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)

Saturday, January 22, 2005

BEST ALTERNATIVE ALBUMS EVER!!! Through January 25, 107.7 THE END is taking votes for the all-time best alternative rock albums. (Go here.)

While I'll acknowledge that my views have some degree of subjectivity involved, I'll post my list.

Alice In Chains: Dirt, Facelift;
Audioslave: Audioslave;
Beastie Boys: Licensed to Ill;
Breeders: Last Splash;
Chemical Brothers: Dig Your Own Hole;
Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head, Parachutes;
Cranberries: Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?;
The Crystal Method: Vegas;
The Cure: Disintegration, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, The Head on the Door;
Depeche Mode: Music for the Masses, Some Great Reward, Violator;
Garbage: Garbage;
INXS: Kick;
Joy Division: Closer, Unknown Pleasures;
Midnight Oil: Diesel and Dust;
Moby: Play;
New Order: Brotherhood, Low Life;
Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine, Downward Spiral;
Nirvana: Bleach, In Utero, Nevermind, Unplugged in New York;
Pearl Jam: Ten, Vitalogy, Vs., Yield;
The Pixies: Bossanova, Doolittle, Surfer Rosa, Trompe Le Monde;
Police: Synchronicity;
REM: Green, Out of Time, Automatic for the People;
Radiohead: Kid A, OK Computer, The Bends;
The Smashing Pumpkins: Gish, Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness, Siamese Dream;
The Smiths: Meat is Murder, The Queen is Dead;
Soundgarden: Superunknown, Badmotorfinger, Down on the Upside;
Soundtrack: Singles;
Temple of the Dog: Temple of the Dog;
U2: Achtung Baby, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Boy,
The Joshua Tree;
Write-in: Yaz: Upstairs at Eric's.

The tricky part in voting here is that there are a number of *classic* alternative tunes that are present on albums that simply aren't strong enough to get my vote. Do keep in mind that I absolutely HATE the music of Green Day, Tool, and a few other bands, so I simply could never vote for them.

Also, I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't give you the option of voting for New Order's Power, Lies and Corruption. That was a BREAKTHROUGH alternative album, featuring that wonderful hit "Blue Monday." Plus, I also think that Moby's Everything is Wrong album could have at least made the list of potential albums, along with Death Cab For Cutie's Transatlantacism, The Cure's Wish album. I may not have voted for any of those, but they probably deserved to make the list. Do note my write-in vote for Yaz (Yazoo) and their album Upstairs at Eric's. That is an EXCELLENT work of early 80's Brit-pop.

And yes, maybe I should've voted for Happy Mondays, Jane's Addiction, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, and a couple of others, but you have to go with the music you know best in voting.

(North Seattle--Green Lake)

Friday, January 21, 2005

BARNES ON BUSH. Today's Weekly Standard has some solid, brief insight from Fred Barnes in an article entitled "Bush's Breakthrough." Barnes describes how President Bush's foreign policy aims take us out of the box and beyond the realist vs. idealist dichotomy.

I particularly like the following two sentences from Barnes' article:

The best way to achieve the realists' goal of maximum security for America, [President Bush] believes, is for there to be more democracies in the world. In effect, Bush said the policy of idealists will lead to the goal of realists.

President Bush is operating upon the notion that the true realist IS an idealist. Nothing happens in this world in a moral vaccuum; simulatneously, nothing happens in this world beyond the reaches of moral depravity. There is a lot of bad, mean, and evil men out there who inflict a tremendous amount of pain, suffering and loss upon others. But human beings also long for freedom, liberty and peace. There are also high ideals that are intrinsically good and worth fighting for.

We have a President that recognizes this these forces of good and evil at work in the world. This earns him the disdain from certain self-righteous elites, but the American people, in their good sense, see this as well and have given them their vote of confidence for four more years. President Bush will continue with his idealistic foreign policy, without sliding into utopian fantasies. He simply recognizes that the world's lone superpower can and must take positive steps to ensure that the opportunity for liberty exists nations across the world as the best hope for preserving our own nation's security and freedom.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

BERKELEFICATION. At the Claremont Institute's blog, The Remedy, Nicholas Antongiavanni perfectly captures the all-too-common protester protesting ad nauseum mentality in "Berkelefication: The Manifesto of the Modern Protestor." Be sure to read it and see if you spot how many times the word "oppress" or "oppressor" or "oppressed" appear. The list reminded me of those annoying protest fanatics from that crack-up movie PCU. Antongiavianni's list is very funny, but the sad fact is that it is very true to life.

