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Thread: Al Franken Is Toast

  1. #1
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Al Franken Is Toast

    16 Democratic senators, including 10 women, have called on Al Franken to resign.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/06/politi...ign/index.html

    I'm a bit torn about this. The ethics committee, with which Franklin has promised complete cooperation, has yet to hold any hearings or weigh in on the issue. On the other hand, their investigative abilities are pretty weak especially since some of the allegations are anonymous. About all they could do would be ask for a vote of censure, and even that is unlikely.

    Second, the allegations of misconduct are not about harassment, or inappropriate relationships, but about supposedly brief inappropriate contact during photo ops. It's not clear to me whether there was incidental inappropriate contact or deliberate groping.

    On the other hand, it's not just one person claiming this, there are six women who have come forward. It's pretty hard to say that there was accidental unintended touching in six separate cases.

    On the other hand, although it's considered inappropriate at least to doubt any woman's word, the latest accusation is that Franken pursued a woman after a radio show in 2006, tried to kiss her, and when she ducked away he said "I'm an entertainer it's my right." That's plain weird and does not ring true to me.

    On the other hand, since I like Al Franken and appreciate the work he's done, I obviously am going to have some bias in my perceptions.

    In any case, I think he's going to have to resign. When his Senate colleagues, (all of whom seem to personally like him) including most of the women, come out against him, I don't see how he can hold onto his seat, especially in the current climate and the charges against Conyers and Roy Moore in the headlines.

    An unfortunate situation, all around.
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  2. #2
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    I am deeply disappointed in Senator Franken.

    I would hope that, no matter how many Republicans support Republican rapist and sexual predator and pedophile politicians keeping their offices to the dishonor of their entire party, Democrats at least can still act ethically.

  3. #3
    Keep Calm & Love a Black Woman nighttimer's Avatar
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    I sent a text message to a friend and his reply was (apologies for the offensive language) "Democrats are pussies. That's why they lose."

    A bit startled, I replied, "They lose because they call out their sexual harassers while Republicans endorse theirs?"

    I don't know a liberal/progressive/Democrat who wants Al Franken to resign from the Senate while Roy Moore is a week away from joining it. A good man shouldn't have to fall on his sword while a bad man rises to the U.S. Senate after being banned from a mall because he was trolling underage girls.

    But maybe Al Franken isn't a good guy. Same as the way we found out Bill Cosby wasn't a good guy. Moore, like Harvey Weinstein, has always been and always will be pond scum, so their ugly side coming out in the light of day is no big surprise.

    It hurts a little more when its a fall from grace instead of resorting to type.
    Last edited by nighttimer; 12-07-2017 at 05:17 AM.
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    I don't want him to resign, for a few reasons, chief among them, yeah, basically, I'm done with this shit. Obama tried the whole being fair, coming to the table and thinking if he operated in good faith it'd be returned in kind thing (which Hillary warned him against), and look where it got us.

    Trump is where he is. Roy Moore is about to be elected, and 71% of republicans in his state believe the allegations against him to be false.

    I happen to think some of the allegations against Franken are suspect, but probably not all. None of them are anywhere near the level of the pervasive, outright abuse that Moore and Trump are alleged and have confessed to have engaged in (respectively). Members of the Republican party have outright said the allegations aside, they want Moore's vote.

    Well, I want Franken's vote, I want his unrelenting questioning of people in chambers, I want him in the Senate. Do I think it's ok he took a stupid picture and put his hand on someone or kissed someone against her will? No.

    Is that the only thing going on here? No.

    I just called my senator, who has called for his resignation -- the staffer said they are tallying, and have gotten "a lot of calls on this issue from people who feel as you do."

  5. #5
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nighttimer View Post

    It hurts a little more when its a fall from grace instead of resorting to type.
    This is very true.

    The unfair part is that when someone in the GOP is accused of grossly sexist, demeaning behavior towards women, there will be people who adhere to the party line that won't see anything especially wrong with such conduct. After all, to traditionalists (and while not everyone in the GOP is a traditionalist, the party does court the traditionalist vote) women who brazenly put themselves out there in the "man's world" of public life should expect such treatment. Mike Pence refuses to ever be alone with women, because he can't trust himself to behave respectfully, after all.

