Fixing my truck

January 31st, 2007

The seven year old battery in my truck has been a little cranky lately on these cold winter mornings. A quick diagnosis showed a potential of only 10.6 volts after a good charge. Simple enough; today I’m replacing the battery. Doing this myself will likely save me a few bucks as opposed to taking it into a dealership. Of course, I am taking a risk by doing it myself. I could get the wrong battery. I might cross the connections. Batteries can even explode!

So, what if auto manufacturers made checking the voltage of a battery impossible for anyone but their own certified dealerships and mechanics? They of course wouldn’t do this to corner the auto repair market, but only to insure safe, properly authorized maintenance of their products. Oklahoma Rep. Lucky Lamons hopes to thwart just that type of thinking with House Bill 1584 (rtf). The “Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act” would prevent auto manufacturers from withholding information from vehicle owners and repair facilities necessary to diagnose, service or repair a motor vehicle.

To be honest, I don’t know where I stand on this. On the one hand, the fact that organizations like the Automotive Service Association (ASA), and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) want to prevent a guy like me from being able to swap out a simple part on my car irks me. On the other hand, it’s understandable that they want to protect the technical service information that they pay so dearly for.

As I see the “Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act”:

Pro

  • It would prevent an auto repair cartel empowered by exclusive access to information necessary to maintain products often vital to a person’s livelihood and well being.
  • It should increase competition and reduce auto repair costs.

Con

  • It would reduce the ability of manufacturers to control the quality of service performed on their products.
  • It would reduce income for manufacturers and professional association members.
  • It would involve government monitoring.

My main concern is how far auto manufacturers will go in making it difficult to make simple repairs in the future.

Am I missing something, Lucky?

Addendum – Rep. Lamons passed on my inquiry to an industry lobbyist. Mark Shilling (on behalf of the Automotive Parts & Services Association) pointed out in an email that:

In fact, the US Supreme Court (in Wilson v. Simpson) has already declared that vehicle owners have the right to access repair and diagnostic information and tools needed to maintain their property.

He added:

Please be aware that not all individual ASA members are opposed to your right to repair your own vehicle (or to have it repaired by the mechanic of your choice.

He also listed some groups that do support the legislation:

American Automobile Association (Triple A)
National Federation of Independent Business
Association of Automotive Service Providers
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association
Service Station Dealers of America

A surge of women

January 30th, 2007

Funny … there’s been a surge of posts here lately having to do with women. And now I find out that my niece, Krista, just arrived in Ramadi, Iraq.

The least I can do is support our president by taking his advice on how to help fight the war here at home. Excuse me while I go shopping.

Reap Oklahoma’s 100 year harvest

January 30th, 2007

With so much stuff going around the state this centennial year, I plan to see and do a lot of things Okie in 2007. So it sure was nice to pick through a treasure chest of free goodies from the Oklahoma Tourism Department to help me. Some things I just ordered:

  • 2007 Oklahoma Events Guide
  • 2007 Oklahoma Travel Guide & State Highway Map
  • Oklahoma Rising DVD
  • Oklahoma Trails
  • The Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma

I didn’t want to be too greedy; that should get me started. With about 100 items, there’s probably something for you too. Hope to see y’all out and about.

Aren’t Okie gals something!

January 29th, 2007

Congratulations Lauren.

It was the first time Miss Oklahoma won the Miss America pageant since 2006. And Lauren is only the 4th Okie to win the crown over the past 16 years.

Here’s my favorite pic of Lauren.

She plans to promote online child safety on her U.S. tour as Miss America.

Hopefully, OU will fix up this web page. In the meantime, this one may have to do.

image

Lauren Nelson (third from left) with former Miss Oklahoma and Miss America 2006, Jennifer Berry;
Miss Tulsa; and Miss Oklahoma 2005, Jennifer Warren

And something from Lauren:

I love pancakes

Oklahoma women aren’t Looney enough

January 29th, 2007

While I find Oklahoma women to be at least as attractive, caring and intelligent as women in any other state, there’s one thing about my Okie sisters that really falls short; they let men make the rules.

Political pundits like to blame Democrats and/or Republicans for the large number of hungry children in our state, the many people without health care, the low family incomes. Some may argue that men are largely to blame because they overwhelmingly dominate the legislature which makes the policies that contribute to this situation. But I say women are just as much to blame, if not more so, for letting it happen. Because women know what a bunch of knuckleheads a pack of men can be.

Admittingly, the low number of women in state legislatures is not confined to Oklahoma. Yet, when compared to the rest of the country, Oklahoma, as in many other conditions, ranks near the bottom.

image

It certainly doesn’t have to be this way. Women candidates do pretty well running for political office in Oklahoma – that is when they do run. Fifteen percent of all candidates in the 2006 Oklahoma legislative elections were women. That equals the percentage of current women state senators and only slightly more than the 13% serving in the House. If only Okie women were more Looney.

