Jul 18, 2009

Direct Line to Washington

This just in: In a fit of pique last week, PAD of Global Security (does anyone else consider that to be a pompous title?) William Rees declared that he was tired of there being a "direct line" to Washington which continued to allow "unfortunate" news tidbits to bypass the LANS PR folks before being released into the wild.

Rees declared that he was therefore "going to shut that blog down". It was not clear if Rees planned to do this before, or after he became the lab's next Director. We presume that he meant he planning to shut down this blog, but I suppose he could have been venting his spleen about John Fleck's Albuquerque Journal blog instead.

The outburst was apparently triggered by his ire at the news leakage of last week's
TA-35 events (acetone and nitric acid mixing experiment).

Well, there you have it: we're getting shut down. Or John is.

Now, let's move on to more important stuff: Comment of the Week. We had several topic areas which generated COW candidates. There was, of course, the great Purell debate, in which one faction was lobbying for LANS to install dispensers at the hand readers.

And then there was the recurring topic of having "for profit" contractors running our National labs. Also, the report on DOE's Secretary Chu possibly deciding to give DOE a "shock treatment" received a number of good comments. It is from this category that our COW was eventually selected. From the CHU MOVING TO OVERHAUL DOE MANAGEMENT, CONTRACTOR OVERSIGHT post, here is our winner of the LTRS Comment of the Week award. The author of this comment demonstrates a clear insight into the nature of DOE, and how DOE's ineffective bureaucracy cascades down to its contractors.


I think that Drs. Chu, Holdren and Koonin understand the symptoms at DOE, but they don't understand the problem. Bureaucracies are a lot like people: they grow old, incontinent, and feeble-minded. The only the difference is that bureaucracies are put on perpetual life support. Everyone's afraid to pull the plug because they don't want to "throw out the baby with the bathwater".

Unfortunately, at the DOE the baby drowned a long time ago. The problems exhibited at DOE are not of recent origin. I worked at LANL for close to 30 years and every year the bureaucracy was worse than the previous year. It was always more control from Washington, more paperwork, more unfunded mandates, and a more dysfunctional bureaucracy. Every year you could accomplish less and less.

The time has come to pull the plug. Let it die and transfer all of those DOE managers into some other agency. Then maybe you can start all over with a clean slate. Reorganizing is just tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. You have to get rid of all of the employees and all of the rules.


--Doug

120 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, i heard Rees' ire was sparked by DC finding out about the TA-35 incident.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that. "Shut that blog down". Doesn't matter if it's this one, John's blog -- heck, even our beloved Eric's blogs... That won't stop the next one, or the next one, or the next one from communicating useful information that would otherwise get lost when traversing the "right channels".

In the immortal words of Beavis as Cornholio -- "Are you threatening me?"

Frank Young said...

If Rees was trying to make me laugh, it worked. Thanks Will!

Anonymous said...

What happened at TA-35?

Anonymous said...

So, here we have yet another asshole Nazi PD. They can't stand the truth!

Anonymous said...

This guy would appear to have the temperment of Admiral Butthead!

Anonymous said...

Yes, 7:24. And we all know now successful Admiral Butthead was at shutting down the original blog.

Oh, wait a minute: the blog shut Admiral Butthead down, come to think of it.

In the words of yet another dipshit butthead, "Bring it on!"

Anonymous said...

How timely.  This ABC news article could have been written about Rees.

Anonymous said...

We went through this crap with Nanos. Rees is an idiot, and I mean a total idiot. I think Global Security could get someone better than this guy. Check out his record.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Rees is trying to follow in Nanos' footsteps.

Anonymous said...

Never pick a fight with somebody who buys his ink by the barrel. -- Mark Twain

Anonymous said...

For 5:56 am, although there is much more to this story, this should give you an idea from the budget soup post ...

Daily DOE Site Reports

"On July 8, 2009, at 10:52 pm (EDT), LANL declared an Operational Emergency at the Alert level (lowest of three levels) due a spill of approx. 2 liters of chemicals(Acetone mixed with Nitric Acid into the atmosphere. Personnel were evacuated as a precaution. Affected facility operations were stopped. No injuries were reported and there is no media interest. The event was terminated at 00:16 (MDT) on July 9, 2009. Hazmat clean-up will continue during daylight hours."

7/10/09 11:45 AM

Anonymous said...

a direct line to washington...yeah, i'm sure lans hates that. doe actually appreciates the blog because nothing is getting covered up anymore (like the stolen laptop incident).

btw, is anyone else concerned about the credit crisis in the uc system?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20090719/us_time/08599191145500

Anonymous said...

So what's it to Rees? The spill wasn't even in his directorate, so why the rageoholoic episode?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rees appears to be another hot-headed firecracker ready to explode at any given moment. His resume shows that he moved around to different DC positions quite a bit, usually a sign of a manager with "problems". I feel sorry for the employees in the new Global Security directorate. LANS may have just handed you your very own Pete Nanos.

I'm sure the Rees stories will start pouring into this blog over the next few months. Should be interesting... and sad to watch.

Anonymous said...

There were a lot of complementary posts about Rees posted on this blog before he was even announced as the LANS selection for PAD.

It makes you wonder if all those posts came from William Rees, himself. He obviously knows about this blog and has been watching it closely.