    So a Republican who gropes and harasses is going to be seen by many Republicans as a guy being a guy, tempted by all those women who insist on putting themselves in his past. There have even been comments of approval re guys like this proving, at least, that they are straight.

    The Democrats, on the other hand, make a point of insisting that they are the party of inclusiveness and that they're about, at least in part, changing the traditional power structures in society. So when a Democrat is exposed as a harasser, it's going to be much more bothersome to the party's base. Sticking with a harasser, even if he's done good things for women on a legislative level, will be seen as hypocritical in a way it isn't for the GOP.

    Unless, somehow, Republicans can be reminded that such behavior is hardly in line with the party's stance on Christian values either. Clearly this is a dead horse, though. The religious right voted en masse for Trump, so they aren't that fussed by much-divorced, pussy-grabbing sleazebags who are not poster children for family values.
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  6. #6
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I think he is a great politician but I still want him out. We can find a great politician to replace him who doesn't mash lips with unwilling women. It will be inconvenient, but so what.
    Emily Veinglory

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Davy The First's Avatar
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    The Trump base and the politically motivated among Evangelical Right, have one central mantra. The End justifies the Means.

    In the face of such a worldview, the Left may need a more effective philosophy than Truth to Power.

    Or else accept a monstrous sociopolitical world.
    Last edited by Davy The First; 12-07-2017 at 01:28 AM. Reason: among

  8. #8
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davy The First View Post
    The Trump base and the politically motivated among Evangelical Right, have one central mantra. The End justifies the Means.

    In the face of such a worldview, the Left may need a more effective philosophy than Truth to Power.

    Or else accept a monstrous sociopolitical world.
    I cannot accept a world where the answer to unethical brutish behavior is to equally take it up.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Davy The First's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
    I cannot accept a world where the answer to unethical brutish behavior is to equally take it up.
    Me neither.

    But some ethically sound effective philosophical framework is badly needed.

    ETA. To expand upon the point I am making.

    Trumpites believe The End justifies the Means. That because the End is so powerful, so perfect, so glorious, that it will wash away the follies and moral weight of the Means. I don't believe this to be true. The End is , to me, a product of the Means. The two are inseparable.

    But the End justifies the Means, is an incredibly powerful mantra in the sociopolitical sphere. It allows for any action. ANY action. As long at the End objective is met.

    Truth to Power, which to me, could be said to sum up the approach of the Left, is, i feel , to weak a response to The End is justified by the Means. (or Means is justified by the End)

    What that new approach is, I don't know. But one is i believe, badly needed.

    There is an argument, that it's too soon to call the outcome. That current events will soon pass, and all will be well again. But Trump is the symptom, not the disease. He's a current expression, of something which has burned for a long time.

    The article below is an interesting take on Truth to Power. (Coined by the Quakers apparently) It's an effective approach to many areas. But against The End justifies the Means, it's like a daisy hitting a tank.

    Article
    Last edited by Davy The First; 12-07-2017 at 04:16 AM.

  10. #10
    Keep Calm & Love a Black Woman nighttimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davy The First View Post
    The Trump base and the politically motivated among Evangelical Right, have one central mantra. The End justifies the Means.

    In the face of such a worldview, the Left may need a more effective philosophy than Truth to Power.

    Or else accept a monstrous sociopolitical world.
    Nope. Not buying into this. Not even for one second. You don't beat evil by being just as or more evil and sexual harassment IS evil.

    I cannot get behind any mantra of "the End Justifies the Means" because if I have to violate everything I stand for to "win" I've whored myself out for something as fleeting and meaningless as a momentary fling with power. It's not worth it to me. There are things I would bend or break with my principles for, but I will not sacrifice the security and peace of mind of my daughter so my son can cling to a position. It's a devil's bargain and I want no part of it.

    Or as Paul Wellstone, a former Minnesota progressive who made Al Franken look like Sean Hannity put it, "If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them."

