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Ellison confronts King on planned Muslim investigations

Photo via Facebook
By Andy Birkey | 12.21.10

Republican Rep. Peter King of New York says he wants to hold investigations into the “radicalization” of American Muslims in his new position as chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, but Rep. Keith Ellison said on Monday that targeting one community would hamper homeland security efforts.

Bachmann’s payroll jumped 16 percent in 2009

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By Andy Birkey | 12.20.10

Rep. Michele Bachmann has been outspoken in her assertion that federal employees make double the salary of those in the private sector, but the Associated Press noted on Monday that Bachmann has increased her own payroll 16 percent between 2007 and 2009. She has called for a freeze on federal employee salaries, but the Minnesota Independent took a look at her own office and found that her employees enjoy frequent raises. But despite those increases, Bachmann has the lowest congressional payroll in the Minnesota delegation after freshman Rep. Erik Paulsen.

Anti-gay bullying continues to be a contentious issue in Anoka-Hennepin School District

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By Andy Birkey | 12.16.10

Monday night’s meeting of the Anoka-Hennepin School Board was a contentious one as the issue of bullying and suicide in the district again came up. The state’s largest school district opened an investigation into the suicides of nine students over the past year — some by students who were allegedly bullied for their sexual orientation — and said that it found no evidence that any of the nine were bullied. Students and parents criticized the district for its statement — at times the conversation devolved to shouting — while district officials said there’s not much they can do if students and parents don’t report incidents to the schools.

Reproductive rights groups anticipate tough legislative session

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By Andy Birkey | 12.16.10

Advocates for reproductive rights are concerned that new socially conservative leadership in the Minnesota Legislature could curtail those rights in the upcoming biennium. While Republicans, who’ll control both houses, say that jobs and the economy will come first, there’s little doubt that they’ll also press for restrictions on abortion within the next two years — especially with Sen. Michele Fischbach as President of the Senate. Fischbach’s husband, Scott, is the executive director of Minnesota’s largest anti-abortion group, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.


Franken cut off Lieberman on Reid’s say-so, but it wasn’t personal

By Chris Steller | 12.18.09 | 6:53 am

frankenAl Franken says he was only following orders to keep the health-care debate moving when he cut off Joe Lieberman’s speech in the U.S. Senate at the 10-minute mark.

Franken told Minnesota Public Radio that Majority Leader Harry Reid had instructed him and others taking their turns at presiding over the Senate on Thursday to hold speakers to 10 minutes:

I was presiding over the Senate and when you’re presiding you really have no choice on what to do. The Leader, the Majority Leader, is the leader of the Senate, and he gave me — gave all of us today who were presiding — instructions that no one was to speak over 10 minutes, on either side of the aisle. …

Usually you’re allowed to do this, but just today we were told not to let it happen because there’s been some attempt to string out the debate. So I really just had no choice, and Joe knew what I was doing. Joe was surprised, but later figured out what I was doing. It was just fine. …

Joe was actually speaking on an amendment to the bill that I am totally in favor of. I agreed with every word he said for the entire 10 minutes [video]. I think he probably had only, like, 30 seconds left, and I just was kind of– he didn’t take it personally at all.

Video clips of the exchange suggested Franken was sticking it to Lieberman in retribution for the Connecticut independent exploiting his swing-vote status on the pending health-care reform bill.

It seemed by his later griping that Sen. John McCain saw it that way — perhaps in light of Franken’s Senate-floor take-down of Republican John Thune on the same issue earlier in the week.

But with Franken’s explanation, Thursday’s incident appears to fall into the category of much-ado-about-something-procedural, as happened last July when U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann appeared to advance the birther cause by objecting to a resolution that recognized Hawaii as President Obama’s birthplace.


Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 8:02 am

The only reason Franken is in office is because of the 2812 votes from dead voters due to ACORN and their voter fraud campaign. Franken won by around 300 votes…. subtract that from the 2812 votes and Norm Coleman wins by 2500 votes… Democracy? I think not… SHUT UP FRANKEN… you’re not a real senator…

ed scott
Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 8:09 am


Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 8:18 am

Spineless Franken! Won’t take credit for any of his doing.
Thanks Minnesota for electing such a worm.

S Mueller
Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 8:26 am

So if the leader said to “go jump off a cliff” would Franken follow his orders? Give me a break…..this is totally out of control!!! Minnesota, I would be ashamed!!! What has happened in this country that the supposed leaders are controlling us without the PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATION? We are like sheep being led to slaughter but the “powers that be” are about to find out that they have awakened the hard working middle class (the worker bees of this country) and they are going to have to answer to us – WE THE PEOPLE!!! We are being lied to, stolen from and ignored. I need to feed my family and pay my bills – I don’t need to provide a comfortable lifestyle for the non-working poor. I can’t continue to go into debt and print money, I have to work for my money and I have to pay my bills. No one is bailing me out!! Despite what Washington thinks, being in the United States does not guarantee happiness and wealth. It only gives you the freedom to find those things for yourself. No where in the Constitution does it say that Washington can take my money to provide a happy and wealthy lifestyle for someone who refuses to work and contribute to their own well-being. Enough is enough!!!!!

Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 8:33 am


Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 8:34 am

Sure, everyone gets 10 minutes to speak on one of the most life/government/freedom changing bills in American History!

Stop the RUSH! Let people say what they have to say. This is far too important to rush things like they are. Read the bill, what has come from rushing is a mishmash of stupidity.

Tom Degan
Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 9:34 am

Al Franken is, I believe, the very type of person the Founding Fathers had in mind as the ideal public servant when they initiated this bold experiment in democratic self-government two-hundred and thirty-three years ago this Saturday: a concerned citizen who would put aside his plowshares (or in Al’s case, his Stuart Smalley costume) and head off to the nation’s capital to legislate for the people. The thing that has always struck me when reading his books (and I’ve read them all) is his almost schoolboy-like attachment to – and belief in – all that is good in this country and its potential to do better.

At the conclusion of his 2005 book, The Truth (with jokes), Al wrote a letter dated October 2, 2015 to his three, yet-to-be-born grandchildren:

“Both my parents worked hard and had to overcome adversity in their lives. Like almost everyone does. My Mom developed rheumatoid arthritis at an early age and was in constant pain most of her life. She was married on crutches. Still, she told us, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” And she didn’t. After my brother and I were old enough, she became a real estate agent. At dinner, she made sure we had meat and always – ALWAYS – a fresh vegetable. At the table she would tell us about business and things like “redlining.” Banks wouldn’t lend money to black people who wanted to buy houses in certain neighborhoods. She told us this was wrong. And that’s why your Granddad works so hard [in the Senate] to make sure that banks continue lending money to the poor, to minorities and to women, not just to buy homes, but to start businesses.”

Now that’s what I call real moral values. That’s the kind of person I wouldn’t mind representing me in the Senate (Nothing personal, Chuck). By the way, in that same letter he predicted, not only his own career in politics, but also the two-term presidency of Barack Obama. This was a year-and-a-half before Obama even announced his candidacy. How’s that for prescience? Not bad, Al! Not bad!


Tom Degan

Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 9:47 am

Steve, *Every single ballot* that got Franken in is available for review online, and was up during the recount. You guys are simply sore losers.

Franken is a powerful Senator, and actions like this will enhance his popularity and ensure that he remains Senator as long as he wants the position. He’s been daring to calling people out on their tricks — outright lies on the Senate floor, stalling tactics, disingenuous insurance industry shills. You guys got used to people letting these tactics go by unaddressed.

We’ve all had enough of your nonsense. Franken is in a position to do something about it, and he is. I’m glad this makes you sad Republicans angry, because it shows that it’s working.

Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 10:29 am

At last, somebody has stood up to that unprincipled little twerp!
Bravo, Senator Franken

Gene Linder
Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 10:37 am

Franken is an embarrassment to the Senate and certainly to the state of Minnesota. This is what happens when you elect buffoons to public office.

Bev in Oregon
Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 10:42 am

Al Franken as someone the founders would have approved? I think NOT, Al Franken is a disgusting, rude, socialist and we have all become accustomed to the politics of Minnesota…..no one is surprised at any ridiculous twaddle that comes out of your state. First Ventura and now Franken…..nice going people!

Al declares that he would continue to make sure that people who can not afford them get even more loans……really, I think Al should be required to “guarantee” any loans that might even be suspected to be “iffy”. I wonder how long his support would last then!

S Mueller
Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 11:07 am

After reading the idiotic comments by the Franken followers, a light dawned for me! I now understand why my niece and her husband (a native of the state) couldn’t wait to get out of the “stupidity that is Minnesota” – their words not mine!!!

Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

It was a thrill to see somebody check Leiberman!
Very impressed with Minnesota’s Senator Franken, and I live in Florida!
All the Best,

Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

After reading the shrill comments from the anti-Franken side, I am stuck by just how personal the attacks are. The do nothing to address the work he has been doing for the state, all they are is people screaming “I don’t like him”.

Let’s some up some of the comments:
he is a bafoon” – really? Then why is he scoring suck political points?
He is a socialist” – this us here nor there, we have had a great deal of socialists in our government, the oft quoted Jefferson was what we would call today a socialist.
“rude” – perhaps but, you want someone to resond to dishonesty and lies in a blunt and direct way, call it being rude or offensive, but I find it more offensive that some senators try to pass BS off as fact.

