In this week’s episode, I talk with Michael Mann, Nobel Prize-winning climatologist for his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We cover a lot of ground. How to talk about climate change to your crazy right-wing climate-denying uncle. “Uncle Hal, sea level is rising. For two reasons. Ice is melting. And water expands when it gets warmer.” If Uncle Hal insists sea level is rising because of all the rocks falling into the ocean, then just give up. We talk about how climate used to be a bipartisan issue, but since Citizens United, the Koch Brothers have threatened to primary any Republican who acknowledges the science. Addressing climate change has become a victim of our tribal politics. The answer right now? Win.
The Al Franken problem is developing in ways too important and interesting to not explore further. So here is a handful of semi-connected but mainly distinct thoughts on the matter. Continue reading Leeann Tweeden, Al Franken, The Patriarchy, Change
Leeann Tweeden is, according to Wikipedia, a former Hooter hostess and model who has worked for Fox Sports Network, and was hostess of Poker After Dark, a commenter on the Hannity show, and other similar shows, mainly on Fox News. (This is probably why I’ve never heard of her, I don’t watch FOX as a rule).
You probably know who Al Franken is, but just in case, he is a former satirist, frequent USO performer, SNL star, and now, United States Senator from Minnesota. He is famous for his vigorous championship of good things in a bad place.
Earlier today Tweeden made an accusation against Senator Al Franken, claiming that he gave her an unwanted kiss during rehearsal for a comedy skit on a USO tour. There was also a mildly inappropriate and rather sophomoric photo that Tweeden included in her public complaint.
For those who are not on Facebook, here is Al Franken’s statement, of just a short time ago, regarding the recently revealed activities while on a USO tour several years ago: Continue reading Leeann Tweeden’s Accusation of Al Franken, Franken’s Response
From now on, I’m bringing Al Franken with me wherever I go so I don’t have to talk to anybody any more.
First a word about our lovely press. If I hear one more reporter grovel and squirm about how we don’t really want to hurt the NRA or take away any gun rights or do anything unreasonable, no, no, we just want to assume there is a solution to the carnage that does not inconvenience any of the gun loving yahoos that watch our networks …. then I’m going to I just don’t know what. Reporters: Please leave open the possibility that a double digit percentage of Americans don’t care one whit how much restrictions there ends up being on guns. We just want the insanity to end, and if that means taking away all the guns, then, whatever. It was not our decision to make guns so available that they can be amassed in sufficient quantities to shoot over five hundred people in one sitting. We want results, we do not care, not one bit, who’s feelings are hurt.
But I digress.
You need to do this before any upcoming elections. Find out who on the ballot has a record of opposing guns vs. who has a record of supporting guns, and vote against the gun supporters and for the gun opposers.
In a recent rating of recent and current members of the Minnesota House delegation, the NRA gave Rick Nolan, Keith Ellison, and Betty McCollum the grade of “F” and none of these three lawmakers have taken money from them.
Collin Peterson took $2,500 bucks from the NRA, Michele Bachmann took $3,500, Erik Paulson took 2,250, John Kline $2,500, and Tim Walz took $2,000. They all got a rating of “A” from the NRA.
Notice that party lines are being crossed here.
During the recent congressional session, Congresspersons Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison supported zero bills that support guns, but have supported 14 gun control bills.
Richard Nolan has supported one gun control bill.
Al Franken has supported two gun control bills.
Amy Klobuchar has supported two gun control bills.
Those are the clear good guys in Congress from Minnesota. But you might ask why the great variation in number of bills?
Congressman Erik Paulsen has supported one gun rights bill and has not supported any gun control bills. Collin Peterson has supported three gun rights bills and zero gun control bills. Tom Emmer has supported zero gun control bills and five gun rights bills. John Kline has supported a whopping nine gun rights bills and zero gun control bills.
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate By Al Franken. This book claims to be this:
From Senator Al Franken – #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum – comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.
This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.
It’s a book about what happens when the nation’s foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.
It’s a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.
In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.
Has Al Franken become a true Giant of the Senate? Franken asks readers to decide for themselves.
As the person who personally got Al Franken elected to office the first time around, I’m sure I’m in this book in several places. I haven’t checked yet, but I thought you should know about the book.
Al Franken’s daughter just had a baby, so congratulations to them!
Joseph Bryson Greenwald, 6 lbs 11 oz. We are awaiting word on the baby’s length.
As you know, Michele Bachmann, Congressperson for Minnesota’s Sixth District, has announced that she will not seek re-election to her seat in Washington DC.
Bachmann almost lost her re-election to challenger Jim Graves last year. I’m convinced that had the election been held a few weeks later, Graves would have won. Recently, internal polling data from within Bachmann’s campaign became known, and showed that as of a couple of weeks ago Bachmann was actually behind Graves. Bachmann’s response to this polling was an ad buy; the Bachmann campaign started up early with local ads, clearly indicating one thing and strongly suggesting another. For one, Bachmann had decided to run for re-election as of several days ago. She bought campaign ads. That’s pretty clear. Two weeks ago or less, Michele Bachmann was a candidate for re-election to the sixth district and was spending money on that campaign. This is a fact that must be taken into account in figuring out what is going on. The second thing this indicated was that she was nervous about the polling data and felt compelled to start early.
