Friday, September 09, 2005

"We are already looking into it"

From Anonymous:

Doug or Brad: Please post this, *exactly* as written. Do not forget to include the picture.

This man (Don Cobb) is a liar. A serial liar. On May 16 he promised that "We are already looking into it," when asked if there was anything UC could do to help the family of Todd Kauppila during the question-and-answer session following UC President Bob Dynes' introduction of Bob Kuckuck to LANL staff on May 16, 2005. If Cobb "looked into it" and decided to do nothing, then he, Bob Dynes, Bob Kuckuck, and Bob Foley--mere feet away as Cobb uttered his "promise" of help--are worse than liars, and deserve a warm spot in..."our hearts."

I think their warm spot is already reserved.
HELL, Yes!
He's gonna hafta shed that tie and overcoat, where he's goin'.
I was there, I heard Roberts ask the question. I watched Dynes ask Foley who the f*ck Kauppila was. Foley clearly had no clue either. I heard Cobb answer exactly as the post indicates.

So, Cobb/Kuckuck/Foley have done nothing in this regard?

More shame on UC.
But, as Satan says to everyone who gets off the plane, "But, it's a DRY heat..."
Good Lutherans like Cobb don't feel the heat...the heat feels THEM...
Ok, you guys are being just a tad hard on Don. He is not the AD that bunged this whole thing up to keep Pete happy. The picture that should be up there is Susans. We all know nobody was really looking into anything. Still, it took bravado and a lack of brains (both Cobb hallmarks) to at least try to put a "good" face on it. In the end, we got the kind of classic, public, tag-team malapropism that the SET is known for. Susan told a whopper, and Don jumped in to cover for it without even knowing what "it" was. Personally, I can forgive Cobb for being Cobb. I have a harder time forgiving Susan for being... well... Susan. I find it interesting that we have had very few (i.e. zero) public meetings with high officials from UC present since that little question was posed. The whole thing reminds me of Nixon's, "I am not a crook." speaches. Then, as now, only the speaker believed what was being said.
Seems ungrateful to be so critical of Dr. Cobb. He’s brought lots of money to the lab. No one has dared to publicly criticize his programs. All those who participated in his "programs" cashed their paychecks even when they saw that the funding was based on less than weak scientific reasoning. Let’s face it, he’s the picture of the “Great Science” that the rest of the nation sees coming out of LANL.
Sorry, 6:18, I disagree. What happened to the Kauppila family was devastating. Cobb offered, publicly, to help. It was apparently a completely empty promise, made just for show. He deserves to be pilloried.
Of course saying "we're looking into it" is really not a promise to do anything except to do just that. UC may have "looked into it" and decided to do nothing while still being faithful to their statement. It would have been better if they had followed through with some other statement by now.
I need to remain anonymous -- but I can say that I know that Sara was offered an settlement/help from UC, and the lawyers turned it down. Perhaps this can be acknowledged/refuted before calling Cobb a liar and posting his picture. Cobb has lots of problems, but this attack seems inconsistent with the "civility" clause on the blog. It is obvious that UC will comment both because of the law (privacy) and the ongoing lawsuit.
Cobb and UC have had ample opportunity to tell their side of the story. If they offered Sara a settlement, and her lawyers turned it down, then let us hear that from UC (Cobb) and not some anonymous blog poster. Until then, I stand behind the sentiment that he is a liar and deserves to be pilloried for his part in what happend to the Kauppila family.
Please help me understand how Don Cobb is responsible for Todd Kaupilla's tragic death.
As you well know, 04:04:03 PM, when Todd was unfairly fired, he lost his life insurance coverage. Cobb promised to help alleviate the Kauppila family's economic devastation caused by Todd's having died while uninsured, presumably by arranging to have UC buy back Todd's insurance policy. Cobb has subsequently made no discernible moves to fulfill his promise.
Isn't life insurance coverage available for people not covered by there employer? I had a changed employment situation and lost life insurance coverage. As a result I went out and bought a policy. I don't mean to sound insensitive and although Mr. Kaupilla's death is sad and tragic, how is it the fault of UC or Mr. Cobb that he had no coverage?
You do sound insensitive. Ignorant, too. It takes months to get reinsured. Todd was inconsiderate enough to die be before getting new coverage.
"Cobb promised to help alleviate the Kauppila family's economic devastation caused by Todd's having died while uninsured, presumably by arranging to have UC buy back Todd's insurance policy."

When did Cobb make this promise?
"When did Cobb make this promise?"

Read all about it.

