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)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

STEWART GOES TO THE SLAMMER: TERRORIST LAWYER CONVICTED. Far left New York attorney Lynne Stewart was convicted earlier today by a jury in federal court of criminal charges, stemming from her smuggling of violence-inciting messages from one of her convicted and imprisoned clients to the foreign terrorist group he led. She now faces up to twenty years in prison. (Story here.)

Stewart, a close buddy of leftwing lawyer Ramsay Clark, was the attorney for Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (referred to as “The Blind Sheikh” in the 9/11 Report). The Blind Sheikh lead the Egyptian terrorist organization known as “Islamic Group,” and was convicted in 1996 of conspiring to blow up a number of NY landmarks. Among other things, Stewart later violated existing prison regulations by declaring to the press that the Blind Sheikh had withdrawn a “cease-fire” order, thereby calling upon IG to engage in renewed terrorist activities. (There is also a post on Stewart at Jihad Watch.)

In 2003, Stewart stopped by Seattle and made presentations at Seattle University School of Law. The leftwing Lawyer’s Guild Chapter invited her to the school, touting her as a hero. The SU Federalist Society Chapter, of which I was President at the time, staged an information campaign about Stewart. We ran off over 1,000 flyers about Stewart and included them as inserts in the (now defunct) underground paper at SU, known as The SU Review. Professor Eugene Volokh was kind enough to post pdf files of both flyers (here and here) with his comments at the Volokh Conspiracy. Do check those flyers out!

Further, my op-ed "A Terrifying Presence at SU," discussing Stewart ran in the University-wide newspaper, The Spectator. It is still available online here. My op-ed was later quoted in a story with Front Page Magazine. (The typo in the second sentence of the op-ed was the editor’s doing--I sent him an error-free draft.)

While it was all too clear that Stewart had, at the very LEAST, acted irresponsibly and put many lives in danger by her actions, at the time of her visit I did not know the significance of the Blind Sheikh. After reading Bill Gertz’s book Breakdown and the 9/11 Commmision Report, I was struck by how significant of a figure he was. Usama Bin Laden greatly admires the Blind Sheikh and had even issued threats and carried out attacks in the Blind Sheikh’s name. It has long been an intention of UBL to liberate the Blind Sheikh.

Fortunately, the Blind Sheikh remains behind bars. The world is much safer that way. And there is also a little bit more justice in the world with Stewart soon to join her old pal. Bravo to the New York U.S. Attorney’s office!

(Cross-blogged at Sound Politics.)

(A Far Away Place, USA)
CANTWELL IN THE CROSSHAIRS. Both today’s and last Thrusday’s WSJ Political Diary ($) contain entries discussing the 2006 Senate race in Washington State. The common sense prediction is that it will be a tight contest. Bad news for Senator Maria Cantwell.

Last week, John Fund discussed the possibility of a high-tech rematch between former Congressman Rick White and incumbent Sen. Cantwell. Fund cites a recent report in National Journal’s Technology Daily stating that White is stepping down as president of Silicon Vallye’s TechNet and will be returning to Washington State. Fund It was White who unseated Cantwell in a Congressional race in 1994.

Fund goes on to note the following:

Should Mr. White run next year, he will benefit from a Republican Party that is more united than it's been in decades, in part due to solidarity over what party activists see as the unfair recount that snatched victory away from Dino Rossi, last year's GOP candidate for governor.

Quite so. Republicans are more united than ever here, and White will not be troubled by the problem that beset him in his 1998 Congressional race; namely, a challenge from a far-right, radical third-party candidate who had virtually ZERO appeal to most Washington State voters.

In today’s Political Diary, Brendan Miniter writes that Sen. Cantwell will likely face THE toughest Senate race for incumbent Democrats from red states or states that barely went for Sen. Kerry last November. Says Miniter:

She'll be the first Democrat to face the voters after last year's bitter Washington State governor's race. The Democrats won the governorship, but only amid wide speculation of recount fraud. Look for her to find a way to reach across the aisle in hopes of diminishing Republican anger.

We’re still waiting for Sen Cantwell to reach across the aisle. Last week she followed lock-step with Teddy Kennedy in the Senate Democrats' failed attempt to block the confirmation of Judge Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General. (A half-dozen Democrats supported Judge Gonzales.) Will she take a tough stance against voter fraud? Or will she make laughably hyperbolic statements with Baghdad Bob believability about the supposed model elections we just held? Will she come through and support the President on Social Security reform? Or will she deprive me and plenty of other under-30 voters the ability to choose how to invest some of our own hard-earned money for retirement, and let Big Government Bureaucracy decide how to run our lives?

