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November 17, 2019
Al talks to his former senior education counsel Sherry Lachman about her great organization, Foster America. She helped with a piece of legislation that is one of Al's greatest achievements as Senator. In the process of getting it passed, Sherry broke a cardinal rule of the Senate and got in a heated conversation with a sitting Senator, much to Al's delight.  Plus, Al has some thoughts on the first day of the impeachment hearings. It turns out that the Republicans are acting as protectors for Donald Trump! Learn more about Foster America at www.foster-america.org
November 10, 2019
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a compact to award member states' electors to the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide It will take effect when states with 270 electors adopt it.So far, 14 states and DC (representing 187 electoral votes) have compact. Colorado's legislature and governor have approved it (9 more electors) and nervous Conservatives have put it on the ballot as a Referendum in 2020. Hertzberg explains it all and why it's good for every American except Donald Trump.
November 3, 2019
Jeffrey Toobin and Dahlia Lithwick examine the potential legal issues that may take center stage between now and the day the Senate decides whether Trump is guilty or not guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
October 27, 2019
Writer, director, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The Larry Sanders Show, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Girls, Anchorman, Trainwreck) discusses comedy, mental health and politics. Al laughs and gets depressed.
October 20, 2019
One of Al's heroes, Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children's Zone, talks about transforming the lives of some of our poorest, most disadvantaged kids and how we can replicate that across the country.
October 13, 2019
Al talks impeachment with Elizabeth Drew, veteran journalist and author of Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon's Downfall. Her heralded dissection of the Nixon and Clinton sagas makes her the go-to on the pending Trump impeachment.
October 6, 2019
Al travels to Leader Reid’s home in Henderson, Nevada, to discuss his life and career, with a special focus on their relationship during the years he and Al overlapped in Senate.
September 29, 2019
Mr. Rock is a well-regarded comedian, writer, and actor who is a friend of the host. They discuss a whole bunch of stuff.
September 24, 2019
Afghan vet and Dem Rising Star Jason Kander discusses his decision to put aside politics to treat his PTSD and his work meeting the housing and treatment needs of vets suffering from the psychological wounds of war. Learn more at VeteransCommunityProject.org
September 17, 2019
A great show for a change with Bob Kerrey, Medal of Honor recipient, Governor of Nebraska, two-term US Senator, 9/11 Commissioner, and University President, on why he can’t keep a job.  Also, China, trade, Trump and 2020.
September 10, 2019
The least surprising episode of The Al Franken Podcast.  Veteran DC watchdog Melanie Sloan tells us Trump is very corrupt. Also Ivanka and Jared. And Don Jr. and Eric. Plus the EPA, Interior, and Commerce.  And, finally this week, the National Weather Service!
September 3, 2019
Austan Goolsbee, former Obama chief economist, explains that "in a crisis, the president's credibility is all he has." So, someday soon, The New York Times headline may read, "World in Crisis, Turns Its Eyes to Donald Trump." And other scary stuff.
August 27, 2019
Vice President Walter Mondale explains to Al why things have gotten so bad. And Trump is only part of it.
August 20, 2019
Nuke expert and President of the Ploughshares Fund Joe Cirincione explains why we’re now in a nuclear arms race with Russia and China. A very dark, but hilarious episode of The Al Franken Podcast.
August 13, 2019
The Founding Members of the Senate’s now defunct “Oh Ya! Caucus,” Former ND Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Al discuss Heidi’s new organization, One Country. How do Democrats get more votes in rural America? 1 – show up. 2 – listen. 3 – keep coming back. 4- listen to the podcast. Heidi lost her re-elect in a state that has turned solidly red over the past ten years. Al won both of his races in a purplish-blue state by winning big in the Twin Cities and Duluth.  But he did better all-around and in rural Minnesota in his second race (2014, a bad year for Dems) because he showed up, listened, and kept coming back. Turns out rural Americans care about what other Americans care about: health care; their kids’ education; keeping their kids close to them. Which means jobs.
August 6, 2019
Andy Slavitt returns to discuss the health care proposals of the Democratic candidates for POTUS.  Al and Andy agree that it’s important for every contender to lay out their plans to get to universal coverage, but exhort them not to squander the enormous advantage we have over Trump and Republicans on an issue of such importance to every American.
July 30, 2019
How awful do you think Mitch McConnell is? Well. He’s worse than that. Howard Fineman, who began his career at the Louisville Courier Journal, has been covering McConnell for decades. Fineman’s McConnell relishes being a big prick. When coal miners with black lung disease travel from KY to ask Congress to restore the tiny tax on coal that funds their treatment, McConnell gives them all of 30 seconds. Fineman explains. Hell – the miners aren’t going to vote for him; the coal companies have always supported him with tons of campaign funds; and these black lung miners came to D.C. just to embarrass him. Well, screw you, coal miners with black lung disease – you’re all going to die soon anyway. Al tells a lighter story about presiding over the Senate during the debate over Elena Kagan’s confirmation to SCOTUS. Mitch gave the most condescending, sexist speech, typified by the following: “No one has any doubt that Ms. Kagan is bright and personable and easy to get along with. But the Supreme Court is not a social club. If getting along in polite society were enough reason to put someone on the Supreme Court, then we wouldn’t need a confirmation process at all.” Al breaks up and gets a nasty case of church laughter, as McConnell grows more and more infuriated. Find out how it ends in this fun, if somewhat dark episode.
