I Think the Shrinks Call It "Projection"

According to this AP story

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich questioned President Bush's mental health in light of comments he made about a nuclear Iran precipitating World War III.

"I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health," Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, said in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board on Tuesday. "There's something wrong. He does not seem to understand his words have real impact."

Well … Salon reproduces a few sentences from Dennis's campaign book, A Prayer for America:
Spirit merges with matter to sanctify the universe. Matter transcends, to return to spirit. The interchangeability of matter and spirit means the starlit magic of the outermost life of our universe becomes the soul-light magic of the innermost life of our self. The energy of the stars becomes us. We become the energy of the stars. Stardust and spirit unite and we begin: one with the universe; whole and holy; from one source, endless creative energy, bursting forth, kinetic, elemental; we -- the earth, air, water and fire-source of nearly fifteen billion years of cosmic spiraling.
"That's the kind of sanity we need in a Chief Executive, man! Dubya never says shit like that. Even when he was on the 'shrooms, he never said shit like that!"

Salon also refers to, but does not quote Kucinich's "Haiku of Hegemony." Fortunately, it's easy enough to find. It seems to be a description of the Kucinich Administration's energy policy.

Plotting gains. False promise low rates,
Political contributions place.
Regulatory controls erase.
Energy supplies manipulate.
Shortages create.
Taxpayers bled.
Ratepayers dead.
Windfall profitgate.
Earnings misstate.
Stock inflate.
Enron investigate.
Bail-outs by state.
System remains.
I'm impressed that the author of the above passages could have the cojones to speculate on someone else's mental health.

[I blogged on Mrs. Kucinich's poetry earlier this year.]

Four Senators Who Want to Destroy the First Amendment

Here they are: Charles Schumer (D-NY), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Thad Cochran (R-MS).

Their vehicle: S.J.Res 21, "A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections." The amendment would grant Congress the "power to regulate the raising and spending of money, including through setting limits, for campaigns for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office." It would also grant power to the states to similarly "regulate" expenditures for their own elections and ballot measures.

It's meant to subvert a three-decade-old Supreme Court ruling (Buckley v. Valeo) that invalidated unconstitutional post-Watergate restrictions on campaign funding. Essentially, it means Congress gets to decide the rules on how much their election opponents get to spend campaigning against them. To briefly channel Jeff Foxworthy: "If you think this is a good idea, you just might be … a member of Congress."

You can read a slimy press release at Senator Specter's website that provides that side of the argument. It claims the proposed amendment would "restore Congress' power to regulate campaign finances." I will hop on my libertarian hobbyhorse to point out: Sorry, senator, that's wrong: Congress never had a broad-brush power to regulate campaign finances; if it did, you wouldn't need a constitutional amendment to provide it.

There's a (relatively) straight news story about the proposal from John Bresnahan at Politico here. Unfortunately, it uses the same tendentious formulation that the amendment will "restore Congress' right to create a new campaign finance system." John, please: you can't restore a right that never existed in the first place.

For better analysis, check out Steve Chapman's recent column. Good point there:

Such restrictions are an easy way to accomplish that end [of protecting incumbent members of Congress] in the hallowed guise of fighting corruption. Since they have numerous ways to keep their names in front of voters without spending money, incumbents have little to lose from spending limits. Challengers generally can't win votes unless they can deliver their message to voters, which requires sums of money that campaign reformers hope to deny them.
To their credit, Schumer, Cochran, Harkin, and Specter are at least honest enough to recognize that they need to partially repeal the First Amendment to get the powers they desire. But until they make it illegal, people are free to encourge voters in New York, Mississippi, Iowa, and Pennsylvania (respectively) to vote these guys out ASAP and replace them with any four other guys who have more respect for the Constitution.

Last Modified 2007-10-30 6:42 PM EDT

Weird Trajectories

John Tierney notices something odd about the history of the nanny state:

After seeing the reaction to my post on trans fats, it occurs to me that there's been a weird trajectory in public health policy since the Surgeon General's report on tobacco in 1964: The science has been getting weaker, but the policies have been getting stronger.
Comparing the reaction to tobacco, second-hand smoke, and trans fats, Tierney concludes that a slippery slope mechanism is in effect. See y'all at the bottom!