Daily Glean: Franken’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch: dumbest controversy ever

Republicans are mad Al Franken had a hand in “Saturday Night Live’s” opening sketch this weekend lampooning John McCain for approving ever-more-deceitful campaign messages. The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger and the Associated Press make it sound pretty innocent: Franken had an idle chat with SNL boss Lorne Michaels, and head writer Seth Meyers jumped on it as a sketch. But the Strib’s Patricia Lopez wonders why Frankenites had to steadily backpedal on initial flat denials Sunday.

More SNL: I suppose the “coverup” is worse than the “crime,” but the weekend’s funniest line comes from Norm Coleman spokester Cullen Sheehan, who ripped Franken for “helping attack the next president of the United States.” Of course, Sheehan’s boss was a member of a 2004 GOP “Truth Squad” that ripped John Kerry during the 2004 Democratic National Convention. So if you lambast without jokes, well, that’s great! Simply put, this moronic argument should earn Coleman’s folks a good laughing-at.

Finally, on SNL: New City Pages blogger Emily Kaiser says the skit was a snooze, but while Darryl Hammonds’ McCain impression is one of his worst, I found a few laughs in the writing, and more than a whiff of truth given McCain’s now-infamous anti-Obama sex ed ad. Again, don’t elevate satire’s outrageousness over outrages against the truth.

Another sign Minnesota is definitely a swing state now: Barack Obama is pulling his 50 field organizers from North Dakota and redeploying them to Minnesota and Wisconsin, AP’s Dale Wetzel reports. North Dakota has swung red after Sarah Palin’s V.P. nod.

Another North Minneapolis dwelling exploded after its copper pipes were ripped out, KARE’s Julianna Olson reports. The Strib’s Chao Xiong says one neighbor was thrown several feet. The vacant fourplex, likely in foreclosure, produced quite a pancaking. One interesting facet from Xiong: the neighbor, at a pay phone, was told to call city info line 311 but needed 50 cents she didn’t have. Sure, 911 might’ve been a better choice, but shouldn’t 311 calls be free, too?

A “small amount” of the herbicide Atrazine was found in the BWCA and 90 percent of sampled state lakes, the Strib’s David Shaffer reports. That indicates the omnipresent chemical is “spread vast distances by wind and rain,” since farming is “nowhere near” the BWCA; river runoff is of course also a possibility. The parts-per-trillion readings are considered well below human health risks, but has been linked to frog deformities. An EPA panel is reviewing that last link.

The Strib’s Laurie Blake offers a nice roundup on the fitful struggle to recycle food waste. Counties are inconsistently pushing compostable pickups to hit 50-percent recycling targets. Hennepin County is only halfway to a low target. Organics collection costs more upfront and limits contractors, and there’s a yuck factor for consumers. While Minnetonka rates are puny, 75 percent of Wayzata households participate. Wayzata’s sanitation contractor was so impressed he offered it in other towns.

MPR’s Dan Olson says foreclosures have pushed up rental rates, and more folks are paying above the recommended 30 percent of income for housing. Says one social service organizer, “I have never seen … people working so hard and making so little and still not making it.”

Interesting piece from the PiPress’ Bob Shaw on local churches pursuing “GLBT certification.” The third-party nod establishes them as a place that welcomes non-heteros. While some conservative churches decry the anointment, 3,100 congregations nationwide have signed up. They say they need to prove their commitment in order to attract parishioners and clergy. Apparently, earning certification does not mean you have to sign off on gay marriage.

MPR’s Tom Robertson discusses efforts to pass a $300 million sales tax increase to benefit habitat and arts. About 200 organizations are part of the “yes” effort, but a month-old MPR poll shows 72 percent of voters opposed.

Combining cute-kid and cute-animal stories, the PiPress presents multimedia on a Burnsville 11-year-old’s attempt to keep his backyard chickens.

Nort spews: The Vikings D showed some pluck as Minnesota beat Carolina 20-10; Antoine Winfield’s crushing hit on Jake Delhomme, followed by Delhomme’s fumble and Winfield’s TD rumble, tied the score. Sore Loser here. The Twins remain 2.5 back after Francisco Liriano’s 4-1 gem over Tampa. If the Twins sweep Chicago beginning Tuesday, they’ll have the division lead; even one loss would put them 1.5 games out with three to play. Sore Loser here and here.

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by John Olson on 09/23/2008 - 08:43 am.

    The problem Paul is that we have an economy that is in deep trouble along with an unpopular war and our democratic Senate candidate is spending his time writing skits?!?!?!

    If we elect Al Franken, does that mean he will be writing satire from the Senate floor instead of paying attention to the debates or business at hand?

    Here comes the big, fat curveball….right over the plate….

  2. Submitted by Paul Scott on 09/23/2008 - 10:18 am.

    Earnest earnest earnest — it must get so tiring!
    No jokes! Everyone got that? There is Important Business at Hand!

    My guess is that joke writing is a foreign language to the GOP, and thus the field is not level if everyone does not agree to lob tedious, fake ominous, unintentionally humorous negative advertising about the other candidate’s Character, or Style, or god forbid, accounting slips. How’s that been working out for us?

