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This and that – open thread

Stuff in the Blend mailbag that you might want to click over to. Feel free to blogwhore and provide links in the comments!

* Why is Bill Napoli is spelled A-S-S-H-A-T? Janine @ Smart Bitches… tells us why, and proposes Googlebombing this turd. Napoli’s a Republican state senator in South Dakota who said that an acceptable reason for an exception to his state’s odious abortion ban is if the woman was:

…a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

* Michael Jensen of AfterElton has a nice interview up with film critic Roger Ebert on the Brokeback Mountain Oscar dustup he has been embroiled in when he predicted Crash would win over Brokeback. His reason for Crash winning is interesting, and it makes sense, given Hollywood’s a company town.

AE: So you don’t think Hollywood is terribly homophobic?
RE: The membership of the Academy, and the working population of the Hollywood branch of the industry, is less homophobic than almost any other group you could name. But they are xenophobic. And given the choice of a movie that has dozens of actors in it and was shot in Los Angeles with union crews, and what is perceived as a runaway production [Brokeback Mountain], [that] didn’t even shoot in Wyoming, but Canada, there are people who might have voted for the local picture because they are thinking of their own paychecks and [wondering] why should all that money go in Canadian pockets?

* Facing South has several great posts to check out…

Bush support plummeting in the South. The much-discussed Pew poll released today had this nugget: Bush’s approval has fallen 20% in just over a year in the South.

Contracts going to tax cheats. Add this to your list of reasons why government contracting is one of the biggest cesspools of scandal in Washington: a GAO study reveals that many contractors being shoveled tax-payer money don’t pay taxes.

You thought the 2005 hurricanes were bad? The experts predicted a “69% chance” of one major (Category 3-4-5) hurricane in 2005, and we got four. This year the forecast is an “81% chance” – and numerous factors threaten to make the storms even more destructive, heightening the threat to the growing coastal population. And what is the administration doing about it?

* Blender David points to this interesting article in the University of Buffalo’s paper, Setting the gay athlete image straight. It discusses a tennis player on campus who came out.

Log onto the Web site for UB Athletics and on any day you’ll find scores, highlights and game stories, all the usual fare for college sports. Last December, though, the casual fan surfing through a Q&A; feature with the tennis team’s Mike Rockman would have read a rare athletic confession: “I came out of the closet,” Rockman said when asked about his favorite moment as a UB athlete. “I’m gay.”

The fact that such a declaration from an active athlete could be so surprising is something Rockman sees as a problem.

“The image of what an athlete is needs to be changed,” says Rockman, the team’s co-captain.

The interview that Rockman came out in is here.

* Paul Hackett, Wesley Clark and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Political Action Committee have announced seven endorsements for the 2006 Congressional elections, including Tim Dunn in NC-8.

Tim Dunn attained the rank of Lt. Colonel serving with the Marines in Kosovo, Desert Storm, Desert Shield and the Iraq War. His district, North Carolina’s 8th, ranks 5th out of 13 Congressional Districts in NC in terms of Democratic registration, with over half of registered voters identified as Democrats. Though in the past, the district tended to elect Republicans to national office, it has repeatedly sent Democrats to state office, signaling that party label isn’t as important as issues. The incumbent, Rep. Robin Hayes, has had relatively tight races in prior cycles. He won with 56% of the vote in 2004, but only by outspending his opponent by a factor of 7 to 1.

Other “fighting Dems” with the thumbs up include: Andrew Horne, (KY-3rd), Andrew Duck, (MD-6th), Joe Sestak, (PA-7th), Patrick Murphy, (PA-8th), and avid Harris, (TX-6th).

* Surf over and check out Justin Fielding’s Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy.

* Jill @ Brilliant at Breakfast pointed me to this heinous voter access development in Chatham County, NC. The Board of Elections eliminated four polling sites in the most heavily populated areas of the county. As a result, in the region, half of the county’s African-American voters are now concentrated in two precincts, and 60 percent of voters in the county will face longer lines because of the reduction in the number of precincts.

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