Dec 14, 2007

Comments of the Week, Friday Edition

These caught my eye on the By Request post:

-Gus

_________________________________________

Reading some of the comments here I can see how LANL staff have earned a reputation for passively accepting all manner of shabby treatment at the hands of their management.

Instead of bitching and complaining on this nice little anonymous blog, you should be helping the rest of the world to understand what is really going on at LANL, if you really wanted to change things there. If conditions really are as bad as you say, places like POGO would love to receive documentation of LANS malfeasance.

Who knows, if POGO got hold of material that actually documented some of LANS' more shady operations, such as the KSL kickback operation then perhaps LANS could actually be ousted.

This, of course, would require that LANL staff actually do something besides all this anonymous whining, and I think we all know what the likelihood is of that ever happening.


***********


I suspect LANS is secretly pleased at this blog's existence. It provides a place where the less-than-courageous staff can go to vent, whine, bitch, and moan, all to no effect.

I mean, stop and think about it for a minute. With all of the high-level corruption being demonstrated by LANS, staff seem to be most worked up about a shitty on-line travel system. It sounds to me like the staff who choose to remain at LANL deserve what they get.



46 comments:

Anonymous said...

"With all of the high-level corruption being demonstrated by LANS, staff seem to be most worked up about a shitty on-line travel system."

I don't think that there is all that much real corruption going on at the highest levels of LANL. Yes, there is a lot of cronyism and nepotism. But, most of what we are seeing is just plain incompetence.

It turns out the cronyism, nepotism, and stupidity are not criminal offenses.

Anonymous said...

Gus,

Surely you didn't ever expect anything more meaningful than anonymous bitching and whining to happen here, did you?

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

8:45AM #2,

No.

I'm just waiting for someone to bring up the free child care issue again.

-Gus

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on. This is just the tip of the iceberg. If LANS can't get travel reimbursement right, what else is it not getting right? Forget about anything POGO says. Their personnel surely don't have problems getting money from their foundation contributors for travel reimbursement.

Will the aging nukes work? Who cares, so long as they don't light off spontaneously?

However, it would be good to have a few competent people around who could check out a suspected device.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it illegal for LANS to withold travel reimbursements from the staff?

Anonymous said...

If the travel reimbursement is too onerous, just refuse to go on travel.

Anonymous said...

9:14 AM "If the travel reimbursement is too onerous, just refuse to go on travel."

You must be one of our brilliant ADs or PADs. You know, those who don't have to deal with the inefficient piece of crap they implemented for a bonus. Must be nice to suck the money from the minions so that you can travel first class.

Anonymous said...

"Who knows, if POGO got hold of material that actually documented some of LANS' more shady operations, such as the KSL kickback operation then perhaps LANS could actually be ousted."

Right along with everyone else at LANL.

Did I miss where orgs like POGO put improving the general welfare of workers in their Mission Statement?

Re KSL, the GAO hammered and Congress doesn't appear to have done much. I'm sure POGO could make stuff happen though.

Did POGO, or anyone else for that matter, ever publish details on Tommy Hook's smoking gun?

Anonymous said...

I find it mildly amusing that Gus, by way of elevating the comments to a top level post, is politely pointing out that all the useless whining here probably actually benefits LANS, and yet people just can't seem to stop doing it.

I mean really, folks, what good to you expect to come out of bitching about the Concur system as an anonymous poster on this blog? All you are really accomplishing is making yourselves look like a bunch of cowardly anonymous whiners.

Which, I guess, is what most posters here are.

Ok, now let's go back to hearing about how bad Concur is. Or how egregious it is that LANS doesn't offer free day care.

BTW, 9:28: did anybody actually send POGO any info on Tommy Hook's "smoking gun"? (Whatever the hell you meant by that.)

Anonymous said...

