April 3rd, 2009


In Wake of Stevens Case Dismissal, Alaska Republicans Call for Special Election

In Wake of Stevens Case Dismissal, Alaska Republicans Call for Special Election
The Alaska Republican Party is calling on Democratic freshman Sen. Mark Begich to resign so a new vote can be held now that Sen. Ted Stevens' conviction is expected to be vacated.

The Alaska Republican Party is calling on Democratic freshman Sen. Mark Begich to resign so a new vote can be held now that the Department of Justice is dropping its case against former Sen. Ted Stevens.

Alaska GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich said a special election should be held "so Alaskans may have the chance to vote for a senator without the improper influence of the corrupt Department of Justice."
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(no subject)

Former Military Leaders Powell and Alexander on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'


Rachel Maddow interviewed former General Colin Powell and Andrea Mitchell interviewed Former Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander about repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Alexander called DADT "like having a bowl of bigotry around a curtain of silk. It takes the basic integrity of a person and says you must forget it. It turns people into liars."

Mitchell discusses the Elaine Donnelly letter and Alexander calls it "nonsense."


Shirley Animated

Valerie Bertinelli and the Bikini Body Disorder

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

By Julie Neumann

Like baseball and ballet recitals, attaining the perfect bikini body has evolved into an all-American pastime. Starting with spring break and extending through Labor Day, women and girls across the country strive to lose weight, tone their tummies and find a flattering swimsuit. You must earn your fun in the sun with a suitable figure.

We are a nation suffering from bikini body disorder. So People magazine is patting itself on the back for putting a 48-year-old TV star in a two-piece bathing suit on the cover. While this editorial decision does challenge one ideal, the article staunchly supports another. The Valerie Bertinelli story is all about losing weight. Thanks to a rigid diet and exercise routine, the actress was able to whittle her figure down to a stereotypically accepted size 6. Apparently middle aged women can be sexy, but they have to drop 50 lbs. first.
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Julie is a web editor and freelance writer with a master's degree in journalism. A recovering bulimic and anorexic, she is especially interested in the relationship between body image, pop culture and the media.
Iowa represent!


Iowa Supreme Court upholds Hanson's ruling; marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning struck down a 1998 state law that limits marriage to one man and one woman.

The ruling is viewed as a victory for the gay rights movement in Iowa and elsewhere, and a setback for social conservatives who wanted to protect traditional families.
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EDIT: PDF of the ruling: http://www.bnonews.com/news/221.pdf

EDIT EDIT: hat tip to missmurchison--profile of the plantiffs : http://www.lambdalegal.org/our-work/publications/facts-backgrounds/varnum-plaintiffs.html

Coleman Won't Say Whether He's Been Interviewed By FBI

Coleman Won't Say Whether He's Been Interviewed By FBI

As Norm Coleman struggles in what appears to be a losing battle to reclaim his Senate seat, and as faint rumors spread that he could replace Michael Steele as RNC Chair, a cloud of ethics scandal continues to gather over his head.

On Thursday, the former Minnesota Senator refused to say whether or not the FBI had contacted him over allegations that he and his wife had accepted (and failed to report) $75,000 in payments from a longtime benefactor. It was, close observers of the case note, the first time that Coleman has failed to deny being contacted by investigators.

"I can¹t say anything," he told the Minnesota Post, after being asked if the FBI had contacted him. "We want this matter to be fully reviewed and fully investigated because nothing happened and we are looking forward to that taking place."

Indeed, in the past staffers to Coleman have publicly insisted that the Senator had "not been contacted by any law enforcement or investigative authority on this matter." In his conversation with the Minnesota Post he merely, as the paper noted, "smiled and shrugged his shoulders."
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New Afghan law worries Nato chief

New Afghan law worries Nato chief

Nato's head says it could be difficult to persuade European countries to contribute more troops to Afghanistan because of controversial new laws.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the planned laws violated human rights and were unjustifiable when Nato troops were dying to protect universal values.

Critics say the law limits the rights of women from the Shia minority and authorises rape within marriage.

Aides to President Karzai insist the law provides more protection for women.

Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told the BBC's Mark Mardell: "We are there to defend universal values and when I see, at the moment, a law threatening to come into effect which fundamentally violates women's rights and human rights, that worries me."
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(no subject)

'One in 10 Americans still think Barack Obama is Muslim'

More than two months after Barack Obama placed his hand on the Bible and was sworn in as president of the United States, 11 per cent of Americans still think he is a Muslim, a poll suggested on Thursday.

