Wednesday, August 17, 2005

One more Submission from Gary Stradling

[I apologize in advance to those of you who find Gary Stradling's submissions to this blog to be repetitive and pedantic. Please don't send me any more mail on the subject. While Mr. Stradling is well within his rights to use this forum to express his views, there will probably come a point when repetition loses its effectiveness. I hope it will become obvious to all when we have truly reached that point, so that the various players might recognize that there are more productive ways to use this blog. --Doug]


I suggested that the motivation of angry bloggers here was a "lust for vengeance" We have heard from John and Scott who said that their objective in participating in this blog is to find justice (John) , and from Scott: (1) Justice for those who have been mistreated, (2) better Leadership for all of us, and (3) an end to lies and excuses. The others don't seem willing to own up to their objectives. (Finknottle could not stand the heat and left the kitchen without mentioning why he showed up in the first place.)

Just for fun (cool, dispassionate, and logical fun), lets refer to the dictionary.

Lust noun -to have a very strong desire to obtain something

Vengeance, noun -punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong.

Justice, noun
o the quality of being fair and reasonable
o the administration of the law or authority in maintaining legal fairness

Lead verb
-to show the way to others, usually by going ahead of them
-to control, direct, or command others
-to have a principal part or guiding role in something
-to bring about a particular outcome

Vigilante n-somebody who punishes lawbreakers personally and illegally rather than relying on the legal authorities

Mob n- a large and unruly crowd of people
v-to attack somebody in a large group

To continue the discussion, using dictionary definitions, justice is fair and reasonable, hardly a description of the mob-like vigilante activity taking place here. A really accurate description of this activity and the apparent and expressed motivations would be: 'A very strong desire to have punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an (unjust) injury or wrong.' That has a fair correspondence with "lust for vengeance."

If those disciplined after the CREM incident (if they were disciplined for doing something wrong, does it really matter to their culpability whether the overall exercise was about a lost disk or an accounting error?) went thru a legal and systematic process which determined their level or responsibility and punishment and if they have legal recourse in the courts, is this not the process of legal justice working? I do not understand the legitimate role of this vigilante blog in bringing supposed wrong-doers to another kind of "justice", i.e vengeance, outside of legal channels.

Given that DOE and UC both supported Pete Nanos in his decision to stand down the Lab, painful as it was to all of us, I again do not understand a concept of "justice" that would seek to drive him or his subordinates from their places of authority, much less hound them at subsequent jobs. Again this sounds like extra-legal vigilante vengeance.

To Scott- with regard to leadership: Leadership does not take a poll, average the results, and follow the mob, though that seems the ideal of those who post and comment here. My experiences with Pete Nanos were not frequent, but he seemed to have a clear vision of a need to resuscitate the lab and the weapons program, to find a tack that would steer us out of the shoals we had been in for a number of years. He wanted to use RRW to do that, to gain some headway, to reinvigorate the staff, and to train new people. He was intensely interested in correcting the business and management problems LANL had been struggling with. Those ARE leadership qualities. (I think that persuasiveness, effective communication, charisma with groups are also leadership skills, but Pete did not seem to master those nor did his staff effectively help him here.) In the middle of this, the ship Los Alamos narrowly avoided hitting an iceberg, we lost headway, and some of the crew mutinied. I argue that we had been in dangerous waters for some time and that we are still at similar risk. These rants are not helping the situation. They will not encourage anyone to take initiative without taking a poll first. Your actions are not serving your stated objectives of either justice or leadership.

With regard to lies- -an anonymous geyser of invective (in·vec·tive n- an abusive expression, or language used to attack or blame somebody) certainly does not serve to further a cause of truth but in fact provides a cover for untruths to be maliciously spread.

Can we all work together and help Gary get a life?
Is Gary sending these posts during work hours?

Should we turn him in?
No, he sent it last evening.

Get a life and get PROZAC.
Gary, noticed that all of your kissing up got you a Distinguished Performance Award. Way to go, straight to h***.
I was confident that the highbrow readership here would like this more analytical approach to cool, dispassionate, and logical fun. This has not been that repetitious, Doug. The lack of dispassionate counter arguments seems to validate the analysis. BTW- I am out on leave today, so have some time to stop by.

10:04: "Gary, noticed that all of your kissing up got you a Distinguished Performance Award."
Shhh- Wouldn't want anyone to think that the easy path to recognition is political favoritism. Such a thought might discount the value of the recognition of the dozens of outstanding performers, not only this year but in the past. We would like people to think that hard work, creativity and having fun on the job leads, not just to success, but to recognition. But there are thousands of outstanding performers at LANL whose projects did not have the visibility to receive special recognition this time around.
See the above comment from Gary Stradling at 8/17/2005 02:31:57 PM.