9:38, I was wondering if details were ever disclosed. If POGO wants a story, they should interview Tommy Hook and Chuck Montano and get the details out there. Surely they remember some details?

http://www.pogo.org/p/homeland/
ht-050301-nuclearweapons.html

"...Hook and Montano were responsible for providing audit support for UC and uncovered ongoing irregularities and outright misconduct amounting to millions of taxpayer dollars. Their audit reports were withheld from DOE..."

Anonymous said...

I think the comment about LANS being happy this blog is here is spot on. If a person is trying to get a reading on another's thought processes, you give them a microphone and the sense that it's ok to speak. The blog provides the mic and the sense that there's freedom to express one's thoughts and thus, LANS gets a free glimpse into the mindset and inclinations of the LAB folks.

Anonymous said...

I'm with 10:46. LANS should be pretty confident that they have nothing to worry about from LANL staff. They've demonstrated that they can treat us however they like, and all we'll do is whimper, anonymously. They can read us like a book.

Anonymous said...

They've demonstrated that they can treat us however they like, and all we'll do is whimper, anonymously. They can read us like a book.

...sounds like most Americans nowadays. No wonder things are in such a state of general degradation out there across the country.

But I digress. We were talking about you all whining and doing little more. How unfortunate. And you all are supposed to be the best and the brightest?

I think it's time to let the dishwashers and janitors and maids run the show, since the most educated class seems hopelessly neutered.

Eric said...

Thanks for the irony.

Calling others hopelessly neutered (or in another comment 'sheeple') while remaining anonymous yourself is pretty funny

and

a

little

sad.

Anonymous said...

Heard about another young TSM getting ready to leave LANL this week. This was someone from the "excluded" category, so obviously, even being labeled vital to LANL's future mission isn't stopping some of the best staffers from launching off to other places.

Not that LANS seems to really care, mind you. The beatings, it seems, will continue until LANL's morale improves. The broken Concur travel system, apparently much beloved by LANS, is just the latest sign of a dysfunctional rot that is eating away at the core of Los Alamos. It feels as if time is running out for turning things around. Perhaps it may happen, but signs of a genuine renewal are few.

Anonymous said...

Better to bitch and moan on this site and get it out of your system than to allow it to fester and end up causing you to yell at your wife and kids. If nothing else, the blog allows for some virtual stress relief.

Anonymous said...

The excluded category is solely for LANS's convenience.

Anonymous said...

Is someone suggesting that removing LANS will lead to improvement? Let's remember that we initially thought that LANS was the continuation of the "great" UC. Now LANS will be replaced by Bechtel directly, and they will make billions through their D&D effort. Bye Bye Los Alamos National Lab...

Anonymous said...

You are mistaken, 7:08 PM. Kicking out LANS won't result it LANL being run solely by Bechtel. It will result in another competition were, just maybe, we could pick up a better management team. Lockmart seems to do a pretty decent job running things down at SNL. They couldn't be any worse than LANS. Oh, and from what I've heard, the SNL online travel system seems to actually work. Imagine that!

Anonymous said...

If LANS goes, then the LANL staff should band together and make their own non-profit corporation. If they win the next competition, it will begin a golden age of innovation at the lab. Imagine a place geared toward the employees.

Anonymous said...

I have previously written on this blog, Monday, November 26, 2007, Sandia layoff numbers reduced:

"I have previously written in a paper dated November, 2006:

´The announcement from DOE/NNSA on December 21, 2005 that the M&O Contract for LANL has been awarded to Los Alamos National Security, LLC - e.g. University of California, Bechtel National, Inc., BWX Technologies, Inc., Washington Group International, Inc., in shorter woords: UC/Bechtel with Dr. Michael R. Anastasio from LLNL as Laboratory Director and John Mitchell from Bechtel as Deputy Laboratory Director, due effective June 1, 2006.

But, I do consider the bet from Lockheed Martin Corp. and University of Texas with Dr. C. Paul Robinson as proposed Laboratory Director and Don Cook as proposed Chief Technology Officer would better be a decision for the future, a better momentum could probably be achieved, due to the fact that UC represents the past, a very important historical past, but nowadays mostly has been synonymous with security failures and bad management. (I sincerely hope the lab with the new management will be back to the important key-words: ´trust and responsisibility.´)´

(My remark: History since June 1, 2006 has proven me wrong.)

