Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Panda Bear on the Lure of Helping Foreign Countries

The Panda Bear wants to apologize to her readers.   She finds it hard to stick to her schedule of blog topics.   The Panda Bear believes that  blog entries should be short and that when people are reading blogs they generally want limited pieces of information.   Therefore, she needs to break up her longer topics.   However, during the course of the week new events come up that the Panda Bear wishes to discuss on her blog.   Therefore, she has been obliged to postpone further examination of some topics.   However, the Panda Bear does plan to continue to post about school bullying and the pleasures(ahem!!) of home chores.   She also plans to start doing short pieces of creative writing.

However, today the Panda Bear wishes to discuss her hypothesis that it is very easy for US presidents to get seduced into the helping foreign countries and/or conducting foreign wars that are not in the best interests for the US.   Political theorists from the Ancient Greeks to the moderns often has stated that heads of government like to go to war because it can distract the population from problems at home.   The Panda Bear is not accusing Obama deliberately increasing the US war effort to distract Americans from domestic issues but he may on some unconscious level feel that is easier to deal with the Middle East than the bad US economy(Also, the Panda Bear remembers the economic  theory that was popular in the nineteen seventies and nineteen eighties that war was good for the economy).

Actually, the Panda Bear thinks when historians examine the motivations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson for the Vietnam War, George Bush for the nation building in Iraq and Obama for expanding military assistance to  Libya, they might find them to be benevolent even if they were misguided and of questionable value to US interests.   The Panda Bear believes that US presidents find something appealing  and alluring in helping foreign countries.

This behavior is most notable in foreign aid much of which gets stolen.   Herbert Hoover was known as being an outstanding humanitarian abroad but indifferent to Americans suffering during the depression.   What made Herbert Hoover famous was that before he was president, he helped Russians who were starving after the Russian revolution.   However, he appears to have been indifferent to helping Americans who were hungry because of the Great Depression.   The Panda Bear remembers a similar double under George H. Bush.  George H. Bush was all for helping starving Somalis but he also believed it hurt the US fiscally to help Americans hurt by the 1992 recession.

The Panda Bear believes that recent presidents of both political parties have recently been guilty of this double standard-it is good to help foreign countries but too difficult to help Americans in need.   Why is there the discrepancy?   One reason is that helping foreigners does not threaten the American  internal power structure.   When  US leaders help foreign countries in need, the Panda Bear believes that leaders feel like benevolent monarchs helping  the highly appreciative populace, while helping people in their own country means stepping on the toes of some its citizenry.

Therefore, the Panda Bear thinks that common people need to be wary when their leaders want to help foreign countries.   She thinks leaders can easily can get a certain high from help foreign countries that they don't from helping their own people.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Panda Bear on Whitey Bulger and Catherine Greig

As many people know the FBI's most wanted man who was local to Boston.   He was caught last week after being on the run for sixteen years.  They found him with the girlfriend he ran away with Catherine Greig.

What amazes the Panda Bear is that they are still together after sixteen years.   Neither of them seem to be stable in terms of relationships yet they remained together.    While the news has been focusing on Whitey Bulger, the Panda Bear is curious about Catherine Greig.  What is it like to live in a two bedroom apartment with a man who has killed so many people?   The Panda Bear and her husband live in a small apartment and it is very easy to get on each other's nerves-at least Mr. Panda does not have a history of violence.  

The Panda Bear realizes that many women are attracted to "bad men" because they find them exciting.     However, to be attracted to a man who is known to be one of the most violent men in the country seems extreme.   Many people, including the Panda Bear are disappointed that Catherine Greig  right now will only be charged at aiding a fugitive which has a maximum jail sentence of five years.  

Many of the times one  thinks of both of mob girlfriends and people who aid fugitives of being victims of circumstance and not having a full knowledge of the mobsters crime.  This does not seem to be true of Catherine Grieg.   She appears to have had full knowledge of Whitey's crime and was glad to run away with him.   She aided a fugitive from murder consistently for over sixteen years.    Perhaps, if Whitey Bulger committed any crimes while he in hiding , she can be charged for being an accessory to his crimes.

If she has the courage to tell the truth, Catherine Greig's story might be interesting one.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Panda Bear on the War and Poor Leadership

The Panda Bear apologizes to her readers. She said she would deal with bullying on today's post. However, her heart is not into writing about bullying this week.

