Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Iditarod musher Allie Zirkle agreed to take on California lawyer Grace Jiu in an arm wrestling contest in Nome shortly after completing this year’s race. It took very few seconds for her to accidentally break Jiu’s arm. But guess what? Defying all odds and expectations… especially given that a lawyer was involved… no one is suing anyone over this incident. No one is bad mouthing anyone. No one is, in effect, acting like a spoiled brat whose parents have told her that the world owes her everything. Nope. What we have here are two decent adults treating each other decently. It was an accident. Imagine. An accident. I didn’t think anything so simple existed in today’s world where stubbing your toe outside a building gives you cause to sue the building for toe trauma.
Way to go, ladies. Keeping it classy!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:27 AM •
Monday, March 23, 2015
image

,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,,
,
,
.
,
,
,,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:12 AM •
Sunday, March 22, 2015
image

Ever since BuddaBubba crossed the Rainbow Bridge he’s been even more anxious about me not leaving him. Usually he loves doggie day care and runs to the back room the minute I bring him in to the facility. But since BB left us, he moves more slowly down the hallway and continually looks back at me as though he’s afraid I’m going to leave him there forever. I guess there is no cure but to bring him there and pick him up often enough for him to again believe he is in his forever home and I will never leave him anywhere without coming back.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:06 AM •
Saturday, March 21, 2015

I think anyone who gives a pet of any kind a home and love is a special person. But dog people are even a cut above that. They are simply wonderful. And when you lose your canine friend, they wrap you in such fierce love and understanding that it helps the pain subside more quickly than you could have possibly imagined. Thank you to everyone who let me know they understood how much of a loss it is when that sweet face is no longer in your life.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:54 AM •
Friday, March 20, 2015

Is there anything more fun than watching one of your dogs chew on and swallow a treat he really doesn’t like just so his housemate can’t have it? The reluctance with which he is chewing is hysterical. But for so long as his buddy is sitting next to him watching every bite, he’s not giving it up. He will eat it no matter how much it makes him want to gag. Because it’s his and the other guy isn’t getting any of it. And it is this mentality that has led the male of our species to start just about every war in history.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 02:38 AM •
Thursday, March 19, 2015

As the budget process unfolds in Juneau, all my expectations are being met. Every cut proposed produces an interest group that opposes the cut. Meanwhile, the legislature, in its infinite wisdom, felt it was so important that it could only cut less than 2% from its own budget while subjecting other departments to much deeper cuts. So pretty much business as usual.

One legislator tried to gut public broadcasting. That’s such an annual routine at this point I would almost miss it if it didn’t happen. And as usual, the cries heard from all over the state resulted in at least most of the money being restored. Given that public broadcasting is still the way many legislators communicate with their constituents, this was a smart, if somewhat still self-serving, move. Programs aimed at the most horrible and pervasive problems in this state – domestic abuse and sexual violence – were also substantially cut despite the cries from providers who are sinking under the weight of the trauma with which they must deal on a daily basis.
I predicted at the beginning of this legislative session that Alaskans would not respond well to budget cuts and that, in fact, Alaska Airlines would reap a record profit from all the people heading to Juneau to try and prevent the worse of those cuts to programs they supported. And so it has come to pass. What hasn’t come to pass is any hue and cry to raise revenues for these programs by instituting a state income tax. If I understand the thinking that goes into this attitude, it runs something like this: So long as the oil companies are paying for these programs and it’s not coming out of my pocket, go for it – but if I have to pay anything towards them, then they aren’t needed.
Taxes have never been a popular part of government. You can probably go back to ancient Greece and find some writing on stone tablets bitching about the amount of taxes someone had to pay. Alaskans used to pay a state income tax. But the minute oil money started rolling in, we canceled that and have lived royally off of revenues from our main non-renewable resource. As best I can tell, our current fiscal plan is to pray to any god we can find that oil prices go back up.
I get no more joy out of paying taxes than anyone else. In a perfect world, I’d get to keep every cent I made. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where government and the services it provides are critical to our way of life. Whether it’s fixing bridges, educating children or providing funds for a warm place to sleep for the homeless, we need what government does. No amount of private non-profit charities, religious institutions or individual effort can give these services to us to the same extent that government does. Some needs simply require the reach of government to be successfully addressed.
So what’s wrong with us as Alaskans that we feel we are entitled to these services but should not be asked to pay for them? I’m not exactly an apologist for the oil companies – on a good day their bank balance is probably a tad larger than mine – but I do wonder how we reached the point where we feel they should pay for all our needs and we shouldn’t have to participate in the process at all. If these programs, from public broadcasting to safe homes to plowed roads to working traffic lights, are so important that we lobby to keep them alive as state finances tank, then why aren’t they important enough for us to chip into the pot that pays for them?
I was in Alaska before the pipeline when we had a state income tax. That tax provided such a small base that Alaska truly was a frontier with few government services available. After the pipeline, the state income tax went away, oil revenues exploded, services soared and we became used to living more like a first world country than a third world country. If we want that to continue, and praying that oil prices rise high enough quickly enough to save us doesn’t work as a fiscal plan, maybe we should consider that we might have to pay a little out of our own pockets.
Scary thought, right?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:05 AM •
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Please go to Birdtlc.net and buy your tickets for our annual fundraiser. It’s on April 11 at the Sheraton here in Anchorage and we will have loads and loads of our education birds there for you to meet. Kodi the Cache Crow will delight you with his ability to take your money while still looking his beak down at you as though you are a lesser being. What more could you possible want? There will be food, liquor, a live and silent auction and wonderful volunteers to meet who give their time, energy and love to these birds on a daily basis. What more could you want for your money?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:07 AM •
Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crazy as family is, they are the first to surround you and comfort you, even if they don’t understand the extremely close bond you have with your animal. So I guess the insanity is worth it for the buffer they provide from the knocks of life. Or maybe I am just very lucky. Between friends and family and friends who are like family and friends who are family, my life is filled with both insanity and love. And the combination makes my life richer than my bank book will ever be.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:39 AM •
Monday, March 16, 2015

