Sep 7, 2007

This Just In

[I can't take credit for this, wish I could. It was sent in by a contributor with a well developed funny-bone.

--Gussie]

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*** AP NEWS REPORT ****
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At an abruptly called LANL All-Hands meeting on Thursday, LANL Director Mike Anastascio told his staff, "You're fired! Every single one of you! There will only be enough cash in next year's budget to pay for my salary and that of the LANS Executive staff. Now, get out of here!"

Following the LANL meeting, several memorandums where released by the New Mexico delegation in regards to this abrupt announcement of massive layoffs planned for Los Alamos National Labs:

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"Pistol-Pack'n" PETE: I don't like these cuts, but what do you expect? Too many people voted Democratic at the last election and the GOP, your ultimate protectors, have now lost their ability to watch your back. I'll be offering some strong words of praise and then wait this one out as you all slowly twists in the wind. In fact, some layoffs might help remind you folks who "butters your bread" and lead to my glorious re-election and a return to a Republican control Congress and a GOP controlled Presidency. Whose your Daddy? After a hard whipping, you won't ever forget again, now, will you?

******

"Luke-warm" JEFF: I have lots of important things to do as a Senator from New Mexico. The labs are only a small part of a much bigger picture that I'm involved in so, don't bother me. If I have time, I'll try to see what I can do to help out. Nuclear weapons are not a growth industry, and you should have know that by now. It's not really my problem. As I told you, I have more important things to do.

******

"Timid" TOM: Sure, I voted for the draconian cuts that will savagely destroy the labs, just as my Democratic buddies all order me to do, but I didn't really mean it. Really. They promised me everything would come out OK in the end. I'm a little bit scared right now about all this, but, you know what? The labs aren't really my problem. LANL is way out on the edge of my district, so I'm allowed to punt the blame on this one. Besides, I warned you people over 2 months ago to diversity into windmill research and bamboo-based technology and you wouldn't listen to me, would you? Time's up. Oh, and please remember to support my re-election campaign next year. Laid-off LANL workers should have oodles and oodles of extra time to help me re-take my seat and further my new prosperity plan throughout New Mexico. My prosperity plan will be done in the same style which my friends, Mr. Dingell and Mr. Stupak, have used in their terrific Rust-Belt state of Michigan. Mr. Dingell is extra nice to me, too. Sometimes he lets me hold his umbrella for him. He seems like a really swell guy, that Mr. Dingell!

******

"Hysterical" HEATHER: Oh my God! The Democratic hordes have overtaken Congress and voted to cut funding to the labs and re-divert the funds to train Al-Qeda operatives in explosive technology! It's all true. Your women and children are all going to die if this continues any longer! I can only imagine what those evil Democrats plan to do next. The Defeatocrats are actively selling out this country to the terrorist! You can never spend too much on nuclear weapons. You can never be too safe. In fact, we should double the weapons funding. No, triple it! Hey, I sound a lot like the old St. Pete, don't I? I would make a great New Mexico Senator, wouldn't I? Can I have another one of those juicy pork steaks? I jus'luv pork!!! You can never have too much of the other "white meat".

******

"Pompous" Mr. BILL: Under my great leadership as Governor, New Mexico has created a wonderful set of new programs to train our citizens for a high-tech future. Laid off scientists at LANL have nothing to fear, as my retraining programs will quickly turn any 55 year old nuclear physicists into an accomplished hamburger flipper in less than one week. And the pay is quite good, as we offer $8 bucks an hour minimum wage in my state, thanks to me. Training opportunities abound under my great leadership. Heck, these programs will even assist laid-off LANL Ph.d's in writing really neat sounding resumes to bag that new high-tech, low paying job. I did all this for you. Me, Bill Richardson. You can thank me next year by voting to make me President of the United States. Man, do I kick-ass, or what? And how about those new job-creating tax reduction plans of mine. Sweet stuff, huh?

