Friday, February 16, 2007


Copper Heist Du Jour

Pat -

Is anybody besides myself looking for the Great Copper Heist to become the next LANL scandal du jour? After all, anybody can see that this is just another violation that's the fault of the Arrogant Butthead Scientists and their Academic Culture.


[/Sarcasm Off/ --Pat.]

According to the ABQ Journal Santa Fe, February 16:

The ongoing investigation "is clear evidence" of improvements that the lab has made in its business processes, LANL spokesman Kevin Roark said.
"We have a process for reporting (fraud) internally," he said. "In this case, the process worked as designed and resulted in notifying the police as soon as we were aware of the problem."
Copper heist? Explain - I don't know this one.
Pat, I agree with you whole heartedly. I am sure our friends in Lab Legal will make certain these people suffer. This way the Lab Legal folks (Rich, Chris, Phil, Cindy) all ensure job security ... this too shall pass...
- and ABM's at LANL

In the last 10 years, the only Arrogant Butt-head Scientist (ABS) security screw-up of significance I can think of was the Wen Ho Lee case. Seen in this context, I think LANL has done fairly well, statistically speaking, in handling the ABS issue. One or two ABS security screw-up in 10 years is a low count considering:

(A) the large number of scientists that have walked the halls of LANL since the early 90's, and, let's be brutally honest...

(B) the propensity for a significant subset of all scientists to be:
(a) arrogant, and
(b) butt-heads

We've all run into the ABS prototype at both LANL and at many other facilities.
Thankfully, the actual damage caused by the ABS prototype at LANL is low.

On the other hand, incidents caused by Arrogant Butt-head Managers (ABM's) is much, much higher! But this is to be expected, as the percentage of ABM's at LANL is much higher than normal. We are 6-Sigma when it comes to the population of ABM's that walk our halls. Most of them seem to cluster near the AD offices. Another significant cluster can be found in LANL's Legal offices.

The recent Copper Heist was caused by Arrogant Butt-head Contractors (ABC's). ABC's are also responsible for most of the safety issues that happen at LANL.

Occasionally, ABC's are also responsible for security screw-ups, as in the recent Jessica Quintana case.

Our ABM's hire cut-rate ABC's from ABQ and then the ABC's do what they do best, which is screw-up on the contract jobs ASAP.

In the WHL case, it was found that no actual security damage was done by the ABS WHL. Instead, it appeared that leakage of critical information most likely came from some ABC source outside of LANL.

Mr. Congressman needs to realize that:

ABS =/= ABM =/= ABC

Unfortunately most Congressman are very bad at math, so I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the Copper Heist at LANL is blamed, once again, on ABS's.

When this event happens, it will be due to the existence of yet another common prototype, called the ABP (Arrogant Butt-head Politician). Many exemplars of this particular species can be seen during Congressional hearings. The ABP species can be easily identified by their loud, guttural "shut the place down" screams they issue whenever they are in the presence of other members of their Congressional pack or in front of TV cameras. This guttural call is frequently used as a sure sign of dominance over the weaker members of the Congressional pack.

Next week, will study another interesting species called CBS.
For the benefit of the 9:18 PM poster...

LA Monitor
February 17, 2007

Suspects confess to copper theft

CAROL A. CLARK Monitor Senior Reporter

Four contractor employees have confessed to the theft of an estimated 15 tons of copper metal discovered missing in January from the Materials Recycling Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, authorities said.

"In the course of our investigation, we conducted six interviews in Los Alamos and another in Los Lunas," Los Alamos Police Det. Andrew Goldie said on Tuesday. "Information obtained from our interviews has led the Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General (OIG) to pursue federal charges."

Charges will be filed against employees working for Portage Environmental among other lab contractors, Goldie said.

He added that several LANL employees who were mainly the reporting parties were also interviewed.

LANL employees reported to police that the copper disappeared from the scrap yard at Technical Area 60 on Eniwetok Drive sometime between Nov. 1 and Jan. 12.

OIG agent Joe Avila is the lead investigator on the missing copper case. He works in the department's Albuquerque office and said Tuesday that he could not comment on the case and referred inquiries to the Department of Energy OIG in Washington, D.C.

OIG spokeswoman Linda Schneider said this morning from Washington that because their portion of the case is still active, she also could not comment.

LANL Public Affairs spokesman Kevin Roark said Wednesday afternoon that the lab has nothing new to add regarding the case.

Goldie said his department worked to solve the case in conjunction with other agencies and praised the collaborative efforts of the multiple agencies involved.

"Everybody worked in great cooperation," Goldie said. "As soon as the incident became known, the laboratory's S-12 Division, OIG, FBI and LAPD all came together. It was a good bit of diligence on everybody's part from top to bottom and the cooperation between the agencies is ideally how investigations should be conducted."

Goldie said the efficiency of the team effort is evident in the results of cracking the case in less than two weeks.

The theft was reported to police on Jan. 24 and their portion of the investigation was wrapped up on Feb. 8 and forwarded to the OIG, Goldie said. He added that the suspects have not yet been placed in custody.

"The district attorneys or the U.S. attorneys will decide whether to issue a warrant, go to trial or another response they may take to the charges," Goldie said.

Media across the country have reported a surge in copper thefts and are attributing it to the sharp price increase from $1.68 per pound last year to over $4 per pound in May.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industry Inc. (ISRI) is an association of companies that process, broker and consume scrap commodities. The industry also has noted an upsurge in thefts, according to its website.

