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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
For those of you who fell victim to the ISP and have not spoke with the attorney's, here is the information:
GWILLIAM, IVARY, CHIOSSO, CAVALLI & BREWER
P.O. BOX 2079
OAKLAND, CA. 94604
(510) 832-5411 ext. 257. Ask for Winston.
There IS something we can do in a 'team effort' to fight the UNFAIR treatment we received!!!!!!
Security Clearances at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory-California
RESULTS OF INSPECTION
We concluded that Livermore and Sandia officials did not fully adhere to Department requirements regarding security clearance justifications. Specifically, we found that Livermore and Sandia officials requested and retained security clearances inconsistent with Department policy. We determined that this issue went undetected by Livermore, Sandia, and Service Center personnel security officials because there were no internal controls in place to validate the justification of need as stated on the security clearance requests. We made three recommendations to management designed to ensure that future security clearance request justifications are subject to improved internal controls.
In responding to a draft of this report, the Office of Health, Safety and Security (HS) strongly concurred "with the need for increased oversight of the process for justifying access to classified information within the Department." HS stated it has taken or initiated several actions to enhance oversight of access authorizations.
NNSA's comments on the draft report did not specifically state whether management concurred with the findings and recommendations. NNSA interpreted our report as stating that clearance justifications should be challenged in every case. This is not what is stated in the report, nor is it our intent. Rather, we believe there should be internal controls in place to ensure compliance with Department requirements pertaining to clearances and clearance justifications. Management's comments are discussed in further detail in the report. Management's verbatim comments are included in Appendix C.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Can you check on this or confirm his message and please see if the talk was video taped for the peons to view .
Monday, December 22, 2008
The holidays are upon us, and once again many of us are stringing lights from chimneys and eaves, hanging decorations inside and out and rushing about with last-minute shopping and errands. Winter storms are bringing snow to the mountains and cold rain and fog to the valleys.
The scene is set for happy holidays with family and friends. But all too often, the scene also is set for accidents. So I’m urging each and every one of you to keep safety - at home and here at the Laboratory - topmost in your mind during this hectic season.
We continue to emphasize the need to do work safely in all Laboratory activities. We made good progress earlier this year in decreasing safety incidents and injuries, but there are indications that our safety culture continues to need improvement. Most worrisome are rumblings that some employees are afraid to speak up about safety issues and are feeling pressured to meet schedules and deliverables at all costs.
I want to emphasize that no work, no schedule, no deliverable is more important than your safety. Laboratory management is absolutely committed to ensuring that employees are empowered to raise safety concerns or stop work for safety reasons with no negative repercussions. If you feel for any reason that this is not the case, I want to hear from you, and I will personally work to correct the situation.
As 2008 draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your contributions to our Laboratory and its continuing success during this extremely challenging period of time. We've seen major changes over the past 15 months - the new contract, new management team, organizational changes and the workforce restructuring and reduction to name a few. We've also seen an amazing procession of accomplishments.
We achieved scientific breakthroughs that explain some of the key unknowns in nuclear weapons performance and are critical to developing the predictive science of stockpile stewardship. Experiments conducted at the Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experimental Research (JASPER) facility allowed us to accurately determine the low-pressure equation of state for plutonium and we met an NNSA Top 10 deliverable with the development of a first-generation, three-dimensional energy balance model.
The National Ignition Facility project is more than 99 percent complete. All 192 beamlines have been tested and operationally qualified, and we have entered the home stretch toward NIF's scheduled completion date of March 31, 2009. We also conducted initial studies of the Laser Inertial Confinement Fusion-Fission Energy (LIFE) concept and showcased both NIF and LIFE to Gov. Schwarzenegger last month.
As part of our global security mission, the Autonomous Pathogen Detection System was selected by the Department of Homeland Security for possible deployment within the national BioWatch system. In addition, we made good progress in increasing our work for sponsors other than NNSA, bringing our total work-for-others funding to nearly $350 million.
We continued our tradition of scientific excellence and technical innovation, garnering three R&D 100 awards, six Nanotech 50 awards and numerous honors for individual Laboratory employees. We've used our Zeus and Thunder supercomputers to address a wide range of scientific grand challenges, such as visualizing the structure of nanolipoproteins. Our researchers also created billions of particles of anti-matter in the laboratory and were part of an international team that discovered a new solar system.
A major thrust this year has been to make our Laboratory more efficient and cost competitive. We instituted industry-best practices for performance management, financial management and project management and streamlined numerous other processes. We reduced our support costs by $75 million and reduced our energy usage by nearly 10 percent.
Our Laboratory also continued its tradition of community outreach through science and math education and charitable giving. More than 6,000 people attended our Science on Saturdays lectures and several hundred teachers participated in summer programs aimed at enhancing science education.
For more than a decade, employees have donated more than $1 million to our annual HOME (Helping Others More Effectively) campaign. This year's contributions totaled more than $1.7 million. This figure highlights the amazing generosity of Laboratory employees and I am so proud to work with you.
I wish all of you a happy holiday season and extend my sincere thanks for all you do for our Laboratory, our communities and the nation.
And once again, please be safe in all you do so that you can enjoy the holidays to the fullest.
Director George Miller
Friday, December 19, 2008
Livermore Lab Workers May Be Exposed To Toxic Dust
"Seward said the laboratory is surveying 160 buildings looking for beryllium contamination. Already, they've found some startling results: 20 buildings with levels above acceptable, and a few with "more extensive" contamination.
And now they're assessing how many more workers were exposed: So far, 250 have been identified as having past exposure to beryllium and another 350 are being watched."
December 19, 2008 11:52 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2008
From the LANL Blog
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 15:42:30 -0800
I am very happy to report that National Security Technologies LLC has been awarded an OUTSTANDING rating by the Department of Energy for exemplary work during fiscal year 2008. Last week we were informed that we had achieved a score of 95% - one of the highest in the DOE complex. This recognition of superior performance is the result of a year-long commitment to excellence by the entire organization. As part of this recognition, the period of performance on our contract was extended through September 2012, by exercising our first award term year.
In addition to the DOE, your outstanding performance was recognized by the parent companies of NSTec. I am pleased to announce that our Board of Managers has unanimously approved a resolution to share 3% of the FY08 award fee earned by our company with employees. This is in addition to the several other incentive programs that are already in place. All employees who meet the following criteria will participate equally in Sharing for Success. To be eligible to receive a Sharing For Success check, the employee must be a regular bargaining unit or non-bargaining employee, either full-time or part-time; be employed by NSTec for at least the 10 months prior to the date the Sharing For Success checks are prepared; be in an active pay status on the date the Sharing For Success checks are prepared; and receive at least a Successful rating on the most recent Performance Review (non-bargaining only). Employees who are on a Performance Improvement Plan and those who have received written discipline in the prior 10 months are not eligible for a Sharing for Success check. These checks, with appropriate tax and other required deductions, will be distributed prior to the end of December 2008.
I am so proud of NSTec - to achieve an outstanding rating given the huge challenges that needed to be overcome is simply awesome. But then again, NTS is used to spectacular things - we do indeed have a proud past and an exciting future. We face a whole new set of challenges for FY09, but I am confident that we will meet our objectives.
Congratulations to each and every employee - we are one of the best companies in the complex!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
NNSA announces decisions to transform national security enterprise December 17, 2008
The plan to transform and downsize the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) infrastructure moved forward Tuesday as the head of NNSA signed two formal decision documents to begin its implementation. That action allows the agency to continue the process of moving from an aging, Cold War-era nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century national security enterprise.