******

In addition to the New Mexico delegation, the following message was overheard from the House Energy Committee meeting rooms:

"Grumpy" DINGELL-BERRY: Where do we stick the knife, Stuppie, my boy? Ahh, there's the heart. Stick it in nice and deep. Give it a good, hard twist. We want to utterly destroy that nasty place, LANL. Good boy. Very good boy! Now, take my umbrella and give it to that fine new kid, Tom, so he can hold it for me while I walk over to the Senate office buildings. We're going to take this fresh heart and offer it as a burnt sacrifice to the political gods.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't be too hard on Tom Udall. He actually voted FOR more LANL funding before he voted AGAINST more LANL funding so that he could vote FOR more LANL funding in the future.

He's standing right beside LANL. Well, not actually right beside us, more like a little in front of us and a bit to the right, but he'll shortly be changing his position and move solidly behind us and a little bit to the left, or maybe he'll just decide to squat down in front of us.

The workers at LANL should know that you can always count on Tom... for something, or other... sometimes... if it suits his fancy.

Tom Udall is a man of bold leadership. Well, not too bold, unless you want a lot of boldness, which is OK with Tom, because Tom can do bold if you really want it. That is, if its all OK with the leaders in the Democratic Party. Tom will check with them and get right back to you on it.

Anonymous said...

Very Funny! I enjoyed hearing from Dingleberry and Stupid, uh, Stupak. Without them, we wouldn't be twixt a rock and a hard place - would we?

I have wondered whose pockets paid them to do what they did?

Anonymous said...

This is good for a laugh but when I stop laughing, I will vent my frustrations at the voting booth with Tom Udall. How dare you vote to cut the budget at LANL!! I will do my best to see that you loose in the next election. I have never felt this way before about a politician. The way you turned your back on Los Alamos will be remembered. I'm glad you are a lawyer. Now you can show us your ability to diversify when you loose your job and go to work for POGO.

We will not forget

Anonymous said...

Wow! If Los Alamos National Laboratory had been established to make horse buggies, 100 years later (today) we'd still be arguing that there is a national security need for them to still exist so we could maintain our funding. In the mean time the rest of the world would be driving cars. How much longer do we think we can con the taxpayer into believing there's still a lot of undiscovered mystery surrounding nuclear weapons? How many more designs and redesigns and new designs (not labeled as such of course) can we fenagle before we're told, finally, enough is enough? The planet is burning up dear colleagues, and industrialized nations like ours, and now developing third world nations coming if age are accelerating the pace for the lack of energy alternatives to fossil fuel. And meanwhile, here at home, in the midst of all this our own infrastructure is crumbling, with bridges falling, dams and levies breaking, roads in disrepair, schools falling apart or busting at the seams. And yet we are still trying to convince Congress that the Los Alamos and Livermore national laboratories still deserve $5 billion a year in funding to keep doing what? To keep "ensuring the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile?" And we need two national labs blowing $5 billion a year for that? What else is the taxpayer getting for that ton of money these days? That's a question we have to be asking ourselves, even those of us who work here at the Lab because we too are taxpayers. Look at the ptjer competing interests out there. With an aging population and a growing gap between those requiring health care and those able to get it, how much longer can we, as a nation, keep feeding the insatiable appetite of a military-industrial complex gone biserk? How much longer can we, as a nation, keep ignoring basic human needs here at home and abroad? Yest, Los Alamos is now firmly established as an honored member of the military-industrial complex, and many of the nasty comments in this blog demonstrate it. So many of them are about "me"...about MY retirement, about MY economic interests, MY property values, MY maintaining dominance over the other group, about My comfort and MY immediate need. Few seem to care about the broader need, such as future of the planet, or about whether our grandkids and their kids will have a habitable planet and/or get stuck having to pay off the enormous deficit that Republican agenda of the past seven years has created. Few seem perceive anything wrong placing future generations in hock so that a privileged few, today, can continue to dominate and grow even more rich and even more powerful. And in reality that's how we've gottem to where we're at today; with funding shortfalls threatening to place hundreds if not thousands of Labbies in the unemployment line. We came blame a change in policy, or a conscious awakening, or a realization that we're wasting too damn much money feeding the military-industrial complex. But in reality we've just run out...plain and simple. And we ran out because we, as a nation (and a Lab), are too damn arrogant to behave more responsibly. History and events have finally caught up to us. We milked this cash cow for a hell of a long time, and now the cow is going dry we're in total shock. And so now let’s blame Udall, liberals, Santa Fe, Dingle, the Pope. Let’s blame everyone but ourselves. Let's keep acting like the spoiled children we have become well known for being. And no, I'm not Chris Mechels. I still work at the Lab, but I too am a taxpayer and unlike many of you, I have a concern about what we're doing. It's been said we reap what we sow, but in our case we've been very, very lucky for a very, very long time and perhaps now, with the current budget crunch, our luck has finally run out. But for those connected to the status quo, you probably don't have much to worry about. Your friends in management will take care of you. The rest however, such as the minority and female component of the workforce...they better start planning for a sinificant change in employment status. Or, do what we usually do when a threat is near. Just go back to sleep and pretent it'll all go away. Go to sleep now...sleep...sleep...zzzz

