Is Al Franken Running for the Senate in the Wrong State?

Apparently, some political enemies have brought up a record of Al Franken making a joke about rape in 1995 on an SNL set. I have said before on this blog regarding an Onion satire and I firmly believe that rape is not something that we ever should joke about.

Now we ask, Is that it? Is that all the opponents have? I'm assuming it is. Franken is known far and wide as a squeaky clean, upright and moral man.

However he is running in Minnesota where most folks have a hard time understanding when something is sarcastic or even when something is an outright joke.

I ought to know because I taught at the University of Minnesota for many years, sometimes to large lecture classes. After trying humor on my students for a while and getting little or no response, I came into class one day with a little sign that said on one side, "Joke" and on the other side, "Laugh." The students could not sense my humor -- so I stuck it in their faces. And then somehow it started to work. My courses were recognized for years as rich in content, demanding in work, and funny too.

So the question is not whether Franken is prepared to serve in the Senate. No, the question is whether Franken is electable in a state where many of the residents have little or no developed sense of humor.

That my friends is a real problem for him.

From the StarTribune blog:

Klobuchar on Franken/Coleman

by Mark Brunswick

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar stepped off the podium of the DFL state convention and into a firestorm of questions about her position on Al Franken and his writings, which have inflamed some women and other feminists on both sides of the aisle.

Klobuchar, who left the convention quickly to tour the closed Winona bridge, said she believed Franken was not fatally damaged by the revelations and expected him to address the issue more publicly on Saturday.

Said Klobuchar:

“I found his past writings, some of them, entirely inappropriate. He needs to take this on more upfront and more directly. We will be heading into tomorrow where he’ll be addressing it in a more public way. He’s been married to Franni, his wife, for over 30 years, he loves his family and he loves his country and he cares about the issues and that’s what people need to focus on. But, unfortunately, because this has been boiling up for the last week I think he needs to address this more directly.”

Klobuchar, who has made no endorsement in the Senate race, said she has spoken to Franken and urged him to be more publicly forthcoming.

“Every candidate makes mistakes along the way. Things happen along the way and you have to explain them and that’s what people want to hear. He understands his writings offended people and he regrets that. He’s going to have to bring them along and I think he has the capacity to do that.”

Will she support him if there is a primary? “I’m going to make a decision after the convention.”

On another matter, Klobuchar took no direct shots at the senior senator from Minnesota, Republican Norm Coleman, during a speech to delegates, choosing instead to paint a picture of the importance of a Democratic majority in the Senate.

“My message is we need to get more Democrats. We have a 51-vote margin on the war. My whole speech was setting the stage for why we need change in Washington and that includes the Senate race in Minnesota. He has been identified with George Bush, I think we need change and that’s why we need a Democratic senator.”


Satine said...

Enhorabuena por el blog, mis felicitaciones por la victoria de Obama, todos esperamos, que sea el nuevo presidente de EEUU. Porque vuestro presidente toma decisiones que nos afecta al resto del mundo.

Kisses. Bye¡¡ from Spain Europe

John D. Enright said...

Tzvee said "Franken is known far and wide as a squeaky clean, upright and moral man."


From the Wikipedia article on Al Franken:
"New York state officials stated Al Franken Inc. failed to carry workers' compensation insurance for employees from 2002 to 2005. Franken paid the $25,000 fine to the state of New York upon being advised his corporation was out of compliance with the state's workers compensation laws.

The California Franchise Tax Board reported the same corporation owes more than $4,743.40 in taxes, fines and associated penalties in the state of California for the years from 2003 through 2007 because the corporation did not file tax returns in the state for those years. A Franken spokesman said that it followed the advice of an accountant who believed when the corporation stopped doing business in California that no further filing was required.

However, Republicans say that Franken made 32 public appearances between 2003 - 2007, including two on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno taped in Burbank, Calif., for which Franken would have been paid the standard union fee as a member of the Screen Actors Guild. On April 29, 2008, Franken released a statement noting that he will pay about $70,000 in back income taxes in 17 states dating to 2003. Most of the income at issue was from speeches and other paid appearances by the comedian-turned candidate, who said he got bad advice from his accountant, who told him to pay income tax only in his state of residence. Franken will seek retroactive credit from the states where he paid income tax that should have been paid in these 17 states."

