All Franken chatting with supporters at a home in Coon Rapids.
“Why?” you may ask, “Why would a guy running for the United States Senate … in which you represent one state … have a fifty state strategy?” Good question. Franken discussed his Fifty State Strategy with supporters at a recent fund raiser at a home in Coon Rapids. Amanda, Julia and I dropped in, and were able to hear Franken’s current thinking on a number of issues. He discussed Norm Coleman, the economy, the war, America’s place in the world, and cracked exactly one Saturday Night Live joke. And, we had an interesting bird watching experience. Details below the fold….


Al Franken Demonstrating his Fifty State Strategy.
First, I have to tell you that the fifty state strategy is actually a 48 state strategy, and it is not an election strategy, but rather, a strategy for remembering the names of all fifty states. This stems from a bar bet Franken made some years ago in which he claimed to be able to name all fifty states. When he got to the end, the count was only 49, and there was no way to remember which state he had accidentally skipped. So he decided to learn how to draw a map of all 48 states so he could keep track.

Now, I did not have the heart to tell him that this would not work for many states. For instance, Iowa. Let’s say you drew a map of the United States but forgot to draw Iowa. In the end, Iowa would still be there because it is surrounded by other states. So the space Iowa occupies would appear on the map as a state (Iowa) even if you did not draw it. So the method is flawed.

I’m thinking, back when he made the bar bet, he had forgotten Iowa.

Anyway, Franken explained this story, and talked about some other things, while he stood in the yard making this very accurate (yet unique .. each drawing is unique) map of the Lower Forty Eight. It was quite remarkable.

He then auctioned it off to add a little value to the fund raiser.

I’m not going to cover Franken’s political discussion in any detail. If you get a chance to go to one of these “dinners with Al,” I recommend it. Good way to touch base with the candidate, and meet a few other people running for local office in your area.

While Al was talking about the diminished place of America in world opinion … as demonstrated by the contrast between the reactions of people in other countries to, say, a traveling Dwight D. Eisenhower vs. a traveling George W. Bush … a beautiful bald eagle swooped onto the scene and made several passes over the yard, carrying an olive branch in one hand and what looked a lot like a “”Defeat Coleman … Coleman is a Crow”” button in the other. (Eagle paid for by soft money, I’m sure.)

And I’m only slightly exaggerating.

The SNL joke: A local political candidate spoke briefly … but too softly and with too much background noise, so I have no idea what she said beyond: “You can find me on the list of candidates, because I’m the only woman running for this office.” Al was standing next to her and checked her name tag … “Right, Joan. Unambiguous. Not like if it was, say ‘Pat,’ or something.”

Made me laugh.


  1. #1 Ian
    August 4, 2008

    Are these quantum states, maybe?