Friday, February 02, 2007


Thanks, Sam (Seriously, this time)

Ok, Sam. You want a fight? You've got it.

Stay tuned, some of the ugly underbelly of LANL and DOE management is about to hit the presses, literally. Stay tuned.

-Pat, the Pit Bull

----- And from an Anonymous contributor: -----

Pat, I hope you bite Bodman right in the crotch and rip his... oh, wait, he doesn't have any, does he?

If he did, he'd have said, "Organizational culture is a product of management, regulations, organizational structure, and individual behavior, and the Laboratory has really struggled with the first three while its staff have taken the blame for management problems over which they have little control. Here's a list of what we're fixing, why we think these fixes are important, and milestones for demonstrating success in improving our management practices."

He'd have followed this with, "I'm proud to say that Los Alamos is a national treasure and a DOE laboratory peopled by talented secretaries, scientists, technicians, engineers, and other dedicated staff. Individual arrogance is the least of LANL's problems."

Oh, and the crowning statement would have been, "I personally apologize to every employee at Los Alamos for the upheaval and stress of the past few years. I will personally work with Congress and with LANL staff to identify and implement changes that make management of this very complicated institution more effective."

Maybe I should nominate myself as Energy Secretary.


[Dear Anon: Your sensible nature and the lack of a recognizable name preclude your being considered for DOE Sec'y. Sorry.

Is Sam gonna dare show his face at this lab again after these comments? When he was here visiting us he expressed a very different opinion of "LANL scientists" than what he told Congress when he stabbed us all in the back! Maybe they can fire all of us scientists and engineers who Sam thinks are too arrogant and have Anastasio and the rest of the utterly incompetent LANS upper management team run the lab by themselves.
Can't answer that one, 9:14, but I can say that Bodman's recent bit of managerial cowardice has angered staff at LANL sufficiently that they are now coming forward and talking. To me, and to the press. As I said, stay tuned. News will be breaking soon.

Bodman is not going to like it.

First, betrayed by Nanos. Then UC and NNSA. Now the head of DOE. Tell me again why the fuck I work here?
Remember Nanos? He said that he would fire everybody at Los Alamos, except for 10 people, shut the Lab down entirely, and then restart it with those 10 people, if he had to. Immediately, I saw that Nanos pictured himself as a modern-day Jesus Christ with 12 disciples--minus Judas Iscariot and Doubting Thomas, of course--bringing the total "staff" to 10, led by the "brilliant" Director, Jesus Peter Nanos.

Remember how glad we were when, 9 months after Nanos' misbegotten Shutdown, UC finally--finally!--handed Pete his Golden Parachute and floated him down to a spot in DC?

Well, now we hear Nanos' words coming out of the mouth of Bodman ... Jesus wept.
LANL is no longer a healthy place to work.

LANL is no longer a fun place to work.

LANL is no longer a safe place to work.

LANL is no longer a place to do science.

LANL is no longer a place to do much of anything.

LANL is no longer a place to make your career.

LANL is no longer respected by Congress.

LANL is no longer respected by the public.

LANL is no longer respected by your future employer.

LANL is not going to get better.

LANL is no longer LANL.
Sam, close it down! If you really believe what you just said in Congress, then why bother trying to fix the problems at LANL any longer? It's time to call your bluff.

If you think a deep-seated culture of arrogance at LANL exists among the scientists, then don't pussy-foot around with half-hearted measures any longer. Those half-hearted measures have been going on now for over six years. Shut it down. I know of no other way in which to purge deep-seated cultural problems at an institution other than to close the doors and start over from scratch.

But, then, we both know that what you just said in Congress was simply a means to deflect criticism from the piss-poor management coming down from you, your staff in DOE, and the people running NNSA. Right? And the fact that 22 year old Jessica Quintana was NOT a LANL scientist went right above the heads of those you just hood-winked with your comments. Right? And dumping the full blame for problems back on LANL is a long standing tradition within DOE. Right?

Do you have any idea of the hatred and loathing you've just generated among the LANL staff with your comments? Couldn't you have done a better job in phrasing the situation?

As another poster stated, praise is best done in public, punishment is best done in private. That's a basic tenet of all good managers. You blew it, Sam!
9:33, I'm guessing we're getting pretty much down to the paycheck, but I could be wrong.
Mc·Car·thy·ism (mə-kär'thē-ĭz'əm)

1. The practice of publicizing accusations of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence.
2. The use of unfair investigatory or accusatory methods in order to suppress opposition.

[After Joseph Raymond MCCARTHY.]