“We can now start moving forward on much-needed consolidation and reductions throughout our national security enterprise, shifting to more cost effective operations that will save the taxpayer money,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. “This will improve the safety and security of the infrastructure that maintains U.S. nuclear weapons, helps prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and material, and responds to potential nuclear terrorism or other emergencies.”
The records of decision, signed by D’Agostino, are the final steps in a several year-long process one that involved unprecedented input from the public. The plan, known as “Complex Transformation,” calls for a consolidation of missions and facilities within the existing NNSA sites, known as distributed centers of excellence. While not eliminating any sites, NNSA would eliminate redundancies in missions, capabilities, and facilities at all of them, eventually reducing costs. The decisions will appear in the Federal Register on Friday, Dec. 19.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
A year ago, I posted this torch in the first post of this BLOG vowing to continue the defunct http://llnlthefinalstory.blogspot.com. I named it llnlthetruestory.
I am about ready to hand the ownership to the next volunteer. Please email me if you want to continue the BLOG.
The 'malware' strike, thought to be from inside Russia, hit combat zone computers and the U.S. Central Command overseeing Iraq and Afghanistan. The attack underscores concerns about computer warfare.
By Julian E. Barnes
November 28, 2008
Reporting from Washington -- Senior military leaders took the exceptional step of briefing President Bush this week on a severe and widespread electronic attack on Defense Department computers that may have originated in Russia -- an incursion that posed unusual concern among commanders and raised potential implications for national security.
Defense officials would not describe the extent of damage inflicted on military networks. But they said that the attack struck hard at networks within U.S. Central Command, the headquarters that oversees U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and affected computers in combat zones. The attack also penetrated at least one highly protected classified network.
Military computers are regularly beset by outside hackers, computer viruses and worms. But defense officials said the most recent attack involved an intrusive piece of malicious software, or "malware," apparently designed specifically to target military networks.
"This one was significant; this one got our attention," said one defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity when discussing internal assessments.
Although officials are withholding many details, the attack underscores the increasing danger and potential significance of computer warfare, which defense experts say could one day be used by combatants to undermine even a militarily superior adversary.
Bush was briefed on the threat by Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen also briefed Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Military electronics experts have not pinpointed the source or motive of the attack and could not say whether the destructive program was created by an individual hacker or whether the Russian government may have had some involvement. Defense experts may never be able to answer such questions, officials said.
The defense official said the military also had not learned whether the software's designers may have been specifically targeting computers used by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, suspicions of Russian involvement come at an especially delicate time because of sagging relations between Washington and Moscow and growing tension over U.S. plans to develop a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. The two governments also have traded charges of regional meddling after U.S. support for democratic elections in former Soviet states and recent Russian overtures in Latin America.
U.S. officials have worried in recent years about the possibility of cyber-attacks from other countries, especially China and Russia, whether sponsored by governments of those countries or launched by individual computer experts.
An electronic attack from Russia shut down government computers in Estonia in 2007. And officials believe that a series of electronic attacks were launched against Georgia at the same time that hostilities erupted between Moscow and Tbilisi last summer. Russia has denied official involvement in the Georgia attacks.
The first indication that the Pentagon was dealing with a computer problem came last week, when officials banned the use of external computer flash drives. At the time, officials did not indicate the extent of the attack or the fact that it may have targeted defense systems or posed national security concerns.
The invasive software, known as agent.btz, has circulated among nongovernmental U.S. computers for months. But only recently has it affected the Pentagon's networks. It is not clear whether the version responsible for the cyber-intrusion of classified networks is the same as the one affecting other computer systems.
The malware is able to spread to any flash drive plugged into an infected computer. The risk of spreading the malware to other networks prompted the military to ban the drives.
Defense officials acknowledged that the worldwide ban on external drives was a drastic move. Flash drives are used constantly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many officers keep them loaded with crucial information on lanyards around their necks.
Banning their use made sharing information in the war theaters more difficult and reflected the severity of the intrusion and the threat from agent.btz, a second official said.
Officials would not describe the exact threat from agent.btz, or say whether it could shut down computers or steal information. Some computer experts have reported that agent.btz can allow an attacker to take control of a computer remotely and to take files and other information from it.
In response to the attack, the U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the military's cyberspace defenses, has raised the security level for its so-called information operations condition, or "INFOCON," initiating enhanced security measures on military networks.
The growing possibility of future electronic conflicts has touched off debates among U.S. defense experts over how to train and utilize American computer warfare specialists. Some have advocated creating offensive capabilities, allowing the U.S. to develop the ability to intrude into the networks of other countries.
But most top leaders believe the U.S. emphasis in cyberspace should be on improving defenses and gathering intelligence, particularly about potential threats.
On Tuesday, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff, received a specialized briefing about the malware attack. Officers from the Air Force Network Operations Center at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana outlined their efforts to halt the spread of the malware and to protect military computers from further attack.
Schwartz, praising those efforts, said that the attack and the military's response were being closely monitored by senior military leaders.
The offending program has been cleansed from a number of military networks. But officials said they did not believe they had removed every bit of infection from all Defense Department computers.
"There are lots of people working hard to remove the threat and put in preventive measures to protect the grid," said the defense official. "We have taken a number of corrective measures, but I would be overstating it if I said we were through this."
Barnes is a writer in our Washington bureau
Monday, December 8, 2008
For what its worth as a TPC-1er I received a letter from the Chairman of the LLNS Benefits & Investment Committee of the LLNS, LLC Board of Governors. It's dated Nov 25, 2009. I don't know if TPC-2ers also received it.
It is reproduced below in case it was not sent to all LLNL employees...
Dear LLNS Defined Benefits Pension Plan Participant:
Many of you have asked questions regarding the health and security of your pension benefits and the potential for requiring employee contributions to the LLNL Plan in the future.
At the all-hands meeting on November 18, 2008, George Miller announced that the LLNS Plan is healthy and safe. Your pension benefit is a function of your years of service and salary. These factors provide you with a steady stream of monthly pension payments regardless of economic conditions. Your monthly pension payments (Plan liabilities) are made from assets in the LLNS Plan. Even though the financial markets have declined substantially in 2008, the LLNS Plan's assets remain considerably greater than its liabilities, and should continue to be sufficient to protect against future adverse economic conditions. Currently, the LLNS Plan's over-funded position makes it exempt from any contributions for the foreseeable future.
The LLNS Benefits & Investment Committee insures that the Plan assets are invested for the long term in a diversified portfolio among domestic and international stocks, fixed-income investments and cash. The goal of this diversified portfolio is to provide stability over the long haul to continue to pay the promised retirement pension payments to both current and future retirees.
Paul E. Rosenkoetter
Chairman, Benefits & Investment Committee
I plan to keep a copy of the letter for my lawyer in case LLNS forgets its promises.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Rumors are that there is about to be an announcement of a new interim CIO. Also to be rumored is the the new interim CIO is going to be Donna Crawford.
This announcement has been rumored to be imminent for some time now.
Maybe something will finally happen in IT. It has been too long without proper leadership or direction
Sunday, November 30, 2008
At the transition, LLNS said that retirees that took the Lump Sum Cashout from UCRP would be eligible for access only coverage, which meant that they would get the same rates as employees ( or other retirees), but would have to pay the full amount. Is this still true? Does anyone who reads this blog know of anyone who has tried this? Is this affected by the new retiree benefits plan? What are the rates? I know, lots of questions. Any info would be appreciated.