What time does Gary go home?
One thing missing from any kind of useful discussion/evaluation of the CREM incident is a description of the role of Todd and John. It seems that the CREM was not missing, but never created. It seems further that the parties responsible for the CREM, not knowing that it in fact did not exist, then covered up the "missing" CREM in an audit. If that is true then the cover-up itself would leave those involved open to discipline.
Unlike the "laser incident" which was very real, as documented in the accident report, the CREM incident is much discussed, but roles and responsibilites of the players are not. Is there some reason for this silence? If not, put it out there and let the facts speak.
I don't much like Gary's stuff, or his tone, but I do think that the laser accident, of itself, could have lead to a stand-down. This is true not only because of the lack of safety concern shown in the incident, but the history of stand-downs, which go all the way back to 1996. LANL has used stand-downs to demonstrate that they are "serious" about safety and security. With that history, Nanos was simply following past LANL. practice.
The comments in response to Gary are not very useful. Surely Los Alamos can do better than this.
4:44- The information is already out here on the blog. Click on the link to TA-15 Crem incident and aftermath. The roles are spelled out there. There was a cover up but not on the part of Todd or myself.

John N. Horne

Todd received his performance award in the same stack of mail as his termination letter. I know his contribution to this laboratory was far greater than yours or Nanos' could ever be. But to say Nanos contributed is a misnomer since, by most peoples standards here, he was the most destructive force the lab has ever encountered.

John N. Horne
Gary - In principle, I agree with much of what you wrote - especially the dictionary definitions. It is obvious, however, that we live in different worlds. For example, while you were rubbing shoulders with Pete on the RRB pet project, I was escorting friends and colleagues to the gate where they had their badges taken away with little or no due process. I never attended BYU or the Naval Academy, so cannot really speak to the type of moral code or leadership skills taught there. I did go to UNM. While working nights at the computer center we would occasionally pass the time by killing the roaches and other parasites that inhabited the place. It was often a useful tactic to turn the lights on prior to crushing their little heads under our cowboy boots.
Thanks for having the courage to turn the comments feature back on.

Well written post that seems right on target. Your opinions are welcome, please keep them coming.

You are in fact wrong. Nanos was exactly what LANL needed. His successor that will replace, the current place holder director, will have to finish what Nanos started. There is much work to do.
Gary- I'll save you the time on the re-post.

par-a-site. n. 1) An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of the host. 2) a person who habitually exploits or takes advantage of others. 3) a sycophant.

7:00-- Is that you Pete? Thanks for stopping in. Mrs. Straddling is baking you some of her famous sticky buns, with files inside.

While this is off topic, somewhat, I keep hearing persistent rumours (from the 3rd floor) of a "retirement incentive" by UC. Perhaps someone will question our new director about this at tomorrow's meeting?
I've heard a like rumor...hope someone will ask the question tomorrow.

Please, no more baby-sitter questions!
I've heard like rumors...hope someone will ask the director tomorrow.

Please, no more baby-sitting questions from the audience!
I am having a little difficulty following you. Are you okay?
BYU and Naval Academy both teach fine moral codes. UNM probably does too. But what about you crushing parasites?

John- What link are you drawing between Todd getting a performance award and being disciplined. The latter should not take away from the former. They are probably not related. (Sorry, Doug- I have mentioned this before. But there seems to be a lot of repetition on your blog.)
Regarding Distinguished Performance Awards: This is a crap program. I can say that with credibility because I have won two such awards and have successfully proposed others in two cases.

What this is mostly about is the willingness of a line manager (GL) or project manager to do the proposal. In most cases, the proposals seem to be generated by project managers as a means of self-agrandizement. After all, if somebody or some team working on your project gets a Distinguished Performance Award, then you must have managed the project very well.

Also, the awards seem to be based on some kind of politically-correct model: the proper distribution of females, minorities, SSMs, etcl.

The Distinguished Performance Awards Program and other programs such as the Spot Awards should be eliminated. LANL is just too big to even think that such programs could be administered fairly and without the implications of cronyism, self-interest, etc.

It seems the repitition is necessary since you can't understand normal thought processes.
Todd was disciplined withoutever having commited an offense. The point is that you can be an outstanding performer but if LANL needs a scapegoat your past performance and dedication do not come into play. Todd was not disciplined, he was used for political expediency. I hope that clears it up for you.

By the way, the Naval Academy does teach a fine moral code but it seems at least one graduate just didn't "get it".

Regarding the moral code of the NAVAL Academny:
Have you ever heard of TAILHOOK?
"retirement incentive"

Hey anybody out there...what did the director talk about this afternoon? thanks in advance
To 8/18/2005 02:24:35 AM -

Well, I was part of a large team DPA this year. Thanks for deflating something that I'm very proud of, especially for all the hard work and accomplishments the team achieved in the past 2 years.

