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)

Friday, February 18, 2005

CATO. John J. Miller has my favorite article of the day at National Review Online, entitled "America's Greatest Play." He discusses Cato, the play that George Washington was so fond of when leading the Continental Army during the American Revolution. I've never actually read the play--and don't recall even having heard about it until I read Richard Brookhiser's concise yet wonderful biography of George Washington, Founding Father, last year. Miller links to a Liberty Fund edition, which features a foreward by the excellent historian Forrest MacDonald. Liberty Fund sells some outstanding works of political philosophy. I've purchased from them before and plan on getting Cato through them.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Hat tip to my good friend John, for showing me an absolutely hillarious website called "Superman is a Dick." It's filled with comic book covers of Superman at his VERY worst. Just how Superman could behave THAT badly THAT often and remain a superhero and not a supervillian is beyond me.

The above comic book cover is one of my personal favs. (You have to click on it to make out the type.) Not to be missed, however, is the one where he stops Lois Lane's air supply in outer space. Ouch!

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Cooper Blog Cartoon #5 -- Featuring Teddy Kennedy

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

BLOG-INSPIRED LEGISLATION. Just on the heels of the resignation of Eason Jordan of CNN--another big moment in the blogosphere's young history--Powerline blogs about a recent piece of federal legislation that would revise the Freedom of Information Act. The kicker is that sponsoring Senator John Cornyn had bloggers and their important work in his mind when introducing it.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
KIMBALL ON THE JIMMY CARTER ATTACK SHEEP. At New Criteron's blog, Roger Kimball has some fun in a post from today with the new U.S. submarine named after former President Carter.

What's next--a hovercraft named after Teddy Kennedy? (It goes on land AND water.)

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
McCARTHY DECONSTRUCTS THE TERRORIST LAWYER. Andrew J. McCarthy has penned my favorite read of the day--an article in NRO discussing his interactions with recently-convicted, leftwing attorney Lynne Stewart. As a federal prosecutor, McCarthy squared off against Stewart in the Sheikh Abdel Rahman case. In the article, "Lynne Stewart & Me," he recounts his encounters with Stewart and his impressions of this sad, sad person.

McCarthy has many kind words for Stewart, through his interactions with her. Having personally heard her speak, this doesn’t surprise me. She doesn’t act as wild-eyed or crazy as her occasional left-wing, authoritarian comments would suggest. But McCarthy goes on to note:
Don’t get me wrong. I do despise what Lynne represents. To hear the media's "civil rights lawyer" tag monotonously attached to her name is Orwellian to the point of inducing dysentery. In America, we have an ingenious constitutional framework that promotes unprecedented economic and social freedom, not to mention nigh-uninhibited human creativity. It is rightfully the envy of the world. It is the fortress that safeguards all civil rights worthy of the name. And ... it is the system that Lynne Stewart, in her hallucinogenic adulation of bloody revolution for the sake of nothing more than revolution (and its attendant idol worship of monsters like Mao and Stalin and Castro and, of course, Abdel Rahman), would supplant. Thus, it's been impossible to read the fawning pro-Stewart coverage in the New York Times for the past two years and not wonder whether either the newspaper or Lynne understands that if the causes they promote ever actually achieved their ends, the very first thing the new regimes would do is shut down useful idiots like the New York Times and Lynne Stewart.

McCarthy later observes:
I couldn't square the lawyer who so amiably conducted herself within the rules with the rebel who so ostentatiously sought to supplant the rules. All I knew, though, was that when she made a representation to me within the four-corners of a very long and combative trial, I thought I could take it to the bank. In twenty years, I have known too many adversaries about whom that could not be said.

He then goes on to raise a very important point:
…there are lines between proper advocacy and misconduct, and they are well known. Here, Lynne was so far over them that, to be blunt, it is insulting for her and her allies to suggest otherwise. Yet, they thoughtlessly cavil about a Justice Department witch-hunt against lawyers who take on the defense of the most repulsive criminals and terrorists. It's blatant nonsense — and they know better.