Anonymous said...

I had such high hopes that Rees would be of a different stripe. If the reporting from this incident is any guide, it appears that we have just another asshole on board the USS LANS. Keep on kicking 'em and then wonder why both genuine productivity and morale are sooooo low. When will they ever learn? Oops, I forgot. Neither matter. Maybe Rees will collect a big ol' bonus for his tough talk like the rest of his PAD/AD cronies do. Meanwhile, the fact that the ship is sinking will continue to go unnoticed.

Anonymous said...

Rees is just another arrogant Bechtel asshole.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Doug & Frank, are you two asleep at the wheel? Did you fail to notice and report upon the repeal of the Bill of Rights? For shame!

Like the woman protesting GWB's involving the US in the Iraq war, I naively thought our entire country is a Free Speech Zone. I didn't realize people talking about LANL have lost that right.

Anonymous said...

Might as well shut it down, I can't imagine that DC is too concerned over 20 or so LANL mal-contents.

I guess these 20 or so mal-contents could always quit LANL instead of whining about the sky is falling or complaining about all the good people leaving LANL (except them of course).

Doug Roberts said...

Yes, 12:30, we noticed. I'm sure we all agree that PAD Rees is free to talk about shutting the blog down if that makes him happy.

Doug Roberts said...

You just made it 21 self-absorbed malcontents, 12:51.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Rees might consider fixing the problems at the Laboratory, which is what he and the others were hired to do, instead of lamenting about the blog. After all, where did we get someone of such esteemed caliber to mix acetone with nitric acid. Perhaps we need to send some people to scholl for some basic chemistry!

Anonymous said...

From WSJ Blogs:

Environmental Capital
Daily analysis of the business of the environment by The Wall Street Journal.

July 17, 2009, 9:15 AM ET

Commerce Secretary: Americans ´Need to Pay´for Chinese Emissions

10:26 am July 17, 2009

Anonymous wrote:

FROM THE DOE´S WEBSITE:

"About DOE
The Department of Energy´s overarching mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex. The Department´s strategic goals to achieve the mission are designed to deliver results along five strategic themes."

http://www.energy.gov/about/index.htm

--------

Mr. Chu: PLEASE SHUT THE H*LL UP

You are the energy secretary, not the "Carbon Czar". You are stepping outside the bounds of the Energy Department and violating the powers granted to you by Congress. Stick to overseeing the Energy Department, which has absolutely nothing to do with Carbon Permits, Cap and Trade, Foreign Trade Policy, ect...

You are violating the constitution, in addition to screwing up the country.

(http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2009/07/17/commerce-secretary-americans-need-to-pay-for-chinese-emissions/tab/comments/)

PS: I agree in the remarks by Anonymous.

PPS: I view Secretary of Energy, Mr. Steven Chu, and Obama´s Science Czar, Mr. John Holdren, as junk scientists, due to their hysterical beliefs in the still unproven AGW theory, e.g. Man Made Global Warming (MMGW).

Anonymous said...

Kirtland AFB is hiring as the AFRL lab continues GROWING. No 5% attrition rate is being mandated at AFRL. Of course, they also aren't run by NNSA:

***
Job fair seeks to fill 100 positions

ABQ Journal - 19 July 2009 01:38

Kirtland Air Force Base seeking civilian employees in range of fields

Kirtland Air Force Base, in partnership with the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, is holding a job fair early next month seeking to fill more than 100 new positions in a wide variety of fields.

The event, from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 5, will be at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. SW.

“This is a great opportunity for our members, partners and our constituency to learn more about the opportunities at Kirtland,” AHCC president Alex Romero said.

Kirtland is adding more civilian positions to its work force as its missions grow in the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and various other units on the base over the next two years, organizers said.

The work ranges from entry-level positions to more senior supervisory and management positions in the following areas: engineers, scientists, nuclear weapons specialists, financial managers, information management, logistics, IT specialists, human resources, safety and security specialists, guest services, child and youth program assistants, custodial workers, food service and general laborers.

Anonymous said...

"I guess these 20 or so mal-contents could always quit LANL instead of whining about the sky is falling or complaining about all the good people leaving LANL (except them of course)." - 12:51 PM

Terry or Mikey? Or perhaps it's the new guy, Rees? Of course, there is always Kevin Roark. You can always count on Kevin to suck ass on demand.

Anonymous said...

"You can always count on Kevin to suck ass on demand."

You don't even have to demand. You just need to ask nicely.

Anonymous said...

Since Rees is apparently reading this blog, I encourage him to try something new. Instead of managing up, try managing down for a change. You may find that the people under your command are very very good and the people at the top...well...not so good. Instead of shitting all over the former and sucking up to the latter, why not just ignore Anastasio and the Bechtel bunch and instead do something right by the country. Then, you might actually earn the lofty title that has been bestowed upon you. If nothing else, you'll be the only PAD that is respected by his/her subordinates. Novel? You betcha - at least in recent times.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I would rather have someone honest like Rees rather than Wallace who is a two-faced-back-stabbing-sleeze who tells you that he supports you and then takes away all your funding and blackballs you. FWIW, Wallace has done similar things aside from just taking away funding ... entries from this Blog demonstrates that.

