Welcome to Northfieldweb

Welcome to Northfieldweb’s Blog. We create blogs and websites, and we teach people how to use them. We’ve got a really good barbeque coming up, and we’re going to leave this at the top of the blog so you don’t miss it.

This post is an announcement and will stay at the top.  Read below for our Latest News:

Obama Hair

Now that’s hair! MSNBC 11/13/2008:
 

 

 

Hey, US President Obama is Black

You heard me right.  Obama is black. 

Happy Day!  It strikes me now how little the media talked about his blackness right before the election… and so:  Congratulations, America!  Finally we’ve gotten someplace. 

Ten Compelling Reasons to Vote OBAMA

I recently posted these on PIM.  Or PIM, if that link works better.  This site seems to lean Republican, IMHO.

These are my observations, and I believe I’m on target. Ten reasons to vote for Obama:

1. Obama’s a good man and has strong family values.

2. Obama’s for regulating the market. Democrats have been arguing for more regulation to protect the middle class since time began. What have Repubicans been arguing for? Against regulation. We need to protect the middle class, so we can all be prosperous.

3. Obama is an honest man, and Obama is NOT one of the Keating 5. McCain IS a member of the Keating 5. These men were responsible for a recent, national, political scandal which was part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. McCain carries a lot of baggage, one of them being he was criticized by the courts for using bad judgement. Being a part of this scandal is not becoming.

4. Obama will bring us back to being fiscally responsible, and then our prosperity will grow. The last time our national budget wasn’t a huge deficit? A Democrat was at the helm. Bill Clinton. Although, Obama and Bill aren’t the same kind of person– I believe Obama is truly honest, hard working, and not “slick.” He’s savvy, but not “slick.”

5. Obama will represent us well in the world, and will bring us back to being a strong, respected, world leader. I believe he’d like us to use force if we absolutely need it (and there are good times to use force), but otherwise rely on diplomatic means to negociate with the world.

6. Obama will encourage the use of alternative energy, and help us to move away from our reliance on oil. Not just foreign oil, but all oil.

7. Our current health care system is a disaster. Costs are astronomical. I’m glad Obama is looking for ways to improve our system. After all, where would this country be if we didn’t question bad systems? Out with the King, we said. Why do we have to keep what is broken? We don’t. Vote Obama.

8. Obama listens to Americans, and will work on solutions for helping hard working American families. Time and time again I’ve heard him say “Folks are telling me…” and I know he’s working on an action plan that will deny greed, but still encourage growth.

9. Obama has solid values and is bold, hard working, and smart.

10. Obama is competent, and his back-up (Biden) is, too. Obama may have taken financing from companies we now wish were regulated, but McCain took money AND tried to pass a bill to regulate these companies. The regulation bill didn’t pass, and there was no regulation. But McCain still took the money… we need someone who will get things done, instead of point out how it can go better. Right?

Vote Obama!

Elections: Google first, or beware

We’re small town America, and besides voting for President this 2008 election day we’ll elect the usual array of representatives, officials, and board members. 

One of our local blogs ran information and questions about candidates.  I read about many candidates, including Kevin, who seemed to be a pretty good candidate

I help DFL candidates blog, and so especially this time of year I am often googling candidate names to find any negative blog entries or news entries my candidates should know about.  One of my candidates has a hate blog dedicated to “stopping him”, and I have skimmed that site for a while now.  In 2006 or 2007 my candidate told me Kevin was the name of the author of this blog and that he was a paramedic.  He mentioned his last name, but I honestly didn’t remember anything but Kevin and that he was a paramedic.   I’ve given “looks” to the paramedics in our town ever since then.   Looks like “Are you the wacko guy who goes all negative on your blog?”

We have a blog in town which is more like a chat room– while most blogs are graced by commenters who never return, commenters on this blog actually respond to each other’s comments on a regular basis.   Scary for a small town, but that’s a side note.  This site blogged local school board candidates, one of which was a Kevin, who said he was a paramedic.  Hmm, suddenly, the old gearworks turned, and I remembered the hate blogger was named Kevin and was a paramedic.

