Aug 19, 2007

Motivations

Several comments to recent posts have posed the question: What motivated Pinky & Gussie to run this blog? First things first: Pinky started this blog -- it is his. Pinky will have to speak for himself about his own motivations, and I'm sure he eventually will.

As for myself, I'm helping out here because Pinky said he needed the help. I told him "No!" at first. And at second. But eventually I got into the spirit of things.

What is that, you ask?

Well, in no particular order:

* A strong abhorance of UC, and any vestigial odor of their residual managerial presence at LANL, which, due to DOE's awarding of the contract to LANS, is unfortunately abundant,

* A strong dislike of Bechtel, DOE, and their collective plan to turn LANL into a pit production facility at any cost, and

* A fervent hatred of the managerial incompetence that has become the hallmark of LANL. As to my particulars, which were also questioned:

I retired in 2005 after a long time at LANL, because I (correctly) perceived that UC had no intentions nor any desire to correct the problems in the LANL management infrastructure that had led up to the Nanos melt-down.

Why am I still helping to maintain this blog?

Good question. I'd have to say that my summary reason would be an abhorrent, fascinated compulsion. Take the "Hispanic" post, and the comments it garnered as an example. I'm still here because I just can't *wait* to see what new insights into the underbelly of Los Alamos culture will become exposed to the rest of the world (that portion that still cares enough to take a voyeuristic glimpse, at least). Racism; elitism; corporate profiteering at its absolute worst has been abundently demonstrated on that post. These are now undeniable components of Los Alamos society.

Now that I've been out in the real world for a couple of years, I've noticed that outside of a 200-mile radius of Los Alamos, nobody much knows nor cares what goes on at LANL and Los Alamos. This active blog community, therefore, is by definition a cross-section of LANL culture, exposed to the world. I await with morbid fascination the words that will be coming out of your mouths next.

When I get tired, or totally disgusted with what I see, then I'll bail and leave Pinky to haul the garbage on his own. I'd hate to do that to him, because he is a friend, but when enough is enough, that is exactly what I will do.

--Gussie

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

the minute anyone says a word against hispanics it's racism.... funny how that doesn't work both ways. To me the whiny remarks by espanola mayor against LANL (or the implied "white LANL") were more racist than anything said in return.... get it right, next time

Anonymous said...

Gussie,

The blog and reality are different things. You have to keep in mind that 90% of the people at LANL do not look at the blog and I would guess that less than 1% of them post. As for the the racists and eltists comments, these are not comming from LANL scientists or LANL staff. By the way Gussie, I have lived in LA, the Bay area, Chicago and San Diego, I can tell you Los Alamos is by far the most tolerant, diverse, and opened minded place I have ever lived. It is not suprising considering just how diverse the population is in terms of the places all around the globe that the scientists come from. I bet the racists posts are comming from a smll number of people who hate LANL and will say anything to hurt it. My guess this is just two or three people
who hate LANL who post over, and over, and over again. Guys like Mechels. It seems like everytime I open a paper in N New Mexico there is a bizare ranting letter by this
moonbat about how bad LANL is that sound like posts I see every day on this blog.

UC is not bad. They really messed up when they did not fire Nanos immediately. However did you reallywant the competition to win? I am sorry but as of right now, and I do mean right now, ask any young postdoc to choose between LANL and Sandia and every single one them would choose LANL, every one! That says a whole lot about Sandia.

As for your 200m radius bit. I do not understand your point. Sorry. This blog and the other blogs are not cross sectins of Los Alamos. Never was and never will be. You are a very dishonest person to say so. Is your name Doug by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for discussing your true colors, Gussie. But it was obvious to most of us at this point anyhow. Do us all a favor and just shut this thing down. You want to expose what you believe to be the bad Los Alamos, so you intentionally post "news" items and "moderate" the blog to do so. If you can't moderate the trash, then don't bother at all.

I also find it interesting that, with nothing to lose, you chose to remain anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8/19/07 6:48 PM is way off base. The Blog is useful. The LANS management are not forthright with us on many issue. The Blog provides usefull information.

If s/he doesn't like it, then s/he shouldn't tune in.

Anonymous said...

The blog is useful to aid in the destruction of LANL, which Gussie left behind and has no stake in. Beyond that, it has no real utility anymore. What was the last item posted here, and discussion that followed, in which anyone really gained any insight? Useful information?

Many people have already voted with their "feet" on this blog. That's why the signal to noise ratio is much worse now. Add me to those ranks. Adios. I know...I won't let the door hit me as I go, you clever posters you.

