SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


   This blog remains inactive.  I might be back again here someday.  In the meantime, I will occasionally post content on my home page:
P.S. My Comcast e-mail no longer exists.  My home page provides contact info.

(Fairfax County, VA)

Thursday, March 02, 2006


FYI, after a modest blogging hiatus, in late fall I began to blog occasionally at Guns and Butter. My focus has primarily been on national or international issues, frequently with a legal aspect or perspective. I will continue my occasional blogging at GnB until further notice.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Having returned from a last walk down to the lovely Green Lake for a last cup of coffee, I think it fitting to write my last post on Sharks With Lasers.

New developments in my personal and professional life (alluded to here) warrant my decision to conclude blogging efforts at this location. For over a year-and-a-half I’ve been practicing in the art of blogging, focusing primarily upon political issues and legal issues. For the most part, I’ve considered myself a poliblogger. Though my musings on law frequently creep in, I never considered myself a lawblogger. I generally wanted to avoid over-specialization and preferred not to rattle off endless legal pinpoint citations.

For approximately the next month I am going to take a complete blogging hiatus (with the exception of occasional commenting at other blogs). After that time, I anticipate making a semi-return to the blogosphere at a new location: Future blogging will encompass a much narrower range of topics, as I’ll generally be discussing things other than the mainstay stuff of Sharks With Lasers; namely, law and state and domestic U.S. politics. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of issues out there. I anticipate I’ll more closely be tracking issues on the international level—particularly relating to the global war on terror.

Thanks once again to those who have stopped by—especially those out there on the blogosphere who have given me so much to think about and keep me entertained.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Friday, August 12, 2005

NARAL NOSEDIVES, PULLS PLUG ON OWN AWFUL AD. The blatantly false and egregious ad attempting to assassinate Judge John Roberts' good character has been pulled by NARAL. The outcry was so universal, that NARAL soon found itself surrounded by legions of harsh critics and with nobody to stand with them and their false smears.

Michael Barone suggests that the blogosphere was likely a key factor in the almost immediate demise of the bogus ad:
In the days before the blogosphere, and before Republicans got organized to defend their presidents' judicial nominees, the NARAL ad might well have gone unchallenged. The mainstream media and the left would have monopolized the dialogue, and the tendency of the MSM to distort it in the left's favor is evident even today from Powerline's posting on corrections in the New York Times. But those days are gone.

Just how long gone those days are will become evident as the confirmation hearings go forward. The looney left wants a Borking. But they can only do that with a media monopoly carrying water for them. They have no such thing to lean back on anymore.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)
MOVIE-GOING A MADDENING EXPERIENCE? Yesterday, Michael Medved opened his radio program with a monologue about what Americans find most distatestful about going to see movies today. He cited some surveys, including one in Entertainment Weekly. I don't remember the numbers, but as he listed the top responses I painfully identified with what many had to say.

One of Michael's frequent points is that the attack on traditional values that is seen in movies--or, conversely, the values embodied in many movies today--keep many people away from theaters. I think he has a point. But even movies with demented ideas about right and wrong and how people should conduct themselves will draw big numbers if there is some sort of interesting story, good humor, a decent plot, interesting dialogue--i.e. talent--somehow involved in the production. Yet that doesn't seem to happen often. Most movies suck. Period. In light of the prices, the sheer lack of quality is what helps to keep me away.

But the surveys showed that most Americans pointed to rude and disrespectful people in the audience: people answering to cell phones, eating loudly, talking or making wise-cracks during the film. Granted, when you have nothing better to do, it can be fun to do the MST3K thing and go make fun of a horrible film. But some guys like to do that ALL THE TIME. Don't do that!

Personally, I get fed up by the pre-movie commercials and by the endless parade of movie previews that audiences are subjected to. Almost never do I see a preview that I enjoy, or which otherwise inclines me to see a movie. In fact, I'm usually embarrassed for the moviemakers after watching the previews.

When all these factors combine--sticky theater floor, noisy cell-phone-answering audience, adults bringing small children to "R" rated movies, extremely annoying commercials, totally inane previews, and a bad feature film with no redeeming ANYTHING to it--there are few moments when I am any LESS happy and content.

I guess it's good I'm not a movie critic.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

SOWELL SPOTLIGHTS LINCOLN'S EMPANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. In his column for today, Dr. Thomas Sowell gives a glowing, positive review of Prof. Allen C. Guelzo's recent book, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Guelzo was co-winner of the Lincoln Prize for that book, now in paperback. It was the second time he has received that distinguished award. Indeed, Guelzo's book was perhaps my favorite book from all of 2004.

