The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 July 2006

Joycelyn Elders, Al Franken, Planned Parenthood, Arkansas


Away From Home, Franken's Political Tone Shifts

Has Al Franken
been taking his political cues from Hillary Clinton?

In a seeming break from the ideologically cautious tone seen recently, the Air America Radio host spoke at a fundraiser Saturday night for Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Joining Franken was radical former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.

From the Arkansas Times Arkansas Blog:

Former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders and comedian Al Franken spoke last night at a gala event to benefit Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. They drew a capacity crowd at the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center, and the evening raised about $40,000 for the organization.

Elders focused on her longstanding message of talking openly and factually about sexuality. Franken made a more wide-ranging critique of the Bush administration.

Interestingly, beyond the one blog entry, we can't find any coverage of the event. For Franken, that sure seems convenient, since it seems unlikely he would come within a mile of such a crowd, or the likes of Elders, in his home state of Minnesota.

There, he's been busy crafting a Hillary-esque moderate image, even carrying that over to his radio talk show in recent times. While that may have ticked off some of the Dean / Sheehan types that make up Air America's listenership, it's a smart strategy for taking on Republican Norm Coleman in 2008, if he can get away with it.

In other parts of the country, however, a different Stuart Smalley emerges. This one isn't afraid to associate with the likes of Joycelyn Elders, or others on the far left.

For fundraising purposes, that keeps his liberal credentials intact, without attracting too much attention at home in Minnesota. Isn't that right from the pages of Hillary's political playbook?

Remember Elders? If not, here's a trip down memory lane (via the Washington Post):

Talking is what got Elders into trouble in Washington. She arrived with great fanfare as the first black woman to be surgeon general, a sharecropper's daughter who overcame racism and poverty to rise to the top of her field. But she was preaching safe sex and condom use at a time policymakers didn't want to hear it. Even more, they didn't want to hear about masturbation. In December 1994, during a talk, someone asked Elders what she thought

of discussing masturbation with young people as a way to prevent them from having unsafe sex. She said, well, yes, masturbation probably should be discussed in a sex-education curriculum.

Critics were apoplectic. They said she was promoting teaching masturbation to children. The story wouldn't die, and she was forced to step down.

And, from Wikipedia:

Elders wrote a book an attempt to present her side of the controversies that surrounded her during her 18-month tenure as surgeon general. Already reviled by conservatives for advocating abortion rights and condom distribution in schools, Elders drew fire — and censure from the Clinton administration — when she suggested that legalizing drugs might help reduce crime and that the idea should be studied. Almost immediately afterward, her son Kevin was arrested for cocaine possession, in what she still believes was a frame-up designed to embarrass her and the president.

On December 7, 1993, Dr. Elders commented at a press luncheon, "I do feel that we would markedly reduce out crime rate if drugs were legalized." Eight days later, in the midst of a media frenzy, the Little Rock police issued a warrant for her son's arrest.

What's next for Franken? For the latest, watch here.

UPDATE-- New press release from Hosts National Conference Call With Sen. Barack Obama, Al Franken Events to Mobilize and Energize Democrats for '06 Elections Cutting-Edge "Call for Change" Phone Program Will Be Unveiled

WASHINGTON - July 31 -

WHAT: National conference call open to media
WHEN: Tonight, Monday, July 31, at 8:20 p.m.
WHO: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Al Franken headline 685-plus GOTV House Parties Nationwide


Tonight, MoveOn members will gather in homes across the nation to eat dessert, get energized on a conference call with Sen. Barack Obama and Air America host Al Franken, and strategize about what they can do locally to ensure a national democratic victory in 2006.

Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!

Elders photo: AP


  • Wow.

    Are you arguing that anyone who doesn't think that touching themselves is evil, is far left?

    Because that's all that the Elders controversy was really about: prudes who think that sex related pleasure is evil.