    All the Franken sketch did was point this out, and I found it to be a very Senatorial activity, one which I would be proud to have my Senator Franken doing as my representative in Washington. You change society (and laws) through culture just as much as sitting atop some hearing dais…which as we know, every doofus can do.

  3. Submitted by Keith Lewis on 09/23/2008 - 10:11 am.

    I don’t care if Franken was involved in the skit or not. I care about the real issues in this race. The economy, the war, taxes. What I want to know is why Franken doesn’t think he has to pay taxes like the rest of us. .


    This video says it all.

  4. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 09/23/2008 - 01:51 pm.


    Too hot for YouTube! NBC’s Palin ‘incest’ video yanked
    Viewers, bloggers say ‘joke’ was ‘over the top’
    Posted: September 22, 2008
    By Joe Kovacs

  5. Submitted by Paul Scott on 09/22/2008 - 08:40 pm.

    What in the good lord’s name is wrong with Franken making fun of McCain? The Coleman people are like actors in a bad play, trying to look earnest all the time, to the point of ridiculousness. Your title for this post was perfect. You know, I think the Coleman people are just in this terrible tailspin of manic defense, unable to admit that if we had a US Senator who could make a phone call and nail the opening sketch for the most influential political parody show in the western hemisphere, that would be, you know, kind of COOL…

  6. Submitted by Ed Stych on 09/23/2008 - 06:39 am.

    I’m glad to see that the Washington Post is starting to be more fair on this issue:


  7. Submitted by John Olson on 09/22/2008 - 05:18 pm.

    When this is all over (and it will not be soon enough), someone will be able to do a skit (or several) on how not to run a Senate campaign, featuring Al Franken.

    The Franken candidacy has been a farce from the outset, and it amazes me that the polling continues to be as somewhat close as it is.

  8. Submitted by Tim Hayes on 09/22/2008 - 01:12 pm.


    The past episode of SNL also lampooned the NYT and their perceived biases against Sarah Palin. It was quite funny, yet I don’t see supporters of McCain/Palin discussing that one…

  9. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/22/2008 - 01:23 pm.

    Obama may have “turned negative,” but only in response to the daily lies spewed forth as TV ads by the McCain-Palin bunch.

    Ruth Marcus (Washington Post 09/21) references the FactCheck info mentioned in the above comment. She, however, does not understand the Social Security privatization effort UNDER WAY BY THE FAR RIGHT FOR ALMOST A DECADE and does not know that all current seniors know it will not affect them. Private accounts will weaken Social Security by reducing its income AND reduce future retirees’ income by whatever amounts the financial services companies withhold from deposits to manage the accounts AND reduce income significantly for anyone who retires in a year like 2008. In addition, the retirement income will be in the form of an annuity until the money runs out — which might well be before unlucky recipients die. The right’s overall goal: The death of every New Deal program and a return to the golden age when William McKinley was in charge.

    See, for instance, http://www.csssm.org and http://www.mnseniors.org.

  10. Submitted by Ed Stych on 09/22/2008 - 04:29 pm.

    I’m glad to see there is agreement that Obama has turned negative. His negativity and his misleading ads shows that he’s just another politician in a high-stakes, high-dollar battle. Negative ads work, and that’s why politicians use them when their backs are against the wall. Let’s stop pretending that Obama is above the fray.

    Good point by Tim on SNL taking a small stab at the NYT. I think it was Mr. Swift who pointed out last week that we don’t need an SNL skit to be constantly amused by the NYT or the Strib. My wife and I are both recovering journalists, and the mainstream media gives us our share of laughs each week. And now my son is studying to be a journalist. WHAT IS HE THINKING?!?! … … Maybe I can convince him to be a sports reporter …

    Actually, I might have stayed in the business if I could have had a job like Brauer. It looks like a lot of fun!

  11. Submitted by Ed Stych on 09/22/2008 - 11:55 am.

    Regardless whether the “controversy” over the Franken SNL skit is dumb or not, why are journalists and comics picking only on McCain and the GOP in regards to exaggerating claims in their ads?

    Take a look at FactCheck (http://www.factcheck.org), a group that claims to be non-partisan and picks on both parties. The three most recent items have to do with Obama’s misleading or false ads.

    If journalists are going to pick on McCain for misleading ads … and that is certainly deserved … then fair journalists are going to remind people that Obama is equally as guilty, if not more so.

    Once Obama’s big polling leads evaporated, he turned negative, and his ads have largely been negative and misleading. Just another politician.

  12. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/22/2008 - 12:27 pm.

    Despite the liberal media’s desperate spin and Team Franken’s willingness to lie, I think that most Minnesota voters can easily see the many, many problems with Franken’s continued relationship with SNL; to say nothing of his continued reliance on mendacity.

    Of course they’ll cling to any shred of hope they may find, but at this point even die-hard lefty’s have to realize that Norm Coleman will be seated for another 6 years.

    I cannot wait to see what contorted bit of logic the they comes up with to blame Al’s train wreck of a campaign on the GOP now that George Bush is no longer a viable boogie-man.

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