'We did OK,' says Barack Obama

White evangelical Protestants and Republicans were the most likely to say Mr Obama - who has an Arabic middle name - was Muslim in response to the poll question: "Do you happen to know what Barack Obama's religion is?"


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' jules

You love it when I'm freaking out, things get rough and there's no doubt

Cantor: Dems "Overreacting" To The Economic Crisis

Rep. Eric Cantor, the no. 2 Republican in the House, suggested Thursday that Democrats are "overreacting" to the economic crisis:
The Virginia Republican, speaking to reporters at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast Thursday morning, praised Rush Limbaugh for his "ideas" and for avoiding the Democratic error of "overreacting, if you will, which this town often does, to crisis... Rahm Emanuel said, 'We're not going to miss the opportunity to take advantage of this crisis because we're going to do all the things we couldn't get done before."

He went on to criticize Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's recent statement that the biggest danger was "doing too little" to deal with the meltdown.

"Doing too much has huge, huge pitfalls as well," he said.

The Democratic National Committee reacted with guns blazing. Spokesman Hari Sevugan fired off this message to reporters: "On the day we learned that jobless claims rose to their highest levels in 26 years, Eric Cantor's charge that anyone is 'overreacting' to this economic crisis typifies the Republican just say 'NO' approach. Whether it's because they are simply out of touch with the pain American families are feeling, or they understand but are choosing to play politics instead, the lack of urgency shown by the Republican party at this time of crisis is appalling."

The Plum Line's Greg Sargent found audio.

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Iowa--Blue Myself

VIDEO: Couples in lawsuit react to ruling

If you watch this and STILL think people shouldn't be allowed to get same-sex marriages, you have no heart.

And the kids! OMG, the kids are adorable.


Couples in the video were the ones who filed the suit, as well as the only couple who was able to get married before the ruling was overturned over a year ago.


Edit: I just found this RIDICULOUS ARTICLE. OMG, get a life, people:

Iowa GOP blames Democrats for court ruling
By Lynda Waddington 4/3/09 12:10 PM

Despite the fact that Iowa’s defense of marriage act was passed with the help of Democrats in the state legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack, Republicans throughout the state are already connecting the dots between today’s court opinion legalizing same-sex marriage and the next round of elections in 2010.

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RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

It's all in good fun

'We are NOT offended': Palace tries to smooth over Queen's 'Why does he have to shout' jibe at Berlusconi
By Mail Foreign Service and Nick Pisa
Last updated at 3:23 PM on 03rd April 2009

The Queen today played down claims she had become annoyed with gaffe-prone Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi at the official G20 photocall.

Footage shows Mr Berlusconi being reprimanded by the Queen for being too noisy during the traditional 'family' photo of world leaders.

He nearly took Barack Obama down with him when at the end of the session he shouted out: 'Mr Obama!'. The U.S. President replied, more quietly: 'Mr Berlusconi.'

The Queen, on hearing Mr Berlusconi's strident tones, turned - seemingly to Mr Obama - and exclaimed about Mr Berlusconi: 'What is it? Why does he have to shout!'

The clip has already become a web sensation, but today Buckingham Palace insisted there had been no irritation or any 'gaffes'.
Enlarge The photograph that G20 leaders were posing for yesterday - taken just seconds before Mr Berlusconi made his gaffe

The photograph that G20 leaders were posing for yesterday - taken just seconds before Mr Berlusconi made his gaffe.

A Palace spokeswoman described the reception as 'warm and friendly' and said everyone involved was good-natured.

She added: 'It was loud and jolly and very jovial, there were no gaffes and no offence taken.'


Obama: Stop Filling Administration with RIAA Insiders

April 02, 2009 | 2:00:43 PM
By David Kravets
Nearly two dozen public interest groups, trade pacts and library groups urged President Barack Obama on Thursday to quit filling his administration with insiders plucked from the Recording Industry Association of America.

The demands came a week after the Justice Department, fresh with two RIAA attorneys in its No. 2 and No. 3 positions, announced the administration's support of $150,000 in damages for each music track purloined on a peer-to-peer file sharing program. The administration, moreover, has just declared as classified the inner workings of worldwide intellectual property trade pact. And Hollywood is urging Obama to embrace internet filtering as the content industry seeks to cut internet access to repeat copyright violators.
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Israel: Women Photoshopped From Cabinet Picture To Cater To The Ultra-Orthodox

Israel: Women Photoshopped From Cabinet Picture To Cater To The Ultra-Orthodox

Two women serve in Israel's new Cabinet, but some Israelis would rather not see them.

Newspapers aimed at ultra-Orthodox Jewish readers tampered with the inaugural photograph of the Cabinet, erasing ministers Limor Livnat and Sofa Landver.

