what happens when the bear overcomes the urge to hibernate

Author: Rob

Happy 10th, Hugh and Duane

Published / by Rob / 12 Comments on Happy 10th, Hugh and Duane

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my friend Hugh Hewitt’s radio program. (Tomorrow, July 10th, technically, but today is the closest broadcast day). Together with his Faithful Sidekick Duane “Radioblogger” Patterson, Hugh has been cranking out fifteen hours of on-air sanity and wisdom since 2000.

When I noted this happy occasion, what surprised me is that I’ve actually known Hugh for about half of that time. Our ‘blog for Katrina Relief‘ effort was, I believe, our first project together, and one that led to many more. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and get to know Hugh: he is as decent as they come, and I’m deeply grateful for his friendship, wisdom, and his valiant efforts to keep the howling winds of foolishness at bay for at least fifteen hours a week.

Today is the annual Disneyland show, where I believe Duane will be forced to ride the log flume fifty times in a row or somesuch, so have a listen from 3pm – 6pm Pacific online at KTIE, and be sure to sign up for podcasting and special stuff at the Hughniverse.


A Short Open Letter to Christopher Hitchens

Published / by Rob / 1 Comment on A Short Open Letter to Christopher Hitchens

To: Christopher Hitchens
From: Rob Neppell
Re: Slacking

Mr. Hitchens:

At the risk of being morbid (although your memoir does a well enough job of going there), I simply wanted to make one thing clear.

You are not allowed to die.

Not yet, at least, and certainly not anytime soon. Your work upon this earth is not done, and frankly, your continued presence upon it annoys all the right people. Including me, at times.

I hope sincerely that your treatment is successful, and that your recovery is speedy and complete. Your voice remains needed, and I hope we shall not be without it for long.

See Also: Hot Air, Tom MacGuire


Obama votes ‘present’ – and that’s a good thing

Published / by Rob / 12 Comments on Obama votes ‘present’ – and that’s a good thing

McChrystal is out, and Petraeus is in as commander of our forces in Afghanistan.

However, the bizarre part is that in making this choice Obama is also (reportedly, waiting for a source to link to) keeping Petraeus in charge of CENTCOM — thereby making him his own boss, and oh, yeah, assigning two 24/7/365 jobs to a single man.

On the one hand: this was a cowardly choice by Obama. Picking the closet thing we have to a saint in uniform per the American public’s perception is a safe choice for him — if it all goes to hell, how could anyone say he didn’t put the A team in? Nevermind that demanding a single man do CENTCOM and AFG is insane. Heck, why not just have him be Chair of the Joint Chiefs and hell, SecDef too? Way too much redundancy up there, Petraeus can do it all! It’s not like he’s been showing any signs of fatigue or need for rest.

But on the other hand: I’m starting to think this is a good thing. Because the real net effect will be that, with his CENTCOM responsibilities still intact, Petraeus is going to have to pick someone he trusts to actually be on point for Afghanistan. He’s got to have a second-in-command with undiluted focus on that single war if he himself is still going to be keeping one eye on the entire command.

So Obama has done what he does best: vote “present”, and punt. But in this case, he’s punted to someone who actually knows what they are doing. We may not agree with Petraeus’s exact personnel choices (of which I assume there will be many, not just the second-in-command I note), but I feel certain he’ll make them for better reasons and with better rationale than Obama.

The irony, of course, is that Obama just gave a speech noting how important civilian authority over the military is. But what he’s actually DOING is abdicating that very civilian authority and delegating it to a military man, Petraeus.

Bad policy/governance, generally. But in THIS case… thank God !!!


Remember and Honor

Published / by Rob

Why should anyone want to listen to what I, a civilian to the core, have to say on Memorial Day, when we honor those who have fallen in service of our country?

The answer, of course, is that they shouldn’t.

But you should listen to those who have served, and to whom this day is not simply one of general,  amorphous remembrance, but of personal memories, honor, and loss of those they stood next to, fought, served, and lived with.