Just a couple hours ago, I happened to walk by some of the sore losers staging a protest over in front of the Westlake Mall. Though I had JOB to get back to, I heard the speaker yell something about world revolution! A colleague saw a "Stop Capitalism Now!" sign. Lynden LaRouche literature littered the area. Just a little sampling of Left Coast lunacy.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
HEWITT ZEROES IN ON CBS EXEC. Hugh Hewitt's column for today in Weekly Standard (aka Daily Standard) is an "Open Memo to Les Moonves" of the fake-memo reporting CBS. I don't think it likely the folks at CBS will take any of Hewitt's advice, but then again, there is nothing so far that leads me to believe that those Old Media/Legacy Media folks get it over there.

Last we heard, the CBS folks were still celebrating the fact that the Whitewash Report declined to acknowledge the political bias of the CBS "fall gals" and refused to even acknowledge that the fake documents were fake. (Powerline previously chalked it up to the Whitewash Report commissioner's demanding of a nearly unattainable "metaphysical" burden of proof. Curiously, however, the commissioners found it within their purview to discuss the political bias of certain key contributors of the blogosphere.) All of this has been blogged about throughout the blogosphere, but it bears repeating anyway.

Lileks suggests that CBS animate its news, giving it to Simpsons' Kent Brockman. Personally, I think that Comic Book Guy or Sideshow Mel could also fit the bill.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
GEORGE W. BUSH'S SECOND INAGURAL. This morning I raced to work in the hopes of catching President Bush's swearing-in and address. Due to some ill-timed traffic lights near Green Lake, I had to settle for hearing the swearing-in over the radio, but I managed to get in and in front of the TV for most of the speech.

As folks such as Hugh Hewitt and David Limbaugh have noted, the President's speech was filled with some very grandiose themes about spreading democratic government to the four corners of the Earth.

For me, some memorable passages include:

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.


From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.

President Bush has four more years in office, and they begin today. The American people have retained a solid, responsible leader at its helm, and it will be exciting to follow events as they unfold.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

MORE OBSTRUCTION: DEMS CAUSE DELAYS IN GONZALES CONFIRMATION. A news report (here) discusses the delay of the confirmation of Judge Alberto Gonzales for U.S. Attorney General. (The Senate Democrats have already pushed back the confirmation of Condoleeza Rice for Secretary of State. See Powerline's post.)

Apparently, Sen. Ted Kennedy is all in a huff--again. It seems the guy is mad--again. And blowing his top--again. And blowing hot air--AGAIN.

In typical Ted Kennedy lowball fashion, he's trying to somehow pin Abu Ghraib war crimes on Judge Gonzales. We all remember Teddy's shameful speech on the Senate floor right after those incidents were revealed. We all know how his irresponsible speech severed to spur on the terrorists in Iraq. Perhaps Teddy feels he can try and allege that another person was involved in human rights abuses, because he's been a chronic abuser of other people throughout his life.

Teddy, congratulations. You are a caricature of yourself. A complete baffoon, eeking a career off of the accumulated capitol of your more-accomplished, late brothers. Your man, John Kerry lost his big election--thereby blowing your last, best chance at real power. Judge Gonzales is a good man and will be an EXCELLENT Attorney General and your blathering can do nothing to stop that.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Cooper Blog Cartoon #2.
SHARK IN THE SEATTLE TIMES. Today's Seattle Times features an op-ed by Seattle's blogging genius Stefan Sharkansky, entitled "A citizens' revolution for clean elections, new media." This is an important op-ed. Read it!

Sharkansky makes the case for election reform and dismantles Christine Gregoire's bizarre and bewildering claim that our recent election in Washington State was "a model to the rest of the nation and the world." With remarks like that, Gregoire might have been better served in succeeding the former Iraqi Information Minister rather than Gary Locke.

Sharkansky calls for a re-vote and persuasively argues for why it is necessary. In addition, he correctly places responsibility for the public awareness of the election mishaps with the New Media. Of course, Sharkansky would be well within his rights to take credit for his own role, since no one has done more to defend electoral integrity and insure that Washington State has an informed citizenry than he has. (But he's a modest man.) Sharkansky goes on to diagnose the problems with Old Media/Legacy Media, describe the merits of the bloggers and discuss the need for action to reform our electoral process:

The new participatory media have led the charge with this story because, unfortunately, our establishment media are too often partisan and credulous and as lazy and complacent as the local government they're supposed to be watching. But we Americans are a resourceful people, an inventive people, a self-reliant people. When our institutions stop serving us well, we fix the ones we can fix, and create new institutions to supplant the ones we can't fix.

It would be nice if winning candidates won every election by a substantial enough margin to render episodes of fraud harmless and to put any doubts to rest. But that possibilty does not absolve our responsibility to ensure that good laws are enacted and vigorously enforced, and Sharkansky closes his op-ed with some suggestions for reform; including a requirement that voters show ID.