Greg said...

In my view, 11:51 pm explains Udall's role about right.

The newspapers (both liberal and conservative) and most blog commenters have missed the point that the second House floor vote on the Energy and Water Development (EWD) Appropriations Bill was, procedurally, pretty much a formality -- a vote on earmarks, including his own, upon which the future of Cannon Air Force base depended. Those earmarks -- there must have been hundreds -- were discussed and worked out in committee.

The line item issues in question were the subject of the first floor vote, when Udall led a rather hapless, doomed effort to restore funding to the Weapons Activities (WA) budget line while issuing a line of BS as to his intention to "diversify" LANL by adding funds to the nuclear weapons budget.

It should also be mentioned that Udall was the only member of the Appropriations Committee to orally condemn the proposed funding decline in WA when the EWD bill was voted out. ALL the other members of the committee, red and blue, were fine with it.

Overall I would say Udall was by far the most active member in the House working to restore LANL funding. He had little support from Republicans or Democrats and none from the White House.

Surely folks at LANL will calibrate their degree of support for him by his overall record, rather than by strict financial self-interest.

I have been somewhat amazed how my liberal friends applaud Udall for voting "against" this nuclear weapons funding increment in the end. He did all he could to plus up WA, and I heard in Washington that he lost some stature for his rebellion from the bipartisan effort that produced the House EWD bill that is producing the scripted "sky-is-falling" drama at the labs right now.

I believe, and this is a view shared by some on the Hill, that Udall's DC staff seemed not to fully understand the more detailed effects of his proposals.

In the end, his strong efforts on behalf of the lab's budget seem to have backfired. The White House did not come to the aid of its own nuclear weapons budget. Udall's amendment did not carry even half of the Republican members in the House, and he picked up only a fraction of Democrats. So it failed by a wide margin, a significant signal to all that the Administration's nuclear weapons programs aren't exactly popular. One congressional staffer told us that the wide margin by which Udall's amendment went down was a "significant moment," thoughtfully observed by many. It was, however, just one of a series of reversals in the fortunes of nuclear weapons initiatives this year.

It is not mentioned in most news accounts that the White House has threatened to veto appropriations bills that are too large. The House EWD bill is too large, by White House reckoning, by $1.1 B out of $30.5 B I think it is, while the proposed Senate EWD markup (not yet passed by the Senate) is too large by about $1.8 B. The White House has gone around getting signatures from Republicans promising to uphold a possible presidential veto of this and other spending bills, but of course lawmakers will be nervous and these bills do contain earmarks for their buddies and their districts.

Officially, the White House likes the RRW, etc., but overspending isn't popular with the base, and nuclear weapons are not a big vote-getter with most people.

Senator Domenici's idiosyncratic views on nuclear weapons programs -- no doubt informed and developed by the phalanx of lab and nuclear energy, er, representatives around him -- are not necessarily coincident with those in the White House.

In my opinion, the failings of the NM congressional delegation lie more in the area of failing to provide for economic growth in the region and for failing to plan for laboratory downsizing, both from the point of view of individuals at risk and from the perspective of the region's future. Crises create opportunities, and many creative possibilities do beckon, but the response of the NM delegation to just about every challenge facing us is to try and figure out how it might benefit the laboratories' bottom lines. In my view, that is dysfunctional and a big factor in perpetuating New Mexico's poor economic and social performance.

Greg Mello, Los Alamos Study Group

Anonymous said...

12:49 How about Stup-hack and Dingbell.

Anonymous said...

Greg, nice recap of what actually happened in DC, especially the point about Bush's threat to veto large spending bills...

Anonymous said...

"Officially, the White House likes the RRW, etc., but overspending isn't popular with the base, and nuclear weapons are not a big vote-getter with most people."

People in an outgoing administration are no different than anyone else. Their number one priority is looking to their next employment. That means making sure that Beltway Bandits are well-fed. Unfortunately for LANL and LLNL, we are thousands of miles away from the Beltway and until recently could not legally play in the "revolving door" game. Maybe as an LLC, we can now hire some cabinet officials, generals, and admirals (as long as we keep them occupied doing some paperwork).

Anonymous said...

9/8/07 9:15 AM

Well said Chuck Montano! So are you going to stop milking the lab because you're on another "change of station" with the State of NM. Let's see now is that your third or fourth time?

Anonymous said...

If Udall has been so great for Los Alamos, why has he not shown his face on the hill lately. I dare him to show up any time soon. He will not be welcomed. Let him give a speech in Santa Fe for the POGO PUKES! I'm sure they will enjoy his backstabbing ways.

We will not forget!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Maybe as an LLC, we can now hire some cabinet officials, generals, and admirals (as long as we keep them occupied doing some paperwork."

I thought LANL already has with the 2nd tier contractor Pro2Serve ( Everet Beckner and the boys is a start imo).

Anonymous said...

Good analysis, Greg. However, it won't help your friend, Udall, one bit. His polling people have to know he's now it deep trouble and it's not just in Los Alamos. He's going to have problems throughout the whole Espanola Valley. The recent California transplants may vote for him down in Santa Fe, but if any decent Democrat challenger decides to join the race against him for '08, he's in serious trouble. Voting to destroy thousands of good paying jobs in your own district is not a formula to win your next election. People will remember what Udall has done to LANL whether we lose 2500 jobs, 1000 jobs, or even 100 jobs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 2PM. Nice try, but no cigar. Time to go back to sleep...zzz

Anonymous said...

Hey 3:37 - Make sure you don't "forget!!!!"

But, please remember...

> you did not vote for Udall before, so your voting threat rings hollow.

> you treated your neighboring towns like crap, and they have more voters.

> Udall tried valiantly to restore the budget, but your inability to maintain classified information meant that the entire oversight committee, Democrat and Republican, thought that you could not be trusted with the nation's secrets.

> Next time you want to point finders, remember that three fingers and a thumb are pointing back at yourself - ;)

Anonymous said...

Anyone who could get a change of station would be happy as a clam to be somewhere else these days. I doubt those lucky bastards could care less about the misery the rest of us are having to endure.

Anonymous said...

2PM is full of it. I know Chuck, and he was driven out of the Lab because he could not get job assignment inside the Lab. That's the reason he's on a change of station today. And yes, he fought for it because he got tired of sitting around the Lab doing nothing. So what's wrong with that?. Perhaps 2PM would find doing nothing all day the perfect job? That, in case you didn't know, is what you'd call milking the system. So what then do you call the managers that put employees into a corner with nothing to do in order to punish, harass and retaliate against those employees? How. about sadistic bastards! So get your facts straight 2PM before you use the gutless cover of. anonymity to defame another person you clearly know nothing about. Worse yet, you probably hate this man because he has stood up to people like you over the years and won. What you'll never understand is why. That's because you'll never understand what itt is to help others just because you can. So now crawl back under the rock you sneaked out from. and STFU!

Anonymous said...

I think 9:15 is Udall or one of his aids. Sounds like his rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 7:11. Udall and his aids have nothing better to do than to post rambling comments here.

(Think before you type, genius)

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine in State government sent me this link awile back: http://www.saonm.org/contacts-staff.php

Note who's the Director of Fraud Audits in the New Mexico State Auditor's Office. Doesn't sound like much of a cow-milking assignment if you ask me. I guess the question I have.to ask is why couldn't the Lab find a similar assignment for this individual inside the Lab? If you don't think we have fraudulant activity occurring in our own institution, think. again. What a waste of resource. But whose fault is it if not Lab management? Place the blame where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

2PM very well be Rich Marquez. Lab management hates Montano for his past advocacy, but Marquez especially does. That's. pretty well known around the. Lab. Or it could just be another media junky that forms opinions based on news distortions, rumors and innuendos. Whoever it is though, it should stop. No one really knows for sure who is posting, and to be suggesting otherwise is just plain wrong. Attempting to discrediting the message by discrediting the messenger; whether it is in fact the messenger, is a form of McCarthyism we can all do without. The issue is the Lab's funding. Let's stick to the issue. We'd all be better off if we did.