Who would you rather have as a Lab Director?


P.S. Since Rees is clearly reading this Blog, watch your back with respect to Wallace. If he is pretending to be your friend, just ask Doc Aq about how trustworthy the slimeball is. I know, I am a friend of the imfamous Doc Aq and one yours in DC ...

Anonymous said...

1. LANS needs to smoke out all the lab whiners and fire them. It shouldn't be too difficult to locate these people.

2. LANS should work at getting the FBI to shut down this blog on the grounds of national security. A legal move from LANS against the blog with charges of exposing corporate proprietary information would also work nicely. Blogspot would then shut it down quickly.

3. Finally, I would suggest LANS work to bring in more Bechtel managers and place them at all levels within LANL, including the group leader level. The Bechtel managers all have real business experience that is lacking in most of the hold-overs from the UC days.

Do these things and LANL will finally begin to recover and heal.

Anonymous said...

I am just happy that we (LANL) haver our own Anderson Cooper! Maybe having sexy guy as Lab Director will improve attendance at All Hands Meetings! Couldn't hurt ... I mean, much better than the pudgy-pickens we have right now, eh?

Anonymous said...

12:04 You are some piece of work. Have you ever accomplished anything in your entire life? Seriously, go look in the mirror, dude. Corporate clone.

Anonymous said...

12:04,

Yes, indeed. Nanos tried this approach. To some large extent it even worked because the employees at LANL are so easily intimidated. We even had to cite an "Oath of Allegiance" to LANL after the shutdown before we were allowed to return to work after seven months of idleness.

Ultimately, though, his Gestapo tactics were unable to completely hide his own incompetence and, as you know, he was ridden out of town on a rail.

Actually, that last bit isn't quite true. Nanos skulked out of town one night. There was no official announcement of his leaving, he just wasn't around any more.

But, I like your approach. I suspect not even LANL sheeple would tolerate a the witch hunt you are proposing.

Frank Young said...

12:04 is trying to be funny. Bad legal advice has done plenty of damage to the lab already. If he seriously wants to pour fuel on the fire then I say go right ahead. Make me famous. I promise to return the favor.

Anonymous said...

I think that Anonymous at 7/20/09 12:04 AM is Mikey!

Anonymous said...

Nah, 12:04 AM, you are far too week in your demands.

1) LANS should fire all LANL employees ans restart the lab with three (or did Admiral Butthead claim that he would need four) - oh and because it is LANS they of course need all the 397 (or whatever the number is) on ADs/PADs

2) LANS should not only get the FBI involved but the CIA should waterboard all these suckers!

3) Nah here too. We need all the Rechtel guys from the ground up. Every janitor, high school student, Postdoc, PI should come from Rechtel (oh damn, all these Rechtel guys don't have a Ph.D. - so scratch the Postdocs and PIs).

Anonymous said...

I'd forgotten all about the Nanos loyalty oath, 7:01 AM. That was a real low point.

Pete Nanos had his strong supporters at LANL. Many of them still work at the lab. I sometimes wonder how these same people feel about LANS management of LANL? I'm guessing that they must be thrilled by Bechtel and the new management.

Anonymous said...

7:01 here.

I imagine the Nanos suck-ups have transitioned nicely into LANS/Bechtel suck-ups. It's in the nature of being a suck-up.

However:

I no longer work at LANL, but during my last visit to Hot Rocks to see some old friends and get a green chili breakfast burrito I was unable to find anybody who would say anything good about the current LANL management.

Anonymous said...

"3. Finally, I would suggest LANS work to bring in more Bechtel managers and place them at all levels within LANL, including the group leader level. The Bechtel managers all have real business experience that is lacking in most of the hold-overs from the UC days."

This is genius! Get rid of all scientific knowledge down to the GL level. I love it! Do you have a newsletter and where can I subscribe?

Welcome to Los Alamos Cleanup Facility. Don't Slip, Wear Shoes That Grip!

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, another weenie from DC who's gonna be taking staff to the back shed for whippings. It all fits, Mikey needed a "bad cop" outside the weapon program. Bret Knapp claims he got the weapons guys under control by bullying the staff and threatening their jobs using all the people he transferred out of his directorate as examples. By the way, I'm fed up with Bret always stating, at Livermore, at Livermore, at Livermore.

Anonymous said...

There are already outside people at the GL level at LANL.

Anonymous said...

As bad as it was with Nanos, those were better days than today.

On positive thing that I can say about Nanos is that whenever I sent him an Email message (usually, but not always, a complaint), I always go a personal reply.

I think that Nanos thought that he was George Patton. It is a bit of a surprise that Nanos had such porr ability to deal with a scientific organization. He has an earned PhD in Astrophysics from Princeton. But, I guess since he never worked as a scientist, he never really understood what it takes to do good science.

Anonymous said...

Anastasio is missing in action when it comes to interfacing with most employees at LANL. However, that's the way Bechtel wants it. LANL's current Director is little more than a Bechtel sock puppet and even that minor responsibility is probably too much for him to handle.

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose Rees has discovered the power of the blog yet?

Anonymous said...

Bret is certainly a one-man wrecking crew. He has done more for the Livermore weapon's program than any single individual I can name.

Anonymous said...

