Aug 6, 2007

UC Smackdown

Thanks to our readers we have much to bring you this morning.

First, there is this letter from Representatives Stupak and Dingell to the UC Board of Regents. Its only three pages but it hits UC hard. For reference, you can also read the constitution's Eleventh Amendment here and Article III here. And UC's declassified supplemental briefing paper is here (go to page 17 for the assertion of immunity under the Eleventh Amendment).

Next we have updates on Friday's Visclosky-Hobson post. A link to a copy of the letter has been added (look at the bottom of the post).

Finally, we also have S 1914 for you to ponder with your coffee.

23 comments:

Eric said...

I would really appreciate some perspective on this pissing match.

If the eleventh amendment forbids the Federal government from suing a state (a States rights constitutional issue), then is the Hobson letter anything more than grandstanding?

Say that the Federal government removes all federal funding from the UC system, then what? Does DOE or Congress really think that nationalizing Livermore, Los Alamos, and Lawrence Berkeley as well as a number of other sites is a feasible plan? There is a reason for the GOCO system. The reason is that the government knows that it is not equipped to run these places.

On a last point, why did LLNS win the contract for Livermore given Congress's anger at UC?

This is getting 'curiouser and curiouser' ("Through the Looking Glass" Lewis Carroll).

It seems that whatever these skirmishes are actually about has not yet made it into the press.

Comments?

friend of Plato said...

So, speaking of paying fines, did LANS cough up the 300k or did they appeal? I'd sure like to see a copy of the check. Did they pay it in time or are they under the 100k k per infraction per day escalation clause?
Is this the mid-point of transition out or to some other contractor?

Anonymous said...

The letter on Assertion of 11th Amendment is hilarious. UC is so ashamed of their letter they classified it (I haven't seen a copy of UC's assertion letter, perhaps a reader could email it to Pinky). And it is also an indication of how pissed Stupak and Dingell are at the whole mess.

Anonymous said...

LANS paid the $300K.

Anonymous said...

UC has been, has always been, continues to be, and apparently will always be the source of the arrogance and stupidity so amply exhibited by so many in leadership in Los Alamos. What a disgusting and pathetic legacy!

Anonymous said...

Eric said...
I would really appreciate some perspective on this pissing match.


More PC : Urinary Olympics

Anonymous said...

As of today, LANL has a workforce of about 12,000. I predict that within only 5 years the workforce will collapse to 6,000 workers with most of the existing workforce involved in plutonium pit production. We are going to be cut in half and the jobs that are left won't be for TSMs earning $120 K per year. They will be for support and technicians earning about $60 K per year with reduced benefits. I don't like this prediction, but it is where I firmly believe we are now headed due to the forces now in motion.

If you have a large mortgage on a house in Los Alamos County, sirens should be popping off in your head. The financial risks of both working and living in Los Alamos County are rapidly increasing. If at all possible, start paring back on your living standards and increase your savings. The financial storm clouds approaching over the Jemez Mountains look extremely vicious.

Anonymous said...

8:49AM said LANS paid the fine. Correction--the taxpayer paid the fine through the $70 million management fee that we pay LANS for their "world-class" leadership to run Los Alamos (into the ground that is).

Eric...just go back to sleep, please. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The top post calls UC's paper "declassified" and 7:08 am says "UC is so ashamed of their letter they classified it"

Sloppy terminology can be simple error or ignorance, or can represet something more sinister. UC did not "classify" the paper, it simply marked it Official Use Only, a marking that can only be applied to unclassifed material. This action was perfectly legitimate under DOE regulations. Then, after receipt of the paper, the UC determination of OUO was overturned by higher authority, again perfectly legitimate under DOE regs.

John Fleck said...

I was away on Friday when this initially blew up, but UC apparently immediately backed away from the 11th amendment argument, sending out this statement to the trade press people who were covering the story:

"The 11th Amendment is a defense that we routinely consider in appropriate cases. This is not such a case. We should not have suggested that it is - the reference in our submission was inadvertent and is being withdrawn."

Anonymous said...