Dr. C. Paul Robinson has previously written:

´A Letter from C. Paul Robinson

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I am writing to you regarding the competition for the management and operating (M&O) contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory. I am aware that the days of uncertainty leading up to the Department of Energy´s decision in December may be adding stress to your lives. In 1992-93 employees at Sandia went through a similar experience when that laboratory´s contract was competed. We shared some of the same feelings and fears you are now experiencing. Looking back, our fears proved to be unfounded. In fact, we were pleased to see Sandia´s new M&O contractor introduce many positive changes that enabled the laboratory to enjoy an era of great accomplishment and success.

Today, I have the honor of leading the Los Alamos Alliance LLC proposal team, an absolutely stellar group of scientists and executives. I want you to know our team is working hard to ensure an wqually smooth and positive transition experience for you, if we are selected to become LANL´s M&O contractor.

We know many of you are concerned about the inevitable creation of stand alone pension plans, no matter which team is selected to become the Laboratory´s M&O contractor. During my tenure as Sandia´s director, I made pension benefits this same high priority in our bid for LANL´s M&O contract. DOE has publicly said the Laboratory´s new M&O contractor will provide transferring employees with benefits that are substantially equivalent to those they enjoy today. We intend to fully meet the intent of this DOE requirement. Please keep in mind - if only from a timing perspective - that DOE must approve all changes to the pension plan before the new M&O contractor can introduce and discuss them.

I also want to share with you our team´s unwavering commitment to the primacy of science at Los Alamos. Los Alamos has an unequalled record of contributions in science, especially in support of the nation´s nuclear weapons programs. I am pleased to have been a part of that history during my 18 years (my remark: 1967-1985) service at Los Alamos. Science and National Security are the foundations of Los Alamos and must remain so. I assure you that, should DOE select our team, we will work to provide the support systems to enable and encourage great science at the laboratory. We also will work to align the laboratory´s science programs to more closely support its missions than you have experienced in recent years.

Our academic consortium of nineteen leading scientific universities around the nation, led by the the University of Texas System, will offer the Laboratory broad based peer review and a strong national network for scientific collaboration. The Alliance´s world-class management and academic systems will actively support and enable science to once again flourish at the Laboratory.

My ten-year affiliation with Lockheed Martin Corporation has been exciting. Lockheed Martin has a record of excellence in the management and operation of large, complex facilities, including DOE sites at Sandia, the Nevada Test Site, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory and the United Kingdom´s Atomic Weapons Establishment. Its presence at these facilities has been positive for both employees and the local communities. Believe me, the Alliance understands the critical need to attract and retain exceptional employees in order to achieve the highest standards of scientific excellence. We also understands the importance of being a good citizen in the local communities in which Laboratory employees work and live. If given the opportunity by DOE, these same principles will guide our team as we work with you to transition the Laboratory to its new operating contractor.

Los Alamos has an inspiring legacy of scientific achievement, and its name is respected worldwide. The Alliance would be proud to join you in your important work. It also would be a distinct, personal pleasure for me to re-join Los Alamos. Together we can create a scientific renaissance at Los Alamos - awakening traditions of the Laboratory´s great past, while encouraging, supporting and enabling the laboratory´s talented scientists to meet the great challenges the nation now face.

Respectfully,

C. Paul Robinson´

(Source:www.utsystem.edu/news/2005/LANL-LettertheCommunity-100705.pdf)

But, now you have to read:

´/---/ In April 2005 Robinson stepped down as President and and supported Lockheed Martin Corporation, Information and Technology Services, as an advisor for a special project. He retired from LMC and Sandia on February 1, 2006.´(My remark: Dr. C. Paul Robinson is today Chairman for the Space Operations Committee, for the NASA Advisory Council.)

