READING LIST: October 26th

Written by Steve Pierce on . Posted in Uncategorized

I read. A lot. In fact, I spend most of my day on the Internet, reading various things about a myriad of subjects. It takes a lot of work.

I’ve often wished I didn’t have to spend so much time scouring the Internet for pertinent tidbits. Why couldn’t someone just show me all the good articles worth reading? Why does being well-read have to be so stinking hard?

Full disclosure: I realize the Drudge Report offers a comparable service to the one desired above — except that would mean that I’d actually have to a) read the Drudge Report, which would in turn require me to b) not find everything about Matt Drudge’s sensationalist (albeit convenient) brand of non-journalism repugnant.

So, instead of giving into the Drudge monster, I’ve opted to continue my long, hard slog as a news-slave, shackled at all times to my RSS feed reader, waiting oh-so-patiently for the next juicy bit of writing to be tossed my way.

Someone should benefit from this situation — and that someone is you.

That’s why we’re starting a new feature here at your favorite local online magazine: the Rhombus Reading List. Here’s how it works: each day (okay, as often as possible), I will share with you my take on the top news stories, best columns and most interesting features I found somewhere on the interwebs that day, separated by subject and complete with appropriate links for your personal viewing pleasure.

So, in reality, it’s a digest of sorts — a compendium of pieces that I found interesting, relevant and worth passing on to you, our benevolent readers. Feel free to disagree with me; I’m sure you often will. But that’s neither here nor there. What’s important is that you’ll have a steady list of interesting reads waiting for you each day, hopefully saving you some time sifting through the online scrap pile.

So, let’s give this a spin and see how you like it. If it works, great; If not, it shall go the way of the late Song of the Day and the many other defunct features that have come before — that is to say, to the stupid feature graveyard. Included below is the Reading List for October 26th. Give it a try, leave a comment with your thoughts in the space below, and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.

Politics

After a summer’s worth of screaming and yelling in all corners of the country and countless proclamations of its death, the public option lives! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you probably spent the past few months feverishly decorating that lovely rock you live under — or you just don’t care about politics. (In which case, why are you reading this section?) ANYWAY, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced today that he will include a public health insurance option in the final Senate bill, causing progressives to breathe a heavy sigh of relief and conservatives to strap on their socialist-name-calling battle armor. [Huffington Post]

Washington Post blogger and resident policy wonk Ezra Klein seems to think the version of the public option supported by Reid (which includes a provision allowing states to opt out of offering the program) represents a rather conservative compromise made by Democrats. [Washington Post]

Needless to say, the GOP doesn’t quite feel the same way. [Talking Points Memo]

Regardless, Paul Krugman, America’s most influential columnist and an on-record liberal skeptic of Congress’ health reform efforts, thinks (for once) that things might just end up okay. [New York Times]

And speaking of Harry Reid, the most powerful Mormon in American politics, a lot of his fellow brothers and sisters apparently don’t like him. In fact, many question his faith and religious commitment because of his political policies. An interesting profile of a man with as tough a job as any, even before he gets criticized by the guy sitting next to him in the pew. [Salt Lake Tribune]

Coincidentally (ironically?), the LDS Church also released a comment on the need for civility, particularly in political discourse. It also contained this gem:

Furthermore, the Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible. As the Church begins to rise in prominence and its members achieve a higher public profile, a diversity of voices and opinions naturally follows. Some may even mistake these voices as being authoritative or representative of the Church. However, individual members think and speak for themselves. Only the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles speak for the whole Church.

Is that a veiled reference to Glenn Beck (rhetorical extremism, renders civil discussion impossible, often mistaken as authoritative by the LDS faithful, etc.) or am I entering my own personal realm of Beck-style insanity? Methinks it is the former. [Church Newsroom]

Popular Culture

It all hit the fan on Mad Men (i.e. the best show on television) last night, with the show finally reaching the contentious climax it’s been building to for two-and-a-half years. The most important questions that now remain are: a) where does it all possibly go from here? and b) why aren’t you watching yet? As always, The A.V. Club has a splendid recap of the action. [The A.V. Club]

However, almost more enjoyable than actually watching the show is reading Movieline’s excellent weekly feature, the Mad Men Power Rankings. Ordering the series’ characters according to their performance in each episode, the Power Rankings are some of the most consistently hilarious writing on the Internet. There is seldom a week when I don’t come within inches of wetting myself with glee. If you watch Mad Men, this column will make your life complete. [Movieline]

In similarly hilarious news, comedian David Cross (okay, let’s be honest, Tobias) is doing his best to convince us all (and probably most of Washington, D.C.) that production on the upcoming Arrested Development movie should have started, like, yesterday. [Movieline]

Weezer further bolsters my theory that they haven’t made a good album since Pinkerton – has it really been 13 years since 1996? — and won’t be making another in the foreseeable future. In a word and a completely unnecessary initial: Kenny G. Need another? Chamillionaire. [Pitchfork]

And finally, it looks like Lil’ Wayne will soon be enjoying his cough syrup cocktails in a cinder block cell. But really, who didn’t see this coming sooner rather than later? [Spin]

Feel free to share your thoughts below. Check back tomorrow for another (probably briefer) edition of the Rhombus Reading List.

Steve Pierce is co-founder and editor of Rhombus. Follow him on Twitter @steve_pierce.

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