Anonymous said...

Interesting -- I would say this blog is not completely out of touch with current LANL attitudes. Many of the complaints and rumblings I hear on here I hear quite frequently at work (minus the Hispanic/Mormon/Pick-your-target bashing). I know many people around me who are not at all fans of Terry/Alan/insert-manager-here, and people who think the lab is full of dead weight, etc... Sure -- there's alot of noise on this blog that obscures the signal, but there sure as hell are a lot of people at the lab who both want to see it survive but are unwilling to let gross mismanagement and incompetence from *within* be the factor that ultimately destroys the place. It's idiotic to say that airing our dirty laundry is going to kill the place. We're in the position we're in as a lab right now for that very reason -- the dirty laundry internally within the lab, DOE/NNSA, and UC have been kept pretty quiet for too long. This blog isn't going to damage LANL -- but incompetent managers and wasteful policies sure as hell are.

What disappoints me about this blog is that the editors seem to play a game of mixing real, relevant information in with posts that seem to be intended solely to stir up trouble and get people railing against various ethnicities or religions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist (or bomb scientist) to know when a post crosses the line between useful information and simple troublemaking.

Anonymous said...

Whatever Gussie's motives are, and whatever his background is, he just posts news about LANL and allows comments.

If the news sucks, perhaps we should look in a mirror instead of blaming him.

Anonymous said...

7:56

You have a point however the blog is just full of total noise and bs now. People claiming that they are MBA students, when they are not, that they work for LANL when they do not, that they have no agenda when they clearly do. DTAOTB. "Do not trust anything on this blog"

By the way I am a Ph.d student in
Psychology. My dissertation is on
people with mental disorders who make up bs negative stuff up about places and post it on blogs. My advisor did not believe me untill I showed him the nutcase posts on this blog. My Ph.d is now summa cum laude thanks to this blog. I hope congress is listening because I am a real tax payer and I post on blogs. LANL has never done a single thing for the United States and has totally destroyed Northern New Mexico economically. If you do not like what I have to say than dont let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Firefighters are a total waste of the tax payers money. Why should I have to pay for a bunch of people and arrogant spotted dogs to put out fires for other people. Those people should just pay directly have fires put out. Jesus built my hotrod. I am a crossection of what people are really like in Omaha. You fools should have listened to Warren Buffet. But what can I say you do not live in the REAL WORLD like I do.

Anonymous said...

I'm kinda tired of people holding up the original blog as some ground shattering grassroots movement. In many ways, it reminds me a bit of MoveOn.org -- a very good idea, with some nominal, if small effects, that got quite overblown in it's impact in retrospect. Sure - I am sure the old blog had some impact on getting Nanos out of town, although I would bet good money that he'd have been gone anyways without the blog.

Don't ignore that the original blog did end up turning off anonymous comments due to their generally useless and detrimental nature. This is one area where the current blog fails to live up to the integrity Doug showed -- he took measures to ensure that people at least had to exert some effort to post instead of being able to fire off garbage at will. Obviously most of the names people used were one step away from anonymous, but at least Doug took some action to keep the blog on target and moving towards a productive end.

I know the current blog has moderator approval turned on, so clearly there is some decision making in what gets posted. Can the moderators please justify how comments about the sexual appeal of a manager, vitriolic comments about our neighbors in Espanola, and other topics of gutter value at best, can pass muster for being worth posted?

Freedom of speech is one thing, and a dangerous road to go down is the other extreme of censorship. But there has to be some middle where counterproductive dialog is discouraged. This isn't a taxpayer funded forum - it is arguably a private entity. Therefore there is no legally defined right for every poster to have their say, and freedom of speech does not apply in a constitutional sense. The fact that utter garbage is perpetually allowed to appear is purely a CHOICE of the blog owners. Talking about pits vs no pits, fine. Talking about incompetent managers vs competent ones, fine. WTF is with the comments about Mrs. Neu? How do those contribute, at all, to this dialog? That string of comments is when I realized this blog was of little productive value (although I still watch it to catch a headline or two that i would miss otherwise). It's one thing to bitch about a manager based on their idiotic behavior, but to drop to gender-based attacks? Jesus. That's just wrong.

Anonymous said...

"My dissertation is on
people with mental disorders who make up bs negative stuff up about places and post it on blogs."

Cool. With your talents there's no longer a need for CI Polygraphs :)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the moderators allow those trash comments to be posted for the same reason that they post all of the (mostly bad) news about LANL: it is a reality of Los Alamos society that should no longer be kept secret.

