Wow, life has kept me busy.  I had been wanted to blog and blog often, but we have a new baby boy!!!  His name is Lucas (posting pictures soon).  He came to us early, but all is great in casa Chávez.  There is so much I want to write about!  To keep me focused, I will pick just one–Bergdahl Swap.


I’m very conflicted about trading Gitmo detainees for a soldier.  We have been told that Gitmo would be closed at some point and moving the detainees to their country of origin (so long as they are stable and secure) was a very real possibility.  So, if they are going to be released anyway, why not get one of our guys back?  I find it disappointing that anyone would argue saving one of our own was wrong because they weren’t given a 30 day notice.  Imagine having your life on the line and rescue is held up waiting for the 30 days to run out; it’s ridiculous.  Where are all the limitations on giving terrorist guns and money to fight proxy wars for us?

Many soldiers are disillusioned.  I recall, during my time in the Air Force, hearing members of every branch discuss some sort of disappointment in the war on terrorism.  It doesn’t surprise me that Bergdahl, also, was thinking the same thoughts that are expressed everyday by service members.  Why are we fighting?  Who are we fighting for?  Etc…  We just had the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.  Everyone refers to the WWII as the Greatest Generation because they fought to save the world.  Why isn’t this generation the greatest generation?  Is it because we aren’t fighting to save the world?  Is it because we aren’t fighting to save ourselves?  If you ask me, every generation that is sending sons and daughters to fight on our behalf, is the Greatest Generation.

Enough of that.  Lets learn something, together.  All this hoopla about the President breaking the law when he traded 5 Gitmo detainees for a soldier should cause you to think, “well, what law?”  The law politicians are referencing is the ” National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.”  More specifically, Section 1033.  The NDAA is about the budget.  Here it is (I highlighted the parts I find relevant):

Requirements for certifications relating to the transfer of detainees at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to foreign countries and other foreign entities

(a) Certification required prior to transfer
(1) In general
Except as provided in paragraph (2) and subsection (d), the Secretary of Defense may not use any amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise available to the Department of Defense to transfer, during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2014, any individual detained at Guantanamo to the custody or control of the individual’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity unless the Secretary submits to Congress the certification described in subsection (b) not later than 30 days before the transfer of the individual.
(2) Exception
Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any action taken by the Secretary to transfer any individual detained at Guantanamo to effectuate an order affecting the disposition of the individual that is issued by a court or competent tribunal of the United States having lawful jurisdiction (which the Secretary shall notify Congress of promptly after issuance).
(b) Certification
A certification described in this subsection is a written certification made by the Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, that—
(1) the government of the foreign country or the recognized leadership of the foreign entity to which the individual detained at Guantanamo is to be transferred—
(A) is not a designated state sponsor of terrorism or a designated foreign terrorist organization;
(B) maintains control over each detention facility in which the individual is to be detained if the individual is to be housed in a detention facility;
(C) is not, as of the date of the certification, facing a threat that is likely to substantially affect its ability to exercise control over the individual;
(D) has taken or agreed to take effective actions to ensure that the individual cannot take action to threaten the United States, its citizens, or its allies in the future;
(E) has taken or agreed to take such actions as the Secretary of Defense determines are necessary to ensure that the individual cannot engage or reengage in any terrorist activity; and
(F) has agreed to share with the United States any information that—
(i) is related to the individual or any associates of the individual; and
(ii) could affect the security of the United States, its citizens, or its allies; and
(2) includes an assessment, in classified or unclassified form, of the capacity, willingness, and past practices (if applicable) of the foreign country or entity in relation to the Secretary’s certifications.