July 23, 2019
Former Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz and Al discuss putting pragmatic meat on the bones of the Green New Deal. Al coins a new Kennedy-esque slogan, “We choose to go to zero-carbon not because it is easy, but because otherwise WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!” Moniz, who was the chairman of MIT’s physics department, negotiated the technical nuclear parts of the Iran Deal with his Iranian counterpart. Because Trump has repeatedly called the US negotiators of the Iran Nuclear Deal “very stupid people,” Al tries to determine throughout just how stupid Moniz is. Not very, it turns out. And Al opens with a monologue about a high school commencement in Willmar, Minnesota, explaining that Trump has no understanding of what America is. The valedictorian was a girl born in Ecuador, the class-speaker, a Somali-American girl, and the class president, a boy of Minnesota Norwegian/German stock. They’re all Americans.
July 16, 2019
In the monologue, Al talks about the appointment of Pat Pizzella as the acting Secretary of Labor. If you agree that the House should hold hearings on Pizzella’s past, check out Al’s petition here:  https://alfranken.com/read/petition This week, author and Atlantic Monthly staff writer, Franklin Foer joins me to discuss Big Tech. Are filter bubbles dividing us? Is Facebook deliberately keeping us angry and upset? Is everyone's attention span dwindling? Is Google selling records of all your searches? Is the Big One coming? You know - the day everyone who's ever watched pornography will be revealed to everyone else who's ever watched pornography?
July 9, 2019
Al and Dana discuss political comedy and how some of the greatest moments in SNL’s political satire were created. Al promised Dana to blow smoke up his ass during this interview, and, indeed, smoke is blown. Al opens with a monologue in which he assesses the relative talents of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. Hint: Reagan could read a speech.
July 2, 2019
Veep show runner, David Mandel discusses Veep and what the hell it is that a show runner does. Why Trump’s election made a dark, cynical show even darker and more cynical. Also, how David owes his entire career to Al – a career that includes writing and producing for Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Veep, all shows that Al had nothing to do with. In his opening monologue Al calls the 2020 presidential election “the second most important election in our lifetime.”  The most important being last one.
June 25, 2019
Al talks to Michael Mann, Nobel Prize-winning climatologist for his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  We cover a lot of ground. How to talk about climate change to your crazy right-wing climate-denying uncle. “Uncle Hal, sea level is rising. For two reasons. Ice is melting.  And water expands when it gets warmer.” If Uncle Hal insists sea level is rising because of all the rocks falling into the ocean, then just give up. We talk about how climate used to be a bipartisan issue, but since Citizens United, the Koch Brothers have threatened to primary any Republican who acknowledges the science.  Addressing climate change has become a victim of our tribal politics. The answer right now? Win.
June 18, 2019
The guy who pulled the HealthCare.Gov baby out of a burning building and then headed up Medicare and Medicaid in the Obama Administration discusses healthcare with Al. How Obamacare got so popular. (Republicans won, and their plan to repeal and replace sucked tail-pipe.)
June 11, 2019
An in-depth, but somewhat snarky, look at the Trump administration’s success in packing the courts with right-wing, Federalist Society judges. Gertner, a Harvard Law professor, and Toobin, CNN chief legal analyst, discuss some of the most cynical, activist decisions by the Roberts Court. Al calls Justice Scalia’s dissent in marriage equality, “Very gay.”
June 4, 2019
Al and Michael Lewis discuss his latest bestseller, The Fifth Risk, which Al calls the best book about the Trump Administration, in no small part because there’s very little focus on Trump himself. Instead, Lewis takes us inside of three Cabinet agencies – Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy – and the incompetent, venal, and/or corrupt appointees who find their way into crucial positions within the federal government. The head of science at the Agriculture Department is replaced by a right-wing talk radio host whose only qualification is that he endorsed Trump early in Iowa. Trump appoints the CEO of AccuWeather to head up the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, which includes the Weather Service. The CEO’s mission? To stop making Weather Service data publicly available to force Americans to get their weather forecasts from … AccuWeather! And, of course, there’s Rick Perry. At turns hilarious, insane, and just plain sad, this is a fascinating look into what happens to our federal government when the President of the United States has absolutely no understanding or interest in what the government does.
May 28, 2019
Al and Sarah discuss her evolution as a comedian, the hazards of using irony in comedy (the viral death-threat against Sarah from a Florida preacher’s sermon), and the importance of growing as an artist and a person. Alternately edgy and warm and fuzzy, you’ll leave this one smiling.
May 21, 2019
Dahlia Lithwick, brilliant writer for Slate on all things jurisprudential, and Matt Miller, former spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder, have a lively discussion with an impassioned Al who argues that it’s time for the House to go to an impeachment inquiry or get off the pot.
May 14, 2019
The president of Voto Latino, discusses voter suppression, the Wall, and immigration. At turns funny, then tragic, and angry. A fun and moving interview.  To help support the organizations mentioned in this episode, visit: https://annunciationhouse.org/ https://www.raicestexas.org/?rd=anp
May 1, 2019
In this trailer episode to The Al Franken Podcast, Al sits down with Amazon's Alexa (Siri had other commitments) to review highlights of the upcoming episodes featuring: Maria Theresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, Nancy Gertner, Harvard Law School professor and former U.S federal judge, Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker, Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short and Moneyball, Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of Medicare and Medicaid, Dana Carvey, actor, comedian, and Saturday Night Live alum, and David Frum, staff writer at The Atlantic and former speechwriter for George W. Bush.
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