Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway), seen on our cover this week for his role in leading the crusade to control women's reproductive rights, drew national attention last week for something else — a two-year-old speech he delivered to a Tea Party rally at the Arkansas State Capitol.
The Arkansas legislature is supposedly giving pastors means to protect their parishioners by allowing congregations to decide for themselves about whether guns are allowed in their churches. What could be wrong with that? To be honest, even though I believe our culture has a troubling trust in the power of firearms, I tend to resist giving churches special treatment legislatively. Taken in the abstract, I could almost be convinced that if it's legal to carry guns elsewhere it should be legal to carry them into church. Life, however, is not an abstraction.
Small, Southern, unwealthy, Arkansas has long been looked down on by the more prosperous states of the upper Midwest. Now the gap is closing. As we've reported previously, Michigan has copied Arkansas's anti-union "right to work" law, virtually assuring that per capita income in the peninsular state will drop to Arkansas levels. Welcome, Wolverines. Familiarize yourself with the food stamps.
On social issues too, Michigan is becoming more like Arkansas. A news item: "Tax Breaks for Fetuses But Not for Kids — Michigan lawmakers proposed an amendment to the state's income tax code that would allow pregnant women to claim their 12-week or older fetuses as dependents. These same Republican legislators pushed to eliminate a tax credit that applies to actual children."
Of all the ideas floated by the gun forces after the Connecticut school murders, the most incongruous and the one with the silliest history but probably the least harmful is to encourage worshipers to pack heat when they go to church or the synagogue.
Also, 'Night at the Movies' with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, South Main Mardi Gras, Dirty Streets and Iron Tongue at White Water, WWE Smackdown at Verizon, That 1 Guy at Verizon and 'The Price Is Right' at Verizon.
Ernie Dumas provides next week's column early this week and it's a good accompaniment to news that Sen. Harry Reid says the Senate won't bail out the runaway radical U.S. House with a stopgap farm spending bill.
Former Bro. Gov. Mike Huckabee returns to Little Rock on Friday to serve as the keynote speaker at an extremist evangelical conference at the Statehouse Convention Center. Pastors from Iowa and South Carolina plan to meet with Huckabee to talk about him running for president in 2016
Juanita's, the venerable Tex-Mex restaurant and music venue, is leaving the South Main Street location it's called home since 1986 for the River Market and the former home of Bill St., 614 President Clinton Ave.