Jan Brewer Quits Debates

From TPM:

If at first you awkwardly stumble through your opening statement, why bother trying again?

Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has put the kibosh on all future debates with her Arizona gubernatorial opponent Terry Goddard (D), after her rather embarrassing display at Wednesday’s debate. “I don’t believe that things come out in proper context in an adversarial atmosphere,” she defended herself.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, Brewer says she only partook in the debate to try qualify for the $1.7 million-plus public funds for her campaign.

So after her poor showing, which involved a flubbed opening statement that made the internet rounds yesterday, Brewer has had enough: “I think it’s pretty defined what [Goddard] stands for and what I stand for.”

Tennis Hooligans

Fans fight in upper stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium during Novak Djokovic match at U.S. Open

Thursday night, the fireworks erupted in section 187, near the top row of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

During the eighth game of the first set between No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic and Philipp Petzschner, a fight broke out in the nosebleeds.

Arnold Florendo, 37, of Great Neck, L.I., caught the fracas with a video camera, which he turned over to police.

Florendo told the Daily News that a woman slapped a younger man, who in turn pushed an elderly man down the stairs. The elderly gentleman, who was wearing a Mets cap, was seen in a wheelchair on the concourse being questioned by a police officer.

The officer instructed the man to “get checked out.”

The woman, who Florendo believed was the daughter of the elderly gentleman, and the younger man were both taken away in handcuffs by NYPD officers.

Here’s another angle of the incident.

Fists Fly at the Hookah Bar

From TPM:

Last Thursday Morris swaggered into the Fire & Ice Hookah Lounge on Campbell Avenue in West Haven. Just what happened next isn’t entirely clear since there appears to be only one press account of the incident — and that one limited in detail. But after entering the Lounge, in the words of Amanda Pinto of the New Haven Register, Morris began “shout[ing] profanities and racial epithets at a group of black and Arabic people.”

Pinto doesn’t say what the epithets were. And it’s not entirely clear what the clientele is or what kind of place the Fire & Ice Hookah Lounge is. But one thing’s clear: it ain’t a mosque. And while Middle East-themed and seemingly patronized by at least some people of Middle Eastern descent, the presence of the belly dancers, “Gina” and “Katie,” who perform on Friday evenings, suggests that if it caters to Muslims, it’s not for the particularly devout. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It seems like a fun place. Here are some pictures of recent evenings at the Lounge.)

In any case, Morris comes into the Lounge shouting his epithets, apparently really drunk and at some point tries to grab the bartender by the throat or strangle him or something. But things did not go well for Morris. The folks in the establishment were not interested in that kind of an evening and proceeded to administer Morris a serious beating. As Pinto put it, Morris “was punched in the face by at least one of the people he was shouting at” and when police finally arrived he was “bleeding profusely from the face.”

Morris was treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital and charged with 3rd degree intimidation due to bias and 2nd degree breach of peace. He is still in police custody.

Writer Neal Stephenson Unveils His Digital Novel The Mongoliad

From the NY Times:

Author Neal Stephenson has been credited for inspiring today’s virtual world startups with his novel Snow Crash. Now he’s launching a startup himself: Subutai, where he is co-founder and chairman.

The company, based in Seattle and San Francisco, has developed what it calls the PULP platform for creating digital novels. The core of the experience is still a text novel, but authors can add additional material like background articles, images, music, and video. There are also social features that allow readers to create their own profiles, earn badges for activity on the site or in the application, and interact with other readers.

Stephenson said in an interview that this material is an extension of what many science fiction and fantasy novels already offer.

“I can remember reading Dune for the first time, and I started by reading the glossary,” he said. “Any book that had that kind of extra stuff in it was always hugely fascinating to me.”

Subutai is launching its inaugural product today, a serialized story called The Mongoliad about the Mongol invasion of Europe. The company promises to release a new chapter a week. Readers can pay $5.99 for a six-month subscription fee or $9.99 for a year.

Co-founder and President Jeremy Bornstein said the company is experimenting with a new model for publishing books. The traditional model of paying for content may not hold up when the content “be canned and sent around to your friends for free,” he said, but people will hopefully still to pay for content if “the experience is so much more rich, so much more involving.”

Stephenson isn’t writing the book alone. There’s a team led by a writer Mark Teppo; it also includes Greg Bear, author of Blood Music and other science fiction novels. Stephenson compared the experience to writing a TV show, and not just because it’s a team of writers. The Mongoliad will have an ending, but there’s room for sequels and other stories set in the world, so it’s kind of like season one of a show.

It doesn’t pique my interest at the moment so I’ll wait this one out.