19 < 6 months
9 > 6 < 1y
17 > 1y < 2 y
11 > 2y < 5y
20 > 5y < 10y
22 > 10y
Assuming, this is anywhere near accurate, 45% of people will leave in 2 years or less. Can someone in LLNS tell us how they plan to replace them? or is that what the bureaucrats call "managed attrition"?
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Health Care Dates Extended, but not for all?
Meds to cost at least 3 times as much!
I'm hearing that the extension of the deadlines for health care is only for those who are Medicare qualified- which I think means 65 or older. Does anyone know if true?
Also what will the various plans cost us?
Looks like Kaiser has gone from a 90 day supply of meds to a 30 day supply, for the same price. Such a deal!
Not what the 11/20/08 article in the Independent says:
Period Extended for Lab Retirees to Sign Up for Health Care
By Independent News
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory retirees are concerned that they may not be able to sign up for health care benefits by the deadline. Because of that concern, the Lab is extending the open enrollment period.
Currently, the retirees are being asked to sign up for the benefits by Nov. 27. The problem is that many people cannot get through to Extend Health, the company hired to take on the task. Waits of up to two to three hours on the telephone have been reported, with no one ever answering.
Jeff Garberson, a member of the retirees organization, said people are upset and scared. "Someone has to step in."
Lynda Seaver, from the Lab's public affairs department, said, "There has been some difficulty in signing up. It is taking longer than originally anticipated. The problem is the massive number of retirees." She added that 30 percent have been enrolled, so the system is working.
Seaver added, "We know that people are concerned. We are trying to do what we can to improve the situation."
In order to make sure, all those who want to sign up are able to do so, Seaver said the open enrollment deadline is being extended to mid-December. People will still receive their health care I.D. cards in time with the later deadline. In addition, people can call in to set up exclusive personal appointments.
There is also concern that benefits are being changed.
Seaver said nothing is really changed. Rather than being a group insurance, as in the past, it is now individual insurance.
Under the new system, each person will have $2400 placed into a health care reimbursement account. The cost of care and premiums will be withdrawn each month. "There will be no change in the quality of care," said Seaver.
She also said that it is estimated there would be no out of pocket expenses that retirees would have to pay.
However, one retiree pointed out that the money is not sufficient to cover Medicare Part B. People could end up $200 in the hole at the end of the year.
Part B of Medicare is intended to fill some of the gaps in medical insurance coverage left under Part A. After the beneficiary meets the annual deductible, Part B will pay 80% of the "reasonable charge" for covered services, the reimbursement rate determined by Medicare; the beneficiary is responsible for the remaining 20% as "co-insurance."
Seaver said that under most scenarios involving Part B, retirees would have no out of pocket expenses. If the most expensive plan were selected, there would be a small amount. She said the $200 a year mentioned was in the ballpark.
Seaver explained that what retirees are not factoring in is that some of the services are now paid for that retirees had to pay under UC. She added the cost of health care is going up everywhere. "We are providing the same dollars for health care. There is just a different way of delivering it."
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
By ROGER SNODGRASS, The Los Alamos Monitor
In a lengthy report released Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office questioned the effectiveness of the Department of Energy’s nuclear safety program for 205 high-hazard facilities, including the 19 facilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
In an unusual sign of contention, officials of the Department of Energy responded with 20 pages of formal comments on why they found GAO’s draft report to be “fundamentally flawed” and disagreed with many of its conclusions, prompting GAO to add several more pages of responses to DOE’s detailed comments.
Reps. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, who requested the report issued a joint statement saying, “the report confirmed their concerns about how safety has taken a backseat at DOE because the offices responsible for safety also face competing concerns in the area of productivity.”
The report focuses on the effects of DOE’s decision in 2006 to combine what were separate offices for safety and health and for safety and security performance assurance into a single Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS), with a few left-over functions distributed to other offices.
While on one level a typical act of bureaucratic consolidation, the decision was interpreted by critics as a political decision at the time that sacrificed health and safety in favor of productivity, while proponents argued that it would result in less wasteful paperwork and a more effective system of national security.
GAO’s conclusion, in brief, “is that DOE has structured its independent oversight office, HSS in a way that falls short of meeting our key elements of effective oversight of nuclear safety.”
Specifically, the GAO found that the combined office lacks independence, technical expertise and the ability to perform reviews, while not doing enough to require that findings be addressed, enforced and subject to public access.
In its detailed response, DOE rejected those conclusions, charging that GAO had evaluated HSS in isolation rather than in the context of the overall DOE governance model.
And, among other flaws, that GAO was imposing its own preconceived opinion of the functions of that office, rather than having an open-minded acceptance of the possible validity of other approaches than its own.
The structural change at DOE was fiercely opposed by worker safety proponents and public interest groups in Washington as soon as DOE announced its intention in May 2006.
One campaign organized by the Government Accountability Project at the time included letters from former Environmental Safety and Health Assistant Secretaries, professional and labor organizations, and a joint letter signed by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire.
DOE also anticipated and confronted objections from the beginning, declaring that the intent of the restructuring was “not to dismantle safety.”
In releasing the report, Congressmen Dingell and Stupak said they were encouraged by the report to consider finding an external regulator for the department, if it continues to fail to take appropriate measures.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Dennis Cardoza delivered a frustrated and angry message to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Monday on behalf of the residents of the Central Valley.
“In the most direct way possible I told Secretary Paulson that his efforts to date are completely unacceptable,” Cardoza said. “He keeps telling us they averted a financial crisis. I told him that in my district, we are in a recession. And to those who have lost their homes, we are in a depression. More needs to be done now. The country cannot wait for President Obama.”
The congressman added that, “I wanted to deliver the message to him that I knew everyone in my district wanted to send -- act now.”
The Congressman made the comments during tense closed-door talks he participated in when Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke met with the House speaker, majority leader and a handful other top Congressional leaders Monday.
Congressman Cardoza further added that he is becoming increasingly skeptical of the piecemeal approach to handling the financial crisis shown by the Treasury.
“It is understood that we are treading in uncharted waters,” Cardoza said. “However, I and my constituents are totally disgusted by the lack of action. Clearly the Administration does not understand the gravity of the situation on Main Street.”
In October, Congressman Cardoza reluctantly supported the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act only after guarantees were included in the legislation that taxpayers would be protected and the foreclosure crisis would be averted.
Earlier this month, Congressman Cardoza wrote to Secretary Paulson expressing his extreme dissatisfaction that the Treasury had abandoned plans to purchase faulty mortgage backed securities as had originally been negotiated between Paulson and Congress.
“It is time that they get off the dime and did something for the hard-working Americans who pay their salary,” Cardoza said.
November 19, 2008: 11:39 AM EST
(Updates with Bodman comments)
By Ian Talley
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Auto companies have submitted to the Department of Energy five applications for $25 billion in loans to retool plants for fuel- efficient vehicles, and DOE could disburse funds by the end of the year, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Wednesday.
"We're in the process of evaluating them, and so depending on the quality of the applications ... it's possible we'll have money available by the end of the year," Bodman said on the sidelines of a conference here.
Bodman did not say what companies had submitted the loan applications.
Auto companies Ford Motor Co. (F), General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler LLC have come to Congress this week seeking additional government funding of $25 billion in loans to make sure they can remain financially solvent for the next six months.
Republicans are blocking moves by Democrats for the additional funding, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he's working on a compromise bill to use the current $25 billion in loans for the emergency funding.
Bodman said he hoped the Bush administration and Congress could change how the loans are disbursed and he was against more loans for the companies. The loans are allowed to be distributed only for retooling plants to create advanced cars and trucks with much better fuel economy.