Major Charles W. Zeigenfuss:

Many of our fellow citizens have no understanding of the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day, other than it means a long weekend. Many people, especially those with no connection to the military, often confuse the two, citing Memorial Day as a day to thank those serving the nation in uniform. Recently, a friend of mine commented that “Memorial Day is meant to pay homage to those who gave their lives for this country and our way of life. It is a day to honor the dead. There is NO such thing as “Happy Memorial Day.”

Respectfully, I disagree, in part, anyway.

Memorial Day is a happy yet solemn, joyful yet tearful, partly sunny yet mostly cloudy kind of day.

We are living the days these men and women never will. Live them well, be happy, and enjoy the blessings of liberty their service and sacrifice have bought. Although we take pause today to remember their absence, we must also take this day to celebrate the very liberty they have secured.

Bruce McQuain:

I keep this photo as probably the most powerful reminder for me of what the real price of freedom looks like. Those that give their all as well as those they leave behind. We should remember both as we celebrate the freedom they’ve blessed us with and assured for us on this Memorial Day.

The Armorer:

They are the most egalitarian places in the nation…To gain entrance, one has only to ask.  Or, in times of extreme need, answer the call when delivered.

There are more. Go find them. And then, I will be presumptuous enough to believe I know how those who have fallen would want us to honor them on this day: by caring for those who still serve. Sign up to support a servicemember at Soldiers’ Angels, make a donation, or find some other (reputable) military support charity to devote your time and perhaps some of your funds to. If you, like I, haven’t worn our countries’ uniform, it is the least we can do.


Congressional DADT Action: You keep using the word “repeal”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Published / by Rob / 2 Comments on Congressional DADT Action: You keep using the word “repeal”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

So everyone is blaring headlines that say things like Senate panel and House vote to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ .

Um, no.

What they voted for is to sorta-kinda empower Team Obama to repeal DADT, if and only if he, his SecDef, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs promise Congress, in writing, that they’ll take all the blame if repeal screws anything up.

The actual “repeal” language (in the House action, at least) is in H.AMDT.672, proposed by Rep. Patrick J. Murphy to the overall Defense bill (H.R. 5136).

Since Thomas can be so annoying and still hasn’t really figured out permalinks, I’ll include the full text below. I am fairly sure this is the final language, but not certain, so take that as a slight caveat.

A few thoughts:

  • I think this should be titled the ‘Screw You Barry, It’s Your Problem Now Act of 2010‘. Congressional Democrats have quite effectively kicked the can down the road — explicitly prohibiting action until after the November midterms, which solves their worries. And even then, if he wants to repeal, he has to swear in writing to Congress that it will all go swimmingly.
  • If I were a passionate DADT opponent, I’d be pretty irked at this as rather weak tea indeed.

Full text follows…

H.AMDT.672 (A019)
Amends: H.R.5136
Sponsor: Rep Murphy, Patrick J. [PA-8] (offered 5/27/2010)

An amendment numbered 79 printed in House Report 111-498 to repeal Dont Ask Dont Tell only after: (1) receipt of the recommendations of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group on how to implement a repeal of DADT (due December 1, 2010) and (2) a certification by the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and President that repeal is first, consistent with military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion & recruiting, and second, that the DoD has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to implement its repeal. It would also include a 60 day period after certification before the repeal took effect.



At the end of subtitle D of title V, add the following new section:


(a) Comprehensive Review on the Implementation of a Repeal of 10 U.S.C. 654-

(1) IN GENERAL- On March 2, 2010, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum directing the Comprehensive Review on the Implementation of a Repeal of 10 U.S.C. 654 (section 654 of title 10, United States Code).

(2) OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF REVIEW- The Terms of Reference accompanying the Secretary’s memorandum established the following objectives and scope of the ordered review:

(A) Determine any impacts to military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness that may result from repeal of the law and recommend any actions that should be taken in light of such impacts.

(B) Determine leadership, guidance, and training on standards of conduct and new policies.

