Vandalism in Minneapolis

Someone has been targeting politician’s homes for vandalism: it includes both Democrats and Republicans, including Michele Bachmann and Norm Coleman and John Kline and Amy Klobuchar. Despite their different political affiliations, all of the spray painted messages on the homes have the same message: they call them “traitor” or “scum”, demand resignation, and reference the same bible verse. So all we know at this point is that they have one deranged source, and whoever it is is almost certainly not an atheist. The verse in question is Psalm 2, which is typical biblical noise about demanding that defiant kings must serve the lord.

By the way, this has been a vicious campaign season here in Minnesota, not that that excuses such behavior. Norm Coleman in particular has been awful: he’s running an ad all the time right now that outright calls Al Franken a “pornographer” and throws sleaze like it was confetti. I haven’t been able to find a copy of it on youtube yet, but here’s a critique of Coleman’s negative campaigning that shows one example.

I’ll be relieved when this election cycle is finally over…I just hope the Rovian slimebeasts don’t win, again.


  1. says

    I’m glad to hear your thoughts on this.

    The acts of vandalism are deplorable and a few friends of mine have wondered if it’s not actually connected to some radical in the Palin camp. Who knows until (or if) the people responsible are found. Regardless of whether or not agree with them, people deserve to feel safe in their own homes.

    I do agree that our campaign season here has been nothing short of awful. I can’t wait for it to be over so I won’t have to watch anymore demeaning ads.

  2. Azkyroth says

    I’ll be relieved too. Even if the Rovian slimebeasts aren’t conclusively defeated, because unless Palin manages to weasel her way onto the Repug ticket in 2012, I can soon look forward to never hearing another painfully contrived, excruciatingly unfunny pun, joke, or double-entendre about “drilling” and “Alaska” again. :D

  3. Valis says

    I’ve recently read Al Franken’s book “Why not me?”. It’s a fictional account of him running for President (and winning). It was absoilutely hilarious. Imagine my surprise on finding out he is really running for political office this time.

  4. Elliott Grasett says

    This has already happened in Toronto, Canada, during our recent Federal Election. Cars parked in front of houses with Liberal Party signs on their front lawns had their brake lines cut.

  5. says

    Wow. I really can’t wait this election to be over. I mean, I live on a different continent, but it’s the political equivalent to a train wreck you can’t tear your eyes away from.

    OT, but I’m so writing a sci-fi story with Rovian slimebeasts in it now.

  6. Cliff Hendroval says

    Yeah, I’m hoping they catch the guys responsible for this, if nothing else to expose them as good Christians.

  7. says

    Here in Ohio our Secretary of State’s office has been under attack. After the US Supreme Court ruled that our Sec. of State did not have to investigate all the “suspicious” voter registrations that the GOP wanted, the State’s website was hacked, they began receiving threatening phone calls and emails including death threats (sound familiar, P.Z.?) and the most popular gift this season; a package of unidentified white powder. Are the nutcases taking over the country?
    By the way, some one interviewed outside a McCain rally in OH said he was voting for McCain because of predictions by Nostradamas and Edgar Cayce.

  8. Steve_C says

    Well it looks like Bachmann is going DOWN.

    The RNC has pulled funding for any ads.

    The influx of donors to her competitor has made it not worth the RNC’s money.

    Her Rovian tirade had the opposite effect than she intended.

  9. says

    Michele Bachmann will be on the Mike Gallagher radio show in a few minutes to explain how un-American liberals are trying to destroy her (or so I assume). Gallagher just said, “We are going to embrace Michele Bachmann is a way that will be very exciting.” (It’s only radio, so it can’t get too graphic.) What Gallagher really means, in his clumsy way, is that he’s going to pimp for political contributions for Bachmann to make up for the withdrawal of Republican Party funds. It’s a holy mission!

    I wish I could listen, just for a helping heaping of Schadenfreude, but I have to go to school now.