McCarthy is exactly right about the proper role of an attorney. An attorney is supposed to be an advocate for their client who protects their rights, NOT an enabler of criminal activity or a co-conspirator in terrorism.

This distinction appears altogether lacking in the minds of some commentators on this case. Even Judge Andrew Napolitano comes to Lynne’s defense in his recent book, Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When Government Breaks its Own Laws. Judge Napolitano would do well to follow McCarthy’s account of the Blind Sheik’s trial and Stewart’s prison visits to the Sheikh after he was convicted. He also could consider the fact that Stewart could have challenged some of the prison regulations put in place concerning the Blind Sheikh BEFORE she broke them.

I am thankful to McCarthy (now at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) for his work in the Blind Sheik’s case, and also for this profound read.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
MORE ON SB 5594 -- SENATE DEMS' JUNK BIOLOGY BILL. Following up yesterday's post (here) discussing Wesley J. Smith's National Review Online article discussing Washington State's Senate Bill 5594--the bill is the cloning ban that ISN'T--some additional insights are worth your attention.

Timothy Goddard has answered the call and weighed in on the bill in some detail at The Flag of the World. He provides a solid assessment of SB 5594's promotion of cloning and its dishonesty through definition-switching. Readers will also find some prescient insight into the sorts of dangers that this kind of legislation could bring.

The Mulatto Advocate also opines on SB 5594, getting right to the heart of the matter. Moral bankruptcy is his assessment of the present situation in Olympia.

Serious statesmanship and diligent deliberation cannot take place when the underlying facts and issues to be contemplated are obscured and distorted. SB 5594, by its very terms, is deceiving. Why can't the bill's sponsors simply say what it is that they want? Or are they afraid to accept responsibility for trying to carry human cloning forward in Washington State?

(Cross-blogged at Sound Politics.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

FUND WITH A FUN STORY ON THE GOVERNATOR. In his column from yesterday at Opinion Journal, John Fund discusses Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appearance at the California State Republican Party convention and his upcoming political battles on behalf of Californians.

A highlight from Fund's column follows his discussion of Democratic obstructionist plans--leading in to his discussion of the Governator's ability to generate enthusism and the public on a variety of issues:
"I have gone through my life hearing that 'you can't do that,' " the governor told me last year. "But you see over and over, the impossible can be done. And it will continue to happen." This year, his self-confidence has reached a state that columnist George Will says "approaches mysticism." In a meeting with Mr. Will last week, the governor put a curved palm up towards his face as if he were holding an invisible orb and said "If I can see it"--any goal--"I can achieve it. And I have the ability to see it." He told the GOP audience last Friday much the same thing, saying he "can see victory, and it will happen."

Fund follows the column up with an entry in today’s Political Diary ($), in which he discusses the re-election plans of Gov. Schwarzenegger and quotes the Governator as saying the following about his opponents and the three options available to them:
One is they can... jump on the train. Number two, they can go and stand behind and just wave and be left behind. Or number three, they can get in front of the train -- and you know what happens then.

California Republicans are energized, and I don’t blame them. They have an enterprising and popular executive who will work to improve the Golden State’s economic climate.

I only wish the Evergreen State had a leader with similar priorities in the Governor’s mansion…

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
WASHINGTON STATE'S JUNK BIOLOGY BILL. The attack of the cloners has come to Washington State, in the guise of Senate Bill 5594. The bill is misleading in the extreme, purporting to ban human cloning in the State while redefining the term “cloning” later in the bill so as to give the green light to such unethical activity. This bill should be strongly opposed.

In today’s National Review Online, Wesley J. Smith aptly describes and analyzes this bill in his article “Stealth Cloning.” Smith is an author of a new book on bioethics, an operator of a new blog called Secondhand Smoke, and has testified before many state legislatures on the issue of human cloning. He describes SB 5594 as:

a thoroughly disingenuous piece of legislation that purports to outlaw the cloning of human beings, but by manipulating language and redefining terms, actually permits human cloning and gestation of the resulting cloned embryos through the ninth month.

