The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Ramona's picture

    Al Franken Shouldn't Resign


     Yes, I'll say it, and I hope it's not too late: Al Franken should not resign. He shouldn't be forced to resign, either by the Democrats who (rightly) can't abide double standards or the Republicans who would love to see a Democratic knock-down. I can agree that what he did to Leann Tweeden was stupid, gross, and as close to sexual predation as it gets, and still want him to stay where he is.

    Leann's story came out yesterday and it's shocking Sickening. I've read Franken's new book, Giant of the Senate, so I know he was no angel during his years as a funny man. He recounts in the book how even he had doubts about his past and how it would play when he ran for a job that followed in the footsteps of his hero, Paul Wellstone. Franken knew his state, knew his politics, had a great education, and was smart as hell--but his chief claim to fame was as a sometimes raunchy comedian. (He should have been a shady billionaire blowhard instead. Pure Teflon.)

    The former Fox reporter says he kissed her during a 2006 USO skit but went too far, tongue inserted where it wasn't wanted. (Note to men--and women, too--unless you're in the throes of hot passion, grinding face to face--both of you--don't try to stick your tongue down someone's throat. Coming as it does, unexpected and/or unwelcome, the recipient will gag on what feels like a cold, slimy slab of liver. You must know that by their reactions. Just don't do it.)

    And worse, while Tweeden slept, Franken thought it would be cute to pretend he was groping her breasts, and even funnier, have his picture taken while doing it. (She was wearing a flak vest and it's not clear whether or not he actually touched her, but the picture is there and it's insulting, demeaning, and damning. Leann Tweeden has every right to be appalled by its existence.)

    So, all that said, how could I, flaming liberal feminist, active #MeToo member, wish for Al Franken to go on working in the Senate? I confess I've been torn over this, asking myself why I should accept Franken's admission and apology and still go after Roy Moore or Donald Trump for their ugly sexual transgressions.

    Well, yes, they're lowlife scum and don't deserve my defense--I agree--but I want the punishment to fit the crime. Franken has plenty to apologize for--gross, sexist stupidity is finding its day in court and, after so many decades of unfettered applications, it can't come too soon--and he has apologized. Twice so far, without the usual equivocations. He is as disgusted with himself as we are. Leann Tweeden accepted his apology. She said she doesn't want him to resign, adding that he does good things for the people of Minnesota while still acknowledging it was wrong and these things shouldn't be ignored.

    She's right. They shouldn't be ignored. Spreading sunshine all over the place encourages women--and sometimes men--to come out of the shadows and tell their stories. We are at a crossroads now and we have to get it right. Sexual predators, no matter who they are, need to be exposed. We should, of course, look to punishment, but who gets to decide what form and how much?

    Did Al Franken do something worthy of expulsion? There's the dilemma. I want women like Leann Tweeden to be able to come forward without consequence to tell their stories. I want the men who abused them to feel their pain, to get it, to show us they've learned from these revelations and will work to put a stop to a culture that has for too long equated power with the freedom to use sex as a right.

    I believe Franken gets it. I want him to stay in the Senate because his work is important. Too important to set aside. He does good work there. He asks relevant, sometimes burning questions, does his homework, and works for the disenfranchised, the underdogs, the people hungering for attention to their condition. The loss would be painful.

    I want him to work for us, against the Trump administration and the GOP majority, against any hateful agents who try to diminish or harm those of us without power. I want him where he can do the most good. I want him in the Senate.


    Ramona, thanks for posting this.  I already responded both at Ramona's Voices as well as on Facebook.  Bottom line is that I agree with you.  My take is that what he did was stupid but not abusive.  USO Tours have always been bawdy, and his accuser spoke up for herself after her unwanted kiss, and the picture of his hands hovering above her flak jacket was clearly a sophomoric prank.  He was mugging for the camera, knowing that his picture was being taken and would be available publicly -- not something a person committing sexual assault would do.

    There is absolutely no equivalence between Franken, with the pussy-grabbing president, the teen-abuser Moore, Al Franken is just where he needs to be.  Enough said.