The Panda Bear is very distressed at the level of US involvement in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. She is tired of hearing of US soldiers getting hurt and killed and of US families suffering because of these wars. She read this interesting post on by John Nichols where he states:
"Indeed, even by the most optimistic timeline proposed by Obama, the US occupation force will at the end of Obama’s first term be much larger than the US force that was there when Bush and Cheney left the White House in 2009."

Some Change!!!! The Panda Bear used joke when Obama ran and he promised change, that change could be for the worse. In terms of the quest for peace the Panda Bear turned out to be correct.  . The US just seems to be getting involved in more and more wars. Whatever happened to the idea that using war to solve the world's problems should only be done as the very last resort?

Also the Panda Bear does not like that Obama does not seem to be making any personal sacrifices as he pushes more conflict She is tired of hearing about Obama playing golf while he increases the US war effort.

However, Obama is not the only leader in the US who seems not to believe in leading by example. The Panda Bear hears of "experts" who tell others to take extreme measures to stop climate change while living in big houses and take private planes (in other words they waste lots of energy).   The Panda Bear is tired of hearing of CEOs who make large salaries and big bonuses regardless of whether the company succeeds or fails.  The Panda Bear is tired of hearing of heads of nonprofits that are supposed to be helping poor people who get millions of dollars in bonuses while the organization needs money to help its clients (an example of this would be Elaine Ullian of Boston Medical Center-the Panda Bear thinks she should have set an example by donating some of her bonus money to people who needed health care).  

The Panda Bear is anxious for leaders who practice what they preach and are willing to make sacrifices for their ideas.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Panda Bear on Emotional Intelligience

The Panda Bear just wanted to share this excellent article on emotional intelligence.   Too often, in this busy world of ours,  people skills and simple courtesy are often ignored.   The Panda Bear believes that ignoring people's feelings and emotions while saving some initial effort is costly in the long run.  

As the Panda Bear observed in a previous post, humans like to think of themselves as being machines and totally rational.  However, really human being are highly intelligent animals and be driven to a large extent by instinct and emotion.

The Panda Bear will explore more on this topics in later posts.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Panda Bear on Libya, Clothes Clutter

The Panda Bear is very concerned about the US involvement in Libya and wishes it would end.   She is also worried that the Obama is continuing the war without appropriate Congressional authorization. 

However, the Panda Bear can not do much to stop the US involvement in Libya.   She has always heard that one can not change the world but one can try to change one's self.   The Panda Bear is proud to report she has had some limited success in changing herself.

As the readers of the Panda Bear Blog know, the thing that the Panda Bear hates to do most is household chores.  In addition, she works full-time.   The summer is always the busiest time of year for her paid employment.   So what did she and Mr. Panda do this beautiful spring day of perfect weather to relax from the stresses of life?   They cleaned their apartment.   Today,  the Panda Bear was not cursing and screaming at having to spent her limited free time at doing this dreadful task.    No-the Panda Bear felt grateful that she enjoys good health, has the privilege of owning property and is lucky in this bad economy to have a job.

In the past the Panda Bear would have panic attacks about the state of her apartment and feel overwhelmed.  Now she just feels that she will do what she can do and focuses and cleaning a tiny area and feeling proud at what she can accomplish.  

The task that the Panda Bear feels the most proud of is that she has brought down her clothes clutter and now she does not have more clothes than she can store.   According to the The Happiness Project, this should make the Panda Bear overjoyed.   The Panda Bear does not know if she feels happier person that she has conquered her clothes clutter but she feels more self-disciplined and organized.

It has taken the Panda Bear many years to achieve this clothes equilibrium.   She thinks many women have to learn they they need to discard clothes that fit and are in good condition but don't fit into their current fashion sense.

More remarkably she has taught Mr. Panda to get rid of his old clothes.  When they first got married Mr. Panda did not want to though any old clothes out.   Some how after much heated discussion Mr. Panda had the revelation that life was better without clothes clutter and now  proudly throws his hopelessly stained and torn clothes out.

Next Monday, the Panda Bear will continue her discussion of the domestic life and the "joys" of home ownership.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Panda Bear on Elemantary School Bullying Continued

Previous discussion of bulling at on the June 9 post of the Panda Bear Blog.

