Oct 31, 2007

A bet

I'll make a bet to anyone out there who is naive enough to take me up on it. I say that there will be no substantive action from DOE, NNSA, Congress or LANS in regards to this latest publicly-exposed bit of corruption and ineptness at LANL, the KSL business.

I anticipate there will be some more Congressional chest-thumping histrionics, a la Stupak and Barton, and maybe a mid-level manager or two might get fired at LANL or KSL, although I doubt it. Anastasio will receive another public chewing out, after which LANS will receive it's full $79 million award fee for this year.

LANS will make a great public show of whipping KSL into place, accomplishing nothing beyond introducing more crippling bureaucratic process into the system, and then they will declare success, again. Remember, Roark has already said that the KSL problem has been fixed.

Any takers?



Anonymous said...


What odds are you giving?

1000 to 1 in my favor? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I was too hasty. But you have not taken the bet yet.

A priori odds are about 15 to one against.

We can construct a likelihood function from past behavior including previous fines, collection of these fines, UC behavior, LANS behavior, DOE behavior, NNSA behavior, the small pool of companies that will do business with national labs, and the upcoming presidential election with its need for campaign funds.

Now I have a guess at reasonable odds.

I will bet one buck against your
$47,000 if the bet is before the inauguration of our next president.

For odds after the inauguration, give me a week to figure them out.


Anonymous said...

I forgot to do my 'complex transformation.'

One buck against $63,000 of your dollars.

Deal or no deal?

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

You're a funny guy, Amigo, but no deal.


Anonymous said...

I am so fucking sick and tired of our broken systems. Maintenance, HR, procurement... is there ANYTHING here that WORKS and does not require infinite investment of time from direct-funded scientists, engineers, and technicians?

Anonymous said...

I will give you better odds, say 30,000 to 1 if you can just open two cases.

#26 - the one held by the cute blonde and containing the names of the people at LANS or NNSA who wrote the checks to KSL for the overcharges. Just ignore the guys with submachine guns and the attack dogs.

#13 - the one held by the smashing really tall brunette. It appears to be inside an armed humvee. This one tells about the source of the money that allowed KSL to be paid and how this money is not the same money that was needed to retain about 100 staff.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

I wonder how long it will be until LANS decides to dump TCP1 pension liabilties by joining the latest corporate fad of outsourcing all the risks to eager ( and undependable ) bankers on Wallstreet? Do you want to depend on Citibank to make good on your retirement promises in your old age? The LA Times story below is a shocker!



Pensions may be outsourced - LA Times, Oct 31, 2007

Banks look to take the plans and their assets off the hands of employers.

By Jonathan Peterson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Would you feel comfortable if your company sold off your pension plan to a big bank?

This month, Citigroup Inc. got the green light from the Federal Reserve for an unusual deal to take over the $400-million retirement plan of a British newspaper company.

In exchange for getting its hands on all that cash, Citigroup will run the pension plan -- investing the money, paying the benefits and taking on the liability previously borne by Thomson Regional Newspapers. And it's eyeing similar moves stateside.

Other banking investment and financial companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., also are exploring the idea of taking pension plans -- and their billions of dollars of assets -- off the hands of employers. At least three federal agencies are considering aspects of the idea, including its basic legality and safeguards for workers.

Advocates say such changes would be a win-win for retirees and employers, retaining all the protections of current law, while putting plans in the hands of sophisticated financial stewards. Plus, large banks are less likely to go out of business or face severe financial strains than smaller employers.

Yet other people worry that such setups could subject retirement benefits to new risks and jeopardize decades-old worker protections. They're concerned that the would-be pension managers are more interested in profit than in the security of retirees. Further, they fear that unwise investments could bring a crisis for which there is no simple solution.

"This is easy money," said Karen Friedman, policy director of the Pension Rights Center, an advocacy group that speaks out on pension policies and retirement security issues from the standpoint of workers and retirees. "You'd have these third-party institutions that would have really no ties to the workforce. . . . We have a lot of concerns. There are some big questions."

Anonymous said...