Perhaps it is only one person who is making all of the racist/sexist/Mormon and otherwise biggoted and ugly comments, but I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

10:35, summa cum laude for a grad degree?

Eric said...

Gussie,
Two things:

1. If you could do anything you want to alleviate the hatreds and fix LANL, what would you do? Why would this action be good for the rest of us?

2. What fuels these hatreds and keeps them alive for more than two years?

Thanks.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Eric:

Nothing. I have no desire to try to impose a moral compass. The changes you suggest must come from within, or not at all.

--Gussie

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think a blog is much closer to reality than we want to admit. There's the mask we put on for our family and friends. Then there's the mask we put on for our employers. What we see in a blog that allows for anonymous posting is our collective face, fully exposed...blemishes and all. That's reality. That's us folks, standing naked in front of our bathroom mirrors, with flab and other imperfections no longer hidded with makeup and loose clothing. Racism, it has been said many times on this blog, is alive and well over all parts of our land of enchantment (and the rest of the country ain't immune by the way). But Los Alamos still remains the epicenter of bigotry (as one astute contributor points out). I tend to agree with respect to all these points. This, unfortunately, is indeed who we are...like it or not. This is a conclusion I've reached not so much through this blog, but through my nearly 50 years on this planet, the majority of it being spent walking the hallways of our once great Los Alamos National Laboratory. In other words this blog only confirmed what I and many others already knew. We have, as has already been said many times, met the enemy and we are it. Hello there friend.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we all just live in a fantasy land? Let's pretend, as we have for so long, that the best and brightest still bless us with their presence in northern New Mexico. Let's pretend that our entire State would cease to exist were it not for the world class presence of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Let's go back to the good old days when the world viewed us as a nation of wide-grinned freckle-faced do-gooders of old. Let's go back to the good ol days of Father Knows Best…Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, where one six shooter in the hands of a Texas Ranger wearing the white hat and walking tall could kill off thirty spear-toting Indians without having to reload once, much less aim. Yea, this is the reality we want to recreate at Los Alamos. So let's shut down this blog, so we can frame the "reality" we want to create…of a bygone era that never existed except in the minds of those who benefited immensely from myths of greatness that only served to preserve and protect a status quo rooted that ensured the total absolute and unquestioned dominance of a privileged few over the “others” in our midst. Yes, so let's pretend and hope that the rest of the world is still stupid enough to believe in our fantasies of bravado and self promotion. Who needs truth.

Anonymous said...

My reply to the 10:15am poster. You should sign your name if you are so confident in your
position.

Charles

Pinky and The Brain said...

The blog is not shutting down, so there is no need to despair (or celebrate, as the case may be). When Gussie throws in the towel he'll leave with my thanks and an open invitation to come back.

And now a peek at the way things work around here:

Posting - Gussie and I both select or compose posts for the blog. The "Posted by ..." at the bottom will tell you which of us published a particular post.

Gussie is more likely to compose his own post while I usually post news stories. Gussie does post news if he sees it before me, and I have composed my own posts in (so far) unsuccessful attempts at humor. We both also handle anonymous post requests.

I realize that the things I post are sometimes damaging to the lab. I post what I think the readers are interested in. They keep coming back so I must be doing something right. The bulk of the readers, by the way, come from LANL during workdays, with LLNL a close second.

Comment Moderation - Nearly every comment has been accepted since comment moderation started. If anyone is really interested I can email samples of those that were rejected. In general, stay away from four letter words and your comment will be published.

More active moderation just isn't likely. Call me lazy, but I'll express my opinion in a comment rather than by censoring the comments of others. I doubt I could do it to anyone's satisfaction anyway, including my own. My only suggestions would be to apply your own filters and to draw your own conclusions from the comments.

And finally, blogger.com isn't perfect. If your comment disappeared and it wasn't offensive then it was probably lost. Just send it again or email us and ask what happened.
Cheers,
Pinky

Anonymous said...

ok Charles (12PM). My name (10:15AM) is Mike. So there!

Anonymous said...

The blog is great. Keep up the good work. It's a source of information that normally people that work at LANL or LLNL wouldn't have. I will tell you that things at LLNL are already starting to be secretive to the point where the first line supervisors are not informed. Only a few people have the balls to post e-mails lab wide but they never seem to post them on the blog. Oh well, maybe they don't really want the entire world to know what is going on. Take care and keep doing a good job Pinky

Anonymous said...

