Arkansas House member and sponsor of religious freedom Rep. Bob Ballinger (not pictured: puppets)
I’m not saying that if a wizard transformed all the members of the Arkansas House of Representatives into animals, Rep. Bob Ballinger (R–Berryville) would be a walrus who goes “harrumph!” But he wouldn’t be a mallard, would he? That’s because a mallard is gay, and Ballinger sponsored the religious freedom law that Arkansas passed yesterday. That law is totally not designed to let businesses refuse service to homosexuals. That would be discrimination, and that’s not what Ballinger is about. Earlier this session, however, he did sponsor another bill that forbid Arkansas towns and cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances protecting gays and lesbians. But that’s a coincidence, owing to the widespread discrimination against Christians in America and the comparative absence of bias against gay people. Here’s Ballinger explaining to the Times why he didn’t think to clarify that his bill wasn’t about anti-gay discrimination:
“All the way through this I thought it was unnecessary because of the fact that it didn’t do everything that everybody was saying it was doing. In hindsight maybe I would have done it to maybe avoid all the pain.”
He said that a few minutes after the bill passed.
Action Bronson, best and worst, unconvicted and full of passionate intensity
The best lack all conviction, William Butler Yeats wrote in “The Second Coming,” while the worst are full of passionate intensity. He was talking about postwar Europe, but he might as well have described the world we would inherit a century later. Probably, Yeats’s claim is always true. You don’t get to be the worst without great confidence in what you’re doing, and the same qualities that makes the best better encourage them to doubt themselves. Today is Friday, and jerks continue to operate without a moment’s doubt. Won’t you waver along with me?
Totally different from Sharia law
I assume that the title of Charles Fuqua’s book—God’s Law: The Only Political Solution—was his second choice after he discovered that the phrase “final solution” was taken. Fuqua is a former Arkansas state legislator whose hits include calling for the expulsion of Muslims from the United States and noting that both followers of Islam and liberals want “violent, bloody revolution.” Now he’s running for the Arkansas legislature again, despite the fact that his aforementioned book calls for legalizing the death penalty against rebellious children. He’s also getting funding from the Arkansas Republican Party and prominent US Representatives, despite the fact that his book et cetera. And he’s against abortion, despite the fact that his book etc. You can do it with anything! Insane excerpt after the jump.
Okay, not so much Rand Paul as Tommy Carcetti, but when you think about it...
Those of you who question the value of newspaper journalism should check out the New York Times’s torrential coverage of Tuesday’s midterm congressional primaries, which appear to portend a vast wave of anti-incumbent sentiment. The emerging narrative is one of Tea Party-style rage gone mainstream, at least in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Kentucky—where GOP-chosen and Mitch McConnell-sponsored senatorial candidate Trey Grayson was defeated by Rand Paul. Yes, that Rand Paul. The man who has argued that the Federal Reserve, the Department of Education and pretty much all of the New Deal are unlawful infringements on the Constitution, who said in his victory speech that “capitalism is freedom” and declared himself a card-carrying member of the Tea Party, if only they issued cards, will now have to sell a specific, non yelling-based political platform to a general populace. Candidate Paul, welcome to compromise country, population: the rest of us.
They look cute now, but as soon as those little hands come off their hearts, they go upside Will Phillips's head.
As an adult nerd, I am peculiarly fascinated by Will Phillips, the Arkansas ten year-old who refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance until gay people are allowed to marry. If you haven’t seen the CNN interview he did with John Roberts, quit your job, tell your loved ones to go to hell and watch it now. Will Phillips is a very principled young man, who is possibly the puppet of his enormous father but unquestionably very brave. He is also a big-time nerd. Specifically, he is a nerd subspecies I refer to as the Careful Nerd—an articulate person whose intense awareness of himself has terrified him into a state of eerie calm, as if he were perpetually speaking from the top step of a ladder. The Careful Nerd makes up for his inability to confidently navigate nonverbal social cues by investing in the denotative meaning of language. Hence his vaguely Spock-y demeanor—he’s put his faith in the logical value of what he’s saying to get through the conversation, and organized the rest of his communication around not fucking up. I base all of this one accepted psychological study, by the way, and certainly not on my own personal experience.