    IF/WHEN Al Franken resigns, Mark Dayton, the Democratic governor of Minnesota and a former Senator himself, will appoint a replacement for Franken. It could be someone like U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first elected Muslim to Congress or one of several Democratic women who could hold the seat until facing election in 2018.

    MINNEAPOLIS - When Senator Al Franken makes his announcement Thursday, political science professor Steven Smith believes it will be his resignation.


    "That gives the governor 24 hours to scramble and make some new plans," Smith said.


    Under Minnesota law, Governor Mark Dayton will first name an interim replacement for Franken.


    Then, at the August 14, 2018 primaries, voters will elect a candidate from each party.


    At the General Election on November 6, 2018, voters will select the new senator to finish the last two years of Franken's term.


    Finally, in November 2020, there will be another election for a new six-year term.


    Smith says Dayton's immediate appointment is very important.


    "Because that person would have a leg up, be serving in the Senate. And gain a lot of free publicity," Smith said.
    This makes it unlikely Dayton will look to Ellison as Franken's replacement. The Republicans will come gunning for both Senate seats in 2018 and with familiar brand names as former governor and failed presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and ex-congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (shudder), there's a chance they could grab one of those seats away from the Dems. It's too bad about Al Franken, but he made his bed and now he's got to sleep in it. It's time to think tactically and not emotionally and that means stepping over Franken's body and stepping into the 2018 elections with someone who isn't hopelessly tarnished by sleaze and scandal.

    Al Franken IS toast and he threw himself into the toaster. If progressives ever hope to start winning more than losing, they better sober the fuck up and realize there's a time and a place for blubbering and hand-wringing sentiment.

    This ain't it.
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  11. #11
    Joker Groupie Celia Cyanide's Avatar
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  12. #12
    Pie aren't squared, pie are round! Introversion's Avatar
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    I want both Democrats and Republicans to be consistent, and condemn sexual harassment. Let the crime dictate the punishment, whether it be censure, calling for voluntary resignation, or expelling. If Al Franken has been an abuser and should go? Then so should Trump, and Moore shouldn't be elected.

    But, I won't bet a thin dime on it working that way. Instead, what's going to happen is that Democrats will resign, Trump will stay in office, and Moore will be elected. What will people say about this? Trump & Moore supporters will point to it as proof that their guys are innocent, because they maintained their innocence, whereas clearly the Democrats were guilty, because they resigned (or were forced out). Trump supporters will say that Democrats are obviously the party of abusers.

    Meanwhile, if Democrats don't regain a majority in the House or Senate, all the horrible shit that the GOP and Trump together are gleefully enacting will continue. More rightwing religious zealots appointed to the courts, more social progress and safety nets undone, more regression. The purely Machiavellian behavior of the GOP is not going to be moved a whit by Democrats policing their own.

    And I hate to say it, but I'm starting to think that in this environment, it's playing a sucker's game to try to do the right thing here if it means not regaining power. Not regaining the ability to build a dike across the river of shit flowing from the GOP is going to set all of us back generations. It's not my preferred choice. I'd rather people like Moore, Trump, Conyers, Weinstein, etc pay a stiff price for what they've done. But dammit, our democracy is being burned down around our ears. Maybe we need to triage that first??

    I really hate this.

  13. #13
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    The Republican party collectively and individually sold its soul and abandoned any principles it once had to grasp for for power a long time since.

    I do not care to see the Democratic party do the same.

    I genuinely believe that no mere temporary political advantage is ever worth abandoning virtue, decency, and justice for.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
    The Republican party collectively and individually sold its soul and abandoned any principles it once had to grasp for for power a long time since.

    I do not care to see the Democratic party do the same.

    I genuinely believe that no mere temporary political advantage is ever worth abandoning virtue, decency, and justice for.
    I am 100% with you.

  15. #15
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Introversion View Post
    I want both Democrats and Republicans to be consistent, and condemn sexual harassment. Let the crime dictate the punishment, whether it be censure, calling for voluntary resignation, or expelling. If Al Franken has been an abuser and should go? Then so should Trump, and Moore shouldn't be elected.
    That is indeed a problem. Certainly sexual impropriety as well as other forms of corruption are not limited to any one party. But if one party is diligent in following up and rooting out even the most minor of offenses, where as the other party refuses to take action on even the most egregious cases, the end result will be a consolidation of power for those who do nothing.

