Funny Al vs. Serious Al (Five by 8: 8/12/10)

Al Franken can’t catch a break, county fair photos, in search of typos, the blind football championships, and feeding the homeless because your mother said to.

1) Al Franken can’t catch a break. First Republicans pounce whenever “Funny Al” surfaces. Now some of his fans in high places are on his case because he hasn’t brought enough comedy to the Senate. The latest: New York Times columnist Timothy Egan:

The satirist died when the senator took office. But just as Jon Tester did not give up his lentils and wheat on the homestead in Montana when he became a senator, Franken should not forsake his field of laughs.

Thus, it was heartening to see him make at least a feeble attempt at mocking this enfeebled institution the other day, grimacing during remarks by the dour Senator Mitch McConnell.

“This isn’t Saturday Night Live, Al,” McConnell scolded Franken. Franken promptly apologized. Months earlier, John McCain was upset at another Franken breach, when he refused to grant a fellow senator more bloviating time beyond his allotment.

“It harms the comity of the Senate,” McCain complained.

If ever there was a place in need of more comedy, and less comity, it’s the U.S. Senate.

2) We’re into fair season in Minnesota. It’s a photographer’s dream. MPR’s Nikki Tundel captured the essence of the 4-H Fair in Washington County recently. And this morning on Flickr, Emma Leishman uploaded these beauties from the Crow Wing County Fair in Brainerd.

The Brown County Fair opened last night. In Minnesota, you can’t have a county fair without a demolition derby.

3) The great typo hunt is underway. Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson set out across the country, exploring towns and cities in search of typos. They found 437 typos and were able to correct more than half of them.They’ve got a blog.

I feel a News Cut State Fair typo/bad English scavenger hunt coming on. Who’s with me?

4) The world blind football championships are about to kick off. That’s football as in soccer. The U.S. doesn’t have a team in the event, according to the official Web site.

Here’s a 2008 video that explains how it works:

5) You know how it goes. Your life is going pretty well, you’re living the way you want, then your mother comes to visit and the next thing you know you’re feeding the homeless:Bonus: A news story isn’t a real news story anymore until NextMedia Animation releases its work on the subject:

And having created a folk hero, the process of deconstructing him is well underway.


After the highest primary voter turnout in a decade, the three major party nominees have been chosen. Who do you plan to vote for in the governor’s race?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Several high-profile Republicans, including Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, are calling for a re-examination of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. They are concerned the provision that guarantees citizenship for all persons born in the U.S. encourages “birth tourism” for expectant non-citizens.

Second hour: A science historian says that a group of scientists are undermining research on global warming and spreading mistruths because of their political biases.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Education Commissioner Alice Seagren and Charlie Kyte of the school administrators association discuss what can be learned from the latest school test results.

Second hour: A panel discussion about the “golden age” of innovation.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Social Security 101. The Social Security Administration says for the first time in 27 years, it’s paying out more in benefits than it receives from payroll taxes. Part of the problem comes when older unemployed take early retirement. And and it all raises questions about whether you can count Social Security in your retirement plans.

Second hour: Pete Seeger. I won’t repeat myself.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The frigid waters of Lake Superior are expected to reach a record high temperature this summer. Swimmers delight. Climatologists fret. MPR’s Bob Kelleher reports.