  10. Bill Dauphin says

    Franken’s Senate race marks the only time I’ve ever contributed to an out-of-state congressional campaign, and I’ve given multiple times. If I lived within 6 hours’ drive of any part of MN, I’d be there this weekend canvassing for him; since I don’t, I can only beg those of you who are “in theater” to do whatever is in your power to help Al win. It’s horrifying that Norm Coleman currently occupies Paul Wellstone’s Senate seat; Franken may not be Wellstone, but he’ll be a worthy successor nonetheless.

    For those of you who know Franken only from his work as a comedy writer/comedian/actor, I urge you to check out his political books (they’re great as audiobooks, because Franken is an effective reader as well as a funny and insightful writer), or to listen to some of his old Air America Radio shows (I’m not sure whether they’re archived at the AAR website). Why Not Me? was just a broad farce, but the other political books — Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and The Truth, With Jokes — are (despite their flippant titles and entertaining style) thoughtful and penetrating analyses of the politics of the Bush era. For a guy who’s spent most of his life working as a professional smartass (though never a “pornographer,” despite Coleman’s vicious attacks), Franken is surprisingly serious (and smart and humane) when it comes the the important issues that face us all.

    Minnesotans will be well served by Senator Franken; so will the rest of us.

  11. Bill Dauphin says

    Addendum: Speaking of AAR hosts, I’m catching up on Rachel Maddow Show podcasts from Tuesday and Wednesday, and I note the following items of interest to Pharyngulans:

    1. Rachel made reference, on Monday’s podcast, to Godwin’s Law, and proposed a corrolary: The longer it appears liberals and/or Democrats are winning an election, the more likely they are to be called “Socialists” or “Communists.”

    2. On Tuesday’s podcast, Rachel interviews El Tinklenberg (sp?) about the whole Michelle Bachmann debacle.

    Just two more reasons (if you needed any more) that everyone ought to be listening to Rachel.

  12. Ouchimoo says

    The spray paint attacks are disgusting. They are so childish and pointless. Yeah, I looked up Psalms 2. Biblical noise is right on.

    On the note of Coleman’s attack ads. My absolute favorite was “AND Al Franken entertained people on Wall Street.” *Dun dun Duuunnn!* Really genius a comedian entertained people huh? And then a few days after I seen that ad, Coleman did this huge call out to try and stop all attack ads. LOL.

  13. Adrian says

    “he’s running an ad all the time right now that outright calls Al Franken a “pornographer” ”
    The “New Pornographers” are singing rather well :)

  14. Raynfala says

    Did anybody else notice the distinctly tepid response from Bachmann’s camp? Compare and contrast:

    Rep. Keith Ellison: “I think it’s clearly a terroristic threat.”

    Rep. Jim Ramstad: “…deranged vandal… I got really angry…. This graffiti goes beyond simple vandalism.”

    Mrs. Coleman: “It’s really disturbing. It’s scary, actually, and it’s threatening… It’s sad.”

    And now, the spokesperson for Rep. Bachmann: “…this is definitely a distraction for the family.”

    A “distraction”? That was a DISTRACTION? Oh (*palm-forehead*), of course it was a “distraction”. Heaven help you if you actually dared to characterize a religiously motivated action as a clear negative. That would demolish a good portion of your support base, wouldn’t it, Rep. Bachmann!??!?

  15. raven says

    The vandal is obviously a confused, crazed fundie. Targeting Bachmann, another confused, crazed fundie is hilarious in a sick sort of way.

    Her fundie wacko church, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, teaches that the Pope is the antichrist.

    From the WELS website:

    Scripture does not teach that the Pope is the Antichrist. It teaches that there will be an Antichrist (prophecy). We identify the Antichrist as the Papacy. This is an historical judgment based on Scripture. The early Christians could not have identified the Antichrist as we do. If there were a clearly expressed teaching of Scripture, they must have been able to do so. Therefore the quotation from Lehre und Wehre [in 1904 by Dr. Stoeckhardt which identifies the Papacy as Antichrist] goes too far.

