Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Monday, May 30, 2016

Quick, without using google, tell me what we are memorializing.
I didn’t think so.
Enjoy the picnics.

Elise Patkotak • 03:39 AM •
Sunday, May 29, 2016

I hear the Alaska legislature is in special session trying to do what it couldn’t do in the regular session or the extended session. But it’s so quiet down in Juneau I have to wonder if they’re really there or just faking us out. Someone should knock on the chamber door and see if anyone is home.
On second thought, isn’t this the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. They couldn’t differentiate their asses from a hole in the ground for the first four months. Why do we think a fifth month will be any better?

Elise Patkotak • 03:23 AM •
Saturday, May 28, 2016

Got my hair done at the hairdresser. Dyed. Cut. Styled. Then came home, put on a t-shirt and spent the night hugging dogs and birds while watching TBBT reruns.
But I looked damn fine sitting on that couch.
In my youth, the whole hair thing would have been an excuse to go out. In my old age, it’s just what I have to do once a month to continue to look civilized enough to be in polite company.
All things considered, I’d rather be with my animals. And they don’t give a crap what my hair looks like.

Elise Patkotak • 03:53 AM •
Friday, May 27, 2016

I have been so sick for the past two weeks that I was ready to throw in the towel and see what the next world held. Then I heard an interview with Donald Trump. I can’t move very fast so it took a few seconds before I could change the channel. And in those few seconds, I realized that the reality of Donald Trump as a candidate for president of this country is so disturbing to me that I want to go back to that edge and see if what’s on the other side isn’t better. Can’t imagine how it could be worse.

Elise Patkotak • 03:50 AM •
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Here’s the lines in Senator Kevin Meyer’s Sunday opinion piece that actually made me spit up a bit. “After hearing a ‘budget first’ mantra all year, the governor chose to include issues on the special session ranging from insurance to foster care guidelines. These issues are important but are they urgent compared to addressing the $4.1 billion deficit and impending flurry of pink slips?” He goes on to moan and whine about how it’s all the fault of the governor and the Democrats despite the fact that his party controls both Alaska Houses.

So let’s take a look at some reality here. If in fact Mr. Meyer has been hearing a budget first mantra all year, why don’t we have a budget? Lest there be any doubt, all of us here in the hinterlands heard that mantra. We simply couldn’t figure out how supposedly intelligent legislators managed to work for four months and still come up looking surprised that they accomplished absolutely nothing.
But let’s move on to another issue raised by Meyer, the issue of the foster care bill placed on the special session agenda. Now why do you suppose that was necessary? Could this be another piece of their job that our legislators were simply unable to do?
Turns out, both the House and Senate are solidly behind House Bill 27. It already passed the House and had all the votes needed to pass the Senate. Just one little glitch – it went to Charlie Huggins, Senate Rules Chairperson, and never was seen again. Given that between them Meyer and Huggins determine what actually gets to the Senate floor for a vote, this was a death knell for the bill.
So clearly the question we need to ask is why. Why would they hold up a bill in committee with zero budgetary impact that would set up guidelines for kids in foster care to move them through the system more rapidly and get them into a permanent situation more quickly? Because that’s what this bill does. It doesn’t ask for funds to implement its requirements, it doesn’t ask for more staff, more equipment or even for trash cans that salute social workers as they pass. It’s a bill to make life a little better for some of the most vulnerable in our society.
As best anyone can tell, the only reason Huggins and Meyer held this bill up, despite knowing it had overwhelming support and would take all of ten minutes of the Senate’s time to pass, is that they made some pact with the devil to see that no bill introduced by a Democrat was ever going to see the light of day. Which leads me to then wonder what sort of people are these men who would screw foster kids to make a point that they don’t like the party sponsoring the bill. Seriously, what human being does that and then sleeps with a clear conscience at night?
Foster kids obviously are not a huge voting block and, perhaps more to the point, they don’t have much money to dump into the campaign coffers of these politicians. So screwing them over holds little consequence for Meyer or Huggins. But it holds great consequences for these children. For kids waiting to find a home, a family, someone who will care if they are out late, this bill is critical. It could make a difference in the rest of their lives. It mandates that courts and social workers must make every effort at permanent placement for these kids so they don’t wander lost in the system until one day they’re told they’ve aged out so don’t let the door hit you in the butt as you leave.
But this is something that Huggins and Meyer don’t get. They can’t see past their own need to be vengeful bullies who will make every Democrat in Juneau pay for not bowing to their will. They chose partisanship over statesmanship, being bullies over being legislators. They should be ashamed of themselves. The vote on this bill would take precious little time, time the Legislature seems to feel it has in abundance given how little else it’s been doing.
I can’t believe this needs to be said but for god’s sake, pass this bill. Do at least one decent thing in a legislative session that has seen little else in the way of honorable behavior.

