Jan 27, 2008

Ralph, we hardly know you

An alternative title for this post might have been, "Who are and what have you done with the real Ralph Damiani?"

"Growing arrogance" of lab management? No offense, Ralph, but where have you been for the past five years? Ever hear of a lab "official" named Nanos?

Well, that's all history now. Maybe you're just a late bloomer, Ralph, but at least we can no longer accuse you, as we frequently have in the past, of being a LANL toadie. Welcome to our world, the one where LANL management really is the enemy.


Ralph's editorial piece.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps Ralph needs to be shown this blog site? He appears to be clueless as to how bad management has become at the labs (LANL and LLNL)

Anonymous said...

I would read the online editorial, but the LA Monitor's new website design is just too annoying, what with jiggling and sparkling ads and even some that say "Hellooooo!" through the computer speakers. Not to mention that you can't look up anything in the archives any more.

The new website is a downgrade from what they had before, which was pretty horrible itself.

Anonymous said...

"The new website is a downgrade from what they had before, which was pretty horrible itself."

Sounds pretty much like the new LANL versus the old LANL.

Anonymous said...

Ralph, now you know how the employees feel. LANS has been in charge 1 1/2 years and we still aren't allowed to see the DOE-LANS contract, don't know what LANS is, don't know where its going, aren't even allowed to see the pension plan or the required annual financial statement.
Most of us just hang around waiting for the next rif or until we can sell and get out.

Anonymous said...

You don't know what LANS is? LANS is the lipstick of science on the war profiteering pig of Bechtel.

Anonymous said...

The conversion of Los Alamos to Pottersville is almost complete. I guess the next step will be for a Bechtel controlled third party company to buy up the pesky Monitor newspaper and fire all the local trouble-makers like Ralph.

Anonymous said...

LANS and the people who run it from their corporate headquarters are not a part of this community. They could care less what eventually happens to the townsite. The local citizenry have been slow to pick up on this, but they are beginning to understand the reality of their situation.

The constant threat of RIFs that hangs over the head of the workers is no accident. LANS wants layoff threats to remain from here on out. Cause them problems and you'll find yourself on the RIF list and possibly facing financial ruin in our one company town. Fear and silence are their tools of control.

Anonymous said...

Everyone had an equal chance (SSP). The "good old days" are gone. Get out now or as soon as you can, even at a loss, it may save your life and definitely your sanity!
Signed, an SSP, and am I so very glad I did.....no, didn't walk away with much severance, wasn't a double dipper. How much of that environment is one expected to take?

Joe said...

The exclusion of public affairs from the auditorium was NOT the result of LANL or public affairs actions. I spoke with public affairs the day of the talk, and happen to have an office next to the PA staffer who was involved in this process.

LANL PA offered to let media in and asked Udall's staff if this was ok. Udall's staff said NO. Ok, fine with that. Then, Udall's staff turned around and said that LANL had made the decision! I'm sorry, but it was Udall who wished to exclude the media. Hopefully, we'll have LANL and public affairs release a statement to this effect, as this happens to be one occasion where LANL does NOT deserve a black eye or anything else for a decision made by the Congressman.

Joe Martz

Joe said...

sorry about the small typo, previous post. Meant to say that the exclusion of media from the auditorium...

Eric said...

A thought

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all
ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes,
it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every
day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the
owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he
said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks
for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so
the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.
But what about the other six men - the paying customers?How could they
divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted
that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man
would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner
suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly
the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four
continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men
began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He
pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar,
too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'

'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back
when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get
anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine
sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the
bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough
money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how
our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the
most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for
being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they
might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

Anonymous said...

Eric, that is a thought. A stupid thought. On many levels.

This right winger prof ignores payroll taxes, which are ~15% and which top out at ~100K income, and which fund large parts of the government through the social security surplus. He also ignores sales taxes, which are also generally regressive.

With income of about $120K in tax year 2006, I paid about the same amounts in income taxes and payroll taxes.

If some jerkwad is going to write fables, they should at least accurately reflect real costs.

Maybe the moral of the story is don't get your economics from bars.

Anonymous said...


The "fable" is completely true for income taxes.

As for payroll taxes, social security is a socialistic redistribution scheme, too, just more complicated.

Finally, you make the argument that sales taxes (equal percent of sales for everyone) are regressive?

I guess we shouldn't get our economics from blogs, either.

Anonymous said...

I did not argue that sales taxes are regressive. I stated it, since it is a fact.

Don't forget that income taxes only count income in return for direct labor. Dividends and realized capital gains are taxed lighter than income. Hedge fund managers use this dodge to great effect. Unrealized capital gains, i.e. those that you have made but which you have not cashed out, are not taxed; earned income does not get the benefit of being taxed at the earner's time of choosing. Income is taxed, but not wealth. Corporate taxes benefit from the corporation's choice of tax jurisdiction, which is easy if they bother to hire an accountant.

I am not saying any of this is right or wrong. These are policy decisions made by our democratically elected government.

Just be honest about who is paying what.

And speaking of socialism, I trust from your attitude that you do not work at LANL, which is a socialist welfare paradise. Or are you on the government payroll while you whine about taxes?

HT Gauss said...

"I did not argue that sales taxes are regressive. I stated it, since it is a fact."

This is disingenuous at best. The nomenclature of "progressive" is subtly intended to imply that taxing income at a higher percent as the income grows is "forward thinking", as if a constant percentage tax somehow doesn't increase taxation with income fast enough. Compounding this is the assumption that the rich must not spend all of their money, while the poor do, and therefore a percentage-based sales tax is "regressive" (backward-thinking). These terms, and their "definitions", are politically loaded, and should be avoided.

The point made by the story, previous commenters' obfuscation aside, is that tax cuts to an unequal payment tax scheme either benefit the highest payers more or make the scheme even more unequal.

There are many ways to define "fair". Some would say equal amounts from all, some would say equal percents from all, some would say increasing percents with ability to pay. Casting taxation as a payment for benefits (as in the barstool economics story) gives a much different impression from the popular viewpoint of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". The latter view is, of course, more popular with the needy than the able.