:: Troutmaster blog :: March 2003 archive

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:: Sunday, March 30, 2003 ::

This was one hell of a weekend for exercise. On Saturday we (me, Christina, and Forrest) went on a 10.5 mile hike at Pinnacles National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/pinn/). It was pretty cool. There were two caves that were open that we got to check out. On Sunday we went on a 30 mile bike ride on the Coyote Creek Trail. I'm going to need to take a few days off from exercising this week. But overall it was a fun weekend. Hopefully I'll have more weekends like this.
:: Tom 9:02 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 ::
I haven't had much time to work on my website, but I have been able to play around with the backend database a bit and do some experimentation with user authentication scripts. I'm looking forward to having the ability to have users log in and have their own profile page. From there I will still have a lot of work to do as far as adding content and getting the structure set up. But it will all come together.
:: Tom 5:08 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, March 23, 2003 ::
I know that there are bigger problems in the world, but I am dreading having to watch Alias tonight. I think the first season of that show is cool, and that Jennifer Garner is a good actress and will become a big star someday, but I really hate the cheesiness that has plagued that show starting this season. I think ABC would still get a lot of viewers to watch the show even if they didn't make it so cheesy with romance and crap like that. By cheesy and romance I am talking about Garner's character (Sidney) having a romance with a fellow CIA agent named Michael. They seem to do office work together, get briefed together, and do field work together. It isn't such a big deal that this is unrealistic, it just kind of kills the whole show. On top of that, she works with her father, and they are having to deal with her mother. All in all I think Alias adds a lot more complexity than is necessary. I think it is becoming the spy version of Melrose Place. They should take lessons from 24. 24 is head and shoulders above the rest of the TV shows out there. It is the best because the audience never knows what is going to come next. Also, there is no cheesy crap going on.
:: Tom 6:56 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, March 17, 2003 ::
I just came across this speech. I think everyone should read through it before we begin operation "Kill Saddam".
President Reagan: Speech to the H ouse of Commons, June 8, 1982.