(Source:www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oer/nac/bios/roninsonp.htm)"

I also wrote on this blog, Wednesday, December 05, 2007, Comment of the Week, Wednesday Edition: The Rif Raffle:

"With the directorship follows a quantum leap of responsibility, and you can´t say: ´We don´t set policy,´and ´No more rifs, and no more plans for a rif´like Michael R. Anastasio, then you loose credibility, and lower the workforce´s morale.

And to see Michael R. Anastasio, and LANS, LLC ´prevail´over the successful director at Sandia (1995-2005), previously 18 years at LANL (1967-1985), C. Paul Robinson and Lockheed Martin and UT, that was the Colonel´s (Anastasio) ´victory´over the 4-star General (Robinson), and the misscarriage of LANL into Los Alamos Pit Production Plant, e.g. LAPPP.

(National Academy of Engineering, Member Directories, wrote about Dr. C. Paul Robinson:

´Dr. C. Paul Robinson: President Emeritus.

Primary Work Institution: Sandia National Laboratories.
Work Status at Primary Work Institution: Emeritus.

Election Year: 1998.
Primary Membership Section: 12. Special Fields & Interdisciplinary Engineering.

Country: United States.
State: CO.

Member Type: Member.
Election Citation: For pre-and post-Cold War leadership in the nation´s nuclear weapons program through technical and managerial excellence.´)"

In summa: there is not a natural law, neither an aeterna veritas that LANS, LLC should manage LANL.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, let's backtrack just a little bit for old time's sake, shall we?

D'Agostino is a major decision-maker in the selection of LANS to manage LANL. D'Agostino is subsequently promoted to top dog at NNSA which is DOE's interface with LANL.

Presumably, LANS is performing within tolerable measurements or has outlined future deliverables that satisfy D'Agostino's expectations and plans for LANL. Well, except for those darned 'incidents' that seem to create chain reactions that muddle up the daily workings and throw the trajectory off course here and there...

If D'Agostino doesn't feel any uncomfortable heat (political pressure, reports of unsatisfactory outcomes) relative to LANL, what would compel him to make any change in the management contract unless or until it suits his agenda, hidden or stated?

The questions then become:
- what would 'uncomfortable heat' consist of?
- who would effectively apply said heat?
- what evidence or testimony would be compelling enough for them to apply the heat?

It comes back to interacting with the elected officials to determine whether LANL is in Washington's plans as a science or nuclear design lab. Or do they defer to the NNSA's plan for reduction, most likely to a pit production facility with an intentionally-low output rate? Or do they hope to close the Lab sooner rather than later? Is it going to be a sacrificial lamb for a policy or budget compromise? Have the poltical wolves been waiting at Domenici's door until they detect weakness or departure and finally get close enough to drool over the prize which is $ or perhaps opportunity to do state of the art science, folks, not an aging facility out in the hinterlands of NM?

The drivers of the logic may be sketchy or different than what they appear to be initially and until you get to the story behind the story, you are jousting with windmills ala Don Quixote style.

Anonymous said...

"Or do they defer to the NNSA's plan for reduction, most likely to a pit production facility with an intentionally-low output rate? Or do they hope to close the Lab sooner rather than later?"

My bet is the former - but the latter may yet happen, but not anytime soon. As NNSA acknowledges in their FY 2008 budget request, even an aggressive schedule cannot bring a replacement pit manufacturing capability online any sooner than 2022, and they've already lost a good part of FY 2008 due to Congress' inability to pass an appropriations bill. Even after a new capability is in place, and assuming the location is not Los Alamos, it will take quite a long time to D&D TA-55, TA-50, and other supporting facilities before LANL would vanish off the face of the earth (the eventual outcome at Rocky Flats).

Anonymous said...

> D'Agostino is subsequently promoted
> to top dog at NNSA ...

Yeah!
Top D'Ag!