7:47 pm: "Bret is certainly a one-man wrecking crew. He has done more for the Livermore weapon's program than any single individual I can name."

Except that Livermore doesn't have a weapons program.

Anonymous said...

The loyalty pledge:

I pledge allegiance to the Lab, and to the University that it belongs to. One Lab, under UC, self proclaimed to be the crown jewel of the DOE complex; able to attract the best and brightest from across the street or planet, depending on who in Lab management you know. Los Alamos—home to a Lab once considered legendary, now home to the few who remain legends in their own mind, and once-magnet to college deferment draft avoiders who, in an ironic twist of fate, grew up to become the neo conservative military-industrial complex disciples they so desperately sought to escape in youth. I pledge my allegiance to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and to the complex that enabled it to earn the distinction of being home to the wealthiest community on the face of the planet. To this legacy I pledge my allegiance.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I am still able to post and read and the blog has not been shut down. OK, let's have a post that details the top 20 things we can do to make it better here. I am serious, would not like it if others demeaned this objective.

I will offer a few to get started:
-Fix that stupid travel system
-Offer board positions to qualified people
-What is Mikey doing here, petition for a new leader and decide who is the best qualified that works here now. If we happen to luck out and get that person, support him/her even when he/she makes a decision that we don't like.
-Do NOT penalize employees when they get hurt on the job, support them.

Anonymous said...

7/21/09 8:12 PM

You would be wrong. The bulk of the LLNL budget is directed towards weapons work.

Anonymous said...

Should we establish a yearly Wen Ho Lee award?

The award would be given to the person in DOE or its contractors, who, in a given year, did the most to decrease national nuclear security by spying, ignorance, foolishness, or arrogance.

There seems to be strong competition for this award.

Anonymous said...

I nominate Peter G. Nanos, with Michael Anastasio as runner up.

As you say, there is strong competition.

Anonymous said...

What the heck, there is already a Linton Brooks award.

Anonymous said...

And wasn't John Mitchell the "winner" of the "last" Wen Ho Lee award?

Anonymous said...

Yes, 8:39, I believe he did win the award for his innovative "living room SCF" classified computing facility.

BTW, remind us again why John Mitchell broke his contract to leave LANL?

Anonymous said...

A *huge* thanks to PAD Rees for reminding us that we have this direct line to Washington available for our use. I suggest that we have a "Direct Line to Washington" message that our blog moderators select periodically and post To The Attention Of: Our DC Readership.

Perhaps this way we can raise the visibility of the damage that NNSA's "for-profit" national laboratory sell-off has caused.

Thanks for providing the germ of an excellent idea, Will! You are clearly a "big picture" person.

Anonymous said...

9:18,

Nice idea, but do you honestly think that the present crop of LANL staff are capable of coming up with material of sufficient quality to warrant being direct to the attention of "Our DC Readership"?

I mean come on, these are the same folks who just recently expended a tremendous effort agonizing over the loss of free bottled water at LANL. And let's not forget the endless whinings about the egregious lack of free day care here.

Anonymous said...

There is so much waste, fraud, and abuse going on that yes, i think DC might be interested. For our DC readers: it might be a good idea to do a complete financial audit of T&E codes. Several Directors Fellows are not receiving their allotted M&S funds because the money is being used to pay for unfunded staff members. There are also some folks who are told to not charge T&E to funded projects to help pay for unfunded staff members. Welcome to the fuzzy accounting practices of LANL.

Anonymous said...

11:31,

Purell. Don't forget about the great Purell debate.

Anonymous said...

12:12,

I'm of two minds regarding the poor Director's Fellows not receiving their allotted funds.

You see, on the one hand, not giving money to the Fellows has a very high likelihood of inadvertently, momentarily, in a very minuscule amount, causing the productivity at LANL to increase. In the sense that 0.000000000001 is greater than 0.

On the other hand, I have observed the outright fraud of how time is charged at LANL, and would love to see some group leaders & above squirm through a complete audit of the T&E system.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Priedhorsky taking away Director's Fellows M&S to over 1/2 of what is used to be in favor of his friends, family, and ADs getting extras ... hmmm ... another item Wallace and Anastasio should look into regarding BPs waste, fraud, and abuse within the LDRD program. Hey Terry and Mike, if you don't, be prepared for an inquiry. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

BP and TW need some Purell. Hopefully, it will get rid of them and their sleeze plaguing this institution and its not-so-stellar rep.

Anonymous said...

There is no need for a "direct line to Washington". Washington DC no longer cares about LANL. They'll be more than happy to let it slowly rot away, which it is doing with great success under LANS' leadership.

Anonymous said...

Observational data does support your contention, 9:35.

Anonymous said...

9:35 pm: "There is no need for a "direct line to Washington". Washington DC no longer cares about LANL. They'll be more than happy to let it slowly rot away..."

9:38 pm: "Observational data does support your contention, 9:35."

However, the rate is so slow as to convince some that the curve actually has a positive slope, not negative. I submit that the long-awaited and long-desired (by some) demise of LANL, LLNL, NNSA, DOE, etc. is not going to happen in anyone's lifetime. So this blog, and all the hopeful whiners, need to get another life.

Anonymous said...

