Thursday, June 01, 2006

Shock and Awe

For personal reasons I left the Department of Energy, in Albuquerque in August 2004 to work at the Defense Contract Management Agency in Grand Prairie, Texas . I had a very rewarding and satisfying 19 year career at DOE and in the process I met and worked with many Los Alamos Lab employees. I have just spent the past two hours reading the information on the Blog website. I have been so busy with my new position here, that I had not kept up with the news from home. I am sick at my stomach after reading all the pain, venom, and burdens the LANL employees have experienced since 2004. I am so sorry for the meltdown of such a valuable institution and the unforgivable waste of talent, time and money. I know that many lives were adversly affected because of this government-sponsored fiasco and the DOE/NNSA is ultimately responsible. I also understand the role the U of C had in mismanaging the Lab from day one.

I sincerely hope that a Phoenix can rise from the ashes, but I suspect the end product will never again be the same creative, scientific, and innovative community that died with the old Lab. An era has passed. I understand how the Romans felt at the end of the empireā€¦.it didn't happen in one day, one month, or year but over a period of time decaying slowly.

My sincerest and best wishes to the those who have remained and will endeavor to perform their duties in a new enviornment, hopefully with optimism.

Good Luck Los Alamos, you will need it.

Linda Hassler Barbee

P.S. If any of the "old" guys I worked with read this and care to correspond, email me at

Just remember,that this blog just represents people's views of what is going on and not necessarily "reality". There was much bad stuff going on in recent years, but this blog, I believe, overemphasizes it. There are a lot of good people remaining at LANL doing good work critical to the nation. I don't think of the Lab as "dying" although I know there are those on this blog who clearly do and seem to rejoice in it. There are struggles and there will continue to be struggles particularly with the changing world around us. I know there are folks at the Lab who are very optimistic (as well as those who are pessimistic).
Spoken like a true prodigy of the ostrich persuasion.
It is a matter of perspective. You, David, under emphasize the damage that has been done to the lab, as much as you over emphasize the value of LANL to the nation.

And, you are in the distinct minority regarding your opinions. Further, I have observed that you have been exceedingly supercilious in how you have presented your views here, and in your dismissal of all views that counter your own. One might even suspect that you have an elevated opinion of yourself; this would certainly explain the nature of your past interactions with other contributors on this blog.

It is blindly arrogant of you to presume to understand the motivations of the majority of other contributors to this blog, and to further ascribe said motivations to "rejoicing at the lab's demise". I, for one, am furious that the lab's demise was allowed to happen, was in fact encouraged by our "leaders".

In short, David, I think you are that worst kind of fool: the blind, arrogant, stubborn kind who rejects all evidence that does not support his own narrow views.

And with that, let the cries of "Ad hominem attack! " and "The blog is bad!" commence.
Your statements are clearly your opinions. I've stated my opinions and don't regard mine "superior" to yours.
My statement is based on my observation of folks at the Lab many of whom have written off the blog as a bunch of complainers. There appear to me to be only a few contributors to the blog who comment over and over again about how bad things are. I don't know what their motivations are, but there is a clear bias to the contributions to the blog. I'm sorry that they apparently can't see their bias. I have no elevated opinion of myself. I'm just trying to indicate that there are other views out there. I would think that other views would be welcome even if people disagree, which should be expected. I do submit that your statements regarding your views show a particular narrow mindedness because you admit only one possible outcome of all this.

I do think much damage has been done to the lab and have said so. I know folks who are looking forward to the change in management and others who are not. Under the new management UC is not running the Lab so issues of how bad UC was are behind us. To state that innovation at the Lab has "died" is premature at least. An era has past and will result in a lot of changes. How well the Lab responds to this will depend on how well the LANS manages and how the employees respond. We'll have to wait and see.

I don't think the value of the Lab to the nation can be easily quantified, but I do think it (still) has many unique capabilities and these shouldn't be ignored or shortchanged. Who else will do them, and do we want them to be done poorly? If not, we need to see how to make the Lab better rather than simply saying how bad it is. I submit that there are many folks at the Lab who are honorable and want to make the Lab a better place.
Fair enough, David.

Let's just agree to disagree. A year from now we will have a much better view of where the lab is, and whether it is a better place than it was before the contract change-over, or not.
David sez: "My statement is based on my observation of folks at the Lab many of whom have written off the blog as a bunch of complainers... We need to see how to make the Lab better rather than simply saying how bad it is."

Complainers, whiners, trouble-makers...arrogant, butthead cowboys... Anyone who tries to point out the flaws in upper Lab management (the Dear Leaders)--or to defend the workers in the trenches from depredations by same--gets a black star on their foreheads from David.

Question: Does one wear the black star with shame, or pride? Let's be fair and balanced: You decide, Dear Readers.

(By the way, Dear Readers, you have less than a month to decide and make comments on this blog.)
...The Black Star of David...
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