Page 11 of the UC analysis of why it can't be held accountable for Lab screwups, under the section captioned "Additional information on the impace of Security Program Funding Reductions," the first sentence in the first paragraph states that "Transition issues caused the Laboratory director to call for a temporary halt to assessment activities that were not mission essential and were within the University's control to cancel or defer. This approach was approved by Linton Brooks..."

Hmmm....I wonder if this is in reference to Nanos' shutdown of the Lab for months?

John Fleck said...

anonymous 12:52 points out that it was "perfectly legitimate under DOE regulations" for the document to be initially marked "official use only", but that is only because the current guidelines are so weak and flexible as to be useless in terms of guaranteeing public access to information of public interest and importance.

As I've written in the newspaepr in the past, in order to apply that OUO stamp, an employee must determine that some information in the document *might* meet one of the FOIA exemptions. In my reading of the document, I find nothing that even remotely approaches any of those exemptions, but the person making the OUO designations is under no burden requiring that they justify their decision. The result is that there are now whole classes of documents of public interest and importance, like this one, that are now routinely fenced off from public view, with no accountability whatsoever short of the burdensome and potentially expensive step of filing a formal Freedom of Information Act request.

Anonymous said...

Application of OUO is quite appropriate in most discussions regarding security, especially if one is either talking about security weaknesses, vulnerabilities, or compensatory measures that may give insight to circumvention.

Anonymous said...

" Application of OUO is quite appropriate in most discussions regarding security, especially if one is either talking about security weaknesses, vulnerabilities, or compensatory measures that may give insight to circumvention."

In that case this entire blog is OUO, since so many of UC/LANS/LANL's security weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and (lack of) compensatory measures have been so thoroughly discussed.

Speaking of which, where is John Mitchell's classified living room laptop?

Anonymous said...

Hey, 12:52. If you want to get really picky, OUO is a classification, you literal-minded dildo.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8/6/07 3:17 PM said, "Hey, 12:52. If you want to get really picky, OUO is a classification, you literal-minded dildo."

So do you feel better now? You must be a manager.

K. Boland said...

What is a "literal minded dildo"? It sounds like fun-- maybe something I want to be when (if?) I grow up.

Anonymous said...

3:17 pm "If you want to get really picky, OUO is a classification, you literal-minded dildo."

One can be too "literal minded." "Classification" in the context of government information control, has a very specific meaning. OUO is not "classification" in that context. Obviously, the playtoy is in your court, or wherever.

Anonymous said...

3:10 pm:

"In that case this entire blog is OUO, since so many of UC/LANS/LANL's security weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and (lack of) compensatory measures have been so thoroughly discussed."

If you are subject to DOE regulations, by employment or contract, and if you think the OUO regs have been violated, maybe you should do the right thing. If not, do whatever you wish, depending on your own decision on whether the material should be openly discussed. We all bear responsibllity for what we decide to say in public. Maybe there will be no consequences at all, maybe the consequences will never touch us personally. Maybe there will be catastrophic consequences we can't forsee. Maybe, someone we know and love will die because we said something we shouldn't. Who knows? Make a choice and live with it.

Anonymous said...

9:55pm,

True words, however you also have to consider the management culture,
our nations current political culture, and the popular culture that have brought about the creation of the various LANL blogs and what people are saying on them. We are not in a vacuum. In fact I would say that LANL is like
a canary in a coal mine for the rest of the nation. We slam Los Alamos and destroy our own intellectual capital. Yet at the same time we adore the Hollywood hores and live carefree frivolous lives where everyone is uniquely special and no one can actually do anythings of real substance.

Anonymous said...

You're right 12:11 AM. Those Hollywood "hores" need to get real employment! Creating weapons of mass destruction and providing the means for world domination...now that's a real job!

Anonymous said...

"OUO" sounds like the title of a pornographic magazine. Or perhaps this is the sound made by the idiot cop on the old Car 55 TV comedy of a bygone era--OUO, OUO. Could be the sound made during a hormone surge--OUO yea baby, OUO yea. Or perhaps these days it could be the sound made when we're constipated from a day of stress at the Lab--OUO, OUO, OUO...plop!

Anonymous said...

Hollywood "hores" are Weapons of Mass Distraction (WMDs). They serve an important purpose in keeping the public's eye off the real and growing problems in America. They are like a modern version of the Roman Circus.