OK, Doug, I've read the summary, and I still can't find any reference to a promise Cobb made. All I see is him saying that they are already looking into it. To me, that sounds like politician- speak for "F*** off" Maybe I'm overly cynical (I grew up in this town), or maybe I just can't read (went to a UC school).
I think the example of Oppenheimer, way back in 1954, should convince anyone that no matter what valuable service they perform at Los Alamos, if you piss the wrong person off, you'll get bent over in a hurry. Just ask a certain (former) senior fellow who suggested Nanos wear a bulletproof vest.
The puppeteer that has all the marionettes -- including Teflon Don -- dancing on a string is Admiral Sly Foley. He torpedoes any who try accommodation with abused and scapegoated employees and undercuts any attempt by his legal staff to put forward reasonable and fair settlements. The fact is that Dynes is afraid of Foley even when Foley is killing both Los Alamos and Livermore. The only way Foley will be history is by his hypertension or by Lockheed/Martin taking over management of Los Alamos. In Foley's dark harbor, nothing that Cobb, Kuckuck, or any other "Senior Manager" has any meaning. In this harbor, lying and telling the truth are concepts without meaning or substance.
I apologize for my insensitivity and/or ignorance. My experience was that a $500,000 term policy for a > 50 year old male, non-smoker in good health could be purchased in two weeks. It is truly sad that he died and that he died uninsured. I am sorry my original question aroused so much emotion.
05:45:36 PM:

I was there. In fact, I was the "gentleman in the black shirt" referred to in the post that describes the incident. The question was clearly asked. This I also know, because I asked it. The answer I received from Cobb was clear as well: "We are looking into it [a way to help out Todd Kauppila's family]."

In fact I have not heard of anything done by UC in this regard. It does, as you suggest, appear in retrospect as if Cobb was actually saying "F*** off".
Thank you, 05:50:07 PM. Apology accepted.
Flogging Cobb may be inapproriate on this issue. Afterall, it was not in Cobb's directorate.
It seems as though things have gotten a little out of hand. After this I will go back to being quiet. As I've said before, this will get settled in court and not here.

2:36, you are wrong and have no buisness making any such comment. Neither my lawyers or myself turned down any offers of settlement. The lab asked for us to spell out our case (so that they might know what to offer ... much like asking your poker opponent to show you his cards!)Due to previous experience with their tactics, what we did was ask for mediation so that the discussions would have to follow rules other that just UC's. The lab is now past-due on replying to that request.

Regarding insurance, we were unable to afford the individual policy with Todd out of work.

As much as I appreciate the support, please put away the torches and pitchforks!

Thanks. Sara
" Flogging Cobb may be inapproriate on this issue. Afterall, it was not in Cobb's directorate."

Take a look at the org chart, dude. Cobb is Deputy Director (Acting) of LANL. One has to wonder why you feel the need to make such weak excuses for him.
A picture of UC emerges from this post and comments. The entity that has supposedly been running LANL for the past 60 years comes across overwhelmingly as incompetent. However, that characterization is not sufficient, as evidenced by how Todd Kauppila and his family have been treated. There has been clear evidence of malicious intent, compounded by mean-spirited vindictiveness on the part of LANL managers and the University of California.

It is obvious that Todd Kauppila's firing was not justified. Susan Seestrom did in fact lie about the event that triggered his firing. There was no missing CREM, and she knew it within days of the episode. Nanos, Brookes, Dynes, Foley, and Cobb similarly were fully aware that Kauppila was not culpable, within days of the purported event.

Yet Todd was fired. Then he died, uninsured because he had been unfairly terminated and unable to afford a private life insurance policy. Then UC (Cobb) offered to help his family financially. Then nothing.

Incompetence, malicious intent, ass-covering. That is the image of the University of California that we are left with.
Reminder -
You can do an automatic cash transfer into the Kauppila family account at LANB by following the directions in the sidebar link. I'm in for $100 a month and it's painless.
"Incompetence, malicious intent, ass-covering. That is the image of the University of California that we are left with."

This is the image of UC, DOE, LANL, and our Congressional delegation.
I believe there is an ancient Scripture that cites oppressing widows and orphans as a sin that cries out to God for vengeance. Thus, I try to be nice to widows and orphans.
This thread of discussion embodies the primary gripe I have with the attitude of this blog. I could care less about anonymous posting, or immature comments and comment battles between the various opinionated readers here. What I find strikingly sad is that there are folks here who feel that it is OK to stoop to the same level (or, at times, lower) than the people that many of us (including myself) feel caused us to get into the quagmire that we find ourselves in now. There is no productive gain to be had by posting a photo of someone and spending a great deal of time writing nasty notes about them.

I find it very frustrating that this sort of activity is the face that MY lab peers choose to show to the outside world. Is this what we're all about - finding targets and blasting them with remarks about their afterlife destination? If I was an impartial reader, I would say that the remarks of the UC and DOE administators that we all dislike are actually true at times - they do have to deal with some pretty unreasonable folks.

