Thursday linkage: All over the place edition

If you’re wondering whether our country is still more or less a democracy (let alone the kind of state that might help bring about whirled peas or whatever), you must not have read the Washington Post series on Dick Cheney and his frightening influence on the country these past six years. He’s been astonishingly effective and to the most destructive ends. We are indeed deeply fucked.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking about bringing children into this world and want to make sure their names fall into that crucial unusual-but-not-so-common-as-to-be-banal bracket, you might check out this historic baby-name frequency graph. Were your parents trendsetters or just followers?

Finally, if you’re just setting out on a journey of self-discovery and wondering where you fall on that delightful rainbow-colored scale of sexual orientation, you might consider a variety of unreliable-looking research about physical “tells” for homosexuality. The finger-length thing gets a bit complicated, but I’m an oldest son whose index fingers are longer than his ring fingers, and also gay, so there must be something to this here science business. (On the other hand, my hair swirls clockwise.) If only this research had been published when I was in high school, I could have avoided all that awkwardness at junior prom.

    9 responses to “Thursday linkage: All over the place edition”

    1. And then there’s this, the conclusion to today’s Times piece on the standoff between congress and VP on the wiretapping issue:

      The wiretapping is just one of several legal issues on which Congress and the administration are squaring off. For example, the White House is under pressure to respond to subpoenas issued two weeks ago by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees for witnesses and documents related to the dismissal of federal prosecutors. Thursday is the deadline for the White House to turn over documents linked to Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, and Sara M. Taylor, the former White House political director.

      If the White House fails to produce the material, the House and Senate could begin a process leading to contempt resolutions to force compliance. Meanwhile, Mr. Cheney is in a separate standoff with Congress and the National Archives over his office’s refusal to follow an executive order concerning handling of classified documents.

      Mr. Cheney declared that his office did not have to abide by the order that all executive branch offices provide data to the Archives about the amount of material they have classified. His office said that he is not a member of the executive branch, because he is president of the Senate.

      I don’t think I can come up with a more devious political figure from my lifetime. I hope he goes down, and hard — even if it’s only in the history books.

    2. Dave says:

      I hate to toot my own link, but that name graph thing is endlessly fascinating. I just found out that Emma was the 9th most popular name for girls in the 1890s, 448th in the 1970s, and had shot up to number 2 in 2006.

    3. That supports my theory that people having kids right now should avoid the 1890s at all costs and go instead for names that were popular in the 1940s and 1950s: no one uses those names now.

      I’m missing some java component to get that name graph to work.

    4. Dave says:

      Marty Lederman has an insightful post up at Balkinization about the Cheney business.

    5. lisa t. says:

      I heard a report on npr about all the biological-gay-or-not-gay factors. The index finger thing is so fascinating. I’m wondering how we’re going to biologically identify bisexuals. The guy on npr also talked about the “gay voice” and the length of arms and legs in relation to torso as indications of sexuality.

    6. Wayne says:

      It is interesting that Brian with an “i” peaked in the 1970s but has dropped a bit. Bryan with a “y”, however, peaked later and is still going strong. Obviously the Bryans are taking away from the Brians, but together they form a formidable baby name faction.

      Being somewhat of a narcissist, I checked out my name (and now write about it on the web). It peaked at rank 33 in the 1940s, but has dropped off sharply. By the time I was born it was already on the … [offending pun deleted]. Now nobody wants to name their child Wayne.

      Conclusion: with me my parents were followers, but with Bacon trendsetters.

      Linda also peaked at rank 2 in the 1940s, but has dropped precipitously: another thing Linda and I have in common.

      Thanks dave for this fun bay name toy.

      On a darker note, Cheney and his imperial presidency ideas are indeed frightening. Liberals have known this for a long time, but perhaps conservatives will get the message. Talk about impeachment insurance for Bush.

    7. Wayne and Linda are exactly the sorts of names more parents should be using right now. It would spare their children having to go to school with a million McKenzies, Taylors, and Chloes. (No offense to anyone whose children have these names.)

    8. Dave says:

      Jeez, Bryan, you’ve offended like half our readers now.

    9. Let me make up for it with this link, via 3QD. A pretty amazing piece; I can’t bring myself to watch the YouTube that accompanies it.