Difference between revisions of "Al Franken"

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[[Image:Frank en Minnesota.jpg|right|thumb|Al Franken, while campaigning in Minnesota]]
 
[[Image:Frank en Minnesota.jpg|right|thumb|Al Franken, while campaigning in Minnesota]]
'''Al Franken''' is a liberal [[Democrat]] satirist and comedian from [[Minnesota]] who has won the 2008 election to the U.S. Senate. His opponent incumbent Republican Senator [[Norm Coleman]] conceded eight months after the election, which was won by 300 votes out of 2.9 million. The Republican governor Pawlenty signed the certificate of election for Franken, who will take office July 6, 2009, for a six year term.  Franken's win gives Democrats a 60-40 margin in the Senate, enough to shut off filibusters if the 60 hang together.
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'''Al Franken''' (born May 21, 1951) is a [[radical]] [[liberal]] [[Democrat]], an erstwhile satirist and comedian, nominally from [[Minnesota]] who was declared the winner by the Minnesota Supreme Court of the 2008 election to the U.S. Senate. Although Franken was born in [[New York City]], and spent several years while growing up in St Louis Park, a suburb of [[Minneapolis]], until he decided to run for the Senate, he lived exclusively in [[California]] and [[New York]] all of his adult life. <ref>[http://www.owenfranken.com/bio.html Owen Franken, Biography, statement about where Al Franken resided]</ref>  His opponent, incumbent [[Republican]] Senator [[Norm Coleman]], conceded eight months after the election, which was won by 300 votes out of 2.9 million. The governor of Minnesota, [[Tim Pawlenty]], signed the certificate of election for Franken on June 30, 2009. Franken will take office July 6, 2009, for a six year term.  Franken's win gives Democrats a 58-40 margin in the Senate, enough to shut off filibusters if the 58, along with two Independents who caucus with the Democrats, hang together.
 
==Vulgar satire==
 
==Vulgar satire==
 
His career was as a rather vulgar satirist, comedian, and former radio host for the [[Air America]] network. Franken has worked as a comedy writer and performer on the television program ''[[Saturday Night Live]]'' and was the star and screenwriter of the motion picture ''Stuart Saves His Family''.  
 
His career was as a rather vulgar satirist, comedian, and former radio host for the [[Air America]] network. Franken has worked as a comedy writer and performer on the television program ''[[Saturday Night Live]]'' and was the star and screenwriter of the motion picture ''Stuart Saves His Family''.  
 
==Style==
 
==Style==
Franken is known for his anti-conservative views (he has called them "nasty, hateful people" <ref>[http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/doasisay/quiz.pdf Random House.com]</ref>) and his coarse humor. He once quipped to the Harvard Crimson, "I dislike homosexuals. I was glad when that [Harvard] homosexual got killed." <ref>http://www.gaypatriot.net/2007/01/18/al-frankens-anti-gay-past/</ref><ref>http://lloydletta.blogspot.com/2007/01/al-franken-jokes-about-murder-of-gay.html</ref><ref>http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=112149</ref> In his book ''Lying Liars'', Franken wrote that a "Methodist minister had had his head up his %#@" in a dispute about the Bible<ref>"Do you know what God’s punishment is for liars?" [the minister] asked me ... "God’s punishment for liars is that they believe their own lies." The minister was referring to 2 Thess 2:10-12 which says substantially that. Franken acknowledged his mistake in the paperback version</ref>
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Franken is known for his anti-conservative hate speak (he has called them "nasty, hateful people" <ref>[http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/doasisay/quiz.pdf Random House.com]</ref>) and his coarse humor. He once quipped to the Harvard Crimson, "I dislike homosexuals. I was glad when that [Harvard] homosexual got killed." <ref>http://www.gaypatriot.net/2007/01/18/al-frankens-anti-gay-past/</ref><ref>http://lloydletta.blogspot.com/2007/01/al-franken-jokes-about-murder-of-gay.html</ref><ref>http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=112149</ref> In his book ''Lying Liars'', Franken wrote that a "Methodist minister had had his head up his %#@" in a dispute about the Bible<ref>"Do you know what God’s punishment is for liars?" [the minister] asked me ... "God’s punishment for liars is that they believe their own lies." The minister was referring to 2 Thess 2:10-12 which says substantially that. Franken acknowledged his mistake in the paperback version</ref>
  
