Monday, November 21, 2011

The Panda Bear on Press Bias, Training Americans and Thanksgiving

The Panda Bear said in a previous post that she would discuss these fiction books written about journalism by journalists. These books were   The Imperfectionists by Tom RachmanStieg Larson's Millennium Trilogy.    and Capable of Honor by Allen Drury.   The Panda Bear will have to decline this discussion.  When she read Capable of Honor she did not understand it.  The book was a third novel in a series of political novels by Allen Drury.   The Panda Bear had not read the previous novels in the series and the book did not make sense on its own.  

Instead in a future post, the Panda Bear will discuss Juan Williams book Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate  .  She found in interesting but she think Juan Williams confused several issues.

Because of Occupy Wall Street has been in the news, the Panda Bear wishes to continue her critique of  American industry.  Though she personally knows no one involved in the Occupy movement, she would like to help them better articulate some of their positions.  

In her previous post the Panda Bear said American industry needs to be encouraged/rewarded/pressured  to bring back their operations to the United States.   Many conservatives make fun of the young people in the Occupy movement because they love Steve Jobs and Apple products but these products are now made overseas,   The Panda Bear on their behalf would like to tell these conservative critics of OWS that yes-it is a problem that Apple products are made overseas.   Steve Jobs genius is not benefiting the American economy they way it once might have before everything was made overseas.

Not only does the Panda Bear believe that that American companies should find it worth their effort ti return to the United States and hire Americans, the Panda Bear also boldly asserts that they should be willing to train Americans.   In the thirty years, the Panda Bear has seen a decline in company training.   It used to be that many people with a high school degree could rise in a company through corporate training programs but this has totally stopped.

Instead, people are forced to go colleges and universities to take out expensive degrees.   One theory behind the student revolts of the nineteen sixties was that many people were in college who really did want to be there and students were there to escape the draft.   The Panda Bear thinks some current student protests are coming about because many young people may not want to be in college but they are told that is the only way they can succeed in the world.

There is constant education inflation happening in the US.   The Panda Bear's father remembers when a high school degree was rare.   Now everyone is expected to get a college degree.  As more people get degrees their worth goes down forcing people to get more degrees.

The Panda Bear thinks its unnatural to make people start their lives in debt or be a financial burden to their families for such a long time.   She thinks there should be more paid apprenticeships.   More examination needs to be done about how necessary some degrees really are.    The Panda Bear thinks a high school degree should be sufficient to show basic language and math skills.

Of course companies don't like training workers because it costs money.   However, most people know accept that companies should take precautions to protect the environment even if it costs more.   The Panda Bear thinks that companies should start feeling that way about hiring and training workers of their own countries.   Companies have some social obligations besides making money.

The Panda Bear thinks some of the Occupy movement would like this quote from Balzac from Father Goriot:

Corruption is a great power in the world, and talent is scarce….Do you know how a man makes his way here? By brilliant genius or by skilful corruption. … The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed."

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. People are supposed to be remember for what they are thankful. The Panda Bear is thankful that she is does not have to worry about basic needs. However, she is also glad she is not part of the rich, corrupt elite. The Panda Bear is not rich but she is considered to be a decent Panda Bear.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Panda Bear on Hiring Americans, WOMAC update

As readers, of the Panda Bear Blog know, the Panda Bear stated about six weeks ago WOMAC(the War on Mice and Clutter) which is modeled after George Bush's Global War on Terror(GWOT). She is proud to report that she has seen no mice for about a month. However, WOMAC is an ongoing and continuous effort.

The Panda Bear was glad to learn that she was not the only one with mice problems. She saw on NPR that the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, threw a fork at a scampering mouse while eating his dinner at his residence. At least, the Panda Bear has never seen a mouse while eating at her dinner table, 

The Panda Bear is digressing from the main object of the post. The Panda Bear believes that in order for the US unemployment situation to be improved US companies need to stop the exporting of their jobs overseas. Recently, the Panda Bear heard a list of richest people in the United States and most of them made their money in information technology. However, the reason the Panda Bear thinks the reason that the "trickle down" theory of wealth is not working to help Americans find employment is that so many of these companies have sent significant parts of their operations overseas.

