Welcome to the Al Franken Decade

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Al Franken, formerly of Saturday Night Live and the author of Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations, will be sworn in as a US Senator from the state of Minnesota later this morning. It’s been a long journey for Al from late night comedian to CSPAN celebrity, and Mother Jones has been watching all the way.

Franken sat down for an interview with us way back in 1996, right after Big Fat Idiot soared to the top of best-seller lists. In 2004, he wrote an article for us about his USO tours. We reviewed a movie about Franken in 2006. In 2007, as Franken was gearing up for the Senate campaign, Jonathan Stein profiled him for the magazine. And we’ve covered the election and the recount battle exhaustively: we covered the initial vote count, noted his Mick Jagger stylings after the results came out, and watched as public opinion turned against Norm Coleman’s court fight. Later, I predicted (correctly) when Franken would be seated and reminded you what to call him when he won. And then Norm Coleman conceded, clearing the way for Al to get sworn in today.

You can safely assume that we’ll keep you posted.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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