Ariz. gov. doesn’t think ‘beheadings’ are all that interesting after all

Updated | 5:41 p.m. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer delivered what has been described as a “disastrous” performance in last night’s gubernatorial debate with her Democratic rival, Terry Goddard. Anyone with a working Internet connection has heard or blogged about it by now. But in case you missed it: For 13 seconds, Brewer seemed either to forget what she had done as governor, forget that she was the governor, or just have a Christopher Walken seeing-into-the-future moment, à la “The Dead Zone.”

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The trickiest plays

Sports aren’t for everyone, that’s for sure, but few of us can deny the brilliance of a really cool trick shot. Tennis ace Roger Federer has had more than a few in his day, and last night in center court at the U.S. Open, he did it again.

They’re calling it the “tweener,” which refers to the fact that the winning point came from between Federer’s legs.  Particularly remarkable is the fact that this is the second time that the Swiss phenom pulled the feat off at a major tournament. While the Internet is littered with examples of people pulling off some pretty amazing moves, from pretty much any sport you can think of, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a trick play unfold during a real game when it counts.

Take a gander at some of the other big befuddlers from across the world of sport after the jump.

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Friday morning roundup

Culture

Gallic heartthrob Vincent Cassel makes a splash in movie theaters for a second week in a row with the premiere of “Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1,” the second film in Jean-Francois Richet’s gangster epic based on the true story of one of Europe’s most infamous criminals. Read All »

Thursday morning roundup

From left, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Special Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell. Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Security

Here we go again. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the State Department this morning for the formal commencement of direct peace negotiations. While the resumption of talks is seen as a diplomatic win for the Obama administration, the expectations for a breakthrough remain low.

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Photo: Earl from space

The view of Hurricane Earl from the International Space Station. Photo: Courtesy NASA

Wednesday morning roundup

Security

President Obama formally declared an end to the U.S. combat mission in Iraq on Tuesday night. Thanking the troops for “a job well done,” the president was careful not to declare a victory in the seven-and-a-half-year conflict, and stressed the importance of “turning the page” to focus on rebuilding the U.S. economy. The New York Times editorial board offered some sobering figures regarding the war’s casualties this morning, “including one number that American politicians are loath to mention: at least 100,000 Iraqis dead.”

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Paterson signs first-ever domestic workers rights bill

Gov. David Paterson and Diane Savino, a state senator from Staten Island, celebrate the signing of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York on Tuesday.

Updated | 5:37 p.m. New York Gov. David Paterson signed the nation’s first-ever law protecting the rights of domestic workers on Tuesday, offering guaranteed overtime and safeguards against discrimination and sexual harassment to a largely invisible workforce of over half a million.

“Today we correct an historic injustice by granting those who care for the elderly, raise our children and clean our homes the same essential rights to which all workers should be entitled,” Paterson said.

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Tuesday morning roundup

Culture

Cinephiles and celebrities converge in Italy for the 67th Venice Film Festival, which kicks off on Wednesday. The shortlist of films in the running for top prizes includes Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” and Julian Schnabel’s “Miral.” Coincidentally, Schnabel’s movie about a Palestinian orphan in war-torn Jerusalem is set to premiere on Sept. 2, the same day that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are scheduled to resume in Washington, D.C.

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Judge denies request for records in UVA climate case

Michael Mann, now a climate scientist at Penn State, is being investigated by the Virginia attorney general for his global warming research. Photo: Penn State.

Updated | 4:55 p.m. A judge in Virginia has dismissed a request by the state’s attorney general for records related to the research of a former climate scientist at the University of Virginia. The attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, vowed immediately to try again with a new subpoena.

Cuccinelli had been investigating the climate scientist, Michael Mann, for possibly defrauding taxpayers with false research. Cuccinelli’s claims were based in large part on private emails by Mann and other climatologists that were hacked and posted online last year that seemed to suggest Mann had deliberately concealed or falsified data.

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