Monday, March 28, 2011

Batman Obama Returns...

This is a political post...

Do NOT play cards with this man!

A person I'm seriously considering defriending on Facebook seems to believe that a our President, a former constitutional law professor, has no understanding of the constitution. This isn't the only reason I'm considering cutting that rope, we go back a long way, but his attacks on the current administration all tend to work the same way: its a great argument that leaves out a few fairly pertinent facts and a lot of reality. Now, Obama has done three or four things you actually can be mad at him about - Wall Street, dragging his feet on gridlock over judges, etc - , so manufactured outrage because you just don't like him tends to grate on my nerves.

Let's talk Libya.

The current diatribe is the President can't declare war without Congress's approval, and Obama doesn't have it so he's, and this is my favorite term, "shredding the constitution." This idea usually comes from people who haven't actually read the thing they so proudly want to waive in someone's face. So let's take a quick look at the law...

The relevant law is in the US Code, Title 50, Chapter 33. (This by the way is not the Constitution, but it IS the applicable law.) If you look at section 1541 (c) you it explains the Presidential power of using the United States Armed Forces. There the President is limited to using our troops except under a declaration of war, an attack upon the united states OR..a specific statutory authority. Actually, authority is second, but I wanted to point that one out.

Now, the next relevant part is section 1543 (a) which in states that in the absence of declaration of war the President can commit US troops without Congress's approval if he does three things within 48 hours: explain the circumstances, give his legal basis, and estimates the scope of his action. And he can do it for up to 60 days. Which in pure legal terms means the President CAN commit troops without calling Congress first.

Now...he can't call it a "war", which a lot of anti-Obama pundits want to shout that this act is from the rooftops. But it isn't actually a war until Congress says it is. This is really more a police action. But where is the authority you ask? Well, that's why the administration waited for the UN Resolution. As a member of the UN, we're can by treaty aid in the enforcement of the decisions of the Security Council, which effectively said "go get'em" in calling for the no-fly zone, so the legislative authority originates via treaty.

And although turning it over the operation to NATO seems like a smoke and mirror concept, it really is a deft legal maneuver. Okay it is legal smoke and mirrors, but the that treaty allows us to turn off the authority needed from Congress. How you ask? Again, via treaty, in which the US as a treaty partner supports NATO actions. It's not just them helping us, we have to support their wants too. And our NATO partners want to do this. Bad.

So are you mad we're there? Look, my personal opinion is let's not restock fifteen of them two hundred or so missiles we fired and we can pay the school teachers in Wisconsin. I'm not happy we're still playing World Police Officer, but since we're here let's get in and get out.

So, let’s see. Obama gets to take out Gaddafi, a longtime issue and promote democracy. In less than 60 days, only 8.8 years shorter than Iraq and Afghanistan. Without committing ground troops, minimizing loss of life. And taking the expensive and difficult follow-up "nation building" off the table by merely supporting an existing force. And, our allies see that's its not all about us, bolstering relations.

Batman Obama does it again.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday night at Regionals

Ramblings Post #179
Things change. People change. It's part of the circle of life and what makes us grow stronger and get better. I've changed. I once told Sporty that in essence, we're not the same person when we go to bed at night as we were when woke up that morning. We're always becoming someone else, and that's who we are. That said, when we stop changing - except when forced - is when we get old. And I'm not getting old any time soon.

So Saturday night, I go to Schmoopy's "thing" to support.

For the last six months or so, she's been on a health kick that makes my weight loss deal look like I've been eating brownies for breakfast and taking pizza through an Iv. Where as I get grapes, wheat toast and one scrambled egg for breakfast, she got a single small bowl of oatmeal and an hour of cardio.

She went hard core.

Which is how I ended up at the Georgia International Convention Center for the Atlantic Bodybuilding Regional show. Tickets were $35. I told Schmoopy that I really must like her to spending this kinda loot. But I do really like her, so I went on and ponied up the cash.

When ESPN was down at the bottom of its programming barrel a few years back, I would occasionally flip past a bodybuilding show, so I had some idea of what it was. And since the fitness model swimsuit issue was, at least to me way better than the SI swimsuit issue, I had at one time owned at least an issue or two of a body building magazine. Ages ago I might have even read one back when I was in shape. Way back, in the long, long ago.

