The New York Times has

The New York Times has a couple good Op-Eds today.

First up, Thomas Friedman with a wonderful column that both hits the reasons to love the US and the reasons to undestand the problems the US faces.

Dowd also has a good column. I never ‘got her columns for the longest time. They are often devoid of a point and of little substance. The one thing they do, on occasion at least, is capture the essence of the subjects at times. She does a good job today, though, a little more substance day-to-day would be nice. And nice Peter Gerety reference. It is nice to know that watcihing too much HBO at least preps me for the NY Times…

From the Adults Are Back

From the Adults Are Back in Charge Files:
Josh Marshall does a good job pointing out the administration’s problem. The administration.

Conason points out the obvious–Fleischer has issues with honesty. It used to be that Press Secretaries never, ever lied or they lost their credibility. Why is this clown still around? There are several strategies that could have prevented him from saying that there was no conflict, but instead he went ahead and jumped right in to a big fat lie.

So this post turns out

So this post turns out to be the conventional wisdom. Dionne and one of the Florida papers linked below both point out the problem of nailing an opponent. Doaks’ strategy in California probably wasn’t the deciding factor for Republicans. The California GOP are true believers and they voted like it. The pulled what could be called a New Jersey and decided being right was more important than getting rid of the pompous blowhole of a governor with a socially liberal fiscal conservative. Running the ads had little to do with it. The ads in Florida have backfired because it is a flawed strategy. Those who try and practice this are doing it at their own peril.

Florida seems to be producing

Florida seems to be producing the best news coverage right now. MediaWhoresOnline points to this article. One of the Jeb’s minions throws this out

“Most of those [political scientists] are idiots who have never worked in a campaign. I’d like to put ’em all in a room and shoot ’em,” he said.”

Of course, those idiots would have advised him not to make comments that one should shoot people providing political commentary. Perhaps they know just a little more than him.

This is excellent news. McBride

This is excellent news. McBride is a far stronger candidate and generally a good guy. The rumors of a big buy by the state Republicans after the holiday are interesting. The last thing you want to do is improve someone’s name recognition when that is his biggest liability.

Perhaps the Florida Republicans are trying to pull a Gray Davis move. The problem with that is Simon didn’t win because Riordan had negative commercials killing him, Simon won because the Republican base in California decided to commit hari kari. Attacking McBride will probably backfire because the strongest argument he has going is he can win. Demonstrating that Jeb is afraid, is the best commercial McBride can have.

Even more interesting is if McBride wins in November. I can’t wait for the spending analysis by the Bush administration to compare pre-McBride and post-McBride. What could be even funnier is if the administration reneges on the off-shore drilling deal.

This is a strange Poll.

This is a strange Poll. It uses mail-in responses that would seem to me to be problematic if one wants to ensure a representative sample. If the poll is accurate, and that is a big if as far as I’m concerned, it is probably an important indicator of some underlying problems for the Republicans this fall.

Dawn Turner Trice gives a

Dawn Turner Trice gives a basic description of the problem for public school choice. The Leave No Child Behind Act is either going to be gutted or cause mass chaos in many systems. Some of that chaos may be beneficial, but the law is not well thought out. One of the more intriguing arguments is made by Howard Dean. He may get some traction on this issue, especially in Iowa where they have long refused to institute testing like the LNCBA requires, but still have excellent schools. His problem is that Iowa is an organization state and he is more of a independent who is likely to do well in neighboring New Hampshire.

Friedman does one of the

Friedman does one of the better pieces on the potential war. It is about the only decent piece I’ve seen that discusses the historical problems present. While I could be supportive of a war that included the support of our allies, this is just one more question the Bush administration doesn’t seem willing to address. Solving historical problems with Kurds provides an especially tricky (Duke reference) problem with our closest Arab ally.

CounterSpin Central points out Lugar has called for UN action first. Lugar, who would be the Republican president if the party hadn’t jumped over the right wing cliff, makes the excellent point that such a move would be easy–it isn’t like Saddam is going to comply, so why not abide by the process the US set up to serve its needs?

Lugar has bothered to look down the game tree and see things strategically. Given the bungling of the hawks in the Bush administration to date, it doesn’t appear they have bothered to figure out the game tree even. Lugar’s suggestion also will bring along some of our allies in Europe and maybe an Arab country or two outside of Turkey.

Taking out Hussein is a necessity. However, there are different strategies for doing so and this administration does not seem to be considering any other option besides unilateral action. I was surprised to see this from Victor Levine. Levine is usually much less shrill. Then again, perhaps shrillness will get someone’s attention.

I forgot to mention this

I forgot to mention this article by Kristof. Hale is a special piece of garbage from my original stomping grounds. I’m sure he was beaten up a whole bunch as a kid. I have to admit I still don’t understand the Illinois Bar Associations decision to reject him for a law license. He is repugnant, but that is what the first amendment is meant to protect.

For something on the lighter

For something on the lighter side, Keith Olberman’s new column in Salon is beautiful. In other publications he seems to have been limited in what he could say. Salon, for as long as it stays afloat has really improved itself–Joe Conason’s weblog is first rate.

I can’t seem to muster much sympathy for either side in the whole ordeal, but the sheer keystone cops imitation by the owners never fails to provide great humor. This quote is the best reason why there will be no extended work stoppage:

” Cancel the World Series this year and you immediately owe Fox Television $300 million plus up to $230 million more in penalties to compensate the network for lost advertising revenue. ”

The owners ought to be thankful the players have moved at all with that guillotine over the heads of the owners.

Of course, I’m all for a strike. I’m a huge baseball fan and whenever they strike attendance goes down. Thus, ticket prices don’t go up as fast and there are more good seats to choose from.