In the know


Sen. Vitter’s Katrina humor turns provocative
It’s amazing how many different topics a member of Congress can tackle at once these days. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was speaking at a Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee luncheon about the post-hurricane relief efforts when he decided to bring up an entirely different topic.

According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, Vitter said Lafayette has become a new crossroads for the state, referring to Lafayette’s role as a shelter for refugees from southeast Louisiana. “Unfortunately, it’s the crossroads where Katrina meets Rita,” he said. “I always knew I was against same-sex unions.”

Mac Abrams, Vitter’s communications director, did not return phone calls on the matter.


Anti-liberal children’s book attracts controversy
Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! may be an innocent children’s book written by a 35-year-old conservative mom of three young boys in Torrance, Calif., who attend Christian schools. But once the Internet got a hold of it, things turned nasty.

The storybook involves two young brothers who sell lemonade to pay for a swing set — the idea being that they will feel better about themselves if they earn the money to buy their own toy.

The author is Katherine DeBrecht, a journalist and member of the South

Carolina Federation of Republican Women. Her book, published by World Ahead Publishing, incorporates caricatures of contemporary politicians. They include Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as Congresswoman Clunkton, who orders the boys to reduce the sugar in their lemonade and add broccoli to each glass, and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who, as Mayor Leach, takes half the lemonade profits to purchase dustpans instead of a more charitable cause.

Philippe “Salty” Reines, Clinton’s press secretary, remarked, “Can’t wait for the sequel, Help! Mom! I Can’t Read This Book Because Republicans Have Cut Literacy Programs!”

While one left-wing website compares DeBrecht’s book to Nazi propaganda, another, Democratic Underground, adds DeBrecht to its weekly list of “Top 10 Conservative Idiots.”

Part of the controversy surrounding the book involved a doctored photograph of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), in chaps that reveal part of his rear end, that was initially said to be in the book. The doctored photograph, allegedly created by a liberal website, then appeared on conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan’s website, setting off wild reaction throughout the Democratic Web community.

“I was surprised how fast the lies about my book spread,” said DeBrecht in a phone interview with ITK. “Do they do any fact checking up there?”

DeBrecht attributes the doctored photos to liberals who can’t stand her conservative prose. “It’s just whining from the left,” she said. “It just shows that they aren’t going to stop at anything to discredit me or my book.”

The Help! Mom! series was created in 2000, when DeBrecht’s husband was downstairs watching a game while she was watching the Republican National Convention upstairs in her bedroom. Her oldest son came upstairs and asked what she was watching. She explained that the nation was electing the next president and that she wanted George Bush to win over Al Gore.

“The harder daddy works and the more money he makes, the more liberals want to take that money out of his pocket,” she told her son, recalling that his eyes got “real big and wide and he leaned over the side of the bed and said, ‘Where are the liberals, mom?’”

And with that, the Help! Mom! series was born.

Books in the making include Help! Mom! Hollywood Is in My Hamper!, Help! Mom! There Are Lawyers in My Lunchbox! and Help! Mom! The Ninth Circuit Nabbed the Nativity!


Simpson’s cell-phone rings: up close and personal
With all modern technology comes the task of making important decisions. Of course, Rep. Mike Simpson’s (R-Idaho) choice of who should be assigned which cell-phone ring tone might not be considered important compared to other pending matters on Capitol Hill, but it’s clear the congressman has taken some time with his choices.

When his wife, Kathy, calls, for instance, he hears “My Girl” by the Temptations. His legislative director, John Revier, gets the country-western tune “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean. And last, but certainly not least, his longtime press secretary, Nicki Watts, is distinguished from the rest with the Sister Sledge hit “We are Family.”


Ladies who spa
Feeling a little strung out with work? This week is Spa Week. All treatments at participating salons in the Washington area are $50, and you can choose your spa.

Salons include Circe Aveda Salon in Alexandria; Cultura, Hummingbird Skin Care Spa, Piaf Salon and Day Spa, Serenity Day Spa, Skin Beauty Lounge on Capitol Hill and Soma Fit in Georgetown in D.C.; and Modern Day Spa in Arlington.

For more information, visit www.spaweek.org/Spas/October/DC


Announcements

Longtime Hill aide dies of liver failure

Mark Davis, a longtime Capitol Hill aide, died last week from complications of liver failure. He was 56.

Davis came to Capitol Hill in 1986 to work as legal counsel for the House ethics committee. Early in his Hill career, he was the staff assistant for Sen. Vance Hartke (D-Ind.). In 1993, he went to work on the House Committee on the District of Columbia, which dissolved in 1994. Davis then became the legislative director and legal counsel for former Rep. Frank Riggs (R-Calif.) followed by a stint in Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) office, where he held the same position.

Since January, Davis, a government lawyer, was assistant director of government relations for the Financial Planning Association.

“The interesting thing about Mark is he was one of the few staffers to make the transition from a Democratic to a Republican Congress to not only survive but flourish,” said Steven Sutton, chief of staff to Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), who worked with Davis in both Riggs’s and Terry’s offices. “He was brilliant, but not only did he have knowledge, he had wisdom. He was the go-to guy in both offices. … He was the star of the office, very modest, the one you want on your team.”

Davis left Capitol Hill in 2000. After having spent 14 years on the Hill, he was eligible for retirement.

He died at John Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore; he fell into a coma for a week before he died. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Constance Kerns Davis, his 26-year-old son, Matthew, and a sister, Roz. Memorial services were held for Davis last weekend in Beltsville, Md.