Is this a great pretty good redeemable country or what? Al Franken, SNL’s erstwhile one-man mobile uplink unit reporter and the author of “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations,” has taken the lead in the Minnesota U.S. Senate recount, with various outlets projecting that he’ll win by 80 votes or more. As another of Al’s characters said of himself: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

(Weekend Update: Can’t find any video of the uplink unit, which was in my top 10 funniest SNL bits ever. There’s a picture of Al “reporting” from the scene of the ’88 Florida primary here. And another, from the New Hampshire primary, here. [look under full summary–they’re in “Weekend Update” segements.)

(Weekend Update 2: At mid-day break in Minnesota, Franken has pulled ahead by 266 votes — gaining 271 this morning as Coleman challenges are serially tossed out. Yes, there remain contested absentee ballots (1,500 of them?) and Coleman’s in court contesting some sort of “duplicate” ballots, but the folks who are following this think it’s pretty much in the bag for Franken. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which apparently calls itself the Strib, has strib-streaming coverage online here.)