7/22/09 10:04 PM
So this blog, and all the hopeful whiners, need to get another life.

or just kill themselves. there will soon be some interesting names in the obits. thanks Mary for many empty promises and ruining my life.

Anonymous said...

"Washington DC no longer cares about LANL."

DC may not care about LANL, but they sure as hell care about misappropriation of funds. All they have to do is follow the money trail. They won't have to look too deep to find a lot.

Anonymous said...

or just kill themselves. there will soon be some interesting names in the obits. thanks Mary for many empty promises and ruining my life.

7/22/09 11:47 PM


Poster 11:47 AM, please get some medical help ASAP. No job is worth what you just wrote in your post.

You may not realize it, but you just approached a serious danger zone and I hope you take my advice and seek help quickly.

Step back for a minute. Let LANL sink downward if it wants to, but don't let it also take you down under with it. You're obviously smarter than that. And, as many posters have said here time after time, there is a good life after leaving the lab. In the end, it's just an 8 hour a day job with a paycheck. It doesn't deserve any further loyalty or emotional distress.

Anonymous said...

11:47 PM, what has Mary done to you? She has fucked over and lied to numerous people. Lot's of empty promises to share. Instead of offing yourself, we can form a support group called "A-Neu-A-Lation". Please, let's all just share about what a two-faced-lying-sack-of-back-stabbing-shit she is! As the phrase goes ... been there, done that. Perhaps Pinky can even have a separate "A-Neu-A-Lation" post for all to contribute to. :-)

Anonymous said...

So, I guess Will Rees is going to have a real heart attack when he sees information about a *second* TA-35 chemical incident on this blog?

Anonymous said...

Entirely possible, 7:29. Details, please.

Anonymous said...

I never heard what happened the first time.

Anonymous said...

TA-35 Target Fab Facility was evacuated for a Haz Mat cleanup yesterday afternoon. Seems to have involved another release of NOx gases during a chemical mixing procedure. Lesson learned seems to be: don't let LANL materials scientists handle any more chemicals, please.

Anonymous said...

From 7/22/09 12:12 PM ... "...Several Directors Fellows are not receiving their allotted M&S funds because the money is being used to pay for unfunded staff members."

Wow, and Priedhorsky gets away with this? Clearly shows that Wallace and Mikey are just spewing shit when they say that postdocs are the Lab's greatest resource and future.

I wish someone in management at the AD, DL, or GL level would actually call bullshit on this instead of hiding under a blanket and counting their bonus money. Their silence simply shows what slimeball fuckwads they are.

Anonymous said...

7/24 7:37 pm: You do realize that the reference you cited was to Laboratory Fellows, not postdocs?

Anonymous said...

Actually, 7/25/09 10:52 AM, I was referring to postdocs. Bill P. cut their M&S by 50% to accommodate other needs. Watkins used to take the cuts in the larger DR projects and NEVER the postdocs.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why individual postdocs need M%S. Don't their program sponsors provide (or fight for) sufficient support? How are postdocs funded? When I was a postdoc, there was never any need for me to worry about money to fund my contributions to experiments, data analysis, publishing, etc. It was just there, as part of funding for the program. What has changed? Aren't postdocs part of a currently-funded program where M%S is a total dollar number, and not allocated per person? If not, then someone has inordinate power to control spending. Since when is M%S spending tracked by staff member in a technical program? What a joke!

Anonymous said...

If you understood how the budget system worked or even how to construct a work package, every person is assigned a nominal percentage for M&S. There isn't some magical slush fund to buy supplies. Sometimes a PI will call out large ticket items that would be more than the standard %M&S$$ but this amount would be in addition.

I assume since we are talking about the LDRD program, this nominal amount is being downsized so he can shuffle the money to buddies. For example, if each person is supposed to get $30K, and 50% is taken away from each person, then we are starting to talk about major money.

Anonymous said...

9:50 pm: "If you understood how the budget system worked or even how to construct a work package, every person is assigned a nominal percentage for M&S."

Yes, but fron my long experience as a Group Leader, I know that once the aggregate budget is received, the allocation for M&S is not tied to a particular Group member, but is spent as needed across the Group. Sometimes, it is swapped between Groups in a Division to level spending needs during the year.

Anonymous said...

So what you are saying is that although Director's Fellows receive a nominal amount of M&S to be used for travel, book purchases, computers, etc, that money is not really their money to spend for that purpose. Rather, any DF M&S money is group money that is to be used for any and all other purposes including funding staff members. Does Mary Ann With approve of these practices?

Anonymous said...

8:26 pm sounds like "the plagiarist" tony redondo. if you want to investigate waste and fraud, start with him.

Anonymous said...

7/27/09 10:27 AM ... "Does Mary Ann With approve of these practices?"

Yes, and yes to your analysis. Priedhorsky is the one who reduced the DFs M&S by 50%, Wallace approved. Mary Anne With is pretty much powerless. The PI/Group Leader can choose to spend the PD's M&S on whatever they wishes. Up to the moral fiber of the PI to do the right thing and/or stand up to management to force the issue.

Anonymous said...

12:08 pm: "8:26 pm sounds like "the plagiarist" tony redondo. if you want to investigate waste and fraud, start with him."

Oh please. Just reality. Get out of your naive tree. Obviously you have never been allowed aroud actual budget negotiations between managers. No fraud or abuse, just hard choices being made and executed.

