PETER THE GREAT: While I still can’t justify his replacement of Prince Andrew as author of the TRB column, Peter Beinart checks in this week with another highly impressive New Republic piece, this one related to the recent re-election of Newark Mayor Sharpe James. Beinart’s politics correspond very much with mine- he’s a committed Democrat who’s nonetheless unafraid to criticize his party or follow ideologues when they deserve it, which is often. Especially this week, as Beinart indicts the Democrats for caring less about racial equality than about winning elections in predominantly black areas, as evidenced by the New Jersey Democratic party support of incumbent James against reform-minded Councilman Cory Booker (also black and also a Democrat), which included a promise by Governor Jim McGreevey to build a new basketball/hockey arena in downtown Newark should James be re-elected a proposal quickly pulled off the table days after the election. (Full disclosure: I worked for McGreevey’s campaign last year, though not in Newark).
BARAK SHOW: A must-read interview with Ehud Barak in the New York Review of Books, conducted by popular Israeli historian Benny Morris. Barak comes off as quite a sympathetic figure, and has certainly handled himself better publicly in recent months than Sharon or Netanyahu has. If you want to know all you need to know about what happened at Camp David to lead to the current violence, look no further than this interview.
ANOTHER TWINS UPDATE: According to a faithful reader (my dad, actually), the Twins stadium package passed last week isn’t nearly as airtight as it appears- and in fact, there’s less than a 50/50 shot that anything will come of it at all. Better get crackin’, guys- it may require a new owner, and even more creative financing, but please- make this thing happen!
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Memo to Jose Canseco: Before you write a book, you have to have read one.” Providence Journalist sportswriter Bill Reynolds.
AND SPEAKING OF BASEBALL AND STEROIDS…: Ken Caminiti, the San Diego Padres third baseman who won the National League MVP Award in 1998 and later fell out of baseball in a cocaine- and alcohol-induced stupor, has admitted in this week’s Sports Illustrated that he was in fact on steroids throughout his MVP season, and that use of the drugs is prevalent throughout major league baseball. If nothing else, this news takes away much of the luster from one of the great baseball anecdotes of recent years: when Caminiti, prior to a game in early ’98, was in the locker room with an IV in his arm, he found out the game was about to start, pulled out the IV, wolfed down a Snickers bar, and then went out and hit two home runs. Caminiti subsequently got a Snickers endorsement deal out of it, but I guess it wasn’t the Snickers after all.
BLUEPRINT PIECE: My article on the “Wizards of Wit” event is online here, in pdf format, in The Blueprint. It’s a Manhattan Jewish monthly, not to be confused with the Democratic Leadership Council magazine (or Jay-Z album) of the same name.

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