As it now stands, Rick White has a great shot. We will be watching.

(Cross-blogged at Sound Politics.)

(An Undisclosed Location, USA)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

THOUGHTS CONCERNING THE WACKY LEFTWING NUTJOB OF A PROFESSOR WHO IS IN ALL SORTS OF HOT WATER. There has been much in the news and the blogosphere about one Professor Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado. He has apparently made remarks comparing VICTIMS of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to Nazis and he might also have produced fraudulent scholarship and lied about his own ancestry. The man is turning tenure in a license to practice intellectual insanity.

I've not followed this story in much detail. Frankly, I think its just fine having looney, leftwing crazies like this around. This guy should keep it up with his nonsense and further embarrass himself for the sheer stupidity of all that he says.

Of all the commentary I've come across on his situation, by far my favorite comes from Eugene Volokh, in a post from yesterday at Volokh Conspiracy:

The University of Colorado doesn't fire him, and in exchange he promises to change his last name to anything but Churchill.

(The Flip Side, USA)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

AG MCKENNA TO TAKE ON ID THEFT. As intidicated in a press release today, Washington State's excellent Attorney General, Rob McKenna, is tackling the problem of identity theft. According to the release:
McKenna is committed to adding attorneys, investigators and a computer forensic specialist to assist the High Tech Unit and other law enforcement authorities in technology-related investigations. Examples of possible investigations include locating the origin of certain emails to curb "phishing" for identities on the Internet, spyware, and continued spam initiatives.

Just seeing this announcment makes me relived we a top-notch AG that wants to bring criminals to justice, rather than harrass businesses for being successful and further hurt this State's business climate.

(Classified Location, USA)
REAGAN’S CONSTITUTIONAL RESTORATION. George Thomas, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma has penned a wonderful essay entitled "Ronald Reagan and the Constitution," discussing the return of originalism to constitutional scholarship and public debate. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese’s infamous 1986 speech resulted in much hyperventilating by those who mistakenly assume that the constitution merely means what a bare Supreme Court majority can agree to. The nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court also brought the spotlight on to originalism.

If President Reagan had merely helped to prompt a movement on the center-right, then that would be one thing. But as Thomas notes, what President Reagan helped to spur on is much more sweeping
Indeed, sharing Reagan's recognition that constitutionalism cannot be reduced to Supreme Court opinions, much of the most interesting work in constitutional theory is not easily reduced to the Left-Right divide as it was a generation ago.

Thomas goes on to discuss many important scholars on the left, such as Akhil Amar, whose scholarship is guided—in at least some respects—by originalism. Thomas also praises Larry Kramer’s DYNAMITE book The People Themselves. (It was my favorite book from all of 2004, which I hope to discuss at length in a future post.)

Granted, there are differences between originalists, and I differ with former AG Meese and Judge Bork on many issues. But it got the ball rolling in the right direction--recognizing that the federal law is supreme law of the land under the Constitution, but leaning away from judicial supremacy in interpreting that Constitution.

(A Secure Location, USA)
TEDDY'S TERRIBLE LAUGH-A-THON CONTINUES. Ted Kennedy’s efforts to undermine the war in Iraq continue, as David Limbaugh notes in his recent post “Ted Kennedy is Relevant.”

Teddy is relevant to Sen. Barbara Boxer and some other Democrats who seem to think that the antidote to their recent electoral losses is moving even further to the left and thwarting the American military’s valiant efforts in Iraq.

Consistent with his opposition to removing a dictatorship in Iraq, Teddy states that democratic elections in Iraq will further terrorism. Given that the United States is itself governed by a democratically-elected republican system and is also the world's greatest proponent of democractically accountable government, it would appear entirely consistent with Teddy's convoluted logic that he would oppose our military and the newly-enfrachised Iraqis from particpating in their own government.

Teddy is a relic of the old left. And he's embarrassing himself further in further in his twilight years. Hopefully, his ideas will not become fossilized in the foundations of the Democratic party. But the appear to be the rallying point for many within his ranks. Sad.

(Forbidden City, USA)

Monday, February 07, 2005

SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL BROUHAHA. Apparently, some folks were taken aback by the commercial that showed during the first quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl. Ambra Nykol, for one, didn't too much care for the commercial. The article she links to on World Net Daily discusses the ad. GoDaddy really hyped up the ad prior to its airing. GoDaddy even has some discussion of the ad and FOX's decision not to rebroadcast a second GoDaddy ad later in the game.

Ok, ok, I admit it now. I thought the ad was funny. It wasn't "funnist commercial of the year" or anything close, but it made me laugh when I saw it. Even the friend who I was watching it with was laughing. And my friend is female.

Perhaps my laughing at a juvenile commercial was due to the fact that I heard nothing about the hype and I sometimes work in and around legislators and committee hearings and the whole ad looked so cheapo and tacky. Perhaps there's simply no excuse for my laughing and I should feel ashamed of myself. Perhaps I shouldn't really care, since I don't expect to see that commercial air much more.

In any case, there's a minute-and-a-half version of the ad on the web. That wasn't nearly as good. The longer version is just too much and isn't nearly as funny.

Timothy Goddard, by the way, has a nice blog post discussing all of the commercials that evening. Very clever work.

(Secret City, USA)
MICE WITH HUMAN BRAINS: A BAD IDEA. Wesley J. Smith, a man I greatly admire, has a recent article in Weekly Standard called “Animal-Human Hybrids,” subtitled “Is there a limit to how far bioscientists are willing to go?” Smith asks some important questions that must be asked as Americans and people across the world continue to grapple with bioethics’ issues of the utmost significance.

Smith describes the plans of Stanford Irving Weissman to create mice with human brains. Weird. And chilling. Weissman’s program is one that appears to have little or no regard for the inherent equality of human life—the very equality of human life ethic that our nation has been committed to since its beginning (however imperfectly that commitment has been made manifest over the years).

Notes Smith:
Weissman apparently believes that as a scientist he has the right to do just about whatever he wants. "Anybody who puts their own moral guidance in the way of this biomedical science," he told the National Geographic News, "where they want to impose their will . . . interfere with science that could save lives." In other words, Weissman can impose his will on the rest of us because he believes an experiment is worth conducting, but society has no right to impose its collective will on him.

An excellent point. It’s quite interesting how easily Weissman can exempt himself from his own condemnation of person’s informed judgments about proper and improper conduct and the boundaries of ethical experimentation. As Smith strongly argues:

None of us has the right to do what we want just because we want to do it--no matter how laudable our motives. We live in a society based on ordered liberty that protects individual freedom but prevents anarchic license. Thus every powerful institution has societal-imposed checks and balances placed upon them, including science.


Smith discusses such issues in his excellent new book, A Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World. I strongly recommend everyone acquire a copy and read it. But don’t just take my word for it, as there is an OUTSTANDING review of the book by none other than Hadley Arkes, in the most recent issue of National Review (available online here).

Arkes’ logical mind has always impressed me. He really captures what is at issue with the bio-engineering or remaking of humanity with the following words that echo Smith’s above-stated concerns:
The people who can conceive the remaking of human beings imply a vantage point from which they can view human beings with a wholesome detachment. After all, those who would remake human beings inevitably put themselves in the position of the remakers, not the remade. One way or another, with terms novel and subtle, they find another way of talking themselves out of the “proposition” that “all men are created equal.” Nowhere else outside the movements for eugenics and scientific racism are we likely to encounter convictions as emphatic on the disparities in human beings — on the need, not only to remove infirmities or diseases, but to remove people slow of wit, whose incompetence may drain and even threaten the rest of us. The prospect of bringing about a species far more sparkling in native wit merely brings out more sharply the contrast with the dim and the retarded. The prospect of “designer babies” promises to make us even less tolerant of the children who bear those shortcomings we had not foreseen and hadn’t the wit ourselves to correct...

Experimentation upon human beings without ANY ethical constraints is absurd and foreign to our thinking, despite the silly comments of some ethically-challenged folks engaging in weird science. As Arkes continues:
May we carry out experiments that are dangerous to human subjects without seeking their consent? The public recoils from the notion. If Nazi researchers wished to know how long pilots could withstand an immersion in the cold waters of the Atlantic, they could find out directly by dunking the Jewish prisoners who were available to them. As the saying went, those prisoners were “going to die anyway.” When that kind of procedure is rejected, both by the public and by scientists, we quite emphatically affirm...that there are indeed serious moral constraints on the way science is free to seek what science passionately craves to know.

Who can argue with that?

(Mystery Town, USA)
SUPERBOWL XXXIX--D'OH! My hopes for the Philadelphia Eagles emerging as Super Bowl champion were dashed last night, with the New England Patriots coming out on top YET AGAIN. But New England won LAST YEAR. And New England won THREE out of the last FOUR years. PLUS, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in October. That's not fair, I tell you. Just not fair!

I don't know what it's like to live in a championship city. The Seattle Supersonics did win the NBA Championship during my lifetime. But I think I was one. Or not yet one. I might've been zero still. Needless to say, I carry on.

(Somewhere Land, USA)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

GO EAGLES! I'm less-than-optimistic about their chances in today's Super Bowl, but I'm pulling for them, nonetheless.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)