    Thanks, Jan. You make a good point--that Franken was mugging for the camera so he was hardly thinking of real abuse. It was stupid and childish but it isn't as if he wasn't in his element. He wasn't a senator then. Since he's been in Washington there have been no scandals. This isn't a scandal, either.

    Actually, the pic seems to have gone unused, and rhey just found it on a CD of pics from the tour later

    It was unused, but was taken by a photographer who was paid to take pics of the trip as a record.  Franken knew that. 

    Smart of them, because I've got to say that even I find it an offensive joke. It really is objectification of women in your face to have her sleeping. I feel like this is something that might only be funny between actual love partners in a relationship, you know he loves both you and your breasts, and you tease him about how he seems to love your breasts more than you. But between work partners doing a comic bit, going a bridge too far, encouraging all the goofy teen boy objectification. As in: yucky and juvenile. I liked Franken's humor precisely because it was usually way more sophisticated.

    p.s. Suffice it to say that I think an apology is what's perfectly appropriate here and makes me think highly of him. And that's it. Done. No need to belabor! Over and out! What's the big deal?

    I simply imagine more dumb sexy jokes on the road by comedians (lesbian comedienne often hanging w Louis CK and others and basically you get used to it or simply quit, which isn't what a tenacious comedienne would do). But I'm also thinking of how many bad dumb jokes and sight gags, this is the worst or there's a trove somewhere? And it's not like different attitudes among performers, male and female, so someone like Lydia Lunch or Courtney Love is either gonna be "whatevers" or smash your face herself.

    I imagine worse when you get comedians hanging together day after day. I'd guess that at some point it would get to The Aristocrats level.

    Yeah, I was thinking of that but hated the film, so left it out. Silverman, Phyllis Diller, etc were there.

    And I just have this punk aesthetic for Betty Blowtorch, Babes in Toyland, Slits, Nina Hagen, Patti Smith and so on - this thing of "he mentioned or pointed to my breasts, I must cry" just hits me as weird or backwards in a performer environment. Bianca Butthole is throwing douchebags or something out the tourbus at some dudes' band bus after they threw something (fakely) gross at them, Sarah Silverman made her career on cute Jewish girl saying obscenely funny nasty unPC shit. Any of these might have drawn a penis on some guy's forehead while sleeping just for stupid yucks, and I wouldn't expect it to make the news. This whole scandal is now getting dumbed down to American Jr High/Sunday School instead of the serious harassment and rape stuff.

    We do have to start thinking in terms of degrees of wrong here.  Context is key.  A 30 year old trying to pick up teenagers at the mall is doing something barely related to a comedian making a dumb joke for the camera. 

    I think our ultimate goal here is better behavior all around. To get there, we have to distinguish between what redeemable and what isn't. People like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein have transgressed so far, admitted so little and apologized in a "sorry you feel that way" manner. Even if they apologized sincerely it'd be difficult to imagine redemption.

    But here you have a guy who has admitted his behavior, apologized for it, explained it, has promised to do better and has brought down an investigation on himself. His victim has even accepted the apology and said it'd be too far for him to step down.

    In cases where a sincere apology will due (sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't, I know it when I see it) we should go that route. So much sexual harassment is one word against another that we might actually get to more truth (people admitting what they've done) if the consequences are not so severe as banishment or unemployment.

    Amazing, Ross Douthat and Maureen Dowd pull their asslicking careers out of the toilet long enough to revise the Clinton years and claim new relevance, Atlantic's reprising those "Hillary gave me the evil eye and my heart froze" accusations, and more and more - she's a witch, succubah, energy craving sucking monster.... To read realclearpolitics' zeitgeist, "Ken Srtarr was right" meme is trending, never mind his descent into partisan ignominy. Did we forget that Bill didn't have that "distinguishing" mark on his dick his "victim" contended, but we/Starr went ahead anyway? While Hillary's still killing Bill's victims tarantula style, she's shutting downall opposition - she's so powerful... and sucking tongue is so horrific, I just may have to take a long bath to get through the next decade. It's going to be a long antiseptic decade. One day we will reminisce about those times we could have sex without considering future repercussions. Now the most hateful, despicable creatures in the world will get to self-righteously rake iver our private business. Roy Moore, that colonic conservative, seems to have won this battle - we will now approach all non-marital sex with the same brittle hateful thigh-rubbing glee he's approached any transgressions for decades. Without a "mother may I" notarized sheet from the local priest, well, it's wong and evil. Lose in December, he's won the playing field. How do we give away so much?

    yeah I fear Andrea Dworkin wins from the grave. Millenial guys will just further subsist on porn in fear of interacting with female humans.  It already happened in Japan, they're not having sex.