Elise Patkotak • 03:53 AM •
Thursday, May 19, 2016

The sun is shinning, the trees are blooming, the flowers are blossoming, so it must be baby bird season.

Baby birds are not terribly cute except in a “so ugly they’re cute” fashion. The first thing you think when you see a featherless baby bird is dinosaur. Because this is exactly what a naked little baby bird looks like.  Birds are descendants of the dinosaurs that once roamed this earth.
But given that they are so ugly they’re cute, people who find baby birds usually have the desire to pick them up and take care of them. While this is an amazingly loving and compassionate gesture, it doesn’t always work out well for the bird for a few reasons. To begin with, wild birds, even those hand raised by humans, do not make good pets. Their genes are wild and their wild genes say you are the enemy no matter how well you treat them. And if the bird imprints on a human, the outcome is rarely good.
Over at Bird TLC, baby bird season is a busy time. People cut trees down while fixing up their yard only to discover a nest has fallen with the tree. A predator might grab a baby and drop it to the ground. Cars hit mama ducks, geese and gulls with mind numbing regularity. Sometimes mom has kicked out a bird from the nest that her instincts tell her doesn’t stand a good chance at survival.
Most of these babies end up at Bird TLC. Or, at least they should. The volunteers there are trained to not interact with the babies so they don’t become imprinted on humans. This is especially important when you are talking about gulls, ducks and geese. There is no surer death sentence for a wild bird than to have it imprint on humans who then try to set it free. It doesn’t know how to be free because humans can’t teach it what its mama and poppa should have been teaching it. These poor birds will constantly go back to humans for food until some human is not amused and shoots them.
Our little songbirds are a bit easier to handle in that they don’t imprint on humans the way the gulls, geese and ducks do. This is why Bird TLC sponsors a Baby Bird Seminar every year for anyone who qualifies. The seminar teaches volunteers the ins and outs of caring for what looks like nothing more than a little dinosaur with fluff.  And as I’ve said before and I will repeat again, if you are the parents of a teenager, there is no better birth control lesson than sending your teen home with little balls of fluff that will cry out to be fed every few hours and can’t be ignored.
Of course, we don’t just let anyone take home these little ones. We need to be sure that both the parents and the kids involved are ready for this responsibility and will care for these tiny critters until they can fly free.
When it comes to waterfowl like ducks, geese and gulls, we keep them at the clinic to ensure they are raised in such a fashion as to not imprint on the humans caring for them. As soon as they are able, we bring them to water where others of their species can be found. If this is done properly, they leave us for their natural home with no unhealthy connection to humans.
As summer arrives bathing us in sunshine and warmth, be a little extra careful on the roads. Be aware of the little families that may be crossing from one side to the other. As rushed as you might feel you life is, take a deep breath and give them a moment to complete their journey to the other side of the road. If you are cutting a tree down, take the extra time to look for a nest so you know what you’re dealing with. And if you have a desire to watch a dinosaur turn into a beautiful creature that can slip the bonds of this earth in a way we can only dream about, check out Bird TLC’s seminar on baby bird care on May 21 from 11 to 1.
It could end up giving you an experience you’ll cherish for a lifetime to come.

Elise Patkotak • 03:47 AM •
Monday, May 16, 2016

Been sick for four days now. Sick as in unable to walk from bed to couch without being exhausted. I was going to complain until I heard last night that a wonderful lady who once worked for me, Sarah Jacoby, died on Sunday. Suddenly I found myself very grateful that I could still bitch and moan about my illness… something Sarah can no longer do. And knowing Sarah, something she never did.