The Panda Bear over the past week has searched the internet on bullying. She finds it interesting that most material written about bullying deals with teenagers. However, she and her friends remember their most intense experience with bulling occurred from around 8-13 years old. In part the Panda Bear believes that bullying declined in high school is because she and her friends went from small elementary school to a large high school were it was easier to avoid the bullies
Interestingly enough the Panda Bear found this article on, that also confirms that bulling is more common in the younger years than it is in the teen years. However, most anti-bullying efforts are directed at teenagers. Even in the nineteen seventies, the Panda Bear remembers adults telling the high school students to resist peer pressure and be critical of the high school social hierarchy. She found these adult insights into teen behavior helpful for when she was a teenager.

However that Panda Bear and her friends remember little or not help be given to them by the adult world when they were bullied as children. They remember that teachers, parents and counselors telling them what they needed to was "fit in". The Panda Bear’s mother told the Panda Bear that the teachers recommended that the Panda Bear’s mother pick up her from school because boys were hitting her. What the Panda Bear finds interesting that the school did not see it as their responsibility to stop the hitting. The Panda Bear never remembers hearing the school bullies at the time being called the school bullies by those in authority and neither do any of her friends.

The Panda Bear thinks the reason that bullying does not get much paid attention to at this age is that adults find it hard to believe how cruel children can be to each other and that when children fight with each other at that age that damage can last years. The Panda Bear find its interesting that one book that tries to deal with the preteen mean girls, The English Roses by Madonna ends up with everyone becoming friends.

The Panda Bear thinks Madonna may be looking at the world through rose colored glasses(pun intended).
The good news for the Panda Bear and her friends who were bullied is that we turned out to be nice people who have their frends in adult life. The Panda Bear no longer has problems with bullying. Some of us who were bullied ended up being of higher "status" in adult life that the bullies.

The Panda Bear invites her readers to share their experiences with elementary school bullying. Were you bullied or were you a bully? How do you remember your experiences?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Panda Bear on CETA

The Panda Bear hopes she can make it through the week without some politician getting involved in some sex scandal.   She is tired of hearing how foolish/criminal/immoral politicians can be with their personal lives and then hear about it on the news for 24/7.
Today, the Panda Bear picked up the monthly AARP magazine and read an article how many employers don't want to hire the long term unemployed.  She thinks more needs to be done to help the long term unemployed than just hoping that employers hire them when and if the economy picks up.   Employers nowadays want employees to be ready to hit the ground running when they are hired and employers don't want to provide extensive training .   Though it had its critics, the Panda Bear knows of many workers who were helped by the old Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.   These workers were able to get regular jobs once their CETA position ended and CETA was helpful in getting people back into the workforce.   The Panda Bear thinks the government and industry need to work very closely together to ensure workers have the right training and experience to get the new jobs.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Panda Bear on Elementary School Bullying, Part One

The Panda Bear remembers being bullied alot from the ages of 8-11.   This would have been around 1970.   The Panda Bear mentions the year because she things times have changed and people have gotten much more open about talking about certain problems.   For example, She heard on NPR radio that if people had cancer in the early in the early seventies, it was not discussed..   Other people have verified for the Panda Bear  that it was not acceptable to talk about cancer during this time period.  

The Panda Bear has recently begin to rethink her period of being bullied in elementary school.  In Massachusetts there have been problems with high school bullying in the news and now there are laws in Massachusetts stating schools must have anti-bullying policies(Sadly it appears that elementary school bullying was tolerated when the Panda Bear was a child).  Therefore, there has been alot of discussion of bullying.   The Panda Bear is surprised how common a problem it is.   The Panda Bear was in her forties when she realized that in every classroom in the world there is probably a bully and a bully victim.

Through Facebook  and chance meetings, Panda Bear has reconnected with a lot of people that she went to elementary school with(this would have included the period that the Panda Bear experienced intense bullying).   The Panda Bear has been touched with how many people have tried to reconnect to her from this difficult period..   Looking back she thinks it was a few "popular" children who caused her problems with most other children being  of neutral when the bullying occurred. However, when she was ten, the Panda Bear thought she was the most unpopular girl in the school

However, what surprised the Panda Bear the most was during the past couple of years she discovered that two of her classmates transferred out of her elementary school because of the intense bullying.   Both these women said their mothers tried to talk to the teachers about the bullying and the teachers did nothing nothing about it.   One woman told me that me that she thought the principal of the school condoned bullying.   She had a brother who was sick and had to be on crutches.   One day the kids took away his crutches in the bathroom and he had to crawl to get them back.   The principal instead of disciplining the kids who took away her brother's crutches the Principal said these kids showed some spunk.   Nowadays the schools could get sued for not accommodating special needs.

