Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I remember watching the last Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and thinking that no one would ever be able to take his place. Then David Letterman stepped up and blew me away. Now he’s leaving. The good news is that Stephen Colbert is taking over so I know my heart will not be broken for long.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:47 AM •
Monday, May 11, 2015

Have you seen the idiots running for the other party? What choice would I have? 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 08:46 AM •
Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother’s Day, especially to all my friends who take in rescue breeds and mother them to contentment, security and safety. You are my heroes.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 11:34 AM •
Friday, May 08, 2015

The Alaska Legislators are in town. Hide. Hide now before they accidentally infect you with whatever disease causes such a gross level of incompetence in adults. Given how quickly it spread to every Republican in the Legislature, it is clearly contagious and fatal to any common sense or intelligence in your body.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:29 AM •
Thursday, May 07, 2015

Since this coming Sunday is Mother’s Day, I thought I should write a column about that and take a break from writing about our incompetent, pathetic legislature. But it’s not easy. No matter how hard I try, they keep handing me ammunition that is impossible to ignore. Let’s take, for instance, the two-week break that Republican legislators felt they owed themselves for the backbreaking labor they’ve been doing for the past three months.

A lot of people who work very hard to make ends meet don’t get any vacation time at all no matter how long they work. Many of them are the people Republican legislators would prefer to think don’t exist so they don’t have to feel guilty about not considering Medicaid expansion. The rest of us have to work a full year to earn a vacation. But our esteemed legislators found a way around that. They said they needed to come home to hear what their constituents had to say. Welcome to 1950.
That was possibly the last time you actually had to go back to your district, unless you were a Bush legislator, to find out what your constituents wanted. Soon after that, phones became ubiquitous even in Alaska. And since the 19th century there’s been telegraph service. Going back even further, Alaska has had the services of the US mail ever since it became American. And, of course, on the other side of that timeline, in the 21st century, we have e-mail and tweets. To say nothing of the time honored Alaskan tradition of actually spending the money to fly to Juneau to express your concerns.
But all that was not enough for some of our legislators. They were pretty sure that the hundreds of people who went to Juneau to testify and the thousands of e-mails and phone calls they received were the result of some cabal out to get them to do the wrong thing and thus anger their real constituents. You know them, the ones who didn’t write, call or send an e-mail because they apparently didn’t care enough about any one topic to do that. These are the people the legislators are going back to see, I assume with the hope that they can find at least five or six constituents who agree with them. These few will then be touted as proof that the legislature is, in fact, carrying out the will of the people. Not necessarily the will of the majority of people, but nonetheless, actual and verifiable people.
Now if I was really a cynic, I’d think that they were also coming back to their districts to talk to their money people and figure out whether they should continue along a path that may lead to political suicide in future elections or should they throw a bone to the majority of Alaska’s citizens and add a few million to the education budget. I hate being that cynical though. I’d honestly prefer to think they wanted the break so they could be home on Mother’s Day.  But no matter how hard I try, I can’t buy into that scenario.
I wonder why we have all these methods of communicating our wishes if our legislators don’t believe what we say or write. It seems that instead of believing what they didn’t want to hear, the legislators thought they’d take a two-week holiday to see if people might forget or change their minds in the interim.
I don’t know about your mothers, but in my home if I’d approached my chores the way Alaska’s legislature approaches their tasks, I would still be grounded in my childhood bedroom until I learned the meaning of actually completing work. My Saturday morning job, before I could go out and play, was to wash the kitchen, dining room and bathroom floors. Now that is not as cruel as it might sound to modern ears since we lived in a small apartment over dad’s grocery store. But nonetheless, I resented doing it and tried more than once to do a quick and ultimately sloppy job so I could go join my friends. My mother very quickly taught me that the job wasn’t done until it was done correctly and I wasn’t going anywhere until that occurred.
It’s too bad my mother has passed on. It sounds like she had a lesson to teach that our legislators need to learn.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:13 AM •
Wednesday, May 06, 2015

From Bird TLC… this is about the mallard found with the dart in his neck.
We will be releasing the Mallard at Westchester Lagoon tomorrow (May 7) at 10:30am weather permitting. It is a public release and if you are available, we’d love to have you join us. What a lucky duck! The dart was easily removed, wounds have healed great, he received a partial bath to ensure waterproofing on his neck and he is good to go! Hope to see you all there!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 04:59 PM •

Congratulations to our newly elected city mayor Ethan Berkowitz. In my heart I kinda knew he couldn’t lose but… as that great man once said, never underestimate the stupidity of the American voting public. So until the votes were counted and I was sure Amy wasn’t going to win, my stomach was in great upheaval. But now I know I don’t have to leave the state. There are enough people here who feel as I do about education and equality and health care to make Alaska the great state it should always be and to make Anchorage the great city it should always be.
So goodby to Mayor Dan Sullivan and his brilliant idea for solving our addiction problems by sending people to a program he read about in Alaska Airlines magazine. Way to do your research. And don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 10:54 AM •
Monday, May 04, 2015