Anonymous said...

The sky is falling. Time to reset and rewind. Time to move on.

Anonymous said...

We will not forget!!

This is not about Democrat v. Republican. I am a Democrat but if I loose my job because Tommy Boy did what his mentors told him to do, I am going to be really pissed. When you send someone to Washington, you want them to voice your opinion, not the opinion of some guy from Michigan. Tom, your family has some good things behind them but you really screwed the pooch on this one. Do SOMETHING this week or you will loose my vote and the votes of several fellow Democrats.

Marty, are you listenting?? Time to move to SF.

We will not forget!!

Anonymous said...

" The sky is falling. Time to reset and rewind. Time to move on." 9/9/07 8:58 AM

Most of the best performers in my group have either left LANL or are preparing to move on. We are getting left with a high percentage of 'dregs' who have no funding, who have no desire or ability to help out other programs, and who have no desire or ability to obtain new funding to help bail us out of our declining financial position. It's looking very bleak these days.

Everybody seems to be running for the safety of overhead funding, but the programmatic money that pays for all overhead is quickly evaporating.

Anonymous said...

In response to all of you....We are located in "El Norte", whether you like or not, the majority of voters will pull a straight democratic ticket even if you run Mickey Mouse. Until these folks get tired of being screwed, there will not be a change.

Anonymous said...

It's no wonder the Lab is in the mess it's in. Maybe a severence package would enable the angry, discouraged and disenfrachised to leave and go on with their lives elsewhere. But it probably won't get rid of the many of the problem managers that created this mess to begin with. Without that, the institutional gain in moral would be short lived at best. It's a sad situation for all of us because we just can't seem to let the healing begin.

Anonymous said...

I've got an idea. LANS could completely kill off all the current programmatic work that gets funded and place *everybody* on overhead. Opps, I forgot. That already seems to be the LANS plan for Los Alamos.

Anonymous said...

Sell.. a product? Hey, I only do LDRD research as an 'art' piece. Don't bother me. Just go out and pimp up some more programmatic funds so I can continue doing what I like to do at LANL. I'm the hot stuff that makes LANL famous, or don't you know? And if you don't keep those programmatic funds rolling in to LANL, me and the fellows will have to see to it that the programmatic side is taxed at a higher rate of 12%, rather than 8%. Life is grand up in the rarefied clouds of science-land. Time to book another conference at some beautiful European Getaway! Hmmm, Greece sounds nice for the Winter, but Hawaii might go over better with the boss as a cost-savings gambit for this next year.

Anonymous said...

9:36pm

Do you really think your rants are of any value to the lab? How do we know you are not from overseas and trying help bring the lab down? It is interesting possibillity. Just imagine if the cold war was extended for 25 more years. We would have all sorts of people posting on Soviet blogs and vice-versa. Youtube would be filled with secret propaganda. I know they did that stuff with radio brodcasts. Maybe someone out there figures that if they can help destory America' ability to do good basic science than it will help them get an edge in the long run.

Ok maybe I am being paranoid but some of the posts are so anti-science and anti-lab that you have to wonder if there is something more behind it.

Anonymous said...

Good point 11:27PM. A new form of counter-propaganda -- blog smearing.

Anonymous said...

11:27PM: Of course. The lab is such a wonderful place that treats it's employees so well, it's just inconceivable that anyone who works there (or did) could possibly harbor any bitterness towards the place, the way it works, or the people at the wheel managing the place into the ground. I'm sure the correct course of action is for everyone to just suck it up and shower the managers and processes with endless compliments about their wonderful job. I'm so very sorry that we have made this horrible error on this blog. Thank you for pointing it out to us. Let's have a group hug and go give thanks to Terry, and bask in the salvation that the Institutes and Signature Facilities are providing to raise this place back to it's former glory. **erp** I think I just puked a little on the inside -- I'm not sure I can do sarcasm that extreme...