So I show up, and it's now quite what I expected. Well, to be realistic, I wasn't sure what too expect, so anything that happened would have been unexpected. Part of my confusion came because I found out later that the most of the actual judging had actually happened that morning at 10am, when I was in class and which required a separate ticket. So, initially when the guys came out, posed for 90 seconds to some music and trophies were briskly awarded, I wasn't sure what was going on. The stunning woman sitting in front of me filled me in on that part.

To be honest most interesting part of the show, however....was the crowd. I sat in the back so I could watch most of them come in. The room was a mix of other bodybuilders, family, friends, friends who were also body builders, the large black guys that are ubiquitous in Atlanta, and the women. Apparently muscular guys in little trunks attract a lot of women. Who knew?

So then it happens. The guys have posed. Trophy are awarded. The the fitness model portion of the show starts. And suddenly the place turned into a pep rally. At Hooters.

Now, because I hadn't actually seen Schmoopy since she started this...and the last FB pic I had seen of her made her arms look a little muscular, I figured this was one more thing I had to sit through until the muscular women came out. The fitness models came on stage, skimpy bikini's, bouncing and strutting and bodies glistening. I was still in the back, trying to figure out much longer this would last and marveling at the sudden turn of the crowd from family friendly to a more "adult" atmosphere.

It wasn't until they announced Schmoopy's real name for winning Second place that I realized she had been on stage. The woman who had been explaining the nuances of the event to me laughed at my shock. Schmoopy hadn't been gearing up for the bodybuilder part...she'd been working hard to be a bikini model.

Side note: Considering she restricted her diet to the basics and did a twice a day crippling workout, I have new respect for fitness models.

Schmoopy is a normally a conservative person, and so the idea of her onstage during this portion of the show, where the girls acted bubbly and the announcer didn't have to exhort the crowd in applause surprised me. When I talked to her later, she said that the swagger she'd had on stage was her being "in character". Turns out a bubbly beach bunny type actually works out hard to look like that. Go figure. She felt it was a good experience and that she's gonna continue it as hobby.

So, $35 for 90 seconds. Which is about how long she was onstage. And for 89 of those seconds I didn't even know it was her, I was so far in the back. But then they'd done the judging in the morning so this was for the crowd. After she'd gone up, gotten her trophy and I'd let her know I had been there because she asked, I left. Maybe I was intimated by the guys in the 50 and older division. Maybe I felt a little bad as the women looked through me to guy with D-cup pecs. Maybe I decided to go and work on my own transformation via law school.

Barkeep. Water for me and whatever it is fitness models drink for my girl.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Quick Restaurant Review - Highland Bakery

After Litigation class, where my Cross Examination was deemed good and my trial notebook well received, AND I got back my brief which the teacher thought flowed well and might be good enough to use as a writing sample, I called up Spanky and suggested brunch. She suggested Highland Bakery, and I asked did they have bacon? That really was my only concern. I really need to think things through better.

Then I couldn't find the place. The address as written - 644 Highland - should put it next door to the Highland Inn which is at 656. Ah, not so, it's actually at the other end where the number loop around or the street name is South Highland or something. So although I was downtown and the place was around the corner in the Fourth Ward, she beat me there. I was double pissed to find out I had turned at the corner to go to the other end of Highland and had missed the sign by not looking the other way.

That's the narrow end. The other end was twice that size. Maybe.

But I digress. Highland Bakery. Which actually is a bakery, with cookies and cupcakes and Honey Wheat Bread in it's tiny little lobby. Despite it being warm out, and that meaning crowds of folks looking to "be out", we were seated fairly quickly. The crowd in a city yuppie and urban mix. And then the waitress showed up promptly. And took our order quickly.

And it was such a nice day too. Bummer.

Before I get into the food, Spanky has started a night job - Bartending - at some little hood spot. She says it's to get her mind off last manfriend and make a few extra tips. I told her, bluntly, just don't let that get in the way of real job. I had to tell her this while leaning over the table and half shouting, as the acoutics in the dining area leave quite a bit to be desired. It had club level noise, in a restaurant at 12:45pm. It's laid out like...of all places, the Majestic...with a long skinny part and then a bigger room. Not a big room, a "bigger" room, meaning it was just bigger than the wide hallway they'd stuffed the first tables in. Just know, the spot was loud.

