E.J. Graff

Adoption Is Not a Solution for Poor Children

Dr. Jane Aronson is a beloved and dedicated figure in the world of international adoption. It's a big deal when she weighs in, which she did this week in response to recent coverage of adoption fraud like the exposes in The New York Times about China's system along with extensive coverage by the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, ABC, and other weighty news outfits. (I've reported extensively on the underlying systemic issues; you can find my work and related resources here.)

Very Bunny

Warning: This post includes two very bad jokes, one of which I'll dispose of right up front. When my wife walked into my study to find me looking at scantily clad Playboy bunnies on the Internet, I did in fact tell her that I was going to watch NBC's latest show, The Playboy Club for the articles -- at least for this one. She refused to watch with me because she didn't think she could handle the attitudes toward women.

DADT Goes Out With a Bang

I should've known better. Yesterday, I wrote that DADT would die not with a bang but a whimper. Wrong! There was, indeed, a media fanfare, with general agreement that this was a very good thing. Apparently, I'm an anachronism; but after spending my early adulthood in the Jim Crow era of LGBT issues, it still kills me that mainstream America has come to agree that treating lesbians and gay men equally is worth celebrating.

Here, then, are the most interesting DADT pieces I saw:

So You Say You Want a Sexual Revolution, Huh?

After my post last week on whether "sexual liberation" leads to monogamy, Amanda Marcotte and I twittered briefly about the myth of progress in sexual mores. The progress myth goes like this: Once upon a time, all was repression, imposed by religion/patriarchy/the establishment/your-nominee-here. But that theory is wrong: As with all fashions, libertinism comes and goes, alternating with restriction. Think the wild 1920s, then the marry-young 1950s (whose unexpected procreativity literally gave birth to the baby boom), then the swinging 1970s, then the Just-Say-No 1980s.

Marry Me

Yesterday the Washington Post published a nice summary of the various federal lawsuits underway in the court battles over same-sex marriage, a piece occasioned by a panel at the College of William and Mary Law School's Institute of Bill of Rights Law. The panel, according to reporter Robert Barnes, was debating whether the government's political or judicial branch should decide whether same-sex couples' bonds should be recognized as "marriage" by federal law.

Can Tammy Baldwin Win?

Over at TheAtlantic.com, I look into the question of whether openly lesbian Tammy Baldwin can become Wisconsin's senator.

Pop quiz: What's the " L-word" that's likely to hurt her most?

Hint: It's not this one.

Here's an excerpt:

The Real Contagion

While we're talking about how policy failures can help illnesses spread, let me pass on some news from organizer Ellen Bravo of Family Values @ Work. As flu season starts (file under: Contagion), Bravo's group is stressing that real contagion can be prevented if more people had paid sick days. Every year, 44 million low-wage workers go to work even if they or their children are sick because they still have to pay the rent and buy food. Those are the people who handle our food, clean up our tables, change our sheets in hotels and hospitals, and take care of our children. She writes:

Back-Door Anti-Abortion

Earlier this week I posted an excerpt from a funny diatribe by Jeffrey T. Kuhner of the Edmund Burke Institute, published in the Washington Times, that linked contraception with abortion. Kuhner ranted that almost every major religion and civilizations have always opposed contraception, homosexuality, adultery -- oh, pretty much anything having to do with sex unless it's a husband and wife making babies.

Taking a Stand on Standing

At the Prospect on Monday, Chris Geidner took a principled stand on the procedural question of who should be able to defend Proposition 8 in the courts: Do only California state officials, who have declined to support this antagonism toward marriage equality? Or do Prop. 8's authors and backers. The LA Times essentially agreed that Prop 8 deserves a full hearing in court so that it can die on its merits, saying here:

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go to the Salad Bar ...

In theory, your lunch is soon to be a little safer . In part as a response to Harvard Public Health Review editor Madeline Drexler's devastating food-safety critique in the latest issue of Good Housekeeping, the USDA just announced it would designate all "Big Six" strains of E. coli as "adulterants" -- previously, only one E. coli strain was counted as dangerous. That means food producers are supposed to test for and eliminate them in their products. Drexler's piece opened with the heartbreaking death of a healthy child from an E. coli O111 infection, a strain hitherto permissible in the food supply.

This Is Your Country "On Alert"

Remember reading that there were some "security incidents" this past Sunday after authorities "erred on the side of caution" for fear of a 9/11 anniversary attack? James Fallows at The Atlantic has some dispiriting insights into one of them: A half-Arab, half-Jewish self-described suburban housewife and former journalism student was detained because, by chance, she was seated on a plane row between two Indian men.

Did "Sexual Liberation" Make Us More Monogamous?

When I was babysitting back in 1975, I was afraid of a book enshrined on one family's coffee table: Open Marriage, by Nena and George O'Neill. I can't really tell you why it scared me; I never opened it, and I didn't grasp the topic, but its prominent and seemingly fixed placement made it seem evangelically threatening to my family life in some way I couldn't express. Our rural exurb of an Ohio Air Force base (a SAC command, for those who remember the Cold War) wasn't exactly the key-party, "wife-swapping" territory of Updike's Connecticut or Rick Moody and Ang Lee's Ice Storm.

No, You Can't Just Eat Oreos

What do Jane Lynch and I have in common? (I know this question has been haunting you since I started opining here a week ago.) Obviously Jane is funnier and far more talented, creative, well-off, and famous. But we do have this in common: We both became parents at an advanced age by marrying women who already had children. I wonder if her household is as consumed as mine is by the burning question: Should kids pack their own lunches?

Sim City 2000, Subsidized by Your Tax Dollars

If you were either consumed by the 9/11 retrospectives or avoiding them with your own personal news blackout, you might have missed The New York Times' exposé on how thoroughly the video-game industry is subsidized by your tax dollars -- courtesy, at least in part, of the government/industry revolving door. You know something is wrong when even the oil companies think your business gets too many tax breaks. Here's the money quote:

Michael D. Rashkin, author of "Practical Guide to Research and Development Tax Incentives," said that the video game industry had failed to name a technological breakthrough that had helped anyone beyond its shareholders, employees or customers. 

Maybe, Just Maybe, America's Best Days Aren't Over

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I've been feeling pretty lousy about it. Like Rick Perlstein, I have felt pretty Eeyore-ish about the United States for about a decade. Osama won, I wrote last spring, with a jujitsu move that had the U.S. overreacting and morally bankrupting ourselves.