Can this be the same guy?  I poked around in a comment on Locallygrownnorthfield.org, but no one answered me.  So, I sent a question to Northfield.org and sent a question through the local candidates post on locallygrownnorthfield.org.  No answer from N.org, but later they returned my e-mail saying:

Thank you for your submission. The deadline for question submission has passed and local candidates have submitted their answers.

We would, however, encourage you to contact Kevin directly, or at one of the public forums.

Thanks again.

My original question to locallygrownnorthfield.org disappeared into the wind, no answer.

Okay, so I googled the psuedonym, and found the real name on a blog called “Grizzly GroundSwell”.  The “real” name of the blogger who was writing the hate blog to “stop” my candidate matched the name of the school board candidate.

Again, I asked the question on locallygrownnorthfield.org.  Was this the same guy? This time my question appeared as a comment.

Kevin himself answered my question on locallygrownnorthfield.org  Yes, he is the same guy that writes that other blog, and yes, he did describe himself on Technorati as:

A 50 something Angry White Male Paramedic who is tired of working his butt off saving people and watching his tax dollars get wasted by elected officials whom have no business spending money!

Also, yes, he will be non-partisan.

This freaked me out.  What? The same guy?  The same dude I feared might let me die if I needed a paramedic and he knew I was a Democrat?  Holy Cow.

School board candidate Kevin said things like:

I am running for School Board to ensure that our money is being spent in the classroom where it is needed. We need to support our kids, that is all of them, regardless of their abilities and needs.

Hate blogger Kevin wrote on his blogthings like:

I am the angry white man.
Why? Because I am tired of all the pandering to special interests and the “all must be equal” crowd. Fine if you work hard, pay your dues and your fair share of the tax burden I will consider you an equal. If you do not work hard, do not pay taxes, if you expect to be handed whatever you want on a platter, if you cannot speak English and are making no effort to learn, if you are in this country illegally, go away. Don’t talk, just walk, fast, faster! I have no time for you and I’ll be damned if I will listen to whatever you have to say…

I want the schools to teach, not preach, not indoctrinate, teach. I am tired of teachers and professors trying to push their views on our children, let our kids make up their own minds. I also want teachers held accountable for what they are doing!! I have to be, most employees do and since you work for me, as I pay your wages I should have the right to expect results!…

What do I want? I want fairness! I want less, more efficient government that stays out of my life! I want accountability and responsibility, amongst individuals and the government… Maybe the Angry White Man should get out and protest!! But we’re to busy working and paying taxes. We also have a sense of responsibility and pride in the Greatest Nation on the earth! The United States of America!! We want our country back!!

…Teaching responsible family life and sexuality in the Schools?? No way!! Cripes more reasons to home school!! Or find a private school!!

Once I knew he was the same guy, I asked questions.   He didn’t reply publicly, but instead sent an e-mail saying he didn’t want to get into a pissing match with me. 

What?  I really want to know, though… my kids are still in school.  My repeated efforts to have him reply were to no avail.  And, he replaced his gravatar with a picture of guns (big ones and hand guns).  Honestly, this guy makes me nervous.  I get all worked up if I think about it.

Okay, so here’s the reason I’m blogging this topic, and here is the lesson voters might learn:  Get off your couch and google your candidates.  Sure, everyone has done wrong things, but what if the candidate runs a hate blog which doesn’t sound anything like what he writes in the paper (as he tries to get elected)?  Such large disparity should not be overlooked, especially if the behavior is still continuing and not long ago, etc.

Googling can help you elect the best person.  So do it.  I wonder how many people in my hometown will.  Perhaps we’ll have a surprise elected to our local school board this season.

Jimmy Carter on PBS’s American Experience

Last night I happened to catch PBS’s Jimmy Carter,  American Experience.  Seeing Jimmy, Begin and Sadat walk through Camp David had me looking around for polyester, fake leather couches, huge bell bottoms, and big belt buckles.  It felt the ’70’s all over again.  It was sad to see Sadat smiling those last few smiles. 

PBS presented Carter as a man who placed too much blame on himself and didn’t play well with others, even those in his own party.   Noble, hardworking, and driven Carter ”didn’t get much done” here in the U.S.  I already knew Carter was a true maverick, but after watching him all these years later I now think he could have used a few Dale Carnegie classes. 

