TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Obama assured Americans today that his much-maligned federal health exchange website is "working for the vast majority of people," and at the very least House Democrats appear reassured. Detroit really can declare bankruptcy after all, a federal judge ruled, and that means lots of troubling things for those calling Motown home. D.C. got a step closer to having one of the highest minimum wages in the country, North Korea had a shakeup at the top of its chain of command, and the story behind how Democrats finally learned to love Bill Clinton is finally revealed.
HOUSE DEMS HIT PAUSE ON OBAMACARE FREAK-OUTS: The administration's weekend victory proclamation was met with some skepticism, but worries among House Democrats about the state of the federal online exchange are lessening after a White House briefing today. A flurry of vulnerable Dems had been competing with one another to distance themselves as much as possible from the law over the past month and a half, but the retooled site has largely quelled fears—for now—of a midterm retribution. (Baker/Izadi, NJ)
OBAMA'S TAKE IN ONE QUOTE: "We've learned not to make wild promises." (Brian Resnick, NJ)
THE REAL PROBLEMS BEHIND THE OBAMACARE SITE: Whether the website is on its way to a glitch-free 2014 or not, the failures thus far are revealing of a broader government problem: how it builds technology. (Adrianne Jeffries, The Verge)
DETROITERS REJOICE, MOTOR CITY ELIGIBLE FOR BANKRUPTCY STATUS: Thanks to a federal judge's ruling today, Detroit qualifies for bankruptcy and will become the largest city in U.S. history to declare it. The decision follows four months of legal spats between the state-appointed emergency manager and unions troubled by how a bankruptcy will affect pensions. (Vlasic/Davey, NYT)
WHAT BANKRUPTCY REALLY MEANS FOR RESIDENTS: Cut pensions, reduced police and sanitation services, increased taxes, and, potentially, a sea change in local politics. (Marina Koren, NJ)
WHO NEEDS THE FEDS? D.C. COUNCIL OKs MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: Another vote remains before it'll get to Mayor Vincent Gray's desk, but the City Council gave a preliminary—and unanimous—OK to $11.50 an hour, which would make it one of the highest in the nation. Gray has indicated he supports raising the wage from $8.25 to $10, but not higher. (AP)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Obama is expected to deliver remarks on the economy at an event for the Center For American Progress at 11:20 a.m. Biden arrives in Beijing for meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Li Yuanchao. Kerry is in Brussels for NATO meetings. Michelle Obama will welcome military families to the White House for the first viewing of the 2013 holiday decorations. The House Oversight Committee is expected to hold a hearing on "The Rollout of HealthCare.gov: The Limitations of Big Government" at 9:30 a.m. in Rayburn 2154. The Senate is out of session.
NORTH KOREA'S NO. 2 REPORTEDLY OUT: North Korea's second-in-command hasn't been seen for 2-weeks, which likely means he was removed from power. (Alastair Gale, WSJ)
MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT: Why the Senate might end up doing nothing to reform the military justice system. (Stacy Kaper, NJ)
SMOKING POT: Thanks to a narrow vote by their City Council, Denver residents can smoke pot on private property even they do so in public view. (Mike Riggs, The Atlantic Cities)
QUICK CATCH-UP ON KETCHUP: The history behind this all-American condiment is a tale of globalization. (Lakshmi Gandhi, NPR)
RECRUITING BILL CLINTON: The story behind how the New Dem's search for a party savior led them to Bill Clinton—and changed the course of the Democratic Party. (Al From, The Atlantic)
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH CHUCK SCHUMER: Sen. Schumer talks about how he helped persuade Elizabeth Warren to run for Senate in this Q&A. (Isaac Chotiner, TNR)
CHENEY FAMILY POLITICS: Heather Poe, the "incredibly private" wife of Mary Cheney, opens up about how she really feels about her in-laws. (Richard Leiby, Washington Post)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Colbert says the "fixed" government health care website takes the saying "good enough for government work" to a new level. Jon Stewart sends his congratulations to the Obama administration ... for doing something they should have done months ago before America's faith in government was irreparably damaged. (Reena Flores, NJ)