Earlier this week it was announced that the Washington State Patrol Fire Training Academy was chosen as a quarantine site for those entering the Seattle area from the Hubei Province in China. The quarantine is a mandatory 14 days if you are not showing symptoms. If you are, then you will be sent to some sort of “medical facility”. The facility in already creepy North Bend can only hold 20 people, as the expectation of travelers from the region that cannot self quarantine is low. A quick look through the Seattle Times image bank of the facility reveals a sparsely furnished space more akin to a YMCA summer camp than anything else. But when placed in the perpetually foggy, moss-covered ambiance of North Bend, the facility takes on a more “black Nikes and purple face shrouds” kind of feel – the cult presence is real y’all. A second site has been chosen in Shoreline to act as a quarantine space if needed. While all these measures so far are precautionary, all direct flights from China have been canceled and SeaTac is one of 11 airports screening for the virus. Knock on wood, but if a third space is needed, we would like to make a suggestion. It has a fully stocked cafeteria, 40,000 non-native plants and seating for up to 800. It’s glass fronted and right in the heart of downtown – yes, we think the spheres lovingly referred to as Bezo’s Balls would make THE perfect quarantine area. Amazon Prime drones drop off fresh supplies! Ring home security in every room! It would be like BioDome 3, we could even resurrect Pauly Shore, who may or may not be dead – we aren’t sure.
SPL and WoLF
Not all heroes wear capes. Last Saturday, February 1st, a controversial organization called WoLF descended on the Seattle Public Library. The uproar from the Queer and Trans communities of Seattle was immediate. WoLF is well known for their “woman born woman” views of feminism and their rejection of Trans-women as being actual women, or human for that matter. One of the speakers of the event is often deplatformed speaker and activist Meghan Murphy. The event was titled “Fighting the New Misogyny: A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity,” and was largely a chance to blame the movements to end the violence and misogyny directed at trans people for the major stutterings and failings of the angry white women that generally make up the “feminist movement”. Petitions were circulated, and demonstrations planned, but the SPL decided to move forward with holding the event – a decision I’m sure was not an easy one for an institution that is built on the concept of access to knowledge. Ultimately, I doubt any knowledge was spread so no real harm there. There were several disruptions of the event and, according to the Seattle Times, 2 arrests. Eventually it ended with little splash. WoLF’s funding connections to the far-and-religious right have been well documented by journalists and Trans activists alike – whether their membership or following realize these connections, or care, is another story. What we do know is that our favorite act of resistance of the night came not from the on-the-ground community attempting to shut down the event but from the city’s own DOT twitter. As I perused the evening’s traffic reports the words “Rally against Transphobic Hate Group” topped the evening’s traffic report, and to that anonymous twitter intern, we just want to say “thank you”.
Global Entry and NYS
There are about 20 million people in the state of New York. And while not all of them travel internationally on a regular basis, with the hub of global trade being in the very big city down at the bottom of the state, we imagine that a higher percentage of people from, let’s say Nebraska, are trying to cross an international border on any given day. Last Wednesday the Department of Homeland Security barred anyone residing in NY State from renewing or applying for any of the ‘fast tracks’ through the border process. Global Entry is the pre-screening program for international travel into and out of the US, NEXUS is the one you use to skip the line into Canada, SENTRI is for Canada and Mexico, while FAST is for truck drivers entering and exiting Canada or Mexico regularly. The reason? Because the state of NY passed the “Green Light Law” which allows undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. The Department of Homeland Security contends that the law, which prohibits the NYS DMV from sharing info with DHS as it pertains to immigration status, limits their ability to do adequate background checks. The global business travel community seems split on whether this is a valid attempt by DHS to adequately secure the borders, and those that think this was a punitive act by the Federal Government against a state that dared declare itself a place of sanctuary for those without documentation. Many of the latter have cited the fact that applicants must produce a “valid passport, submit fingerprints and pass a background check, which have nothing to do with New York’s Green Light Law” according to the NYPost. So, in the end the biggest fucking crybaby award goes to Chad Wolfe, head of the DHS and his decision to piss off TSA workers, slow down already ridiculously long border screening processes and create more all around headache-inducing policy, simply because NYS thinks that everyone should have access to a Drivers License.