E.J. Graff

To Anti-Choice Zealots, Abortion and Contraception Are the Same Thing

You may not have noticed, but if you ever use birth control you are a "battering ram" for a dangerously pagan society. The reproductive rights folks have long warned that the most profoundly committed "pro-life" advocates actually want to end legal contraception, rolling us back to the pre-Margaret Sanger days when selling condoms through the mail could land you in federal prison. That's true of the Catholic Church, of course, whose philosophy of sex grows from Augustine's belief that its only justification is making babies; sexual pleasure is a distraction from God. But Jeffrey T.

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?

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:

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?

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.

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: