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)


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 . . .

Stealthy GOP(HERS)

It is rare, but not impossible for me to anticipate any GOP moves, having partially grown up in a spatial juxtaposition that is now facing the nation.

Named after “Mary B. Fletcher,” an English female preacher who convinced Methodism’s Founder John Wesley that women should preach in public born in 1897

First, I left home at sixteen and ran away to Congress, winning an essay contest that gained me entrance into the now defunct Congressional Pages on the GOP side. (No Democrat ever won this seat). But, second, I spent more of my life in Santa Barbara, or SB for short, which abuts the county of Kern, and was my parents choice, wanting to be near family in Weedpatch as well as Bakersfield and the Valley in Los Angeles, which also abuts Kern County which is now represented by the wanna-be Speaker of the House good ole’ or the honorable Kevin McCarthy.

Why honorable? Well we were trained to all all members of Congress honorable, not because we didn’t want to engage in a bracing heated argument or better yet, watch the members do, before and during debates.

What I’m getting at is everything in California is not as cut and dried as members of Congress representing SB, Kern, or any district within LA would like to admit. Nor is American foreign policy. Here, though this summer I got lucky.

Visiting Albania, which I told my travel companions was the North Korea of Europe — being so isolated and dominated by the totalitarian state. What is more, I called attention to the fact that a former Vice President (Pence) was in the country to none other than my husband’s political magazine — the National Review. They had invited or X us to write partisan pillow talk or dinner table discussions, all of course respectful or our own version of honorable that we practice when articulating our ideas about all sides of American domestic and foreign policy, whether it be from the left or the right.

In fact, former CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, who was a gifted statistician told me on the ride to the floor at Hunter College where they were giving me a Disability Community Outreach Award that rarely went to CUNY faculty or staff-I quickly explained why I asked my husband, Frederic Halper O’Brien (née Schwarz) to wish off my two sons, who while they came in matching polo shirts that they purchased together just before no logo Target were 13 and 15 years old. It wasn’t that a Deputy Managing Editor of the National Review would make faculty nervous. Loads of CUNY political scientists have written for them before. CUNY has faculty who write about all aspects, left, right and center. No, it was the CUNY PR nightmare I witnessed upon my arrival to CUNY 18 years earlier — and that was Heather MacDonald’s dreadful racist book about the College on a Hill.

Indeed, in 2004 the State Department had me read it. I was appointed the Director of a Summer Institute for Fulbright, which brought in 18 professors and scholars appointed by their own countries. Only four were from Europe, the rest came from China, India, Tibet, Russia, Romania, and the Ukraine . . . and I introduced them to the 42 scholars in the United States that spoke about our theme “neos & isms” America as Empire the way Amy Kaplan, as a former President of American Studies viewed the U.S. of A.

I was to read MacDonald’s book the acting director of the cultural part of the State Department, now deceased, told me so that I could understand the real purpose behind Summer Fulbright institute I directed alone, after being solicited by Peter B. (not Beinart)

This meant I had to know the backstory. Backstory, I told this director, is my favorite part of the assignment whenever I direct or administer anything. To me, there is nothing better than knowing the long, complex functions of an institution that exists beyond one generation, at least. as we congressional pages were taught to call all members of Congress sitting on the left or the right or any party in between.

Being a far west Frick and a Penelope Stout returning over 380 years later the very county she and Richard receives a land grant from the Duke of York means there is lots of backstory and that’s why it has taken me so long to finish American neotribalism from my own app or American Political Perspective, not Perspectives took so long to unravel and unwind. As the author of New Netherlands wrote teaching a seminar at Baruch College said the only thing one knows about their own family’s lineage is you’ve got it all wrong.

Ruth MacKay Finlayson around 18 years old, born in Polk County in the city of Des Moines where her father was an MD, had a JD and a BS from Bellevue and the University of Michigan respectively. He took the professorship of medicine and surgery in 1895 when Ruth was approximately 2 years old.
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