Category Archives: Other Stuff

Time to Put Away Childish Things

Well, it hasn’t exactly been a “childish thing,” but you might have originally come to this site by going to or (which still redirect here). Childish? Perhaps. But no longer.

I started this blog about a year before John Kerry lost the 2004 election. As you probably recall, he got swiftboated by the media during the campaign, much like Al Gore did four years earlier, and never recovered (and again, if the media was liberal why would it have repeated every little lie told against these Democratic candidates)? Every day I heard the right-wing discrediting Kerry and spreading lies about him, and every day I’d hear those lies echoed by the mass media. I figured if the media wasn’t going to dispel the lies, I’d do my part by creating my own blog and trying to do it myself. Friends of mine had always asked me where I got my information and right-wingers I knew always questioned my sources, so I figured I’d lay it all out on the web and they could read it if they wanted to. My goal was to keep at least one other person from voting Republican in 2004.

I don’t know if it worked, but after the 2004 election, I decided to be a little less confrontational and wanted to make this site a place where even conservatives could come and hopefully not hear “liberal talking points” that might turn them off, but would instead find reasoned arguments backed up by facts and sources — preferably conservatives sources when possible (to help make the argument). That’s when “Hannity Sucks” became “Blue State Journal,” and later “Blue State Update.” The old posts were deleted, and I started a completely new site with a new mission — be a small part of the wave of blogs that were doing the job that the mass media wouldn’t. Find the real truth on the back pages of the papers or the buried corners of the internets, and do my part to bring these stories to light and help spread the word.

During this time, larger communities and blogs like Daily Kos, and Huffington Post gathered tremendous numbers of readers and enormous clout, and started taking the media to task for its previous failures. I thought many times of closing down my blog, but there was always something to write about, and people kept coming here.

But obviously there was a perfect storm brewing which resulted in the most liberal Senator on the Hill — an African-American with the middle name of Hussein — being elected President of the United States of America.

Barack Obama has extended olive branches in all directions and has made it clear that the traditional way of carrying out business in the Capital has ended. From attending a dinner with the likes of David Brooks, William Kristol and George Will, to appointing moderates to his cabinet. If John McCain had won the election, does anyone think he would have come to a private dinner hosted by liberal strategists and journalists? If the Republicans regain power in 2012, will they reciprocate?

But I’m not going to worry about that right now.

Right now, it’s 2009 and we have a Democratic president and Democratic congress. We have a president who has clearly shown he will be informed by all sides before making a decision rather than only insulated ideological views. We have an intellectually curious president who isn’t afraid to use diplomacy as a first step. We have a president who believes that the free market cannot succeed in the long run without oversight and that corporations will have to start being good neighbors. We have a president and congress that believes that global climate change is real, and needs immediate attention. We have a president and congress that believes that waterboarding is torture, that torture is immoral, and that foreign governments will not be permitted to torture on our behalf.

Within a few short days, the Obama administration has already made clear the United States will

  • Close Guantanamo Bay within one year
  • Progress toward turning Iraq over to its own people
  • Immediately resume involvement in Palestinian/Israeli matters
  • Disallow former administration officials from ever lobbying the administration
  • Reverse any specific or general Bush administration edicts or executive orders that allow torture of any kind and mandate the CIA adhere to military interrogation guidelines
  • End the CIA practice of maintaining overseas prisons for “unlawful combatant” detainees
  • Rescind the global “gag rule” on abortion

Just that list alone comprises at least 60% of what I found wrong with the Bush administration. How can I not be encouraged by the direction the country is turning?

It also helps that the more Obama seems willing to listen to conservatives, the more the right-wing talking heads have to keep moving further and further right in order to attempt to discredit him. Rush Limbaugh recently even said he hopes Obama fails. Limbaugh also carried Obama’s inauguration speech live, but couldn’t resist commenting negatively on it as Obama spoke. Does anyone know any left-wing radio or television talk show host that did that during Bush’s last two inauguration speeches?

These people — Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Ingraham, Levin — are all starting to be seen by the American people for what they truly are — hatemongers. There will always be a group of Americans who believes that these right-wing cartoons are honest, upstanding Americans, but the more moderate members of society have stopped listening to them. What they see in real life doesn’t match up with what these talking heads are saying. Finally (and unfortunately) people are hurting bad enough that they are waking up. The policies of Ronald Reagan have failed the middle class. It has been a hard lesson learned, and I don’t think we’ll be looking back there, at least not in my lifetime and hopefully not in my son’s either.

The Reagan era ended on November 4th, 2008 — and not a moment too soon.

