The Reading List makes a triumphant return after a long weekend break. My apologies for the hiatus, but doing this on a daily basis is harder than it seems. Life often intervenes and not on your behalf.
Nevertheless, we’re back with the top stuff from around the web on this Election Day. Seems to have been a pretty good day for Republicans, having picked up expected wins in the Virginia and New Jersey governorships. However, the silver lining for Democrats is what looks like a complete collapse by Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York’s 23rd congressional district, potentially giving the Dems control of that seat for the first time in over 100 years. (Democrat Bill Owens currently leads Hoffman 49%-45% with 64% of the votes in, though many organizations have begun calling the race for Owens.) Yet there was still other non-election related news on this lovely November day…
The Republicans have a health care plan! The Republicans have a health care plan! I know you thought you’d never see the day, but here it is. Well, I guess it’s technically just the House Republicans that have a plan. And it’s not necessarily a bill per se, but more of an extended press release — and Ezra Klein is not a fan of this extended press release strategy. Not at all. Don’t hold back, Ezra. Tell us how you really feel. [Washington Post]
Oh, and unfortunately it turns out that the ideas contained in the extended press release may not be very good — as in, they may be awful and accomplish nothing but making life better for insurance company CEOs and worse for average Americans. But that could just be my reading of it. Regardless, there definitely look to be some problematic elements in the bill. [Daily Kos]
Apparently the U.S. speedskating team lost their primary sponsor when some bank in the Netherlands went down last week, leaving a huge hole in the teams funding with only months left before the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. But don’t you worry, American speedskating enthusiasts — a real patriot has stepped in to fill the void left by those lederhosen-wearing failures. That man is Stephen Colbert — or rather his droves of rabid supporters, the Colbert Nation. Yes, it’s true, no joke: the Colbert Nation is now the lead sponsor of U.S. speedskating. What a wonderful world. If you’d like to see the full video on the matter from last night’s Colbert Report, you can check it out here.) [BBC]
A quick rundown of the day’s notable cultural news:
Austin-based indie gods Spoon announced they will release a new album in January 2010, their first since 2008′s excellent Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Expect another disc of minimalist pop perfection from Britt Daniel and company. [Pitchfork]
Troubador and multi-instrumentalist Sufjan Stevens dishes on how his once-audacious, now-defunct 50 States project was “such a joke.” I guess that means we won’t be expecting an LP devoted exclusively to songs about Delaware any time soon? (It looks like we shouldn’t be expecting any LPs from Sufjan, period. He apparently feels the medium is now antiquated. Bummer.) [Paste]
Also, the Oscars finally have a host. Well, hosts really. After months of fruitlessly searching (when you get turned by the terrible tandem of Robert Downey, Jr. and Ben Stiller, things are definitely bad), the Academy lands — drumroll, please — Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Color me intrigued, if only because I’ve always wondered how Jack Donaghy would host the Oscars. [Awards Daily]
New York Times political columnist David Brooks briefly turns his pen towards perceived social malaise. Apparently Mr. Brooks (not Kevin Costner) feels that Twitter and text messaging have ruined our generation, killed romance and will probably come after your grandma next — you know, after the Democrats and their spooky health reform plan are done with her. [New York Times]
Ezra Klein (who we’ve cited twice today, which is rare but also warranted in this case) feels Mr. Brooks is full of it — and he probably is. [Washington Post]
Steve Pierce is editor and co-founder of Rhombus.
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