Stimulus bullshit


I see the politicians are talking about another stimulus package. It appears there are four camps, the White House, Congressional Republicans who oppose any further stimulus on neoliberal principle, Congressional Republicans who recognize the need for further stimulus, and the Democrats. Beyond that, everything is bullshit and I’m archiving nothing.

Believe in that second stimulus check just like I said of the first one: When you see the money in your checking account. And not a second sooner.

The car

So after deciding at five o’clock in the morning that I couldn’t stand it anymore and firing off a missive to the dealership on their website contact form about how they were neglecting me, they called back this afternoon. Once again, the codes had disappeared by the time they could look at them. It turns out, or at least so they say, they’ve been trying and failing to reproduce the problem since last Thursday. They think it’s one of three things:

  1. A relatively cheap relay that I guess goes between the hybrid computer and the engine computer. I’m having them go ahead and replace this. Hopefully, it will be ready by Thursday.
  2. A $2000 hybrid computer.
  3. A more expensive engine computer.

I have hopefully found an OBD-II code scanner that’s right for the car. Since I’m having a problem with the codes disappearing, it’d be nice to have it to capture the codes when I first see the failure. That way, if the relay isn’t it, I can capture the codes and maybe only replace the right one of those expensive computers.

I’m updating this comparison between the rented Nissan Sentra and my Toyota Camry Hybrid here:

  1. I barely notice the automatic transmission on the Nissan Sentra now. I still prefer the continually variable transmission on the Camry Hybrid; my complaint with automatic transmissions has long been that it seems like they are too often in the wrong gear, even when they are in the correct gear, it often feels wrong or at least not quite right, and that they oscillate between gears.
  2. The Sentra has better acceleration than the 2007 Camry Hybrid.
  3. The 2007 Camry Hybrid has a better keyless entry system that the somewhat more recent (I haven’t figured out what year, but it’s a rental) Sentra. With the Sentra, I always have to push a button on the handle. With the Camry Hybrid, I just grab the hande—a sensor is on the inside, so in combination with the presence of the fob, it knows to unlock the door.
  4. The Sentra has a USB port suitable for keeping my cell phone charged. I finally found it last evening.
  5. I really like the regenerative braking on the Camry Hybrid. I guess it’s hard to trust friction brakes when I have experience with brakes that actually charge the hybrid battery. With the automatic transmission on the Sentra, I’m sometimes fighting the motor to brake.
  6. The Camry Hybrid has about 200 miles more range on a tank of gas. This was nice coming across country. It’s vital when driving for Uber or Lyft.
  7. The Sentra has a back-up camera with a twist I hadn’t seen before: When backing, and when steering while backing, the trace bends to show the path the car will take when backing. Even if I replace the sound system on the Camry Hybrid and get a backup camera with it (the car lacks any such thing now), I won’t get this.
  8. Yeah, I really like having a sound system with the Sentra. It’s something I badly miss with the Camry Hybrid, whose sound system—even the supposedly superior JVC system—is simply atrocious. This can be fixed and if the car survives this episode, I may very well do that.
  9. The Sentra has a collision avoidance warning system that I actually kind of like. Both times it went off, at least that I had figured out what that beeping was, was for stuff I’d seen and was either avoiding or already braking for. But it’d be nice to have nonetheless.
  10. It looks like—I’m not keeping track properly—the Sentra gets slightly worse gas mileage.

Overall, my preference remains strongly with hybrids. Which has implications both for my car purchasing decisions in the future and, really, since I’m having difficulty finding a hybrid mechanic who is both honest and professional (the dealers here aren’t) in Pittsburgh, where I move, if I move, next year.

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