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of corruption going on at the Lab. It's happening in the contracting arena left and right, with travel activity, with hiring practices, salary administration and on and on and on. The activities carried out by legal, government relations, community relations, and public affairs...all focused on covering up, retaliating, denial and misleading the public. Those expenditures are corrupt as hell as well, because of they're accomplishing. The audit function is a worthless endeavor as well, thus expeditures related to any activity that isn't functioning in a credible manner would constitute corruption. It's not just somebody walking out the door with a Lab pencil in hand that's corrupt. That's small potatos compared to the enormous waste, fraud and abuse occurring in virtually every area at the Lab, and the covering up of those problems that occurs like clock work any time these issues become public. And then on top of that you've got the cover up issues with regards to safety, secutity and environmental contamination. So hell yes...the corruption is significant AND widespread at Los Alamos. Quit trying pretend otherwise.

Anonymous said...

And 10:05AM, hard facts, names, law suits?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12/15/07 10:05 AM writes:

"..the corruption is significant AND widespread at Los Alamos."

Lots of talk here, but no specifics. If there is indeed corruption that this writer REALLY knows about, then s/he is responsible to report it to the IG, GAO, DOE, etc.

My guess is that this person is just blowing wind (or passing wind."

As far as an earlier poster's statement about Tommy "Lap Dance" Hook and Chuck Montano finding all of the corruption, that is no doubt also nonsense.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Alternatively, anybody who finds themselves in possession of proof of illegal activity being covered up by LANS, and who doesn't want to go to the trouble of reporting it to the IG, GAO, DOE, etc., we will try to find space here on the blog to squeeze that documentation in.

-Gus

Anonymous said...

It didn't happen if nobody sues? And what if the IG didn't do anything?

Pinky and The Brain said...

Gee Gussie, that's exactly what I was thinking. Narf!

Anonymous said...

12/15/07 10:21 AM

It's not nonsense. Drop it.

Anonymous said...

12/15/07 10:21 AM


Like the IG will do something. It's like the police will not do something if someone shoots an unfavorable in front of them,m unless there are witnesses

Anonymous said...

I don't think that there is all that much real corruption going on at the highest levels of LANL.


And that is how they get away with it. Duh.

Anonymous said...

"There is a lot of corruption going on at the Lab. It's happening in the contracting arena left and right, with travel activity, with hiring practices, salary administration and on and on and on. The activities carried out by legal, government relations, community relations, and public affairs...all focused on covering up, retaliating, denial and misleading the public. Those expenditures are corrupt as hell as well, because of they're accomplishing. The audit function is a worthless endeavor as well, thus expeditures related to any activity that isn't functioning in a credible manner would constitute corruption. It's not just somebody walking out the door with a Lab pencil in hand that's corrupt. That's small potatos compared to the enormous waste, fraud and abuse occurring in virtually every area at the Lab, and the covering up of those problems that occurs like clock work any time these issues become public. And then on top of that you've got the cover up issues with regards to safety, secutity and environmental contamination. So hell yes...the corruption is significant AND widespread at Los Alamos. Quit trying pretend otherwise.

12/15/07 10:05 AM"

Big talk, can you prove any of it?

Anonymous said...

What is all this anonymous whining about anonymous people whining? And the name calling, like "sheeple." It seems totally stupid. Can any of you anti-whiner, name-calling people make "meaningful" suggestions? No? I didn't think so.

As for LANS being happy about this blog because they can read employees thought processes, I think that is rubbish. Most of this drivel tells us only that there are a large number of outsiders who come here just to make us look bad. It is not so easy to separate the wolves from the (dare I say it) sheep in this blog. So whose thoughts would LANS be reading?

And yes, Concur, along with the policies that go with it, could the worst piece of software ever foisted on a workforce. Illogical, undocumented processes, glitches in the system, the huge waste of time to get through it, and the lack of timely reimbursement are significant problems to people who actually work at LANL. We would prefer to get some technical work done and not offer interest-free financing to LANS while the "system" farts around with our time and money.

I suppose we could all ignore this problem, develop some lofty goals for the future of the lab, and write to our congressman Udall. He would surely be helpful. Yeah. That's the ticket. Be proactive. Sorry I mentioned Concur.