Elise Patkotak • 10:48 AM •
Thursday, May 12, 2016

So this is what it’s come to. Statesmanship, patriotism, the welfare of our country, not giving the button to nuclear weapons to a reality star… all this goes by the wayside because party unity and hating the Clintons is more important. I have been disappointed in our congressional delegation many times in the past but this time is the worse. They are all uniting behind Donald Trump because they believe defeating Hillary Clinton is more important than electing someone with even a modicum of credentials for the job of United States President.

This is like a patient asking for someone who just got a nurse’s assistant diploma from DeVry University to do their open-heart surgery because they don’t like the highly credentialed surgeon available for the procedure.
Let there be no doubt about it. A Trump presidency would not just be the low point in American history and politics. It would be as though a sinkhole opened up beneath the lowest point and dropped us even further into the abyss. The Republican candidate for president brings, as his main credentials, a host of failed businesses, a host of bankruptcies, a reality TV show, three wives and multiple mistresses.
Hillary Clinton may not be you ideal candidate on many levels. But she is competent and qualified. She brings a background as a senator and a secretary of state. She has been involved actively in causes she supports since her college days. Donald Trump went to a military academy and compares that to serving in our armed forces. He insults women, minorities and foreign leaders. His policy to Make America Great Again seems to consist of him saying the words over and over as though this were Beetlejuice. Say it enough times and somehow it will be.
I would feel a lot more sympathy towards the Republican Party if they weren’t reaping what they sowed. I just don’t think they ever imagined that a Donald Trump would come along and collect their harvest. They were hoping that the fruits of their labor would die on the vine. But it didn’t. The Tea Party that they welcomed with such enthusiasm has sown the seeds that resulted in Donald Trump as the Republican nominee. And they have no one to blame but themselves.
Lisa Murkowski and Don Long are up for reelection this fall. Alaska being Alaska, there is every chance that they could support Lucifer and still get reelected. But I persist in holding out hope that Alaskans will show some common sense at the voting booth and not give their nod of approval to anyone who would support Donald Trump in the name of party unity over what is best for this country. And Donald Trump is not what America needs. Not now, not ever.
Both have said they are supporting him with some reservations. Well, thank god they have reservations. Sadly, their reservations about electing this orange man for president do not outweigh their need to bow to their party overlords and do their bidding. Donald Trump insults women, Hispanics, Muslims and praises Putin. This is the man our congressional delegation has decided is a better choice than Hillary Clinton based, I imagine, on the Republican Party’s unmitigated hatred of her.
Whether the religious right likes it or not, she stuck to her marriage vow for whatever reason. She raised her daughter in a two parent home that actually had the original two parents. Her daughter neither got pregnant outside of marriage nor ever abused drugs or alcohol. I can see why the right hates her. She shows up their hypocrisy with every breath she takes.
But somehow, our esteemed congressional delegation thinks that Donald Trump, a man whose sole qualification for the presidency is firing Gary Busey on a reality TV show, is better qualified than Hillary Clinton. Or, at least that’s what the party overlords tell them to think.
When party unity comes above the good of this country, this country is in real trouble. When supposedly respected politicians support a buffoon for a position that puts his finger on the nuclear button, we need to have a serious conversation about those politicians. They seem to have forgotten that their first responsibility is to this country and the people who elected them. Their first loyalty should not be to a party, Republican, Democrat, Tea or otherwise.

Elise Patkotak • 03:48 AM •
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
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Elise Patkotak • 03:31 PM •

Read all about how Alaska’s congressional delegation thinks party unity is more important than national security.

Elise Patkotak • 03:34 AM •
Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bird TLC already has its first clutch of mallard babies. This is pretty early but given the mild winter not surprising.
Please be careful if you plan to cut any trees down. Check for nests first. The birds don’t ask for a lot of time to raise their young. If you can hold off on a nest with a tree for just a little times, the babes will fly off on their own soon enough. Unlike millennials, they aren’t allowed to remain in the nest for long at all.