    For one party to say "we're not going to do anything about it because the other party won't do anything either" doesn't seem to be the kind of "solution" that is even faintly acceptable.

    On the other hand, grabbing the moral high ground and losing all chance of influencing important policy doesn't seem like a great idea either.

    The ideal of course, would be for voters to recognize the difference between the attitudes of the two parties and make their displeasure known by voting accordingly. Right now, that's nothing but a wistful fantasy.
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  16. #16
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    That is indeed a problem. Certainly sexual impropriety as well as other forms of corruption are not limited to any one party. But if one party is diligent in following up and rooting out even the most minor of offenses, where as the other party refuses to take action on even the most egregious cases, the end result will be a consolidation of power for those who do nothing.

    For one party to say "we're not going to do anything about it because the other party won't do anything either" doesn't seem to be the kind of "solution" that is even faintly acceptable.

    On the other hand, grabbing the moral high ground and losing all chance of influencing important policy doesn't seem like a great idea either.

    The ideal of course, would be for voters to recognize the difference between the attitudes of the two parties and make their displeasure known by voting accordingly. Right now, that's nothing but a wistful fantasy.
    It seems to me that people so lost to human decency that they protect child rapists and sexual predators in order to clutch to power do not actually make for effective governments.

    Please note the utter failure of this government to pass any meaningful legislation so far, not even their biggest pet projects, despite having a total lock on power in two branches of government, despite having done many questionable things and allied with many questionable people in order to seize power.

    Yes, they can, have, and will do great harm and cause great suffering.

    But that is not an argument to follow their example. There are better ways of dealing with cheats and frauds than by cheating and defrauding back.

    I am not talking about some sort of symbolic seizing of moral high ground or other such chimerical gestures.

    I am talking about the sheer practical reality that liars and criminals make for terrible governance, and a race to the bottom will only increase misery and suffering.

    I will not give up on human kindness and decency and the American dream. Governing is done best by honest people who care.

  17. #17
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    Politico is reporting that, if Franken resigns, the Minnesota governor will appoint his female lieutenant governor as a placeholder, because she doesn't want to serve in Congress. That would leave the Democrats free to have a primary fight in the next election.

    The downside Politico doesn't mention is that appointing a placeholder means the Democrats would be ceding the slight advantage of having an incumbent run, and Democrats would be volunteering to throw dirt at each other in a rehash of Bernie supporters vs. Hillary supporters. Democrats, please don't self-inflict this wound.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    On the other hand, grabbing the moral high ground and losing all chance of influencing important policy doesn't seem like a great idea either.
    Harassment and assault are not negotiable points, no matter who commits the crime. Same as birth control and abortion. Same as equal rights marriage.

    And if men are angsting about this, I strongly suggest they sit this one out. Because too many of y'all are saying, Gosh, we will lose these valuable men. And totally ignoring the women who are just as qualified, and who are NOT groping other people.
    Last edited by eqb; 12-07-2017 at 09:28 AM. Reason: oops. forgot the NOT

  19. #19
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  20. #20
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eqb View Post
    Harassment and assault are not negotiable points, no matter who commits the crime. Same as birth control and abortion. Same as equal rights marriage.

    And if men are angsting about this, I strongly suggest they sit this one out. Because too many of y'all are saying, Gosh, we will lose these valuable men. And totally ignoring the women who are just as qualified, and who are NOT groping other people.
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat
    For one party to say "we're not going to do anything about it because the other party won't do anything either" doesn't seem to be the kind of "solution" that is even faintly acceptable.
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  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    I have refrained from commenting on Franken (with one exception) because my POV differs from that generally being expressed here.

    If you are falsely accused, you are damned if you say so because you look like you are being a jerk to the accusers. If you say I don't remember it that way and I'm sorry, then you are damned because that makes everyone assume the reports are true.