Anonymous said...

Poster 11:27 PM, looks like I hit your solar plexus. Feel free to let your paranoid delusions run wild in an attempt to protect your little science fantasy land. Perhaps those paranoid delusions are just part of the price to pay for having such a powerful scientific mind, right?

FYI, I'm not overseas. And you? Perhaps your a foreign national at LANL doing "science" who is eager to take some scientific booty back to the old homeland? Who knows? You can never be too paranoid, right?

Geeze Louise, tweaking off some of the pointy-heads types at LANL is like shooting fish in a barrel. It's just way too easy!

Anonymous said...

Меньше знаешь-крепче спишь

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! I suspect "real science" Poster 11:27 PM must have just con'ed his LANL AD into giving him the go ahead to attend a Winter conference being held in sunny Hawaii. I certainly hope that AD doesn't read this blog! Those airline tickets are re-fundable, right?

Anonymous said...

Ешьте мои шорты!

Anonymous said...

Don't have a cow, man.

Anonymous said...

"
FYI, I'm not overseas. And you? Perhaps your a foreign national at LANL doing "science" who is eager to take some scientific booty back to the old homeland? Who knows? You can never be too paranoid, right?"

This is borderlines on bigorty. A large fraction of scientists in the United States come from abroad. Than a fraction of them become naturalized citizens and stay LANL and elswehere in the United States. There are foreign nationals at LANL but these are mainly postdocs who are usualy in the process of becoming citizens. Most likely somone in your past family had to do that too.

The United States itself does not or cannot produce the number of homegrown scientists. At US universities 60% of Ph.ds awarded in mathematics and engineering 50% of Ph.ds in Physics go to foreign nationals. Of course if bright young people see what is happening to LANL they might think investment banking is better than going into sceience.

Anonymous said...

"Of course if bright young people see what is happening to LANL they might think investment banking is better than going into sceience." - 9/10/07 9:22 AM

Investment banking *is* better than going into sceience (sp)! Apparently, almost everyone already know that but you, my clueless friend.

Anonymous said...

"
Investment banking *is* better than going into sceience (sp)! Apparently, almost everyone already know that but you, my clueless friend."

I hear ya. When we where kids we would hear things like, "oh you are so smart, we need people like you in science." "If you go into science you will be treated really well"

It is interesting that the so called smart kids went into science and egineering while the not so smart kids got business degrees.

So the message is "do not go into science." Leave that to people in China and India who we let in to do science.
Funny how you cannot come from these contries to be investment bankers you can only come if do science and engineering.

Anonymous said...

Which would your rather hear your college-bound son or daughter say to you as a parent these days?

Mom and Dad...

"I'm going to be a scientist!"

or,

"I'm going to be an investment banker!"

Science has it's own rewards, but it's hard to get excited about a kid who is headed for a career in science, given what the US seems to value these days. Job security is currently not one of the strong points for a career in science.

Anonymous said...

"Which would your rather hear your college-bound son or daughter say to you as a parent these days?

Mom and Dad...

"I'm going to be a scientist!"

or,

"I'm going to be an investment banker!" "

What is weird is that when you phrase it this way I think most parents would say
they would would be happier or more proud if their kid said scientist.

However if the parents are scientists
themselves they would be happier if the kid said "investment banker!"

Interesting topic. If parents had a choice in which they could guarantee
(1) Your child will be very smart.
(2) Your child will be very beautiful.
What do you think people would pick today?

Anonymous said...

What do you think people would pick today? - 9/10/07 1:10 PM


Depends how ugly we are talking about. If we're talking about a butt-ugly smart kid, I'd go with beauty. In sad, but people do get judged by first appearances. It's always been that way, though.

I'm just glad all my kids take after me. They're all extremely beautiful and very smart ;-)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and smart aren't quite enough. Ya gotta have the independent wealth along with it.

Anonymous said...

Independent wealth? Hey, I live in Los Alamos County. We're all filthy rich millionaires, don't 'cha know? Our streets are all overflowing with Bentley's and Ferarri's and finding a decent butler is next to impossible since the neighbors have scarfed up all the good ones. I just wish the County would ease up a bit on the home helicopter pad restrictions.