Thursday, February 09, 2006

Brooks ponders budget constraints

ROGER SNODGRASS,, Monitor Assistant Editor
Ambassador Linton Brooks said budget considerations would influence future activities of the National Nuclear Security Administration, including consolidation of the complex and redesigning existing weapons.

"There are a lot of things that are very good things to do," he said, adding that the point of making a budget was "to pick which ones are most important within a constrained resource."

Brooks visited the laboratory on the day after the federal budget was announced in Washington. He bestowed awards for excellence in scientific research and leadership, checked on transition activities in his local office and met with Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Robert Kuckuck and incoming director Michael Anastasio.

Brooks said he saw his own budget fall from $9.3 billion this year to $9.1 billion in the proposal for next year and was not optimistic that the Department of Energy budget would go up any time soon.


Full Story

"Brooks quelled alarms that Los Alamos was on a path to become "the next Rocky Flats," as critics have warned, despite the laboratory's statements of disinterest. Brooks did not rule out the possibility that the MPF would eventually be built at Los Alamos, but suggested that if it were it might be separated from the scientific laboratory."

It has been over 24 hours since this event took place and *no one* has chosen to comment on this little snippet from Brooks' presentation. I suppose this could mean any one of the following:

1. everybody in the audience was too stupid to pick up on the inherent contradiction of that paragraph,
2. they were afraid to point it out,
3. they want to hang on to their cushy LANL scientist jobs at all costs.

Personally, I suspect the latter. With each passing day I become less sympathetic to those who are slowly, sluggishly coming into a dim understanding that their place of work has changed irrevocably, that they have passively let it happen, and that they are still too cowardly to stand up and protest.

All I can say is enjoy your future, you let it happen; you deserve it.
Another answer is 4

They are too numb from everything else going on to even think about it. If you have a 150k mortgage on a denver steel house that will be worth 45k when everyone tries to flee the town.. you have more important things to worry about than Rocky Flats.

And beyond saying "Oh dear." what the frell can anyone do about it? Call Saint Pete who will retire in 2008 when this will probably happen in 2009?
Grunt, please let me know when you want to sell your house for $45k.

On a budgetary constraint note, I suspect LANS will be hiring a nontrivial number of "Senior Advisors" and "Special Assistants" and the like from the retired ranks for high salaries, e.g., a Sr. Advisor making $250k in the Director's Office. That's even better than TR's "Morale and Performance Strategy" Special Assistant at $163.5k. I don't begrudge them at all, great work if you can get it.

A large portion of the TSMs I speak to who say they will retire before 6/1 believe they are coming back as Lab Associates.

I'm thinking there is a bit of a disconnect with budget reality, but I wouldn't miss how this unfolds over the next few years for the world.

As one of a large oversupply of middle-aged, anglo males with an advanced technical degree, I am assuming that I will be expendable if (when?) a RIF comes, and planning accordingly. No one said life was simple.
When working in a company town.. the 1st largest profits are in the company store (which the company owns). The next largest profits are in renting to the moles who have to work the mines.

Educated knows this (thus his name) and will be vieing to become the next large slum lord of Los Alamos.. thus supplementing his depleted pension checks.
"...if it were it might be separated from the scientific laboratory.

"Brooks said there was a difference in culture between a scientific and a production facility that should be respected."

Might we not infer from this fuller snippet that Mr. Brooks has heard some of the critiques from this very Blog?

Or do the cynics among you think that LANL will have all science shut down under its new privatized management? Leaving only the factory, with its whistle, its smokestack, its slave-like workers, and its cigar-chomping bosses?
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
Many of you have no doubt heard the quote, "The best time to buy is when blood is running in the streets."
by Nathan M. Rothschild.

No need to be a slumlord. At $45k, I could rent out that house for $600/mo and generate a nice cash flow.

LANL will be around for awhile, even if the workforce is pared down to, say, 7-8000 jobs. So a bunch of people leave. So what? Those still working here and new employees will need places to live.

A bit more graffiti around town like that on top of the QWEST building, some cheaper RE, a structural change in the workforce, and Los Alamos might actually look like the rest of NM before it's over.
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