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Poll: 33 percent of Minnesotans say Franken should resign from U.S. Senate

Sen. Al Franken
MinnPost file photo by Jana Freiband
Sen. Al Franken

Ouch. A KSTP/Survey USA poll says, “In less than a week since sexual harassment allegations were leveled against Minnesota Senator Al Franken, his approval rating has plummeted and many Minnesotans say he should resign, according to an exclusive KSTP/SurveyUSA poll. In a poll conducted Monday night after allegations from a second woman were made public, only 22 percent of 600 Minnesotans surveyed said he should remain in office. Another 33 percent say he should resign, while 36 percent say he should wait for results of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.”

The booksellers are mostly sticking by him, though. At Publisher’s Weekly, Claire Kirch writes, “All Minnesota booksellers who responded to PW said they are taking a wait-and-see attitude with Franken and his book, which has been selling well in the state. ‘Giant of the Senate’ was also featured in this year’s Midwest Independent Booksellers Association holiday catalog, which recently was distributed to the 125 bookstore members of the organization. … ‘We’ve already had customers stop by and commiserate,’ said Judith Kissner, owner of Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge, Minn., which has sold 300 copies of Giant of the Senate. ‘I am stocking it as I would any other book, especially since it’s in our holiday catalog.’”

Inch by inch. An AP story says, “State officials have announced $26 million in grants to expand high-speed internet access in Greater Minnesota. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and the Department of Employment and Economic Development announced the 2017 Border-to-Border Broadband Grant recipients Tuesday. The latest grants go to 39 broadband infrastructure projects across Minnesota aimed at providing access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.” Someday it’ll be the 21st century everywhere in the state.

Cafeteria controversy. Says Tim Nelson at MPR, “Reports that school cafeteria workers are taking lunches from kids who can't afford them has some children's advocates calling for change. Jill Haggerty, a mother in Stewartville in southeastern Minnesota, said her kids in middle and high school reported seeing lunches taken from classmates and the food dumped in metal buckets in front of them earlier this month. … Haggerty said she got similar reports multiple times, and that a school food service worker confirmed the practice when she called. Haggerty called it ‘very disturbing.’”

Kindergartners with guns. The AP reports: “A kindergartner from north central Wisconsin is among the first youngsters to bag a buck under the state’s new law that eliminates the state’s minimum hunting age. Six-year-old Lexie Harris is no stranger to the woods. Her dad, Tyler Harris, has taken her hunting since she was 3. But, it wasn’t until Gov. Scott Walker signed the law on Nov. 12 that Lexie could legally shoot a deer. Harris has taught his daughter how to shoot with a youth rifle and has attached a smartphone to the scope to make it easier to see her target.”

One benefit of the Wisconsin's law: kids who are well-prepared for zombies: For the Forum News Service, Beth Leipholtz says: “A hypothetical zombie apocalypse is to blame for recent controversy at Parkers Prairie High School in west-central Minnesota. A teacher gave ninth-grade geography students an assignment that Principal Carey Johnson initially said is part of a nationally recognized curriculum called Zombie-Based Learning. One of the questions asked students to choose three people to sacrifice during a zombie apocalypse and explain why they were chosen. The assignment from teacher angered some parents of ninth-graders.”

Speaking of the apocalypse, FiveThirtyEight is talking about the Vikings' playoff chances. Daniel Levitt writes, “The offensive resurgence has been led by a pair of players who could easily not even be in the league: Quarterback Case Keenum and wide receiver Adam Thielen both entered the NFL as undrafted free agents. Since Week 6, the two have been among the top players at their positions and have helped Minnesota reel off five straight wins to improve to 8-2. Minnesota now holds a 90 percent chance of making the postseason, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions.” As a lifelong fan, I’m trying to protect my sanity by taking the low expectations route.

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Comments (14)

Not to worry

“…Someday it’ll be the 21st century everywhere in the state.” Conservatives in greater Minnesota needn't worry about being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. The Republican-dominated FCC is about to eliminate "net neutrality," which pretty much guarantees that less-affluent residents of greater Minnesota will have the worst internet speed and access possible while still allowing ISP's to claim, with a straight face, that yes, they're providing their customers with "high-speed" web access.

It's not a free lunch

If the kid is not on some subsidized plan and takes a lunch the lunch should be taken away form him or her. Sanitation demands you toss it after that. Let the kid keep the free lunch and the next day they'll be back for another. It is stealing and the kid knows better. In a big school it is impossible for the lunchroom workers to know the paying status of all the kids and you don't pay till after you take your food. So the kid gets to the register with no money. In any other public setting you would take away what the customer couldn't pay for.

My school district, 281, lets parents preload a lunchroom account with money and monitor it online. If the kids qualified for free or reduced price lunch that is one thing, but a kid taking a lunch he or his parents can pay for but refuse to, that is a problem. Better to toss the food and deliver a lesson that will eventually sink in with the cheaters.

Except for one thing

Your "hypotheticals" appear to be just that....that isn't what appears to be happening.

There are countries that

There are countries that provide free lunches for ALL students or at least for all elementary school students.

That reduces the stigma of being "on welfare."

And Get off my Lawn!

Why would you penalize a child because her parents forget to pay?

Why humiliate children in the guise of teaching them a lesson?

Lunch

"and the next day they'll be back for another."

Yes, another lunch. The kid will want to eat lunch again. Every single day.