(C) Determine appropriate changes to existing policies and regulations, including but not limited to issues regarding personnel management, leadership and training, facilities, investigations, and benefits.

(D) Recommend appropriate changes (if any) to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

(E) Monitor and evaluate existing legislative proposals to repeal 10 U.S.C. 654 and proposals that may be introduced in the Congress during the period of the review.

(F) Assure appropriate ways to monitor the workforce climate and military effectiveness that support successful follow-through on implementation.

(G) Evaluate the issues raised in ongoing litigation involving 10 U.S.C. 654.

(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (f) shall take effect 60 days after the date on which the last of the following occurs:

(1) The Secretary of Defense has received the report required by the memorandum of the Secretary referred to in subsection (a).

(2) The President transmits to the congressional defense committees a written certification, signed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating each of the following:

(A) That the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the recommendations contained in the report and the report’s proposed plan of action.

(B) That the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f).

(C) That the implementation of necessary policies and regulations pursuant to the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f) is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.

(c) No Immediate Effect on Current Policy- Section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect until such time that all of the requirements and certifications required by subsection (b) are met. If these requirements and certifications are not met, section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect.

(d) Benefits- Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to require the furnishing of benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of `marriage’ and `spouse’ and referred to as the `Defense of Marriage Act’).

(e) No Private Cause of Action- Nothing in this section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to create a private cause of action.

(f) Treatment of 1993 Policy-

(1) TITLE 10- Upon the effective date established by subsection (b), chapter 37 of title 10, United States Code, is amended–

(A) by striking section 654; and

(B) in the table of sections at the beginning of such chapter, by striking the item relating to section 654.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Upon the effective date established by subsection (b), section 571 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (10 U.S.C. 654 note) is amended by striking subsections (b), (c), and (d).


Eight Years On: N.Z. Bear and Beyond

Published / by Rob / 8 Comments on Eight Years On: N.Z. Bear and Beyond

From The Truth Laid Bear, May 16, 2002:

The news of the day (yesterday, to be precise) is the White House’s  minor little revelation that there was indeed some warning that Al Qaeda planned to hijack American airliners. Somehow this tidbit appears to have slipped everyone’s mind at 1600 Pennsylvania until just yesterday. Tip of the hat to Instapundit (5/15 at 10:31 pm and again 5/16 at 9:03 am) for providing the definitive debunking of the arguments why it’s OK that the FBI, CIA, INS and the rest of the federal government “couldn’t conceive” of this kind of attack ever occuring.

That’s the first blog post I ever wrote, right there: eight long years (and one day) ago. The Truth Laid Bear (subhead: A Bear, the World, and the Strong Urge to Hibernate) launched on Blogspot (natch) on May 16th, 2002 and… nobody noticed really. Not at first.

But here we are eight years later, and first, I have to say, Happy Blogiversary to me! The few and proud immediately pre- and post- 9/11 bloggers can claim longer tenure than I, as can those pioneers who had “personal journals” before the word blog even existed. (Doc Searls, I believe, ran his first site on a gopher server, and Dave Winer did what Real Men do, and coded every bit of text for each post in assembly language that had to be compiled on each readers’ computer.)

But other than those two groups, I can rightly claim that I’ve been around this rodeo longer than most. And to quote the cliche, what a long strange trip it has been. In 2002, I was a successful, but typical, technology exec, having learned my trade in the trenches of Andersen Consulting / Accenture. But I always enjoyed writing, so I figured I’d try this blogging thing as a hobby, and stretch my prose muscles a bit. A bit of writing here and there to soothe the soul: no big deal, and certainly nothing life-changing.


The slippery slope really began with a little idea called the Blogosphere Ecosystem which, believe it or not, was created in part simply because I wanted to avoid having to pick who to put on my own blogroll. After that, it never stopped. N.Z. Bear, as I was known then (and many still think of me as now), became a bigger and bigger part of my life. More blogging; more iterations on the Ecosystem, more projects, and more joyful discoveries of just what you could do with these blog thingies.