The Hannitys and Limbaughs will never be able to let it go, but America will. And my hope is that now, with an administration that doesn’t fear educating our citizens, we will find a way to teach our children the importance of American history so that we will not repeat these mistakes forty years from now.

Starting in 2009 we are moving toward transparent government, free-market oversight, rekindling our relationships with foreign countries, greater opportunities for the poor and middle class, and the marginalization of the right-wing blowhards. That’s leaving me feeling pretty good about things in America right now, despite the current economic crisis.

So with a full time job and a 17-month-old taking up most of my waking hours these days, I’m saying goodbye to this blog for now and will be using whatever precious free time I have to write creatively and learn the drums (something I always wanted to do). And who knows, perhaps I’ll even find time to finally get back into shape. OK, it’s not a life of public service, but perhaps someday…

And if in four years Sarah Palin becomes president, I’m sure I’ll be back.

Thanks for reading!

Take That, GM Bashers

So many people I talked with last month online and in person couldn’t believe how strongly I was defending General Motors. Here were the talking points I heard day after day:

  • Serves them right for making cars no one wants to buy (well, they sold ~12 million cars last year)
  • Serves them right for fighting MPG increases (my 2 ton Saab wagon gets 30mpg fully loaded on trips and GM has more hybrid models available than any other manufacturer, as well as the first mass-produced plug-in hybrid ready to go out the door this year)
  • Serves them right for making crappy cars (quality has steadily increased over the years to rival the Japanese automakers)
  • Why should we give them money if they’re just going to go under in the spring? You’re just prolonging the inevitable (you didn’t read the December plan, did you…)
  • What they need is a government-backed, customized bankruptcy proceeding (would you buy a car from a company that was going bankrupt?)

Well, nothing is ever entirely certain, but after none other than George W. Bush came to the company’s rescue, GM today surprised everyone by announcing that even though it now has the money in hand that it was looking for, and even if its worst-case scenario of only selling 10 million cars in 2009 comes true, the company won’t need any further injections of capital from the government. What? You mean they actually got the money and they are still saying that they won’t need more? Why, I thought that as soon as they had that money, they’d be right back with hat in hand?

“I was really expecting them to go for a second round, so this comes as a surprise,” Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “If GM could stabilize their financing, we were projecting a sales rate of about 11.5 million vehicles in 2009. It’s not the catastrophic drop that ourselves and others were projecting if we had major bankruptcies.”

Chrysler on the other hand is facing more pressing issues. The latest Consumer Reports had a rundown of the positive and negative aspects of each of the Big Three automakers. Bottom line is that Ford and GM are making vehicles that have excellent fit and finish, good reliability, and features that people want. Chrysler (Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep) has the distinction of having NO models featuring a “recommended” tag by the magazine. The reason? Poor reliability, poor fit and finish, poor ergonomics and use of interior space. I would not be surprised to see a GM/Chrysler merger which effectively does nothing more than fold the Jeep name into the GM family.

Perhaps if that happens there will once again be a Jeep worth buying.

Site Offline

Sorry for the downtime. This is what I get for switching to a new, green host service. Seems like it’s a very small operation that doesn’t like to answer support tickets in much of a hurry.

So I’m now back with Hostgator after a few months being away (I have now been through two hosting services in a couple months). And it turns out they’ve also gone green as well since I’ve been gone, so this here blog is STILL powered entirely by clean, renewable energy!


More Greener!

As of today, I’ve switched this here blog over to a new web host that is 100% powered by certified green renewable energy sources:

How do we do it?
We certainly do not have a wind turbine on the roof of our data center! Sure, it would be a neat thing to have, but that is not the case. After an energy audit by an outside provider to calculate our total electrical energy consumption from traditional sources, HostPapa purchased “green energy tags” or certificates from a certified green energy supplier. That supplier calculates the total energy consumption of our operation and uses their suppliers of green energy to pump in 100% equivalent energy back into the power grid. This effectively cuts down on the carbon dioxide-producing (CO2) energy that we normally would have required from non-green energy sources.

More and more utilities are allowing their customers to purchase 100% green renewable energy for their homes directly from the utility itself, through partnerships with renewable energy companies. You can find a list of utility companies throughout the United States that offer renewable energy plans here.

For example, here on Long Island, LIPA provides the Green Choice program which puts power from Community Energy on the grid. Whatever your kilowatt usage is for the month, you pay the “clean power” surcharge and that’s how much energy is added to the grid from Community Energy.

Of course, despite the fact that our home is powered with 100% wind energy, LIPA continues to add “fuel oil surcharges” to our bill. Double whammy.

Perhaps I should look into building my own windmill.