Mrs. Lamar Looney was elected to public office before women had a right to vote in Oklahoma. It was not until 1920 that an amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave all women of the United States voting privileges.

In 1926, after serving three terms in the State Senate, Mrs. Looney considered running for Lieutenant Governor. She abandoned the race knowing that the courts would sustain the Oklahoma constitutional requirement that a man hold the office.

Oklahoma could sure use more women like Mrs. Looney in politics today, not only in the legislature, but in blogdom too. I’d say 50% sounds about right.

Unemployed Okies have plenty of options

January 26th, 2007

One good thing about Oklahoma is the abundant opportunities from the loss of manufacturing jobs.

A woman laid off from her job at an Oklahoma City tire plant has won more than $280,000 at an Oklahoma casino.

… the cost of continuing her education posed a significant financial burden.

That’s probably enough to learn to be a blackjack dealer.

Fewer tits in wringer

January 26th, 2007

Come on ladies, your health is more important to us men than you may appreciate.

Mammogram Rate Drops Slightly in U.S.

Luckily, Burg provides an inspirational poem.

For years and years they told me,
Be careful of your breasts.
Don’t ever squeeze or bruise them.
And give them monthly tests….

Warning: Men may want to avoid the ending.

And speaking of endings:

Oklahoma trails nation in colon cancer screenings

Which gives me an idea… wouldn’t that be a good time to perform a testegram also? It would keep a guy from wiggling around too much.

One way to open Oklahoma elections

January 26th, 2007

With Oklahoma’s unsophisticated voting machines growing old, just picture thousands of new, high security Diebold voting machines throughout the state. You know, the kind with tamper-proof locks.

The latest security lapse for Diebold is a product of the company’s own marketing: A picture of a voting machine key on the Diebold Web site has been used to create real duplicate keys that can open Diebold’s voting machines.

That does sound kinda bad, but Diebold did have a solution.

Diebold removed the picture of the key from its site.

Another problem solved.

Carrie and Sherri help Okiedoke

January 26th, 2007

Judging by people who visit this site via search engines, a good way to increase traffic is for Carrie Underwood to get arrested and Sherri Coale to get naked. Or I could post thoughtful, well written articles. But I’m afraid the odds heavily favor the former happening first.

Tom Coburn M.D. declared best website

January 25th, 2007

As someone who gets a majority of news from the Internet, for some reason I tend to ignore the websites of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation. So, I thought I’d visit each and pass on my quick evaluation. Sites were viewed with Firefox 2.0 and a screen resolution of 1280 X 1024.

Sen. Tom Coburn

Coburn’s site is just as one might expect, unusual and flamboyant. It could easily be mistaken for a blog written by a doctor, with the title M.D. displayed more prominently than Senator. It is well laid out and offers a quick way to change font sizes for readability. A sidebar is filled with graphics that resemble advertisements indicating Coburn’s interests. One invites people to have coffee with Coburn on specific mornings when visiting Washington. Another keeps track of the national debt. News stories are timely and easy to select. Offers an RSS feed along with podcasts.
Rating- Excellent

Sen. James Inhofe

Inhofe has revamped his website and I consider it a big improvement. It offers “Jim’s Journal”, podcasts, and even videos. Clean design that is easy to navigate. Includes RSS feed.
Overall rating – Very good

Rep. John Sullivan

Sullivan’s site looks like what you’d expect a congressional website to be; official with lots of information. Recent news stories overwhelm the home page, but are actually recent. His head is a little large, yet unlike many legislators, Sullivan is not afraid to announce how he votes on many issues. No RSS feed.
Rating – Good

Rep. Dan Boren

Boren’s site is a little too cluttered for my taste and the mix of dark colors doesn’t help readability. The welcome message looks like an image from a postcard. The auto scrolling list of excerpts form recent postings is difficult to read and requires visitors to wait through each. A simple list of headlines would be better. No RSS feed.
Rating- Fair

Rep. Frank Lucas

Lucas’ site layout appears monotonous and outdated. The small fixed width causes the site to appear cramped at any screen resolution greater than 800 X 600. The ‘Latest News’ is about the Iraq Panel Report released last year. One good touch is a simple search box for finding the status of certain legislation. No RSS feed.
Rating – Poor

Rep. Tom Cole

Cole’s website is dated and also lacks readability. The text is small and the two featured stories are from December and June of last year. It appears to be more of a campaign site than one providing legislative information to constituents. No RSS feed.
Rating – Poor

Rep. Mary Fallin

Considering Fallin’s recent entry* into Congress, her barebones site isn’t too bad and does have potential. The news section allows visitors to manually scroll through short excerpts of very current topics, the most recent one being a response to the President’s State of the Union address. Navigation buttons in the center of the page are blurry though and draw attention immediately from the rest of the page. There is also a search box to track legislation. No RSS feed.
Rating – Good*