Juliet Eilperin & Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post: "The White House is increasing its reliance on insurers by accepting their technical help in efforts to repair the problem-ridden online health insurance marketplace and prioritizing consumers' ability to buy plans directly from the carriers. The Obama administration's broader cooperation with insurers is a tacit acknowledgment that the federal insurance exchange ... might not be working smoothly by the target date of Nov. 30, according to several health experts familiar with the administration's thinking. White House officials reject the idea that the strategy represents a contingency plan in the event that the online system continues to falter." ...
... Jessica Silver-Greenberg & Susanne Craig of the Washington Post: "To the list of problems plaguing President Obama's health care law, add one more -- fraud."
Mark Felsenthal of Reuters: "White House national security adviser Susan Rice on Saturday urged Congress to allow the United States to regain its vote at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which it lost for not paying dues."
** Eli Saslow of the Washington Post: The food stamp diet will make you sick before it kills you. Legislators & lobbyists are making sure it stays that way.
Maureen Dowd interviews comedian Sarah Silverman. Silverman has interesting things to say. Here's the voter ID video Silverman cut last year:
Mark Sherman of TPM: SCOTUSblog wants a Supreme Court press pass.
Nate Raymond & Jonathan Stempel of Reuters: "The U.S. government urged that Bank of America Corp pay $863.6 million in damages after a federal jury found it liable for fraud over defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit. In a filing late Friday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the government also asked for penalties against Rebecca Mairone, a former midlevel executive at the bank's Countrywide unit who the jury also found liable, 'commensurate with her ability to pay.'"
Dylan Byers of Politico has a damning piece on Lara Logan's Benghaaaazi! report, which Logan & others worked on for "more than a year," according to CBS "News" chairman Jeff Fager. ...
... Phony "Reporting" Has Consequences. Sort of. Leigh Munsil of Politico: "Sen. Lindsey Graham [R-S.C.] says he still plans to use Senate holds on President Barack Obama's nominees until he gets answers on the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.... Despite his hold threat following a CBS '60 Minutes' report based on an eyewitness account that proved to be false, Graham wouldn't take it back when pressed by CNN host Candy Crowley." CW: So the basis for his holds is fake, but he's still going with them to jerk around the administration. Seems reasonable.
The Plagiarist, a/k/a the Cookie Monster. CW: Friday I got an e-mail from Sen. Rand Paul titled, "This Week in News for Senator Rand Paul." In it I learned that Paul had introduced some legislation, met with some constituents & been on the teevee. Oddly enough, there was not one word in "This Week in News for Senator Rand Paul" about the several incidences of Paul's plagiarism which bloggers uncovered this week. There was nothing in it about the Washington Examiner firing him or about his moving his excellent borrowed copy to Breitbart.com. There was nothing in it about the "haters & hacks" picking on him. The only teevee appearance linked in "This Week in News for Senator Rand Paul" was one in which he bashed Healthcare.gov. No mention of the Real News of the Week for Senator Rand Paul -- the only news that put him on the front pages of his home-state papers and the New York Times. Funny that. ...
... You might wonder how it happens that I got on Rand's mailing list. I didn't sign up for it. I didn't give him my e-mail address. But I did go to his official Website to check out those speeches he suddenly footnoted. Lo & behold, Senator Libertarian -- who says that the right to privacy comes from God -- grabbed my little cookies & used them to access my e-mail account & send me unsolicited mail. If the right to privacy comes from God, Sen. Aqua Buddha is on Satan's side.
New York Times Editors: "For what may be the first time on record, a former prosecutor in Texas is going to jail for failing to turn over exculpatory evidence in a murder trial. The 10-day jail sentence for the prosecutor, Ken Anderson, is insultingly short -- the victim of his misconduct, Michael Morton, spent nearly 25 years in prison. But because prosecutors are so rarely held accountable for their misconduct, the sentence is remarkable nonetheless.... In addition to receiving the jail sentence, [Anderson] was disbarred and stripped of his law license." The underlying AP story is here. The Innocence Project's page on Michael Morton's case is here.
Black Like Me. Doug Miller of KHOU Houston: "As a conservative white Republican running in a district whose voters are overwhelmingly black Democrats, the odds seemed overwhelmingly against [Dave Wilson]. Then he came up with an idea, an advertising strategy that his opponent found 'disgusting.' If a white guy didn't have a chance in a mostly African-American district, Wilson would lead voters to think he's black. And it apparently worked. In one of the biggest political upsets in Houston politics this election season, Wilson -- an anti-gay activist and former fringe candidate for mayor -- emerged as the surprise winner over 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin. His razor thin margin of victory, only 26 votes, was almost certainly influenced by his racially tinged campaign." ...
... Speaking of a white former fringe candidate, Dan Amira of New York has listened to all 4-1/2 hours of the audio tape of Sarah Palin's new theological treatise on the annual war on Christmas: "The book is part tribute to the joys of Christmas, part how-to guide for oppressed Christians looking for ways to fight back against whiny and litigious secularists, and part manifesto on the general superiority of Christianity over atheism. Palin, throughout, appears incapable of fathoming why a business catering to people from all walks of life may prefer to use inclusive holiday-season language in promotional items, or why a non-Christian may not appreciate a government institution expressing a preference for Christianity over other religions." The magazine made a dandy little interactive graphic allowing you to click on "some of the books more memorable lines." CW: Recommended for a laugh. Via Steve Benen.
President Kennedy Assassination
Meghan Keneally of the Daily Mail: "John Kerry has revealed that he does not believe that President Kennedy's assassin worked alone as the government claimed in their official finding.... 'To this day, I have serious doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone,' Kerry told NBC's Tom Brokaw in an interview...."
Reuters: "Rescue workers struggled to reach ravaged towns and villages in the central Philippines on Monday as they tried to deliver aid to survivors of a powerful typhoon that killed an estimated 10,000 people and displaced more than 600,000. The United Nations said some survivors had no food, water or medicine. Relief operations were hampered because roads, airports and bridges had been destroyed or were covered in wreckage...." ...
... AP: "Corpses hung from trees, were scattered on sidewalks or buried in flattened buildings -- some of the thousands believed killed in one Philippine city alone by ferocious Typhoon Haiyan that washed away homes and buildings with powerful winds and giant waves." ...
... AFP: "Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in Vietnam early Monday, meteorologists said, days after it left thousands feared dead and widespread devastation in the Philippines."
AFP: "Conservative US leaders, fond of finger-pointing at France in recent years, lavished praise on Paris Sunday for blocking an agreement between Western powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program. 'Vive la France!' tweeted Senator John McCain, an outspoken voice on national security issues."