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, February 26, 2005

MERGERS, MARKETS AND MARTIN. Stephen Moore and Cesar Conda support the FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin to become the new FCC Chairmain, in an article at National Review Online. Martin could likely be replacing outgoing Chairman Michael Powell.

To be honest, I heard so many criticisms about Martin that I was initially surprised by the endorsement. However, as I considered it further, virtually all of the criticisms I was privy to concerned Martin's support of the FCC regulations that requried inclumbent networks to provide unbundled network elements to new competitors. Moore and Conda go on to argue that Martin is the right man for the job.

Moore and Conda go on to insist that the Telecommunications Act be completely reworked and revised. They point to the recent MCI/Verison merger as proof positive that Congress can't expect to regulate the fast-growing and always changing telecom industry. Adam Thierer argues similiarly in a recent post at TechLiberationBlog.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Friday, February 25, 2005

A "GLOBAL TEST" FOR THE U.S. CONSTITUTION? Today’s Wall Street Journal has a “Review & Outlook” editorial entitled “Rule of (International) Law," that Americans concerned with the continued vitality and existence of self-government should read.

As the editorial notes, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in the case of Medellin v. Dretke--a case discussing whether or the extent to which an International Court of Justice will be enforced in a Texas court. The WSJ editorial states some matters of concern as follows:

Letting the ICJ tell Texas how to run its courts would move the U.S. in the direction of the European Union, which has a supernational legal system to which national courts must bow. Not far down the line would be an ICJ ruling declaring the death penalty illegal and ordering Texas to get rid of capital punishment.

Obviously, if our nation is a signatory to a treaty, then there are ramifications for that. So I'm not going to hyperventilate about the potential ramifications of this case's outcome--at least, not yet.

On the other hand, our Constitution does not permit us to cede our own sovereignty to foreign nations or international bodies through the treaty-making power. Particularly worrisome is the trend in leftist thinking--noted by Kenneth Anderson at his blog and by Judge Robert Bork in his book Coercing Virtue--to supplant an increasing amount of democratic decision-making to international tribunals.

We have seen recent Supreme Court opinions that refer to international as a source of authority on constitutional matters--with the idea being that the Constitution should be read according to the equivalent of John Kerry "global test." But the pre-amble of the Constitution makes quite clear that our Constitution has authority through the consent of "We the People, of the United States..."

Abraham Lincoln posed the concern, in his First Inaugural, about the problem that exists when important questions affecting the whole of the people are decided by private parties in individual cases: self-government is undermined. Much more so when such important questions are decided by unaccountable (and often anti-American) elitists sitting on judicial tribunals.

I look forward to the brief from the U.S. Solicitor General’s office, in this case. The WSJ editorial indicates that it is due on Monday.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

BASEBALL & ROIDS. Jose Canseco has been busily plugging his “tell-all” book about steroids in baseball. It wouldn’t surprise me if many successful power hitters in baseball have used steroids. However, I do take exception to Canseco’s book and his profiteering and attention-grabbing for tattle-tales.

I would like nothing better than to see an investigation, though at this point I’m not sure just why THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS would want to conduct hearings. (See an AP report here about how Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and colleague Rep. Henry Waxman are pushing for such hearings.) Cheating is wrong no matter what, and some sort of investigation sounds good to me.

Canseco, however, is a miserly figure. Once upon a time, he was on top of the world. A baseball stud. But then things went downhill. He kept on getting into trouble and having domestic violence issues. Pathetic. He then had his miserable pitching performance that messed up his arm. Embarrassing. Then came his attempt to catch a fly ball in the outfield that resulted in the ball bouncing off of his head and over the fence for a homer. REALLY embarrassing. Now comes his tabloid-y book. Rock bottom.

Rafael Palmerio has some unkind words for Canseco and might sue him. I like his quote in the following AP report:

This game was great to him. He was the only one at fault for destroying himself. He should be thankful that he had an opportunity to play.

Then there’s the recent Seattle P-I story by John Hickey about Bret Boone and Canseco’s allegations that Booney told Canseco that he used roids—when Canseco was standing at second base in a spring training game. The Seattle Mariners’ second baseman has denied Canseco’s claims, and the report includes an interesting bit:

"That conversation never took place,'' Boone said, an assertion backed up by spring training records from that year that showed Canseco with no doubles against Seattle and never getting to second base in any manner with Boone in the game. "I don't know the person. We've never had a conversation more than, `Hey, Jose, how's it going?'”