Anonymous said...

7/27/09 9:32 PM
....Obviously you have never been allowed aroud actual budget negotiations between managers. No fraud or abuse, just hard choices being made and executed.

PUH-LEASE. Slap yourself on the back you sleaze-ball-manager. Oh, yeah hard choices. Guess that is why some people are forced to keep quiet and use their vacation and sick leave to pay for their T&L (with threats mind you) and others who just happen to be the pride and joy of the GL and DL get to ride the gravy train. Geepers, how do these managing-upward-cowards sleep at night?

Anonymous said...

"... and use their vacation and sick leave to pay for their T&L ..."

THIS is why DOE needs to come in and audit T&L codes.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-07-28/

Anonymous said...

7/27 10:43 pm: "Guess that is why some people are forced to keep quiet and use their vacation and sick leave to pay for their T&L (with threats mind you) and others who just happen to be the pride and joy of the GL and DL get to ride the gravy train"

You sound rather disgruntled. This helps your situation how? I'll bet you're not one of the "pride and joy" of your manager.

Anonymous said...

1:26 PM
You sound rather disgruntled. This helps your situation how? I'll bet you're not one of the "pride and joy" of your manager.

Why yes I am disgruntled, but that is not the point. What is being executed by management to keep budgets in line with what their AD and above want to see is criminal and should be reported/investigated. What applies to one TSM should be good for the next and not different rules and threats for those not in the friends/familty camps.

Where is our lovely Congress, NNSA, DOE, and White House reps now? Bring on a T&E fraud investigation, bring on misappropriation of funding invests., please interview those with little funding, ask why, also ask why others seem to get their names forwarded at every turn, eh Jenn Hollingsworth, Andrew Gaunt, Victor Klimov, Eric Bauer, Justin Torgerson, Leornardo Cavale, Quinzi Jia ... to name but a few. So many, many more.

Please Washington, do an investigation. Talk to those without funding to get the real scoop.

Anonymous said...

Maybe those with funding got funding because they are good scientists, while those without, aren't. Let's see some data about your publications/citations vs theirs. No fair claiming you'd have more publications if you had funding. Doesn't work that way.

Anonymous said...

"eh Jenn Hollingsworth, Andrew Gaunt, Victor Klimov, Eric Bauer, Justin Torgerson, Leornardo Cavale, Quinzi Jia ... to name but a few. So many, many more."

These are all really, and I do mean really good people and exactly the kind of people that should get funded. All these people are leaders in their field and could easily get good positions outside of LANL. We should do everything we can to keep these people.

I think that the 7/28/09 7:31 PM poster should consider the possibility that they are just a very bitter and jealous person who does not belong in LANL or any other scientific institution. Please go away.

Anonymous said...

All these people are leaders in their field and could easily get good positions outside of LANL. We should do everything we can to keep these people.

Well, then we should just make them all Scientist 6's and Lab Fellows instantly and let's give them life-long funding. Of fuck, let em go. Why should a nuclear laboratory be funding shit like quantum dots? Seriously, go to an Office of Science Lab like Argonne.

Anonymous said...

Eh...are these people really THAT good or are we all just told that they are THAT good? Personally I don't see a whole lot of brilliance coming out of that group.

Anonymous said...

"Well, then we should just make them all Scientist 6's and Lab Fellows instantly and let's give them life-long funding. Of fuck, let em go. Why should a nuclear laboratory be funding shit like quantum dots? Seriously, go to an Office of Science Lab like Argonne.

7/28/09 11:19 PM"

It is rather apparent that you do not have the intelectual capacity to understand how science works at a nuclear lab or any other science lab for that matter. Again you sound like a very bitter person. If you cannot do science or understand science that is fine, people have different talents and abilities, it is time for you to move on and we will all win.

Anonymous said...

LANS has said that funding looks good going into the end of this fiscal year, but I'm beginning to have grave doubts.

It appears that increasing numbers of the research TSMs are running out of funds as the fiscal year ends. Usually, there are pots of money left over near the fiscal year's end.

What's going on here? Anybody know the true story?

Anonymous said...

if you put these people on a shit project, could they make it work and publish? that is a sign of a true "world class" scientist.

Anonymous said...

8:38 AM, Okay, I'm intrigued... How does science work at a nuclear weapons lab? Please do enlighten us, since you have it all figured out.

Anonymous said...

6:51 here. You see, there are winners and losers in the science realm at LANL. We know the losers. We have seen their names many-a-time on the blog. They might have been great scientitists at one point, but they embarassed the institution and will never see another time. They need to leave ... uh Aqua Regia wench? And now those poor bastards at TA-35 should just hang it up or suffer the same fate as our beloved and very stupid Doc Aq. How many times and ways does someone have to be told to just leave?

The people posted above are winners. They are postive tokens for the lab and shining stars that Terry and Bill and others can point to as giivng the lab good press, not bad. Because of this they will continue to be blessed and honored by Terry and company. THey will have money shoved their way left and right. If they were puton a shit project, these people could not make it work, BUT ... they would invest the money into their own projects and publish impressive work that would make the Lab look good and diverse. This is the sign of a true "world class" scientist.