Then the food came. Spanky ordered their BLT and I had the basic bacon, eggs and grits. I always order that the first time I go somewhere, figuring if they mess up bacon and eggs, the rest of menu is hopeless.

They messed up the bacon and eggs.

The bacon was burnt. Not crispy...burnt. The eggs were overcooked and the grits were lukewarm. Wait, sorry, the bacon was burnt when it came, because they originally brought mine with grits, eggs and turkey sausage.

Let's just say the conversation was..wait, no. I couldn't even hear Spanky. Bad acoustics.

And her BLT was huge...and mostly bread from their own bakery..and it came with rice, and she wasn't impressed either. She covered up I would guess 70% when she was done.

Side item: Why does the waitress ALWAYS love something, and you get it, and then you can't stand it?

We settled up, and wandered out onto the sidewalk, where the restaurant to maximize tables had artfully set up seats three feet from the curb. Classy joint. I think the best part of the spot was the Mexican Place Across the Street. No, that's it's name...Across the Street.

I told Spanky that next time we eat, I would pick the spot. Seriously.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Obama and the NCAA tourney

This is a political post...kinda.

The President of the United States has made his picks. And for some reason he is catching flak for not "concentrating" on the real issues of the day?

Perhaps the people who think the President has more important things to do need a quick reality check of what the man actually does AND need an update about just how long it takes to fill out a bracket.

The President isn't down at Andrews Air Force base loading the C-130s personally to get aid to Japan, nor is he preparing to MacGuyver into the meltdown to personally pull the nuclear rods out and cool them off with a mix of slushie and applesauce. He isn't watching a live satellite feed of the Libyan opposition engaged in street battles with pro-Gaddafi forces and barking out orders into a headset as though he were playing Call of Duty. He's not personally filling out unemployment paperwork to make sure you get your check. And all he can do is wait for Congress to present him a budget to sign. It's in the constitution. In the modern age, he sends Congress his proposal, they do as they will. All he can do is wait.

So you know, he's got a few minutes.

And because this morning, I filled out my third bracket, using the time honored method of "Um...they'll win" and pure guesswork I know how long it takes to do a bracket. Took me two minutes. And with a country to run and two children, I sincerely doubt Obama is little more than vaguely aware of the nuances of this college basketball season. The tout picks that factor in whose hot, who's hurt, or how far somebody is playing from home probably had no bearing on his selections.

However long the piece on ESPN lasted is probably all the thought Obama put into it. Five or ten minutes. Like most Americans. And it only lasted that long because it was a television piece. Any comments he made probably came from note given to him by a junior staffer who got them from his little brother who actually has time to watch the games. It's not like he flew to Bristol on Air Force One, they came to his house!

But by now you realize that the people that want to get him, will try to get him for any reason. Any, no matter how trivial.

Now, he's got get on a spin bike to keep Tokyo's lights on and personally go chin check to Wall Street, wait, he doesn't have to do that either.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Things I meant to comment on...

Ramblings Post #178
Sometimes you get busy. It happens. You don't see it coming, but you turn around and you've been up for 24 hours working on a brief and haven't eaten since that piece of fudge brownie sometime around lunch yesterday. It happens. All you can do is stop, take a deep breath, and keep it moving.


I loathe to call it disaster porn, but that's what it is. This maybe one of the first disasters to get the full treatment of the internet, and I cannot tell you how many times I've clicked an update and felt compelled to watch one more video of the destruction from some new vantage - while it happened, from the chopper, graphic, I keep waiting for the animation. It is a remarkable achievement, showing the depth of our shallow. I am ashamed to say I have joined the masses and spent inordinate amounts of time watching the wave hit the airport, or destroy a town from ground level, or ticking through the montage of destruction on so many sites. And while it is thrilling, it is then equally heartbreaking when you realize that this is very real, and not a movie or some conjured video game apocalypse. Those are real people, some of whom now only own what they have on. When you add in that we may be seeing a complete meltdown of a nuclear reactor only makes it more the worst possible sense.