Roids should have no place in our national pastime. Neither should shallow, shady characters like Canseco. I'd like to see MLB get to the bottom of who has used steroids, but I would prefer it be done in such a way that Canseco can no longer grab headlines for himself.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
COLSON HAMMERS WASHINGTON STATE CLONING BILL. Senate Bill 5594—the deceptive bill pending before the Washington State Legislature that falsely claims to outlaw human cloning—but in fact in fact permits cloning in alarmingly expansive terms—has caught more national attention. Charles Colson weighed in on the legislation in a commentary yesterday entitled “Snake Oil Legislation.”

Says Colson:

Unlike Procter & Gamble…politicians are legally free to mislead consumers, that is, voters, about what their products, that is, legislation, will do. An example is a bill pending in the Washington state legislature, Senate Bill 5594.

In his commentary, Colson cites Wesley J. Smith’s National Review Online article “Stealth Cloning,” from two weeks ago—which also discusses SB 5594. (I’ve blogged about it here and here.) Colson goes on to discuss the kinds of activities that would be legally condoned by the bill:

You could clone human embryos and harvest stem cells, or you could grow fetuses for medical experiments, or let embryos gestate for nine months, abort them, and harvest the organs. Smith gives these moral horrors a fitting name: “fetal farming.” People in the state of Washingtonhave been misled into thinking that the bill would prevent the advent of a “Brave New World.” Instead, as Smith says, it ushers it in.

As of this blog post, SB 5594 is still before the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research & Development. It had a February 8 hearing, but has not yet been voted on by the Committee.

(Cross-blogged at Sound Politics.)

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

NAPOLITANO RIGHTLY TAKEN TO TASK...BUT WAS IT TOO MUCH? Andrew C. McCarthy lays the smack down on Fox News Channel’s Judge Andrew Napolitano in an article entitled “Judge Not,” in today’s NRO.

McCarthy previously wrote an article--which I blogged about here, last week--discussing the conviction of NY attorney Lynne Stewart. (Also see my post here for more details about Stewart's case and recent conviction.) In my blog post from last week, I even contrasted McCarthy’s views with those expressed by Judge Napolitano in his recent book. So it came as something of a coincidence to see Judge Napolitano’s op-ed in The New York Times, shortly thereafter. The Judge defended Stewart, running roughshod over the facts of the case and some legal issues of crucial importance in the case—blasting the Ashcroft Justice Department. Now McCarthy takes on Judge Napolitano and sets the record straight.

However, my praise of McCarthy’s discussion of the facts and legal issues in Lynne Stewart’s does not extend to the earlier part of the article, where McCarthy takes a big swipe at Judge Napolitano’s credentials and expertise. McCarthy gives the impression that Judge Napolitano is a phony legal expert, or somehow unqualified to give his views on the Constitution and federal law because he was a state court judge. Never mind that Judge Napolitano was a law professor for many years, teaching courses in constitutional law. Never mind that he obviously spends a great deal of time analyzing statutes and cases in his current position.

Make no mistake, I have serious disagreements with Judge Napolitano on many issues. I take strong exception to plenty of the arguments he presents in his book. Likewise, I vehemently disagree with the mistaken views that the Judge presented in his NYT op-ed. And given the nature of Stewart’s crimes (and those of the Blind Sheikh, for that matter), I am entirely sympathetic with McCarthy’s righteous anger. Likewise, Judge Napolitano has much to apologize for in his NYT op-ed, for he disparages many hard working, honest prosecutors who are upholding the law and defending us from terrorists. But nonetheless, I still like Judge Napolitano and thing McCarthy’s opening salvo against his qualifications is unwarranted and somewhat diminishes his critique of the Judge’s NYT op-ed.

But McCarthy really does dismantle Judge Napolitano’s NYT op-ed. Completely. And, save the first three paragraphs, McCarthy’s article it is most definitely worth the read.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

WHAT A TRIP. Following on the heels of a recent post by Matt Rosenberg at Sound Politics, I must relate my own recent experience in “progressive” Seattle.