People at LANL and Livermore don't have access to newspaper articles that don't require a subscription?!?

What kind of misguided rationalization are you trying to peddle anyhow?

The myth of self importance. Sad really. Gain some perspective, some rigidity to your spine and a sense of having mastery over your own destiny for crying out loud!

Anonymous said...

I fully support Pinky and the Brain.

You are PhD's - you are supposed to be intelligent. The demise is on the hands of the staff as well as the incomptent.

Henceforth - we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Are there any adults out there?

Anonymous said...

10am said

"But Los Alamos still remains the epicenter of bigotry"

This statement is beyond false.
From this statement you are (1)
A liar who is trying to hurt the lab. (2) Someone who has never been anywhere else in the United States and is really ignorant.

I think think (1). This is the problem with the blog. Anyone can just post any kind of made up nonsense. A crossection of Los Alamos ... yaaa riiighttt.

Anonymous said...

To 10:35PM,
I like you!

Anonymous said...

9:10AM apparently doesn't read newspapers or watch TV news. Too brilliant for such nonsense apparently, kind of like our current so-called President. Remember the layoff that occurred in 1995? Remember how the U.S. Department of Labor ruled that the Lab had conducted that layoff in a discriminatory manner? Remember the salary disparity case that just got settled? Remember that the Lab's own "Welch Study" concluded there was significant pay inequity with respect to women and minorities? Remember the Lab volunteering to make about $6 million or so in salary adjustments that weren't nearly enough to correct the disparity, but was a weak-kneed attempt nonetheless? Remember how the Lab was then sued, in two separate class actions, and how it then decided to settle for another $12 million or so, effectively admitting that it was still underpaying women and minorities relative to white men? Any of this ring a bell 9:10AM? Now do you see why some folks view Los Alamos the epicenter of bigotry in northern New Mexico? Or is your head just stuck to far up to see the light anymore?

Anonymous said...

11:45 am:

Since when is gender pay disparity on the part of an employer a sign of bigotry among the residents of the town in which the employer operates? Based on national statistics, I'd guess you think just about all towns in the US are "epicenters of bigotry." Victimhood is so comfortable, eh? And anonymous slander so easy...

Anonymous said...

11:45AM

If Los Alamos was the epicenter of bigotry than there never would have been a Welch study and there never would have been any lawsuits. Just think about this for a second and you will understand what I mean.

Now of course Los Alamos can be improved in this regards along with every other organizations in the United States, however saying Los Alamos is the "epicenter of bigotry" is out and out complete bs and the 11:45AM poster knows it. I would also bet that the 11:45AM poster has no real concern for minorities or equal rights but is simply trying to attack LANL.

Anonymous said...

Regarding LANL & bigotry:

To set the recorcd straight on the 1995 RIF, in the summer of 1995, it was determined that overhead costs were out of control. The Director, Hecker, decided that the way to cut overhead costs was to reduce staff in the overhead areas. This, of course, made sense. So, a RIF was planned for November 1995. When the demographics of the RIFees were determined, it was found that those being RIFed were disproportionately women and Hispanics. So, we were told to find some TSMs and TECs to be RIFed in order to add some Anglos to the list. We were directed to rank-order our employees and the RIF of TSMs and TECs was to be done on the basis of that ranking. That was done and about 500 employees were RIFed. Some of the RIFees were really quality employees who just got caught in the downsizing while others were individuals who should have been terminated for cause many years prior.

An organization with a name of Committee for Los Alamos Employees' Rights (CLER) was formed. About 150 RIFees joined in a lawsuit claiming that the RIF was discriminatory. CLER put up five individuals as plaintiffs with the understanding that all would share in the award.

The five individuals were:
two Hispanics
two women
one Angle PhD, age ~55

The local press, primarily the New Mexican, published so many anti-LANL articles that a change of venue to ABQ was ordered.

UC prevailed in four of the five complaints. Only the 55 year-old Anglo male won, a victim of age discrimination.

CLER took its complaint to various government agencies. Finally one agency, led by a Clinton appointee, decided that LANL discriminated against women and Hispanics in the RIF and would have to hire about 150 of the RIFees back.

By this time, about 1998, most of the highly-qualified RIFees had already found jobs. Many of those who were hired via this process were among those that should have been terminated for cause long before the 1995 RIF. These mostly ended up in overhead areas such a Facilities Management.

On the subject of women and minorities at LANL and their salaries, one should not that in each employee classification (TSM, SSM, TEC, etc) the women and minorities average more paid leave than their Anglo counterparts. This results in lower productivity and, presumably, ORC scores and thus lower salaries. This is a nationwide fact.