Anonymous said...

The GAO found enormous problems that border on corruption involving KSL but nothing seems to have been done about it. Lesson learned? You can point out the problems at LANL but don't expect anything to be done about it.

Anonymous said...

The people that comment skeptically that there is no corruption or in the least, improper and unethical practice in all phases of activity at LANL have either not been exposed first-hand to the idiotic nature of the 'management' culture, are part of that culture and see nothing wrong with it or have not been directly and adversely affected by it (meaning that you have not been faced with choices that determine what you will do to support your family). There was a time when I too was somewhat skeptical of those that warned of the improprieties of the management and the minions that carry out and support their dirty work. And then it happened to me. It was the worst year of my life. Overnight, a vested employee who received positive performance reviews, numerous kudos for jobs well done, a 'Distinguished Performance Award', recommendations for 'Leadership Training', etc., found myself on the other side. My issues were, IMO, well documented, but when you have to work the issues through a system controlled by the Lab, there is no recourse for employees that will consider anything but management's perspective. So to say in other words to effect, 'prove it' is to speak from an uninformed, cloistered or management perspective. In the case of management, confident of the future because of how much success you've enjoyed in the past. For all of the skeptics out there, it should be glaringly obvious to you by now what many others have known for a very long time about how LANL is being mis-managed. You're fooling yourselves if you believe that mis-management, poor execution and outright management incompetence aren't part of the management culture at LANL. There are more good people suffering for it that have spoken up than you'll ever know.

Anonymous said...

If you see corruption, malfeasance, etc, you should report it.

BUT, make damned sure that you do so anonymously.

And, don't just report it to the IG, GAO, DOE, etc. Make sure that the media get the info.

Anonymous said...

10:21 AM - wake up. Take a look in CLES. My AD is hiring all her former PDs (5 TSMs total since LANS took over) at the expense of other PDs like me who are much more qualified, have fellowships, and have published 3 times as much. How is this possible considering the "hiring freeze"?

Anonymous said...

10:21 AM wrote " As far as an earlier poster's statement about Tommy "Lap Dance" Hook and Chuck Montano finding all of the corruption, that is no doubt also nonsense."

Hey Idiot, why don't you take a look above at the Comment of the week, Saturday Edition?

Anonymous said...

"10:21 AM - wake up. Take a look in CLES. My AD is hiring all her former PDs (5 TSMs total since LANS took over) at the expense of other PDs like me who are much more qualified, have fellowships, and have published 3 times as much. How is this possible considering the "hiring freeze"?

12/15/07 9:17 PM"

Have you got the speech? "Hiring is not about publications, fellowships, awards, recognition, or impact. The lab has many needs and we need to hire the people that fit in best with those needs. The standards for hiring in the rest of the world does not apply at LANL nor should it."

Anonymous said...

"My AD is hiring all her former PDs (5 TSMs total since LANS took over) at the expense of other PDs like me who are much more qualified, have fellowships, and have published 3 times as much." (9:17 PM)

Oh, brother! Do you have any idea how big of an A-hole this makes you sound, 9:17 PM?

Give it up and go find some other place to work if you can't stand watching eager, young PostDocs become successful at LANL.

Anonymous said...

9:17pm: My, we have a bit of an ego problem. If you're as arrogant in person as you sound like on here, I would say that *could* contribute to being passed over.

Besides, if you've ever met anyone with tenure who pumped out papers to build up their CV, you know that it's easy to pump out crap papers at a high velocity. That doesn't mean they're any good.

Anonymous said...

9:17AM: They probably didn't hire you as a TSM because it would cost too much to modify the doors to your building to fit your massively inflated head through the doorway.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, attacking the messenger. How LANL-esque.

Anonymous said...

8:24, with great embarassment ... it's a chemistry thing ... you wouldn't understand. Nobody does really, just a bunch of f-ed up, arrogant a-holes with one of the biggest at the top of our ADLCES pyramid...