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23 September 2007

Okay, the call girl thing is his business. (And his wife's.) But check out how he's spending our tax money.

David Vitter as he won election to the US Senate in 2004, with wife Wendy and son Jack. (Associated Press / Wide World photo)

Sometimes I feel lazy when I just post a news article but don't write a piece of my Original Wisdom to explain my Feelings about it. Like, I'm not doing my Political Blog Job. I'm just Copying & Pasting.

But uhhh ... what can I possibly say about this?

Help Agence-Vleeptron Presse out here. What are Your Feelings about this? Leave A Comment.

Voters of Louisiana elected this guy to the U.S. Senate. Before that, he was a U.S. Congressman. He made the phone calls to the DC call girl service while he was a member of the House. It's possible he was just lonely and wanted to chat on the phone. Anyway, after the DC Madame outed his phone calls, he said he was very sorry.

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from Wikipedia:
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The neutrality of this article is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.
This article or section has been tagged since July 2007.
Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved.

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Vitter was born in New Orleans to Audrey Malvina St. Raymond and Albert Leopold Vitter.[2] He received a B.A. from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1983; a B.A. from Oxford University in 1985, as a Rhodes Scholar; and a Juris Doctor from the law school of Tulane University in New Orleans in 1988. He was a lawyer and a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1992 to 1999, when he entered the U.S. House.

Vitter and his wife Wendy, a former prosecutor,[3] have three daughters, Sophie, Lise, and Airey, and a son, Jack.

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Well, arguably (it's certainly what *I'd* argue if I got caught making phone calls to a call girl service), this was his personal business, stuff he was doing in his private life, doesn't affect his role as an elected official. (It may possibly be a series of low-rent prostitution crimes in DC, but that's still being looked into.)

Now we come to the way he wants to spend our tax dollars.

Louisiana, by the way, is the state that got whomped by the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history, and its citizens are still having a very hard time rebuilding their lives. They still need lots of help from the federal government.

So here's how their Senator Vitter wants to spend $100,000 of your federal tax money to help the people of Louisiana.

Oh, does anybody need me to post this? Well, here it is anyway, from the United States Constitution:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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The Times-Picayune
(New Orleans, Louisiana USA)
Saturday 22 September 2007

Vitter earmarked
federal money
for creationist group


by Bill Walsh, Washington bureau

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator David Vitter (Republican-Louisiana) earmarked $100,000 in a spending bill for a Louisiana Christian group that has challenged the teaching of Darwinian evolution in the public school system and to which he has political ties.

The money is included in the labor, health and education financing bill for fiscal 2008 and specifies payment to the Louisiana Family Forum "to develop a plan to promote better science education."

The earmark appears to be the latest salvo in a decades-long battle over science education in Louisiana, in which some Christian groups have opposed the teaching of evolution and, more recently, have pushed to have it prominently labeled as a theory with other alternatives presented. Educators and others have decried the movement as a backdoor effort to inject religious teachings into the classroom.

The nonprofit Louisiana Family Forum, launched in Baton Rouge in 1999 by former state Rep. Tony Perkins, has in recent years taken the lead in promoting "origins science," which includes the possibility of divine intervention in the creation of the universe.

The group's stated mission is to "persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication and networking." Until recently, its Web site contained a "battle plan to combat evolution," which called the theory a "dangerous" concept that "has no place in the classroom." The document was removed after a reporter's inquiry.

Vitter, Forum have ties

The group's tax-exempt status prohibits the Louisiana Family Forum from political activity, but Vitter has close ties to the group. Dan Richey, the group's grass-roots coordinator, was paid $17,250 as a consultant in Vitter's 2004 Senate race. Records also show that Vitter's campaign employed Beryl Amedee, the education resource council chairwoman for the Louisiana Family Forum.

The group has been an advocate for the senator, who was elected as a strong supporter of conservative social issues. When Vitter's use of a Washington, D.C., call-girl service drew comparisons last month to the arrest of Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, in what an undercover officer said was a solicitation for sex in an airport men's room, Family Forum Executive Director Gene Mills came to Vitter's defense.

In a video clip the group posted on the Internet site YouTube, Mills said the two senators' situations are far different. "Craig is denying the allegations," he said. "Vitter has repented of the allegations. He sought forgiveness, reconciliation and counseling."

Vitter's office said it is not surprising that people he employed would also do work for Louisiana Family Forum, which shares his philosophical outlook. He said the education earmark was meant to offer a broad array of views in the public schools.

