Friday, March 18, 2005

Congress Eyes Los Alamos

From Anonymous:

In case you missed it, this aired tonight --

Congress Eyes Los Alamos
CBS News Link

The "culture" at the lab is mentioned in this video as a good reason to shut it down. This blog is giving people all over the world a glimpse of this culture. I agree with the congressman in the video after reading all of the whining and complaining here. Maybe it is time to shut this lab down!
Yes I agree and I think Doug Roberts is on a crusade against the lab. While I agree and question the standown costs a majority of people just suck it up after a bit and get on with it. Thats life. If you don't like the situation then you have a choice to make and perhaps its time to move on if you really just just can't get over it.
Can anyone provide any real information about the substance of the charges in the report against those two guys who's financial audit was allegedly redacted by management and who were then retaliated against? The problem with this place is that there are simply no sympathetic actors: all we do is feed and justify our enemies' malicious and groundless attacks.
Can anyone provide any real information about the substance of the charges in the report against those two guys who's financial audit was allegedly redacted by management and who were then retaliated against? The problem with this place is that there are simply no sympathetic actors: all we do is feed and justify our enemies' malicious and groundless attacks.
Changing the people in top management does no good when the problem lies in middle management. They are the people who make the every day decisions on whether to use this or that vendor, or whether to pay what is obviously an overcharge. For example, if an item can be purchased from both a non "Just-in-Time (JIT) vendor and from a JIT vendor, I am required to purchase from the JIT vendor even though the item costs more.
Until the people who are making these asinine decisions are replaced, nothing will change.
When you watch this and see people calling for LANL to just be shut down, I wonder who they are blaming for this. They mention that managers have been changed and that problems continue, so it is a "culture" problem.

So who is this "culture" problem with? As LANL is known for its science, immediately us scientists are to blame. What people external don't realize is that many scientists (including us lowly postdocs) don't have ANY control over things like this.

There is a enourmous group of paper-pushers, administrators, and managers that are inept or useless or whatever and are the cause of many of the problems around the lab. People whose sole job security mechanism is to increase the paperwork at the laboratory and who do not take appropriate action to prevent problems such as those mentioned in this report.

Until it is known externally that these kind of problems will not be fixed until this group of people are rooted out and removed of their duties, LANL will continue on its downward spiral. And scientists will continue to be blamed.
The scientists will be blamed until they are gone.
Yes I agree with the last poster, those pesky out of control dinosaur scientists are the root problem, without them malfunctioning all the time everything would be rosy! Even if Nanos does nothing, things should turn around and be oh so sweet in about 5 years as they all will be gone anyway….. Doug great site and much more informative than the lame newsbulletin, everyone I know now uses it for up to date info on happenings at the lab.
If all the culture warriors in Congress intend to continue to flog LANL scientists, then they might as well shut down the Lab. If they don't understand, or can't be made to understand, the value of this place, then they should do what they think is best (and live with the consequences). Although, I think it will be a race for the back door between researchers moving on with their careers and anti-nuclear activists in Congress getting their fantasy. There is no reason for the LANL that Nanos envisions to exist.
This is an example of yellow journalism at its worst. Why didn't CBS get a LANL spokesperson to comment? This is the same way they treated the issue of the woman who was alleged to have bought a Mercedes at Lab expense. They never gave the Lab a chance to comment.

The numbers that Hooks and Montano give don't make sense - it's as if every purchase (almost) is illegal. What period were they referring to?

Fot the first time, i'm glad that most people in the USA don't listen to the news...

And why doesn't the Lab invite Barton to see for himself what is really happening here?
This CBS news report so resembles the one they did on the Bush Texas Air National Guard Memos. Lead by CBS, many major media outlets joined together into a conspiracy that featured forged memos, faked timelines, false witnesses, and lots of denial once the facts came out. Virtually every "scandal" manufactured about LANL is the past 10 years has fallen apart under closer examination.

I am very suspicious of all these "whistleblowers" and eager journalists trying to bring down the Lab. Many anti-nuclear activists would love to shut down the birthplace of the atomic bomb, and I wonder if there is some connection here.

Perhaps Congress should move to shut CBS news down under the rubric of consumer protection laws.
Let's compare facts. Washington DC is roughly comparable in size to Los Alamos National Laboratory. Both have classified and unclassified areas. Here the comparison ends. The Laboratory's safety record is much better than Washington's and the Laboratory handles much more dangerous materials. The Laboratory's record in protecting classified information is much, much better. In Washington, a former Director of Central Intelligence stored the Nation's most classified secrets on his personal laptop computer and a former National Security Advisor was observed stuffing his shorts and socks with highly classified documents. Nothing like this has happened at DX, in the Director's office, or anywhere else at the Laboratory. The Laboratory's foreign visitors do not have any known intelligence agents among them whereas Washington's foreign visitors include at least 200 known intelligence agents. These are called attachés. Los Alamos has none of its employees in the Federal penal system for espionage whereas Washington has about ten at last count. In the Laboratory, cars and persons are subject to search at all times on demand. In Washington, that act would likely require a court order. Los Alamos science is based on facts derived from experimentation whereas Washington at times seems to be an experiment deprived of facts. For that reason, the latter, as the 911 Commission shows, is constantly trying to reorganize itself to get facts. Los Almos grantedly reorganizes in spite of the facts. There is one final dissimilarity. When Washington screws up it is not shut down otherwise it would never be stood up. We all know what happens at Los Alamos National Laboratory otherwise you wouldn't be reading this blog.

Now I ask you in all candor, which of the two places has a cultural problem? The answer might surprise you. The answer is, neither one.
This was from the transcript of Sunday's "Face the Nation"

SCHIEFFER: With all the news about steroids and the Schiavo case, one story that deserved more attention and got lost last week: the ongoing, ever worsening outrage that the Los Alamos National Weapons Center has become.

Most of what they do there is top secret, but the security has become such a joke, the whole place had to be shut down last year because two computer disks went missing. Well, Congress got the bill Friday. It apparently cost $367 million to move research activities to other labs while they searched for the disks. That's $367 million of your tax dollars. Now the kicker: The disk never existed, and the whole thing could have been avoided if two employees had not falsified inventory records. And, yes, this is the same place that had already wasted many millions more with just sloppy work.

But even as Congress dug into this latest mess, Sharyl Attkisson, our CBS News supersleuth, found some former auditors who said the lab had wasted millions more because they just paid whatever price vendors set, no questions asked. Incredibly, the bosses told these whistleblowers to keep it quiet because it might prove embarrassing.

An exasperated Congressman Joe Barton, who's been tracking this mess for years, said one solution may be to just close the place down.

Congressman, I think you're on to something.
CBS, why don't you start checking your facts?

You've already lost credibily over "memo-gate." You're setting yourself up for "LANL-gate." I recall that it was bloggers who uncovered your "memo-gate" screw-ups.

Well, at least by falling for both left-wing poppycock and right-wing poppycock, you've proven yourself to be non-partisan morons.
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