I apparently woke up without my normal brilliance today.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 09:24 AM •
Sunday, March 15, 2015

Without my family, I don’t know where I’d get my daily dose of insanity.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:17 AM •
Saturday, March 14, 2015

Since little Bubba passed I have received sympathy cards from people with the kind of personal note in it that tells you they truly do understand what a well-loved pet can mean to your life. And one wonderful couple… thank you Joanie and Paul… even made donations in her honor to animal charities. And then, out of the clear blue comes a package from my cousin with a giant Hershey’s bar in it to comfort me in my loss and remind me of the amazing aunts and uncles who surrounded us as we grew up. My heart is still sad at Bubba’a loss but the sadness is tempered with the joy of knowing that there are still some pretty wonderful people in my life.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:38 AM •
Friday, March 13, 2015

Every time a WalMart employee gets public assistance or food stamps, we are subsidizing the profits made by the Walton family. They pay their employees a non-living wage, the government has to subsidize it so they can survive, and the Waltons can buy a few more yachts thanks to your tax dollars. Talk about federal welfare going to the wrong people!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:50 AM •
Thursday, March 12, 2015

I was watching the Nightly Show when the topic of discussion was the recent Justice Department’s report on the systemic problems of racism within the Ferguson police force.  The panel had both black and white participants. One white participant was noted for the fact that he walked over the Selma bridge thirty years ago with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He received a large round of applause when this was announced. That applause died away to a dribble when another panelist, an African-American, looked at the man and said, “Yeah, but when you got to the other side of that bridge, were you still white?”

Rude as it may sound to say that to someone who risked life and limb to participate in a march that ended in such horrific bloodshed and violence, the point was that at the end of that march, this particular marcher could have gone into a nearby store for food or medical supplies and been helped. No one would have told him to use the “colored” entrance, no one would have said to him that he couldn’t be served because of the hue of his skin. Once he left that march, he was again a white man with all the privileges attendant on that designation in the south in 1965.
Most of America would like to think we’ve moved way beyond that world and into a world that some persist in calling “post racial” despite all evidence to the contrary. And my, oh my, is there ever evidence to the contrary. We’ve probably all seen the statistics by now. One hundred percent of the times a police dog was used by Ferguson police, it was against African-Americans, including once against an unarmed 14 year old. I have to assume that Ferguson never got the message about how ugly it looked to use police dogs inappropriately. Maybe they should review some of that footage from Selma.
In Ferguson, a community that is 67% African-American, 85% of vehicle stops, 93% of arrests, and 88% of use of force involved African-Americans. Top that off with the fact that being black made you almost 100% more likely to spend more than two days in jail for any given offense and you can see where blacks might be just a bit paranoid about their police.
And these statistics just keep getting worse. Despite the fact that black drivers were stopped and searched exponentially more often than white drivers, statistics show that white drivers were 27% more apt to be carrying contraband. But you wouldn’t want to stop and frisk white drivers based on that because, after all, that would be profiling and you wouldn’t want to be accused of doing that… at least, not if it involved white citizens.
Perhaps the one thing that blew my mind more than anything else is the fact that Ferguson actually has a law that allowed the police to stop you for the way you were walking down the street. How is that even tangentially constitutional? And are there videos somewhere that you could watch to alert you to the wrong way to walk down the street? Or was simply being black considered the wrong way? 
I wish I could say I can relate to this in some way but honestly, I’m an old white lady and so I simply can’t. For the most part, except for some early youthful experiments in social protest during the sixties, the police are a group I have always viewed as honorable professionals who have my best interests and safety in mind.  I am not frightened or concerned when I see them. I am, in fact, mostly comforted by their presence since for me it indicates safety. So trying to put myself in the shoes of people of color, whether black, brown or some variation in between, is almost impossible. The idea of seeing the police as scary or oppressive faded with the fading of my protest days, and it honestly wasn’t all that strong then.
I still believe, or at least I want to believe, that most cops are better than the examples we are seeing in Ferguson and places like it. I want to believe that in the majority of this country, all our citizens enjoy equal protection. But every time another unarmed young black man is killed by police, it becomes harder and harder to keep that belief alive.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:30 AM •
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How much of a life do you have to NOT have if you plan to actually read 55,000 pages of e-mails from Hillary Clinton? The very thought makes my head ache. My sympathy to the reporters, print and otherwise, who will actually have to plow through them. I’m guessing that the majority will be about such mundane matters that within hours of starting to review them, you’ll want to run screaming from the room. But you can’t. You must persist. Such is the way democracies survive.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:28 AM •
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Don’t forget to get your tickets for the Bird TLC auction on April 11. And if you don’t want to have to get dressed and put on makeup and drive somewhere, you can always just go to birdtlc.net and give us money. Remember, we’re the organization that puts the “non” into non-profit.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:26 AM •

Page 3 of 244 pages « FirstP  <  1 2 3 4 5 >  Last »

Subscribe to My RSS Feed: RSS 2.0