Frequently I hear misguided complaints or criticisms of President Lincoln focusing on how he dealt with the slavery issue. This firstly strikes me as odd because his actions DID finally end slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation put slavery into permanent decline and Lincoln helped begin the push for the 13th Amendment (though he did not live to see its enactment). A twisted sort of absolutism carries weight in some leftwing critics of Lincoln, whereas silly Confederacy-sypmathizing criticisms of him sometimes emanate from quarters within the right. But Guelzo provides the important backdrop and context of the Emancipation Proclamation, showing the difficult dynamics Lincoln faced from popular, political, legal and military quarters. As Sowell notes:

Once you understand the constraints of that world, and how little room for maneuver Lincoln had, you realize what courage and brilliance it took for him to free the slaves.

Sowell is one of those intellectuals of today's age who has a valuable and decidedly uncharateristic ability to recognize the operation and effects of constraints and trade-offs in the real world. So its no surprise to me that he would praise Lincoln in this light.

In his review, Sowell focuses particularly upon Lincoln's concern that an Emancipation Proclamation that reached too broadly would be struck down by the Supreme Court--then under the leadership of Chief Justice Roger Taney. It was Taney who authored the dreaded and disingenuous Dred Scott opinion from a few years earlier, which helped bring on the war itself. Lincoln's apprehension in this regard is entirely responsible.

Not to mention the fact that Lincoln still had to take steps to make sure his Administration continued, so that the war would continue to be prosecuted. Were Lincoln to lose the border states or the White House, a peace Democrat could easily have been elected and the war would have ended. The United States would co-exist with a slaveholding Confederate States of America.

Lincoln was a marvelous statesman, Guelzo is an outstanding historian, and Sowell is a top rate writer and scholar. It's a combination suited for good reading and contemplation.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

WASHINGTON STATE FOR JUDGE ROBERTS. Over at Sound Politics, Matt Rosenberg highlights the new “WA For Judge Roberts.Com” website and campaign, co-chaired by Attorney General Rob McKenna and former Senator Slade Gorton. I say again: confirm Judge Roberts.

As I indicate in one of the comments to Rosenberg’s post, I am delighted by the willingness or our excellent Attorney General and of Sen. Gorton to give Judge Roberts their important respective endorsements. (I previously blogged about AG McKenna’s comments about Judge Roberts’ confirmation.) Likewise, I have signed the petition and made my little contribution to the cause.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)
SAVE OUR STATE’S JUDICIAL ELECTIONS! Justice Richard Sanders of the Washington State Supreme Court has a truly important op-ed in Tuesday’s Seattle Times—urging Washingtonians to preserve the current judicial election system—including judicial elections. (HT: Sound Politics.) Not only is the current system of no campaign limits with full disclosure at issue, so is the very right of citizens to elect their judges!

The power of the people to elect their judges is an essential, precious right of the people of the state. We must NOT surrender it. They system we have works and there is no sufficient reason to abolish it.

I particularly like this little insight from Justice Sanders:
…perhaps those who are pushing these "reforms" think that subjective "ratings" by groups they control or mightily influence will maximize their influence on the electorate. After all, didn't this recent effort get started exactly because the elites were frustrated that the people weren't taking their advice?

Elites always claim there is a crisis when the people don’t do what they would like them to. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

The people of this state were the ones that RATIFIED our state constitution and the people should hold on to their right to elect judges to interpret that constitution.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

THE DEPLORABLE AND DECEPTIVE ANTI-ROBERTS ADS WILL BACKFIRE ON NARAL AND HURT THEM. A post from Powerline yesterday first brought my attention to the blatantly false and outrageous TV ad recently drummed up by NARAL, attacking Judge John Roberts. The ad is built upon falsehoods and is dirty with a capital "D." Wednesday's Opinion Journal has a column by Manuel Miranda, providing further background on the ad.

NARAL's lying about Judge Roberts and trying to pin an awful incident of fringe anti-abortion violence on him isn't winning NARAL any admirers. (In fact, Judge Roberts once wrote a memo while in DOJ recommending against a pardon for a violent anti-abortion criminal.) I don't even know where Judge Roberts would come down on constitutional issues pertaining to abortion, but in the final analysis, it is precisely the kinds of ads like NARAL's that makes the careful undecideds angry. Not to mention Judge Roberts' supporters. And for VERY GOOD reason. Dispicable, NARAL.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)