Thursday, February 09, 2006

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Letter from the 2/7/2006 LANL NewsBulliten:

Feb. 7, 2006

Transition Q&A

Why is the transition Web site so slow in answering our questions? It hasn't been updated since Jan. 12. A month is a long time to go between updates. I would submit this question to the Q&A site, but obviously I am concerned that I will never get a reply.

It would be a nice gesture to try and answer at least some questions every week at the very least. To have this Web presence but not offer regular updates sends a message that Los Alamos National Security, LLC, doesn't care about us. I think answering questions is a pretty easy way to show that you do care about our concerns. When you go for a month between answers it doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling that you guys really have your act together. I can forgive you for not having an RSS feed or a blog, but to start this Q&A and then just drop it like yesterday's news is just a bad move.

--Rachel Richard

Perhaps the transition web site is not designed for the purpose you have assumed. Perhaps it was designed for the cultivation of mushrooms.
They aren't answering questions because they don't have the answers. Either they are being asked questions they never anticipated, or they can't get their act together to come up with an answer they can live with.
Here is the "team" responsible for the transition web site:

Rich Marquez
Micheline Devaurs
Jim Fallin

Now where, exactly, is the surprise at finding the transition web site is poorly run? For that matter, where is the surprise that LANS put those clowns in charge of the site?

To the two or three of you naive enough to still believe that the situation at LANL will improve under with the new contractor, just keep thinking that. Self delusion is it's own reward.
"Dr. Anastasio, the peasants are revolting!"

"Then stand upwind. Sheesh, do I have to do all the thinking around here?"
There are two web sites asnwering questions from employees. Regarding current pension and UC employment issues, those questions are taken by LANL's transition web site. Those regarding post May 31 employment by LANS, including the new pension and benefits plan, are handled by LANS. The LANL site appears to be updated weekly by LANL staff. The LANS site has been updated once.
Looks the same to me!!

They still have not defined if UCRP-LANL is what we now know as the primary UCRP. This is all that matters. What ever they do beyond this their concern and no one really care.

#005 LANSLLC Q&A NOT answered.

Former LANL employees who retired as UC employees and LANL employees who retire between now and May 31, 2006 will receive pension payments from the UCRP-LANL Plan.
Lets see what happens next week when we get a look at the details. Bottom line is that next week will be the defining moment of how LANS is going to treat employees. It will set the tone, the pension and benefit plans offered will either be the best thing ever or suck. The ball is in LANS's court.

suddenly i'm finding myself surrounded by brethren. maybe lans wants to smoke us.
My colleague, Bart Jacobs, and I have as many answers as there are at the moment. More importantly, we have the skills to help people protect their own financial futures if they want to take the time to protect them.
Bewteen us, we have deep Lab experience and deep fiscal skills.

Our turn around time on answering questions, usually privately, is not more than a day. There are lots of answers that will not be published by anyone in a public forum but that are important.

If the answer is not known or if we do not know it, we will tell you.


Eric Fairfield - 662-3115
I am particularly suspicious of hucksters, shysters, and other flavors of bottom feeder.

Eric, as far as I am concerned you and your equally greasy colleague may go take huge flying leaps into Ashly Pond. Maybe you will find some plutonium down at the bottom that the ducks have not yet eaten.


Please answer this; if medical insurance is not an issue should I take the lump sum or opt for the annuity?
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
You can in fact take your lump sum plus all the monies that are in your 403b, and buy a "life time fixed annuity". Even if you are not 55 or 59 1/2 there are no penalties to be paid by going this route.

How do I know this, well it's because I just got off the phone with Fidelity which are the ones who are handling my 403b. Note the URL and phone number below.

Interested in buying an annuity? 800-544-4702

Please take the time to think this over. Yes you will have to get medical coverage but you can work for Walmart and get that. You'll have to have something to do anyway.

So I ask you this question. Why would you leave your money in a fund that is totally separated from the primary UCRP and put it into the hands of a corporation that may not survive.

If medical coverage is going away then we need to know this information too, because that would be the only reason to keep your money in the UC system anyway.
B-ohica's comment seems accurate. We have found that the situation varies from person to person depending on years of service, need for income, risk tolerance, future lifestyle plans, and medical condition.
If you are hospitalized without insurance, your health may not be your biggest problem.
Many of the questions are unanswerable at this time because the details of the contract have to be approved by DOE/NNSA. It might be useful if the folks on these sites indicated when the answers might be forthcoming. A timeline of upcoming events that will enable these issues to be addressed would be useful. Some of this does seem to be available.
If you are hospitalized without insurance, your health may not be your biggest problem.
# posted by ihatewhenthishappens : 2/10/2006 07:47:36 AM

Don't be surpirsed if in the near future medical for eveyone is in fact dropped.

"In a separate development, a GM retiree filed a lawsuit this week challenging a landmark health care agreement struck in October between the United Auto Workers and GM, threatening a key piece of the automaker's turnaround efforts.