To address the whole ACORN debate, there is ZERO evidence of voter fraud. The only, ONLY complaints have been with vote registration fraud, and again this has been linked to indeviduals only. As already pointed out all the ballots and who voted have been public since the recount, it is simple dishonesty to make claims of fraud with out zany basis in fact.

Larry Linn
Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

Gee! Franken wants to make the Senate more productive, and enforces the protocal. Meanwhile Liberman and McCain want to babble on not supporting people with Alheimers, or something else that they forgot about. This should not bother McCain, the taxpayers have paid for his healthcare all of his life, as well as his father, and his grandfather. He is someone that has lived off the taxpayer since he was concieved. Lieberman, he does not know what he wants, other than to satisfy his indecisive ego.

MR Olson
Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

My mother’s family hails from Minnesota and I am ashamed to have Franken represent the state. Mo manners, no respect, no dignity. He does not represent the values I was raised on; I look on in horror at his plans, proposals and his blind following of Reid and the libbie party.
And to you, Larry Linn, are you a veteran of the US Army? Each member of the service deserves care when they are discharged, especially if they are wounded in combat. That includes Senator McCain.

Louise Johnston
Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

Thank you for Al Franken. Forget the Rush/Beck trolls on here , you really did elect a decent man.

Louise Johnston Northern Kentucky

Comment posted December 18, 2009 @ 9:01 pm

Larry Linn,
Franken did the same thing Lieberman was trying to do here

Does that mean that Franken doesn’t want the senate to be productive? give me a break

Comment posted December 19, 2009 @ 1:54 am

what a tool that franken. I mean no respect for the debate of such an important issue!

Comment posted December 19, 2009 @ 2:28 am

Al Franken is an excellent senator. Thank you for electing him, Minnesota!

Sheila Towers
Comment posted December 19, 2009 @ 5:37 am

Franken is a junior senator who, when given some chance at authority, chose to be the jerk he has always been, that’s all. Lack of common sense on his part to deny Lieberman, a long term and very well respected member of the Senate by both Democrats and Republicans, a gracious send-off. He could have just said, “You have one more minute, Senator.”, and the entire issue would have been avoided; but then, Franken would have had to posses brains and finesse, something he absolutely lacks.
For him to say, after his grand-statement blew up on his face, that he was following Reid’s instructions reiterates his lack of common sense and personal initiative.

He’s nothing but a comedian. At least as a comedian he could be as rude and tasteless as he wanted to be!

Comment posted December 19, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

Still waiting for a Franken detractor to post a reason why he deserves to be called the names mentioned here without being petty or subjective.

“Mo manners, no respect, no dignity”

No obligation to kiss Lieberman’s behind and ignore rules. Try again.

“SHUT UP FRANKEN… you’re not a real senator…”

Football my be stretching your limits, pal. Got any reality-based concerns?

Comment posted December 19, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

Are the citizens of Minnesota retarded or what. You elected this Frankenstein to office. What were you thinking? Can we possibly trade the state of Minnesota for Yemen? At least they are focused on being terrorists. Just an Ohioan that thinks Minnesota should be kicked out of the union.

Norman Krandall
Comment posted December 19, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

Note that Franken’s cutoff of Liberman was was characterized by John McCain as something as something he had never seen before. Except that the 2002 Congressional Quarterly indicates that McCain cutoff Senator Dayton in the same way. Memory is selective.

Comment posted December 19, 2009 @ 10:44 pm

In McCain’s case memory is fleeting.

Comment posted December 20, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

what a contrast in how Congress works. When Republicans ran things, senior Republicans and lobbyists met, wrote bills that others were not invited to influence

now, Republicans – who claim they’re ignored – have spoken at length and offered successful amendments to health care reform legislation pending ……

but some people just can’t be satisfied – they get a 10 minute speaking limit, and they have to grab more

Lieberman sold out the American public to insurers. I’m glad his remarks, though favored by Franken, lasted his full 10 minutes and no more.

too bad there are so many people who practice hating Franken – he’s been a model of decorum and informed representation since he joined the Senate.

Some of the Franken-haters ought put it on pause for a bit. It’s not healthy to hate so much

Comment posted December 21, 2009 @ 10:34 am

Thanks, NK. It’s amazing how many people just hop on the crazy train and run with inaccurate information without researching anything. Senator McCain did the same thing during the debate on the Iraq invasion. Sheesh. As a retired teacher I hate seeing people so influenced by propaganda that their brains stop operating properly. I also hate seeing people who, when confronted with the truth, resort to using ad hominem attacks as a way of justifying and reconciling their erroneous positions.

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