-signed a female who helped bring political-correctness and "proper distribution" to the award system.
“It seems the repitition is necessary since you can't understand normal thought processes.
Todd was disciplined withoutever having commited an offense. The point is that you can be an outstanding performer but if LANL needs a scapegoat your past performance and dedication do not come into play. Todd was not disciplined, he was used for political expediency. I hope that clears it up for you.”

Repetition is sometimes not effective, but sometimes it is. Most of us know what you are trying to say. A lot of people understand my message. A few do not yet.

Your experiences have been painful. I am sorry for your pain.

I understand your allegation that ‘you and Todd were innocent bystanders who were framed as the culpable causes of the lab stand down last summer.’ (Did I represent your position accurately?) I am hoping that you can understand my several points:
1- A legal process was followed within UC/LANL guidelines to determine responsibility and discipline in these cases.
2- If your allegation of unfair/illegal treatment is true, you have legal recourse. You should pursue that recourse within legal channels.
3- Attempting get vengeance (see earlier posting about the difference between justice and vengeance) by seeking to destroy the Lab, or to assassinate the characters of an indiscriminant list of managers here is juvenile and reprehensible. All individuals of character should oppose such an attempt.

Since most of us do not have firsthand knowledge of the events, we cannot judge whether you were unfairly treated or not. However, LANL has a process (conducted well below the director’s or AD’s level) in which such events are investigated and from which reports were generated with disciplinary recommendations. Absent authoritative, legal correction to that due-process action, we should assume that the discipline was just. Notes: 1) It takes time for corrections to happen; the wheels of justice grind slow. 2) The law has specific requirements. A court may not agree with you on what is fair and right. 3) Reversals happen, but are really rare. We saw a particularly heartrending case in the paper this last week of a false accusation some years ago, which inflamed an unsympathetic community, caused a LANL employee to be jailed, and his family driven from the community. The guilty party was discovered later. Leaps to judgment are common, but are not necessarily aligned with truth.

Vigilantes should think again.
It was good to see you try to synthesize John's view in writing. You did a better job on mine with the direct quotes. At least you are trying. Where you went wrong with John, and where you could do better in the future is with the concept of presumption of guilt. You seem perfectly happy to presume Pete Nanos is innocent because he was the Director while presuming others are guilty because they are not. Perhaps LANL should adopt a "due process" where ALL parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty instead of one where access to a microphone, position of authority, (or blog) sets ones level of present and future culpability. I believe such a process must have legal (or even Constitutional) precedence somewhere in this world. I'll go check my dictionary. I further believe that such a process would have saved LANL and the Nation a whole boatload of time and money last year. Since the facts now show Nanos to be guilty of a multitude of false accusations and bad behavior, and Todd and others to be innocent of those same or similar charges. It is now time for UC to pony up to the victims (like Sara). (I), for one, am reasonable happy with the justice meted out to Former Vice Admiral Former Director Dr. George Pete Nanos. Others may still believe that recourse available through the court system will increase the penalty and further level the scales of justice. I wish them the best and hope for a timely and fair settlement. If, after their day in court, no additional penalty is incurred by our former Director, I can live with that as well and support the system. Contrary to Gary's thinly veiled assertion, (I) do not support vigilante justice or mob rule. As I already indicated, my goals for participation on the blog are: (1) Justice, (2) better Leadership and (3) and end to the lies and excuses. Gary, If you agree, perhaps we are making progress on the conditions for (1), (2) and (3) here tonight. Gary?

...As far as DPA's go, someone I know well :) got one (from Pete) too. That person not only did not suck up, but actually refused to shake Pete's dirty hand at the awards ceremony. So, it is possible to get ahead DPA-wise, without sucking up. In that sense, I disagree with the previous postings. I can only assume that Gary earned his as well. Congratulations! I really would rather post this comment anonymously, so I'll break with tradition on this one.
I beleive wholeheratedly in religious freedoms. As an analogy, Gary Stradling is like a Catholic Priest standing in the middle of a Jewish Congregation and truly believing he's going to change thier minds (no negative intentions to either religions... just an analogy!!!!) He truly thinks that he's right and the we must all be crazy for thinking otherwise. He's here to save us.

A smile and a nod gains you more than arguing with a fundamentalist. It makes them go away quicker, since they won't ever see any middle ground.
Scientists are typically trained to doubt everything and thus they have little respect for authority. However many religions teach that respect for the authority of sacred scriptures and church authorities is paramount. It is interested to observe which type of training dominates in a particular individual. well as their proximity to the fourth floor.
Actually, 9:13 PM, he's more like a Mormon missionary at a scientology convention.
Thanks, 8:16. That is a better one!
We are inching closer to the truth. Maybe he is even more like a proctologist at a 'butthead' convention.
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