Here’s Subsection d. in case you were curious:

(d) National security waiver
(1) In general
The Secretary of Defense may waive the applicability to a detainee transfer of a certification requirement specified in subparagraph (D) or (E) of subsection (b)(1) or the prohibition in subsection (c), if the Secretary certifies the rest of the criteria required by subsection (b) for transfers prohibited by subsection (c) and, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, determines that—
(A) alternative actions will be taken to address the underlying purpose of the requirement or requirements to be waived;
(B) in the case of a waiver of subparagraph (D) or (E) of subsection (b)(1), it is not possible to certify that the risks addressed in the paragraph to be waived have been completely eliminated, but the actions to be taken under subparagraph (A) will substantially mitigate such risks with regard to the individual to be transferred;
(C) in the case of a waiver of subsection (c), the Secretary has considered any confirmed case in which an individual who was transferred to the country subsequently engaged in terrorist activity, and the actions to be taken under subparagraph (A) will substantially mitigate the risk of recidivism with regard to the individual to be transferred; and
(D) the transfer is in the national security interests of the United States.


I ain’t no lawyer, but it appears to me that transferring detainees is not prohibited because the law says we can so long as we provide 30 days notice that it’s going to happen.  What is prohibited is using the DoD budget to transfer detainees without giving the 30 days notice.  Congress doesn’t get to approve or disapprove the transfer.  We already know that briefings were given since at least December 2013.  One could argue, successfully, that the briefings were written certifications given 180 days ago.  Congress knew about the deal, they just didn’t know the exact date and time and it sounds like neither did the White House because the hostage situation was a dynamic situation.  But congress knew.  So, what  30 day notice are they talking about?


Right or wrong, our President is bold.  He opted to save the life of a soldier.  He told Pakistan to go kick rocks when he ordered the Bin Laden raid.  He’s bringing our troops home (too slow, in my opinion)…


The truth about having a family.

I recently read an article that discusses about what life in your 20’s is like compared to your 30’s.  Part of the article was about what life is like with a family and without a family.  The author’s perspective couldn’t be further from the truth.  While everyone is different, I want to share with you my experience…

Here’s what the author wrote with my commentary:


Recently, one of my friends (actually, an ex-boyfriend) said, “I was just telling someone life gets so much better in your 30s.”

He was right. And wrong.

It gets better: more simple, more meaningful, more established, more fulfilling, more STABLE. You’ll have fewer fights, cry less tears and make fewer bad decisions.

Life in 20’s is the same as life in 30’s.  The only thing that changes…is you.  There will come a point when life becomes simple, meaningful, established, fulfilling, and stable.  That moment came to me when I started making a family (I was marred at 21 and a father at 23).  Before my family, everything was missing.  I’m not saying go get a family, but family was the catalyst for change in my life.  I believe what will make life better is selflessness and NOT getting older.  We all know people in their 30’s that are worse off than when they were in 20’s.  Be better now, not later.


But you’ll also have less fun. Here’s the best way I can put it: Life will feel less magical. (Probably because it becomes more predictable and less spur-of-the-moment).

Bullshit.  Nothing will stop you from having fun, except you.  Life isn’t a magic show.  Life is just as predictable in your 20’s as it is in your 30’s (there isn’t much to predict when you are alone and in your 20’s).  You can be as “spur-of-the-moment” as you want to be. 


When I was 20, I skipped Friday classes and spent a three-day weekend on the road with one of my favorite rock bands. I cannot write that same sentence about my 30s: “When I was 36, I skipped work, got fired and forgot to pick up my kids from daycare,” sounds like the first line of a bad memoir. Your responsibilities change. Big time.

Wait, I’m pretty sure you create your class schedule, unless you enter into a program.  Don’t like Friday class?  DON’T SCHEDULE CLASS ON FRIDAYS!  Hint:  entering into an established program is the first sign that your life is becoming “more” predictable.  Skipping class on Friday is acceptable; that’s why you’re allowed to be absent.  Skipping work is unacceptable; that’s why you got fired (in other words, you fucked up).  How can you forget to pick up your kids?  If I got fired, the first thing I would do is pick up my kids from daycare.  Your responsibility in life is to be responsible.  Skipping class on a Friday has nothing to do with responsibility and more to do with being foolish (who the fuck schedules class on a Friday?).


If you wait until your 30s to have children, you’ll start to realize the special quality of life in your 20s — the independence and craziness.

