I don't mind the left column. Given the multiply-crosslinked nature of running a site with sections, I think it works well. I keep my browser window open to about 800 pixels across, and the center column is readable and not very much longer than the other two. There's always going to be float, based on the length of the lead-in paragraphs and the number of stories.
I don't like the login interface. "Mail Password" shouldn't even be a button on the home page; it should be relegated to a separate page. And, as someone pointed out, the login seems to expire quicker than it used to. For my purposes, I'm only here from either of two computers, rarely anywhere else, and even less often does someone other than me use either computer. A "remember me" option in the prefs would definitely assist my laziness. :)
I never liked the prominence of the article-rating box when it didn't mean much, so I learned (unfortunately) to skip over it. I hardly see it these days, so I'm not bothered by "Rate All". If I can train myself to start using it, I think I'd probably prefer a single button, or at least fewer of them. Or maybe incorporate the Reply/Rate stuff into each comment's titlebox rather that at the bottomn. I'd have to play with it and see what works.
Obligatory political .pseudo-sig:
The current government is unsafe at any speed.
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK
$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.