Friday, April 12, 2002

ZoNotes: I'm In A Hurry To Get Things Done...

The Venezuelan Tea Party
So I waited at my apartment for 15 minutes to watch the Powell-Sharon press conference to see what they would say. Listening to CNN analyst Horowitz this morning give a fairly pro-Israel description of the situation, I told myself "this is CNN?" Little did I know that I was missing out on bigger news going on in the Americas. The anticlimactic press conference in Israel is small potatoes compared to the resignation of leftist President Hugo Chavez this morning. After a day of rioting that left 12 people dead, the Venezuelan service chiefs confronted Chavez and he submitted his resignation this morning. Wow, and here you go thinking that the military doesn't matter. In my Latin American Civ II class back in 1998 I argued that just because some of the regional armies had gone "back into the barracks" that they wouldn't go back out. This is the biggest development on the war on terrorism since the breakthrough last November against the Taliban. The former paratroop commander had attempted a coup in 1992 and failed. Trading in his beret for a business suit, he was elected with a broad popular mandate in 1998. Once a champion of the poor, Chavez had been increasingly ham-fisted Chavez had been an aspiring rogue-in-training, cozying up to Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro and also interfering with American counter-narcotics efforts. Chavez also may have been assisting Colombian FARC narcoguerrillas in its war against the democratically elected government of Andres Pastrana. Since Venezuela is one of our Top 5 oil suppliers and a member of the OPEC cartel, having a potentially unfriendly regime nestled in South America may have created negative momentum in the hemisphere. Plus, this doesn't look like it's over yet. It seems that Chavez is being protected by his "Bolivarian" guards and Cuban security agents.

Hope from the Storm
Sean Mullaney (B'00) relates this info to me:
"Last night I was flicking around and I saw
footage of President Reagan at
the Berlin Wall in 87 as he said those now famous
words "Mr. Gorbachev, tear
down this wall." I have to say I felt all warm and
fuzzy inside. I
realized our current war on terrorism is somewhat
analogous to the Cold War.
The Cold War US policy started well with George
Keenan and Containment,
then went down the gutter of detente, but the US
was (rather quickly)
victorious with Peace Through Strength. I think
the lesson here is that
even though the US may bungle the war on terrorism
from a policy
perspective, we are still the greatest country in
the world, and eventually
(not tomorrow, not next year or even next decade)
we win the war. It also
illustrates just how incredibly effective the US is
when we adopt the right

Blog Props
I recommend that y'all check out Elizabeth Spiers' blog. It's one of the better ones on the Internet, and given the propagation of blogs in the last couple of months, that's quite an achievement.

"Success is Never Final." -- Winston Churchill.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

ZoNotes: I'm Not a Hater I Just Crush Alot

Off to NATO
It's not often that I talk about my job. But those who know where I work know that I do so with a bunch of retired Marines. Some interesting news came down this morning on the Early Bird, as SecDef Rumsfeld may select Commandant Gen James Jones (F'66) to the position of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). SACEUR is NATO's military chief, and historically has always been held by an American general or flag officer. However, Gen Jones would be the first Marine to hold down the SACEUR job, ever. I'll keep you posted as we go along with this very interesting development.

Here Comes the Judge, Here Comes the Judge
The International Criminal Court (ICC) will most likely come into formal existence today after 10 states today submit their ratification. The ICC could theoretically be involved in a prosecution of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but its structure could also allow for zealous enemy prosecutors to go after American servicemen and political leaders. A nightmare scenario, for example, would be if former President Clinton was prosecuted for Operation ALLIED FORCE against the Serbs, conducted without a UN Security Council mandate. Some observers don't paint such an ominous picture. Others, however, clearly have a different take. And, people who vote on such issues are skeptical as well. For me, I've always thought of this realm of international law to be one where victor's justice prevails. If your side wins the war, then you get to try the leaders of the defeated powers. That creates, shall we say, some intriguing scenarios, such as Soviet "judges" sitting side-by-side with American and British jurists during the Nuremberg trials. Like all other spirited international initiatives, the ICC may suffer a fate similar to the General Assembly of the United Nations, where the inmates run the asylum.