In the case of the women, they are always stuck with the childcare: delivering/retrieving the kids from school and staying home with a sick kid. The Hispanics take a lot more family leave because their relative reside locally and they are expected to attend every funeral and instance of hospitalization.

Anonymous said...

8/21/07 4:48 PM

WTF! You don't even have an idea of the complete truth.

Anonymous said...

5:45pm

It seems like the 4:48pm poster has some idea about what they are talking about. I am not sure about you. Saying WTF is not really an argument.

I know that some of the people the RIF list where indeed very very incompetent. It was stated on the old blog that Chris Mechels was one of those guys and now has a warped agenda againts LANL and spends all his time trying to hurt the lab. Looking at some of his inummerable wacked out letters that he sends to newspapers I would tend to agree with this assement.

Anonymous said...

4:48PM needs to get off his pain meds. Too much Oxy my friend. You don't know much about anything anymore. Your little fairy tale has more holes in it than a pound of swiss cheese. Boy did you fry your brain in backwater college. Couldn't stop laughing at your babbling nonsense. None of it made any sense, most of it was in error, and little of it matters when all is said and done. You and your racist/sexist cohorts just can't stand the fact that you've all had your behinds tatooed with a few good kicks over the years and there ain't a damn thing you can do about it, is there? Nope, there ain't. So go one an rant, go on and rage, go on and rewrite history to your satisfaction. In the end, we know...and you know the truth. You got beat!

Anonymous said...

5:45pm: You appear to be lost. The WTF thread is the one with the license plate on the front.

Anonymous said...

Drove around town the other day and noticed a huge number of "For Sale" signs in front of homes. It seems as if the number of homes for sale has taken another sudden jump upward. I wonder who all the sellers are? From the looks of some of the high prices they are asking, I don't think most of these sellers are sufficiently motivated to sell their homes just yet. Prices are bound to drop lower. How low they will go is anybody's guess.

Anonymous said...

4:48 PM wrote "...By this time, about 1998, most of the highly-qualified RIFees had already found jobs. Many of those who were hired via this process were among those that should have been terminated for cause long before the 1995 RIF. These mostly ended up in overhead areas such a Facilities Management."

And this folks is how we got Martin Aguilera ...

Anonymous said...

So IF there was gender discrimination at LANL/LANS they would fix it instantly since any lawsuit would take them and their large fee to the cleaners. I would also think that Mary Neu and Sue Seastrom would not stand for gender discrimination and pay inequities at this institution. Therefore, I am pretty sure that there is no significant pay inequity between women and men at LANL/LANS and you are all a bunch whiney wenches, I mean Welches ...

Anonymous said...

8:41pm

I take it you have a drinking problem. Get help. It will be better for all of us.

Anonymous said...

From Poster 2:22 AM "..WTF is with the comments about Mrs. Neu? How do those contribute, at all, to this dialog?"

I believe you mean Mrs. Runde. Mr. Neu would not be pleased.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4:48pm on August 21st relates the facts of the 1995 RIF pretty much as I remember them. I was a GL at the time and remember facts as s/he states them.

As far as discrimination at LANL, the only group of people that is under-represented relative to the demographics of their respective field is Anglo males. Yes, there are not a lot of Hispanic Physicists at LANL, but there are not very many Hispanic Physicists anywhere.

Anonymous said...

For those that think a blog that caters to free speech, like this one, is what's destroying the Lab...think again. It's the attitudes reflected in a lot of the posts here and elswhere that is doing us in not this or any other blog. It's our inabilty to respect and honor those we may disagree with that is killing us as an institution. It's the notion that "they," collectively, are the problem that IS the problem. So long as we judge others harshly we too will be judged harshly. And in the end, there will be now winners. That, you can bet on.

Anonymous said...

8/22/07 9:49 AM

So because you were a Group Leader qualifies you to know something! Management has been our problem all this time. Don't you get it?

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 8/22/07 2:11 PM:
as a GL prior to and during the 1995, I participated in doing the employee ranking, etc. I also later participated in considering RIFees for re-hire.

Anonymous said...

"And this folks is how we got Martin Aguilera ...

8/21/07 10:20 PM"

How come we still got him?

Anonymous said...

8/21/07 10:28 PM

Never assume that women will ensure no gender discrimination, except when it comes to protecting their own assets.

Anonymous said...

8/22/07 9:08 PM hit the nail on the head. Seestrom + Neu = Uncle Toms.