    That must go over well with the Catholics in her district. Where is Bill Donohue when you need him? Yo Bill, wake up, someone just called your holy father on earth the antichrist.

  16. says

    There’s a lot of bat-shit crazy in this election. I suppose eight years of our Idiot in Chief reminding us daily to fear and hate (but keep shopping) hasn’t helped.

  17. Bill Dauphin says

    QD (@16):

    Regarding the first story, I was never actively involved in politics when I lived in FL, so I can’t comment directly. I’ll only say two things: [1] You don’t need any political conspiracy theory to explain somebody’s house getting shot up in FL; there are plenty of gun-totin’ hotheads down there, from all corners of the political universe. Heck, it’s hard to find a stop sign, anywhere in the state, that doesn’t have at least one bullethole; folks down there just like to shoot stuff up. [2] This business about Democrats targeting people with McCain-Palin signs seems to be a national Republican talking point: Just a couple days ago, there was an LTTE in the local paper from the Repblican party chair in my town, claiming that huge numbers of McCain signs had been stolen, sometimes several times from the same location, and sometimes including damage to the surrounding property… but as a minor Democratic insider, I’m absolutely sure there’s no organized effort to vandalize signs, either on the part of the party or of any campaign. We actively instruct our volunteers to avoid any hint of such action, right up to the point of telling canvassers not to even walk on folks’ lawns, nevermind tearing them up. The only documented cases of sign tampering I know of are Democratic signs going missing (one of which was later returned by a repentant Republican neighbor). Of course, I can’t swear that no Democrat has ever stolen a sign or vandalized a Republican home, anymore than I can swear there have been no instances of fraudulent voting (no campaign or party has that much control over its supporters)… but I suspect concern about sign tampering and sign-related vandalism is very much like concern about so-called Democratic voter fraud: A fictional “crisis” based on a problem that only really exists in the most trivial sense. (Not for nothin’, but do you remember the stories the incoming Bush transition team told of vandalism by outgoing Clinton staffers in the West Wing offices? All of which were eventually debunked?)

    As for the second linked story, if the conversation really was as Ms. Hughes reports it, I agree it was excessive to call the Secret Service on her… but I also don’t think it’s necessary to attribute to malice what can just as easily be explained by a (perfectly reasonable, in this case) fear for the candidate’s safety and an excess of caution. One of her comments, though, is instructive as to her view of the process:

    “I find it hard to believe that (campaign volunteers) don’t tape these calls. They call people unsolicited and they aren’t monitoring the calls or recording them? I think that is absolutely ridiculous,” she said.

    She’s evidently imagining some Dr. Evil style secret lair with all sorts of high-tech equipment and flashing lights. In fact, while there are a small number of paid phonebankers and canvassers (esp. in battleground states), the vast majority of campaign calls are made by volunteers, working out of temporary campaign offices or (more often) the livingrooms of folks who’ve volunteered to host work sessions. These callers are typically using temporary phone lines, their own personal phone lines (including personal cell phones), or pay-as-you-go cell phones purchased specifically for the campaign. The idea that campaigns are, or even could possibly, recording all their calls is laughable. The fact that Ms. Hughes would even raise the question is evidence that she’s never been personally involved in a campaign. Not that she’s required to, of course, but perhaps if she had, she’d have a little better understanding of the position the volunteer was in.

  18. MikeM says

    Over the weekend, when Rush Limbaugh made his slimy comments regarding the historic nature of the election, I just damned near broke down. In my lifetime, I’ve seen thing go from over half the nation celebrating when MLK was assassinated to where we are now.

    Too many of us still accept the kind of airwave grafitti Rush threw out there, but yes, Rush, what we’re about to do is historic. Again, I’m a 50 year old white male; my parents still live in the house that had a CC&R on it permitting them to sell the house to white people only (that CC&R is now illegal; I’m happy about that); and we’re about to make an about-face; and like it or not, it’s historic.