    Ask anyone that knows me, they'll tell you one of my favorite topics is how as a relatively new widow, I found out that nobody in NYC flirts with anyone anymore, including millenials. I just ask people of my age: when's the last time you saw a young guy try to pick up a girl on the street? And they go: hmmm, you know, you're right. this phenom doesn't seem to have infected other places I've been as badly, but surely it's coming soon, L.A. for sure now. Just coldness, all business, no joy. You plan outings with your friends via text, you hang with them, and you speak to no one else while out. They you go home.Tribalism. No cosmopolitanism, all gone

    I know... all this so the prudes can win? 

    I was out one night at a music club a couple years ago, big table with 5 guys, 5 girls  all the girls on their phones. I scolded them all - "the species is going to die out". Big laugh, but... Was at a conference last week - 5 women working the desk in front, by that point all on their phones bored. "Talk to each other!" Fortunately they did. But it's growing. Was in a bar/restaurant earlier tonight. 1 girl next to me ate dinner, had a beer, texted on the phone, ignored my brief attempt at hello. 2 deafmutes chatted silently in the corner. That was my outing. It's all turning weird.

    Since you're down the trenches, maybe you can pen the needed update of "Looking for Mr. Goodtweet". Perhaps with the main character horribly bored to death in the finale.

    Requesting an Ethics Review was very smart. They can get the info on Stone’s part was n this and have the photographer testify. There are pictures of his accuser playing “grab ass” with performers, and of her kissing a very surprised looking GI. Al can stay out of all that and let it come out by other questioners. 

    In the mean time, the foxes will steal healthcare and the very futures of their devoted voters and all the rest of us. And trump may even grab a pu**y or 2. We are doomed unless Mueler rides in on the white horse once we have retaken Congress. 

    Yes, here she is joking about rape rooms on stage at 11:30+ (& another rape room joke at 12:20)

    Here she is rubbing booty & playing grabass with the guitarist

    Here's a segment from :55-1:15 with Franken implying her sexual talent while she responds "*acting* talent Al", and then a soldier pretends to be humping her and she's laughing.

    And of course the whole Dallas Cheerleaders presence is to shake their stuff.

    And here's the video of the kissing skit she was complaining about.

    That doesn't mean Tweeden invited any possible response, but the sleeping photo seems to fit the usual level of sexified USO stupidity, Franken's kiss on stage resembled what she mentioned - more abrupt & heavy than the soldier's for sure - did she tell him to tone it down, that it was unnecessary? since the main idea of the skit was to give a soldier the chance to kiss a lingerie model, however meekly.

    Anyway, this is beyond stupid. They were out entertaining troops in a war zone, and the crowd reactions were that they were succeeding, and nothing seems nearly as threatening as Tweeden makes it out to be 10 years later, nor anything beyond PG rated Acting 101.



    I had a concern that there were more allegations to come. As more information comes out, it actually makes Franken look better. 

    Glad you're pumped - now turn on your TV - the next one's here.

    The husband was there when the alleged event occurred. The Republican legislator who was there can’t corroborate the story.  

    Edit to add:

    ​Seems bizarre.

    Each revelation worse than the last - this guy used to be my hero...

    Meanwhile, here's another of Tweeden humping on Robin Williams' leg and then smacking him on the butt. I can't quite figure out the principle behind her highly selective, outrage. Guess it could be her appearance on Hannity helped her muster all the partisan courage she had to speak out. "Men! Awful stuff!"

    Roy  Moore just released an etiquette guide for young women.

    OKAY rmrd

    Like I have nothing else to do.



