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)

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

ELECTORAL BACKLASH AGAINST EURO PRESS CONTEMPT FOR PRESIDENT? Victor David Hanson had a very cool piece in Sunday’s OpinionJournal on Europe’s response to the forthcoming Presidential election. His op-ed provides a nice overview of the dynamics of Old Europe’s views about the President, and Hanson zeroes in upon the cultural elitists of the Old World—whom Hanson compares to America’s cultural elite.

He states, in pertinent part:

For a bewildered American, the key in squaring the anti-American rhetoric with the Valley Girl reality is simply to understand Western Europeans as elite Americans. Their upscale leisured culture is not much different from Malibu, Austin and Dupont Circle, that likewise excuse their crass submission to popular American tastes through the de rigueur slurs about the "corporations," "Bush-Cheney," and "Halliburton." Perhaps this notion that Europe itself has become a cultural appendage of the U.S. explains why it views our upcoming election as a referendum on its own future as well.

This statement by Hanson would seem to be in line with the views expressed by many conservative and libertarian intellectuals in the United States who emphasize the growing, multi-national New Left force. Judge Robert Bork emphasizes this phenomenon in his most recent work, Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges.

Bill O’Reilley had a couple European guests on his program today, talking about the utter contempt and hatred that the press of Old Europe (and even Britain) has for President Bush and his administration. As O’Reilley correctly pointed out, the European media filter does a tremendous disservice to a continent of people who--save some moneyed folks in France and Germany-- have everything to gain by the prosecution of the war against terrorism and the establishment of a stable, democratic republic in Iraq.

One of the commentators told O'Reilley that the European press didn't like President Bush's pronouncement that in the war on terror, that you were either for us or against us. Well, of course elitists wouldn't like THAT, certainly elitists from the continent that gave us thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Simplistic concepts like good vs. evil are passe, if not signs of barbarism, surviving only in the imaginations of those in the New World who drive around in pickup trucks, drink beer and eat chicken wings.

Back to Hanson's piece. An interesting point is provided in his concluding paragraph:

The European fixation with the upcoming election and rabid hatred of George Bush instead may backfire here at home; indeed, even now European animus acerbates our own growing unease with what we read and see abroad.

Quite so. Kerry is clearly the choice of Old Europe. But is that an endorsement he really thinks the American people find so important, save those Americans on the hard Left—our own members of the internationalist elite?

(Lake Goodwin—Stanwood, WA)
THE CONSTITUTION ISN'T JUST FOR THE JUDGES. Not to be missed is an op—ed in today’s OpinionJournal by Prof. John McGinnis, discussing judicial review and judicial supremacy in light of Prof. Larry Kramer’s new book “The People Themselves.”

It is very important that people understand the CRUCIAL distinction between a) what the Constitution says and means, and b) how the Supreme Court interprets it provisions. Clearly, the federal courts have a role in expounding upon the meaning of the various clauses of the Constitution in cases and controversies that arise under federal and state law (and action). Yet, as every high school student should know, the judicial branch is but one of THREE branches provided for in our Constitution, and the members of the other respective branches have as much of a duty to interpret and apply the Constitution in their own respective roles. As my law professor David Engdahl used to say, the Constitution doesn’t have infallible interpreters—the Constitution doesn’t have a Pope. And fortunately it does not; otherwise mistakes made by federal courts or by the other branches would be forever etched in stone.

Incidentally, this afternoon Michael Medved devoted a portion of his program to the issue of the imperial judiciary, citing Kramer’s book by name and even hinting at the idea of having Kramer on the program on a future date.

Were it not for my already expansive and expensive book budget, I would have Kramer’s work already in my library. Nonetheless, given the importance of the subject matter and the endorsements it has received (including Jack Rackove and Gordon Wood on the jacket), I just might have to give Kramer’s book a read.

(Lake Goodwin--Stanwood, WA)

Monday, August 09, 2004

JARS OF CLAY & THE MAN IN BLACK. An interesting article in NRO today by one Mark Joseph, giving a very favorable review of the latest Jars of Clay album, Who We Are Instead. Interestingly, the album came out close to a year ago. According to Joseph, the band is following in the footsteps of the late Johnny Cash, who had a remarkable career and really came into his own in the last few years of his life. Indeed, I think that Cash's American IV: The Man Comes Around has a *BRILLIANT* title track and a very strong single in a cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt." (Incidentally, there was a wonderful article about Cash and his final album on NRO back in September of '03.)

I don't know quite what to think of Jars following in the path of Johnny--meaning, I don't know what on Earth that would sound like. It certainly sounds like a new direction for the band, and I've not purchased any of their albums in a while, Joseph's review has motivated me to pick up a copy tomorrow. I remember seeing Jars play a concert at Olsen Auditorium at Pacific Lutheran University back in...nineteen-hundred and ninety-seven, A.D. It was a fun show, the band being quite hot still from their first album and touring in support of their second. I remember the song "Fade to Grey" being a standout from the show. In any case, that was quite a while ago, and so I'm excited to hear what new directions and dimensions the band is exploring.

And not to forget, the album gets Bono's stamp of approval.

(Green Lake--Seattle, WA)
ED-GAR. This evening my Mom informed me that Edgar Martinez, baseball's greatest DH of all-time, will be retiring at the end of this season. (You can read about it here.) Although I am hardly surprised by the announcement, I can't but help feel a sense of sadness as one of my favorite baseball player's calls it a career and will take to the field (or, at least to the batter's box) no more.

It is far from common these days to have such a steady, consistent, and humble player. And it's undoubtedly special in this day and age to have a superstar spend his entire career with one team. Edgar will sorely be missed.

Not wasting any time, I immediately purchased tickets to the Mariners' October 2 game against the Texas Rangers--Edgar Appreciation Night. We still have almost two months to see Edgar at the plate, however sparingly, but I definitely want to be there for his farewell tribute.

Edgar might well be my favorite Seattle Mariner, along with the retired Jay Buhner, who will himself be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor later this month. I'm considering getting tickets to that one...

(Green Lake--Seattle, WA)