new Cold War, former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev said Saturday. The 83-year-old accused the West, particularly the United States, of giving in to 'triumphalism' after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the communist bloc a quarter century ago. The result, he said, could partly be seen in the inability of global powers to prevent or resolve conflicts in Yugoslavia, the Middle East and most recently Ukraine."
Portland Press Herald: "Nurse Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend are leaving Maine next week for parts unknown.... Her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, withdrew from an accelerated nursing program at the University of Maine at Fort Kent on Friday and said the couple will stay through Monday, after which a state court order expires and Hickox will no longer have to submit to daily health monitoring, inform state officials of travel plans and let them know if her health changes."