The suit claims the UAW does not have the legal right to bargain billions of dollars in health care cuts on behalf of retired hourly workers, and challenges GM's ability to slash years of vested benefits."
So what do you think LANSLLC is going to bring now that LANL is privatized? Want to bet they follow the money.

Currently, according to the Kaiser Foundation, workers in employer-based
family health insurance plans contribute an average of $2,713 to the average
cost of $10,880 -- 25 percent. So on the surface, GM's move is not out of
line with the ''market." But with healthcare premiums having skyrocketed by
73 percent in the last five years -- five times the cumulative growth in
both wages and inflation -- you can be sure that there are even greater
three-car collisions coming between employers, employees, and health care.
That is, until we decide to relieve employers of this burden and move this
country toward some form of universal health care.

Derrick Z. Jackson's
How does Universal Healthcare solve this problem? It only hides the costs and makes quality healthcare harder to get. A little more free enterprise in health care might help. I can do little to manage my overall healthcare costs as a private citizen under the current arrangement. We are moving toward government healthcare with Medicare anyway and it is severely broken in terms of stable funding.
How about some form of universal core insurance? If you are hospitalized with a life threatening condition, it would provide some level of relief not to have to worry that your family will become homeless as a result of your physical misfortune. Name some deductible ($10K? $25K?) that will eliminate virtually all "routine" liabilities for the poor insurance companies, and charge some premium that virtually all (those who want such protection) can live with, and the insurance companies can make a profit too. The kind of arrangement I have merely outlined is not unlike various other "catastrophic" insurance mechanisms that have been devised.
I agree with David. And I'll go farther and say the worst thing that has happened to health care has been employer provided insurance. If the insurance companies were the ones offering coverage directly to families, medical costs and insurance costs would be much lower.
I support B.P.'s idea.
If a suitable core level could be agreed upon, we could get rid of the expensive overhead of inept paper-shufflers that deal with the minimal copays and such like. Medical insurance companies make a lot of money by just handling the reams of paperwork that represent just a small fraction of the reimbursed costs for medical care.
I think we are in "violent agreement" on this one. I should have made it clear that I am advocating an insurance policy that I could purchase directly from an insurance company, not some group policy via some intermediary. And I agree with you that medical and/or insurance costs would have a chance to decrease, but I won't hold my breath. I would like to get insurance that provides the kind of coverage that insurance was invented for, namely, protection against a financial catastrophe.
Okay guys here is how it is going to go. As soon as the employers kick everyone off of employer paid health care, we, meaning America are going to go to socialized medicine that will be paid for at the pump as the Klintons suggested a few years ago. I was against it at that time but now I am afraid that I will have to vote in favor of it. yes that means that we are going to become a socialist country but as you can see this is what the politician want. They are in affect driving society in that direction by removing all retirement possibilities, increasing medical cost to where no one can afford to have it and by any means to bring "you" down a few notches in your lifestyle. Basically I see no difference between direct government regulation of your life verses regulation by depriving people of what they have worked through by taxation, gas prices, housing prices etc. It's all about how the government can control your life and keep your life style indirectly "in check". So boy and girls it boils down to this. Every war that we have gone to in order to defend others against tyranny has come back to bite us in the ass right here in your own back yard. Basically it was all for nothing. What a shame. So the question is, how can we turn it around?
Our lifestyles must be diminished in order for the separation of wealth to occur as well as for the increased lifestyles of those in the developing coutries of India and China, etc.
Why do you want to go to a socialist country when you show what is so terribly wrong with it?
I don't disagree that people are trying to push socialism down our throats, but we don't have to accept. The ballot box is the primary place where you need to express yourself. I think that the general movement from defined benefit to defined contribution plans for retirement is a good thing and away from socialism. We need to move social security in that direction, too, but there seem to be too many special interest groups blocking this necessary change.

The first step in turning things around might be to get a grip. Maybe some politicians want the things you foresee, but not the ones I'm voting for. Try replacing superlatives with comparatives and eliminating some comparatives altogether. Renounce the use of absolutes. Not every "war that we have gone to in order to defend others against tyranny has come back to bite us in the ass" and some wars came to us and we have had to bite back. And not all of it was for nothing. To paraphrase Churchill's famous dictum: "Democracy is a bad form of government, but it beats the crap out of whatever is in second place."

Churchill never used the word "crap."

And just for the record, and for all the previous posters' benefit, he DID say,

"If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging."

[-Editor. ...By the way, we, the Middle Class, are in a really DEEP hole in this Best of All Possible Capitalist countries. In case you hadn't noticed.]
Define "hole". Otherwise such statements are hopeless ambiguous to be of no value.

The popular Churchill quote should be:
"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." Sounds pretty close to what "pinot rules" said.

I know how Churchill phrased it. I chose to paraphrase it because it sounds more emphatic to use the word "crap" (which I am sure he did use when the occasion called for it). I am well aware of the middle class situation, which I am experiencing along with the rest. But I've looked at the maps and I haven't found another country I would rather call home; it beats the crap out of whatever country is in second place.
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