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The Pope Will Call It Quits at the End of the Month: New York Times: "Citing advanced years and infirmity, but showing characteristic tough-mindedness and unpredictability, Pope Benedict XVI shocked Roman Catholics on Monday by saying that he would resign on Feb. 28, becoming the first pope to do so in six centuries. ... A shy, tough-minded theologian who seemed to relish writing books more than greeting stadium crowds, Benedict, 85, was elected by fellow cardinals in 2005 after the death of John Paul II. An often divisive figure, he spent much of his papacy in the shadow of his beloved predecessor. Above all, Benedict’s papacy was overshadowed by clerical abuse scandals, a case involving documents leaked from within the Vatican itself and tangles with Jews, Muslims and Anglicans. In his handling of the sexual abuse crisis, critics said that his failures of governance were tantamount to moral failings."
The Slatest: Benedict XVI Is the First Pope To Resign in 600 Years. Why'd the Last One Step Down? (Spoiler: Because there were THREE popes.)
More on the Pope's Abdication from Slate—The Slatest: Pope Benedict XVI Stuns World, Snubs Twitter (Both in Latin); The Slatest: Where Does a Pope Live When He's No Longer the Pope?; The Slatest: Who Will Be the Next Pope? Let the Speculation Begin!; Explainer: Will He Still Be Infallible? Will He Get a Pension? And the Rest of Your Questions Answered; and Weigel: Should Elderly Politicians Make Like the Pope and Quit?.
Bonus: From the Slate Archives, Christopher Hitchens on how the pope's entire career has the stench of evil about it, or in what we're sure is a loose translation into Latin, papa totam putredinem in vita mali sunt.
Looking Ahead to Tomorrow: Christian Science Monitor: "Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night presents his best opportunity – perhaps for the rest of his presidency – to flesh out the details of his agenda and rank the priorities to a national audience. Obama has four more years in office, but in reality, he may have as little as a year to enact major legislation before midterm elections get in the way – followed by the 2016 race to succeed him. In short, Obama is a man in a hurry. That may explain why his second inaugural felt more like a warm-up for the State of the Union message rather than a lofty call to unity."
A Golden Bridge: Politico: "Emboldened by electoral victory and convinced the GOP is unwilling to cut deals, Obama plans to use his big prime-time address Tuesday night to issue another broad challenge at a Republican Party he regards as vulnerable and divided, Democrats close to Obama say. ... When Politico asked how Obama is approaching the speech compared with his previous State of the Union addresses, a person close to the process of drafting the speech replied with a 2,500-year-old quote from Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu: 'Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.' The anodyne, stage-managed West Wing leaks have the State of the Union speech focusing on 'jobs creation,' poll-tested paeans to the 'middle class' and a new slate of infrastructure projects that will have a tough time passing Congress. Privately, administration officials see it as an extension of Obama’s unabashedly provocative and progressive Jan. 21 inaugural address, their latest attempt to leverage favorable deals on the sequester and the debt ceiling comparable to the watershed deal Obama secured on increasing taxes on the wealthy."
GOP Lawmaker Invites Ted Nugent to SOTU: The Hill: "Outspoken musician and gun right supporter Ted Nugent will be Rep. Steve Stockman’s guest Tuesday night at President Obama’s State of the Union address. Nugent is well known for his defense of the Second Amendment and for his criticism of Obama's politics. ... While appearing at a campaign stop for then-GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney last year, Nugent declared, 'If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.' ... Many Democrats are bringing victims of gun shootings to the State of the Union address, and Obama has invited the parents of a teenager who was slain in Chicago just a week after performing at the president's inauguration. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting at a constituent event two years ago, is also scheduled to attend."
Must-Read of the Day: If it weren't for the surprising news out of the Vatican, Esquire and the Center for Investigative Reporting would have had the story that dominated today: A detailed profile of the Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama Bin Laden. The highlight? The unnamed shooter's first-person account of the moment itself: " I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he's going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! same place. .... He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath. And I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I've ever done, or the worst thing I've ever done? This is real and that's him. Holy shit."
Latest on the L.A. Manhunt: Associated Press: "Southern California authorities were investigating hundreds of tips Monday after offering a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of a fugitive ex-police officer wanted in the slayings of three people. The manhunt for Christopher Dorner, 33, coupled with added security at Sunday's Grammy Awards, left the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department stretched thin. Along with responding to routine calls for service, police have been protecting dozens of families considered possible targets of Dorner, based on his alleged Facebook rant against those he held responsible for ending his career with the LAPD five years ago."
Today's Mass Shooting: NBC Philadelphia: Provoked by a long custody battle, a gunman entered the courthouse in Wilmington, Del., this morning and opened fire, killing two women and injuring two officers. The shooter came into the lobby of the New Castle County Courthouse at 500 N. King Street at 8:00 a.m. while people were lined up waiting to get into the courthouse. After a subsequent shootout with police, he was found dead. Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said the shooting was not a random act of violence, but based on their preliminary investigation, "a result of a custody dispute that lasted in our court system for several years." State police are not releasing the gunman's identity or the identities of the victims until they've been able to notify family members."
XX Factor: Don't Read This. Go Take a Nap.
Thousands Stranded on Cruise Ship: ABC News: "The 4,229 passengers aboard a Carnival cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine room fire this weekend have only limited running water and power as they await the arrival of a tug boat that will take them to Mexico. The Carnival Triumph is now little more than a 100,000-ton cork, bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico without propulsion for the past 24 hours after the fire broke out Sunday morning. No one was hurt in the fire, but the ship lost power and is relying on a back-up generator as it drifts 477 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas, Carnival said in a statement."
Mississippi Tornado: USA Today: "A tornado struck the Hattiesburg, Miss., area Sunday, causing major damage and injuring at least 60 people, emergency officials said. The tornado had maximum wind speeds of up to 145 mph, and was rated an EF-3 on the tornado intensity scale, according to a survey conducted Monday by the National Weather Service. Jeff Rent of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said there were no immediate reports of deaths despite widespread visible damage."
More Quick Hits From Slate—
Weigel: Chuck Hagel's Boring Weekend
Future Tense: Why Americans Are Saying No to Domestic Drones
Brow Beat: Monsters University Looks Surprisingly Good
Behold: Dogs in Cars
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