Weasel Zippers Snip the Menu and if it says “oops” this means

Take it from the Weasel-Zippers, as a woman “writing politics” I’m effective enough to try to silence. They want to silence me. I may seek shelter in scholarship sometimes, but I will not be silenced.


CUNY Graduate Center Historian (Recently Retired) Distinguished Professor David Nasaw wrote

Kudos, David Nasaw! What a wonderful and insightful analysis, albeit a scary one.

Living on the late-nineteenth-century female muckraker journalist Ida Tarbell’s island– Roosevelt Island — which is under the 59th Street Bridge (as those in Manhattan call it, as opposed to the Queensboro Bridge, as those from Queens call it, though it was relatively recently renamed the Ed Koch Bridge after the late former New York City Mayor), gives one a lot of APP (American Political Perspectives).

The wet, dirty muck that Ida raked occurred after she checked herself into what was known as “Damnation Island” due to its appalling conditions and the way inmates from the all-male prison on the island took “care” of some of the women along with white male priests.

While now it remains Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech dominates it. Former Mayor Mike (or Michael) Bloomberg awarded approximately 37 acres to Cornell, the only private-public Ivy League institution of higher learning.

So, I think I can speculate that Elon has been here at least once, if not more, and who knows? I might bump into him on the street.

I can envision Elon rallying or the bolstering the idea of creating Cornell Tech given its unique location, being controlled by New York State though operated by New York City and technically part of Manhattan. Perhaps he supported getting all tech, especially “tech” education, off the “left” coast and in the financial capital of the world — New York City in New York State, rather than any land mass “down under.”

As Cornell Tech changes Roosevelt Island, I’m glad to know I can count on insightful analysis by a CUNY Graduate Center historian, now retired, since I know his work on Hearst as well as Mellon and can rest assured that his historical analysis will include astute comments or make culturally appropriate comparisons to Robber Barons from one and two centuries ago, and how they dominated the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


In a word, Gail, it’s Gramsci

One of my cousins asked me a fun question. We were talking about Frick and Stout family artifacts from Iowa, Jacksonville Illinois, Des Moines, Grundy, and Polk Counties, all in Iowa, as well as Hopewell and Amwell, New Jersey, where Colonel Thomas Johnson Stout’s son left to head West.

See David Forgacs, "Gramsci Undisabled" Modern Italy, 2016 doing:101017/mit.2016.33
See Critical Studies of Education, Vol. 5 “Antonio Gramsci: A Pedagogy to Change the World” Nicola Pizzolato and John D. Holst, Editors (Cham, Switzerland, 2017)

My baby sister Kathleen even has the china washbowl this single man brought with him all the way to Morgan County, IL The pitcher had long broken, our grandmother Ruth Finlayson Frick explained, along with the Dutch family tradition of giving the most prized artifacts to the last daughter married. On the back of that bowl in very discolored paper is an explanation of who Col. Stout was.

Not only was he George’s (Washington) aide de camp, but he was a professor of religion and helped start Brown University too. But most of all, reading different newspaper accounts, the Colonel wanted nothing to do with receiving any Revolutionary War pension. Sure, he qualified, but he took it as an affront that anyone would think he would take money reserved for the poor.

Antonio Gramsci didn’t think like Thomas Stout. And I am not even sure I would label his left-right politics partisan, yet. That said, he may have been honoring Revolutionary War widows and orphans. To me this means, like Gramsci 250 years later, Thomas Stout recognized the family and the hegemonic power within the family like Gramsci, who not only supported women’s rights but also those of children, unlike his Marxist and Communist and Anarchist or Syndicated Anarchist did with his particular preoccupation with culture and all the jarring juxtapositions that exist and do lead to change, like the changes we are seeing in the United States of America today.


Judith and Eric’s Wedding Party – Kathie Abrams and Jeremy Garber’s Eldest Daughter

Congratulations to Judith and Eric! It was a lovely warm party celebrating your wedding that got delayed by COVID-19. And congratulations to Kathie Abrams and Jeremy Garber for hosting it in South Orange.

@frederic.d.o’brien and I @ruthobrien.org don’t get back to NJ much 🙂

Lots of changes I saw that put @nancysolomon’s NPR news stories in context. That and Nancy Solomons’s exciting new podcast about murder and informational mayhem (meaning the dearth of information) in that state that houses, South Orange, New Jersey.

Raised in the Far West (CA) I have found all the ins and outs of federalism and state sovereignties, in combination with the coastal construction of our nation (meaning the lower 48) hard to comprehend.  It’s too bad, though, that the Dems (as the Repubs, call em’) are in bed, so to speak, with the Federalist Society.  Too bad the left side of the American Political Perspectives (APP) did not tag that name first.  Who knows, we could appropriate it.  Would this be cultural appropriation or simply politics?  Who knows.


Frick-ed and Fracked or S.L.A.P.P.ed*?

Not until I met and married Fred (who honored my father and mother when my sons walked me down the aisle), I had none other than my colleague, Fred’s long-lost relative, unite us in marriage. I would’ve been the second Ruth Ann Schwarz. Instead, Fred is the first Frederic Halper O’Brien, though we began our journey as Fred and Ruth O’Brien. Only 9 states in this union allowed him to change his name as he did in the Brookhaven Town marriage-license office.

