In My World: Legal Counsel

March 2011

President Obama sat in quiet contemplation in the Oval Office. “Hey, Biden, do you think what we’re doing in Libya counts as ‘hostilities’?”

“My shoes are too big!” Biden shouted angrily. “I think someone switched my shoes out with bigger shoes.”

“I just don’t want to get Congressional approval for this,” Obama continued, “because then it’s like a war and a big deal or something, and I don’t want to make a big deal about this. Plus, Congress is like all the way across town.”

“They’re trying to make a fool of me!” Biden yelled. “I’ll show them.” He kicked off his shoes. “Now I’m not wearing shoes! Now who’s the fool?!”

Obama stared at him a moment. “I guess I’ll talk to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.”

“I’m going to find my real shoes!” Biden then ran out of the office.

Soon, a lawyer from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel arrived. “What’s your question?”

“I was wondering if what we’re doing in Libya counts as hostilities.”

“Of course it does,” the lawyer. “So, you’re going to have to scale things back by May 20th.”

Obama nodded thoughtfully. “You’re fired.” He pushed a button on the intercom. “I need a new lawyer.”

The first lawyer left and a new lawyer entered the office. “What’s the question?”

“So, I was thinking that what we’re doing in Libya is not really ‘hostilities’. Don’t you agree?”

“No, it obviously is hostilities,” the lawyer said. “It’s not a big deal, though, since you just need Congressional approval and Congress loves approving wars.”

“Yeah… but I don’t want to do that.”

“But it’s your only option.”

Obama shook his head. “I know another option… You’re fired!” Obama pushed the button on his intercom. “New lawyer!”

* * * *

Obama banged his head against the desk. “Why are all lawyers so stupid! Can’t any of them understand my smart opinion!” He pushed the button on the intercom. “Are there any more lawyers left?”

“We were able to scrounge up one more, but…”

“Just send him in!”

In entered a man in an ill fitting suit with a wrinkled tie. “Name is Chad Goldstein, Attorney at Law. What are we dealing with here? DUI?”

“No, not that.”

“They probably just arrested you because you’re black. You are black, right? I keep assuming people are black and they aren’t.”

“This isn’t about that,” Obama said. “I need a legal opinion on whether what we’re doing in Libya counts as ‘hostilities’ when I’m like really sure it doesn’t.”

“Hostilities? That’s crazy!” Goldstein shouted. “What are you doing there? Flying drones around and shooting stuff — just like in a video game. And kids play video games. Would something kids do count as ‘hostilities’? Of course not. That’s crazy talk. Completely insane. WHAT IS THAT RINGING?!”

“Uh… I don’t hear anything ringing.”

Goldstein calmly took a seat. “And neither do I.”

“So you said your name is Goldstein?”

“Yes, changed it to that because it sounds Jewish; gives me credibility. Not a Jew though; they kicked me out of the synagogue I tried to go to. Do you know they have something against eating bacon? I love bacon. I think I’ll have some now.” He pulled a baggie out of his pocket. “You want some?”

“No; it’s uncooked.”

“What are you? Secretly a Muslim? Don’t worry; you can tell me. We have attorney-client privilege, which means I can’t write a tell-all about you for at least five years.”

“Forget about that,” Obama said. “I just need you to write a document saying how legally what we’re doing in Libya doesn’t count as hostilities and thus doesn’t fall under the War Powers Resolution.”

“Sure, I can do that for you. I’ll make it look real nice with lots of official sounding legal terms in it like ‘judge’ and ‘laws’. How many pages does it have to be? Can I use double space?”

“Um… I don’t know on length. So uh… where exactly did you get your law degree?”

“Hey, what’s with all the third-degree? What’s next? Are you going to ask for my birth certificate? You’re a lunatic if that’s what you’re going to do! Insane! Crazy!” He jumped to his feet. “WHAT IS THAT RINGING NOISE?!!”

“I… don’t hear any ringing.”

Goldstein adjusted his tie. “I never said you did.”

“Well, I guess we’re done here. You just get me that document that backs my view.”

“Will do. And do you validate parking?”

“Um… we don’t charge for parking at the White House.”

“I didn’t say the parking was for here.”

“No… I don’t know how to do that.”

“Can’t you just issue me a parking pardon? I don’t want to pay for parking!”

“I don’t think I can do that.”

“Fine! But you just lost a vote!” Goldstein stormed out of the office.

Obama smiled to himself. “That’s why I’m such a smart president: I find the right experts to listen to.” His phone started ringing. “Hello?”

“It’s Biden. I have good news and bad news. Good news: I found my shoes. Bad news: I’m going to need you bail me out of prison.”

Obama put his head in his hands. “Not again!”

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  1. I was all, “Mmmmm, bacon,” until I got to the part about its being raw. Ewwww, raw bacon.


  2. I love all the symbolism in Biden’s shoes being too big (as in Cheney’s shoes being too big for him to fill). And then him being in “jail” once he finds his own “correct sized” shoes. Priceless.


  3. I just can’t believe that cheap SOB won’t validate parking seeing it is at taxpayer expense.


  4. “Name is Chad Goldstein, Attorney at Law. What are we dealing with here? DUI?” — Priceless, and so true


  5. Very nice, Frank. I like to think what you wrote is exactly what happened any time Obama got a new lawyer: “Does what we’re doing in Libya count as hostilities?” “Of course it does.”


  6. By the spirit of St. Hubbins, Frank, stop messing with the vice president’s quality footwear!


  7. “Hey, what’s with all the third-degree? What’s next? Are you going to ask for my birth certificate?” Excellent! Funny stuff, Frank!


  8. The sad part about this is that it makes Obama appear smart. I mean, he is smart.

    He is also a willful idiot. An idiot on purpose.

    I don’t like willful idiots.


  9. I guess you have never been to Italia. Here is a discription of something I’ve eaten:

    Also known as rigatino (little lined one) and carnesecca (dried meat), this is made from the same cut used to make bacon. However, it’s not smoked, and there’s no sugar involved.

    BTW: What’s the difference between launching a ICBM at Moscow and dropping a bomb from a Predator Drone on Tripoli? The first is war the second is not.



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