Computers are manufactured overseas. Americans need more jobs that don't require advanced degrees. Call centers also are located overseas. More and more office workers that the Panda Bear talks to say their work is being shipped to English speaking countries in Asia who are paid less than Americans. She also hears US companies outsourcing a lot of its computer programming and development to foreign countries.

What can be done to stop US companies from shipping jobs overseas when American labot is more expensive? The Panda Bear feels the first step is for the American public to realize that it is not good that the US does not make anything anymore and that there is a hidden cost to the US in "cheap" products that are made abroad. The US is progressing towards a society of cheap goods but no jobs. The Panda Bear thinks the US needs to revert back more its economy of the nineteen fifties and sixties-goods cost more but Americans had jobs.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Panda Bear on the Tyranny of Things, Housing and Economists

As readers of the Panda Blog know, the Panda Bear HATES housework and house projects.   In one previous post, the Panda Bear described her hatred of housework.   In another post, she has asserted that while home ownership has been good for the Panda Bear economically,  it is not a source of "happiness"  to her.  She also has asserted that she feels that economists and the US government push home ownership as a way of dealing with stagnate wages and a way of stimulating the economy.

If the Panda Bear were extremely rich, she would live in a furnished hotel suite with a kitchen(the Panda Bear likes to cook).   No matter how wealthy she was she would devote as little energy as possible to maintaining housing, buying furniture etc.   Martha Stewart would not become rich in a world full of Panda Bears and much of the economy would suffer.   She finds it strange when the very rich want to design their own houses when the Panda Bear would want to use her money to out of as many of the burdens of the housing.

The Panda Bear likes to having her feelings validated.   She found online an essay called The Tyranny of Things  written by an American name Edward Sanford Martin in 1893.  Edward Sanford Martin describes the avoidable stresses people at the time put themselves through for housing. The essay is a for runner of  of the modern voluntary simplicity movement which the Panda Bear has found helpful in dealing with these stressful times.  Why suffer unnecessary stress when just trying to survive can be stressful?  The full text of the essay can be found by clicking on the above link.   However, the Panda Bear wanted to quote from the essay on the overspending people were doing on housing which sounds very modern and the headaches involved in owing property.  She will discuss other aspects of  the essay in a later post.   Below is what Martin said about housing:

A big house is one of the greediest cormorants which can light upon a little income. Backs may go threadbare and stomachs may worry along on indifferent filling, but a house will have things, though its occupants go without. It is rarely complete, and constantly tempts the imagination to flights in brick and dreams in lath and plaster. It develops annual thirsts for paint and wall-paper, at least, if not for marble and wood-carving. The plumbing in it must be kept in order on pain of death. Whatever price is put on coal, it has to be heated in winter; and if it is rural or suburban, the grass about it must be cut even though funerals in the family have to be put off for the mowing. If the tenants are not rich enough to hire people to keep their house clean, they must do it themselves, for there is no excuse that will pass among housekeepers for a dirty house. The master of a house too big for him may expect to spend the leisure which might be made intellectually or spiritually profitable, in acquiring and putting into practice fag ends of the arts of the plumber, the bell-hanger, the locksmith, the gas-fitter, and the carpenter. Presently he will know how to do everything that can be done in the house, except enjoy himself. He will learn about taxes, too, and water-rates, and how such abominations as sewers or new pavements are always liable to accrue at his expense. As for the mistress, she will be a slave to carpets and curtains, wall-paper, painters, and women who come in by the day to clean. She will be lucky if she gets a chance to say her prayers, and thrice and four times happy when she can read a book or visit with her friends. To live in a big house may be a luxury, provided that one has a full set of money and an enthusiastic housekeeper in one’s family; but to scrimp in a big house is a miserable business. Yet such is human folly, that for a man to refuse to live in a house because it is too big for him, is such an exceptional exhibition of sense that it becomes the favorite paragraph of a day in the newspapers.

