BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Shortly after April and our Genocide activities, a reader proffered a concern. It’s nagged me ever since, though I find myself largely in disagreement with its underlying premise. The concern arose from the event held in Glendale wherein other genocides were included in the commemoration. “They’re diluting the Genocide” was the statement. To me that sounds a lot like it comes from the same place as the notion held by some Jews that the Holocaust is unique and incomparable. I don’t want to be in that position. It’s wrong. But is it possible I’m misinterpreting the statement, particularly since I was not at that particular event?
Another reader called a few days ago and among other things, mentioned that a certain circle had been irritated by some of my writings. “Who is that guy?” they had been wondering. Of course none of them have ever written, called, or otherwise contacted me, not even a letter to the editor that I’m aware of. What’s worse, it turned out many of these disgruntled folk were relative newcomers to our community stage. Perhaps “born-again Armenia’s” would describe them, their emergence precipitated by the last two decades’ worth of developmen’s in Armenia. Now that it’s easy, requiring no real persistence and patience, and at root– faith, in our nation and homeland, to be Armenian and participate in building our future, these types appear. Of course they’re to be found among the most innocuous-seeming contingent. Even that’s good. The more people are involved, the better off we are. If pissing them off engages them more, I’m glad to be of service. Just one request– please have the decency and humility to at least consider that others have come before you and may have cause for opinions held and aired that are rooted in events you may be ignorant of.
On a more pleasant plane of wishing, I wonder when we’ll have ORGANIC Armenian/Middle Eastern products stores and restauran’s? Similarly, when are we going to see all-you-can-eat Armenian/Middle Eastern Restauran’s? I only know of one, located in the San Fernando Valley. These two wishes may seem contradictory. After all, the sustainability associated with organic food production is hardly compatible with the gluttony associated with buffets. But hey, I’m human! I like %u218em both.
More on the food front, and another reason to despise the Shrub regime, comes from the recently proposed closure of seven of the Food and Drug Administration’s thirteen food-safety testing labs. You may have thought more such testing was necessary with the e.coli poisoning cases on the rise and funky stuff being found in pet and human food coming from china. You might remember that earlier Republican efforts resulted in fewer inspectors checking out the flesh you buy to put in your body. Remember also the organic (mis)labeling I wrote of just a few weeks ago. All this is part of a long-term approach by the anti-government right wing setting the last three decades’ terms of political discourse in the U.S. The approach is:
1. underfund a given agency or function
2. wait a few years and allow a good program to start showing the deleterious results of the underfunding
3. start pointing to this as “another failure of the public sector”
4. rally people to advocate elimination of the agency/function
The same game’s afoot with Social Security and even the military. Work that was done by privates is now farmed out at great cost to private contractors who often deliver substandard service.
While we’re on misdirected government, let’s visit the California Supreme court that has helped screw things up too. The effect of a recent ruling they made on the enforceability of liability waivers could have serious repercussions. Supposedly, now “gross negligence”, as opposed to just “negligence” is not covered by waivers people sign when they engage in inherently risky activities–rock climbing, skiing, whitewater rafting, etc., or when they enroll their children in a program that requires signing such a release. The problem is not in the substantive accountability the court seeks to enforce. Rather, it lies in determining what constitutes “gross” negligence. It’ll still take time and money and the courts to make that determination. California is home to all kinds of activities, unlike other states that already have similar policies. The latter, due to size, climate, population, and reputation, pale in comparison to how much goes on in the Golden State. Plus, there’s another factor to consider. For-profit outfits are different from government providers. A third category is non-profit, volunteer run programs. How can all three of these be held to the same expectations? It just doesn’t make sense. It’s time for the legislature to step in and address these differences. A number of our community organizations from Homenetmen to the church to the AGBU, and others, could be impacted. Let your legislators know.
Finally, on the combined food/health environmental front, it turns out that the higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) causing global warming also contribute to the stronger growth of poison ivy (I wonder if poison oak– the equivalent West Coast plant– responds the same way) and dandelions. While the latter may be less of a problem, the greens are, after all edible, I’m sure lawn maniacs will go nuts. More poison ivy means more unpleasant incidents for kids and adults playing in the woods. There’s a delicious irony in all this. May it prompt a few more people to action in pursuit of reduced levels of atmospheric CO2.