Really? I mean, really? I would really like to see the briefs the lawyers put forth to justify how a idea that was promoted as dire fiscal need can suddenly have its classification changed. Or that they believe this will stand through the next election. There is outcry and then there is Wisconsin. When you get thousands and thousands of folks standing in your front yard indicating they don't like your idea, how can one - in this poll driven age - honestly claim to represent the people? Or worse, be able to stand there and claim the other side isn't listening during some future protest? Politics is strange.


We need to intervene? Wait, what? Um, do the people who are clamoring for miliary intervention think it will be for free? On one hand we need to cut government spending, except of course unless it means we'll get to shoot some people, in which case break out the American Express cards! We already have two very expensive wars in progress. And while we would like Brother Leader "however you spell his name" gone, opening a third front doesn't strike me as the most fiscally prudent idea right this second. Even the proposed no-fly zone isn't gonna be cheap. Have you seen the price of gas lately? Planes use gas...premium, not that 87 octane crap I put in my car!

Government Shutdown

When I was kid, I learned that since the victors usually get to write the history, a quick trip through the last few centuries will bear evidence that the "good guys" always won. And that the term the "good guys" is very subjective.

The internet is changing all that.

Or it could be. Right now, in the name of ideology, one party wants to shutdown the government. Not over budget cuts, which everyone has been coerced into thinking (for some reason), but over a personal moral agenda. And normally, the one in control of the basic airwaves would explain how they're wearing the white hats and the other side isn't...and prevail. Which side they were actually on is irrelevant. I would fill in the blanks, but the information is out there.

You know, now that I think about it, this really is more of a political post. My bad.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It Caught Me!

Ramblings Post #177
Every now and then, things catch up with you. Those shots at the bar. That taco salad with extra beans. That guy with the eye patch who swears you owe him a kidney and $500 from that one time. That forgotten delinquent credit card from college. They catch you when you least expect it, when you aren't looking, and then got to pay. Or explain why of all the kidneys in the world, the one you got is probably isn't the best on the market today.

I slept.

Saturday I woke up and went to class. Then I went home and went to bed. And that was Saturday.

When I was a kid, like most small kids, I resisted that nap. Now? Let me find a cozy spot to sleep. Gone like that. Bye bye. So Saturday, I got home after a blistering Litigation class, and took a few minutes to talk to Spanky and the birthday girl (see previous post) on a conference call...briefly. They had plans and things they wanted to do, going out, seeing this, drinks there, and somehow I got volunteered. So I said fine, whatever, just let me do a little of the reading for class, then I would get a nap and be ready to roll.

I think I got in bed around three. Yes, bed. No weak couch "resting my eyes", but an actual crawl under the covers bury my head in the pillows knock out nap. Note here, as it always has been, my cell phone is vibrate. There is no ring. So, it was almost 10 pm when I woke up. On a Saturday night. So I ate a little something, watched some bad TV and was back in the bed two hours later.


Not asleep, but sleep. Not resting, or slumbering, or in repose...but sleep.

I awoke Sunday around the new noon and cleaned up the bedroom, adding probably some 40 square feet of floor space in the process. Yes, it was THAT messy. I had gotten tired of looking at it. Then I read some more of my class stuff and re-dedicated myself to my diet, upon which I had been slacking for the past few weeks. I'm going back to the hardcore for least two or three weeks. Practically no sugar, no salt, lots of veggies, little red meat.

And, it just hit me that the semester is more than halfway done. Time to start the almighty gear up.'s getting out of control.

Barkeep, I need something so I can keep up with all this EXCITEMENT! What's that? Red kool-aid in a sippy cup? Is it sugar free?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Friday Night, just got paid...

Ramblings Post #176
Things change. The only constant is change. And that which once was becomes what it will be, which by virtue of time is always in flux. Except for Twinkies and love. Then its every man for himself.

There was in time in my life when Friday meant something.

We got free donuts at the job. I would pop up at the Happy Hour given by the spot of the minute. I could relax at a Game night with my people. Or at the bare minimum, the promise of the hot (or lazy) weekend.