    I don’t like vandalism of any sort, even if I don’t like Bachmann much. Her interview over the weekend was vandalism, too. Sorry, Bachmann, but I’m patriotic too. I think we’re more patriotic when we allow for differences than when we demand that people “be like me” to be Real Americans.

    The Republican response to this historic election? Bring in an average, but attractive, Sarah Palin, in an attempt to say, “Well, no matter what we do, this will be history!”. It’s like they were counting on women to be stupid and just pull the lever because of the GOP female…

    Special message to election vandals: Stop it now.

  19. SplendidMonkey says

    I volunteered a little in the Franken campaign. Al is the real deal, a person of passion, conscience, great intelligence, and of course an incredible wit. We will be so lucky to have him representing us in Washington.

    One of Coleman’s attack ads made the grievous error of using video of Al in an animated telling of a heartwarming story about Paul Wellstone, using it as evidence that Al had a bad temper. The response ad is priceless, same video but with the original audio.

  20. Natalie says

    SplendidMonkey, I love that ad. There are some good humorous ones (“he… hates… puppies…!) as well – pretty much the only campaign ads I’m not completely sick of yet.

    I gave Coleman the benefit of the doubt when he pulled his negative ads, but I’ve seen more of the Franken response ads since. It seems more and more likely that pulling the negative ads was an attempt at damage control.

  21. says

    Dear Brother Dr. P. Myers–

    FYI, we in the industry sometimes jokingly refer to Psalm 2 as the Nicene Creed of Dominionism.

    Hope this helps.


    BFF of Rep. Tom Tancredo
    Award winning interblogger
    (multiple categories)

  22. llewelly says

    Bill Dauphin, #26:

    The idea that campaigns are, or even could possibly, recording all their calls is laughable.

    That’s ok. The NSA is recording all of their calls, and furthermore, indexing them, with keywords and transcripts, into a database.

    Someday it’ll all be part of the public record. A treasure trove for historians, political scientists, and citizens alike.

  23. Bill Dauphin says


    I volunteered a little in the Franken campaign.

    Thank you!! May you be blessed by His Noodly Appendage.

    It’s funny: Between the Franken/Coleman race and the presence of the horrifying Michelle Bachmann on the ballot, I’ll be paying almost as much attention to MN’s returns on election night as to my own state’s. Maybe more, as the races I’m working on in CT don’t figure to be close [knock wood!].

  24. Mike V says

    I’m glad I have a DVR. I’ve given up on watching prime time TV in real time until after the election. At least I can fast forward through the ridiculous campaign ads if I watch it later.

    Franken did have a funny ad making fun of Coleman’s attack ads. ‘Al Franken hates puppies…’.

  25. Bill Dauphin says

    Franken did have a funny ad making fun of Coleman’s attack ads.

    He had a funny skit he used to play on his Air America show about a pair of spooky-attack-ad-voiceover-guys having a sort of attack ad duel to the death… so I can imagine him spoofing his opponent’s spooky attack ad.

    I haven’t seen any of his actual ads (not being in a target market); I suppose I should go to the campaign website and check them out.

  26. David Marjanović, OM says

    I just hope the Rovian slimebeasts don’t win, again.

    Oh, they won’t, but they’ll try hard to steal it, again. Probably they’ve already started.

    there was an LTTE in the local paper from the Repblican party chair in my town

    Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam? I suppose not, but what does it mean?

  27. JackU says

    Didn’t see in other comments, but thought I should set the record straight. (Not that I support Coleman or anything.) Technically the “pornographer” ad is not Coleman’s. Its the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. The in a head to head battle with the Democratic SCC that has an ad best described as “Running Man II”. Its a movie trailer take-off. Watch one hour of commercial TV in the Twin Cities (particularly the around the local news) and you’re guaranteed to see each of those commercials at least once more likely 2 or 3 times.