Then, suddenly, she announced that she would not be running. You don’t decide to run for re-election and actually craft campaign ads and buy air time for the ads and put on the air if you are not running. “I’m Michele Bachmann and I approved this message” means, very clearly, that she was in fact running for re-election. Why, then, did she suddenly stop running for re-election? Even with poor polling numbers, this does not make sense. The polling numbers were not abysmal. She was about five points behind, very close to the margin of error. This is not a number that in and of itself would recommend abandoning a campaign. Also, the numbers were known to her campaign before the ad buy.
There are two other possible explanations for her withdraw, I think. One is that something bad is about to happen and she is bugging out before that occurs. The other is that she noticed that there was another office up for election and has decided to run for it. Let’s examine those two possible explanations.
The most likely explanation for her withdraw is probably that her recent attempts to negotiate away a law suit being filed against her failed and she’s about to be dragged into her own little Watergate, or other civil or criminal legal problems loom that her campaign knows more about than we do at present:
Someone from Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign team stole an email list off of Barb Heki’s laptop. This list was from the evangelical home school organization for which Heki played a leadership role… She sued.
Today, the court scheduled the trial.
… and later that day Bachmann made her video bowing out of the campaign.
There are other problems. The FBI is looking into Bachmann’s campaign, for instance. So, it is reasonable to guess that another shoe … related to any one of the pending law suits or investigations … is about to drop, and it is not a dainty ballet slipper but rather one of those big-ass Mickey Mouse boots the Arctic division of the Airborne Army wears when they jump out of airplanes onto glaciers.
A second explanation is that Bachmann noticed that the Junior Senator from the State of Minnesota, Al Franken, is up for re-election and, at the time she made her plans to announce her withdraw, had no serious challengers. This is the preferred explanation among local Minnesota pundits. Why? Not because it is the best explanation, but because it is the coolest explanation. Al Franken only barely won his seat during the last election, but there are very specific reasons for that, and these reasons simply don’t apply today. Senator Franken went from never having held elected office to being one of the most respected and effective Senators in Washington. How did he do that? He is a) very sincere about his public service and b) very smart. Well, also, his hard work and the excellent support from his family and staff and all that too. Bottom line: The people of Minnesota understand that Al Franken is a great senator and he will be re-elected.
Al Franken isn’t just a great Senator, but he is also one of those guys we watch for the entertainment value, and I’m not referring here to his earlier career as a
comedian satirist. Have you seen him in action? Here’s an example. I would not have wanted to have been a grasshopper living in Little Al Franken’s yard when he was a little boy in Ednia, Minnesota.
That was Subtle Al. Here’s another:
Here’s Al with a very smart witness trying to trip him up. Starts at about 1:27:
Not in chambers, about Fox, and reforming our Math education system at the same time:
And here is Al Franken eating a lawyer before lunch:
For comparison, here is Michele Bachmann:
Can you imagine it? A Franken-Bachmann campaign? Pure Political Squeee. Bwahahaha to the Nth power.
So, you can see that no matter how unlikely it may be that Michele Bachmann would actually have quit her seat in the house in order to run against Al Franken, we insist on keeping it on the table as a possibility because, well, it is something to live for.
There is a third possible explanation for Michele Bachmann’s withdraw; A better offer from Fox or some other corporation. This has been suggested by various commenters but I think it unlikely. Yes, expect such a thing to occur at some time in the future, but I believe that Bachmann truly sees herself as a savior of The Constitution and will generally act with that motivation before other considerations. Of course, the first and third explanations can be linked. If she is facing high costs from impending legal battles, bowing out and getting a nice contract with Faux News would be the thing to do.
Finally, I would like to express my great relief that Bachmann is bowing out. It has been a great burden to me … as the person who got her political career started, feeling responsible all these years for having created this particular horror. Now, finally, I’ll be able to sleep nights.
Stay tuned. And, beware of falling boots.
Today is Minnesota Senator Al Franken’s Birthday. In honor of that, I’m reposting this historically accurate and important essay, which first appeared on this blog on April 23, 2009 at 3:56PM:
I personally put Al Franken in the Senate
Al Franken is about to be seated as the Junior Senator from Minnesota after a long and costly battle between loser Norm Coleman and Senator Franken. Al won the election by just a few hundred votes, and three of those votes are mine.
I am so happy Al is my Senator.
Continue reading Al Franken, Tearer Of Orifices, Tears One
Let us not forget, Coleman was an absolute jerk during the whole process. And,he was a sucky senator. Subsequent to Franken’s establishment in office, he has proven himself equal to the best. Indeed, his lack of experience in elected office in general and the senate in particular is rather hard to detect.
Don’t mess with Al, man.
First, watch this
Continue reading Why Support Al Franken?