    I hereby render unto rmrd the dayly .line of the day award for this here dagblog site  given to all of rmrd from all of me....



    (This is why our younger women should listen to the PA systems more intensely?)


    Thx DD

    You can’t make up the Roy Moore stuff. The woman who is the Governor of Alabama believes the women but is voting for Roy Moore. Better a pedophile than a Democrat. In the case of Donald Trump, better a vagina grabber and Russian puppet than a Democrat. Last week Kellyanne Conway, speaking about alleged pedophile, said that no vote was more important than a child. Conway seemed to suggest not voting for Roy Moore. Today, Conway says vote for Roy Moore because the rich and corporations need tax cuts.

    We had almost forgotten that Evangelical prosperity gospel pastor Joel Osteen did not let hurricane survivors into his church until forced by public pressure. Osteen was exposed as a hypocrite. You would think other Evangelicals got the hint but there they were in two separate groups praising pedophile Roy Moore. The first group was mostly white, but there was Alan Keyes and another black pastor front and center. The other group was mostly white women. Black and Latino women seem to be the only ones with common sense. Evangelicals have so tainted Christianity that many of us when asked about our religion now say we are doing our best to follow Jesus.


    Like in most cases, serial abusers have more victims. I am inclined to wait and see what comes of this before I pass judgment on the accuser, and more particularly I will not slut shame her with rumor and innuendo from the internet. I will deep down hope that somehow Franken is not that person, but I am prepared to accept that he could easily be that person.

    I'm not saying he should resign, but I wonder sometimes what would have happened to America had Clinton resigned, for something greater, for America. Where would we be? Would we be here, drawing some imaginary line, claiming our guy isn't quite as bad as their guy? I don't know, this whole thing is distasteful, and I've felt anger and an inability to verbalize what is boiling inside. I gotta say, it's time, it's time that all these men, whether or not they are R's or D's have to pay some cost for this bullshit they've been getting away with!

    Yes, and Hillary was such a flawed candidate that she should have driopped out so our magical unicorn wiuld appear. Except I was waiting for that unicorn to appear for 16, 20, 24 Neil sang, "i've been searching for a Heart of Gold... and I'm getting old". Meanwhile the other guys just pretend their shit is shunola and it's good enough fir them and the rubes. Bush Sr was a serial butt grabber? Oh, just his wheelchair or age or sun in his eyes, rock in his shoe. Roy Moore preyed on too young and barely legal girls? Ihe age of consent was 12 (it wasn't), he just kissed them (he didn't "just"), Joseph and Mary did it too ('cept the Bible says they didn't, he was too old, amirite?) But hey, even Nate Silver thinks Al Franken missed a wonderful opportunity to resign.

    The only real solution I see is for us as Americans to get less jr high about sex & nudity & bodily functions even as we get more adult about harassment, but we always trip up on that and in the end more demonize early tentative seduction and consensual behavior and then lump it in with outrageous predatory harassment and sexual assault.  We're incapable of subtlety, and the Republucans suck us down that all too serious, fake equivalence rabbit hole all the time.

    Roy Moore saw his wife when she was 16. He was mesmerized. They ran into each other eight years later when Moore was 38 and Kayla was 24 and divorced.

    That's romantic, no?

     We're incapable of subtlety, and the Republucans suck us down that all too serious, fake equivalence rabbit hole all the time.

    What you said.

    To the point can I say something politically incorrect? Moore should only be labeled a "child molester" in the warped eyes of the religious right.

    And the irony is even with all this hysteria, it's not working out that way! They are sticking with him.

    But those of us on the left side of the aisle shouldn't be rooting to "lock him up." I would not like to see guys in their 30's who go after teenage girls nor guys in their 30's who go after teenage boys ("chicken hawks") put in jail. They should simply be shamed by society into looking like pitiful losers. They are on the extreme of the spectrum of adoration of youth. Those of us who are older would like to have less wrinkled skin, is that a crime?

    Used to drive me to insanity when people would argue that Monica Lewinsky was a child that needed to be protected! When I was 19 I knew exactly what I was doing flirting with powerful older men! Getting high off of bringing them low, power over them because they had a weakness.