The "Pressure Cooker" Now we have another few months, to worry about the Rif's buget cuts and working conditions....It's getting to be very stressful working here not knowing how secure your job will be.....and I don't see it getting any better....LANL is doomed...
I certainly hope someone investigates the waste and/or fraud perpetrated on the taxpayers when high level LANL staff were getting paid while in California writing the LANS response to the RFQ. It seems to me that those folks should have been on leave without pay. If the time and effort reports indicate that they were at work at the time they were in California, that must be fraud. If there was a special code that they were paid under, it's still a waste of taxpayer's money to pay them for their LANL position.
Dear Pat the Dog -- I hope you're getting your regular ration of Milk-Bones on time. Sometimes we humans, in stressful situations, tend to forget those little niceties.

I'm writing to make a global comment on the most recent events, in particular, the Bodman remarks. If you choose to publish these comments, I would prefer that you do so in such a way to allow me to be anonymous, like most everyone else seems to be doing. I have less to lose, to be sure, but at the same time I also have no particular reason to make enemies of anyone.

For background: I left LANL at the beginning of September, 2005 (and have been following the previous blog and this one with some interest) for a position in a university. I'd come to LANL from a university at the beginning of the John Browne directorship, attracted by the fact that TSMs were, at the time, University of California employees and by John's well-publicized attempts to move LANL toward a future in the environmental sciences. When John stepped down, that went away, and when it became obvious to me that the UC employment would go away, too, I found an opportunity to jump on.

And here's my global comment, in the form of a question: Why is everyone so defensive about Bodman's remark that LANL scientists are arrogant? For one thing, it's pretty obvious to anyone on the outside who reads these blogs that it's the truth. But, more to the point, I think that LANL scientists deserve to be proud of their arrogance.

You bet they're arrogant, Sam, and well they deserve to be. Their distant predecessors won WWII; their more immediate predecessors were responsible for winning the Cold War; and even since then LANL people have been doing things that the nation desperately needs, things that no one else can do, some of which things are pretty damned onerous. Very recently, they've been doing this in the face of truly absurd management screw-ups by DOE, scapegoating by the media and by the Congress, and, with the change in M&O contractors, a hugely threatening devolution of the employment culture of the Laboratory. So go pound sand, Sam.

And since I'm on a roll, here are two other comments:
-- I'm surprised how little notice (one comment, I believe) was given to the POGO lady's strong suggestion to end at-will employment at LANL in order to encourage employee candor. That's a big deal, folks. Don't lose track of it.
-- And although it's had more comments, the overall topic of how LANL isn't the only place with these security issues should, it seems to me, be emphasized more. It won't do to go in front of a Congressional committee and say "Well, yeah, that happened at LANL but it also happens everywhere else." But there are other approaches to outing the security problems elsewhere, and that might help with some of the scapegoating.

So hang in there y'all, and good luck.
In some sense 10:55, and with all the potential ramifications, the Secretary might have just stated he has limited ability to manage LANL.

I have not seen the entire testimony, but the article does not indicate discussion of any way he proposed to address issues or concerns. I do not take that as a positive sign.

While NM's Congressional contingent downplayed statements by members of the subcommittee, I have not seen any comments regarding Secretary Bodman's statements.
A meeting of laboratory fellows this week discussed Mitchell's removal of classified information, according to the anecdote, perhaps unknowingly.

His admin, while doing property, realized a laptop was at his house, that it contained classified information, and bravely (and correctly) notified SIT.

Mitchell is described as a computer idiot, who did not even do his own email. Why did he bring a laptop home? To look like he was working? Who knows.

Or so the story goes.
Anonymous said...
"Sam, close it down! If you really believe what you just said in Congress, then why bother trying to fix the problems at LANL any longer? It's time to call your bluff."

Maybe you'll get your wish, just don't come to LLNL and look for a job when he does. We don't want you neither.
to 4:47,

Points very well taken, particularly an appropriate yet effective way to point out that the LANL safety/security culture isn't demonstrably different (certainly not worse; arguably better) than that of others labs and organizations which handle hazardous operations and classified media.

Stay tuned, as the Pit Bull has said, there's something in the works along these lines...
Hey 6.02pm

Do not worry LLNL, will be the next
to go. Why do you think you are safe?

Think about this. To show LANL that
Bodman and Congress mean business they will shut down LLNL. Think it can not happen, that such a suggestion is madness? Well, by know you must realize that truth, reason, facts, and rational decisions have no relevance. In such a world no one is safe and anything can happen.
Re: "The Mitichell Affair" so what if he's a idiot when it comes to computers...A Dep. Director knows better than to take classified data out of a security area, no excuses. He is responsible for his laptop and all of the information on it.....Wasn't he in charge of Cyber-security?
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