Be sure to continue to follow Sharkansky's work at Sound Politics.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

JUDGE GONZALES CONFIRMATION APPEARS IMMINENT, BUT DETRACTORS’ WACKINESS PERSISTS. A solid and succinct analysis of the ridiculous but repeated charges by the misguided opponents of Judge Alberto Gonzales is provided by Doug Kmiec (here) in today’s National Review Online. Two paragraphs in Kmiec’s article stand out:

The Geneva Convention exists not simply as a convenient political banner by which to chastise the president's handling of the war but also as a law with its own defined meaning. Misreading Geneva for partisan purposes may seem inconsequential until it is realized that doing so may deny the reasonable on-going interrogation of terrorists and our only practical way of avoiding a subsequent terror attack.

Expert lawyers know never to assume, and Judge Gonzales started with the sound premise that it could not simply be taken for granted that Geneva ought to apply to terrorists. Al Qaeda does not meet the criteria under the convention of being a regular army. September 11 itself, and more than one barbaric beheading, reveal as much. The radical Islamic terrorists who have declared war on us, fight without military command structure and out of uniform, employ concealed weapons, and disregard the laws and customs of war, by, for example, targeting civilian populations.

A couple of law deans who are internationalist international law scholars with an ax to grind have echoed the erroneous charges against Judge Gonzales that have constantly been repeated by leftwing groups. The fact of the matter is that international law does not come equipped with a grand interpreting body that can apply these provisions neatly and cleanly to every new contingency and to each unique situation. This is one of the reasons that certain leftwing ideologues have been pushing for the creation of international courts and tribunals. Short of this, many international law professors see themselves as the ultimate expositors of international law. And guess who would be the likely candidates for the judicial appointments to such international tribunals? Try those same international law professors. Until they get their official recognition as the infallible interpreters of international accords and agreements, they’re just tryng to make due as best they can-- testifying as platonic guardians of international law.

Back to Judge Gonzales. A recent AP story carried in my local Seattle P-I discusses the Judge’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and discusses his imminent confirmation. The story suggests that Judge Gonzales will be confirmed when the Senate gets back into session following President Bush’s inauguration—January 20.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Monday, January 17, 2005

EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW ESSENTIAL TO ALL. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I will quote liberally from page 44 of my current read, First Things: An Inquiry into the First Principles of Morals and Justice, by Hadley Arkes. Early on in the book I was profoundly struck by Arkes’ insight concerning the connection between the acceptance of slavery and the undermining of republican government--which is rooted in the concept of natural equality for all human beings. Simply put, the acceptance of slavery as a moral good and the promotion of that evil practice is itself inimical to the long-term survival of constitutional republicanism.

Arkes notes how Abraham Lincoln and his Republican Party clearly understood the linking of these concepts:

A government that could make slaves of black men could, at the very least, begin restricting the franchise of poor whites; and as it created new categories of “disabilities,” it could soon place large portions of the community under the permanent governance of a ruling class. As the government began to take all of the steps necessary to preserve a system of slavery, the democratic character of the regime would become muted, while the authoritarian features implicit in slavery would become more pronounced. In this way, slavery could bring about the corruption and erosion of republican government, because it would break the attachment of citizens to the premises that underlie their own freedom. Lincoln spoke with a somber realism, then, when he remarked that “a house divided cannot stand”: the political order could not exist half slave and half free; “it will become all one thing or all the other.” The dynamic would soon have to move in one direction or the other.

Well put, Professor Arkes.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
WS EDITORS ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. Today's Weekly Standard (i.e. Daily Standard) contains a staff editorial posing some very important questions raised--or left un-answered--by the Whitewash Report on Rathergate. Further, the subtitle poses the question of whether the blogosphere can come up with the answers. Quite frankly, I believe that no one outside the blogosphere is even interested in seeking such answers, and so it will be interesting to see if any bloggers come up with any information in this regard.

I have come to think that the Whitewash Report re-iterates the need for the blogosphere to help carry important stories of the day and to help report all the facts. That the Whitewash Report decided to handle the issue of political bias by CBS folks and the issue of the documents' authenticity with a pair of mittens simply shows that the blogoshphere should NOT expect anyone outside its ranks and its audience to carry water for it.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
BIG SHOT BLOGGER PLUGS MY BLOG. Props go out to Evangelical Outpost--a highly-viewed blog and a respected presence on the blogosphere. EO cites my blog and even mentions me by name in a recent post, which largely concerns issues pertaining to evolutionary theory. While I continue to be rather scrupulous in my attempts to avoid discussing anything on this blog related to my current work, the reference is specific to my personal blog and much appreciated.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)