    Just because Moore is an asshole now doesn't mean that what he did 20 years ago applies to who he is now. That too will come back to bite.

    If the left doesn't lay off of these culture wars, they get dragged into the hypocrite problem with stuff like Franken's case.

    I said it back in the era of Gingrich and Tom DeLay and I say it again, in politics, just say no to culture wars.

    All your Anita Hill gotcha is a Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Yeah, I got to thinking - I've gone 15 years older and 11 years younger by my reckining - does that make me a perv or someone else a perv on me or is it just Gaussian distribution, but if I had 2 or 3 more samples on the low end I'd be Judge Moore...? My "choices" were mostly happenstance - where I was living, who I'd run into. I never sat down trying to figure out who was the exact demographic I'd like to date/sleep with. But if I did, am I calculating, cruising or just making life decisions in a grownup way? Mostly it's "why are we even talking about this"? I thought it was "18 and up, fair game" for us over-18'ers, and then we got on with other more important criteria like size of feet and how much breath stinks and can they converse in Urdu...

    On the "what's underage? it's complicated" thing: great movie. Made me seek out the real story behind it.

    Why I'm sympathetic to the topic of the movie: I'm all for kids being challenged by cosmopolitanism. This growing up protected in the U.S. suburbs with helicopter parents is not working out well. That said, the fake cosmopolitanism of the internet is probably damaging in a lot of ways, especially the easy availability of porn. Makes it easy not to get hurt. Hurt is part of living, makes the highs better.

    Peracles, according to my husband, the standard is this, if you are a guy:

    Half your age plus seven.  Makes sense to me, even for 18 year-olds.  

    I can tell you that when I was 14 i really was very much a child.  

    Damn, guess I send back my VS tickets...

    We all draw our lines somewhere and it's always pretty arbitrary. I draw mine differently than you. If a grown man in his thirties undresses a 14 year old girl and himself down to their underwear, strokes her genitals, and puts her hand on his erect penis he's a child molester and should go to jail. If the statute of limitations is passed I still wouldn't vote for him.

    I agree with you about Lewinsky. She was 22 when she had her first sexual encounter with Clinton. There was no coercion or threats or even much of a seduction. She was a grown women who made her own choices, there was no sexual harassment or abuse. Bill was guilty of nothing more than adultery in a consensual affair. Not a crime, not very important to me though others view may differ.

    Of all the men currently accused of sexually inappropriate or criminal behavior Franken is the least inappropriate. Even GHW Bush is worse as he's patted the ass of at least 8 women and one 16  year old girl. Public shaming is sufficient for that level of inappropriate behavior.

    Yes I agree people draw different lines. I just don't think of 14 yr olds as children They are teenagers experimenting with breaking away from their parents and growing into full adulthood and. maybe half of them in the west are having some kind of sex with each other. If their parents purposely wanted them to be naive about sex and have not seen that they were informed about it by puberty, all kinds of bad things can happen to them by people of all ages.

    I'm talking about 14 year olds, your link isn't pertinent. Yes about half of high school teens have sex but the vast majority of them are 16 to 18. I doubt that many are 14 though I couldn't find data that breaks down first sexual encounter by age. Of course I think parents and teachers should inform teens about sex but being informed doesn't mean they need to have sex and definitely not with 30 year old men. I'm glad society agrees and sets the age of consent above 14.

    I also think one should need to give a credit card number before one can access free porn. Porn is the worst education tool to teach children about sex. Requiring a credit card number will stop a lot of younger teens and pre-puberty age adolescents from accessing the sites.

    Really? Guess we were trendsetters in my day, and I always thought we were behind the curve. Live and learn.

    Update: I was thinking age for sex, but I guess use of credit cards too, and everything else. I even figured out how to climb a telephone pole to reroute video. 