And then again, the media and congress will ignore it because it doesn't make a good story. The public says who is KSL anyway ? LANL once had an exalted reputation embedded in A-bomb and WWI history -- it's more newsworthy (and politically effective for grandstanding) to tear down something which is famous rather than something that is unknown.

Anonymous said...

I think that the KSL thing will eventually get the attention of the national drive-by media. Of course, LANL will get the blame. And, LANL does in fact deserve the blame on this one.

Anonymous said...

So what, 7:30 AM?

Jessica Quintana got the attention of the national media. So did the LANS board member who emailed classified documents on the open net. So did the fact that LANL has been running TA-55 outside of accepted criticality safety limits. So did the "aqua regia" incident.

Were there any substantive chages at LANL as result of any of those incidents? What makes you think that news coverage of a corrupt overcharging "agreement" between LANS and KSL will cause anybody to act this time?

Anonymous said...

Gussie, you sly dog. You do know the routine, don’t you? We’ll feign a little outrage (we’re beyond the denial point stage now, hence time for phase II of the damage control program to kick in). We might play a little musical chairs perhaps, moving aa few managers and staff around (same monkeys, different trees strategy) just to appease and suggest we're serious about accountability. Of course we'll prepare graphs showing improvement (dazzle them with statistics). That always works. We may use the Lab’s internal audit function to find nothing (pretend you have an audit function that is). We'll hide revealing documentation (maybe even shred it if it looks like things are getting too hot) claiming LANL now falls under LANS and therefore no longer has to respond to requests for public information (kind like salary information no longer being made public). King Mickey will of course have to go through a Congressional dog-and-pony or two (with his night in shinning armor in tow as always--Richard Marquez). For good measure, UC and Bechtel will unleash its bevy of arm-twisting thugs (aka lobbyist) on the hill (suitcases full of money of course) to secure sufficient sympathy can be leveraged for the Lab in this latest round of “let’s-bamboozle-the-taxpayer” game gets played out one more time. Of course we’ll have to pay our respects to the New Mexico legislative oversight committee (the sleeping dwarf in our midst) with a similar public display (using perennial Lab lobbyist, former employee and perennial Lab affiliate—Representative Nick Salazar, to grease the skids with his fellow legislative colleagues). Maybe we'll visit a couple of newspaper editors along the way, just to assure them we're serious (again) about cleaning up the mess, and in the process persuading them to ease up on their reporting of Lab failures. This tummy-tub approach to dealing with the media inevitably gets them to calm down for awhile. And once the damage control process has run its course (with Rich Marquez, as always, orchestrating the whole affair from his protected perch within the Lab’s executive wing), it’s time to go back to business as usual. Like I said Gussie, you’re trying to sucker us into a bet you know we don't have snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Nice try though.

Anonymous said...

11/1/07 7:30 AM
"I think that the KSL thing will eventually get the attention of the national drive-by media. Of course, LANL will get the blame. And, LANL does in fact deserve the blame on this one."

Just this one? How long have you been in a fog? This is one of many, my friend. You probably also think we have new leadership at the Lab, right? You probably believe UC is no longer the Lab's overseer, right? You probably also believe in Santa Claus, right?

Anonymous said...

Correction 11/1/07 7:30 AM - LANL Management deserves the blame. Don't generalize, the TSMs have been reporting the waste, fraud, and abuse - known as KSL - for quite a few years.

Anonymous said...

From 7:45 AM: ..." So did the "aqua regia" incident. Were there any substantive chages at LANL as result of any of those incidents?"

No, nothing changed. In fact, the Aqua Regia TSM is still here at LANL and from what I can tell is still causing trouble, but that is Wallace's fault - his and his alone. From what I have heard, Wallace got rid of the wrong person. Anastasio should really question if TW is any good for the organization.

Anonymous said...

11/1/07 10:57 PM, what you have heard is inaccurate. The DOE investigation report is riddled with errors and omissions, and the newspaper stories are biased toward the postoc's efforts to get a cashout for her own misdeeds. So let the TSM move on with her life already.

Anonymous said...

p.s. I would hope that one result of the aqua regia incident is that TSM's in chemistry keep VERY thorough records of what they do and do not authorize their postdocs to do, safety-wise, in the lab.