We're approaching the end of a bloody cent ury plagued by a terrible political invention -- totalitarianism. Optimism comes less easily today, not because democracy is less vigorous, but because democrac y's enemies have refined their instruments of repression. Yet optimism is in ord er because day by day democracy is proving itself to be a not at all fragile flo wer. From Stettin on the Baltic to Varna on the Black Sea, the regimes planted b y totalitarianism have had more than thirty years to establish their legitimacy. But none -- not one regime -- has yet been able to risk free elections. Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root.
The strength of the Solidarity moveme nt in Poland demonstrates the truth told in an underground joke in the Soviet Un ion. It is that the Soviet Union would remain a one-party nation even if an oppo sition party were permitted because everyone would join the opposition party....
Historians looking back at our time will note the consistent restraint and peaceful intentions of the West. They will note that it was the democracies who refused to use the threat of their nuclear monopoly in the forties and early fif ties for territorial or imperial gain. Had that nuclear monopoly been in the han ds of the Communist world, the map of Europe--indeed, the world--would look very different today. And certainly they will note it was not the democracies that i nvaded Afghanistan or suppressed Polish Solidarity or used chemical and toxin wa rfare in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia.
If history teaches anything, it tea ches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly. We see around us to day the marks of our terrible dilemma--predictions of doomsday, antinuclear demo nstrations, an arms race in which the West must, for its own protection, be an u nwilling participant. At the same time we see totalitarian forces in the world w ho seek subversion and conflict around the globe to further their barbarous assa ult on the human spirit. What, then, is our course? Must civilization perish in a hail of fiery atoms? Must freedom wither in a quiet, deadening accommodation w ith totalitarian evil?
Sir Winston Churchill refused to accept the inevitabi lity of war or even that it was imminent. He said, "I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite ex pansion of their power and doctrines. But what we have to consider here today wh ile time remains is the permanent prevention of war and the establishment of con ditions of freedom and democracy as rapidly as possible in all countries."
W ell, this is precisely our mission today: to preserve freedom as well as peace. It may not be easy to see; but I believe we live now at a turning point.
In an ironic sense Karl Marx was right. We are witnessing today a great revolutiona ry crisis, a crisis where the demands of the economic order are conflicting dire ctly with those of the political order. But the crisis is happening not in the f ree, non-Marxist West but in the home of Marxism- Leninism, the Soviet Union. It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying human free dom and human dignity to its citizens. It also is in deep economic difficulty. T he rate of growth in the national product has been steadily declining since the fifties and is less than half of what it was then.
The dimensions of this fa ilure are astounding: a country which employs one-fifth of its population in agr iculture is unable to feed its own people. Were it not for the private sector, t he tiny private sector tolerated in Soviet agriculture, the country might be on the brink of famine. These private plots occupy a bare 3 percent of the arable l and but account for nearly one-quarter of Soviet farm output and nearly one-thir d of meat products and vegetables. Overcentralized, with little or no incentives , year after year the Soviet system pours its best resources into the making of instruments of destruction. The constant shrinkage of economic growth combined w ith the growth of military production is putting a heavy strain on the Soviet pe ople. What we see here is a political structure that no longer corresponds to it s economic base, a society where productive forced are hampered by political one s.
The decay of the Soviet experiment should come as no surprise to us. Wher ever the comparisons have been made between free and closed societies -- West Ge rmany and East Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, Malaysia and Vietnam -- it i s the democratic countries that are prosperous and responsive to the needs of th eir people. And one of the simple but overwhelming facts of our time is this: of all the millions of refugees we've seen in the modern world, their flight is al ways away from, not toward the Communist world. Today on the NATO line, our mili tary forces face east to prevent a possible invasion. On the other side of the l ine, the Soviet forces also face east to prevent their people from leaving.
The hard evidence of totalitarian rule has caused in mankind an uprising of the intellect and will. Whether it is the growth of the new schools of economics in America or England or the appearance of the so-called new philosophers in France , there is one unifying thread running through the intellectual work of these gr oups -- rejection of the arbitrary power of the state, the refusal to subordinat e the rights of the individual to the superstate, the realization that collectiv ism stifles all the best human impulses....
Chairman Brezhnev repeatedly has stressed that the competition of ideas and systems must continue and that this is entirely consistent with relaxation of tensions and peace.
Well, we ask o nly that these systems begin by living up to their own constitutions, abiding by their own laws, and complying with the international obligations they have unde rtaken. We ask only for a process, a direction, a basic code of decency, not for an instant transformation.
We cannot ignore the fact that even without our encouragement there has been and will continue to be repeated explosion against repression and dictatorships. The Soviet Union itself is not immune to this real ity. Any system is inherently unstable that has no peaceful means to legitimize its leaders. In such cases, the very repressiveness of the state ultimately driv es people to resist it, if necessary, by force.
While we must be cautious ab out forcing the pace of change, we must not hesitate to declare our ultimate obj ectives and to take concrete actions to move toward them. We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few but the i nalienable and universal right of all human beings. So states the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, among other things, guarantees fr ee elections.
The objective I propose is quite simple to state: to foster th e infrastructure of democracy, the system of a free press, unions, political par ties, universities, which allows a people to choose their own way to develop the ir own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.
T his is not cultural imperialism; it is providing the means for genuine self-dete rmination and protection for diversity. Democracy already flourishes in countrie s with very different cultures and historical experiences. It would be cultural condescension, or worse, to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy . Who would voluntarily choose not to have the right to vote, decide to purchase government propaganda handouts instead of independent newspapers, prefer govern ment to worker-controlled unions, opt for land to be owned by the state instead of those who till it, want government repression of religious liberty, a single political party instead of a free choice, a rigid cultural orthodoxy instead of democratic tolerance and diversity.
Since 1917 the Soviet Union has given co vert political training and assistance to Marxist-Leninists in many countries. O f course, it also has promoted the use of violence and subversion by these same forces. Over the past several decades, West European and other social democrats, Christian democrats, and leaders have offered open assistance to fraternal, pol itical, and social institutions to bring about peaceful and democratic progress. Appropriately, for a vigorous new democracy, the Federal Republic of Germany's political foundations have become a major force in this effort.
We in Americ a now intend to take additional steps, as many of our allies have already done, toward realizing this same goal. The chairmen and other leaders of the national Republican and Democratic party organizations are initiating a study with the bi partisan American Political Foundation to determine how the United States can be st contribute as a nation to the global campaign for democracy now gathering for ce. They will have the cooperation of congressional leaders of both parties, alo ng with representatives of business, labor, and other major institutions in our society. I look forward to receiving their recommendations and to working with t hese institutions and the Congress in the common task of strengthening democracy throughout the world.
It is time that we committed ourselves as a nation -- in both the public and private sectors -- to assisting democratic development.. ..
What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term -- the ma rch of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap o f history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people. And that's why we must continue our efforts to s trengthen NATO even as we move forward with our zero-option initiative in the ne gotiations on intermediate-range forces and our proposal for a one-third reducti on in strategic ballistic missile warheads.
Our military strength is a prere quisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it w ill never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that's now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the idea ls to which we are dedicated.
The British people know that, given strong lea dership, time, and a little bit of hope, the forces of good ultimately rally and triumph over evil. Here among you is the cradle of self-government, the Mother of Parliaments. Here is the enduring greatness of the British contribution to ma nkind, the great civilized ideas: individual liberty, representative government, and the rule of law under God.
I've often wondered about the shyness of som e of us in the West about standing for these ideals that have done so much to ea se the plight of man and the hardships of our imperfect world. This reluctance t o use those vast resources at our command reminds me of the elderly lady whose h ome was bombed in the blitz. As the rescuers moved about, they found a bottle of brandy she'd stored behind the staircase, which was all that was left standing. And since she was barely conscious, one of the workers pulled the cork to give her a taste of it. She came around immediately and said, "Here now -- there now, put it back. That's for emergencies."
Well, the emergency is upon us. Let us be shy no longer. Let us go to our strength. Let us offer hope. Let us tell the world that a new age is not only possible but probable.
During the dark days of the Second World War, when this island was incandescent with courage, Winston Churchill exclaimed about Britain's adversaries, "What kind of people do they think we are?" Well, Britain's adversaries found out what extraordinary people the British are. But all the democracies paid a terrible price for allowing the dictators to underestimate us. We dare not make that mistake again. So, let us ask ourselves, "What kind of people do we think we are?" And let us answer, "Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well."
Sir Winston led his people to great victory in war and then lost an election just as the fruits of victory were about to be enjoyed. But he left office honorably and, as it turned out, temporarily, knowing that the liberty of his people was more important than the fate of any single leader. History recalls his greatness in ways no dictator will ever know. And he left us a message of hope for the future, as timely now as when he first uttered it, as opposition leader in the Commons nearly twenty-seven years ago, when he said, "When we look back on all the perils through which we have passed and at the mighty foes that we have laid low and all the dark and deadly designs that we have frustrated, why should we fear for our future? We have," he said, "come safely through the worst."
Well, the task I've set forth will long outlive our own generation. But together, we too have come through the worst. Let us now begin a major effort to secure the best -- a crusade for freedom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation. For the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny.

