Need To Read, August 18, 2009

| Tue Aug. 18, 2009 4:00 AM EDT

Some essential reading you may have missed:

The public option is dead. Who cares?

Obama delivers tough words on defense spending to an audience of veterans.

The DOJ belatedly softens its harsh stance against gay marriage.

Both David Corn and Newt Gingrich think Obama could learn a thing or two from Ronald Reagan. Although for somewhat different reasons.

North Korea reopens border with South Korea.

At least someone's paying attention: the Times-Herald of California's Solano and Napa Counties condemns Obama's use of signing statements.

More details emerge on the American Petroleum Institute's anti-cap and trade astroturf ops.

MoJo = contraband? Virgina prisons bans our issue on the failure of the drug war.

David Corn, Mother Jones' DC bureau chief, is on twitter, and so are my colleagues Daniel Schulman, Nick Baumann, and our editor, Clara Jeffery. You can follow me here. (The magazine's main account is @motherjones.)