    What reports do we have? A number of women who thought his photo hug was too touchy feely. I'm not impressed. He didn't grab pussies, I don't know if those butt grabs were sexual or just friendly photo hugs as Franken says they were.

    We have one woman who says he grabbed her breast but the photo shows nothing of the kind. All of these incidents were in full view of tons of people.

    We have the woman who claims he demanded a kiss. He denies it.

    And we have Tweeden who asserts his wanting to rehearse a skit was a ploy. That could just as easily be true as not. The tongue could be true or not, he has not denied it as forcefully as an innocent person would be expected to but then you have that 'damned if you deny it' problem.


    As for the fake grope joke, it was on a USO tour for Pete's sake. It's not groping a sleeping woman, it's fake. He's a comedian. He apologized for the tasteless joke. It's not slut shaming if I tell you that Tweeden surprise gropes other entertainers on stage. It's simply showing what the atmosphere on a USO tour is like.

    http://verifiedpolitics.com/newly-re...ns-accusers-2/

    Those are also jokes. USO tours are full of sexual innuendo jokes. It was Bob Hope's signature schtick.

    Big mistake, the fake grope joke wasn't on stage. I just find it difficult to get all that upset about these accusations which simply don't (at this point) fit the sexual predator profile.

    I do hope Franken either confirms the kissing and butt groping or states clearly that while he respects the accusers, they have it wrong.
    Last edited by MaeZe; 12-07-2017 at 10:06 AM.

  22. #22
    AW's resident Velociraptor ShaunHorton's Avatar
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    I'll be sad to see him go. I've seen very few people, even among Democrats, who are willing to call out Republicans for their bullshit as blatantly as he has.

    Regarding the first accusation he received, didn't Tweeden accept his apology and state that she didn't want him to step down?
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  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW Davy The First's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nighttimer View Post
    Nope. Not buying into this. Not even for one second. You don't beat evil by being just as or more evil and sexual harassment IS evil.

    I cannot get behind any mantra of "the End Justifies the Means" because if I have to violate everything I stand for to "win" I've whored myself out for something as fleeting and meaningless as a momentary fling with power. (snip).
    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
    The Republican party collectively and individually sold its soul and abandoned any principles it once had to grasp for for power a long time since.

    I do not care to see the Democratic party do the same.

    I genuinely believe that no mere temporary political advantage is ever worth abandoning virtue, decency, and justice for.
    Quote Originally Posted by eqb View Post
    I am 100% with you.
    I also agree 100%

    Post 9 expands upon my earlier comment.


    As I say, what the new approach might be, I don't know. But something is needed. Something that is both true, ethical, and politically effective.



    Unless 'truth' and politics are impossible bedfellows, though I doubt that.


    ETA. It occurs to me posting in this particular thread, ie a thread about Al Franken's actions might have give rise to misinterpretation of my first post. I actually thought I was posting in the Big Shoe Alabama Race thread (so darn many!). The gist of what I said remains the same, but it isn't aimed at this specific event.
    Last edited by Davy The First; 12-07-2017 at 05:11 PM.

  24. #24
    reading all the things Anna Iguana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaunHorton View Post
    Regarding the first accusation he received, didn't Tweeden accept his apology and state that she didn't want him to step down?
    She definitely said that she accepted his apology. I remember that, because my thought when I read it was: it doesn't necessarily mean anything that she accepts his apology, and I wish journalists would note that context with her statement.

    She might have felt she had to publicly accept his apology because of how much she's getting trolled and harassed by some liberals, Franken fans, and the trolls who come after any woman who speaks up for herself online.

    That is, she might have accepted his apology to try to feel safer. It's also likely that people who are upset about her speaking up are contacting her workplace, and her job and ability to earn a living are at risk.
    Last edited by Anna Iguana; 12-07-2017 at 05:08 PM.

  25. #25
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Al Franken has resigned. I was quite moved by his resignation speech.

    I believe he was forced out primarily due to political considerations, so that democrats can draw a bright line between themselves and republicans.

    I'm sorry to see him go as I have some doubts about the validity of the accusations, but that's all moot now.
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