John D. Enright said...

BTW, this is a translation of satine's comment:

Congratulations on your blog, my congratulations on the victory of Obama, we all hope, [that he] is the new U.S. president. Because your president makes decisions that affect us the rest of the world."

Literally, another country heard from.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Al paid his taxes but to the wrong states. So yes, really!

Wow, muchas gracias, our thanks to Satine.

John D. Enright said...

You must have missed this part:
"New York state officials stated Al Franken Inc. failed to carry workers' compensation insurance for employees from 2002 to 2005."

Here's what he says he stands for:
"I’m a fair trader. I’ll insist that our trade agreements include enforceable labor, safety, and environmental standards."

Typical barking moonbat who stands up to workers - so long as he doesn't have to pay for insurance. This reminds me of Gore's energy consumption.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

I don't see your point. What workers?

John D. Enright said...

What's the point? He's a hypocrite who refused to protect his own employees by paying for insurance required by law, while at the same time, ranting against corporate American as exploiters of workers.
"According to public records, Alan Franken Inc., had at one time up to 17 employees and that an existing workers' compensation policy had 'run out.'

"During a U.S. Senate debate . . . on September 30, 2007, Franken said 'I'm a corporation, I employ a bunch of people.' "

And just how did this happen, you may ask? This is from Startribune.com:
"According to Brian Keegan, a spokesman for the Workers' Compensation Board, New York officials began looking into the Franken corporation after a standard check of employers found that Alan Franken Inc. was not insuring employees for workers' compensation as required by state law.

According to state records, the New York Department of Labor found that the corporation had from one to six people working for it between February 2003 and August 2005, and as many as 17 in October 2005, Keegan said.

Those workers were classified as 'independent artists, writers or performers,' requiring their employer to cover them for workers' compensation, Keegan said.

The Workers' Compensation Board began sending Franken notices in April 2005 after discovering that the insurance hadn't been paid for nearly three years.

Officials first sought an explanation. Receiving no response, they sent a penalty notice to Franken in June 2005 that outlined rights to appeal.

The state then turned to a collection agency to reach Franken. When that didn't work, the state tried again in July 2006. Penalty statements were sent in August and December of 2006 and March 2007, Keegan said.

The judgment was finally entered against Franken in May 2007, and another notice sent by certified mail to his Manhattan apartment. Since then, Keegan said, three more statements have been sent -- the most recent in January -- without response.

The Frankens bought a townhouse in Minneapolis in April 2005. Barr said that the corporation relocated to Minneapolis in January 2006.

Alan Franken Inc. appears in New York records one other time, when it failed to pay withholding taxes for July 1996. A lien against the corporation was filed in Nassau County in June 1997 for $2,948.30, and the case was closed a short time later, said Tom Bergin, a spokesman with the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

what is your point? that he owes some money? No employees are complaining that he exploited them! Silly.

John D. Enright said...

If you still say that you don't understand, I have to say that you are intellectually and morally dishonest.

Why won't you admit that Al is a hypocrite; that he broke the law; that he evaded responsibility for insuring his employees; that he only attempted to correct the matter after becoming a candidate for office.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

no not at all a hypocrite. i do not know the details of the employment issues and even if he was deliberate and that resulted in exploitation (which as far as i can tell is not the case) - a single violation does not make a person a hypocrite. you read the gospels and know that the pharisees have to wear broad phylacteries every day to qualify as hypocrites and a brood of vipers. whoops i am not saying that you are a christian calling a jew a hypocrite here - that is not my intention.

John D. Enright said...

So, a continuous series of refusals to obtain worker's comp insurance over several years and a complete disregard of all official notices of the deficiency is a SINGLE instance of non-compliance? What? You're simply, well, simple!

You said "whoops i am not saying that you are a christian calling a jew a hypocrite here - that is not my intention." You're also full of BS. You could have erased that bigoted remark before posting your comment but you didn't; you posted it anyway. Just like a lib; play the race card; the gender card; the religion card. AH.