"It is not a useful thing to have another $25 billion, (and) I would hope ... Congress will modify the rules under which we can operate," he said. "Nobody wants to see these companies go broke."
-By Ian Talley, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9285; email@example.com
(Josh Mitchell in Washington contributed to this report)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company
Looked like, with a few token exceptions, the only LLNL accomplishments he was aware of were NIF related or the WCI awards (oh yeah, the dragon boat team got 3 photos- science at its best).
He made it clear that he is not interested in promoting WFO, by stating that even though overhead rates are still high we brought in more WFO in the last cycle.
How about the weird statements from Arnold Sch., wildly supportive of NIF...? Are we now having our scientific reviews not by peers but by uneducated celebrities? Does anyone funding our work at LLNL think Arnold is a credible expert on fusion or lasers or nuclear energy? Really makes it look like NIF and LIFE are in big trouble technically if they are resorting to such shenanagins. Guess they figured out that the new administration is likely to accelerate the trend of cut backs on funding for fusion energy. They never mention NIF being used to study nuclear weapons anymore. Can't help but feel sorry for Arnold for how they made a fool of him.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
It is certainly immoral and almost certainly illegal for UC to transfer liability for LLNL retiree medical benefits to LLNS. Those of us affected are having our benefits cut now and probably eliminated in the near future. UC's web site promises us that if we were receiving medical benefits immediately before retiring, we would continue to receive those benefits after retiring. In my case, they provided my medical coverage for 7 years, then suddenly declared they were no longer responsible for coverage and told me a Limited Liability Company would be providing my coverage. Being one of those retirees who is not eligible for Medicare, loosing my medical coverage would be catastrophic.
Like most of these situations, it is complex enough that a short letter can't cover all the facts. I have set up a web site at: http://home.comcast.net/~jrequa/retiree.htm which explains the situation. I am seeking support from other retirees to help address the issue.
Our most critical need is to find a law firm to help us. So far, I have been unable to find one which will evaluate the merits of our case. I have been advised by two law firms that immediate action is necessary in order to protect our legal options. If you, your lawyers, or any of your members can recommend an appropriate firm please let me know.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"Put your hip waders on. GM has rolled out the new and improved NIF. And I always thought it was a weapons research tool. Fooled again by the master nipple farmer."
"I suggest a new thread on the next heroin program that Moses is on that is eating up SMS/LDRD and got the Governor to talk up."
Let the comments pour in!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
A letter to the editor regarding LLNL retiree benefit changes has been published in the Nov. 6 issue of The Independent Newspaper, on page 5.
Find it at
This policy change is such a blatant and obvious example of a LLNS management system that has lost it's moral and ethical compass , that further letters to newspapers or congress people could re-open the whole privatization issue at LLNL and LANL. Now is your chance to make a difference.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
LLNL has announced that it will make a large corporate donation to this years HOME charity campaign. I am a strong supporter of the HOME campaign and have made personal contributions, along with thousands of other employees, yearly over my 30-year career. A corporate donation seems particularly inappropriate this year.
This year the lab has downsized the workforce by about 2000 people including involuntary layoffs. Lab retirees have been notified that many older than 65 will loose the safety net of their group medical plan. After being told that ongoing staff and benefit reductions are necessary because of funding shortfalls, it seems totally irresponsible for management to make a donation up to $1 million of taxpayers money to outside agencies particularly when dedicated employees and retirees are suffering from these cuts. Selection of elderly retirees to be the first group to loose group medical coverage also seems particularly mean-spirited and disrespectful.
In my opinion, the lab contains talented, dedicated individuals with irreplaceable knowledge critical to our national security. They deserve to be treated with respect, not the bureaucratic humiliations described above.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The screw tightens...
With 17 years, 7 months service at the time of the May lay-offs, I was expecting severance payments over 9 pay periods (17 years plus the extra week's pay for "a fractional year of fulltime equivalent service of 6 months or more" [this quote pulled directly from HR policy at the time of the layoff]. Imagine my surprise when I didn't receive the final check! Payroll apparently took my entire severance payment and divided by 8, not 9. And HR stated that "the 6 month calculation for the additional week's pay was by CALENDAR year not continuous service." Therefore, NONE OF THE TERMINATED EMPLOYEES received that 'bonus' week's pay because termination date was June 20 (we didn't quality until June 30). HR stated that "they tried to clarify this in the All-Hands meetings prior to VSSOP and layoffs." BULL! LLNS did it to save themselves thousands of dollars and once again turn the screw in the backs of loyal, dedicated workers. Contact your attorneys, folks. This is just wrong!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I also received the packet from LLNL, signed by GM, regarding changes in health benefits for medicare retirees. Since no specific details or contact information were provided for Extended Health, I searched their web site for information about the company. The following contains direct quotes from the company.
1) "The Company’s unique platform and services enable corporations to move employees and retirees from a group benefits platform to an individualized, defined-contribution program." [http://www.extendhealth.com/Resources/AboutUs].
(Clearly this eliminates the safety net of group medical plans.)
2) The company press room provides articles describing what EH values [http://www.extendhealth.com/Resources/PressKit].
"General Motors Corp. retirees are likely in for sticker shock after the company announced it is
cutting health benefits for retirees older than 65. "
"There's going to be some shock when it comes to premiums and extra costs for what the options
are," said Sue Mathiesen, director of research for McGraw Wentworth, a Troy-based benefits
consulting firm. "
(I guess these changes may be better for management than for employees)
"The task that faces us is to take a lot of time in educating these retirees, they have had these rich
benefits for years and now they will be faced with a large number of choices,"
( I guess us poor old scientists don't know the difference between defined benefit and defined contribution plans. We need some really smart insurance agents to educate us that less is better.)
"Wal-Mart Rolling Out Health Insurance Program for Small Businesses" This is one of several articles touting the relationship between Extend Health and Wal-Mart/Sam's Club.
(What's the difference between a laboratory that has been labeled as "one of the crown jewels of America" and Wal-Mart?? No difference in its views on employee health benefits.)
While many nameless individuals and organizations likely had a role in this process, a benefits change this large could not occur without the direct approval of GM. One year ago GM spoke with emotion in his voice about the "LLNL family" pulling together to adapt to the changes in new contract. Now, one year later, he has decided that the aged and disabled medicare members of "our family" will be the first to be eliminated from the safety net of our group medical plans, and left to fend for themselves in the cutthroat medical insurance market.
This heartless move may be perfectly legal, but it sure doesn't pass my smell test for respect and fair play for these retirees who gave their all for our laboratory and our country. GM and associates: SHAME ON YOU; Have you no respect for your former colleagues; How can you sleep at night?
Dental Benefits Changed Without Mention
While looking closely at the medical packages, I also noticed that the name of the dental plan had changed from Delta Dental and the HMO variant to Delta DPO and the HMO variant. [sarcasm on] Trusting that there would not be any significant change without notice in the package, [sarcasm off] I asked my dentist which of the two packages they took. Imagine my surprise when my Dentist told me "neither" -- our current Delta Dental benefit is now Delta Premier, and we don't have that option anymore after the end of the year.
So now I have to change dentists to stay in the insurance network. Annoying, but at least I found out about it before the end of open enrollment. And, of course, the number of dentists in my area who take the "middle" and "low" end Delta insurance options is vanishingly small.