During our past tenth anniversary, we did another reciprocal thing. He suggested I stop hiding my direct lineage to Henry Clay Frick (named after a Speaker of the House, I presume). So here it is: I’m Ruth Frick (my grandmother’s first and last names) eschewing that middle name once my sons were grown. They too were burdened with English-Dutch-Swiss-Irish-Scottish-Swedish descent, though I am proud to say they speak, read, listen and have learned German and Dutch and only lack lessons in Swedish. But heck, knowing German/Dutch/English — it’s close enough.

* Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (ask Wendy and Sylvia, part of the far west Frick clan 🙂


One Family Unit: Frontiers’-Women from the Far-west Henry Clay Frick Clan

Continue reading “One Family Unit: Frontiers’-Women from the Far-west Henry Clay Frick Clan”


Heretic . . .


Just in. And I am trying to have a news-less day. But my mini(computer) that is is too observant. “Grr”

Death of Democracy

The title is”How Disinformation Splintered and Became More Intractable” in the New York Times the website webpage version of course.





Grand Old Party, Oil and Kern County

Tejon Ranch is the largest …. Now I get it… This is how Hollywood remains Hollywood and why Oil remains oil and I mean petroleum oil, not black oil.

One of my cousins and I played “find the oil.” Now, I knew three things: 1. Oil was black and dirty — petroleum oil, that is, not vaseline that id; 2. Cotton has oil (it is not black); and 3. The Okies came “from them thar hills . . .” So imagine what happened when we tried to squeeze oil out of cotton.  I was hoping it would be black.  Sadly, cotton oil is not. When I asked, I got in trouble, of course. 

So, I ask you: What is the difference between black and white or clear oil?  It’s not “Oil!” by Upton Sinclair, but it is oil like former president, then former chief justice William Howard Taft, who got a route in the town of Taft to be called informally not “them-thar-hills” but Petroleum Hwy. 

And—surprise, surprise—it connects Santa Barbara County to Kern, and must pass through some of TR’s Ranch and that’s not Teddy to you but Tejon Ranch** the largest . . . Forget that.  It’s Kevin’s district.  It was his daddy or a cousin that came to a congressional district that had never elected a Democrat, only Repubs. Better said, only those from the fake G.O. P.  This is no longer Abe’s party.  It’s our Speaker of the House wannabe’s party.





Hackers (right wingers, ex-husbands and . . . )

Thanks for separating my menus from my titles. You created a nice index up front and center.

FYI, hacking only gets me more traffic, let alone helping learn the art of the SEO.

Thanks for the publicity boost.



One would think sexual harassment(s) is/was/were un-becoming, no?*

* (Queen’s English, not the so-called “royal” we + SOP + all my scholarship from best poli-sci presses and/or in journals/magazines/zines/newspapers with over a million reach)

Learning to like . . . (Platonic/platonic/Plato, and Socrates)

What an AMAZING performance. Also I got to wave at my retired GC colleagues Lenny and Christa. Who would know we would all be in the “family” circle. Now it wasn’t my family (Frick’s) who got the subscription but Fred’s father, mother (Ruth Halper Schwarz) and her sister Harriet, along with her husband who worked at the “lab.” (FYI, Brookhaven). The Schwarz-Halper thinking was “platonic.” This is to say, that all scientists liked music, especially the opera. Can’t say, I’ve found that to be the case, though I do like Plato. The MET is finally getting modern, and after going for 12 years, I finally recognized a tune and have learned to like the opera.#


Please VOTE. I could write a silly or frivolous (“lame” is out, just as “denigrating” is out, I hope that doesn’t offend anyone) post.

What I do know is that my domestic and hopefully my international direct-action sons are each voting in their respective locations, though they get mad at me, if I say vote, please vote.

Congress may be crooked. And I do know this firsthand, having run off to Congress at 16 years old, and staying until I was 18 years old and I saw someone throw down cockroaches in a brown paper bag. It did create a stir, too, though when we were trained, constantly, not to carry boxes, bags . . . all those things that could contain anything from insects to rodents to the tools of violence.

Indeed, I recall the fun we had, running up and down a very specific set of marble steps and having one senior congressional page tell me these were bullets from the war of 1812. Imagine, I thought. So I went home that night having looked up the “story,” and while these marks may or may not have been from this origin, they were definitely bullets, and it was closed to all but members of Congress, their VIP guests, and then the congressional pages — we were treated early on no better than rodents.

I overheard two female staff members gossiping about people who were known, and the one said to the other, “shush.” and pointed at me. The rumor monger’s reply was “no matter, she’s just a page.” And we were, until none other than DEMINT (get url) got rid of them. Being underage meant we were jailbait. And DeMint wanted to get, not the girls out of the way, but the boys, after Mark Foley got caught and this didn’t play well with his district or his home state of Florida, as I recall.

Well, you gotta laugh or cry so I choose the former option 🙂

Polls and Faculty Rolls

I learned the hard way to never, ever call an election. Now, its less that my colleagues across the nation with their little models and modeling get it wrong over and over. No, it’s more that when I was a Ph.D student UCLA couldn’t convince their female pollster to join our rolls. Faculty rules, go figure?*

*is fill in the blank and/or plank of the GOP or the Dems as NR refers to them. I used to call them both bourg.! This really got my mom . . .

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