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, August 06, 2005

NO RELIGOUS TESTS, RECONSIDERED? According to Manuel Miranda, some MSM reporters think little of Republicans supporting the confirmation of Judge John Roberts for the SCOTUS, since they're apparently taking their talking points from the Constitution. Gosh, if only more GOP-ers would get with the program they would see that we've evolved well past that ol' document. Geez, really.

Actually, Miranda has some interesting ruminations about the Article VI (No) Religious Test Clause in this latest installment of his "The Next Justice Column" at Opinion Journal. Recent times have witnessed an efforts by Senate Democrats to keep conservative Catholics off of the federal bench. Will the pattern hold true for Judge Roberts' confirmation? I certainly expect it from the leftwing attack-dog groups, but it will be interesting to see if any of the more sensible Senate Dems will wilt under the spotlight and back down from any attempt at holding Judge Roberts' personal beliefs against him.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Friday, August 05, 2005

SMART JOURNAL, STUPID SHOW. The latest issue of The New Atlantis is out, complete with more interesting articles about science, technology, ethics, and--the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special? Yessir. It's mentioned in an article discussing Star Wars and Star Trek; "To Boldy Go: The End of Star Wars and Star Trek." Considered by many to be one of television's worst hours, the infamous SWHS manages to catch the attention of a sophisticated, intellectual publication like The New Atlantis.

The article aptly refers to the SWHS as:

...a truly atrocious two-hour holiday special. (It was so unbelievably wretched that it aired only once, and George Lucas is reported to have said that he wished he could “track down every copy of that program and smash it.” It was listed as the #1 item in last year’s book What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History.)

It had been long since I last thought about the SWHS, so the reference brought back the memories. Cringing memories. Embarrassing memories. Oh-the-humanity memories. As a freshman in college I purchased a bootlegged copy of SWHS through the internet. Being the Star Wars fanatico, I felt compelled to see the show for myself. It had a legendary, cult-following--a universally panned classic. And so I watched.

Truly, I say to one and all, the SWHS is horrible. As I recall, the movie opens up with a cockpit scene with Han Solo and Chewbacca. So far so good. It was remarkable that they actually got Harrison Ford to reprise his role for a network TV gig. Anyway, the space scenes were all grafted from the Star Wars film (now lamely titled Episode IV: A New Hope). So it was cheapo, but they still got the big shots in the show.

But not so fast. The scene then cuts to Chewie's home planet of Kashyyyk--which, incidentally, makes a long-awaited appearance in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It is on this planet that audiences are introduced to Chewie's family: wife Mala, child Lumpy, and grandpa Itchy. No joke. It really is that bad. Only it gets worse. The next fifteen minutes is nothing but Wookie talk! That and the costumes are costume-store quality and far inferior compared to Chewie himself.

Anyway, from there follows a stupid, and incredibly dull and boring story about Lumpy. Some tacky songs and visual effects are thrown in the mix. Zoinks. Mark Hamill looks totally weird as Luke Skywalker. It might've been just after his big car crash where his face went through a windshield, so I'm inclined to cut him slack for that. Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia also makes an appearance, as do the droids. The Darth Vader scene is completely taken from Star Wars film outtakes. Lame-o. Interestingly, there was also a cartoon segment that provide the introduction of Boba Fett. It just might be the best part of the show.

Just Google "Star Wars Holiday Special" and you will find all sorts of great information and stills from the show. So if you are a truly mad Star Wars fan, or simply someone who has a self-hating complex, the SWHS is something worth seeing once. But have your remote control handy, since your sanity might require frequent recourse to the remote control. God bless fast forward.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

RADICAL ANIMAL LIBERATIONISTS' MISANTHROPIC MOVEMENT. Wesley J. Smith's "Liberation Theology" piece at NRO spotlights PETA's continued use of deplorable analogizing between worst human atrocities and the use of animals for food and human welfare. Smith goes on to discuss the radical animal liberationists' contradictory acknowledgement of human agency and embracing of moral equivalency between humans and non-human animals.

Interestingly, Smith also touches upon the radical animal liberationists' crass utilitarian view of evil. Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham regarded natural rights as nonsense upon stilts. And so we should beware: the equating of wrongs or evil with mere physical pain is the hallmark of utilitarianism and leads to the undermining of RIGHTS as understood in the classic liberal tradition.

Everyone should support animal welfare. But the misguided views of radical animal liberationists' undermines human uniqueness (and hence, human rights), human responsibility, and moral clarity.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)
24, SEASON 3, IN THE BOOKS. Ok, ok, so season 3 of the television program 24 ended a while back. But tonight I just got through the season's final two episodes on DVD. I even busted out some coffee with Bailey's for the last one. Anyway, something about having biological agents carried around by bioterrorists on the loose is a little unsettling to me--so now that its all resolved I can sleep a little easier. Yes, 24 had me completely sucked in. Its had the same effect on everyone else I've talked to. Considering how delightful it was watching an episode each night, I simply don't know how I'm going to be able to take watching the next season at a rate of one episode per week.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

FRIST STICKS A FORK IN HIMSELF. With his newfound suport of government funding of human embryo destruction for embryonic stem cell research, Senate Majority Leader, Dr. Bill Frist has all but assured he will NOT become the next President of the United States. Sen. Frist is done. However, he still has a chance to save some face. Sen. Frist can ensure that federal funds will be allowed to go towards such research on ON THE CONDITION that there is a TOTAL BAN on human cloning—specifically, somatic cell nuclear transfer. Though taxpayer dollars would still be flung into the ethically dubious black hole of embryonic stem cell research, the consolation would be a prohibition on the most problematic practice of all: the deliberate destruction of human life for the sole purpose of scientific experimentation.