You'd think there'd at least be some notice in the package. Yet another case of failure to communicate effectively and openly with the staff.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Got "Open Enrollment" info from LLNS today. Lots if whining about costs (poor Georgie and ULM, they must be crying all the way to the bank) and weak explanations about why coverage will cost more and benefits will be reduced. Real reason? Bechtel needs to save money for "profit" and inflated ULM salaries. And here's the catch: despite lots of info being provided (yes, it's up to you to decipher the plans and see if your current providers will take them), I couldn't find ANYTHING about what the new plans will cost the employee or retiree. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Already received a letter from Health Net saying my coverage is over come Jan.1, and now I have only a couple of weeks to choose a new plan. And I don't know how much it will cost me. Nice. Complete incompetence on the part of LLNS and their over-paid managers.........Anyone know where the cost of the plans is published (tried the LLNL web sites and Hewitt......couldn't find even a mention of this new health plan fiasco; called LLNL/LLNS Benefits office...they didn't know their asses from a hole in the ground either....) Best and the brightest, my a**. The "Best" will easily find employment elsewhere, and the "Brightest" are too smart to come to work here.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke at the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace today (10/28/2008) — Topic: The Future Of U.S. Nuclear Weapons. I caught most of it on C-SPAN and have tried to paraphrase it below. It also looks like you’ll be able to listen to it yourself in the future via this link:
B-1 Bombers and four Trident Submarines no longer have a nuclear mission
In 1992 we unilaterally stopped nuclear testing and developed a Stockpile Stewardship Program
The U.S. has completed all reductions for START
The U.S. is planning to reach a 2/3 reduction of our 2000 nuclear deployed force numbers by 2010 as part of Moscow Treaty, nearly two years early
The U.S. will have 75% fewer nuclear weapons than at the end of the Cold War
A new defense triad developed:
Strike capability consisting of existing capabilities
Defense capability including a limited ballistic missile defense
New infrastructure to support
Rising and resurgent powers, rouge nations -- we need to keep a deterrence
Other countries lacking funding are putting more reliance on their nuclear force
Russia and China are not considered adversaries but we cannot ignore their developments
Proliferation: the fewer nuclear armed states, the better
We simply cannot predict the future, our track record has not been that great
The genie cannot be put back in the bottle
If we can accept that nuclear weapons are still relevant, must continue responsibility
Recent issues of Air Force handling of nuclear weapons and related material
1990’s streamlining folded some nuclear related components into regular supply chain
Another element to credibility: Safety, Security, and Reliability of the weapons
Our weapons are currently safe, secure, and reliable
Long term prognosis -- Bleak
No new design since the 1980’s, no new devices have been built since the 90’s
A serious brain drain of veteran nuclear scientists and technicians
NNSA has lost a quarter of work force since 90’s
Half of nuclear lab scientists are over fifty years old
By some estimates, three-quarters of experienced workforce will be at retirement age in several years
Weapons were designed on the assumption of a limited shelf life then replacement
Sensitive parts do not last forever and developed with narrow technical margins
No test to certify these weapons since 1992, test data becoming incomplete
Currently the U.S. is the only declared nuclear power that is neither modernizing its nuclear arsenal or has the capability to produce a new nuclear warhead
To be blunt, there is no way to maintain a credible deterrence while reducing the number of weapons in stockpile without testing or pursuing a modernization program
Funding for a Reliable Replacement Warhead program has only been supported at a conceptual phase and now the funding for that has been cut
The program did not deal with new capabilities; it dealt with the future credibility of our nuclear deterrent
The U.S. must transform from an aging cold war nuclear weapons complex to a smaller, less costly, modern enterprise that can meet our nations nuclear security needs
A new paradigm is required for the post cold-war world era
Need ability to deter a range of potential adversaries from taking a variety of actions
Also must face nation states passing weapons into the hands of terrorists
Need to design redundant systems to make attack appear pointless
As long as human nature is what it is…
- - - - - - -
I retired early when the management of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab transitioned from the University Of California to LLNS. I saw the funding issues, I saw the moral issues, and I endured the management issues. I smile though as I reminisce to when I contributed my limited pieces to the puzzle.
p.s., My thanks to those who maintain the "LLNL, The True Story" web site.
Monday, October 27, 2008
A few people received a raise percentage greater than “bring in”. Those are the Recipients. Then there are those who received less than the “bring in” percentage. Example of this is from http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2008/09/salaries-in-short.html The 300 series allocation was 1.54%. If you are a 300 series and got more than 1.54% then you are a recipient. If you got less, then you are a donor. Someone has to get less so all the supervisors and good ol boys can get a big fat raise on this lean year.
So, I pose the question. Were you a recipient or a donor?
Thanks for the work you do. I appreciate it. However, I do not truly believe that opinions expressed in this blog are representative of people who are still working at the Lab. I'm still very proud to be a lab employee. I feel valued and fortunate to be working at LLNL. Everything I read here is so negative. There are a bunch of "chicken littles" here. Yeah, things are tough all over the country, not just at LLNL. I honestly cannot see our country going forward and staying strong without a healthy science program at our national labs. Anyone in congress or in the senate or in the executive branch of our government would be totally ignorant to think otherwise.
Reading this blog has no value for me. It just provides the chicken littles with a podium for expressing their negativity. Yes, the lab has changed. Yes, we are no longer UC employees. That is very unfortunate. Get over it!
Let's discuss how we can promote research and science. Let's talk about how new technologies can save ten times as much energy through conservation than oil drilling could ever contribute toward US oil independence. Aren't we a department of ENERGY national lab? On the day, year, decade when we can thumb our noses at the Saudis and say your oil is worthless is when we will, through our technology truly be the superpower of the world.
Just my rant and two cents here.
Friday, October 24, 2008
The mystery of Barack Obama’s missing thesis
"After a few days of getting nowhere, I asked my readers for help. It was not long before one of my brilliant readers informed me that the topic of his thesis was “Soviet nuclear disarmament,” and Columbia refuses to release it."
B.A. Political Science with specialization in international relations
Thesis topic: Soviet nuclear disarmament"
Does anyone else wonder what is in that thesis? Is there really a thesis or is this an internet rumor?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Presidential debates take on role as big as office
Analysts say the stakes are raised this election year
By SCOTT SHEPARD
Cox News Service
Sept. 20, 2008, 4:55PM
WASHINGTON There's no underestimating the importance of the upcoming presidential debates. They are the main event in the 2008 White House contest in an America tiring of its lengthy war in the Middle East and battered by economic chaos.
"They always seem to be bigger than all outdoors, but this time there's great potential to be even bigger," said Allen Louden, a political communications expert at Wake Forest University who maintains a Web site, www.debatescoop.org, that analyzes political debates.
In a campaign already historic because of the first African-American candidate, events in Iraq and on Wall Street "have raised the stakes" for the debates, added Louden in a telephone interview Thursday.
In the contest between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, "they are the main event," agreed Paul Stekler, a documentary filmmaker and professor of radio, TV and film at the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
And "if there's any one event the whole country is going to be watching, it's the first debate," Stekler said in a telephone interview.
The first of three debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates takes place Friday at the University of Mississippi at Oxford.
The candidates will be seated at a table, and discussion will be moderated by Jim Lehrer, anchor of PBS's The NewsHour.
The subject: domestic policy, with the 90-minute debate divided into 10-minute segments for various issues and closing statements.
The second will be on Oct. 7 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., with moderator Tom Brokaw of NBC News. The candidates will field questions on foreign and domestic issues in a 90-minute town hall format.
The final debate will be Oct. 15 at Hofstra University in New York, moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. Again, the candidates will be seated at a table for a 90-minute discussion, but the topic will be foreign affairs only.