Murder, Inc.
So is named the ubiquitous musical conglomeration led by the affable Ja Rule. Every such grouping needs its diva, and emerging superstar Ashanti is rising the charts. In the first week of album sales, Ashanti topped 500,000 copies. Her new single with the jolly Fat Joe, "What Is Love" has a bumpin' beat that really gets my groove on.

Assorted Miscellany
No retreat, no surrender! No retreat

"When they say that it isn't you, but them, it really is you."

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

ZoNotes: Take On Me...

Fitness Realities
I know in a biblical sense we go from ashes to dust, but do you know how much work it takes to look good in between all of that? I was toiling on the Interval setting on the elliptical machine last night as I watched CNN. I saw a report stating that the famous St. John's wort is no more effective than a placebo. It's interesting that I saw what I did when I did, for it represents an intersection of a lot of factors -- health, expectations, and, more importantly, vanity. While I'm not rippling muscles or anything, I like how I feel when I leave the gym, as if I exerted some physical effort to match my mental one during the day. However, the death rate still holds at 100%. Now, that isn't an advertisement to down 6 cheeseburgers tonight, (ok, if they were Whataburger or Glass Kitchen, yeah, with extra mayo) but it makes you realize the limits of our mortality.

Gosh, before I move on, wasn't that deep?

Where the Votes Are...
News from the Lone Star State: upstart senatorial candidate Victor "I ain't Dan" Morales saw his bid for the Democrat nomination to the Senate come to a crashing end, losing to former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk by 20 points in the statewide runoff. Kirk becomes the first black nominee from our great state to stand for the U.S. Senate, and will go against Republican John Cornyn in the general election. There's an interesting note here, one that runs against the erstwhile brand-spankin' new conventional wisdom about the unbeatable turnout power of the Hispanic voting base. Morales won by a 2-1 margin in the region, but lost decisively everywhere else. This, even after Democrat nominee for Governor Tony Sanchez endorsed Kirk. Ultimately, Morales could have been more competitive if he had a bigger campaign budget, because he seems to have popular appeal with the voters he comes into contact with on a regular basis. I know he sincerely wanted to be a man of the people, but come on, you also want to win the election!

Simon Recommends...
...that we all get a chance to catch Band of Brothers again:
"Let me put in a plug for
HBO's mini-series Band
of Brothers. If you missed it the first time
around, make sure you watch
it this time. Make sure ZoNoters watch it.
Wonderful, captivating
television that paints about as an all-compassing
and realistic portrayal
of the Allied campaign in Europe as I have ever
seen. It also makes one
thankful for the sacrifices of many of our
grandparents and their friends,
who simply did what had to be done. Many of us
talk and talk, but I wonder
how many of us would have the courage and resolve
to fight a war that
needed to be fought, and won."

If It Looks Familiar... probably is. Unfortunate news (what else?) from SW Asia, as another homicide bomber hit a bus in Israel today. Again, it helps to look at how all this intersects -- the attack took place after 13 Israeli troops were killed in a Palestinian ambush. This isn't amorphous "violence" produced by a merciless "cycle" -- it is a directed campaign of terror perpetuated and encouraged by the annoying cries of the "international community."

"Never substitute fear for prudence."

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

ZoNotes: 3:30 In the Morning, Not a Soul In Sight...

Take a look at today's editorial in the New York Times, and notice the change of tone. The Old Gray Lady is the bedrock of the liberal establishment. If you hear Carville or Begala say it, they probably read it in the Times. In criticizing the Israeli offensive in the West Bank, the esteemed editorial page concedes that the attacks are securing short-term well-being for the country. Nine days without a homicide bomber is short-term everywhere else save for Southwest Asia. We all know that the region isn't known for enduring stability. I'd call this quite an improvement. Would the left have admitted as much last week, when everyone was complaining about how unproductive the offensive would be? How long before someone admits that this is ensuring long-term security? Any takers?