The best article I’ve seen on this whole matter so far is by Bill Kristol and Eric Cohen, in Weekly Standard. Titled “Frist’s Stem Cell Capitulation,” the article offers a candid assessment of the lay of the land on issues related to human cloning:

…for all the complaints of scientists that the American government is standing in the way of their pioneering efforts, the striking fact about the present situation is that there are virtually no legal prohibitions on many radical areas of biotechnology. There are no limits on human cloning, no limits on fetal farming, no limits on the creation of man-animal hybrids, and no limits on the creation of human embryos solely for research and destruction. It is in this rather permissive moral and legal climate that Frist seeks to remove one of the few public boundaries that still exist.

Kristol and Cohen offer a blistering but entirely on-target critique of Sen. Frist’s recent decision. There are many paragraphs worth quoting, including the following one that shows the problems of Sen. Frist’s approach to these matters:

...Frist did also call for banning the creation of embryos solely for research and for banning human cloning. This makes him more responsible than most embryo research advocates. But he did not make his support for funding research using the "spares" contingent on setting such limits. So the effect of Frist's remarks was to strengthen the hand of those no-limits senators who wish to advance the very kinds of research that Frist still says he believes should be out of bounds (at least for now).

On my lunch break, I’m going to write up a couple letters and fax them to my Senators and U.S. Representative—as well as Sen. Frist. Little good it might do, as I expect nothing more than the form e-mail response in a couple of weeks. But they need to know there are countless other things that would be better served by federal funding.

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

RAFAEL ON ROIDS. Several news outlets, including The Seattle Times, have reports on the 10-game suspension of Baltimore Oriole First Baseman Rafael Palmeiro for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy. Palmeiro testified positive for steroids. This comes on the heels of his 3,000th career hit (which I witnessed and blogged about, here). It also follows his testimony before a Congressional Committee where he swore he had never, ever, EVER used steroids--"period."

This looks bad, and it IS bad. Palmeiro's likely use of steroids is disappointing in the EXTREME. It will be interesting to see how this will play out for the rest of his career and what it means for his Hall of Fame prospects.

Many people know Palmeiro from the viagara TV commercials he appeared in. In light of the recent revelations about his steroid use, there is irony here: Palmeiro used both a drug that causes erections and a drug that causes shrinkage.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Monday, August 01, 2005

KNOLL KNOWS NO DECENCY. Get this: Pennsylvania's Lt. Governor Katherine Baker Knoll shows up uninvited to a funeral for Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich--a brave solider who died fighting in Iraq. At the funeral, Lt. Gov. passes out her business card, engages in politicking, and criticizes the war in Iraq...

What?! Are you kidding me?! Did Knoll think her title of Lieutenant Governor somehow made her a member of the military and somehow exempt from all sense of decency??? This is an absolute outrage, and I am confident that the good people of Pennsylvania will give her an earful. She can consider that incident her own political career's funeral.

In the final matter, nothing can detract from the honor and sacrifice of brave men like Staff Sgt. Goodrich--not even the stupidest and cruelist shenanigans of the pettiest politicians like Knoll.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)

Sunday, July 31, 2005

BACK AT THE BALLPARK, BUT A BAD RESULT. Today's sunshine provided the perfect backdrop for the Seattle Mariners home game against the Cleveland Indians. But despite all the hits the Mariner offense piled up, they simply couldn't overcome the 7 runs that starting pitcher Joel Pinero gave up in his 5 innings of work. Cleveland went on to win 9-7.

The team has undergone some house cleaning, as of late. Randy Wynn and Pat Borders are both out of the picture. The team is clearly out of contention and is rebuilding for the future.

This provided my first chance to see Yuniesky Betancourt and Wiki Gonzalez take the field for the Mariners. (Again, who is left to play in Tacoma these days?) Ditto for Dave Hansen--although I found it odd for a team to have a DH hitting in the bottom third of the order, as Hansen did. Unfortunately, their efforts on offense weren't enough this time around.

A big surprise was Ichiro's 0-6 performance at the plate. I hate to bring this up--particularly when he's such an outstanding hitter. But the fact that he didn't get a base hit in any of his six at-bats is so surprising that I can't help mentioning it.

Perhaps a bigger surprise was that the good fortune I had in seeing the Mariners win all three of the games I have attended this season has now come to an end.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)
JIMMY CARTER CALLS GITMO A DISGRACE. No Jimmy, YOU are a disgrace. (For Jimmy's delusions that Guantanamo Bay somehow causes terrorism, see the sad story here.)

Worst ex-President ever.

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)