    And I was just pointing out that  I think"child molestation" is just the wrong accusation here. Perhaps badly. Because most 14 yr. olds should have some knowledge of sexual acts, and what they could say no to, but maybe not the savvy to say no. Here wikipedia says it better:

    The term statutory rape generally refers to sex between an adult and a sexually mature minor past the age of puberty.[1][6] Sexual relations with a prepubescent child (generically called child sexual abuse or child molestation) is typically treated as a more serious crime.[1][6]

    Because they are at an age where they are open to experiment, that's why we decide a cut-off age. From the descriptions of Moore's behavior from others even without going from this one he sad/she said description, one can deduce he was clearly in this category, and most of us think of his behavior as creepy and indicative of a desire to commit statutory rape.

    But here's coming at this from a different angle: advice on a website for teen girls. that gives you an idea of the problem of setting a hard and fast cutoff age. Puberty is a real thing, a cut off that makes a lot more sense.

    I don't get it - I gave my kids Baby Einstein so they could confront *all* life's challenges at an early age, including sleeping with strangers at 7. We call it "onboardinig" like HR departments around the world, and they have a variety of checklists to run through along with psychological profiles. It's really impressive to see these young "adults" in small bodies tackling things i wasn't even close to capable of at their age.

    [note for police surveilling this list: it's a joke]

    Some dude left his 3 year old daughter in an alley frequented by coyotes and people condemned him for it. Why? It will either toughen her up and teach her valuable survival skills or improve the species. Win/win no?

    Recent news had a 2-year-old Vietnamese kid riding a 8-foot 20-foot Python in a riverside market. Outsiders don't understand, but the snake was a pet, a toy and transportation for the kid. The 3rd world is multitasking whether we like it or not. Definite win - the kid'll be deesigning snake drones at 12 (if he survives).



    Of course girls are often more advanced for their age...


    a hah, inherent in that video I see the whole children having children problem....children as pets...or chattel--it's sad if you lose one, but you can always make more...Even if the parents are "of age" (whatever that is.) Not that I like how far we've carried the opposite view with the special car seat laws and tricycle helmets, play dates with approved playmates, etc.

    You mention Nate Silver's point on Franken, by which I suspect you are thinking of this by him on Nov. 17

    But I see that his site published this which is really more apropos to what we are both talking about here:

    The Values That ‘Values Voters’ Care About Most Are Policies, Not Character Traits

    By Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

    [....] “Values voters” — a label that emerged to describe conservative Christians during the 2004 election — are sometimes held up as prioritizing candidate character, meaning whether a candidate personally embodies Christian values such as kindness, honesty and forgiveness. But although personal character is important, evangelicals’ first priority is to elect politicians who will fight for them and advance their agenda on the issues they care about.

    This was clear even in 2004 [....]

    Struck me that this is actually the same thing Ramona was doing when she first did a "Me Too" post on sexual harassment and then followed up with Al Franken Shouldn't Resign.

    It's smart! It's the way people should vote! You are not electing a role model, a dad or a preacher, you're electing a Senator to represent your interests. Just say no to the culture wars on the personal life of the guy running for office. Judge what he promises to do in office and how he conducts himself in office. Dragging this Moore shit into the race by WaPo was an attempt to play dirty, to disgust his followers, and it didn't work (they didn't have to publish now, there was no other urgency.) They are too smart for that. You are exactly right that liberals are dumb by being ensnared into culture wars issues that politics can't really solve.

    Let's also traipse down memory lane re: "widespread" and other closeted gay men, or minorities in white society trying to find dates/live/sex, or people who aren't good looking or are impaired in some way but trying to find a partner. All of these have a lot of potential of getting into "harassment" water just by trying to be part if the game. This "no means no" is bizarre when we compare to any other of life's challenges, not that all relationships started as a challenge, but many did. How many couples say, "we didn't like each other at first"? And what's our robotic formulaic requirement for that first kiss or intimate touch, and if someone decides (usually the girl, of course) that it's going too fast, is all that preceded "harrassment", or do we have serious criteria? And variety of respinses? 

    A brilliant deconstruction of the current field of play--(also poignant as fuck)


    A Survivor’s Defense of Al Franken


    It sounds good and then the Comments get depressing. It's like going to RealClearPolitics, and noting that there's absolutely nothing that can't have a contrary conservative response - including statutory rape. Like zombies, you can hit 'em in the face with a shovel and they keep on getting up.

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