Many ISRI members are providing leads, reporting suspicious transactions and distributing ISRI's Theft Alert e-mails to industry members in an effort to help law enforcement catch the thieves and recover and return stolen materials to their rightful owners.

Schneider said this morning that she is checking to see if the OIG reported the LANL copper theft to the ISRI's Theft Alert system.
CONTRACT employees, eh! NOT scientists! Hmmmm...
Kinda reminds me of the NAVY contractors that passed the W88 design, complete with flawed dimensions, to the Red Chinese...

I wonder when Congress will GET IT ... (Sigh, yeah, right ...)
Pat, don't forget that the very latest slip-up on security was ... a CONTRACTOR, not a scientist.

Just trying to keep our little Dog on a tight leash. -Good boy. -Er, ... girl (?)
And why is it that LANL uses so many contractors????????
And why is it that LANL uses so many contractors???????? (2/17/2007 4:50 PM)

Northern New Mexico welfare association my friend ...
A short primer on ARBs - Arrogant Racist Bastards.

Arrogant Racist Bastards think that hiring contractors is welfare for Northern New Mexico. They advocate getting rid of the contractors. These are then the first to complain that the plumbing is not getting repaired when the toilet backs up. The trash is not getting taken from their office. There aren't enough people to process their travel requests etc. They of course fail to realize that there is a lot work being done around them to support their 3 hour lunch trips to Espanola to check the new Northern New Mexican restaurant there.
Pat, The Dog is not a racist.

Well, except maybe where cats, or Pomeranians are concerned.

Favorite Espanola restaurant, BTW: JoAnne's. Terrific Chicharon burritos.

Pat, The Non-Racist Dog
In the end Mike and team will say that the "arrogant scientists" made the contractors do it because of "the culture" that permeates through the lab.
Huh...""Arrogant Racist Bastards think that hiring contractors is welfare for Northern New Mexico. They advocate getting rid of the contractors. These are then the first to complain that the plumbing is not getting repaired when the toilet backs up. The trash is not getting taken from their office. There aren't enough people to process their travel requests etc. They of course fail to realize that there is a lot work being done around them to support their 3 hour lunch trips to Espanola to check the new Northern New Mexican restaurant there.""

ARB?...pbbbbbt! Even though we have all these entitled support folks in place, I and my office-mates find we still have to plunge toilets, repair leakey faucets, fix broken furnaces, replace water heaters, restock towel dispensers, refill soap dispensers, refill toilet paper, order our own janitorial supplies that janitors take to other sites, swab floors, clean kitchenettes, shovel snow, spread de-icer, refuel vehicles, carry trash daily, deal with dead rodents daily, do our own travel arrangements and submissions, answer managers' phone calls, and we do not ever patronize Espanola restaurants. No time for fun when we have to do our jobs as well as the support staffs'.

Indeed cut the budget by cutting contractors...we are doing the work anyway. Who needs 'em.
It's one thing to persecute/prosecute the janitor, it’s another thing to hold a group leader or above accountable for a practice Lab management condones. For example, consider Lab practices that lead to the incurring of costs considered unallowable or unreasonable under the law and/or under the prime contract to the tune of millions of dollars in wasted taxpayer resources. Try holding those managers accountable. Try holding the Lab manager accountable who skirts environmental laws in order to save resources for yet another European conference to be attended by the favored few, or who view security requirements as bureaucratic interference at best, a waste of time and programmatic resources at worst, and who behave accordingly. Try holding those who harass their employees or who retaliate against them for resisting such practices, or worse yet for daring to report them. Indeed, it’s a lot easier to hold the proverbial janitor accountable for doing something stupid, like copying classified documents on to a travel drive, or for stealing copper. And so this is where the arrogance takes root…the notion that you can grant a free pass to those with status, power and influence at the Lab, while persecuting and prosecuting those having none. Some of the comments on this blog are proof enough that arrogance is, indeed, a very serious problem at Los Alamos.
Poster 9:04 AM...

So it has come down to this -- attacking LANL's janitors? What a totally sick, f*cked-up world LANL has become. I'm a TSM and, on occasion, even a bit of an ABS, but even an ABS shouldn't stoop this low.

I like my janitorial service. The janitors are friendly and I admire their street-smart savvy. The few minutes each day I say "Hello" and talk with them are enjoyable moments that I treasure. They are decent people trying to make a low-wage living in a tough world.

Pick on someone else, you sick, twisted f*ck. Maybe if you tried being a bit nicer to them, you'd find that your office environment would be a bit cleaner. Besides, practicing some kindness with the lower-grade staff might do your stone-cold heart a world of good.
Amen, Anon 2/18/2007 12:14 PM!
Took the words right outta my mouth! (And you know that, unlike cats, dogs' mouths are VERY clean.)

--Pat, the Dog, who sez:

It AIN'T the janitors, and it AIN'T most of the scientists who talk to, and appreciate the janitors--it's the ARROGANT BUTTHEAD MANAGERS who've brought us to this shitty crossroads, us being the scientists, contractors, secretaries, safety officers, etc., all of whom earn 1/10th what Anastasio earns! Try to keep it straight, and in perspective, OK?
Wow, 2/18/2007 9:04 AM
We thought that the white robe and pointy hood was just to hide the cone head.
"The White Robe" and pointy hat to hide the "cone-head" I love it...Aint America great! Now Managements has got the employee's blaming each other and even the janitors....What a neat place to work, Mikey and his bunch have brought this once highly respected laboratory down to this......What are the rest of his team doing , don't hear too much from them, are they hiding or looking to bail?
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