E.J. Graff

Barney Frank Goes Home

The idea that Massachusetts could lose Barney Frank in our congressional delegation never crossed my mind before yesterday, but I'm told that he's been signalling he's ready to go for a couple of years now. The New York Times' Abby Goodnough had a nice item about his departure announcement, which includes a great kicker about his famous combativeness with reporters and, well, everyone:

Mr. Frank’s famous petulance was on display at times on Monday; he dismissed what he called a “gotcha” question from a reporter about his personal investments and, upon learning she worked for Fox News, said, “Quelle surprise.”

Advertising for Marriage

Rex Wockner, longtime gay reporter, says this is the best marriage equality TV spot he has ever seen. The LGBT newsweekly The Advocate agrees. I haven't seen as many as they have, but it's pretty great. My only thought: it could be even better if there's another one just like it, in which the principal figure is a woman.

What do you think?

Women in the Boardroom

This morning, Women's E-News reports that since 2003, when Norway required corporate boards to be made up of at least 40 percent women, "plenty of other European countries have followed:

Spain: 40 percent by 2015 for market-listed companies or those with more than 250 employees.

France: 40 percent by 2017 for market-listed companies or those with more than 500 employees.

13 Ways of Looking at a Turkey

Okay, maybe not thirteen ways. I didn't count. But we're not really working today, right—day before a holiday and all? So enjoy this.

 

 

More Thoughts on Football

I should have posted this poem in October. But since I'm on a football jag now, here's a famous poem about what young men are channeling when they play football. Written in 1964, it includes some offensive language from its era. But I love this poem and have known it by heart for decades.

Autumn Begins in Martin's Ferry, Ohio

--James Wright

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

Football is Hell

As I think you know by now, I don't pay much attention to football. But between the concussion suicides and the Sandusky allegations, I've gotten a bit interested in the sociology of the sport. And so this Sunday's New York Times interview with former pro football player Kris Jenkins interested me. Jenkins makes it clear that he signed fully signed up for the brutality and pain:

Sandusky's Victim One Bullied out of School

According to Sara Ganim at the Patriot-News, the reporter who first broke the Penn State sexual-abuse story back in March, Sandusky's Victim One has had to leave school because he's being bullied:

Officials at Central Mountain High School in Clinton County weren’t providing guidance for fellow students, who were reacting badly about Joe Paterno’s firing and blaming the 17-year-old, said Mike Gillum, the psychologist helping his family. Those officials were unavailable for comment this weekend.

The name-calling and verbal threats were just too much, he said.

Department of Follow-Up: How Do You Make Better Parents?

Like a lot of nerds, my jaw dropped this weekend when, on the NYT's opinion page, Tom Friedman concluded that what our education system needs to help children perform better is ... drum roll ... better parents.

Well gosh, no one ever thought that before. Um, could you follow that up with a policy Rx, please?

Fortunately, Dana Goldstein has indeed done that, right here. Her column is a nice guide to school-reform thinking on precisely this question, with great links.

The Internet Miniskirt

Flickr/Ed Yourdon

I've been lucky. There was no Internet back in the 1990s when I was one of the few women writing in the mainstream media about LGBT issues. Hate mail, then, was actual, physical mail, usually sent to a newspaper and forwarded, although one or two writers somehow found my home address. But even those were pretty mild. The usual theme was that I was going to hell; sometimes I got conversion pamphlets, with handy cartoon illustrations of people on fire. I got a couple of letters with disgustingly graphic ideas about my sex life, but those were overshadowed by the religious pamphlets and the psychotics' letters—which you learned to recognize by the tiny handwriting on the envelope, and which ran six to ten pages, and almost always mentioned alien life forms somehow.

DNA, Massachusetts, and the Question: Why Exonerate the Innocent?

Why exonerate the innocent? For some of us, the answer is obvious: justice. It's immoral to keep a person behind bars for someone else's crime. But not everyone believes that's enough of a reason. Here's how they think: Is it really worth overwhelming the underfunded criminal justice system (in Massachusetts, the vast majority of assistant district attorneys, the workhorses of the system, make between $40,000 and $80,000 a year, plus death threats) to process DNA requests for the few outliers who think they're innocent?

Unemployment and Underemployment Over Time

I'm not the only nerd here in the room, right? Phew. Check out Remapping Debate's new graph of Bureau of Labor Statistics data of unemployment and underemployment, by state, over time. Don't miss the widget that lets you examine how the data differs by year.

In brief: It looks grim. Do use the data for good.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Adoption

Over the past two months, I’ve posted a few items about fraud and corruption in international adoption, a subject I’ve reported on extensively. Of the many articles I wrote on the topic, one story in particular broke my heart—and illuminated how such frauds occur. I’ve just heard, again, from one of the principals in the situation, and I’d like to post his letter. Before I do so, here’s a summary of—and links to—the articles that offer background.

Prop. 8 Challengers Have Standing

The California Supreme Court has ruled that, in its view, the people who brought Proposition 8 to the ballot -- the initiative that halted California's same-sex marriages -- have the "standing" to back that law in court. Exactly what does that mean? It's complicated. Learn more from Chris Geidner, here.

DOMA, DOMA, DOMA: 2, Executive & Legislative Challenges

  1. Executive. There’s a campaign under way to get President Obama to say he supports marriage equality; he hasn’t gone that far, claiming instead that his position “continues to evolve.” He has said that he opposes DOMA—which means little, in practice, for all the reasons we know from middle-school civics classes. Because it’s Congress’s job to make laws and the executive branch’s job to enforce them, the president can’t just stop enforcing DOMA: Same-sex couples still have to file taxes as single, and so forth. However, the executive branch does have some discretion. To wit:

DOMA, DOMA, DOMA: 1, Judicial challenges

Last week, while men in power were getting called out for behaving badly (see under: Cain, Herman; Penn State football), the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) behaved well—by voting out of commmittee a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. As I mentioned last week, no one expects the repeal bill, called the Respect for Marriage Act, to actually come to the Senate floor this year.

But that’s not really the point of the SJC’s action.

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