Alaska Robotics

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Death and Taxes

Wednesday, June 10th 2015 by Pat

“Things as certain as Death and Taxes, can be more firmly believ’d.”
     —Daniel Defoe The Political History of the Devil 1726.

I attended a dialog hosted by Governor Walker over the weekend, Building a Sustainable Future: Conversations with Alaskans.

This is me collecting my thoughts, sharing my impressions and attempting to expand the discussion. It may get a bit lengthy, feel free to skim or skip.

Day 1 – Friday, June 5th

The gathering was convened by Alaska Governor, Bill Walker and hosted on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus which has historical significance as the location of our state’s constitutional convention.

There were about 200 people in attendance, ranging from Governor Walker’s transition team and staff to more tangentially affiliated folks like myself. How I rated an invite isn’t exactly clear but it was likely my keen understanding of Alaska’s fiscal situation.

I flew to Fairbanks on my own thin dime and was housed in Lathrop Hall on the university campus. We didn’t have hot water the first day and my roommate moved out almost immediately after meeting me. It really brought back some memories.

Gallery Newsletter – May 2015

Friday, May 1st 2015 by Pat

We have a ton of fun sales and events coming up in the next few days at the gallery, check out our newsletter to get all the details!

Jen Rose

2015 Alaska Press Club Awards

Friday, May 1st 2015 by Pat

Our totally legitimate news program received two Alaska Press Club Awards for our coverage of the 2014 legislative session and elections!!!

Thank you to Lou, Aaron, Jamie, Andy, Richard, Phoebe, Jack, Jen, Will, Tara and all of our dodgy, uncredited supporters who kept the wheels greased and ideas flowing.

press club2

Additionally, I scooped up a first place in Arts Reporting for my coverage of the Latitude Arts Convergence. That was a fun event where I just ran around for a few days with my camera and then stayed up all night trying to hack together a video.

Boring Talk – “Disco” Ray Metcalfe

Friday, January 23rd 2015 by Pat


Boring Talk is back in podcast form! In this first episode, I sit down with anti-corruption advocate and the man who brought the VECO scandal to light, Ray Metcalfe.

Metcalfe explains that with cases like Citizens United, the Supreme Court may be signalling that states need to button up their corruption problems with strict, criminal ethics laws and longer statues of limitations. Metcalfe also talks about his current efforts to do just that through the referendum process.

Boring Talk is a podcast where I’ll be exploring Alaska politics through long, boring conversations. This is a personal thirst for understanding but I’ll be sharing my (largely unedited) conversations because I think civic discourse is important in the age of Twitter and maybe there’s some information here that will be valuable to other Alaskans.

Learn more:

Newsletter – Sowsear and Such

Friday, December 12th 2014 by Pat

Gallery Newsletter is out… Sows Ear comic workshop, whales all the way down, a new holiday album from Marian Call and extended hours.

Marian Call Concert for Colorado Flood Relief

Tuesday, September 17th 2013 by Pat

Marian’s latest tour took her right through the middle of the Colorado flood. She and Scott managed to stay safe and dry but they’ve been surrounded by people who haven’t been so lucky.

Marian’s doing what she can to help with a tiny concert for those who still have power and those who want to support the relief efforts. She’s encouraging people to give directly to charities of their choice. Even if you can’t give, please aim a few positive thoughts towards that part of the world.

More information here – Marian Call – A Concert for Colorado Relief

First Friday, Drawing Night Reboot and More!

Tuesday, September 3rd 2013 by Pat

Updates from the gallery!

  • First Friday this week features work by local artists Charity Green and Brandon Hauser.
  • Drawing night returns on September 17th.
  • I try to spell, “Nn t’sskck tsu ahh ah.”

Read it now, Alaska Robotics Gallery Spaceship Party!

Hey Juneau, Don’t Miss This!!!

Thursday, April 18th 2013 by Pat


Oil Tax Debate

Wednesday, April 10th 2013 by Pat

The oil tax debate continues. Thanks to Senator Bill Wielechowski for being such a good sport. I’m still waiting for my phone call from Parnell’s office.

Oil Taxes

Tuesday, March 26th 2013 by Pat

I guess this is my public testimony. I write and read and make things and I hope those things will float out into the world and help nudge our collective consciousness towards a better place.

I felt like this video was heavy handed and not as funny as some of the other political stuff I’ve done in the past but I’m also feeling the weight of a lot of frustration and futility. It was just a few years ago that we trudged through the VECO scandal and my faith in our state government never really recovered.

Ethics are as lax as ever, we have lawmakers who work for oil companies voting on issues that will directly affect their careers and pocketbooks. It’s a mess.

The amount of money Governor Parnell’s proposed tax structure costs Alaska over the next few years is estimated to be in the 5-6 billion dollar range.

To put that in perspective, for that amount, Alaska could own the New York Yankees, Manchester United, and the Dallas Cowboys.

According to the Forbes Global 2000 we could use that money to pick up Tesoro, US Steel, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, Goodyear, Safeway, or even bigger fish if we just wanted a controlling interest.

Or we could start our own oil drilling company.

The argument I usually hear against a state owned oil company is corruption and inefficiency. Well, the corruption is already there and a state owned oil company could only be more transparent to the public and lawmakers. Right now, people are trying to make important decisions based on speculation rather than information.

Inefficient? Yes, it would probably be massively inefficient but all those jobs and all that leaky money would stay right here in Alaska. It’s the Ted Stevens model of trickle down economics, corruption and inefficiency filling the pockets of locals and spilling out into the regional economy.

Whatever happens, oil is a finite resource and we should be preparing for decline and transition in the long game.

Also, I’m really tired of hearing about North Dakota. Let’s come up with a plan that works for Alaska.