After my evening’s dinner at the Downtown Republican Club, I proceeded to 3rd and Pike Street for the bus ride home. Other events in life caused me to dread the upcoming bus ride much less than is usual—and I completely put out of mind the ride home last week that featured a toddler screaming for Mom, with two drunken and unruly white trash guys my age folding up paper bills and flicking them at other passengers.

While waiting for my bus, I was approached by a friendly man on the street. He chatted about this and that, and nothing particularly important. But seeing as he looked quite worn and a little goofy, I remained amicable but distant. Once the bus came, I proceeded to take a seat, only to have the man from the bus stop sit down next to me.

Turns out that the guy from the bus stop just got out of jail earlier that morning. The man was serving time for his involvement in a violent physical confrontation. After his release that morning, he proceeded to Capitol Hill, where he got himself drunk. Then, he came down to the block with our bus stop so he could buy himself some crack cocaine. Of course, he gladly showed me the crack he had just purchased, and which he planned to use later that evening. (He had the rock kind—which is almost perfectly captured in the DOJ’s online picture.) Sadly, he told me his ex-girlfriend was addicted to crack, whereas he was only an alcoholic. In any case, he was still drunk from his Capitol Hill venture.

It’s really interesting to try to make small talk with a person like that. Normally, I might try to avoid him, but I figured at the time that it was better that he speak with me than go over and bother some of the younger girls who were on the bus.

And bureaucrats sometimes wonder why no one wants to ride the bus…

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
HEROES. Last night I saw the tenth and concluding episode of "Band of Brothers"--the HBO mini-series. I consider it an outstanding war drama series, portraying the valiant struggles of men who fought to save the free world. The focus was the men of Easy Company, 101st Airborne--who helped defeat the Nazis in WWII. We are indebted to those brave soldiers and owe them our gratitude for their awe-inspiring courage and sacrifice.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
HAYNES & PRYOR TO RE-ENTER THE RING. Be sure to catch Byron York’s article “The GOP’S New Plan." York reflects upon President’s decision to send two of his filibustered nominees--Charles Haynes and Judge William Pryor--back to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings. He analyzes the President’s decision as serving to bolster moderate Republican sentiment--which remains skeptical of any decision to pursue the “constitutional option” and challenge the existing Senate Rules concerning filibusters.

Haynes and Judge Pryor can expect another round of abuse from Senator Leahy and Teddy Kennedy--but they can also use the hearings to further vindicate themselves from the baseless attacks made upon their respective characters by Teddy and the rest. A number of Democrats abused Judge Gonzales with bogus claims about the authorization prisoner abuse in the War on Terror, and we can expect the same sorts of claims to be made about Haynes.

Concerning Judge Pryor, The Birmingham News and The Mobile Register both have very good things to say about their fellow Alabamian.

The B-ham News rightly reminds its audience of then-AG Pryor’s politically unpopular (but legally appropriate) prosecution of Judge Roy Moore over the 10 Commandments and goes on to remark how Judge Pryor’s careful work on the 11th Circuit (through his temporary recess appointment) is entirely in line with how he has operated throughout his career. The paper goes on to say:

…even people who have found themselves opposite Pryor can agree he is a conscientious public official who respects and follows the law - even when he disagrees with it.

At the very least, Pryor is entitled to a vote of the full Senate. And if they look at Pryor's record objectively, senators will gladly confirm him as a federal appeals judge.

The Mobile Register gives an even lengthier treatment of Judge Pryor’s recent work on the 11th Circuit, stating at one point:

In reading closely the nine decisions written by Judge Pryor in the past year, one can see that in each decision, he followed such a step-by-step analysis. His opinions are models of clarity, even-handedness, logic and careful, accurate parsings of language and precedent.

The moderate Republican vote is crucial on this issue, and the kinder, gentler approach will hopefully serve to galvanize the party. It should also give new Senate Minority leader Harry Reid a chance to show whether or not he is willing to treat the President's nominees fairly or if he will choose to continue down the path of obstructionism.