Most people have to work a full year before getting a vacation. Alaska’s Republican legislators worked three months… and I use the word “worked) with extreme irony… and have had to take a two week vacation to get over their exhaustion from such hard labor.
What asses.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:39 AM •
Sunday, May 03, 2015

So the Pope thinks that women should get equal pay and be treated equally. Isn’t this a bit hypocritical coming from a man who heads a church that has denied women equality for over 2000 years?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:38 AM •
Saturday, May 02, 2015

In a little over one week, my hot water heater blew up, my cable box on my tv died and my toilet flusher thingy gave up the ghost.  Hello out there? Who put a curse on me?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:54 AM •
Friday, May 01, 2015

You are watching a TV show about transgender issues with two transgender panelists and the discussion ranges over just about every area you can imagine given the topic, and you are old enough to remember when Rob and Laura couldn’t sleep in the same bed on TV even though they were married.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:25 AM •
Thursday, April 30, 2015

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something as pathetic as our esteemed leaders in Juneau begging the press corps to carry their message to Alaskans that there just isn’t enough money in the budget for frivolities like education or health care. There is obviously enough money for the really important things like Knik Arms Bridge but not to expand Medicaid to those people so silly as to have been born poor.

I have restrained myself from advocating for any specific program threatened with cuts because I believe that if these programs are important enough to Alaskans, then Alaskans need to be prepared to help pay for them through a state income tax. But when the legislators in Juneau continue to support projects that seem to suck up endless amounts of state revenues with no return in sight, I have to reconsider that position. It feels as though the good old boys network is alive and well. They take care of their friends in high paying government funded pork belly projects at the expense of our kids, our sick and our villages.
What you saw transpire in Juneau this session is exactly what we should have expected given the people we sent there. They claim to be Republicans and conservatives. I guess the conservative part comes where they conserve the welfare jobs of the already pretty wealthy at the expense of kids. The Republican part comes when they blame the Democrats for all their problems. I expect the next time a volcano blows or an earthquake happens, we can expect the Republicans to blame the Democrats for that too.
For a party that continually complains about the welfare state, it is becoming blatantly obvious that, in Alaska at least, that only applies to government benefits for the poor. Government benefits for the rich, on the other hand, seem sacrosanct. Oil companies still get tax credits that boggle the mind. Subsidies still go out to groups like KABATA that have produced absolutely nothing for the millions they have received. Call me silly. Call me old fashioned. But I think if you are going to cut benefits to any one group that depends on government assistance, you should cut it to the rich and powerful as well as the poor and powerless. I’m willing to guess that if we look at the money flowing out of Juneau, we will find a lot more flowing to the already wealthy than the already poor. 
If we can’t afford to expand Medicaid, if we can’t afford to fund education, how can we afford the cost of a special session for the legislature to finish the work they should have completed long ago. I know. It’s the Democrats’ fault. Republicans won’t be happy until Alaska is an autocracy where they rule supreme, the rich continue to get richer and the rest of us scramble for the table scraps they leave behind.
These legislators totally ignored all the Alaskans who showed up to testify for the needs of many Alaskans. Instead, they funded their buddies who didn’t have to do anything as crass as public testimony to get their money. They used that back door known as lobbying to make sure that no matter what the cuts elsewhere, their friends were taken care of. So the good news is that KABATA lives to see another year of doing nothing while sucking down state money. Oh yes, I know the hope is that the feds will reimburse us. Reimbursement for most of the cost of Medicaid expansion comes with a much more greater surety than the reimbursement for money designated to KABATA and yet Medicaid is considered too risky. Huh?
If this legislative session does not prove to the majority of Alaskans that the current crop of legislators does not represent them and hardly bothers to hide that fact, then I don’t know what will. They have made it crystal clear with their actions that their priorities are not our priorities and they simply don’t care.
The sad bedraggled end to this session, running out of Juneau after passing an unfunded budget that depends on totally draining an education fund should be the last straw for any Alaskan. The phrase, “Throw the bums out!”, was never truer or more appropriate. Don’t worry though. I’m sure if that happen their rich friends will find them a high paying job that includes health care.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:13 AM •
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I don’t know what’s blowing in Alaska’s air but I haven’t sneezed this much since… well, since ever. What the hell?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:16 AM •
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Where the legislature slinks out of town in the middle of the night with their tails between their legs having done nothing more than ensuring that their rich buddies still get all the state subsidies they want.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:14 AM •
Monday, April 27, 2015

Nepal is one of the many places my sister and I have traveled. The people there were so kind and sweet. The pictures I’m seeing of their country now just breaks my heart. I send them wishes for their peace and comfort.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:21 AM •

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