 
At one point his radio show was going to be called "The Liberal Show,"<ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/21/magazine/21FRANKEN.html?pagewanted=8&ei=5007&en=5c47bbc5c11b11f2&ex=1395205200&partner=USERLAND ''Al Franken, Seriously''] [[New York Times]] Magazine</ref> but upon debut, it was known as "The O'Franken Factor," a name Franken chose to parody [[Bill O'Reilly]] and taunt him into a lawsuit, getting his show free publicity<ref>[http://www.kgw.com/business/stories/kgw_033004_biz_progressive_radio.d7edf1d8.html Al Franken's liberal radio network comes to Portland.</ref> When the lawsuit failed to materialize, the show was renamed "The Al Franken Show."  
 
At one point his radio show was going to be called "The Liberal Show,"<ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/21/magazine/21FRANKEN.html?pagewanted=8&ei=5007&en=5c47bbc5c11b11f2&ex=1395205200&partner=USERLAND ''Al Franken, Seriously''] [[New York Times]] Magazine</ref> but upon debut, it was known as "The O'Franken Factor," a name Franken chose to parody [[Bill O'Reilly]] and taunt him into a lawsuit, getting his show free publicity<ref>[http://www.kgw.com/business/stories/kgw_033004_biz_progressive_radio.d7edf1d8.html Al Franken's liberal radio network comes to Portland.</ref> When the lawsuit failed to materialize, the show was renamed "The Al Franken Show."  

Revision as of 15:49, 1 July 2009

Al Franken, while campaigning in Minnesota

Al Franken (born May 21, 1951) is a radical liberal Democrat, an erstwhile satirist and comedian, nominally from Minnesota who was declared the winner by the Minnesota Supreme Court of the 2008 election to the U.S. Senate. Although Franken was born in New York City, and spent several years while growing up in St Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, until he decided to run for the Senate, he lived exclusively in California and New York all of his adult life. [1] His opponent, incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman, conceded eight months after the election, which was won by 300 votes out of 2.9 million. The governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, signed the certificate of election for Franken on June 30, 2009. Franken will take office July 6, 2009, for a six year term. Franken's win gives Democrats a 58-40 margin in the Senate, enough to shut off filibusters if the 58, along with two Independents who caucus with the Democrats, hang together.

Vulgar satire

His career was as a rather vulgar satirist, comedian, and former radio host for the Air America network. Franken has worked as a comedy writer and performer on the television program Saturday Night Live and was the star and screenwriter of the motion picture Stuart Saves His Family.

Style

Franken is known for his anti-conservative hate speak (he has called them "nasty, hateful people" [2]) and his coarse humor. He once quipped to the Harvard Crimson, "I dislike homosexuals. I was glad when that [Harvard] homosexual got killed." [3][4][5] In his book Lying Liars, Franken wrote that a "Methodist minister had had his head up his %#@" in a dispute about the Bible[6]

At one point his radio show was going to be called "The Liberal Show,"[7] but upon debut, it was known as "The O'Franken Factor," a name Franken chose to parody Bill O'Reilly and taunt him into a lawsuit, getting his show free publicity[8] When the lawsuit failed to materialize, the show was renamed "The Al Franken Show."

