Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, May 09, 2005

LIVE from the Left Coast: The Al Franken Show in Seattle

I had the privilege of attending today's live broadcast of the Al Franken Show in Seattle, along with fellow bloggers David Goldstein (Goldy) of, and Michael Hood of BlatherWatch.

It was a great show - both informative and highly entertaining. My recap of the show is below - basically, a general overview of what happened.

The live broadcast was held at Seattle Town Hall, put on by our local Air America affiliate 1090 AM Seattle. There were about eight to nine hundred people in attendance and there were hardly any seats left when the show started.

Dan McDonald from Infinity Broadcasting came out first to introduce Al Franken, who recieved a loud, well-deserved standing ovation. After a hilarious opening monologue, Franken introduced us to his co-host Katherine Lanpher. Then they both sat down at the main table to begin the broadcast.

We were a very enthusiastic audience throughout the entire program, but we also had plenty of laughs. Franken's format is a generous blend of policy/issues talk and outright humor.

We started off talking about Seattle and the Puget Sound region. Franken joked that people get the impression that it rains a lot here because our tallest mountain is named Mount Rainier.

Franken, assisted by Katherine Lanpher, poked fun at Bill O'Reilly with hilarious clips cut directly from O'Reilly's show and patched together into a comic sketch. And they skewered John Bolton with a series of "taped conversations" Bolton supposedly had with people around him, including a waitress.

And they did an "Oy" segment in which Franken bemoaned the U.S. government's purchasing of inadequate, ineffective equipment to defend the homeland - as prompted by Lanpher.

Next, Franken brought on a series of guests. The first was my U.S. House Representative Jay Inslee. Jay talked first about the erosion of environmental protections - including the Roadless Rule - and then talked about energy independence and his efforts with Apollo PAC.

They also talked about corruption in the House and Tom Delay's influence in killing environmental legislation. Inslee explained that environmental legislation often does get through the House when it's put to the floor for a vote because enough moderate Republican representatives are willing to vote for it. But Delay usually prevents the legislation from ever reaching the floor, so it can't be voted upon.

Franken also brought up the issues of Social Security and the Republicans' threat to kill the filibuster for judicial nominees - the so called "nuclear option".

King County Executive Ron Sims came on next to talk about civil rights, gay rights, and healthcare. Sims mentioned that the state Legislature just managed to past a bill this last legislative session that renamed the county after Martin Luther King Jr. (Previously the county had been named after somebody else named King; apparently that guy was actually a slaveholder).

Franken also talked about Ron Sims' leadership in forming the Puget Sound Health Alliance. PSHA is a regional partnership of health care purchasers, plans, health care professionals and patients collaborating to improve quality and reduce costs in health care delivery across King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties.

Sims, Lanpher, and Franken also discussed gay rights, especially what has happened in recent days with Microsoft's decision to support Ed Murray's legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Earlier in the broadcast, Franken also decimated Spokane Mayor Jim West, who looks more like a hypocrite with each passing day since the relevation that he was using city computers to try and lure young gay men into city hall with special favors.

(West, by the way, is now taking a leave of absence from city hall to prepare his defense against numerous charges of molestation that supposed occured decades ago, according to several men who have come forward)

Lastly, Franken and Lanpher brought in Dan Savage from The Stranger, one of Seattle's alternative weekly papers. Savage has a reputation for being fairly forthright and open, and certainly isn't afraid to talk about sex. In fact, Franken introduced Savage in part as a sex columnist.

Savage discussed HB 1515 and Microsoft's shifting positions on the bill with Franken and Lanpher, as well as the scandal enveloping Jim West. It was a great conversation, all the better because Savage appears to be as good at cracking jokes as Franken is.

Maria Cantwell was supposed to appear but she couldn't make it. Hopefully, they will have her on the show at a future date.

The broadcast was about three hours long, with about three breaks per hour, each about five minutes long, so people had a chance to refill their water bottles or use the restroom. Attendees were also invited to go up front and take pictures of Franken and Lanpher during the commercial break (but not during the show).

Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher will be in Portland, Oregon tomorrow for another live broadcast. I know many of our fellow bloggers in Oregon will be attending - enjoy the show! In my next post, I'll talk about what happened after the show - including my one-on-one interview with Al Franken himself!

UPDATE: Kristin Dizon of the Seattle P-I hit everything I missed (including some of the best lines) with her wrap-up/recap of yesterday's live broadcast. Read "Fans of Al Franken's radio show welcome him to the left side of country".

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