One reason the Panda Bear suspects the bullying was being tolerated in the school is that the parents of some of the bullies were quite wealthy.  While the Panda and her friends who were bullied came from families who where comfortable, some of the bullies came from families that were very wealthy.  The Panda Bear thinks the teachers were afraid of confronting the parents.  One of the worst bullies lived in a mansion and his father was a judge who abused his child.  This child later was arrested for mugging a blind person in the subway.   The Panda Bear thinks the school did not try to discipline this child because his father was a rich judge.

The Panda Bear remembers seeing a television show called Cold Case.  In one episode the detective is investigating a case of a twelve year old girl who is killed.  What had happened is that a "popular" girl invited the girl who was killed(and was also unpopular) and another unpopular girl to her house.   The girl who is killed finds out that the "popular" girl's parents are abusing her.   The girl who is killed tells the "popular" girl that she should get help.   The "popular" girl does not want anyone to know that her parents are abusing her.   The girl who is killed says she is going to tell the authorities anyway because what her parents are doing is wrong.   The "popular" girl orders both girls to leave the house and says she will never have them over again.  As the two girls are walking back home, the girl who is killed tells the other girl they can at least become friends with each other.  However, the other unpopular girl does want to be friends with the other unpopular girl she wants to be friends with the "popular" girl.  This girl ends up killing the other unpopular because she felt the other girl by threatening to tell the authorities about abuse was ruining her chance to be friends with the "popular" girl.

Obviously the story is extreme but it did bring to the Panda Bear's mind that for children(and some adults) that it was not just having nice friends that was important but having friends of the right social status.   However, it the two adult women who have reconnected with the Panda Bear who bullied are very good, smart people and the Panda Bear is proud to be their friend.   It's is just too bad as children they could not huddle together and band against the bullies when they were children.

The Panda Bear will continue her discussion of bullying next Thursday.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Panda Bear on Suing the Town, #2, Sarah Palin, Blog Updae

The Panda Bear is getting sick of hearing about Sarah Palin when she is a  NOT a presidential candidate.   She heard from a reporter at NPR the reason the press is drooling over Sarah Palin is that they think if she ran for president it would make an interesting news story.   The Panda Bear also read in the book Game Change which was written by two NYT times reporters covering the 2008 elections that the news media does have favorites when  it covers elections. 

The press should feel ashamed of itself.   It should be objective and be reporting for the public good and not be so self promoting.(However, the Panda Bear is quite impressed about what she hears about reporters through  NPR covering the wars.  Some reports really do put their lives in danger to get the "true" story).

The Panda Bear is proud to report that many "experts" on blog writing are wrong when it comes to the readers of the Panda Bear Blog.  These experts say readers want something entertaining and and factual.  However, they are wrong when it comes to the ever discerning and intelligent readers of the Panda Bear Blog.   The Panda Bear Blog's most popular posts are reflective and moody   Therefore, the Panda Bear reverts to back her original idea of being being a general writer in the style of the great writers of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century who happens to use the twenty first century of means of communication of blogging.

As readers of the Panda Bear Blog know, the Panda Bear slipped and fell on the ice and broke her wrist.   Being a typical litigious American, the Panda Bear feels it must be be somone elses fault that she fell.  Furthermore,  She read John Grisham's The Appeal where the novel makes it seem that personal injury lawsuits are critical in preserving freedom and democracy as we know it. Besides there is a small change the Panda Bear might get some money from a lawsuit.    Therefore, she may be suing her town.

The place where the Panda Bear fell was maintained by the town where the Panda Bear lives and works.   It was not widely known that the town was supposed to maintain this area.    It is NEVER shoveled.    It is very slippery there and it is also near some schools, a park for children and public transportation.   Therefore, it is a widely trafficked area and one would think the town would want to have the palce safe for foot traffic.

It was a very bad winter this year.   There was a lot of snow.  The way the laws work in Massachusetts residents and businesses are responsible for shoveling the sidewalks in front of them.   Towns and cities are very heavy handed about enforcing these rules and fining citizens who don't clean there areas.   There have been some complaints by Massachusetts residents that they have cleaned there sidewalks and then the city comes in and throws some snow on their sidewalks and then these citizens are fined for not cleaning their snow.