2008 election

Franken opposed incumbent Republican Norm Coleman for the Senate seat in the 2008 election. Franken's rudeness, vulgarity, and coarse style led critics to ask about whether he alienated himself from the important undecided swing voters[9][10]. Franken was under fire for an interview he did in Playboy magazine that was considered by many to be unbecoming for a senatorial candidate[11]

The election was very close, with multiple recounts and appeals. On January 5, 2009, the Minnesota election board declared Franken the winner by a razor-thin 225 votes. Coleman filed a lawsuit, which by state law had to be resolved before Franken can be seated. [12]

Controversial Statements

On Franken's website there is the admonition "Anybody who deliberately propagandizes with lies should be held up to scorn and ridicule"[13]. Throughout his books he has held himself to "impossibly high standards" to tell the truth about those he has written about. Author Alan Skorski researched two of Franken's books (Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Lies and and the Lying Liars who Tell Them) and found an extensive pattern of lies, misstatements, factual inaccuracies, among them:

  • Accusing Ann Coulter of "lying with footnotes" by "citing a source and misrepresenting what it says"; throughout his book Skorski states that Franken has done exactly that on numerous occasions (Skorski, pg. xiii)
  • Accusing President George W. Bush of treason
  • The collision between Bush foreign policy advisor Richard Armitage and news reporter Helen Thomas, which Franken had claimed broke both her hip and jaw (Lying Liars, pg 218), but which Thomas herself said never happened (Skorski, pg 208). After this came to light, Franken later added a footnote in the paperback version of the book saying, "The Helen Thomas thing is a joke."[14]
  • Franken stated he is "often compared to Rush Limbaugh" when on the air, despite the fact that by the time he left his Air America show to run for the U.S. Senate, his radio network was reduced to just over 40 market stations as a result of severely-low ratings and ultimately bankruptcy. Limbaugh, by comparison, plays on more than 600 stations with an average daily listening audience of 22 million (Skorski, pg 303).
  • Franken claimed on his radio show (June 1, 2005) that Rush Limbaugh made up a quotation supposedly said by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which claimed Ginsburg said "replacing 'Mother's Day' and 'Father's Day' with a 'Parent's Day' should be considered...". Skorski did a Google check on Ginsburg and discovered a May 20, 2005 column from the National Review titled "Bench Warmers, Putting Judicial Nominees in Perspective, Part III"; this column cited a September, 1974 article written by Ginsburg which advocated for the creation of a "Parent's Day" to replace both Mother's and Father's Days.
  • Franken claimed John Murphy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was lying when took a pro-CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) position on PBS's Lehrer Report (July 27, 2005) stating "we've seen unemployment fall to 5.0 percent today, which is lower than it's been in decades." [15]. Skorski demonstrated that Franken took the unemployment figures under the Clinton Administration by the month (rather than by the year as the Bureau of Labor Statistics does) and willfully distorted them to make it appear that it was Murphy who was lying (Skorski, pg. 77-78).

Tax Issues

During his 2008 campaign, it was discovered that Franken had not paid state taxes in 17 states he earned money over the last four years. Franken blamed it on his accountant saying "This all really comes from one mistake, which is him not understanding that I was supposed to pay state taxes in these other states." Franken says he will pay those states now, plus interest and penalties for a total of $70,000. [16] As of March, 2009, Franken had failed to supply proof that the arrears in taxes had been paid.

Playboy Article

In 2000, Al Franken's comments appeared in a Playboy article titled "Porn-O-Rama!" He was quoted as saying that the internet is a great tool for learning and that his 12 year old son was able to do a report on bestiality for a sixth-grade assignment.

Minnesota embarrassment

Books by Franken

  • I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me! (Dell Books, 1992) (in character as Stuart Smalley)
  • Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot (Delacorte Press, 1996) (a satirical book of personal attacks on Rush Limbaugh as well as other conservatives.)
  • Why Not Me? (Delacorte Press, 1999) (a parody-journal kept through the fictional "Franken for President" campaign)
  • Oh, the Things I know! A Guide to Success, or Failing That, Happiness (Plume Books, 2003)
  • Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right (Dutton Books, 2003) (targets conservative commentators and the media, particularly Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity as well as Fox News)
  • The Truth (with jokes) (Dutton Books, 2005) (Franken's view on how George W. Bush beat John Kerry in the 2004 Election with what Al Franken calls the "Fears, Smears, and Queers strategy")

References

Links

  • Al Franken at the Internet Movie Database
  • Al Franken at National Public Radio
  • [1] Al Franken engaging in highly unbecoming behavior