A vice-presidential debate between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin will take place Oct. 2 at Washington University in St. Louis, with moderator Gwen Ifill of PBS.
It, too, will be 90 minutes with both candidates seated at a table with Ifill, and it will cover domestic and foreign policy.
The timing of the topics domestic first reflects the priorities of voters in public opinion polls.
Even before the meltdown in Wall Street this week, Americans were telling pollsters that their major concern this election is the economy, largely as a result of high gasoline prices, a rising unemployment rate and the spreading credit crisis.
At this moment of high economic anxiety, Americans do not appear to be in the mood to hear the two candidates merely regurgitating political talking points manufactured by advisers, in order to minimize any potential damage.
"Voters want to see the two presidential candidates engaged," said Louden. "Talking points and glib one-liners just won't do" this time.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
McCain hitched his wagon to this knuckle-dragger without checking his background (see Palin). McCain is toast. Honestly, if he can't get this one right then what would ever convince anyone to vote for the guy? Well, I suppose "Joe the liar" might vote for him.
Sure doesn't look like it.
WFO has multiple extra taxes taken out(Safety and Security, Facility Administrative Charge, etc).
Also, the chain of command to approve and accept the money takes at least a month, often more. There are approximately 9 levels of "oversight" that need to approve the money. Let's ask the question- is incoming money ever rejected? My guess is no- so what is the delay and multiple approvers for? One time I did not hound each of the nine "approvers" incessantly, and it took 4 months to get my money in- this is 4 MONTHS after a "check" was cut by the sponsor. This whole system needs to be streamlined. Why are there so many barriers?
LLNS this is a cry for help- bring us into a modern age of WFO! We need "support" services who actually "serve" the scientific mission. We are in competition with other labs and companies. When we delay accepting money and demand excessive overhead rates, we are slowly, sponsor by sponsor, putting ourselves out of the WFO business. LLNS wake up and take this seriously before it is too late.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Same old crooks calling the shots no matter who gets in office. Who ever is running this country and, by the way it's not the president, has their head buried up their a** so deep they'll never see day light or they have an agenda that appalling to me.
The history of a financial disaster
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Here the question posed by anonymous:
LLNS/DOE has broken so many promises made to employees hired long ago under UC management.
So how long before one, two, or a lot of employees decide that given management broke one side of the contract they should start breaking theirs?
Safety, security, all kinds of things are at risk when people get this disgruntled.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Saw this article:
It was so right on somany points I had to chuckle at the image of ULM being a bunch of GEICO representative rejects. FYI - GEICO = Government Employees Insurance Company.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Well, it looks like the dumb
***Warning: please refrain from using expletives. Next time, your post/comment will be deleted.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
How to fix the $700B debt
The Common Sense Fix
Years of bad decisions and stupid mistakes have created an economic nightmare in this country, but $700 billion in new debt is not the answer. As a tax-paying American citizen, I will not support any congressperson who votes to implement such a policy. Instead, I submit the following threestep Common Sense Plan.
a. Insure the subprime bonds/mortgages with an underlying FHA-type insurance. Government-insured and backed loans would have an instant market all over the world, creating immediate and needed liquidity.
b. In order for a company to accept the government-backed insurance, they must do two things:
1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent to a 6% fixed-rate mortgage.
a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs into the balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them a chance to keep their homes.
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing or the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event of foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that encourages mortgage companies to go the extra mile while working with the borrower—again limiting foreclosures and ruined lives.
2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs and executive team members as long as the company holds these government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps underperforming executives from being paid when they don’t do their jobs.
c. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction of the current proposal.
II. MARK TO MARKET
a. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on only subprime Tier III bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from being forced to artificially mark down bonds/mortgages below the value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.
b. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate stabilizing effect on failing and ailing banks—and it costs the taxpayer nothing.
III. CAPITAL GAINS TAX
a. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will flood the real estate and stock market in search of tax-free profits, creating tremendous—and immediate—liquidity in the markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.
b. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because many will say it is helping the rich. The truth is the rich will benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the economy. This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and retirement investments that go up instead of down.
This is not a time for envy, and it’s not a time for politics. It’s time for all of us, as Americans, to stand up, speak out, and fix this mess.
http://www.daveramsey.com:80/etc/fed_ba ... tid=mlfrnd
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I read this entire thing and then quit paying extra on my home. I was hoping to pay it off but I asked myself why do I want to pay off a house that I've made zero equity on in the last 18 years and in the end have paid four times what it worth while I could be taking the extra money and doing something with my life
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Another pay cut for TCP-1's coming soon. Could the16% that was talked about during the transition finally to become true. After all the stock market lost $700B in one day what better way to make up those loses but on the backs of those who chose TCP-1.
[September 12, 2008]
The following is a letter to UC employees from Judy Boyette, Associate Vice President, Systemwide Human Resources and Benefits.
The purpose of this letter is to update you regarding the restart of employer and employee contributions to the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP).
As you know, the University has been engaged in a multi-year process concerning the need to keep UCRP fully funded in order to ensure the plan remains able to pay retirement benefits to employees in the future, and that UC’s benefits remain competitive in the marketplace. At their July meeting, the Regents discussed a proposed funding policy for the UCRP to accomplish these objectives.
This proposal, which includes restarting employer and employee contributions, is now being brought to the Regents for approval at their September 16-18 meeting. If you have not already seen the proposal and would like to, it is available online.
As it states, the proposal establishes the date of July 1, 2009, subject to collective bargaining where applicable, for the resumption of employer and employee contributions to the UCRP. However, the actual amounts of employer and employee contributions will not be decided at the September meeting – that is expected to happen at a future meeting. In November, UC’s actuary will present the Regents with the annual valuation for UCRP, and information regarding the total recommended level of contributions required from both UC and employees to keep UCRP fully funded. Then, at one of their 2009 meetings, Regents are expected to determine the amount of resources available, and how contributions should be divided between the University and employees (i.e., the amounts UC will contribute and the amounts employees will contribute). As the proposal also indicates, the level of employer contributions from the UC will never be lower than what employees are contributing.
Although, we won’t know specific contribution amounts for several months, as previously announced the University’s expectation is that there would be no impact on employee net take-home pay in the first year of contributions, because employee contributions could begin in the form of a redirection of mandatory employee contributions currently going into the UC Defined Contribution Plan. Additionally, the university expects that its long-term approach to how UC and employees share the cost of UCRP benefits will be consistent with the State’s approach to contributions to CalPERS (see below websites for current CalPERS rates).
As you know, the University has been very fortunate in that it has enjoyed a UCRP funding surplus since the early 1990s which has allowed the Regents to suspend UCRP contributions. This has meant that, unlike the vast majority of employees at other institutions, UC employees have not been required to contribute to the cost of their pension benefits for the last 18 years.
At the same time, it was understood that this “contribution holiday” would end at some point and that contributions, from both UC and its employees, would be needed to keep UCRP fully funded. The market returns on UCRP have declined over the 2007-08 year, due to the performance of the financial markets. In addition, we are seeing the impact of delaying the restart of contributions.
We will continue to update you about the restart of contributions as decisions are made. Meanwhile, you are encouraged to visit the following websites to learn more about the process the University has been engaged in concerning this issue, and the CalPERS approach to contributions:
The Future of the UC Retirement Plan
CalPERS – Employer Contribution Rates
CalPERS – Employee Contribution Rates (Cal State University example)
Judith W. Boyette
Associate Vice President
Systemwide Human Resources and Benefits
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Does this get your attention?