If you had to ask the question, you are too stupid to know the political and right answer: you fuck up, better go buh-bye. you no fuck up, sky is the limit baby.

And that, 6:51 PM, is how science works at a nuclear weapons lab.

Anonymous said...

"7/30/09 12:54 AM"

You are one sad piece of shit. You and only you are to blame for your failures. You can point your fingers at everyone else in the world but not matter where you go the result will always be the same since you are the one to blame not others.

Anonymous said...

I think the best scientists are the ones who bring in their own funding and don't live off of LDRD or the Nuclear Weapons program. There are a number of people like that at LANL. They survive in spite of the management, not because of them. Those are the people you want to keep.

Anonymous said...

12:03,

Name ten scientists here who bring in their own funding. I bet you can't. Out of the 9,000 or so LANL employees (does anybody know the actual current count?) I bet you can't name ten staff who bring in their own project funding in today's LANL.

Why is that, do you suppose? Answer: because that's how NNSA wants it to be.

Anonymous said...

Look, you put some of these people on a project, let's say a bioinorganic project, their big contribution will be to attach the enzyme (or whatever) to a quantum dot. Is that really innovative, exciting, and novel research? No, but having their names on the project will certainly help it get funded at the lab. Also, their contemporaries in academia have 2-3 completely different projects that their group works on. Here, they are one-trick ponies where yes, they have 2-3, sometimes 5-6 different projects, but they are all very very closely related and do not deviate from their very specific specialty. Does that make them good scientists?

Anonymous said...

aren't there several with NIH funding?

Anonymous said...

12:12:

It's a lot more common than you think it is. The sattelite people bring in NASA contracts. There are people in P-24 who bring in DOE money out of Energy programs. Same is true in T Division. N-1 and N-2 bring in IAEA money. I supported my self for my last 15 years at LANL without either LDRD or NW money. I could easily name a lot more than 10 people who fall in this category, but I'm not going to embarass people by naming them on this blog.
I grant you that it isn't easy to do with the overhead charged by the lab and the lack of interest in the management about having people do this. But if you don't like the programs that the worthless managers at LANL are giving you, then build your own programs.

Anonymous said...

12:23,

Maybe, but the largest and most visible NIH-funded project, EpiSims, left LANL in 2005.

Betty Korber might be one LANL staffer who still brings in project funding, so I just gave you one. Name 9 others.

You appear to be missing the point, however, which is that NNSA and LANS do not want LANL staff bringing in non NNSA, non plutonium work. That's why 12:03's statement that "I think the best scientists are the ones who bring in their own funding and don't live off of LDRD or the Nuclear Weapons program." is so ludicrous. This is why WFO funding is declining, not growing.

12:32, maybe you can name 10 people who bring in non NNSA funding, but you should probably go check on those legacy WFO programs that you just mentioned and ask their program managers what their future prospects look like under LANS/NNSA.

Anonymous said...

12:32 to 12:42
To a certain extent I agree with you. When the cold war ended, the lab made a conscious decision to retreat back into its core mission (NW) rather than to try to keep and expand a diversified portfolio. The only science facility that they really worked to protect was LANSCE. While this was politically expedient and worked reasonably well for over a decade, LANL is now paying for that decision. You can blame that decision on Sig Hecker.
If LANL truly wanted to maintain its science and its staff, what they should consider doing is to give any staff member who brings in a new contract a certain percentage of it as a bonus. That would probably solve any funding shortfalls in short order. Of course, that isn’t going to happen because the primary goal of LANS/NNSA/DOE is control, not performance or doing good science. It took the DOE ~60 years to finally get LANL to knuckle under and accept “guidance” from Washington. If either the LANL managers or the NNSA managers don’t control LANL’s budget, then they don’t have any leverage. They don’t like staff members ignoring them.
The reason I made my earlier comments about bringing money into the lab is that when I worked at LANL it used to really frost my butt to go out and bring in outside funding only to have it taxed and given to some LDRD welfare queen who was spending their entire career living off of the largess of the laboratory. If these people are really as good as they think they are, then they are the ones who should be developing new programs for the lab. LDRD should be seed money for programs, but it has largely deteriorated into a mechanism to maintain the lab’s technical base.

Anonymous said...

2:44,

12:42 here. We're on the same wavelength, particularly regarding LDRD welfare queens.

Anonymous said...

Truthfully, you are all a bunch of pathetic losers and whiners. I managed without for my entire career and LDRD should simply be done away with. The LDRD queens should all be encouraged to go elsewhere. Oh my, what would Jenn Hollingsworth (soon to be Fellow to keep her at LANL) and her mentor Victor Klimov (already a Lab Fellow) without LDRD or BES shoved up their asses to ensure they stay at LANL? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Anonymous said...

"...mechanism to maintain the lab's technical base."

Sure, whatever that means. It's not as if most of the people who charge their time to LDRD have ever done any national security work, or would consider doing so if LDRD was eliminated completely. They'd simply pack up and move to a university.

Anonymous said...