    By Blogger Ben, at 31 July, 2006 14:03  

  • ROTFL, Elders was radical because she thought masturbation is a form of safe sex!! She is right, masturbation is a form of safe sex, and any one with an inking of sanity would want to include the concept of masturbation into a sex-ed class. Only a wack job would think this is "radical". Funny Maloney think's that masturbation is "radical", this is probably the only form of sex, ohhh let me stop being mean.
    Cons scared of sex all the time!!

    By Blogger rightwingwhiner, at 31 July, 2006 14:12  

  • Speaking about Wikipedia, busy little fingers deleted this site - but not my site - from the AAR entry; I put it back. If someone could make sure both sites are in the 'critics' section there that would be appreciated. In the past both sites have been deleted.

    And, for extra credit, please make sure the 'Parodies and Satires' section of the Huffington Post entry isn't deleted; I've had to add it back several times already.

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 31 July, 2006 14:53  

  • Maybe you think fondling by a relative is safe sex too. Convenient you left out her whacko statements about drugs and the "frameup" of her drug addict son. "They framed me cuz I'm black".

    I'll be back after i get done rolling on the floor from laughter....

    By Blogger Owen, at 31 July, 2006 19:13  

  • Once again, Brian writes an argument as incoherent as it is instructive about his laziness as a wannabe reporter. Let's break it down.

    There are three premises to Brian's post (two of them false, incidentally):

    Premise 1: At heart, Al Franken is a far-left ideologue, but lately he is dishonestly portraying himself as a centrist in preparation for a 2008 Senate campaign.
    This is a complete lie. Brian has made the point in the past and offers nothing to substantiate the claim, apart from a single post in June where Brian cites some liberal blogger taking issue with Al's position on the war. It is utterly ridiculous for Brian to use one person's opinion as evidence of Al moving to the center. Brian, if you have anything of actual substance, I'm listening.

    Premise 2: Al Franken did a fundraiser with Joycelyn Elders in Arkansas. It was scarcely covered in the media.
    This is the only thing Brian gets right in his post, though I might add it is typical of Brian's "Google Journalism" thinking he's breaking a story using a search engine.

    Premise 3: Joycelyn Elders is another kooky liberal.
    Once again, Brian's Google Journalism skills are hard at work as he cites Wikipedia to remind us (and more likely himself) of Elders' background. I could debate Brian's "far left" characterization of her, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

    So how can these three pieces fit together in Brian's pea-brain? Franken has been moving to the center, so it doesn't make sense to find him hanging out with nutty "Jerk-off" Elders. But the fundraiser was in Arkansas, offering Al a convenient escape from his Minnesota Senate race state. Ergo, Franken must have satiated his lust for like-minded liberal lunatics by sneaking off to Arkansas to commune with the Planned Parenthood kooks. But he won't get away with the scarce press coverage; Radio Equalizer is hot on Franken's trails (thanks to Google) and will expose him for the whackjob he is.

    Brian, give up. No wonder no one takes you seriously.

    By Blogger cspank, at 31 July, 2006 20:07  

  • Where is Al Franken? Oh, that's right... this is for Knowledge, not LIES

    Rush Limbaugh Listeners Top Chart for 'High Knowledge'

    Which party controls the U.S. House? Who is the current Secretary of State? Who is the president of Russia?

    If you know all three questions, you could be a Rush Limbaugh listener. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Rush Limbaugh listeners place second in the category of "high knowledge." This is above the pretentious New Yorker, the almost as pretentious NPR, news magazines like Time, the "News Hour with Jim Lehrer," and cable news outlets.

    Doesn't "acting" smart count for something? It only does in New York socials and in "An Inconvenient Truth."