The Panda Bear joins the world wide revolt against tyrannical government.   Why should towns and cities not follow the same laws and rules they impose on other people?  Don't they exist to protect the citizens that they are supposed to serve?  The Panda Bear has been that that municipalities are harder to sue than other organizations.    She once read once that the reason for this was a legacy of the divine right of kings.    The Panda Bear has increasingly begun to feel that the government can be arrogant and act privileged.

When the Panda Bear fell on the ice, she did not know who maintained the area nor did anyone else who walked over that hill though people constantly complained about it being slippery and dangerous.    As part of her suit, the Panda Bear needed to find out who was responsible for cleaning the area.   The town admitted that it was responsible for cleaning the area and that it was a dangerous section.    The Panda Bear also found in the town web site a section where people could comment about places that needed to have snow removed.

The Panda Bear was all excited when she found out this information.   She thought people who lived and worked in the area would could press the town to keep this area clear of snow and ice.   She mentioned to people who had to go over the hill that she fell areas that the town kept cleaner probably as a result of pressure from nearby institutions.

However, instead the Panda Bear felt she encountered apathy and ,of more concern to the Panda Bear, fear of confronting town authorities.    Here the US is right now fighting three wars to spread democracy and yet its residents of this of supposedly free nation are afraid of asking the town to maintain the public safety which is the one of its basic functions.   The Panda Bear is not afraid to confront the town and ask it to follow the rules that it imposes on other people.    The Panda Bear wants to mention that the town she lives in is not poor and the residents generally support the idea of government services.

A famous local politician said "all politics is local."  The Panda Bear will provide further posts on her efforts on her suit and her efforts to get the town to shovel the hill where she fell.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Panda Bear on Goods from China

The Panda Bear just wanted to add this link from NPR reporting that some high Chinese officials wrote that cyber warfare should be a priority for China.   The Panda Bear wanted to substantiate some people's worries that China was a military threat. 
Originally Posted 5/23/2011
The Panda Bear was looking personal schedule.  She admits she finds it hard to do everything she has to do/wants to do and work full-time.  Now she has to find time to blog including writing her blogs posts, learning about blogging, and reading other blogs.     However, she likes blogging.  Now when people as her what is new in her life instead of saying nothing the Panda Bear can talk about the Panda Bear Blog.

Right now the Panda Bear plans on posting both Mondays and Thursdays with the Monday Post being very short.   Also, the Panda Bear has overcome her fears of spam/negative remarks and has opened all her posts to comments.

Today’s post will be about trade with China.  While at work the Panda Bear heard on the radio about some US officials being concerned about the Chinese providing military help to Pakistan  and this possibly being harmful to the US interests in the area.   The Panda Bear is hearing more and more China possibly being a threat to the US.    

However, this concern about China being a threat to the US has made the Panda Bear wonder why the US buys some so many goods from China.  Obviously, the main reason is that the US buys them is because they are cheap.  The Panda Bear knows some people who wanted to boycott Chinese goods because of they way they treat the workers but they found it impossible to do without Chinese goods.  To buy some goods in the US now, one simply has to get them made in China.

However, the Panda Bear is beginning to think this is a problem that the US relays so much on goods produced by what can be seen as a hostile country to the US.    The Panda Bear therefore proposes that the US government start imposing restrictions on goods from China.   This move would hopefully make the US less dependent on Chinese goods and perhaps help develop US industry.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Panda Bear on Working for the Money

A major reason that the Panda Bear Blog is an anonymous  blog is that she works full-time in an office to earn money.  The Panda Bear does not want to make the mistake that Heather Armstrong made by writing in too much detail about what is going on at work and getting fired.   However, the Panda Bear Blog will deal with general issues of work from the point of view of the worker.

She finds it interesting that while she has seen blogs by men bloggers who have full-time day jobs, she has seen not any anonymous blogs  by working women.   For both working men and working women, the Panda Bear believes their voice is not always in discussions about the about the economy/business/workplace since  they don’t have time to write.  Barbara Ehnrenreich has some made some good faith efforts to describe the lifestyle of average working people but she herself admits that she does not live this life from day to day.

Tonight the Panda Bear was talking to a friend.   She told the friend that she did not think anyone in her line of work was independently wealthy.   The hours were too long and the work load to high for it too be a job for someone to do just because they wanted to keep busy.   Needing money makes people work harder and take more pressure than they would  if they did not need the money
There is a good and bad for working for the money.   The bad is that it can make people have to accept  poor working conditions.  The good about working for money is that it can be the best motivator to get things done that ever existed.