BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Unbelievable! As I was writing this piece, I received word of Aliyev’s, Azerbaijan’s “president’, pardon of the Azeri military officer who had hacked to death his Armenian roommate at a 2004 NATO language conference in Hungary. And, this pardon came on the heels of the murderer being sent back to Azerbaijan by Hungary after the latter had been assured that the minimum 25-year sentence before parole would be possible would be enforced. So much for justice. So much for honoring one’s word. So much for Azerbaijan’s “credibility”. It seems I was wrong a few weeks ago when I titled my piece “Filthy Azerbaijan”, since that is clearly too kind a description of a country that is run by people so debased as to let such vile criminal off! I’m open to suggestions for better, more appropriate, and more precise adjectives for next time! How can you not get angry after reading something like this so early in the day?
Since last August, I have been going to the court hearings regarding the AXA life insurance case that has gone somewhat haywire. Not only does the whole situation make me queasy, but the hearings are often postponed or cancelled. The mutual recrimination of the attorneys, who once cooperated with one another to bring suit and win against the deadbeat insurance company, are enough to make anyone gag. Then, there are the assertions of potential wrongdoing by third parties. Couple that with one element I think the court is disregarding, unjustly, and you have a situation where it’s very easy to jump to conclusions. I feel compelled to bite my tongue constantly and wait for the proceedings to come to a conclusion. You might want to come watch the next hearing yourself. It’ll be held in LA’s federal court building in Judge Snyder’s courtroom on the second floor. This would show community interest and perhaps create pressure on all concerned to act more wisely.
Deceptive Republicans may sound like a redundancy these days, but it must be expressed. It’s so bad that even the conservative mass media has called vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan out on his misdirection. But really, the worst of it is this argument presented by Republicans arguing against President Obama’s reelection (remember, I’m no Obama lover these days). “He had four years to fix the country, and he failed, his policies were obviously the wrong ones, we know how to do it better”. What they conveniently omit is that four years ago, their stated objective was (from the mouth on none other than their Senate Minority Leader McConnell) to make sure Obama was a one term president. So, any policies proposed by Obama and the Democrats were fought, watered down, or outright prevented from implementation SO THAT the economy would not improve so they could accuse Obama of failure. This level of duplicity is unacceptable, since it clearly places partisan interests above the country’s interests.
Car drivers and bicyclists coexist on the same roads. But, they’ve got to do it better. I’m fully aware of the “invisible cyclist” phenomenon, since I’ve been guilty of falling into it, too. And that’s with me being a fairly regular bike rider. This is a state of mind wherein somehow auto drivers just don’t “register” that their eyes are seeing a bicycle with a human on it 20 feet away. So the first thing we must do is simply train ourselves to be more aware of what’s around us while driving. The next thing is, we must DRIVE NORMALLY. I encounter cases of what I’ll call “excess kindness” by car drivers as I’m on my bike. It happens when, despite the car having the right of way, the driver will try to allow the bike to “go first”. This is confusing to me because I don’t know if the driver is simply distracted and will all of a sudden lurch forward or if indeed they’re letting me go. So, I slow down or stop. Then the car may not move, so I think “OK, I’ll go”, as soon as I do so, the driver, reacting to my earlier slowing, starts to move then I stop, then they stop… You get the idea. Just obey the rules of the road.
“You’ve won a cruise for two!” Of course the trip was 18 months later, but they wanted to get $59 from me right away for port fees. That was the gist of a conversation I had a few months ago after picking up the phone at home. When I told them their urgent demand for the relative pittance made me think this was some sort of scam, the caller was offended. I was told “we’ll just give it to someone else”. Boy, that sure tore me up… What nerve!
People in the Los Angeles basin are getting a taste of the heat/humidity more typical of the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. Farmers in the U.S. are experiencing withering droughts. Even National Geographic, hardly a bastion of wild-eyed radicalism, has on its September issue’s cover “What’s up with the weather?” Let’s not even discuss the overwhelming preponderance of scientific evidence and assessments. Yet, there are still people who “question” global warming and it human-behavior based causes. They then use this to argue against “burdensome” regulations, in this case higher average fuel efficiency and mitigating the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. As a friend once asked regarding a different issue, I have to wonder, “Have these people gone to school?”
The close of California’s legislative session, this year on August 31, is always rife with shenanigans by lawmakers. We usually discover what happened after the fact. So this is one causes anticipatory irritation!