I wish he would have set the right frame.  He just didn’t persuade others to join his cognitive camp.  Hopefully Obama, when elected :-), will be the wiser.  Obama:  Let’s remember our history and learn from Carter’s “mistakes.”

Carter is still my favorite president and I take him in context.  Carter wanted us to pinch pennies and smartly consume energy, but we didn’t listen.  He took office during great economic struggle.  Inflation was outrageous.  Gas prices were “high,” and we wanted the quick fix.  After all, you know, we Americans snuggle up to our gas tanks.   

Today, let’s use Carter as our Middle Eastern affairs guru.  WWCD, What Would Carter Do, to avoid WWIII.  Here’s a recent quote, which I believe is smart insight into to our latest Middle Eastern effort:

[T]here are people in Washington … who never intend to withdraw military forces from Iraq and they’re looking for ten, 20, 50 years in the future … the reason that we went into Iraq was to establish a permanent military base in the gulf region, and I have never heard any of our leaders say that they would commit themselves to the Iraqi people that ten years from now there will be no military bases of the United States in Iraq.  –Former President Jimmy Carter (Feb. 3, 2006)

 

Campaign trail: A picture says a thousand words

Campaigning?  It’s not only what you say.  Or do.

Sometimes your pictures and literature can say “winner.” 

Sometimes your picture can say quite the opposite. To see what I mean, here’s a snapshot of a candidate on his website:

www.timrud.com

And here’s a snapshot of the same candidate on another website:

www.cherishedmomentsbydeb.com

The second snapshot was taken by Cherished Moments By Deb Phototography, which has a blog.

The best photographer I’ve run into around here is Tom Roster.  Poke around in his portfolio.  If you hire him, be sure to tell him what you’d like to say about yourself.  I don’t know Tom personally but I’ve seen his photos.  Tom captured the absolute true essence of The Grand Event Center in Northfield (his photo is in the sidebar), and he’s taken wonderful, rich photos of a candidate I know.  

Obama on the Economy

Here’s the scoop on Obama and the Economy:

 

 

Also see http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/economyplan I love the idea that we need to create more Green Energy jobs. 

Hey, what did Congress decide about Renewable Energy Incentives?

Fail Safe: Book banning and fist waving Sarah Palin will have the nuclear code

Ack. Think of that scenario. A book-banning, fist waver with a finger on the button. Yikes. 

Maybe we should care abut what the VP thinks.  She seems to be THE ticket, not just a nice addition that will prop up McCain.    McCain looks weary, doesn’t he. 

When Palin’s in office, perhaps we should avoid shopping in New York.

Drew Westen, The Political Brain, Holly’s notes

My thoughts on WESTEN– The Political Brain, The Role of Emotion in Deciding The Fate of a Nation

Please first read this post which tells why I’m writing my notes about Westen’s TPB.

bold = quote from Westen’s book
numbers = pages in Westen’s TPB. Please feel free to comment.
I suggest you start reading on page 147.

147: Writing a compelling political narrative must have [certain] elements. This listing is fantastic. Is what the politician saying repeatable? If someone can retell it, later, it’s clear enough. I disagree that the narrative must have both what the politician will do and what the politician doesn’t like. Sometimes we should talk about what we don’t like, but don’t get stuck on that. Values? Good. Moving? Makes it memorable. Metaphors are sometimes too tricky to use. Yes, use words people understand, for example “effective” government. Yes, frame the issue, but I don’t think a children’s book is the correct age level to target… I think eighth grade. BTW, what is a narrative? I suppose this means any communication made to the public.

147: “Most of us have read to our children…The Little Engine That Could.” Wow. Now that’s deep. Make sure you read Weston’s book to see what he’s talking about, here.

149: “It is difficult to imagine a more American story of the relation between personal achievement and the welfare of the community. For years, Democrats have been running campaigns that lack the story structure…” That’s it. Democrats should tell stories, or at least connect with the voter on an emotional level of some sort. Make the discussion relevant to the listener, and then talk about the issue. Start with “why should we care” and move into “here’s what we can do.”

