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Al Franken

  • American politician
  • Born May 21, 1951

Alan Stuart Franken (born May 21, 1951) is an American politician, comedian, media personality, and author who served as a United States senator from Minnesota from 2009 to 2018. He became well known in the 1970s and 1980s as a staff writer and performer on the television comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). After decades as a comedic actor and writer, he became a prominent liberal political activist, hosting The Al Franken Show on Air America Radio. Franken was first elected to the United States Senate in 2008 as the nominee of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL, an affiliate of the Democratic Party), defeating incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman by 312 votes out of nearly three million cast (a margin of less than 0.01%).


Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.




I do personal attacks only on people who specialize in personal attacks.




Veterans report that service dogs help break their isolation. People will often avert their eyes when they see a wounded veteran. But when the veteran has a dog, the same people will come up and say, 'Hi' to pet the dog and then strike up a conversation.




I've never understood why we would want to deny all the joys - and the challenges - of marriage to anyone. Which is why I think any loving, committed couple - gay or straight - should be able to get married.




I think the Internet has developed at this incredibly rapid pace because of net neutrality, because of the free nature of it, because a YouTube can start the way YouTube started.




I think Hell exists on Earth. It's a psychological state, or it can be a physical state. People who have severe mental illness are in Hell. People who have lost a loved one are in Hell. I think there are all kinds of different hells. It's not a place you go to after you die.




We owe an historic debt to American Indians. They have a unique set of concerns that haven't been addressed, and I'd like to stand with them. Also, I'd like to get their views on immigration.




I'm sure I've devoted enough thought to Rush Limbaugh for one lifetime.




Yeah, we shot ourselves in the foot right out of the gate. The guy who ran it at first misled pretty much everybody about how much capital we had. He said we had enough to go three years without making money, and we had enough to go three weeks.




Most Americans don't think about antitrust law when they look at their cable bill, flip channels on TV, or worry about what their favorite website knows about them. But they should.




I listen to NPR when I listen to the radio, but I don't listen to the radio that much. You know, I listen to Garrison Keillor, I listen to 'Prairie Home Companion.'




Comedy to the Senate? Well, there certainly hasn't been a satirist or a political satirist who's done that. So, that really was uncharted territory during the campaign. But I think it's a good thing. Some people thought that it was an odd career arc, but to me it made absolute sense.




I'm the New York Jew who actually grew up in Minnesota.




There's no comparison between NPR and the propaganda that you hear from Rush or from Sean Hannity, the news movement conservatives that are just laying out, slathering out the disinformation and the lies, as I discuss in my book, 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.'




We need to be pro-science; we have to go back to science.




The point is that there is tremendous hypocrisy among the Christian right. And I think that Christian voters should start looking at global warming and extreme poverty as a religious issue that speaks to the culture of life.




At 'SNL,' I wrote political stuff, but I never felt the show should have an axe to grind. But when I left in '95, I could let my own beliefs out.




The Founders who crafted our Constitution and Bill of Rights were careful to draft a Constitution of limited powers - one that would protect Americans' liberty at all times - both in war, and in peace.




I'm from the Vietnam generation. I didn't serve.




My daughter became a teacher right out of college.




I'm a bit of a shill for the Clinton Administration, which has its perks. I'm invited to all the inaugural balls.




But in the right-wing media, they do have a right-wing bias. And they also have an agenda. So their agenda is: we're an adjunct of the Republican Party, and we're going push that agenda every day, and, as you say, brand these stories that help further the right-wing cause.




National security laws must protect national security. But they must also protect the public trust and preserve the ability of an informed electorate to hold its government to account.




To ask whether the mainstream media has a conservative or liberal bias is like asking whether al-Qaida uses too much oil in their hummus. It's - I think they might use too much oil in their hummus - but it's the wrong question.




The institutions that we've built up over the years to protect our individual privacy rights from the government don't apply to the private sector. The Fourth Amendment doesn't apply to corporations. The Freedom of Information Act doesn't apply to Silicon Valley. And you can't impeach Google if it breaks its 'Don't be evil' campaign pledge.




For 35 years, I was a writer. I wrote a lot of jokes. Some of them weren't funny. Some of them weren't appropriate. Some of them were downright offensive. I understand that.




It's hard for a liberal to go on between Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, because it's like doing country music after hip-hop. I mean, just, the audience doesn't go from one to the other.




If you use Facebook - as I do - Facebook in all likelihood has a unique digital file of your face, one that can be as accurate as a fingerprint and that can be used to identify you in a photo of a large crowd.




It is my fondest wish that in the fullness of time, the American people will look back on the Franken presidency as something of a mixed bag and not as a complete disaster.




You can't change your fingerprints. You have only ten of them. And you leave them on everything you touch; they are definitely not a secret.




I've spent my entire career being a satirist.




I am a Minnesotan, and not just because I root for the Vikings and the Twins. I like the Minnesota-nice sensibility. I like the liberal tradition; I like the Hubert Humphrey tradition fighting for civil rights.




The government must give proper weight to both keeping America safe from terrorists and protecting Americans' privacy. But when Americans lack the most basic information about our domestic surveillance programs, they have no way of knowing whether we're getting that balance right. This lack of transparency is a big problem.




Ralph Nader is a hero. I know Ralph, and I call him up occasionally. He's helped me out on a couple of occasions when I've given speeches to corporations where he'd have a good... He'd give me some good information.




The biases the media has are much bigger than conservative or liberal. They're about getting ratings, about making money, about doing stories that are easy to cover.




To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus.



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