:: Tom 10:23 AM [+] ::

Christina and I went running up and down the hill on Bernal Road today. There was some sort of activity around 7PM with the park ranger and a Sheriff. We're not sure what was going on, but I'm sure something will come out in the news about it tomorrow or Tuesday. Other than that I web mail enabled my email account and worked on setting up a mysql database and worked on scripts to authenticate users. Hopefully troutmaster.net will be able to accomodate new users soon. But at the same time I need to work on the design.
:: Tom 12:25 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, March 13, 2003 ::
From time to time I will comment on the happenings of the day. As my inagural subject, I will cite a recent fox news article (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,80955,00.html) that talks about human shields that got kicked out of Iraq. First I want to say that they are idiots for going over there in the first place, but they are free to act like idiots if they feel the need. I was not surprised to find out that the Iraqi regime wanted them to guard places that might get attacked (power plants, oil refineries). But apparantly these people were surprised by this. And they got kicked out for criticizing the Iraqi Government. Anyway, this is yet another bit of evidence that illustrates the fact that there are a lot of idiots out there. I just hope they learned something from this experience. I would prefer that the two Americans in this group of 5 not come back to the USA. They should move on to North Korea next...
:: Tom 1:53 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, March 11, 2003 ::
OK, no more updates to troutmaster.net today. I've created a link to the blog page from the front page, setup a pop account so that people can email me (tom@troutmaster.net), and setup archiving for my blog.
:: Tom 1:35 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, March 10, 2003 ::
I am watching the news and it looks like there is going to be a big storm this weekend. If that is the case then I think we are going to hit NorthStar and do some snowboarding.
:: Tom 9:49 PM [+] ::
This is another test for my blogger.
:: Tom 6:34 PM [+] ::
This is the first post to my blog. I'm not feeling too well today so I don't think there will be much for me to add right now.
:: Tom 6:06 PM [+] ::

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