  28. Patricia says

    I’m sick of the campaign too. I forced myself to finish marking my ballot this morning. This year I am taking my ballot directly to the court house.
    I’m willing to bet some cyber bucks that we won’t see the end of Walton and SFO running off at the mouth when the election is over.

  29. Toni16AK says

    Defacing property, frightening people- the crazies making it very clear that they know where these politicians live… Makes that old church song “They will know we are christians by our love” look very comical right about now.

  30. Nerd of Redhead says

    I’m willing to bet some cyber bucks that we won’t see the end of Walton and SFO running off at the mouth when the election is over.

    I agree. They don’t seem to like that people here want to think for themselves. They would like us to march in lockstep with their political philosophies. I found both Thatcherism and libertarianism to morally backrupt twenty years ago. So they are wasting their time as far as I am concerned. Let killfile be your friend.

  31. says

    I’ve heard about this story a few times now, so why is the bible verse aspect new to me? Are they trying to play that part down? I think I’ve only heard about it on NPR, and that makes the omission especially strange.

  32. Luger Otter Robinson says

    It’s good to see that the Reverend Paul T Hipple keeps such good track at what us godless atheists are up to. I had to get out my copy of the bible too, to find out what Psalm 2 is about. Why couldn’t someone had said that it was that section from the second part of Handel’s “Messiah” starting with the Bass air beginning “why do the nations so furiously rage together” and I would have known immediately what was being talked about.

  33. echo26 says

    another fascinating aspect of the story-when local television stations broke the news- they failed to mention the same thing was happening to democrats… it changes the whole feeling of the act when you know it isn’t partisan.

  34. costanza says

    It’s a rule of thumb among the intelligence services that survival resides in an infinite capacity for suspicion (as a trivial example, consider keeping the car doors locked while you and/or your family is in it). There’s no real reason to believe that the vandal isn’t an atheist simply because he/she/they referenced a Bible verse. What better way for an atheist to cast the suspicion elsewhere? Or are we above that sort of thing?

  35. Bill Dauphin says

    This is why I abandoned ideologies long ago.

    Elections aren’t contests because of “ideology”; they’re contests because they’re designed to be contests.

    I don’t have to make excuses for bad behavior by people on “my side.”

    You thought I was excusing bad behavior? You need to go back and read more carefully. I’m not convinced that the correlation between bullet holes and lawn signs in any way establishes a causal link between those two facts, let alone fixes blame… but assuming there is some sort of connection, nothing I wrote excuses anybody for actual bad behavior. The same is true for my comments about the second story.

    How about this one:

    How about it? The story you link to is about a guy who was an armed robber first, and only tossed in a political “comment” as an afterthought. Obviously a horrific story… but it was not a story about someone who was motivated to crime or violence by political fervor; it was a story about a violent criminal who incorporated his political feelings into his crime. What is any campaign supposed to do to ensure that no violent felons like their candidate?

  36. Sven DiMilo says

    Let killfile be your friend

    Ha! Exactly! Every once in a while I peek at one of Walton’s comments (Scott not so much) just to be sure–and I’m always assured.

  37. Arnosium Upinarum says

    So, if Bachmann is axed by them just for doing the republican tap dance, what’s taking them so long to axe Norm Coleman?

    And what about all those other guys and gals out there foaming at the mouth on their party’s behalf?

    Ah, in Coleman’s case, it must be because Franken’s “image” as a weird sort of guy is still quite serviceable to those who know nothing else – absolutely NOTHING else – other than to cultivate fictional appearances and shape opinion by marketing them.

    Otherwise, there’s really no similarity between Coleman’s lies and Bachmann’s, is there?

    They dropped Bachmann like a hot potato exclusively because her allure on the market tanked, not because she conducted herself like a deceitful liar. Far be it from them to get distracted by non-political issues like that. These professionals really know what they’re doin’, you betcha…and it shows.