"This program helps supplement and support educators and school systems that would like to offer all of the explanations in the study of controversial science topics such as global warming and the life sciences," Vitter said in a written statement.

The money in the earmark will pay for a report suggesting "improvements" in science education in Louisiana, the development and distribution of educational materials and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Ouachita Parish School Board's 2006 policy that opened the door to biblically inspired teachings in science classes.

"I believe it is an important program," Vitter said.

Critics said taxpayer money should not go to support a religion-based program.

"This is a misappropriation of public funds," said Charles Kincade, a civil rights lawyer in Monroe who has been involved in church-state cases. "It's a backdoor attempt to push a religious agenda in the public school system."

Group has history

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, Republican-Pennsylvania, a Christian conservative defeated for re-election in 2004, attempted to open the door for such money when he inserted language into a report accompanying the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act enabling teachers to offer "the full range of scientific views" when "topics that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution)" are taught.

In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a Louisiana law that would have required schools to teach creationist theories, which hold that God created the universe, whenever evolution was taught. In 2002, the Louisiana Family Forum unsuccessfully sought to persuade the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to insert a five-paragraph disclaimer in all of its science texts challenging the natural science view that life came about by accident and has evolved through the process of natural selection.

The group notched a victory last year when the Ouachita School Board adopted a policy that, without mentioning the Bible or creationism, gave teachers leeway to introduce other views besides those contained in traditional science texts.

"Many of our educators feel inadequate to address the controversies," said Mills, executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum.

Mills said that his group didn't request the money in the 2008 appropriations bill, and that Vitter's proposal "was a bit of a surprise."

Mills said his group is not attempting to push the teaching of evolution out of the schools, but wants to supplement it. Yet, some of the material posted on the Louisiana Family Forum's Web site suggests a more radical view.

Among other things, a "Louisiana Family Forum Fact Sheet" at one point included "A Battle Plan -- Practical Steps to Combat Evolution" by Kent Hovind, a controversial evangelist who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for tax offenses and obstruction of justice.

Hovind's paper stated, "Evolution is not a harmless theory but a dangerous religious belief" that underpinned the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Looking deeper urged

"I've got so much stuff on the Web site I don't know what's there," Mills said. "We think that in order to teach controversial topics successfully, you have to teach both sides."

The group's "Evolution Addendum for Public Schools," also posted on the Web site, offers a flavor of its concerns. The document rejects the evolutionary connection between apes and humans, questions the standard explanation of fossil formation and seeks to undercut the prevailing scientific view that life emerged from a series of chemical reactions.

"Under ideal conditions, the odds of that many amino acids coming together in the right order are approximately the same as winning the Power Ball Lotto every week for the next 640 years," it states. "How could this have happened accidentally?"

Kincade, the Monroe lawyer, said Vitter's and Louisiana Family Forum's motives are not benign.

"What you have to do is look below the surface," said Kincade, who holds an undergraduate degree in physics and has been active in legal cases in which religious groups challenge science instruction. "It frames the issue in a way that appeals to America's sense of fair play. The problem is, except for fringe people, evolution is an accepted fact of science. It is not a hotly contested issue. The general concept of natural selection and evolution is settled and beyond dispute. To suggest otherwise is misleading. They are trying to backdoor creationism."

Vitter's appropriation was contained in a database compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonprofit group seeking to reduce the number of earmarks in federal legislation. Earlier this year, Congress agreed for the first time to begin linking specially requested earmarks to the names of their sponsors. Taxpayers for Common Sense has compiled thousands of them into searchable databases.

Vitter said the financing request was submitted earlier this year and "was evaluated on its merit." But Steve Ellis, of the taxpayers' group, said most earmarks are not vetted by anyone except the member requesting it.

"Using an earmark to dictate that the Louisiana Family Forum receive the funding to develop a science education program ironically ignores a hallmark of scientific research, making decisions on the basis of competitive, empirical research," Ellis said.

The appropriations bill is awaiting Senate action.

- 30 -

Bill Walsh can be reached at bill.walsh@newhouse.com or (202) 383-7817.

COMMENTS (16)

Posted by critterhead on 09/22/07 at 9:59PM

"to develop a plan to promote better science education" my rear end... There is nothing scientific that this group offers, although maybe there is something to this creationism thing, because this does not make Vitter look too evolved.

Posted by darwinrulz on 09/22/07 at 10:09PM

Glad I'm first! :)

They're doubting fossil formations??? Linking evolution with Hitler?? Give me a fu*k!ing break!! For anyone, in this day and age, to honestly question the relationship between man and ape, is just astounding....right up there with still believing that the world is flat, or that the earth is the center of the universe....