Ultra-Orthodox newspapers consider it immodest to print images of women.

The daily Yated Neeman digitally changed the photo, moving two male ministers into the places formerly occupied by the women.

The weekly Shaa Tova simply blacked the women out, in a photo reprinted Friday by the mainstream daily Maariv.

No response was available from the two papers.

During the election, campaign posters featuring female candidate Tzipi Livni were defaced near ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.

Obama To Bank CEOs: "My Administration Is The Only Thing Between You And The Pitchforks"

Inside Obama's bank CEOs meeting

The bankers struggled to make themselves clear to the president of the United States.

Arrayed around a long mahogany table in the White House state dining room last week, the CEOs of the most powerful financial institutions in the world offered several explanations for paying high salaries to their employees — and, by extension, to themselves.

“These are complicated companies,” one CEO said. Offered another: “We’re competing for talent on an international market.”

But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

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panda bear

I'd like to whack him over the head with that cane.

Glenn Beck Mocks Obama's Aunt

So, President Barack Obama's aunt was recently granted a reprieve from an immigration judge in her asylum case, which has been ongoing since 2002. Time for a substantive discussion on immigration policy? HELL, NO! This is the Glenn Beck Show, where it is impossible to be normalsauce for even one blessed minute! So, instead, here's a video of Beck, holding a cane, jibbering in the voice of Tiny Tim (who he's confused with Oliver Twist), mocking people who have limps. Remember, this is the same Glenn Beck who pretended to cry about nine times in his Fox News Doom Room because he LURVES HIS COUNTRY and just wants everyone to start being the PEOPLE THEY WERE ON SEPTEMBER 12TH! If I had known that everyone was walking around on 9/12/01 making fun of other people's physical infirmities, like a bunch of addlebrained prats, I would have walked up to everyone and told them, "Go...uhm...'surround' yourself!"

People who call themselves ADULTS actually put this nonsense on a cable news channel. NEVER FORGET THAT.

Video here.


This fool makes Bill O seem sophisticated and sane to me. Wtf @ the devil horns. Vile swine.

Should Obama Control the Internet?

Thu April 2, 2009 12:33 PM PST
Should President Obama have the power to shut down domestic Internet traffic during a state of emergency?

Senators John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) think so. On Wednesday they introduced a bill to establish the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor—an arm of the executive branch that would have vast power to monitor and control Internet traffic to protect against threats to critical cyber infrastructure. That broad power is rattling some civil libertarians.
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panda bear

(no subject)

Obama Calls Out European "Anti-Americanism" And American "Arrogance"

Urging a common effort to restructure the world economy and rebuild international alliances, President Barack Obama did not hesitate on Friday to call out his own country for "arrogant" patriotism and Europe for "insidious" anti-Americanism.

"In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive. But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual, but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what is bad. On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated. They fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that America cannot confront the challenges of this century alone, but that Europe cannot confront them without America."

These were, perhaps, the sharpest and most condemning words that Obama offered to the largely adoring crowd. Speaking at a town hall meeting in France, the president outlined and pledged a new internationalism, one forged on commitments from disparate nations and melded around common interests. In this frame, he pledged a united front tackling climate change, the war in Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the global financial crisis. He also noted several changes that his administration has already made that put American more in line with international sentiment. The list included the impending closure of Guantanamo Bay and the outlawing of torture, both of which -- when announced -- drew great applause from the crowd. "America is changing," he declared at one point, "but it cannot be America alone that changes."

Time and again, however, he reverted to need to move beyond divisions that had marked the presidency prior to his. Stressing a "renewed relationship for a new generation" his speech brought the crowd to applause on several occasions.

"It's more difficult to break down walls of division than to simply allow our differences to build and our resentments to fester," he said. "So we must be honest with ourselves. In recent years, we've allowed our alliance to drift. I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy, but we also know that there is something more that has crept into our relationship... This is our generation, this is our time, and I am confident that we can meet any challenges as long as we are together."


Gun shops say gun sales continue to climb

At Rich Wyatt’s Gunsmoke, “We are getting ‘Prius-driving Obama people’ buying guns because they realize they picked the wrong pony…even though they never admit it.” Just like my local gun shop, Wyatt has “old ladies and young people and liberals” buying guns. He says that while there were spikes in gun buying during the Clinton administration, during the Rodney King riots, and even just before Y2K, he’s never seen anything remotely on this scale.

From the lows of mid-day March 6th through the close of trading yesterday, the Dow Jones is up 23%, the NASDAQ 100 is up 24% and the Russell 2000 is up 31%.