I know it feels good to talk trash about someone you feel is at fault for something, but come on - you don't fight a fire with fire unless you enjoy the controversy. Why is it so hard to focus more on driving the direction of the lab where we want it to go - back to good, rock solid science done well and ethically. That's never going to happen if one of our main public voices focuses on pointing fingers, throwing rocks, and calling names.

I personally would be much happier seeing the lab get resurrected and see something like the "Todd Kauppila scholarship for oustanding lab students in (insert appropriate science area here)" that keeps his memory alive in a positive manner, than a prolonged battle for something that will do nothing more than cause prolonged heartburn and bad feelings for all involved.
A positive memory of a 22-year LANL employee who was scapegoated, died, whose family was subsequently refused financial assistance from the lab?

You should be working in Public Affairs, 01:14:20 AM. Put a "Happy Face" on what happened to Todd Kauppila? Good luck.
To 01:14:20 AM:

This latest Cobb business is *precisely* why I am glad to have the blog. Prior this forum, there was no way to even begin to hold LANL management and UC accountable for their actions. Now, at least, we can hold their actions up to the public eye. Cobb's empty promise to the Kauppila family is an example of the morally bankrupt behavior that has led to this laboratory into its current state. If there is any hope for this institution in the future, it will be in our ability to smoke out those corrupt and incompetent managers that have helped create our problems.

I hope Cobb reads about himself and feels shame over his actions. He, and Foley, Kuckuck, and Dynes have had ample opportunity to make some attempt to partially correct the wrongs that they imposed on the Kauppila family. They have shirked that responsibility. Public pressure is the only measure that has had any impact on how LANL conducts its business, and I am grateful that the blog is here to help apply that pressure.

Posters like 01:14:20 AM are a huge part of LANL's problem. Those who wish that all news of LANL problems could simply be buried are in large part why LANL is where it is today.
07:32:57 AM-

It looks like you are *precisely* the person who started this thread in the first place.
"Prior this forum, there was no way to even begin to hold LANL management and UC accountable for their actions. Now, at least, we can hold their actions up to the public eye."

What are you smoking? Have you read the comments on this blog? Somehow "we are already looking into it" got turned into "we promise to pay Todd's widow all that would have come from his life insurance, and erect a statue in his honor."
Pretend, just for a moment, that you are an outsider reading this blog. What sort of impression would you get? Certainly not a desire to hold anyone accountable! Most likely disgust with people who anonymously condemn Cobb to hell. Any time someone says we should do something positive, people start flaming away. I said a few weeks ago that LANL has always been good at implosion, and this mentality is *precisely* why.
"Pretend, just for a moment, that you are an outsider reading this blog. What sort of impression would you get? "

I would see all the signs of 60 years of neglect by management. I would see corrupt, inept managers. I would see a largely cowed, mostly cowardly group of employees. I would see talent leaving Los Alamos. I would see a few (but not terribly many) individuals remaining on the staff at LANL who had the courage to point all of this out. I would also see a few ass-kissers, of which 06:13:54 PM might just be a dues-paying member.
I do get along great with my boss, but I've never been called an ass-kisser. Since Cobb is busy having fun spending his 250K/yr and I posted anonymously, who's ass am I kissing?
It sounded like you were kissing Cobb's ass, by saying he had done something positive, for which all he got was criticism and comdemnation.

Cobb lied about helping the Kauppila family. That's not positive.
I think that it is clear that Cobb did not "lie" about helping the Kauppila family... yes, Los Alamos is not helping, but because Cobb said he would "look into it" everyone wants to make him out to be the bad man stealing the widow's pension. Potentially... yes, even probably, Don Cobb found himself in a position where he could not act on behalf of LANL/UC due to pending legal action or the whims of his managers. (And you call him a coward for not publicly standing up for what is right, Anonymous... how about you? Everyone gets a little cowardly when it comes to opposing their bosses, huh?) What a tired thread of unadulterated garbage.

Good summary of the entire thread!
So, maybe they did "look into it" and decide to leave things alone. Organizations never EVER admit administrative errors.

The problem with this one is that if UC/LANL admits that Kauppila was treated unfairly, i.e., in violation of the policy manual, then UC is liable for a lot of money, far more than less than a year of lost wages.

The Kauppila family may bring suit but it will be a tough case because Todd will not be available to testify.
Todd may not be able to testify but I can. They came after Todd and I together and I was a witness to all of under-handed tactics that were used against him. It is going to be very difficult for the people and organizations involved to justify their actions.

John N. Horne
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
I removed my post so that I could sign it.

Here it is:

All John Horne and Sara Kauppila need is--a good lawyer; not a GREAT lawyer, just a GOOD lawyer. That'll trump a dozen UC lawyers.
So Brad, how often to you post anonymously? How much of this is just a few people speaking with several 'voices', like a 3-man puppet show?
We've already been through this garbage with Stradling when he kept trying to insist that there were at most 12 contributors to the blog. If you want to revive that silly argument, start your own post, whoever you are.

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