"Creationism" is NOT science, and never will be....it is a religious ideal that has absolutely NO place in a public school classroom (would be verrrrry interested to know how many teacher in Ouachita Parish who actually do 'introduce other views'), and oddly, the Louisiana Family Forum considers evolution to be a religious belief, when it, in fact, is the very antithesis of a religous view. Next, we'll all be teaching about Panspermia (the idea that space creatures sent germs to earth, thereby creating life here....no explanation of where the spacemen came from), or even better, intelligent design, which teaches that we could come directly from those same spacemen.

Evolution has been affirmed via international consensus in geologic, nuclear, astronomical, biochemical, genetic and other scientific fields. Each field has supported and sharpened the theory, not conflicted with it.

A noisy literalist-evangelical group wants to convert science curriculum for compatibility with its faith. This flies in the face of America's intentionally secular Constitution. Sadly, yielding to such pressure or for personal belief, some public school science teachers undermine their students' understanding of science.

Most religions - including the American Jewish Congress, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, United Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church, the World Lutheran Church, the Unitarian-Universalist Association and the Roman Catholic Church - support evolution. Many Americans, including the nation's millions of agnostics and atheists, send children to the public schools, which must remain secular, respecting all.

Our nation's health care, agriculture and technology depend on objective science education. The silent majority should speak more loudly for unadulterated science education and should elect only politicians who support it.

peaceout
V

Posted by darwinrulz on 09/22/07 at 10:10PM

darn you critter for typing faster! lol

Posted by dderoche on 09/22/07 at 10:12PM

My God! (no pun intended) Creationism is not science, it's faith based like any religious belief. Mr. Vitter should check his own moral character before investing our money into his religious belief system to which he is a hypocrite.

Posted by lroussarie on 09/22/07 at 10:19PM

What's next: Will Vitter spend tax payer dollars for research to find out if the Holocaust was real?

Evolution is a fact deal with it. And yes just in case you missed it in the papers the Holocaust was real - no need to amend the history books.

Posted by qtempire on 09/22/07 at 10:37PM

Seems to me that spending government money on creationism is government trying to establish a religion. Seems to me that Vitter would understand that. Unless he's just dense. But that might the case.
Posted by Sandy5555 on 09/22/07 at 10:49PM

It is not out of character with the mechanics of the coalition that put him in the Senate that he would support this. His personal problems aside, there is a genuine question as to whether or not a senator should represent the views of his political constituency. Throwing $100,000 toward this particular constituency which did, in fact, work hard for his election, is not abnormal in the ways of federal politics. Vitter has made some exceptionally stupid personal errors, but he is a very savvy politician, and if he is to stand any chance at all in 2010 he will need the full support of the religious right.

Posted by lwerli1 on 09/22/07 at 10:56PM

Email Vitter and tell him what you really think!

http://www.vitter.senate.gov/?module=webformiqv1

Posted by d088 on 09/22/07 at 11:10PM

I will reserve judgment on the motives of Vitter and the LA Family Forum, since I have no direct knowledge of the situation.

However, doesn't anyone realize that believing in one DOES NOT rule out the belief in the other? You can certainly believe in creationism AND evolution. All it takes is the hand of God (my God, your god, his god, her god, whatever god) to cause the initiation of the "amino acids coming together in the right order." No where to my knowledge does any religious text say that evolution does not exist.

I just upset a bunch of Christian fundamentalists, didn't I. I know the argument, "The Bible says that God created man in his own likeness. How can you say that an ape is God's likeness." My answer to that is, "How can you be so bold as to think that WE are God's likeness?" Doesn't God know what will happen in the future? Doesn't he know what the human form will evolve into over time? We evolve from infancy to adults in mere years. God's time line is MUCH more vast than our minds can understand." I personally feel that God did in fact begin all life, and yes, humans began as a much more primitive life-form that we are now. However, I also believe that we are NOT God's likeness just yet. I feel that we still have MANY, MANY years of evolution before gaining the perfection of God's likeness.

I have no delusions of grandeur concerning my beliefs, these are my simple evaluations of each side of the argument -- without a blind acceptance of either.

Posted by Snake26 on 09/22/07 at 11:27PM

Senator Vitter doing something to his "Cause" thats a good thing. Lucky for Vitter he doesnt have to worry about re-election for another three years, by then his "trouble" would be a minor issue.

Posted by Justtrue on 09/22/07 at 11:38PM

How long must we be stuck with this loser?

Posted by indadrink on 09/22/07 at 11:40PM

monkey see,
monkee do,
they want your money,
they want mine too.