Meanwhile first quarter results show that Sturm Ruger (RGR) stock is up 102% and Smith & Wesson (SWHC) stock is up 165%. What’s behind the gun boom?

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Maybe they should've sprung for the desert island

Early Alarm for Church Abusers in the Clergy

Published: April 2, 2009

The founder of a Roman Catholic religious order that ran retreat centers for troubled priests warned American bishops in forceful letters dating back to 1952 that pedophiles should be removed from the priesthood because they could not be cured.

The Rev. Gerald M. C. Fitzgerald, founder of the order, Servants of the Paraclete, delivered the same advice in person to Vatican officials in Rome in 1962 and to Pope Paul VI a year later, according to the letters, which were unsealed by a judge in the course of litigation against the church.

The documents contradict the most consistent defense given by bishops about the sexual abuse scandal: that they were unaware until recently that offenders could not be rehabilitated and returned to the ministry.

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Source: NYT
  • bispo

Report: ‘Angry’ McCain Referred To Hispanics As ‘You People’ During Outreach Meeting

On March 11, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), John Thune (R-SD) and Mel Martinez (R-FL) met with a group of Hispanic business leaders in the Capitol’s Strom Thurmond Room as part of an effort to reach out to Hispanic voters. National Journal is reporting that several participants in the meeting said McCain got “angry” while talking about immigration. At one point, McCain reportedly began referring to Hispanics as “you people“:

“He was angry,” one source said. “He was over the top. In some cases, he rolled his eyes a lot. There were portions of the meeting where he was just staring at the ceiling, and he wasn’t even listening to us. We came out of the meeting really upset.”

McCain’s message was obvious, the source continued: After bucking his party on immigration, he had no sympathy for Hispanics who are dissatisfied with President Obama’s pace on the issue. “He threw out [the words] ‘You people — you people made your choice. You made your choice during the election,’ ” the source said. “It was almost as if [he was saying] ‘You’re cut off!’ We felt very uncomfortable when we walked away from the meeting because of that.”

Thune, Martinez and McCain communications director Brooke Buchanan disputed the idea that McCain lost his temper. “It was a spirited discussion, but this sort of incendiary-type way that some people are characterizing it just doesn’t fit at all the tone of the meeting,” said Thune.

Regarding the use of the phrase “you people,” Buchanan said it was “in response to a question about people in general who had voted for Obama and was not meant to refer to Hispanics.” To imply otherwise is “character assassination,” said Buchanan. But, as National Journal notes, “one person’s straight talk is another person’s vitriol”:

But one person’s straight talk is another person’s vitriol. “My hands were shaking,” one source said. “I was nervous as no-end.” The senator’s comments went on for several minutes at least. And by the end of the meeting, another participant, who had supported McCain in last year’s presidential election, was so shaken by the display of temper that he decided it is good that McCain isn’t in the White House.

McCain has lost his temper over the issue of immigration reform before. In 2007, during a private meeting on the issue, a heated McCain told Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), “f*** you.” Echoing Thune’s current defense of McCain, McCain spokesman Danny Diaz dismissed the spat with Cornyn at the time as a “spirited exchange.”

  • cindel

BREAKING NEWS: Sanford is Punk Ass Bitch.

GOP Strategists Defend Sanford, Others, For Taking Stimulus Money

Sanford pt 2

The decision by a host of conservative governors to accept the entire portion of the stimulus package destined for their states would seem, on the surface, to put them on thin ice with party activists who had cheered their opposition to the president's spending priorities.

But several high-ranking Republican strategists are giving the party's rising stars -- including Govs. Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and Mark Sanford -- a pass, arguing that voters ultimately won't judge these potential presidential candidates on whether or not they took the stimulus cash.

"My sense is that the real puritans will argue that they shouldn't have taken it but the people in the governing process and the states are what matter," said Ed Rollins, a longtime GOP strategist. "The chattering class doesn't matter to them at this point."

"These people are governors of their states, they are governors of everybody," added Larry Hart, director of government relations for the American Conservative Union. "They have to make the tough decisions that affect everybody...What could happen [if they didn't take the funds] is that the money would perhaps go to a neighboring state. You have to weigh all these things."
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‘Holy Hell’ Over Torture Memos

Attorney General Eric Holder wants to release classified Bush-era interrogation memos. But U.S. intel officials are fiercely lobbying the White House to block him from moving forward.

Apr 3, 2009
By Michael Isikoff
A fierce internal battle within the White House over the disclosure of internal Justice Department interrogation memos is shaping up as a major test of the Obama administration's commitment to opening up government files about Bush-era counterterrorism policy.