An ideal of earthly comfort, so common that every reader must have seen it, is to get a house so big that it is burdensome to maintain, and fill it up so full of jimcracks that it is a constant occupation to keep it in order. Then, when the expense of living in it is so great that you can’t afford to go away and rest from the burden of it, the situation is complete and boarding-houses and cemeteries begin to yawn for you. How many Americans, do you suppose, out of the droves that flock annually to Europe, are running away from oppressive houses?

When nature undertakes to provide a house, it fits the occupant. Animals which build by instinct build only what they need, but man’s building instinct, if it gets a chance to spread itself at all, is boundless, just as all his instincts are. For it is man’s peculiarity that nature has filled him with impulses to do things, and left it to his discretion when to stop. She never tells him when he has finished. And perhaps we ought not to be surprised that in so many cases it happens that he doesn’t know, but just goes ahead as long as the materials last.

If another man tries to oppress him, he understands that and is ready to fight to death and sacrifice all he has, rather than submit; but the tyranny of things is so subtle, so gradual in its approach, and comes so masked with seeming benefits, that it has him hopelessly bound before he suspects his fetters. He says from day to day, "I will add thus to my house"; "I will have one or two more horses"; "I will make a little greenhouse in my garden"; "I will allow myself the luxury of another hired man"; and so he goes on having things and imagining that he is richer for them. Presently he begins to realize that it is the things that own him. He has piled them up on his shoulders, and there they sit like Sindbad’s Old Man and drive him; and it becomes a daily question whether he can keep his trembling legs or not.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Panda Bear on Bullying, the "Popular" Kids, and the Hierarchies

The Panda Bear recently ran into a classmate from her elementary school. This classmate asked the Panda Bear whether she friends her entire elementary school class. The Panda Bear said she was not friends with Anne whom she remembers as being mean to her in elementary school. The Panda Bear reconnected with someone else from elementary school on Facebook who also had bad memories of Anne.
Over the past few years, the Panda Bear has told people who knew both her and Anne in both elementary and high school that Anne was mean to her. It wasn't until she was over forty, that the Panda Bear begin to talk to people about who was mean to her in elementary school. The Panda Bear once saw Anne and at their twenty-fifth high school reunion. The Panda Bear was so tempted to go up to Anne and ask her how she was doing. The Panda Bear was with Mr. Panda. Anne in elementary school called the Panda Bear a lesbian and made fun of the Panda Bear when she went to her first dance. However, the Panda Bear lost her nerve. She was not sure if Anne saw her at the reunion.

However, the Panda Bear and Anne have some mutual friends on Facebook and sometimes the Panda Bear has put her blog posts on her personal Facebook page. The Panda Bear wonders whether what she is writing will ever get back to Anne and whether Anne will recognize herself.

The Panda Bear looked up Anne on Facebook and found out that Anne had joined a Facebook group that wanted to end school bullying. The Panda Bear looked up this group and found this article that stated it was the "popular" children/tweens who were the bullies. Bullying is by definition the strong picking on the weak.

The Panda Bear remembers Anne has being one of the "popular" girls. She belonged to a large clique and was wealthy. She acted as though she was the coolest kid ever and wore expensive clothes. The Panda Bear thinks that because Anne was wealthy the teachers were afraid to discipline her.

From her experiences with workplace bullying, the Panda Bear has come to a conclusion that there is a hierarchical nature to bullying. Workplace bullies can't abuse their superiors and keep their jobs. Workplace bullies take out their frustrations on people whom they feel they can get away with it. The Panda Bear feels work place bullies have enough self-control to know how to hide it,   Therefore, she little sympathy for workplace bullies.