Meltdown in US finance system pummels stock market
Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
DRAFT – New language highlighted in YELLOW (text in red, not highlighted)
III.1 Layoff for 200-Series Employees
This section pertains to 200-Series indefinite career employees only. It applies when a layoff is necessitated due to a lack of work or a lack of funds, which could result from such factors as, but not limited to, budget reduction, reorganization, or reduced scope of work. It does not apply to postdoctoral, term or temporary employees, who are subject to other employment and termination policies, nor does this policy apply to flexible term or key personnel. . .
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Lab safety, security show improving trends
By Tatjana K. Rosev
September 3, 2008
Safety and security at the Laboratory is showing continued improvement. A recent report confirmed that both safety and security showed positive tendencies in the time period from July 2007 to July 2008.
With worker injury performance measured in total recordable cases (TRCs) and days away, restricted or transferred (DART), the TRC rate went down by 35 percent and the DART rate decreased by 34 percent during the same time period.
According to the report, which was presented at an all-manager’s meeting on August 18, the number of severe security incidents also went down. While four IMI-2 incidents were reported during fiscal year 2007, only one IMI-1 and one IMI-2 incident was reported over the past 12 months. The number of incidents reportable to the Department of Energy also decreased in the time period from August 2006 to July 2008.
Dick Watkins, associate director for Environment, Safety, Health & Quality (ADESHQ), complimented Laboratory employees for the improving safety performance. “These measurable successes are a credit to each and every one of you. Your attention to safety and security while accomplishing your mission is laudable and key to success today and in the future,” he said.
Posted by Frank Young at 12:02 AM
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
What do you think of the Ed Moses presentation about LIFE? Will we really be able to unload any old kind of nuclear waste into a vessel, send a laser in, get out electricity and be left with almost no spent fuel to dispose of and have it be economical? Why is this being pushed now, before NIF has been demonstrated? Maybe to open up a new funding stream for NIF, since it is perpetually behind schedule and overbudget? Should there be a public peer-review of this concept?
Saturday, August 30, 2008
"representatives" of LLNS at Hewitt Management in a so-far futile
attempt to get LLNS to adhere to the Kaiser health benefits as outlined
in 20 years of "Evidence of Coverage" (EOC) documents, including the
present one covering LLNS.
My primary complaint (shared by many at LLNL?) is that UC threw us
bona-fide UC retirees over the wall, linking us to the private
contractor, LLNS, for whom we never worked (or wanted to work!!) a day
in our lives. This was probably a prelude to the accelerating shrinkage
of the UCOP staff (with what change in UCOP budget?) that is now
requiring the campuses to take over many of the formerly system-wide
functions operated by UCOP. I might understand booting campus UC
retirees back to their respective campuses for benefit management (which
are at least UC non-profit institutions), but why must I end up begging
for UC benefits from a management company that is dedicated to profit
for George Schultz and bonuses for Lab ULM?? I note that the UC Regents
have not returned the half million or more of license or royalty income
from my patents, either to me to the private LLNS.
Over the past 3 years, my partner and I have managed to sell our house
in San Jose and to build a great new place in the hills of southern
Mendocino County, moving here in April. My UC pension and the associated
benefits were a very important consideration in all of our decisions. I
have been lucky to have Kaiser's east-bay HIV specialist as my personal
physician since 1989, and I remain extremely healthy and robust due to
his care and my own research. We were assured multiple times by Kaiser
and my physician that we would continue our Kaiser membership, getting
most of our medical services at the Santa Rosa Kaiser center, although
Mendocino County is technically out of the direct service area (see EOC
excerpts below). My physician would remain my continued provider and I
would take the occasional 120 mile trip to see him. He assured me that
he continues having patients that live even farther away and would
arrange for me to see other appropriate specialists in Santa Rosa.
(Recall that Kaiser is a membership organization and not a health
insurance company, per se) This continued Kaiser membership is based on
the eligibility clauses that are part of all the past UC and present
"Service Area eligibility requirements
The Subscriber must live or work in our Service Area at
the time he or she enrolls. The "Definitions" section
describes our Service Area and how it may change. You
cannot enroll or continue enrollment as a Subscriber or
Dependent if you live in or move to a Region outside
California except as described below. If you move
anywhere else outside our Service Area after enrollment,
you can continue your membership as long as you meet
all other eligibility requirements. However, you must
receive covered Services from Plan Providers inside our
Service Area, except as described in the following
After 2 months of frantic phoning (Hewitt canceled our Kaiser membership
as of June 26), I am today told that the LLNS group "contract" does not
allow out-of-service-area membership. The decision is apparently made
only on zipcode and no other lack of "eligibility" has been stated. The
LLNL on-site health benefit co-ordinator also supports this strange
interpretation of EOC language. I have not (YET) been allowed to see
this so-called REAL group contract, and no one can explain to me how or
why we have received yearly EOC documents that have not (apparently)
truthfully reflected this hidden contract, despite what the first text
in the LLNS Kaiser EOC states:
This Evidence of Coverage (EOC) describes the health
care coverage of "Kaiser Permanente Traditional Plan"
(which is not a federally qualified health benefit plan)
provided under the Group Agreement (Agreement)
between Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (Health
Plan) and your Group. For benefits provided under any
other Health Plan program, refer to that plan's evidence
of coverage. "
I will, of course, be obtaining legal assistance and challenging this
decision, because I have found Kaiser to be the only non-profit health
care system (other than the VA) that actually operates moderately
successfully in this country. However, all LLNS employees and
unfortunate UC-LLNL retirees should be aware that LLNS management does
not adhere to the health care coverage that is plainly described in the
published EOC, at least for this provider. What other clauses are
similarly "not relevant"??? I recommend that we all obtain the _TRUE_
group coverage contracts for the health plans, since leaving the plans'
interpretations solely in the hands of for-profit management is likely
to result in arbitrary and unchallangeable "decisions" that cost us
money, health, and potentially, life!
We need some CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN. Can we find a 47 year old technically strong leader who can restructure our lab to support the scientific and technical staff in redefining our mission?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Do you agree the cuts went too deep?
Have you seen the job postings? Twenty postings in the S&T area... Computer Scientists, Environmental Analyst, Program Leaders, Physicists. Heh! Weren't those positions targeted during the May layoff? What's the word on the street in your hallways?
Monday, August 25, 2008
I ran across this in the May 15, 2008 minutes (www.ucop.edu) of the UC Regent's Committee on Oversight of the DOE Labs... it's the last sentence that should give us all pause....
"Mr. Darling (UC Executive Vice President) reported that the Livermore laboratory is facing a $280 million funding shortfall this fiscal year resulting from a variety of components. These include a $50 million increase in inflationary costs, a $100 million reduction in federal funding due to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget reductions for Livermore, and items associated with the awarding of the new contract, the first of which is $86 million in increases mainly for retirement and health benefits compared to the costs the laboratory would have absorbed if it had remained part of the University. The second is $44 million in increased management fees and expenses that DOE agreed to provide to the winning contractor. To accommodate the shortfall, the laboratory is reducing both its operational and labor costs, but as the majority of its budget is related to its employees, the laboratory is being compelled to reduce its workforce by 2,000 employees over a two-year period."
Saturday, August 23, 2008
It calls a spade, a spade!
First, management needs to understand how past WFO projects outside the weapons area have started -- a scientist or group of scientists had an idea and convinced their division leader to support it. They then developed it and found sponsors. A main motivator was that they would be rewarded by their division leader with higher pay, responsibility, and prestige in their division.