But no more. I chose to go back and get my education, to better myself, to increase my depth. And so for the past few years, Friday has been more a gateway to more intense studying. All it really took was one long “after drunk” - not a hangover, but still feeling out of sorts - to tell me that heading out and drinking on Friday wasn’t the best possible plan if I actually intended to graduate. So, many a Friday I would pick up a book to get my reading started before my Saturday homework periods.

But this time, one of my old partners was in town celebrating her big four oh, the spot wasn’t that far from the house and it started early enough that I could swing in, commiserate and be out in less than an hour. I know this plan, and the outcome. But that trick NEVER works! This time for sure.

Her gathering is at Mingles, a fairly new little eatery in downtown. I get off work at seven-ish, get there around seven thirty. I’m just gonna dip in and say hi to a few folks, whoo whoo, figure I’d be out by eight or eight thirty by the latest.

Only I’m the only one there.

Mingles via BBerry...from our lonely perch.

So it’s me and the birthday girl at the bar for an hour and half. She’s quietly working up a slow fury and I’m trying to not look like a complete and utter ass by getting up and walking out. We’re in an odd little dance. It’s not helped that besides her group, there are five other....much more well attended... parties going on at the same time. Mingles is a small place, essentially one big room, and as she’s watching for her people to arrive, this isn’t lost on her.

To keep it lively, she keeps pointing out the patrons as they enter, and commenting in a fashion that can only be deemed as both evil and hilarious.

She can’t walk in heels. She how she moves.”

How do you do that? Have dreads from the sides but have bald patches on top.”

If she sneezes, she’ll pop out of the dress. Give me some pepper, its about to be a show.”

Even as I both laughed and felt a little sad for her, she reminded me of the other aspect of night life I had missed, and why I don’t go out as much any more. A lot of the women she talked about, and she talked about a lot of them, where in their "Friday uniform" - mini skirt or mini-dress, heels and makeup. And they were looking nice.

Very nice.

When two of her girls finally did show up, I reminded her about my Saturday morning class and headed out. I got home just in time to have wrecked the whole evening. I tightened up my opening statement a bit, an hour or two, then hit the hay so I could get up early to work on it some more before class.

The moral of the story? I guess is that there is a lot beauty out there. In mini-skirts. But I’m focused, trying to keep my eyes on the prize, and so all that is out of my focus right now. And Mingles ain't even the hot spot!

Barkeep. Water. I need to keep my wits about me!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Saga of Spring: Part 2

Ramblings Post #175
Please use the Spring iterations from the previous post. I haven't the strength to compose a new ode, especially since somebody hit reverse and suddenly it's back in the 40's. Straight spring fake out. Not cool man. Not cool!

Spring Break - Day Four

Last year, last summer, i had a break-in attempt. Thursday I paid the guy for fixing it. Yes, that is a long time. But then I had to call him twice to even get him to send me the bill. The invoice was dated December! Before he does anymore work I'll be paying in advance, because not knowing how much you owe is a killer. And I've obviously abused my credit privileges.

I went to work, went home, looked at the syllabus, counted the pages to read, watched some television, looked at the syllabus again, got upset when the number wasn't smaller this time. I'm the backside of this journey now, and I'm hoping that I don't get slack or let up. I need 90 hours to graduate and I should be in the final third at the end of this semester. But I can feel the slackness arising. That I don't have a class to go due to Break isn't helping.

Spring Break - Day Five

Dropped the "whip" off to get the transmission fixed at 8am and walked the mile or so the office from the place. Brisk! I chose them because they offered the diagnostic for free, something you don't still see very often. But after the guy told me the problem I'm mad because the guys at where I normally get my oil changed never said anything! It turns out I have leak, that's it. A lot less costly than I imagined. Scooped up the rental for the weekend and it's all good.

So I get to the house, take off the shoes, pull on a t-shirt, put on my sleep pants and figure out how to enjoy this last day of Spring Break without wandering out of the house into the rain. Then the phone rings and it's Slim, who ain't seen in a hot minute. She needs to get some heavy things out of her car (how she got them in I won't ask). After deciding that the printer and box of liquor probably weren't the best things to leave on the car seat in her neighborhood, I put my clothes back on and rode over.