Hopefully, Haynes, Judge Pryor and the other nominees will finally be able to receive the vote on the Senate floor that they have long been awaiting. As York concludes his article:

Pryor and Haynes will be the guinea pigs in the new Republican experiment. They were chosen carefully; both are candidates who, given the situation that exists in the Senate, will be difficult for Democrats not to filibuster. Pryor's statements on abortion alone virtually guarantee continued Democratic opposition, while Haynes seems destined to be portrayed as Mr. Abu Ghraib. If that is the case, and especially if Democratic attacks on them are strident, then Republicans feel they will be able to build the base from which to launch an attempt to break through the Democratic filibusters.

Or so they hope.

And so I hope.

On a different but related note, Orin Kerr has an interesting post at Volokh Conspiracy about possible replacements for Chief Justice Rehnquist. Interesting reading.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Monday, February 21, 2005

LEO ON BLOGS. John Leo's article "Framing Blogs," gives an overview of the role of blogs as they relate to Old Media/MSM/Legacy Media. Leo pays particular attention to the Eason Jordan story--the latest big story in the blosophere's young history. I particularly enjoy his use of the term "retroframing," and another very important point he makes about blogs:
Why some in mainstream media keep depicting bloggers as inaccurate is a mystery. In the blogs I follow, accuracy is crucially important, and errors have to be admitted quickly, usually on the day of the mistake.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
BARONE ON THE GORE-GREGOIRE SELECTIVE BALLOT-COUNTING GAMBIT. Today’s must read article reflecting on the election mess in Washington State comes from Michael Barone. In “2000 Changed Everything,” Barone analyzes the political damage to the Republicans and corresponding fallout for the Democrats from Al Gore’s strategy of challenging election process in Florida--dragging out the process and attempting to de-legitimize George W. Bush’s Presidency. Barone’s then surmises that the first Florida State Supreme Court decision in the 2000 Florida fiasco--concerning the selective recounts of four counties--serves as precedent potentially helpful to the pending lawsuit in Chelan County over Washington State’s contested Governor’s race.

According to Barone:

What might have hurt the Democrats even more, perhaps, is if Gore's strategy had been successful and he had been installed as president, thanks to the partial hand count sanctioned by the six-to-one Democratic-appointed Florida Supreme Court.

In Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, the Florida Supremes had their decision vacated by a unanimous U.S Supreme Court—who sent the matter back to Florida for further explanation. (Bush v. Gore was the decision that followed later, essentially ending the matter.)

Barone goes on to explain:

A selective recount, of the sort Gore sought in Florida, has made Gregoire governor, at least temporarily. But it has cast a pall of illegitimacy over her far greater than that cast over George W. Bush by the Florida result.

Without a doubt. Dino Rossi won two out of three recounts in Washington, with mystery ballots and voting irregularities aplenty. Barone also rightly points out the immense popularity that Rossi still enjoys with voters in the state.

Barone concludes:

Of course, no two cases are exactly alike. But now we have a better idea of what a Gore presidency secured by a selective recount would have been like. The negative reverberations from Gore's decision to seek a selective recount would have been even greater than they were. It's unfortunate that he didn't seek a statewide recount or that he didn't follow Richard Nixon's example and decline to contest a close election.

With the pending suit in Chelan County, Christine Gregoire is in a precarious position--despite her installation as Governor. While she has been duly sworn in as Goveror, Provisional Governor Gregoire might be a more fitting title for her at this time. She has thus far succeeded in overturning the outcome of two ballot counts with an Al Gore-inspired strategy. But Gore’s strategy didn’t withstand scrutiny in the courts--and even the Democrats know this. Could this be part of the reason why the Washington State Democratic party has been intent on delaying the case in Chelan?

Whereas majority in the state legislature has abdicated its duty to forthrightly confront the situation, the wheels of justice continue to slowly turn in a small county courthouse in the middle of the state. And one can be that Provisional Governor Gregoire will NOT be missing any deadlines in THIS case...

Barone also has a new article at U.S. News & World Report called “Blogosphere Politics.” Yet another important read for bloggers.

UPDATE: Some sharp commentators at Sound Politics have correctly pointed out that, contrary to what Barone appears to be saying, Gregoire did NOT seek or obtain a selective recount of one or a few counties--as Al Gore did in 2000. I did not even take note of this in my initial readings of the article, as I interpreted Barone as speaking to a greater level of generality about contesting elections and fixiating upon one or a few counties. The election procedures and legal technicalities involved in both situations are distinct, yet Barone is onto something.

(Cross-blogged at Sound Politics.)