"It is stealing and the kid knows better"

Again, we are talking about lunch. School lunch. Not candy or video games or whatever kids steal these days. Lunch. Food. One of the meals kids need every day.

Two kids get in line to eat lunch. One has parents that can afford his lunch. The other has parents who can't or otherwise didn't pay for the lunch. Why is that the second kid's fault. You are calling the kid a thief because of his parents.

What is wrong with people?

How about as a general societal policy

We pay school taxes sufficient for every kid to be offered some lunch. It seems the most cost-efficient way possible to ensure that kids in poverty get something decent to eat and aren't prevented by their hunger from paying attention in class. Families that can afford to pay can pay, online or otherwise. Most will. If some freeload, so be it. I expect most families with sufficient means will exercise some control over what their kids are eating by sending a lunch, anyway.

The lesson is that in a community, we all make sure everyone gets something to eat. I think that's a better lesson than if you or your parents don't have the cash, you can go starve.

Can we have a little literacy please?

Eighty percent of Democrats are of the view that Franken should stay or that we should wait to learn the facts. The latter is not an unsupportive position. I support Franken highly and I think that finding the facts is a sensible course (in fact a rather essential one, as an overall posture toward the deluge of claims that we as a society are about to experience). Only 14 percent favor that he resign. In fact this is a surprisingly low figure given the media portrayal, and should be reassuring to Franken.

The overall number, of course, reflects an equal share of Republicans, 61 percent of whom say Franken should resign, as though that reflects reasoned deliberation about anything. Even including Republicans, 58% percent of those surveyed are of the view that Franken should not bend to the unthinking, media-driven push for his resignation. Of Independents, half of whom, we should assume, are Republicans except in name, 62 percent say Franken should not resign to only 30 percent who say he should.

The additional poll question of whether Franken will be “effective” if he remains in office is non-sensical. More than anything, it is a question about how much folks think the media coverage will hurt him, regardless of what the facts of the matter actually turn out to have been. It helps build a push for his resignation from those who support him but ruefully conclude that he has been damaged by the coverage and an uncritical rush to judgment.

Mob Rule

Major media outlets have actually had very little coverage on this about Franken. Probably goes with the party affiliation that these polls have on the many in elected office. That we see Dems wanting harsher punishment on Repubs and vice versa and let mob rule dictate the story. Hardly anyone is talking about due process for anyone. It's like dealing with angry parents at a kid's sporting event. Even though there is a convincing picture of Franken, and I have never liked him in any capacity, he needs to be afforded his side of the story before any rush to judgment as we should with anyone.

Little coverage?

Every time I have tuned into a local or national news broadcast in the last week I have seen coverage of the Franken situation. This portion of your comment is complete fallacy.

Lunch is only the tip of the iceberg.

I tutored in St. Paul middle schools for a number of years, ending with last year. Children from lower income homes face a number of challenges every year. Not all qualify for free meals but their parents may be unable or unwilling to keep a lunch account funded every day. That's not the child's fault but it's the child that pays the price.

I've seen one school refuse to issue textbooks to a student because a book wasn't returned at the end of the last school year and his parent(s) had not paid for it. It was not until I raised a bit of hell that the school entered into an agreement with the 13 year old child under which he would assume responsibility for the debt and make small payments against it, that his textbooks were issued. This didn't happen until months into the school year.

I've heard a number of rationales for depriving these children of food, textbooks, or other opportunities at school. I've found none of them convincing, for the simple reason that they are not responsible for family finances. If we want them to learn, they have to be fed and equipped with textbooks (iPads today, it seems). If we aren't going to commit to that, then we may as well send them home.

Only a bully would take a

Only a bully would take a child's lunch and dump it flamboyantly into a metal can in front of all those other kids.

On the other hand, a school would actually have to talk to parents who don't keep a child's lunch card funded every day, to find out what's going on. That would be an effort, it would be private, with the people in control of the situation. Not a public "shaming" of a child.

Anyone who advocates for such "shaming" of a hungry child is a bully.

At some point the overhead isn't worth it

The school district is currently paying for access to accounting software so everyone can load $$ into their child's account. The child typically does not have access to the account so they don't know if the account has money at any given time. A kid on reduced lunch costs 40 cents a day. Paying someone to make the transaction at the end of the line is typically $15/hour. Then there are the costs of the accounting software. Some districts are charging a $1.95 transaction fee (St Anthony was one example) to use the PayPAMS software. I haven't been able to find what the district is charged or if it is all covered by user fees.

If the parent doesn't pay you have a school administrator making $30/hour plus benefits calling on the phone to try to get the parent to pay. If that fails, the bills are sent to collection agencies. I would assume an accountant audits the books occasionally as well.

In a 180 day school year the maximum lunch bill for a reduced lunch student is $72. How long before all the overhead collecting the money adds up to more than $72? Many Minneapolis and St. Paul schools are > 90% free and reduced lunch rates and the state rate is 37%. Districts with high rates of free/reduced lunch could conceivably MAKE money by letting all the kids eat school lunch and eliminating the accounting.

Yes, and that would be the same people who didn't vote for him.

Since Franken won the last election with 54% of the vote, this means he still has high approval ratings. Depending on who the respondents were (i.e. voters or general population) This would mean that a greater percentage of Minnesotans think Franken should stay in office than actually voted for him.