She was planning a party for Saturday, and I unloaded her supplies. And the printer. Then moved the bunk bed mattresses upstairs out of the middle of the living room. Then hid the bed frames. The things you do for your peoples. Me and Slim go way back, she's one of the original Game Night players. (Game Night is where it all started a decade ago)

Spring Break - Day Six

It is possible to waste a day? A whole day? I really need structure. I thrive in a structure. Left to my own devices I'm fairly certain I'd forget to breathe at some point I'd get so naturally lazy. I need purpose. Something. A little nudge of something outside me to get me started.

Note: I am prone to hyperbole.

Saturday, I'm fairly certain through, I accomplished very little. I read through my cases, one of which actually intrigues me, and fiddled around with an opening statement for litigation, but basically I wasted a day. I'm missing a USB drive with a story opening I thought was promising, and instead using the printout I made for just such an emergency, I'm still looking around for it. Okay, not really looking, more like waiting on it to turn up magically, because I spent the day futzing about my house.

Saturday I returned to Slim's house for her birthday party, and the associated tiger pit located therein. I say that, because very quickly the conversation among the small group of upwardly mobile educated black people turned to black relationship issues, which in the words of an old classmate, is like "inviting a black man to a lynching and asking if he could bring some rope." The conversation wound down after two hours, when the women decided that black men weren't worth the trouble and they would start considering "alternative" male suitors. I wanted to go to home eventually and not be branded for life (Atlanta is smaller than you think) so I just kinda nodded my head and let the whole thing die down.

Spring Break - Day Seven

If you thought Saturday was bad....

...I need some B12 or a purpose or something. Talk about a day wasted! All I did was one trip to the grocery store. Oh, and I missed Sporty.


We used to be in sync. Sometimes I think we still are. And it's cool.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Saga of Spring: Part 1

Ramblings Post #174
Oh the joy of Spring. Where we shake of the chilly shackles of winter and welcome the warmth of a renewed world. Our spirits lift, a bit more thigh is generously exposed and evenings are spent on the patio, a cup of spirits in hand among the laughter of good friends. Not that any of that is happening to me, mind you. Nope. Not I.

(Note: These were originally intended as daily updates, but I got lazy. It's Spring Break!)

Spring Break - Day One

This should have been studying after a long day of work. The reading, outlining, looking ahead, along with cleaning and exercising. Okay, I did exercise.

So anyway, because it stormed right around rush hour, after we sat around the office waiting out the worst of the rain and speculated on insurance payouts for destroyed homes. It's a fun office. And since the power was still on, I went online and found my desk (on sale until the 5th at office depot) for $150, so now I just need to find some bookshelves.

For dinner I had shrimp and spinach. Just like old times.

Spring Break - Day Two

My school books are still unread, no new pages have been written on anything, and the laundry is still sitting there. Because I apparently fell into a video game stupor, cursing the designers and switching out ordinances in an attempt to figure out the proper combination to defeat a level. I hate when I get to the end of a video game and designer, all out of ideas, decides to just throw in MORE to make it tougher.

For dinner I had steak and the baked potato, which is actually on my diet.

I've fallen into the routine of wheat toast and grapes for breakfast, an orange as a morning snack, a salad for lunch and winging it from there. Some nights I'm good, like last night, and other nights...we'll let's just say I've at least stayed away from the ribs.

So far.

So this is Spring Break, eh? I've seen better.

Spring Break - Day Three

When last I spoke to Sporty, she was working her way through the little book I sent her for Valentines. Seeing how it's maybe 40 pages and she is an avid reader, and couple of the pages are mostly blank, and I have an active imagination....

...I'm gonna make myself stop thinking about that.

My lil ole tax return came, so I paid up everything hanging out and got four new tires for the whip. [Note: the term "whip" when used here indicates the small red FULLY PAID FOR economy compact auto full of trash and old mail that I will valet in a hot skippy minute]. Next up is the transmission, which of course because there are no car payments suddenly started acting up. What a coincidence.

I was going to go out to Straits, where a friend of mine has a little regular Wednesday set, but after reading my classmates comments on how they actually were doing what I claimed I would be doing - studying - I took it the house. A lil reading, a lil outling, a lil...whatever else law students do.

So far...I haven't gotten into any trouble yet. Man, I must be getting old.

Barkeep, that Orange Sunrise Crystal Light, and a five hour energy....