Elise Patkotak • 03:49 AM •
Monday, May 09, 2016

I’m officially as annoyed with Bernie Sanders and his campaign as possible. I am sick and tired of all the posts from Alaskans for Bernie Sanders that keep showing up in my email. Every time I block one, they use someone else’s name to still get to me. I’m tired or being badgered. I’m tired of him lecturing me. If I wanted to listen to an old man kvetch, I could just go to a family dinner. He and his badgering campaign have officially and completely pushed me into Hillary’s camp.
And if anyone has the secret to stop those damn emails from filling up my in box, please, oh please, let me know the secret.

Elise Patkotak • 10:26 AM •
Sunday, May 08, 2016

Donald Trump now has Sarah Palin threatening Paul Ryan over his non-support of Trump. The crazy has the crazier making totally insane comments. Yep, we’ve been swallowed up by a black hole of ignorance and insanity. And I say that with all due respect to those people with mental illnesses, most of whom are more capable than either Donald or Sarah to run this country.

Elise Patkotak • 10:54 AM •
Friday, May 06, 2016

My website will soon be gravitating elsewhere. I’ll let you know as soon as I know if there is anything you need to do. You may just come here one day and find it has been refreshed and upgraded and you never noticed a blip. That’s not my usual luck but I can always hope.

Elise Patkotak • 03:39 AM •
Thursday, May 05, 2016

As the debate over the use of bathrooms by transgendered people continues on in its idiocy, I have one question. How do they plan to enforce laws requiring you to use the bathroom connected to your sex organs at birth? 

Will everyone entering or leaving a bathroom be x-rayed to make sure they have the proper parts? Or will a security guard grope us all to ascertain we have the right equipment for the bathroom we are trying to enter? And if a transgendered person has had reconstructive surgery, how will the bathroom police differentiate them from someone born with those sex organs? Will we be forced to undergo a vaginal exam looking for telltale scars? Will we now require DNA tests to use a public restroom to make sure the proper x’s and y’s are in place for the door being entered? Perhaps most importantly for those of us women of a certain age for whom facial hair is replacing the hormones we once had, will we be strip searched to prove we just have little old lady mustaches and aren’t really men?
These are questions crying out for an answer as this insane debate rages on. The arguments being made for the need for these laws are yet another example of a group of desperate politicians looking for a solution to something that has never been a problem. They are looking to divert our attention from their current state of political disarray. As the majority in this country march proudly into the 21st century, they vainly try to pull us back into the 17th.
When was the last time you heard about a transgendered person being caught doing something awful in a restroom? Answer – you didn’t. Yet I can almost immediately come up with at least half a dozen politicians who have done worse things in bathrooms and locker rooms to young boys. But there is no law requiring proof that you are not a child molester to use a public restroom.
My favorite argument is that this will prevent perverts from dressing up as women and going into bathrooms looking for little girls. For starts, no man “dressing up” as a woman will ever pass for one on entering a bathroom.  There is a world of difference in just dressing like the opposite sex versus identifying completely with it.  And does anyone really think that these perverts were just waiting for a law allowing transgendered people to use the bathroom of their sexual identity before casing restrooms for victims? Perverts are perverts. If they want to get into a locker room or bathroom, they will find a way no matter the law. Once again, I refer you to any number of prominent men who have proven this to be sadly true.
And why is this so much about little girls. Little boys also get sexually abused. Check out Penn State’s football program history or the Roman Catholic Church’s priesthood. Little boys can be victims too. The reality is that schools, locker rooms and confessionals are more dangerous for some children than any public bathroom will ever be.
But here’s the point where common sense seems to have totally fled and been replaced with verifiable insanity. Where do these politicians think transgendered people have been going to the bathroom when out in public up until now? They’ve been using public restrooms right next to the rest of us. Or do they think that up until now transgendered people have simply been holding it in?
The politicians who have suddenly decided this is a critical issue in American life tend to be conservatives who propound the theory that the least amount of government is the best and that government needs to stay out of our lives, businesses and guns. But they seem fixated on controlling our genitals and now want to privately inspect us all to make sure we are using the bathroom they believe God intended us to use. Our country is beset with infrastructure problems but the only infrastructures legislatures around the country seem interested in are our private infrastructures.
Nothing would make me more nervous about myself or my children using a rest room than knowing that someone like Dennis Hastert or Larry “Wide Stance’ Craig was using that restroom too. Given a choice, I’ll take the stall next to a transgendered person any day.

Elise Patkotak • 03:53 AM •

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