View 738 Monday, August 20, 2012
Today will be eaten by errands. Friday a neighbor came to the door to tell us that I’d got a ticket put on my parked car. I went out and discovered that Lo! he was correct, I had a ticket for expired license tabs. Since I remembered paying the registration fee I wondered how that happened but a call to AAA revealed that while I had paid the registration, I had forgotten to get the smog certification, and I was now months past the due date. OK, so I’ll pay the ticket and get the smog certification and go to AAA to get the license tab.
Only it was just too late to do that Friday. I drove to my smog certification place to discover that his machine had just broken down. I went to the place I used to go to and discovered they no longer do that. He directed me to a place much closer to my house, and indeed to go to it I had to go past the place that does my annual auto maintenance. They don’t do smog certification, and they couldn’t service my car anyway because their experts were all busy come back Monday. So I went to the local smog place, and they said it’s too late come back Monday.
So it is Monday, If all goes well I’ll get my smog certification, notify DMV that I will pick up my tab at AAA, go to AAA, get the tab, go to the grocery store and pick up some stuff, drop that off at the house, and take the car to the garage for annual servicing. Which leaves me a lot of time for thinking but Heaven knows what can go wrong. I don’t figure I’ll be done before late afternoon.
The silly season drones on. President Obama faces two problem: his enthusiasts are no longer enthusiastic and may not turn out to vote. Those who don’t like him are saying they will definitely vote. The remedy according to some strategists is to poison the election. Pox on both houses! It don’t matter, they’re all bums. Make everyone disgusted with the process, and use organizations to turn out just enough votes to win.
It could work. At least they hope so.
But the executive decision to choose Ryan has changed some of that. At least there is now an issue. We’ll see.
Meanwhile I have a day to think while I run errands. And I’d better be off doing them.
Now I wait. Friday after I found the place I usually take my car for smog certification was not operating and I was driving to what I thought was a smog certification place, for the first time in the decade I have had the my Ford Explorer the “Check engine” light went on. Actually, it has been on before, but that was because I had left the gas cap off after filling the car, and it turned itself off after I closed the cap. Never otherwise though. But this time it came on. So I went to the usual smog certification place and they had four people in line before me, so I went to another which is actually closer to he house. Went to the local Pinkberry yogurt place for a yogurt with fruit lunch, back to the smog place, and things went weird again. I’ve never flunked a smog certification before. They showed me the forms. The car has to pass ‘visual’ meaning that the technician doesn’t see anything wrong, such as having the smog stuff removed from the car. It has to pass the emissions test, weaning that it’s not making smog. And it has to pass some kind of computer certification, meaning that the car’s internal memory system hasn’t detected a smog problem, but what it really means is that the ‘check engine’ light isn’t on. In my case the computer was telling me that the car was randomly stalling, which it wasn’t and never has been so far as I know.
The smog certification people can’t fix your smog system. That’s part of the California law. It happens that this particular place is very close to a Shell station I have dealt with for years, and which has been recommended to me by neighbors, and it’s a hot day, so I left it with them and walked home. It’s about 100 out there. And of course they called, and there were problems – my car was overdue for its annual checkup, so I fold them to go ahead to do that as well as take care of the smog computer thing – and now I ‘m waiting. I suspect the whole mess will run more than a grand, but since that will include what I usually pay for the annual checkup and fixup, I don’t suppose I can complain. My Explorer is old but it hasn’t got all that many miles on it. I don’t drive a lot any more. When I got it I still thought in terms of driving out to Fort Apache or taking the Scouts to rifle practice in the Mojave, but I don’t turn out to have done much of that. I don’t really need a full size SUV any longer, but I like this one even though it doesn’t get great gas mileage. It’s built like a tank, it still looks all right, everything works, and this is the first serous problem I’ve had with it. My car philosophy has always been to get something I like and drive it until it stops working, and this fixup should keep mine going a few more years.
I suppose this would be no bad time to remind people that this is the rational discussion site, and it operates on the Public Radio principle, which is to say it’s free but it won’t stay open if I don’t get subscriptions and renewals. I also have to say that we do all right on subscriptions, so I’m not claiming poverty, but if you’ve been thinking about subscribing this would be a great time to do it.
I can’t quite understand what is going on, but it looks as if the leading Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri may have just done himself in. He was considered an odds on favorite for taking the seat which is now held by a Democrat. Republican Congressman Akin was apparently trying to avoid answering a question about abortion rights of rape victims without quite saying that he’s against abortion under essentially all circumstances with the possible exception of a choice affecting the survival of the mother. Instead of saying that, which he has in fact said many times in his Congressional campaigns, he rambled on with some odd theory of female physiology and used some of the most unfortunate language one could devise. He said something to the effect that if it’s really real rape the woman probably won’t conceive. I don’t know much about reproduction physiology, but historically that certainly hasn’t been the case.
Akin later stated his real position, which is that rapists ought to be punished, but it’s not the child’s fault.
Akin is running for a federal office, and this ought not be a federal matter. The US Supreme Court made a wrong decision in Roe vs. Wade, assuming some kind of constitutional basis for federal interference in state law on abortion, and the country has been suffered from this ever since. I don’t intend to get into the substance of the debate, which has to do not only with both science and religion, but with the very basis for believing in the law. If the purpose of law is to protect the innocent, there are few creatures more innocent than the unborn. Innocent humans should be protected, not killed. If that seems clear enough, nothing else really is. Precisely when human life begins is not agreed upon by science or religion. Is a fertilized egg human? Is an 8 month old unborn child human? Is a newborn child human? Those questions will produce different answers from different people, and we will never get universal agreement. I see no point in the discussion since everything about the subject regarding faith and morals has been said many times and for a very long time, and there is no disagreement about scientific fact.
We can discuss the constitutional issues, but there isn’t much to be said about that either. Abortion was not debated at the Convention of 1787 because none of the delegates would have for a moment considered it a matter for the federal government, and the states were pretty well agreed in forbidding abortion under any circumstances whatever. Most educated people in the United States were agreed in forbidding abortion as late as 1950: that was the year when the Broadway play Detective Story closed after a highly successful run; the play very well expresses the national view on abortion at the time.
I’ve written more on this than I intended to. For single issue voters Akin’s consistent belief coupled with his addled expressions will probably be decisive. I have no idea what the people of Missouri statewide will think. His constituents in his Congressional District have probably not been surprised about either his beliefs or his expressions and they continued to elect him.
My car is fixed, the “Check Engine” light is off, and tomorrow I have to drive it fifty miles, then get the smog check again. After which I can pay the ticket and this mess will be over. The car runs fine. While they were fixing whatever caused the check engine light I had them do the annual maintenance which turned out to require new brake linings all around. They did a good tune up, too. The whole mess cost more than I expected. A good reminder not to forget the smog check after I pay the registration. At least it’s almost over.
And last night I recorded the opening episode of the new TV series “Copper” about 1864 New York City. We watched a bit less than the first half of it tonight. It was unrelievedly depressing, and I don’t expect to see the rest of the first episode much less spend any time watching any more of them. On the subject of time wasting, I still watch the series Bunheads although I can’t possibly say why I like it. I suppose I like perky actresses, and the dialogue is often – not always, but often – sparkling. My first impression of the show was that they didn’t know whether they were doing high comedy, broad farce, or melodrama. I’ve since decided that they know very well what they are doing, and it’s an odd mixture of all three, presented by people more experienced in stage plays than television — and all having a great time.