Jess Mack, a Seattle native working in Bangkok, was excited to don Americana colors to watch the election returns. (Photo by Sara Stogner)
BANGKOK, Thailand–As the elections unfolded yesterday in the US, a small huddle of Americans glued their eyes to the CNN report, broadcasting the returns in a mostly empty bar here in Bangkok.
The American-owned Roadhouse BBQ was one of only two bars in the city advertising an election watch. Yet in a city packed full of expats, only a dozen trickled in around 10am.
Among them was Jess Mack, a Seattle native working on a campaign with the UN to end violence against women in the region.
“It’s been interesting being here and talking to people from around the world and in Bangkok,” Mack said. “People really care about what’s happening in the US because our foreign policy has an impact on everyone in some way.”
Mack was ecstatic when the news came via her twitter feed that same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana had been approved in Washington State.
The 9th Congressional District (shown in green) was redrawn this year to be Washington’s first ‘majority-minorty’ district. (Image via Google Maps and Washington State Redistricting Commission)
When Washington’s congressional districts were redrawn last January, the State Redistricting Commission made a bold move:
They split the city of Seattle between two districts in order to create the state’s first ever “majority-minority” district.
The 9th Congressional District was shifted northward, leaving behind the Fort Lewis area and rural Pierce County to take in both South Seattle and a growing population of immigrant and minority voters in South King County.
Now 51 percent of residents in the new 9th district identify as ethnic minorities.
Majority-minority districts are usually created with an eye to boosting the number of minorities in Congress.
But that’s not going to happen this election.
Eight-term incumbent Adam Smith, a Democrat, is facing GOP challenger Jim Postma to be the face of Washington’s most diverse district. Both are white. Both are Christian. Both were born in the US.
The legions of Americans taking their winter workouts inside to the warm sanctuary of yoga classes are part of a global trend taking to the Indian physical-spiritual practice.
A love of yoga took one Ashtanga instructor from Abu Dhabi to Finland, pushed her physical limits and brought her in to a whole new community. But another renowned instructor says the study of yoga has actually separated her from her fellow Indians.
Härnu founder Jason Gowans at the Seattle Globalist launch party in April. (Photo by Sara Stogner)
We coined the term “hyperglobal” here at the Globalist to describe the combination of “local” and “global” in our content – bridging gaps between communities, from neighborhoods to nations, across the planet.
Now, a fellow Seattlelite has taken the same approach to social networking.
His name is Jason Gowans, and like us, he’s been all over the map. And he’s made a crucial insight during his travels: it’s true that the biggest online social networks like Facebook and Twitter have made the world more inter-connected. But much of that networking centers around reinforcing existing connections – for example your friends, family, and co-workers.
As Gowans explained to me, true global social networking should encourage us to initiate friendships with new people in new places. It should mean that a mom in California can link up with, say, a mom in Kazakhstan and ping her with questions and ideas. Or vice versa.
So Gowans and his team have built and just released Härnu (an amalgam of “here” and “now” in Swedish). One tech writer called it “brilliant” “map-based social networking.” After signing up, you’ll be greeted with a world map marked with lots of pushpins. Each pin is a question that someone has tagged to a particular place.
Here I am, the stoner in question, ironically not stoned, at the Blarney Stone in Ireland in 2008. (Photo courtesy of myself)
My name is Sara and I smoke pot.
Ahh. I feel so much better.
And if Initiative 502 passes next month, there’s going to be a lot more people coming out of their smoky closets.
Our state looks to be on the verge of legalizing pot for recreational use, so it’s about time we start to talk about it openly and work out whatever anxiety we have around this wacky weed.
There’s a lot we can learn from places in the world where marijuana looks different than the lazy-teenager-sinking-into-a-couch image it has in the U.S.
From the shores of the Indian Ocean to the long sunset on the Irish horizon, I’ve compiled stories of pot-infused travel from friends, colleagues and my personal experience.
Names have been changed to protect sources from the social stigma and even more serious repercussions.
So be forewarned reader, this is not your grandmother’s travel guide. (…but it might be for your really cool aunt who you know laces her cigs with pot.)