E.J. Graff

The "Mancession" Will End. Will the "Woman-cession"?

Before I get cranky, let me be sentimental: I loved Obama's speech last night. It was big. It was bold. It was inspiring. Here's the part I loved most: Where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges; our dams and our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the GI Bill. Where would we be if they hadn't had that chance? How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? How many Americans would have suffered as a result? No single individual...

Where Are All the Techie Ladies?

As you probably know by now, there was a high-profile female firing this week. Nicholas Thompson at The New Yorker says Carol Bartz lost her Yahoo leadership fair and square, but adds a a wickedly smart sentence about how women are faring in high tech: Carol Bartz of Yahoo was fired on Tuesday, which means there are now officially no female C.E.O.s of major technology companies. The number of male A-listers in Silicon Valley who attended Montessori schools (Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon) is four times higher than the total number of female A-listers (Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook). That's good news for the boys in our local public Montessori school, but less well for women in the workplace.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Between Labor Day, Perry v. Romney, and Obama's speech tonight, this week we're all about jobs, jobs, jobs. Kate Dailey at the BBC News Magazine is right there with us, taking note of Jill Abramson's historic first day as executive editor of the New York Times. Dailey asks : What jobs still haven't been filled by women? Check out her list, which includes Secretary-General of the UN, Navy SEAL, governor of 23 U.S. states, and -- well, take a wild guess about which developed country is nearly the last to have a female chief executive.

What Does Global Warming Look Like?

What does climate change look like? These pictures give you a glimpse. Here’s the featured expert’s quote: “I was still completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the breakup, which rendered me speechless." Me too.

Some Things You May Have Missed

Everyone's favorite state, Arizona, is working to balance its budget with a new tax -- er, fee -- on poor folks. If you had to balance a budget, wouldn't you find the poorest and least educated families, the most likely to have families afflicted by crime and addiction, and charge 'em $25 to visit their brothers, mothers, and cousins in jail? Remember that horrifying gang rape of a child in rural Texas? Nineteen boys and men raped an 11-year-old girl -- and the initial New York Times reporting heavily quoted residents who thought the child was a slut who dressed like a prostitute and probably brought it on herself. In this month's GQ , Kathy Dobie takes an in-depth look at the stew of influences that enable such a horror . Does abortion stop when it's illegal? Yeah, right. Check out the experience of Colombia, where 30 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, more than 99 percent of them illegal. One in 26 Colombian women had an abortion in 2008; one-third of those resulted in "medical...

Yesterday in the Ongoing Saga over the Withering Defense of Marriage Act ...

As you may know, there are three current battlefronts in the effort to repeal DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. One's in Congress: Senators Feinstein and Nadler have introduced a bill, The Respect for Marriage Act , that won't go anywhere in an election year. Another is in several federal courts: a series of lawsuits are underway on behalf of same-sex couples who are legally married in their home states -- Massachusetts, New York, California -- but, because of DOMA, do not have their marriages recognized by the federal government. In that second front, Obama's Justice Department this year declined to defend the law, saying that it believed DOMA to be unconstitutional. Yesterday's news comes in the third, and splashiest, front: Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now, Perry v. Brown ), the Ted Olson/David Boies lawsuit against California's Proposition 8 . The backstory is incredibly tangled and technical, but here are the most important points: In 2008, California's courts opened marriage to...

More on the Playboy Club

Here's a follow-up to my mini-review last week of NBC's The Playboy Club : a Daily Beast article, "My Mom's Life as a Playboy Bunny," by Susanna Spier. Spier interviews her mother about what things were really like. Was Hugh Hefner's comment -- that bunnies could be anything they wanted to be -- accurate? Ha. We had only a handful of options, and being a Bunny was a brand-new one. ... Teacher, nurse, stewardess, secretary. Bunny increased our options by 20 percent. It didn't mean we could be brain surgeons. Hef's dots do not connect. So why did she do it? Duh: for the money.

No More Family Secrets

The New York Times ran an astounding story yesterday about a sperm donor with 150 offspring . Imagine having 149 half-siblings, putting you in one of the biggest genetic families in history. Jacqueline Mroz's piece nicely explored some of the ethical queasiness and consequences of leaving family-making entirely to the free market. Here's the key quote: "We have more rules that go into place when you buy a used car than when you buy sperm," said Debora L. Spar, president of Barnard College and author of "The Baby Business: How Money, Science and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception." "It's very clear that the dealer can't sell you a lemon, and there's information about the history of the car. There are no such rules in the fertility industry right now." Should these rules (or libertarian lack thereof) really be left up to the buyers and sellers, making people into commodities? It's hard for those in the throes of baby hunger to think through all the possible complications that lie...

What's a Line?

A decade ago -- a time unit that's on all our minds this week -- I was a senior correspondent for The American Prospect , covering issues that ranged from the nationwide craze for anti-same-sex marriage laws to sexual harassment of female Marines. I'm pretty sure I was the first to use the word "transgender" in the Prospect 's pages and pixels. Since then I've been roaming here and there, with a five-year stint as senior researcher and associate director of the award-winning Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. A few months ago, after seeing my Atlantic.com analysis of the latest DOMA hearings, the new Prospect editorial regime invited me to return -- not just occasionally but daily. Here I am, pleased to make your acquaintance, on this first day of school (for my son, at least). I've spent the past 25 years writing about social-justice and human-rights issues -- with a particular focus on women, children, and sexual orientation. I'm probably best...