Monday, August 27, 2012

The Panda Bear on Rumors, Obama and Columbia

The Panda Bear is very excited.   She an average everyday blogger gets to examine an untrue political rumor.

The Panda Bear numerous times of right-wing leaning radio programs has heard the rumor that Barack Obama never went to Columbia University.   Furthermore it is alleged that no one at Columbia remembers President Obama.

However, in the magazine of Columbia University, the Columbia Magazine, there are articles where people say they remember Obama at Columbia University.   The most recent article was in the summer edition of the magazine call Dreams of My Mater.   This article gives examples of people who remember Obama when he was a student at Columbia.

However, the Panda Bear finds it interesting that this untrue rumor has some distorted reality to it. (The Panda Bear finds many office rumors have this quality).  

First of all according to the article:

His classmate Wayne Root, the 2008 Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate, told the New York Times shortly before the election, “I’ve not only not met him, I’ve not met anybody who met him.”

So there were public figures that presumably had inside information that made this claim.   Whether they deliberately lied is hard to know.

Secondly according to the article, Obama himself has had a cool distant relationship with his Alma Mater.   From the article:

For those who know Obama not just as the leader of the free world but as a member of the Class of ’83, his appearance on South Lawn seemed improbable. It’s hardly a state secret that the president has never fully embraced Alma Mater.

He felt no attachment to Columbia,” writes journalist David Maraniss in the newly published Barack Obama: The Story. Obama himself has acknowledged that as a transfer student from Occidental College, where he spent his first two undergraduate years, he wasn’t a man about campus.

“Mostly, my years at Columbia were an intense period of study,” he told Columbia College Today in 2005. “When I transferred, I decided to buckle down and get serious. I spent a lot of time in the library. I didn’t socialize that much. I was like a monk.”

The Panda Bear knows of many urban campus where the students live off-campus (as Obama did at Columbia) where the commuters are not a central part of college life and would not be well remembered at the school.

Of course, Obama contributes somewhat to the confusion around his schooling by refusing to have his school records released (or is this untrue rumor the Panda Bear has heard?).

So while it appears Obama in fact did go to Columbia he was not a well known name on the campus which makes it easier for this rumor to grow.

Thus, the example of the rumor that Obama did not attend Columbia University shows how under even false rumors there is a distorted truth.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Panda Bear on Dysthymia and the Fusion of the Personal and Politcal

The Panda Bear will be continuing through what remains of the summer do short blog posts.   The Panda Bear works in an office all day and the evenings are too nice to side inside and write blog posts.

The hypothesis of the Panda Bear Blog is that we live in an overly busy society.  However, the Panda Bear also believes that in this fast paced society that does not give individuals much down time we have to learn to give ourselves breaks.   Therefore, the Panda Bear has to look at herself critically on when she herself contributes to her stress problem.

However, today the Panda Bear is feeling blue today because she has been told she suffers from low grade depression (Dysthymia) and anxiety.  (The Panda Bear always gets more depressed when she finds out she is depressed but does not realize it) The Panda Bear wonders if she did not have these problems would she have the energy to do it all.

Upon further reflection the Panda Bear decides life is not so clear-cut.   The Panda Bear can push herself too hard in a high pressured society.    Writers are often the canary in the coal mine.   Miners used to bring canaries down into the coal mine because canaries were more sensitive to bad air than humans.   If the canary died, it meant the air was not good and the coal miners would leave the mine.   Writers and artists are often the canaries of society.   They are more sensitive to the problems that all individuals face.

The Panda Bear Blog is about the fusion of the personal, political, and economic forces of stress.   It is a blog about an average, benign and fumbling human Panda Bear.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Panda Bear on e-Readers and Protecting the Sikhs in the US

The Panda Bear admits she has been neglecting her blog because instead of being inside blogging she is enjoying being outside and reading (The Panda admits she has a dull life in that the high point of her summer is sitting outside reading a book).

The Panda Bear has been using eReaders for about a year.  She still finds them very convenient though they are not without technological problems.   Three e-Readers have become broken in the course of a year (one Kobo and two Nook eReaders).   They were all under warranties from Best Buy so these problems did not cost the Panda Bear money-she simply exchanged the e-Readers for newer one.

The newest eReader Panda Bear has is the Nook with the Glow Light.  She finds the Glow light helpful but in order for the eReader to work it needs to be frequently recharged. 

The death of Father Panda in June 2012 also has caused the Panda Bear to have a busy summer.   She has been helping Mother Panda with all the paperwork death involves.   Mother Panda says no one should every die; death involves too much work.   The Panda Bear finds it distasteful all the work that needs to be done regarding Father Panda’s estate.

However, what has prompted the Panda Bear to write a post are the recent attacks in the US on the Sikh community. The Panda Bear hopes the US does more to protect them and makes violence against Sikhs a separate hate crime from those involving the Muslins.

The Panda Bear condemns all attacks against innocent civilians on the basis of their religion/race/nationality/ethnic origin.  

However, the attacks on the Sikhs seem especially worth commenting on for two reasons.

One is the extreme ignorance/bigotry of people lumping them together with Muslim when they are a separate religion.  It seems the basest/lowest form of hate crime that does not correctly identify what group to attack.

Secondly, much of what the Panda Bears hears about the Sikhs and the Sikh beliefs seem highly commendable.   The Panda Bear shares the Sikh beliefs of equality, service to others, and religious tolerance.   The response of the Sikh community has been remarkable in its freedom from hatred and calls for revenge.

In short, the Panda Bear feels spiritual kinship with the Sikhs and hopes the US does its best to protect them from hate crimes.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Panda Bear on Viral Infections and Vacation Time

The Panda Bear has not forgotten her readers.   She wants to share this link The Atlantic which states that there are studies that show that workers are more productive at work with time off.   The Panda Bear thinks more managers need to read this article.

The article states that the average American gets about 16 "vacation" days and uses about 14 of them.   This sounds correct to the Panda Bear based on her experience in the work force.   However, the Panda Bear thinks of the 14 vacation days the average American uses, probably only about half are used on genuine vacations with the rest of the time being used for the many chores and errands people can't do because they work during the week. For the Panda Bear "vacation" time includes, time off for physician appointments, looking after sick relatives, preparing for the holidays and taking time off from work due to bad weather.      

Many Americans take their "vacation" to visit relatives who live far away. While the Panda Bear is all in favor of seeing family, visiting family can be stressful and the Panda Bear does not consider this to be a true fun relaxing vacation.

For the past three weeks, the Panda Bear has had a virus infection (cold) with a sore throat.   The Panda Bear felt very tired, she took one "vacation" day off from work to rest.   The sore throat lasted about two weeks.   The Panda Bear gets many colds that aren't bad enough (fortunately for her health) to use company "sick" time but they are not true vacation days either.   The Panda Bear was hoping to be able to take a long winter vacation.   However, the Panda Bear believes her body is telling her to slow down when she gets colds so she is taking some Fridays off for the summer.  She will be enjoying the outside fresh air.   (The Panda Bear thinks too much time inside buildings causes viruses to spread).

Therefore, while the Panda Bear may be doing shorter posts during the summer, you the dear reader are still foremost in the Panda Bear's heart.