The current situation is completely counter to the the process that has worked in the past.
We now have middle managers whose primary responsibility is to bring new money in the door. This means that any efforts or initiative to do so by "lower-level" scientists/engineers are not rewarded. Indeed, the credit is usually stolen by the middle managers and they will take away control of any funding. The scientist's division no longer sees any of the money -- so they can care less. Scientists who rely on these middle managers for ranking get low grades (or else they would have to admit who actually brought in the money). The problem is now exasperated by the fact that the middle managers now often sit in different organizations than the scientist. As alluded before, this means that the division has less incentive for the scientist to bring in new money.
The increasing trend towards pure "matrixization" at the Lab that has occurred over the years is leading to less and less financial control in the hands of line-level divisions. They no longer have the flexibility to deal with their local needs (employee development, bringing new funding) because they rely or compete with organizations that they support for "overhead" funds. These latter organizations, by the way, have their own people as their highest priority.
An unintended, but serious consequence, is that scientists who bring in projects in subject areas, whose funding stays inside his organization, will get rewarded more highly than those who bring-in money in subject areas where funding control is under the support organization.
It only makes sense that WFO opportunities require subject matter expertise at the division level where management directly works with scientists. This has worked before. Now the Lab has created a broken system that disincentivizes workers and prevents divisions from bringing-in new work.
A personal experience -- the division, in which I belong, used to be a world leader in its scientific area until it was arbitrarily declared to be a matrix organization and it's own programs were given to another organization. Now the division is literally disappearing and leadership is lost. Employees in this division are scrouging around for work here and their. A colleague brought in several millions of dollars in a new subject area but his efforts were ignored and complete project management was taken away. His annual ranking was mediocre. Another colleague has a new idea and works to find several gov't sponsors. When word gets around, he is promptly contacted by a middle manager in another organization who is eager to "manage" his project.
If the above fundamental problems are not fixed, obviously, the Lab won't last very long.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
If they don't do that, then, all we hear must be true.
ULM or the ones that read this BLOG for them, speak out!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
You livermites are the worse example of unity I've ever seen. Your blog or should I say lack of participation tells DOE, NNSA & LLNS all they need to know. They can do what they want, any time they wish, and all you'll do is bend over and take it. Even in a time when you're wages are 20% behind inflation you refuse to ask where's your 20%, while ULM get huge pay raises, bonus checks and build their nest eggs at your expense. It seems the Livermites' lack of action, involvement and complacency is a prime example of what has ruined this country and turned the mass majority into corporate America's lackey's. You get what you allow. Enjoy you dilemma..
Is he right?
Friday, August 8, 2008
Immediately during and after all LLNS pep talks LLNL employees should be asking themselves the following question: Will I now or at any time in the future believe the rhetoric presented by anyone in LLNS management especially, when you are told once again that,
"I don't foresee any future lay-offs . . ."
If you take the time to review the LLNL to LLNS transition questions and answers (over 1000) it will become readily apparent that LLNS has reneged on almost every answer that was provided. The VSSOP and ISP processes were also fraught with numerous inconsistencies, potential inequities and half-truths. Did George's speech really give you a warm fuzzy . . . remember the "We are Family!" spiel - some of those faithful are now pounding the street and trying to find employment during extremely difficult economic times.
Does anyone really believe that all is well in Lab-Land after today's carefully orchestrated speech, audio/visual extravaganza, the squelching of rumors and the job security massage ('er I mean message)? Did you hear anything about pay raises versus the inflation rate? Looking into the crystal ball I suggest that the following is a distinct possibility: that halfway through FY-2009 (or earlier if the fog of budget battles clears) and, certainly after election day, the country wakes up to find itself in the hands of a Democratic Party controlled House of Representatives, Senate and a new President at which time someone in LLNS will state that a budget "miscalculation" has invoked the need to reduced staff to make up for the "unforeseen and disappointing" budget shortfall. Sound familiar?! Since approximately 40 employees a month have been electing to leave LLNL employment for greener pastures, better benefits, pay raises and stable employment it is possible that a potential RIF may not be necessary; however, should the pace slow then another VSSOP and/or ISP may be closer than you care to think.
Hopefully LLNL employees will no longer take these talks at face value and that they will continue to search for improved employment opportunities while, as in today's talk, they hum to themselves a "Silence is Golden" refrain. Good Luck and God Speed to those who use their minds and hard-earned trenching tools to actually make the great escape!
Miller talk. Crocodile tears about injury at Rochester, soon followed by the proclamation about NIF being free of safety incidents (but wasn't the ladder incident in NIF?). Odd comment that he had "broken" (I think that was the word he used) S. Houghton who is resigning. Funky music with images of "achievements" by LLNL. Would not confirm rumor that world wide web access is being cut off. Berated employees who have tossed their "we value" cards. Zero questions for him from the audience. Did I miss any high points from this inspiring presentation?
Saturday, August 2, 2008
There are opportunities at the Lab but the motivation on the part of management to fill them is not there!
Things will change but in another couple of years. Certainly not 08 or 09.
The indicators are:
1) How many posting are there in the jobs.llnl.gov site and what are they for? There should be more postings but many managers are too paralyzed to make a move and post.
2) I have looked for opportunities within the lab for 2 years now.
First, before the transition, it looked like the hiring managers had an incredible preference for outside applicants(may be outside applicants tend to be younger?)
Second, my own management was hell bent on not letting me get "matrixed".
That is not likely to change without a culture change!
3)After the transition, all managers seem to be paralyzed, waiting for the next directive.
No one wants to make a move.
Will LLNS look at the lack of career development for its employees?
It seems that that is not even on the list to do now.
I have the impression that LLNS is encouraging people indirectly to leave so they can replace them with new cheaper, qualified or not, workforce.
Someone from "key personel" can correct it on that!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
One topic that would be of great interest, as well as therapeutic, would be for all people who have left LLNL voluntarily and involuntarily since LLNS, to tell their story (in a 100-200 words)and leaving out info that could identify who they are.
I'll volunteer mine as a starter:
A 200 series employee
Over 50 years old
Over 20 years service
LLNL only employer
Held many different positions including supervision and management
Managed multi-million $ projects
Always had above average reviews
Gave my all to LLNL as a dedicated employee. Loyalty used to be a value
Reason left: ISP
Why involuntary separated: My speculation, as no one has told me that my SKA's weren't adequate for the future LLNS, is wrong place at wrong time in wrong 'work unit'
Feeling about it all: I've grieved it and am now looking for a company that has hired the best and brightest into management!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
A commenter recently said:
"I would read this blog more often if there wasn't so much negativism here."
Nobody can prevent negativism. As a BLOG screener, I must accept all sort of opinions, negative, positive, sort of positive etc...
If I accepted only positive opinions and feedback, there would only be a handful of posts here.
That is why I count on you, positive, truthful people to tip the balance to the positive side. I hope you will take the challenge!
Can you see the sun behind the clouds?
Monday, July 21, 2008
I am assuming that many of the virulent comments from muslim-haters come from non-LLNL people. In that case, I look at such commenters as ignorant people that are still scared by the Bush propaganda.
These are the same people that despite the bad shape they are in economically still worship Bush. They really believe (honestly) that if Bush was not the president, we will have the terrorists roaming our airports!
In the event some of these anti-muslim comments are from LLNL employees, I have a message for them:
US citizenship, the right to life and the pursuit of happiness (and the right to have a Q clearance)are not the monopoly of any given race or religion.
As Anna Julian Cooper put it:
"The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class, it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity."
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