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Inside the Beltway

FOOTBALL POLICE

Uh-oh. Once again, experts are eyeing the gridiron for signs of related domestic dysfunction. It's not about violence on Super Bowl Sunday this time. No. It's "football addiction," identified by one Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dedication to a sport or team is normal, but a "football addiction can endanger relationships and wreak havoc on the life of a super-fan," he says.

"It's not how much time you spend watching football that matters, it's whether or not that is causing negative behaviors in your life. Whether it's 10 hours per week or 40, the issue is its effect on your real-life obligations," Mr. Klapow notes.

Things are "abnormal" if a fan thinks about football "while doing other things," gets irritated when a game is interrupted, misses family events to watch a game or gets depressed, angry or violent when a team loses. Mr. Klapow suggests the aberrant uberfan keep a journal about viewing habits, set limits, ask for family input and, uh-h-h-h, "seek help from a mental health professional to help address concerns regarding your habit."

WE THE PEOPLE

Saturday is Constitution Day, and it's big doings at 2,650-acre Montpelier, an architectural gem in the verdant hills of Virginia and home of "Father of the Constitution" James Madison. The daylong celebration includes the inevitable historic re-enactors, hayrides, Colonial games, patriotic music from the Quantico Marine Corps Band, a big fat barbecue and fireworks. Details here: www.montpelier.org

But the organization mournfully notes that just 31 percent of Americans have a working knowledge of the Constitution, which is essential reading for most tea partyers but is omitted from many school curricula despite a law that requires public systems at least to acknowledge the document.

But good news here. Montpelier also has launched "Introduction to the Constitution," a free — we repeat, free — online course for educators and the public. The new course was designed by scholars to mirror the multiday course legislators and diplomats receive. See the details here: http://center.montpelier.org. Mr. Madison would be pleased. Dolley too.

PAMPHLETEERS

"We've written what we think is a comprehensive and defining pamphlet of principles, purpose and proposals for constitutional conservatives. It articulates some key ways to reclaim the Constitution from scofflaw government and to preserve American exceptionalism," says longtime conservative activists Richard Viguerie and Mark Fitzgibbons, who are offering their 60-page e-pamphlet for free.

"The Law That Governs Government: Reclaiming the Constitution From Usurpers and Society's Biggest Law Breaker" outlines all manner of principles and proposals for and about constitutional conservatives and the tea party, found here: www.ReclaimtheConstitution.com.

"Lawbreaking by government in terms of cost and the number of people victimized is of a scale unmatched by any other organization or group — leaving nothing as a close second," Mr. Viguerie and Mr. Fitzgibbons observe.

MITTENIZED

It's not exactly as cozy as President Obama's recent offer of a chance of dinner and conversation for a $5 donation to his re-election campaign. But Mitt Romney has borrowed a page out the president's playbook. The Republican hopeful, who is visiting 20 states this month, is offering "A Day on the Road with Mitt." A $5 donation enters any devoted Mitt fan into the contest.

"I am inviting one of my supporters to join me as my special guest on the campaign trail to discuss the issues facing our nation. I'll cover transportation," Mr. Romney advises.

But wait. Mr. Romney is also borrowing a page from Michelle Obama's playbook. He'll appear this weekend at a breakfast fundraiser in the home of Jenny Craig. Yes, the Mittster will be flipping pancakes. But what pancakes. Mr. Romney will be wrangling the dieting guru's special oatmeal pancakes — making him the first of the Republicans to shun deep-fried fare and go for the lean.

CANDIDATE WATCH

Where will the restless Republican hopefuls be this weekend?

California: Reps. Michele Bachmann, Thaddeus McCotter and Ron Paul; Mitt Romney

Iowa: Rick Perry

South Carolina; Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman

New Hampshire: Rick Santorum, Buddy Roemer, Gary Johnson

Nevada: Rep. Ron Paul

HOLA REPUBLICANOS

"On behalf of the Republican Party, I pledge to those in the Latino community who have been adversely affected by the president's economic policies that Republicans are working hard to elect leaders that will ensure you can find work and that your businesses can thrive," says Republican National Commitee chairman Reince Priebus, who points out that it was Ronald Reagan who created Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988.

POLL DU JOUR

• 44 percent of Americans say that, in general, the Republican Party would do a better job handling the nation's worst problems; 37 percent cite Democrats.

• 39 percent cite "unemployment/jobs" as the most important U.S. problem, making it the lead concern on a list of 60 problems.

• 42 percent say the Republican Party is better able to "deal" with unemployment, 40 percent cite the Democratic Party.

• 28 percent cite the economy in general as our biggest problem.

• 57 percent say the Republican Party is better able to deal with it, 31 percent cite Democrats.

• 14 percent say "dissatisfaction with government, Congress and politicians" is our biggest problem.

• 12 percent cite the federal budget deficit, 7 percent cite health care, and 4 percent each cite immigration, "lack of money" and education.

• 3 percent each cite "ethical and moral decline" and "wars or fears of war."

• 2 percent each cite Social Security, lack of public civility and Medicare.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,017 adults conducted Sept. 8-11.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin

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