The Grapes of Wrath Revisited

Great dissertation on Weedpatch Camp — the basis of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, followed by Carey McWilliams, Factories in the Fields.  Both being considered “social documents” did not happen soon enough to alter the Republican origins of the New Deal Labor Policy, which I wrote as a dissertation.

Originally, I hoped to write on American capitalism given my mother being part of the California Frick’s (yes, the same ones as in New York City Frick Museum).

Only Fred convinced me to stop hiding my heritage as he accepted becoming an O’Brien — my father’s surname— and my father was not religious, and spoke German before English to his grandmother (from Germany or Swiss or Austrian Germanic speaking parts of those countries.)

Read chapter 5: Piper, Craig Scott. “New Deal Migratory Labor Camps in California, 1935-1942: Three Case Studies.” Order No. 9930341, Mississippi State University, 1999.

The Plot Against AOC

Ruth O’Brien, Editor

Assassinating AOC? Wow. Trump seems to have literally succeeded in hiring a hit man the Trump way (no need to pay for it when you can incite folks to do the dirty work for free).  A good thing it didn’t work.

As a female professor in the nation’s biggest urban public university, at the campus with the strongest research record, years ago — in 2014 — I launched Heretical Thought, a book series I solo-edit with Oxford University Press, USA, that emanated out of my doctoral seminars in American political thought.  Now we are up to 4 books: Assembly, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri; The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism, by Catherine Rottenberg; Insurgent Universality, by Massimiliano Tomba; and Call Your “Mutha,” by Jane Caputi. This compounds my existing series, The Public Square, from 11 years earlier, including Jill Lepore’s award-winning The Whites of Their Eyes, about the Tea Party, and a forthcoming book by Anne-Marie Slaughter. The schtick about Heretical Thought is that if you don’t have a fatwa or witch-burning against you, your ideas aren’t significant enough to be published by the oldest university press in the world.

Global in nature, Heretical Thought takes an image my direct ancestor could relate to, since she was mentored by the only woman to be banished from the Mayflower community, who later got a patent of land in Gravesend (now Coney Island).  Once the British took over, Penelope returned with her large family to the soil she had first landed on, in Sandy Hook, present-day New Jersey, where her first husband was killed and scalped, and Penelope herself was scalped and impaled but survived, being rescued by a matrilineal indigenous tribe.

I was taught this history by a great-aunt who disguised her own gender, not once but twice, in Esquire — to publish an article alongside Ernest Hemingway. I listened to Great-Aunt Mary, who heard my entire 600-page dissertation from UCLA when she was blind, as she advised me that I didn’t have to be a Frick; I could relate just as much to the Stouts. I have tried to live up to the Penelope Stout name.  Like her, I’ve had a lot of firsts as a woman in academia in a field that practices systemic sexism — being a member of one of the first classes with women to graduate from Claremont McKenna College (as it is now known, though my diploma has the distinction of saying Claremont Men’s College even though I was born female), and the first female EO of the CUNY Graduate Center Political Science Ph.D. Program, where I hired three central lines, including Peter Beinart for the Writing Politics specialization that I designed.  Meanwhile, APSA has only now started writing reports about PS misogyny, to some avail, and its journal now has 12 editors who reflect diversity.  I have had the honor (dis) of being named a “doctoral major” haha.

We are ALL Disabled Now – Vaccination

Public Health in New York City worked!  As a 1B (never thought I’d like being classified so much as a teacher), I’m eligible.

Not only am I flying from my remote workplace; I’m out here because I needed accommodations and it seemed easier to gain better times than to file another Reasonable Accommodation request. 

Don’t get me wrong: HR at the GC has been wonderful. Marvelous.  I left the building with an amazing accommodation that they put in the hands of the new EO.  But rather than requesting another accommodation, why not do it myself? 

Anyway, now that I’m returning — getting the first shot and then another procedure for a disease that women are prone to get — I’m not even anxious about flying.  

How the world has changed with accommodations. Sure, it’s costly in terms of time to order that wheelchair to get me through the airport.  But Fred’s got this down.  And besides, then he doesn’t have to worry.  I love to talk to those in charge of pushing so that they know how much this has changed in the past 15 or so years since Congress and the President forced the airlines to accommodate their passengers.  The last time I went to Paris (2009) with a cast on, I’m embarrassed to say I created another one of my sitdown big-bottom protests — and at JFK it was to no avail.

The airlines finally got it.  What was the time lag?  Legislation even after being enacted needs federal rules.  So I’d give it a 20 year lag, if you’re lucky.  Now that the airlines finally got it, I can travel again.

Courageous 10 (GOP House of Representative Members) Impeaching Trump

white house

Photo by Aaron Kittredge on

Here are the names of the courageous ten GOP members impeaching Trump.

Representative John Katko of New York was the first Republican to publicly announce that he would back the impeachment proceedings. Not holding the president accountable for his actions would be “a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” he said.

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican, said on Tuesday evening that she would vote to impeach, citing the president’s role in an insurrection that caused “death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic.”

Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a frequent critic of Mr. Trump, joined his Republican colleagues on Tuesday evening, saying the nation was in uncharted waters. He said that Mr. Trump “encouraged an angry mob to storm the United States Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes.”

Representative Fred Upton of Michigan issued a statement saying that he would vote to impeach after Mr. Trump “expressed no regrets” for what had happened at the Capitol.

Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State issued a statement saying, “The president’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have.” (An earlier version of this item incorrectly stated which state Ms. Herrera Beutler represents.)

Representative Dan Newhouse of Washington announced that he was backing impeachment, attacking his party’s core argument, that the process was being rushed. “I will not use process as an excuse,” he said during the impeachment debate, to cheers and applause from Democrats. Mr. Newhouse also offered a mea culpa, chiding himself and other Republicans for “not speaking out sooner” against the president.

Representative Peter Meijer of Michigan said that Mr. Trump had “betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week.”

Representative Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio said Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers in the House and Senate “had their lives put in grave danger as a result of the president’s actions,” adding, “When I consider the full scope of events leading up to Jan. 6 including the president’s lack of response as the United States Capitol was under attack, I am compelled to support impeachment.”

Representatives Tom Rice of South Carolina and David Valadao of California also voted for impeachment.