20 October 2008

Votes and the Voting Voters who Cast Them: Franken up in Minnesota

Things have been a bit dull on the national politics front both in the UK and US over the last few days. The problem with the kind of near-collapse of financial markets that we've seen over the last few weeks is that, once the euphoria/fear factor has died down and normal service is resumed, it all seems a bit of an anti climax. Especially for those of us who were sitting waiting for the crisis, and then The Revolution. : -)

As an interesting diversion, I thought I'd alert people that US comedian and writer Al Franken is running for the US Senate in Minnesota this year (as a Democrat, natch), and latest polling has Franken marginally ahead. His campaign seems to have been slightly erratic - like Joe the Plumber, there have been allegations that he owes a lot of unpaid income tax, voters were apparently turned off by negative campaigning on both sides (but especially from incumbent republican Norm Coleman, and there is a third party candidate (Dean Barkley) drawing about 20% in polls on an 'independence for Minnesota' platform!. But I really hope Al gets in - BBC Four did a documentary following him around on the 2004 campaign (where he wasn't running for office, just having arguments with various right-wingers) and it was a classic.

If you haven't read it, I can thoroughly recommend Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them - subtitled 'A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right' (parodying the Fox News slogan - and see 'Unfoxed' for the lowdown on that operation), it's an hilarious and razor-sharp attack on US right-wing pundits like Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. In the UK you can normally avoid f***ers like this just by not reading the Mail, Express and the Telegraph (although at least most of the right-wingers in the Telegraph have a brain - excepting Janet Daley and Simon Heffer) but in the US they seem to be everywhere, although the decline of Republican fortunes makes them seem more shrill and pointless with each passing day.

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