Having kids is amazing, but you will have to give up a lot. Movies, for one. Sleep. Taking a shower (when you have a newborn). If your 20s are like mine, you’ll be a world traveler. This hasn’t completely stopped, but it’s definitely slowed down.

I still go to the movies.  I still sleep.  I still take a shower (even with a newborn).  I was never a world traveler, so I can’t relate.  However, I continue to do everything I’ve been doing for the last 10 years. 


What will be more established, hopefully: your career, your friends, your life partner, your family, your home (mortgage).

There real reason why your career, your friends, your life partner, and your home are more established at 30’s vs 20’s is because you had between 10 (20 vs 30) to nearly 20 years (21 vs 39) to do it.  No other reason, but time.  Not much you can in those departments; they are binary…you either have them or you don’t.  Know what is more established?  The amount of wax that will spill onto your birthday cake at 39 vs 21.


You will have everything you dreamed of those nights coming home from a bar when no one asked for your number, crying yourself to sleep because you felt so alone. In fact, you will never feel alone — and what you once prayed for will feel like a curse and a blessing.

Heads up, be careful who you choose to spend the rest of your life with.  It will make the difference between marriage feeling like a curse or a blessing.  Don’t be stupid.


Most days, you will go about the machine of life — alarm, kids, shower, kids, breakfast (maybe), coffee (definitely), kids, door, car, road rage, kids singing “Wheels on the Bus,” daycare, work, work, lunch (at your desk), work, kids, car, road rage, home, kids, dinner, bath time, bedtime, TV, glass of wine (much-needed), sleep (interrupted by to-do-list, kid crying, partner snoring, etc.) — and you will not even notice that life is passing by so fast that somehow suddenly you’re 38 and you’re not really 30 anymore.

Someone sounds bitter.  Remember, be careful who you marry. 


But other days, you’ll reflect. You’ll think back to those college days, the days before kids, the days you slept until noon and spent the afternoon at bars watching football, day-drinking and wasting time. No-agenda days. Days you could do whatever you wanted even if that meant Ryan Reynolds’ movie marathons.

Days when your only responsibility was you.  Some people like that, but it won’t last forever.  It doesn’t matter if you have a family or not, at some point you will have to put on your big boy pants.


Most of all, you’ll want that time back to do something productive, like write a novel. Those days will seem long-gone — and lovely. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll occasionally be gifted (by your partner who will take the kids) a few days like this in your 30s — but, after a few hours of freedom, you’ll feel alone again, you’ll think of your child’s laugh, and you’ll wonder what it was you really missed.

This is the challenge in life…the struggle between taking a break and then wishing you hadn’t taken that break.  You can either work hard in your 20’s and enjoy the rest of your life, or you can enjoy your 20’s and work hard the rest of you life.  If you are reading this and in your 20’s, take note.  Stop wasting your time, life is too short.  Be real with yourself.  Do what’s challenging now, if you don’t it will only get more challenging. 


So many people talk about how having kids early will ruin youth.  People that don’t have kids in their 20’s bitch and moan about how they lack the energy for kids in their 30’s.  The longer people wait to have kids, the more they complain.  My parents are in their 40’s and no longer have kids in the house.  Not only do they not have kids in the house, but they are independent.  WHEN IT COMES TO HAVING A FAMILY, THE ONLY THING YOU WILL EVER WANT IS MORE TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY. 


Being a great Father…start preparing now!

I have been very busy since my last post and have so much I want to write about!  However, I want to keep them as short as possible so I will only pick one topic.