The New Blog Showcase. Porkbusters. Blog for Katrina Relief. The Victory Caucus. Top Conservatives on Twitter. ReadTheStimulus.orgTea Party Patriots. I was CPAC’s first ever Blogger of the Year. I’ve been on the teevee.  I got to shoot stuff at Blackwater. I got to meet the President of the United States and get my pic taken with him in the Oval Office. And perhaps most importantly, I have my own theme music on the Hugh Hewitt show, even if his slacker producer hardly ever actually remembers to use it for me anymore.

Through all of it, the pseudonym N.Z. Bear stayed intact. If you had asked me in 2002, I would never have believed I could have done practically anything without slipping up or having some nosie nellie actually bother to hunt down my real name. (Which, for the record, I never hid for any reason other than I just didn’t want coworkers at my Day Job bothering me about whatever annoying post I had just put up the night before).  But I managed to pull it off, oddly enough, and so on October 4, 2007 I ultimately had to out myself (on the Hugh Hewitt show)  as I launched Kithbridge. Five years, four months, and eighteen days: who says you can’t keep a secret on the Internet?

But now, of course, blogs aren’t just a hobby: they’re my business, as  I left the Day Job behind to found Kithbridge, which provides new media monitoring and consulting services for businesses, political campaigns, and nonprofits.

But a funny thing happened while blogs and new media were taking over my life: I stopped blogging. The deeper I got in, the more tools I developed and services I provided for projects and clients, the less time I seemed to have (or to make) for actually doing what got me into this in the first place.

So today, eight years (plus one day) after taking that first leap into the pond, I’m re-launching; re-committing; re-something to my own personal blogging. Don’t expect Glenn-like posting frequency, or the fascinatingly pedantic detail of Tom Maguire. This isn’t the best time in my life to re-focus on blogging, it’s arguably the worst, as I have a new family of my own (two new cubs!) that will most certainly take priority.

But here, at least, will be a place where you can find, if you so care, whatever thoughts come to me whenever I actually get around to posting them. Doesn’t exactly have the punch of “Live Free or Die” as a mission statement, but it’s rather more self-aware than “Don’t Be Evil”, at least.

This blog is a work in progress, as are all of course, but this one more than most. The theme is meh; I’m about halfway done with stuff that needs to go on the sidebar, and I’m sure there’s half a dozen other things wrong with it that will require deep tinkering over the coming weeks. But it’s here, and it’s functional.

TTLB hasn’t gone away, and yes, before anyone asks, I know full well that it and the Ecosystem are long overdue for a cleanup and tuneup itself. (Again, irony; the needs of the business side of the house (Kithbridge) have left little time for the more playful things like the Ecosystem). But I decided that my new blog needed a new home; N.Z. Bear, bless his fuzzy self, has retired, and it’s just Rob endeavoring to persevere onwards from here on out. For those who care, my blog post archives from TTLB are still over there, but they’re also here, and are far more accessible on this shiny new WordPress system.

So there you have it. This week, brace yourself for some nostalgia: going through this process has forced me to browse through some old archives, and there’s some fun stuff buried back there in ’02 – ’03, before the tectonic plates of the political blogosphere cooled and hardened into their current rigid forms. (Note, for instance, that in my first post above — and many after —  I was bashing Bush (and so was Glenn) — although those truly paying attention will realize that never actually stopped on either of our parts.) I may just have to dig some interesting tidbits up for re-examination through the lens of 2010 to kick things off in the new digs here.

And finally, to my clients who may look at this site and view it as an example to be followed: don’t! When you have an eight-year blogoversary, you can do a half-baked relaunch with a barely thought out and only mostly functional new blog. Until then, don’t screw around, talk to me, and we’ll get it right!

Here, however, I reserve the right to get it wrong: frequently, and with vigor. Hope everyone will drop by now and again to to see the show…

But And oh how the world has changed: I was bashing Bush (and so was Glenn) — and my post contains a spelling error, damnit.