GIS for welfare queen...it's all about the BK hat.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Zm6JXvXXze4/SZh2qHn46oI/AAAAAAAAEPw/FEyDb8CFhFk/s320/welfare_queen.jpg

If you think the constant LDRD funding is pathetic, you have to admit that when you are at name at the lab, it's very easy money. Given their position, would you change? Honestly, having to go out and hustle for money from real funding agencies is hard. Here, the money comes with very little competition from their colleagues. This is why I don't believe these people are as good as others would have us believe. Thrown out into the real world, several darlings of the lab would struggle. Sure they'd have funding, but not like the gravy train found in the friends and family program. Then it all goes back to the original point of funding the unfunded friends and family with the group slush fund. Politics and egos dictate the management style of the lab. If the science divisions were operated as it should be, both the LDRD welfare queens and the unfunded leeches would have been let loose a long time ago (LDRD should be used as a start-up fund, not a funding source for 15 years...come on people!). But, the lab has operated like this for 15 years, the only way it will stop is getting rid of the old UC management style from the ground up.

Anonymous said...

2:44 PM here again.

LDRD does move decisions on science away from Washington, which I think is a good thing. The problem I see is that in practice it gets used to perpetually fund the same people. I checked the projects one year and discovered one individual who simultaneously had 5 LDRD projects. "Coincidentally", this person was also the chair of the committee which was awarding the funding. I think the following reforms would help the situation:

1. Only one LDRD per customer.
2. People need to spend at least 2 years without charging to LDRD after their LDRD project ends.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous. Let me guess, probably charging 20% to each project. I don't care who you are, you cannot effectively work on 5 project simultaneously. Who was this person?

Anonymous said...

LDRD is a joke. There is no "open" competition, and more often than not the results of the projects lead to nothing. The money is wired from the get-go for the pals and darlings of the committee/management. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. The committee meetings and presentations are a sham. And, REAL projects, with REAL (non-LDRD) funding get taxed up the wazoo for this crap to take place. LDRD should be eliminated. Period.

Anonymous said...

"LDRD is a joke. There is no "open" competition, and more often than not the results of the projects lead to nothing. The money is wired from the get-go for the pals and darlings of the committee/management. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. The committee meetings and presentations are a sham. And, REAL projects, with REAL (non-LDRD) funding get taxed up the wazoo for this crap to take place. LDRD should be eliminated. Period.

8/2/09 7:41 AM"

I have to call bullshit on this. Everything you are saying is just not true. Can you prove any of it?
I don't think so.

I really hope you do not work at LANL. You have some kind of agenda and you sure as hell do not a single thing about LDRD or science. Most people at LANL approve of LDRD. I know only a very few that are bitter that they never get any funding from LDRD but they are also total crackpots and idiots who cannot do any kind of work. Everyone would love to get rid this kind of dead wood but they are the least mobile of anyone at the lab.

Anonymous said...

1:09 PM, you are making the assumption that the 5 projects are significantly different from each other. All too often, LANL PI's manage to score multiple LDRD's from different committees with only a nominal change in proposal title. Or, they'll write one DR proposal, and then divvy it into several ER proposals, and then toss it over to Office of Science for good measure.

Anonymous said...

True. Then they site all of their publications for the 5 projects.

Anonymous said...

They may "site" all their publications, but at least they passed the fourth grade.

Anonymous said...

8/2/09 9:15 PM

wrote "1:09 PM, you are making the assumption that the 5 projects are significantly different from each other. All too often, LANL PI's manage to score multiple LDRD's from different committees with only a nominal change in proposal title. Or, they'll write one DR proposal, and then divvy it into several ER proposals, and then toss it over to Office of Science for good measure.

Indeed. Just look at what Jenn Hollingsworth was able to get funded and all on the same concept, Quantum Dots to Solve the Solid State Lighting Initiative: 2 ERs (one with her as co-PI w/ Han Htoon - identical proposals, different committees), a DR, and then a multi-year, multi million dollar BES SISGR (with Han Htoon as co-PI). Oh and let's not forget, she and Htoon are part of CINT and get 50% of their salary covered. Augmentation? Naaa, Bill P. loves (and I mean loves) Jenn.

Anonymous said...

"They may "site" all their publications, but at least they passed the fourth grade.

8/4/09 6:15 PM"

Hey smartass it is site as as in the ability to see a publication, not sight, meaning to have eyes. Dumbass!

Anonymous said...

Doug's right, the literacy level on this blog is appalling. "Cite" is the correct usage of the word in the context of the original illiterate comment. Let's not even discuss 11:09's academic achievements.

Sad, sad.

Anonymous said...

His resume shows that he moved around to different DC positions quite a bit, usually a sign of a manager with "problems". I feel sorry for the employees in the new Global Security directorate. LANS may have just handed you your very own Pete Nanos.

I'm sure the Rees stories will start pouring into this blog over the next few months. Should be interesting... and sad to watch.

7/19/09 11:33 AM

So, then by definition he should be removed from all work on direct programs, and instead be assigned to an LDRD project?

Anonymous said...

Will Rees seems to have already begun making a name for himself at LANL by yelling at Hispanic support staff in the hallways ! Interesting pattern here: 1) instantly change all the program managers and program offices in the Global Security Directorate before spending any time in observation mode, 2) yelling at support staff in the hallways, 3) threatening to shut the blog down...

Frank Young said...

I thought I bought Rees off with an offer to buy him a beer. Sounds like I'll need something stronger. Does he have a favorite single malt?