    Weekly Standard/New Republic: 50%
    Rush Limbaugh: 48%
    New Yorker/Atlantic: 44%
    O’Reilly Factor: 42%
    News magazines 41%
    Online news (daily): 41%
    NPR: 39%
    Daily Show: 38%
    Sunday AM talk: 36%
    Talk radio: 36%
    Business magazines: 33%
    NewsHour: 32%
    CNN: 31%
    Daily newspaper: 30%
    Nightly network news: 30%
    Larry King Live: 30%
    Fox News Channel: 28%
    TV news magazines: 27%
    Community newspapers: 27%
    Letterman/Leno: 26%
    C-SPAN: 25%
    Local TV news: 24%

    Hey, it's dark down here.

    Anyone seen Sam Seder
    or Frankin?
    How about Olbermann?


    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 31 July, 2006 20:20  

  • I fail to see the point of this thread.

    Franken speaks at an event populated by Donks, which was held at The Ultimate Answer's Presidential Library. Also speaking at the event, a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, is none other than Herself, Dr. Elders. In an update to the original story, the sun rises in the east, and bread falls butter-side down.

    To me, the only surprise is that there is no mention of this story in either the Strib or the PiPress. That represents either bad publicity on the part of Franken's people, or that he doesn't want folks in MN to know what he does or with whom he spends his off time. Again, not surprising for a politician - even an aspiring one.

    If Franken does a fundraiser for the Nixon Library or the Reagan Center, then that will be a surprise.

    By Blogger JD, at 31 July, 2006 22:14  

  • ohhh Benson
    Remember I told you NPR is a big factor in talk radio and related it to AA ratings, guess what NPR is the 4th largest format in AMERICA PERIOD. So therefore, I was correct in connecting A.A ratings with relation to NPR and their audience fractured.

    still think NPR plays no impact?

    bu bu limbaugh is #1 bu bu bu

    and the "knowledge" servey was based on a test, Limbaugh's audience is 50+ dominant as proved in that same servey you tout, priving I'm right on my previous statements on Limbaugh's audence being older, and older folks have a lot of knowledge of current events and past history, good for them, does not mean they learned the knowledge on his radio show, older and wiser as they say, not wiser from Limbaugh, nice try though. I'm confident if you asked those same questions to 50+ vs 20-30's in age, and take out the nazi pig faced drug addled freak(Limbaugh) factor, you would get the same results.
    soooooooo once more Benny
    NPR now has the same sized audience as News/Talk in total.

    Everything I post is based on observations and reality. I told you A.A has a fractured audnece with NPR, I'm CORRECT, NPR is a MAJOR ENTITY in talk RADIO, MAJOR as evidenced by this article.

    By Blogger rightwingwhiner, at 01 August, 2006 16:19  

  • Wow! You try to be as slippery as a snake. Fortunately, there are a few mongooses in the real world. The original discussion was about AAR ratings. After giving up on defending Franken and his cronies, you tried to slip in the weak signal excuse and the spin that NPR was stealing Franken's customers.

    AAR is a failure.

    Oh! and speaking of weak signals, how was your top-rated Radio show on Monday evening?

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 02 August, 2006 13:43  

  • The Air America affliate in my hometown in the Midwest sure isn't doing too badly. Granted, it doesn't air purely AA shows - it also includes Stephanie Miller's and Ed Schultz's show, as well as a local morning show. Nonetheless, it (the Mic 92.1 in Madison, Wisconsin) is an example that liberal talk radio can be successful.

    By Blogger Ben, at 02 August, 2006 14:16  

  • First, according to you, Brian, Al Franken is a far left wing wacko (you may not have said these exact words, I am merely giving you my impression of your position).

    Then, according to you, Al moves back to the Center (and, toward the Right, duh), or at least appears to do so. This may not even be true, but, okay, I'll accept this premise of yours.

    But this is not acceptable to you! "Al Franken is evil because he is so far away from my politics. But when he moves closer to my politics, he is even more evil because he MUST be lying somehow, because he is so far away from my politics."

    Face it, you're no journalist, just a hater.

    By Blogger Scott, at 02 August, 2006 14:51  

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