TA MUG iconThis LEDE is a new feature on THE Ave.  The lede in a newspaper is the paragraph that initially draws readers into a story. On THE-Ave.US, stories can be spread across  many posts so we will use ledes to draw your attention to stories about specific topics or to authors who write here on TA.

    For example, you can click here for stories about the UW or here for timely stories about the presidency under Mitt Romney.


    ST PAUL ICONEvery Sunday, THE Ave begins with a story about religion. Sometimes these are quotes from one of the bibles, other times they stories about how religious and anti religious people behave. Hopefully there is enough balance to please, offend, or stimulate folks who care about what is done in the name or names of deities. READMORE HERE.


    Some months BBQ SC ago I started writing about South Carolina.  In part I started because of the fight between that state and Washington state about jobs for Boeing.  What I have found is almost unbelievable.  The cradle of the confederacy, remains almost incredibly foreign to any place I have lived.  Teen births, gun abuse, anti union laws, racism, … I have relatives who chose to live there but I doubt I would ever want to visit their home. CLICK the BBQ guy to readmore.

  • UW

    mR sMITH GOES TO THE uwThe UW was and is the soil from which THE Ave developed.  This lede will take you to stories about the UW … the athletic department’s budget, the lack of free speech on campus, the achievements of the UW that do not get heralded, relations with the city and state, and more. Recent stories have dealt wit a very strange fight over the UW logo.



    Roger RabbitRoger is our resident Chief Justice of the cabbage patch.  A former judge and a former journalist, this furry creature is cynical about most things, legalistic about law, and even .. at times … good at making fun.


    legal thuggeryLegal thugs …. they are a pestilence.  I found the lady here watching at the edge of a labor meeting in Seattle.  Who was she?  From her clothing, manicured nails and skeptical posture I took her for some corporate type, perhaps a corporate lawyer looking for an edge.   Lawyers working for corporations seem to be pretty good at that and pretty bad at any sense of ethics.  Indeed, I believe Law 101 teaches them that the first principle of the law is that “it is OK if you can get away with it.” This may be a caricature but I have been collecting stories about lawyers who use perjury as a device, extort money from targets afraid of the costs of law suits, hold forth while hiding under fictions that they are not acting as lawyers, and much more.   Read about this under the tag for legal thuggery.

March 5th, 2015 - 2:35 am § in Misc.

Ai Weiwei: His art escapes China to end up in Alcatraz!


“The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned.” “This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.” Ai Weiwei

(Excerpted from The World Post) Banned from traveling outside his home country, Ai has remotely produced aart that that now occupies the abandoned jail cells, mental wards and industrial buildings of America’s most famous island prison.

Combining intricate Chinese kites, delicate porcelain flowers, 1.2 million Lego pieces and haunting audio recordings, the exhibit titled @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz serves as an interactive monument to political prisoners around the globe. Visitors exploring the exhibit’s seven parts move from the majestic to the mundane: In one hall they come face to face with an explosively colorful Chinese dragon kite, while in another they can shop through binders full of dissidents and write them postcards.

A toilet bowl bursting with porcelain flowers in Alcatraz’s health ward. (Diana Sheehan for The WorldPost)
Now free from detention, Ai still remains under intense surveillance and is banned from traveling abroad. That tension between artistic freedom and physical confinement serves as the explicit theme of @Large, and it also presented curators with a unique challenge: how to create an immersive site-specific experience when the artist can’t visit the site.

“It’s mentally and psychologically interesting to me, because in a way it brings us inside the life of the jail,” Ai told Smithsonian Magazine. “The inmates in a prison have to follow very clear instructions, have to follow them exactly, and so do we [as site artists] … The goal is not really to create something beautiful, but something precise.”

Two girls examine the Lego portraits of dissidents at Ai Weiwei’s @Large exhibit. (Diana Sheehan for The WorldPost)
That precision came slightly unglued on a Tuesday morning in January when a group of small children streamed into the industrial hall that houses “Trace,” a sprawling collection of flat Lego portraits of imprisoned activists from around the globe. Told to sit next to their favorite picture, one toddler plopped down on the face of an imprisoned Iranian activist, separating the woman’s left jawbone in the process.


Adjoining the Legoland tribute to activists is the most visually striking portion of the exhibit — a snarling (or smiling?) Chinese dragon kite suspended in flight. The circular discs that make up the dragon’s body are stamped with quotes from Edward Snowden, Nelson Mandela and Ai himself.