According to the googles, charisma is:

compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.
“she enchanted guests with her charisma”
     As a father I live my days thinking of what I might have to explain to my son.  Some of his questions aren’t important, such as “why do you have a mustache” or “why can’t I have ice cream”.  Other questions, however, are so profound that they stop me in my tracks; they are life altering questions.  Most recently he asked me, “dad, why do you work so much?”  Now, if you are not a father you have to remember that every response you give to your son will shape him into the man he has yet to reveal.  I was unprepared for the question, which is also the answer to the question.  I work so much because I am not prepared.  The answer I gave him?…to buy him toys (I will pay for that later, literally).  What does being unprepared have to do with charisma?  Nothing.  Charisma won’t win you anything.  Period.
     People constantly fall into the trap of attributing someone’s success to charisma, but charisma has nothing to do with success.  When you have achieved the greatest version of yourself, charisma takes hold.  Why?  Because all of your hard work and success inspires.  We call the people at the top who inspire–the greatest.
Exhibit A:
     Izzo the clown.  He is the perfect example of someone attributing success, in a specific field, to charisma.  By doing so he is ignoring all the hard work behind success.  He talks about two of the greatest: Bruce Lee and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Izzo the clown claims that the title they earned as “the greatest” is because of charisma.  They aren’t the Chili’s-manager-that-got-the-job-because-of-charisma that Izzo the clown wants them to be.  Bruce Lee and Arnold are who they are because of hard work, dedication, perseverance, and most importantly…using their spare time to prepare to be great instead of making youtube videos.
Just look at them:
     Bruce was badass because he WAS a badass.  He trained and trained and trained and trained.  That’s what inspired people.  That’s why his charisma carried him as far as it did, because he was prepared.  Charisma didn’t make Bruce Lee the greatest, Bruce Lee did that.
     He also comments on the debate over who was better, Mentzer or Arnold in the 80’s Mr. Olympia.  He says that charisma won Arnold the title.  Even if that were true…Arnold made Arnold.  If you took away all the hard work and gave him only charisma…yeah, you can’t.  It’s f*cking Arnold.That photo of Arnold you see is one my favorite photos.  You can see victory in his face.  He is telling the judges, “I win.”  Some call that charisma, but it’s so much more.  That look doesn’t win you sh*t if you can’t back it up.  Can you imagine if Izzo the clown stepped on stage and tried to charm a win over Mentzer?  Or how about pitting Izzo the clown against Bruce and asking him to charm his way out of swift kick?
     The reason why Izzo the clown will never be a Bruce or Arnold is not because he lacks charisma, it’s because he isn’t prepared for the throne.  Izzo the clown is the Guy Fieri of Martial Arts; his claim to fame is talking about the achievements of others.  He wants for everyone to believe that Bruce wasn’t the greatest Martial Artist in recent history.  That Arnold wasn’t better than Mentzer.  But history already played out; Bruce and Arnold won.  Nobody was greater than Bruce.  Nobody was better than Arnold.  Everyone had fair chance, nobody was able to take the throne.
     So, how do I explain success and charisma to my son?  Don’t be Izzo the clown.  Work hard.  Strive to be the better version of you.   Be courageous.  Don’t make stupid youtube videos about others.  The ticket to compete against the likes of Bruce and Arnold is paid for in blood, sweat, and tears; everyone watching you step onto the winners podium, including the #2 guy, will say that you won because you had charisma, but you and I will know why…

Finally went to New York…

So, we finally went to New York.  If you’re wondering what New York is like…it’s slightly overrated depending on who you ask.  If you ask me, Texas is better.  I would say it’s like Austin and Mexico had a baby.

So, why was it disappointing?  Well, for starters, it’s dirty as hell.  It almost felt like I was in a different country.  We saw the Statue of Liberty (pretty cool), Central Park (horses have no business in New York), and Time Square (very crowded and weird…and not the good, Austin, TX kind of weird).  I also had the honor of experiencing what is apparently a common sighting–a homeless guy pissing onto the subway tracks and not a single f*** was given.

Those of you who speak to me often know that I am in law school.  Turns out it’s so much more work than I could have imagined.  Or perhaps it’s also having a family and full time work?  Either way, it’s a great experience.  My wife and son are better people than this struggling man.

I’m picking up my criminal procedure midterm tonight…I will likely crawl into a hole for a few days.

-Spider Rico

OH YEAH, NY Spiderman stole my son, but Captain America and Chewbacca talked sense into the child thief.