Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wonder if the result of this competition was fixed ahead of time

Of course neither the proposals from the two teams nor the NNSA’s scoring
criteria have been made public, but on the basis of past performance alone,
it’s hard not to wonder if the result of this competition was fixed ahead
of time by political deals, rather than being settled on the basis of more
objective criteria. In any case, I now fear greatly for the long term
prospects of LANL. Institutional inertia, of course, will probably keep it
going for decades more, but I fear the continued steady decline of its
mission, and the quality of its staff, and ultimately the fate of the city
of Los Alamos itself. It appears LANL will not get the new beginning it
deserves and badly needs, but just more of the same……. This saddens me
more than I can say.

Bill Godwin

Why do you say this? I would have thought that it was "fixed" with a different "solution". The result would seem to indicate that at least from my imperfect viewpoint that it wasn't "fixed". Is there something I'm missing?
Agreed. As was evidenced by some of the questions phoned into the DOE press conference, the media is not happy that LANS won. One reporter asked how UC could be "trusted to do better," and another asked why "UC people" associated with security incidents were not fired. DOE clearly did the non-politically correct thing. The media and anti-nuclear crowd was/is calling for bloodsport.

The more the shadow of Nanos faded from LANL, the more my preference shifted from leaning-LM to neutral, but at least LANS winning has the advantage of showing that, for all the controversy, LANL isn't in such bad shape that the DOE wanted to clear the decks and start over.
Yes David there is something you are missing. UC has utterly destroyed what once was a critical national asset. Their mismanagement coupled with their complete moral bankruptcy should have precluded them from even bidding much less winning. Todd and I described a series of actions by UC that has taken that should have scared the hell out of you. If I had not lived through this fiasco I never would have believed this kind of thing could happen in this country. Unfortunately one of us did not live through it.

I agree with Bill. The further decline of LANL is inevitable.
My question was why does someone think this was "fixed", not whether UC has messed up. DOE/NNSA also has messed up numerous times over many decades and doesn't have to own up to its mistakes. Given the situation you describe, John, I would have thought it would have been fixed for LM. Also, the new contract isn't a continuation in any sense, as I see it. It does nothing to reward status quo. I do believe that there will be substantial changes under the new contract, but perhaps only time will tell. I do not see the contract, per se, as a negative for the Lab.

My point is that when some entity wins a contract and that entity has a demonstrated track record of incompetence and malicious misconduct that should have disqualified it then there is obviously something happening behind the scenes.

Maybe Domenici could shed more light on this one.
Let's look at it this way: We at LANL have been presented with a sow's ear (the whole bidness of re-bidding the contract). The closest we get to having it made into a silk purse is Bechtel/UC.

I agree with John about the failure of UC to take the moral high ground when faced with the disaster of the shutdown by Nanos. What that whole fiasco showed me was that UC had nothing whatsoever to say about anything substantive when it came to LANL, probably not even the choice of Nanos in the first place.

But now we have the "silk purse." That's baseball, as they say in Cuba.
Did the larger political picture enter into the decision? What with Rove/Libby/Plame affair, Texas Tom Delay under indictment, Bill Frist under investigation, Bush and Cheney under heavy criticism plus the whole Bush croney business with FEMA .... could it be that powerful figures said "We don't need any more inquiries and hassles" An LM/UT win would have brought uncomfortable questions about Lynn Cheney's role on LM Board, Texas favoritism, etc. This is speculation but one thing is clear to me: three months ago it looked like a done deal. What changed?
John, Brad,

Anybody whose opinion matters already knows that Nanos is Heir to the Throne of the Kingdom of Idiots. The fact that we didn't get that fact announced by UC itself is merely a political reality, not a reason for disqualifying UC. It wouldn't be any truer even if Congress passed a resolution to that effect.
dug and whatawaste

some of the "how can UC be trusted" came from good old Fox News. Conservatives seem to be the ones who are most outraged by UC winning. As someone who considers himself pretty conservative.. I have to ask myself how in the world UC could get it unless it is for throw-away votes from the California Caucus on something

I would be careful to not put "anti-nuclear" people as Liberals by default. Some of the biggest anti-nuclear people these days are Red State people who do not want it in their backyard anymore. [Looking at the people who protested about changes at Savanna and Y-12 lately.. they are now mostly members of the Republican faithful.. as the hippies had given up on it.]

I also would not think that LM was disqualified due to Lynn Cheney.. anymore than Bechtel's close ties with Cheney/Bush family members.
Of course it was fixed! How naive! The draft RFP showed just how bad it was fixed, for UC, by Domenici.

Things now have the potential to get much worse. The new LLC setup is even worse than having UC do it directly. Bend over, here it comes.
Connections to the Power Elite (Neo/theo/cons, the Carlyle Group, etc., etc.): LockMart vs Bechtel

-It's a wash.
I won't say 'hogwash', since I already used the 'sow' allusion in an earlier post.

[So 'lucky' is 'b-ohica'; here I thought the latter was a foreigner from LLNL, and everyone was saying the former is Chris Mechels--the level of confusion here at The End of The Blog is exponentiating.]
On the internet, nobody knows you are a dog with multiple personalities.
Of course Brad, everyone knows that "lucky" is really Jesus Christ Mecheles! Chris, why the poor sportsmanship? Look at the positive side - at least you still have a job as LANL's #1 critic. Had Lockmart won, you'd probably need to find a new enemy to berate. Classic!
I would worry about anything posted by a poster named "Infallible".
I wouldn't trust anything written by a poster named "Infallable".
I wouldn't trust anything posted by a poster self-identified as "Infallible".
So Long Gone and Lucky are the same. What's new Chris? The only thing Long Gone has proven is that he too is a poor "loser", emphasis on the latter!

Perhaps we need a sidebar link that helps new readers identify pseudonyms that are potentially used by the same person.

lucky = b-ohica = long gone

And by long gone, I agree that we're probably talking ca 1994.
Talk about dead wrong. B-ohica is b-ohica and that's it. Who the other people are I have no clue but I will tell you that are not me, so enjoy your hunt, or should I say chasing your tail. You are off by a country mile.
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