Defendin' Turf
Hot dog, how 'bout dem Spurs? After a nearly-mortal 3-game losing streak, the Spurs completed a successful homestand and a trip to Houston's Compaq Center, beating Seattle, Houston, Dallas, and Portland to surge into contention for the Western Conference's #2 seed. ZoNoters Ernesto Cortes and my father were at the Alamodome. Dad actually bought the tickets 3 months ahead of the date. It's a shame that the Spurs don't get to play Dallas again this season to settle the Midwest Division face-to-face. Oh well, I figure that if the Spurs can win out and Dallas stumble, the division title counts all the same. We are finally coming up on the NBA's happy time -- the playoffs.

Hilltop Musings
Georgetown's admissions season was the most competitive to date. Starting with an upward trend that began with the Class of 2000, 15,534 applicants vied for just over 3,012 admissions slots, indicating an admissions rate of just about 20 percent. I performed my alumni duty and conducted admissions interviews, and realized how difficult and involved the process is.

Courtesy of Fernando Cortes:
"Before all else, we must take a fundamental risk and that is to be true to ourselves!"

Monday, April 08, 2002

ZoNotes: Ain't No Party like a ZoNotes Party 'Cause A ZoNotes Party Don't Stop...

Friday Night Lights
Many thanks to Nazanin Razavi and her friend Chuck for hosting a spiffy spring roll dinner on Friday night. Much fun was had by all. We also caught a showing of the new Ashley Judd film High Crimes. All I can say is, holy cow, that was one hell of a plot twist!

Here Come the Spurs!
On national television, with the sold-out Alamodome crowd cheering him on, Tim Duncan had the ball. Give Tim Duncan the ball, and he will produce. What a game Saturday's Spurs-Mavs tilt was! After Dallas clawed back to tie the game at 87 on Dirk Nowitzki's jumper, Duncan turned around and made a clutch shot to put the Spurs into the win column. The Spurs are now within a half-game of the lead in the NBA's furiously competitive Midwest Division. Duncan also polished his MVP credentials with his superman play against one of the league's youngest and most talented squads. With a gritty defensive effort against the Mavs' array of lethal shooters, David Robinson, Malik Rose, and the rest of the mighty Spurs held Dallas to 42.7 percent shooting. This last week or so should make for some captivating basketball, as coach Mo Cheeks leads his Portland TrailBlazers to the Alamodome tonight for another pivotal showdown.

The Sound...of Silence...
Sometimes the volume on the tv is so loud that we don't listen to anything. It's been 8 days since Israel has suffered another homicide bombing. Could it be that the Israeli offensive against terrorist infrastructure is working? The relative quiet from the mess of 2 weeks ago is why the offensive isn't going to end immediately. Even my own predictions of a 72-hour "clock" seems a bit premature. It looks like the IDF has a clean 2 weeks to get the job done. Given the current situation, where would this period of quiet put Robert Wright's opinion, forwarded to my by ZoNoter/fellow alum/Texan, Simon Torres (F'00)? It also means that despite the MSNBC whining that the Israelis are "defying" President Bush's withdrawal request, the U.S. is holding a proverbial yellow light. If the Israelis pass it, they won't get a ticket, no matter how close to red it is. Ponderous.

She's Movin' On Up, Movin' On Up
Congratulations to Texas Ex Alma Peña, who scored a slot with Mercy Hospital's financial department as an analyst. Mad props to Alma!

ZoNotes' Top 5 Albums of All Time, Ever
I'm going to be running a Top 5 Albums Albums of All Time, Ever segment this week, taken from your suggestions. Any album, be it country or rock or pop are going to be under consideration. Get me your votes before Friday.

"You always come up with the best retorts after the argument is over."