150: Just as we share our values with our children through stories, candidates and parties need to share their values with voters through stories. And the first and most important story– the story that picks up the first 40% of the votes, and may well carry the election on its own if it is coherent, well crafted… is the story of what the party stands for, which should be an extension of the story of the nation and its principles. Wow.  Good stuff.

158:  “Everyone knows exactly what someone who calls himself or herself a conservative purportedly values:  military strength, tax cuts, minimal government, fiscal restraint, traditional values, patriotism, and religious faith.  It isn’t easy to write a similar story of what it means to be a Democrat…”  There we go.  That’s the problem.  We lack a simple message that easily can be repeated.  We should whittle down our message so it’s clear, concise, and limited to a few issues.  We should set the frame (Hey, that sounds like Lakoff!)  Let me take a stab at it.  Democrats value:  Appropriate use of military strength, fair taxation, effective government, fiscal restraint, and good stewardship.  Well, maybe another word besides stewardship.   Anyway, if all Democrats started using those terms, it would be repeatable and we’d be electable.

159:  “Second, the story leaves out the reason liberals began to “tinker” with the free market:  Because during the Great Depression, unfettered capitalism failed.  Government regulation was the answer…” Today’s news is about the government take over of the mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie May.  What is the common message Democrats should broadcast about this event?  Something like:  The regulation of Fannie May and Freddie Mac will help us all.  Without this, our economy could collapse and the world will feel the results.  It’s an example where the free market system needed regulation, so most of us can go on to earn enough to take care of our families.   Democrats value fiscal responsibility, and this is an example of Democrats coming together to make sure we’re okay.

160:  “Democrats tend to be conflicted about the appropriate use of aggression, and, hence to hide their fear of confrontation behind the compassion, empathy, and tolerance that are central features of the morality of the left.”   I know a candidate who has a website which makes him appear strong, stark, and serious.  His image makes him look that way.  When I asked him about it, he responded with “Well, Democrats are seen as weak, and I want to look strong and competent.”  Besides being ridiculous, this example proves that Democrats tend to be conflicted about the appropriate use of aggression, even if it is the opposite of hiding behind compassion, empathy, etc.   We need to be approachable, look kind, and yet be assertive and competent.  Right?  Anything we say, and any pictures of us, should tell this message.  And it’s okay to get what we want. 

169: ” … liberals tax and spend, they cut and run, they believe in big government…”  Yes, there has been a concerted effort to define ”liberal” as a negative thing.  I say we now should come together and define “conservative.”  What about this:  Conservatives judge and snub. 

171:  “Today, however pollsters frequently determine the themes of a campaign, telling a candidate what’s hot and what’s not.”  Hmm.  Candidates should be in their districts, listening, and then creating action plans. 

174:  “The result is that Republicans assert an extreme principle, the public never hears a compelling counter narrative, and gradually public opinion shirts to the right.”  Yes.  A few years ago, I heard the term “partial-birth abortion” over and over.  And over.  I never heard a counter narrative, which might have been or could be “Save the mother.”

175:  (Makes an indirect reference to trickle down economics by talking about trickle-up assumptions)  You know, why did we let Reagan get away with successfully using the term ”trickle-down economics” to describe deregulation as a positive?  Think about it.  Most of the “water” is at the top, if it’s going to trickle down. If water stands for wealth, well then…  I see an obvious counter narrative.  Holding the wealth at the top so it slowly trickles down doesn’t sound good to me.  I want more than a trickle.  Democrats should have had a common theme:  No more damning up the wealth, Reagan. 

178:  “Americans are ambivalent about abortion, and this has powerful implications for how Democrats should talk about it.”  Yes, ambivalent.  Definitely not apathetic.  Tricky issue.  Talk about saving the mother.  Abortions are terrible things, though.  Death in general is hard to deal with.

183: “If you tell the truth about what you believe, people are more likely to hear your message.  And they’re even more likely to be receptive if what you feel happens to converge with what they feel.”  I would say this is the best sentence in the whole book.   Now, let’s go apply this.