As reported by NEWSWEEK, the White House last month had accepted a recommendation from Attorney General Eric Holder to declassify and publicly release three 2005 memos that graphically describe harsh interrogation techniques approved for the CIA to use against Al Qaeda suspects. But after the story, U.S. intelligence officials, led by senior national-security aide John Brennan, mounted an intense campaign to get the decision reversed, according to a senior administration official familiar with the debate. "Holy hell has broken loose over this," said the official, who asked not to be identified because of political sensitivities.

Full Article <--- source
  • bispo

Newsweek: Fresh Start By Julie Halpert

High-school seniors are receiving the final college admissions decisions this week. It's an important choice for any kid, but for gay teens, finding a welcoming campus can be a life saver.

My daughter, Alyson, began checking out colleges in her junior year of high school. On one of our first visits, she and I were finishing up an interview with the dean of admissions when she asked if I could step outside so she could have a moment alone with him. Later that night, I asked her what she had said to him. "I asked him if the college was gay-friendly," she said, "because I am." That was when I first learned that my daughter, then 16, was a lesbian.

Navigating the tension-filled college-application process is difficult for most teens. But when sexual orientation and gender expression and identity are added issues to the college search, it becomes an even more daunting process. This week, anxious high-school seniors, including my daughter, are receiving their final college-admissions decisions. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, these decisions can be critical. On top of the standard academic criteria, they're seeking a place that provides a safe, accepting environment that allows them the chance to be themselves and find others like them—something many couldn't find in high school.
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nobody / travis

Rape victim's lawsuit dismissed

A federal suit filed by a Butler County rape victim who was jailed by police because they didn't believe her has been dismissed.

Sara Reedy, who is in her early 20s, had filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh in August 2006.

Cranberry Solicitor Vicki Beatty confirmed yesterday that a summary judgment was issued by the court on Tuesday, dismissing the case and lifting liability from all parties in the suit, including the township, its police department and its employees.

Ms. Reedy had reached a settlement of $45,000 in February 2007 from an insurance company representing Butler County, which also had been a party in the federal suit.

The woman was working as a service station clerk in Cranberry on July 14, 2004, when a man entered the store, sexually assaulted her at gunpoint, then stole $606.73 from the cash register. She called for help from local police, but the responding officers were skeptical of her account. Ms. Reedy ultimately was charged in January 2005 for making false reports to police, theft and receiving stolen property. She lost her job and spent five days in jail while she was pregnant.

Then, in August 2005, a month before she was to stand trial on the charges, Wilber Cyrus Brown II of Dauphin County was caught by police in the act of raping a woman at a convenience store in Jefferson County. During a police interrogation, he admitted to a series of sexual assaults, including the assault on Ms. Reedy. The criminal charges against Ms. Reedy were immediately withdrawn.

Cranberry Manager Jerry Andree said the "whole situation was horrible and unfortunate but hindsight is 20-20. The police deals with hard circumstances all the time and it's easy to second-guess. [This decision] shows that what happened didn't rise to the level of the police being legally liable."


There are no words. Just wtf.
{default} this is how I roll

Will Iowans Uphold Gay Marriage?

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex marriage is protected under that state's constitution.

As in California, there will of course be an effort to amend the state constitution to prohibit gay marriage. In Iowa, however, the hurdle to amending the constitution is fairly high: it will have to be approved by two consecutive sessions of the state legislature and then by a majority of the voters. Most likely, this means that Iowans won't vote on the issue until 2012.

This is good news for defenders of marriage equity, because while you might know it from Proposition 8's victory last year, voter initiatives to ban gay marriage are becoming harder and harder to pass every year.

I looked at the 30 instances in which a state has attempted to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage by voter initiative. The list includes Arizona twice, which voted on different versions of such an amendment in 2006 and 2008, and excludes Hawaii, which voted to permit the legislature to ban gay marriage but did not actually alter the state's constitution. I then built a regression model that looked at a series of political and demographic variables in each of these states and attempted to predict the percentage of the vote that the marriage ban would receive.

It turns out that you can build a very effective model by including just three variables:

1. The year in which the amendment was voted upon;
2. The percentage of adults in 2008 Gallup tracking surveys who said that religion was an important part of their daily lives;
3. The percentage of white evangelicals in the state.

These variables collectively account for about three-quarters of the variance in the performance of marriage bans in different states. The model predicts, for example, that a marriage ban in California in 2008 would have passed with 52.1 percent of the vote, almost exactly the fraction actually received by Proposition 8.

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Source: 538dotcom/here