The primary method of cloning is known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), which (when successful) results in an asexually produced cloned embryo. If SB 5594 truly were to outlaw human cloning in Washington State, it would outlaw SCNT. Instead, the bill engages in deception by simply REDEFINING “cloning of a human being” as

asexual reproduction by implanting or attempting to implant the product of nuclear transplantation [e.g., an embryo] into a uterus or substitute for a uterus with the purpose of producing a human being.

Under SB 5594’s tortured definition, cloning only means cloning for the purpose of bringing a human being to birth. While I’m no medical expert, my legal training serves me quite well in detecting the shell game being played here. Proponents of SB 5594 hope to win by rigging the terms of the debate. Yet, when carefully read, the deceitful nature of the bill is obvious to ANY reader.

The debate over human cloning is not simply a dimension of the abortion debate. Our laws in this regard have come to recognize a zone of privacy involving a woman’s choice about what happens to her own body that a government cannot intrude upon. While good people can disagree on the matter, those privacy considerations are simply NOT present in the cloning debate, where the issue is simply this: are we going to treat human life as something that can be grown only to be destroyed and harvested as raw materials?

Proponents of human cloning want to do precisely this, turning human life into a commodity and source for experimentation unbounded by ethical constraints. But in so doing they must trample upon our understanding of human dignity and human equality—that human life is unique and important simply because it’s human.

This proposed legislation was the subject of Matt Rosenberg’s post (here) last week. Some interesting comments followed that post, including those by Timothy Goddard. Given his background in biology, one hopes he will have more to say on this subject and the bill.

SB 5594 is sponsored by Senators Kohl-Welles, Franklin, Thibaudeau and Kline, and received a hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research & Development on February 8. As of this post, no action has since been taken on the bill. I recommend you read Smith's article and contact your legislators.

By the way, Smith is a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and will be speaking in the Seattle area on human cloning and stem cell research on February 23.

(Cross-blogged at Sound Politics.)

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Monday, February 14, 2005

JAMES NA ON SEATTLE BLOGGING. James Na’s column in today’s Seattle Times gives a take on Seattle’s blogging scene, focusing on the work of many of the diligent bloggers on Sound Politics--Stefan Sharkansky, Andrew MacDonald, and Matt Rosenberg, in particular. Be sure to read it!

Na, a Senior Fellow on Foreign Policy at the Discovery Institute (where I happen to be a staff employee), discusses the work of local think tanks, such as the Washington Policy Center, and then goes on to discuss the impact of the Pacific Northwest's own pajamahadeen:
...bloggers have joined the fray and turned Seattle into a major center for an underground conservative movement and alternative media.

Na mentions his attendance at the recent bloggers bash, graciously hosted by the MacDonalds—and which I also had the good fortune of attending.

One comment I have in response to Na's column is that the Seattle area's center-right blogging scene has more of a positive vision motivating it than one might believe from reading the column. Leaders like Dino Rossi, AG Rob McKenna and others have FINALLY provided Republicans in this state with a viable vision for positive reform and economic prosperity that is much badly needed, and which has appeal to those traditionally outside Republican ranks. Despite the current makeup of the state legislature and the questions surrounding the election for Governor, the Republican Party has real potential to make gains in this state and improve the business climate.

The blogosphere is here just in time for Washington State Republicans. As Michael Barone notes in his new "Blogosphere Politics" article, the blogosphere has helped President Bush nationally. While not necessarily helpful to the President in this region, I nonetheless foresee the blogosphere as having a positive influence on politics in this state for the future.

James Na runs the Guns and Butter Blog.

(Cross-blogged at Sound Politics.)

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
WESLEY SMITH'S NEW WEBLOG. Secondhand Smoke is the new blog by author, attorney and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith. Secondhand Smoke now goes up on my list of regular visits. He is a prolific writer and a very engaging speaker, widely published in Weekly Standard and elsewhere. I have made frequent references to his excellent work on bioethics (human cloning, embyronic stem cell research, etc.) on this blog.

In a post from yesterday, Smith discusses a recent U.S. Patent Office decision denying a patent for the creation of a human/chimp hybrid creature.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)