194:  “The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful campaign often lies in understanding how to appeal to voters in the middle of the political spectrum.”  Great.  Don’t alienate on simple issues, and be careful how we word things.  I think it’s okay to leave out some issues and only discuss them when asked (remember to always be truthful).  For major issues, bring them up, and be clear where we stand.  Yes?

194:  “Democratic rhetoric about the concerns of working and middle-class families has recently led many to believe the Democratic Party is no longer in touch with either their interests or values.”  Wow.  That’s not good. I think (from the context of the page) this means we too narrowly define “middle class.”  Yowza.

195:  “The importance for the Democratic Party of broadening not only its language but its view of the meaning of middle class can be seen in the exit polls form the 2004 presidential election.” …”Neither Al Gore John Kerry carried the majority of families earning $50,000 or more, and the majority of American families are in that bracket. ”  …”suggest(s) something very important about the way Democrats should frame their messages to the majority of Americans:  Most Americans consider themselves middle class.”  This is not surprising to me, actually.  So, who are Democrats trying to help?  Working class and/ or Middle class?  I think we’re trying to help all Americans.  But we might do well by targeting the average American.  And,  BTW, raise your hand if you are working class.  Does ANYONE want to be called “working class?”  So if your slogan is to ‘help the working class,’ oops, you’re being too exclusive when you don’t have to be an you may be alienating the very people you intend to help.

204:  “The word control itself has problematic associations for gun owners, suggesting curtailment of their freedom.”  Hey, maybe Democrats should say we’re for Gun Safety.  Which might mean classes, age limits, and no machine guns…  the word ”control” might be the wrong word to use for what we want.

208:  “Kerry actually did one “photo op” in which he shot geese, but his handlers wouldn’t let the media take a picture of him carrying away a dead goose…”  IMPORTANT.  Pictures do say a thousand words.  Kerry in hunting gear would tell he’s a hunter– and that is truth.  If a candidate is set to represent rural districts, hunting is important issue, and the picture will bring comfort.  Balance that with other pictures of Kerry doing compassionate things.    And, question… does hunting serve a purpose– re:  to keep populations in check?  That might be helpful for some anti-hunting people to know, if it is true.

209:  “Most rural voters don’t want guns in the hands of criminals, terrorists, or troubled adolescents.”  Here is the lingo to use, then.  Not “we support gun control” but “we need to keep safe by making sure terrorists don’t end up with guns.”

209:  “…would put emotion back into the environment for sportsmen…”  This is excellent.  We all want prosperity and beauty, and some want to be able to fish and hunt.  Environmentalists, per say, might want the same thing as hunters and fishermen.  So, what is the common goal… use that lingo when you talk about the issue.

228:  (remember the complexities of some issues such as “race and racism”)  Good stuff.

231:  “(those polled believe) Most people can get ahead if they’re willing to work…” In other words, most people have hope!  That’s the American Dream, and here’s evidence it’s alive.

244:  “Since the mid-1960’s, the party of Lincoln has desecrated his memory.  Republicans have opposed every effort to extend equal rights to anyone who isn’t white.”  Interesting.  Maybe that would be a good question to ask a Republican opponent during a debate:  Do you see blacks as equal to whites?  Do you  believe all humans deserve equal rights?  And after the Republican speaks, remind the public you certainly do.

250:  “Positive and negative emotions…”  “You can’t win an election with half a brain.”  Yes, but you need to carefully pick your negatives.  You don’t want people to say to themselves, “Well, who cares about that.” If you’re going to whine, do it well.

251:  “…There is a better way” as a campaign slogan.  Or, for that matter, we need to bring “change.”  The problem is the word better, or change.  Better than what?  And why do we need change?  As far as slogans go, in tough times especially, I like “Working hard for you”.”  Voters choose a candidate that will help them, too, besides just voting for the one that has the same values.  They come to websites with questions like:  What can this person do for me?  That question should be readily and immediately answered.

257- 277:  (Four principles)  Excellent.  Be sure to read this book.

317:  Chapter titled Positively Negative.  Be sure to pick your battles.  If you are negative, come back with a positive. 

Drew Westen’s The Political Brain… is my favorite book.  This year, last year, and every year since I turned 35.  A must read!