“The dragon in the old times, classically, is symbolic of the emperor, but we use that image to represent personal freedom. We think everybody has this personal power,” Ai said in a video about the exhibit. “We want [the dragon] itself to feel light, cheerful, full of energy and a lot of hope — even with joy. But it still reflects the will of this prisoner.”

“The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned.” “This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.”


Alcatraz’s main prison building houses several more installations that blend seamlessly into their surroundings. In the former psychiatric ward, toilet bowls and sinks now house intricate porcelain models of flowers and shrubs in bloom. Rich in historical allusion (to China’s devastating Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1956, for starters), the installation perhaps works better when allowed to stand on its own — as a subtle suggestion of beauty sprouting from lifeless environments.

In Alcatraz’s A Block, Ai pairs the human voice with physical confinement. Twelve individual cells play host to the music or spoken words of imprisoned artists and activists, ranging from Russian punk shockers Pussy Riot to Martin Luther King Jr.

Before exiting the exhibit, tourists are invited to shop through a catalogue of imprisoned activists from around the world. If they find one to their liking, they can write a postcard that the curators say will be delivered to the activist (or at least the prison where the activist is held).

“The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned,” Ai says on For-Site’s website. “This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.”

Scroll down for more photos from @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

March 4th, 2015 - 8:55 am § in Misc.

BUCHENWALD 66: as the 70th anniversary approaches

We are now less than a month from the 70th anniversary of my father entering Buchenwald to give medical care.  That should be joyous event, a good thing in the face of horror .. a chance to honor him for his courage and kindness to the ill. One of my goals has been to celebrate […][...]

March 4th, 2015 - 1:37 am § in Misc.

March 4: Anniversary of Andrew Jackson Taking Office As President

On March 4, 1829, Andrew Jackson took the oath of office and became the seventh President of the United States. He went on to conduct a war of genocide against indigenous Americans in South Carolina.[...]

March 3rd, 2015 - 1:47 am § in America, Diversity, The Ave Scene

A Review of Seattle’s Most Dangerous Politician

Daniel Beekman at the Seattle Times has a very fair appraisal of Seattle City Council  3rd district candidate, Kshama Sawant. A few quotes: “… the bully pulpit, not the legislative sausage factory, is where Sawant is most effective and where her star power is an asset. ” “W[...]

March 4th, 2015 - 11:26 pm § in Misc.

Radical Republicans: Violence Against Hindus.

THEY WORSHIP COWS! (based on material from the Hindu) Last Tuesday, back over Washington’s Eastern border, the Idaho Senate was opened by a Hindu prayer in Sanskrit and English.  Society of Hinduism president Rajan Zed gave the prayer after being invited by Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill[...]

March 4th, 2015 - 8:39 pm § in Racism

Tasered and arrested for owning a home in Alabama while black

“The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail — its roof may shake — the wind may blow through it — the storm may enter — the rain may enter — but the King of England cannot enter — all his force dares […][...]

March 4th, 2015 - 6:37 pm § in Misc.

KEYSTONE DEAD: What would we do with MORE oil anyway???

US running out of room to store oil; price collapse next? So exactly why do we want to build the Keystone XL pipeline?[...]

March 4th, 2015 - 1:02 pm § in Politics

America’s gun fetish takes kids’ lives

“A five-year-old Harris, Texas boy shot and critically wounded his six-year-old brother on Monday, March 2, 2015. Unbelievably, this was the third child shooting in Harris, Texas since Friday. Just four days earlier a three-year-old boy died after shooting himself in the head with a loaded gu[...]

March 4th, 2015 - 9:03 am § in Racism

“What black man holds a steady job for four years?”

That was a Ferguson cop joking about the President of the United States in an email to a municipal court employee explaining why Obama wouldn’t be president very long, according to a Justice Department report released Wednesday, the Guardian reported. At this point the email’s author isn[...]

March 3rd, 2015 - 7:26 pm § in Hypocrisy, Politics

Serially married GOP legislator outraged by gay wedding

Texas state representative Tony Tinderholt, a Republican, was so outraged by a judge’s ordering a county clerk to issue a marriage license to a gay couple that he filed a complaint with the state judicial conduct commission against, er, the wrong judge. Rep. Tinderholt, by the way, has been ma[...]