Posted by 23TigerTeeth on 09/22/07 at 11:41PM

Someone asked what's next?

Well, maybe Vitter will try to earmark some federal money to Wendy Cortez so she'll stop doing interviews with the media about her adulterous relationship with our 'family values' senator.

Despite his sponsorship of creationism non-science, we do know that there's one area of science he does believe in: DNA science.

Because according to Wendy Cortez in her WDSU interview Wednesday night, married Senator Vitter used a condom during their sex sessions--and took the used condom with him so as not to leave his DNA material behind in the French Quarter apartment they used.

Now we know why that clerical fraud Gene Mills made all those excuses for Vitter immediately we learned he broke the law with the 'D.C. Madam.' Vitter was making arrangements to send $100,000 to the Rev. Gene Mills' religious-political organization.

Maybe Vitter wants to pay off the creationists so they can 'create' more lies and excuses about our 'family values' whoremonger senator.

Posted by nolalarry on 09/22/07 at 11:41PM

How come [e]very picture of Vitter shows he's facial expression like he just screwed the pooch???

On second thought, maybe he did...

Posted by realityphase on 09/22/07 at 11:46PM

The BIBLE SAYS GOD CREATED THE WORLD? THE BIBLE? HAHAH Have you read the Bible? It's a joke. Any inteligent person can easily read through it and dispell pretty much all of it. It contradicts itself over and over

PLEASE READ THE GOD DELUSION!!!GREAT BOOK. Oh by the way who wrote the BIBLe? oh that's right no one knows, and the left out gospels? Was God wrong? Oh and some guy built a boat in 2 weeks that fit every animanl on earth right? Wait, even if he could build this magical boat how could he even locate these animals?

Oh and please say to me, that isnmt meant to be taken literal? Okay, so some of the bible is literal and some isnt? which part is which? I bet back in the day when pple were more naive and uneducated more and more of the bible that "you" say isnt to be literal they infact took literal and now we call them out on the BS, now they claim "Oh it's not literal"

what a joke

Posted by octhern on 09/23/07 at 1:00AM

What's next? Besides his whoremongering, tacking his name to a water bill which was already policy, now giving $ to a religious group to pursue a religious agenda. Has he heard of the antiestablishment clause? (of course he has--he is a lawyer). Doesn't he know that many of this right wing "Christians" whose agenda he is pushing do not consider him a "Christian" since he is Catholic? Doesn't he realize that he is being used just like he used the whores and lied to his constituents? This man needs to go. He is screwing LA just like he did the Wendy et al.

©2007 nola.com. All Rights Reserved.

2 comments:

Jim Olson said...

Vitter's career should have gone the same way that Senator Craig's just did...self-implosion.

But, Vitter was only demonstrating his manly virility by shacking up with cheap prostitutes. I don't personally have a problem with that, except that Mrs. Vitter might, and Mr. Vitter's espoused faith certainly prohibits it.

But no, another famous civil-rights era Louisiana politician once famously quipped that the only way he could lose an election in LA was to be caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy. (You're smart, look it up...)

Things have not changed in LA much in 40 years. Vitter can have all the female hookers he wants, but he'd better check the plumbing first.

Vleeptron Dude said...

That wonderful quote was said on election eve to reporters by former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards.

Unlike Vitter, Edwards' popularity wasn't based on hypocrisy or a dishonest two-faced goody-two-shoes pretense. He was a Cajun, and he liked to have fun and live large, and Louisianans liked to see him having fun and living large. He embodied the wild and free and somewhat lawless spirit of Louisianans. He defeated vinegar-puss reformers easily.

Vitter is a very different sort of creep. He's just a holier-than-thou lying snake, and he gets his votes by tricking people. Support for Edwards grew and grew; he made people feel good about voting for him.

Support for Vitter is soft and will shrink. To keep voting for Vitter, you have to invest heavily in being a dope and a sucker.

From Wikipedia:

Edwin Washington Edwards (born August 7, 1927) served as the Democratic governor of Louisiana for four terms (1972–1980, 1984–1988, and 1992 –1996), twice as many terms as any other Louisiana governor has served. Edwards was also Louisiana's first Catholic governor in the twentieth century and perhaps with the exception of Huey P. Long, was Louisiana's most popular governor. A colorful, powerful and legendary figure in Louisiana politics, Edwards was long dogged by charges of corruption.

In 2001 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on racketeering charges. Edwards began serving his sentence in October of 2002 in Ft. Worth Texas, and was later transferred to an Oakdale, Louisiana, facility.