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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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A very rapid transition for the lab

Uploaded: Oct 31, 2013

The surprise of the week, if not the month, was the
abrupt resignation of Parney Albright as director of Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory and president of the corporation that
operates the lab.

Albright leaves today, just a week after he broke the news of his departure to lab
employees. He has served less than two years in the top role, taking
over in December of 2011 when George Miller retired.

Miller led the lab through the transition from an institution managed by the
University of California (as it had been for more than 50 years) to an
organization managed by a for-profit corporation with several partners
including the university and Bechtel Corp.

Albright was the first of the Livermore directors in decades who was
not home-grown with deep career ties to the lab. He came moved to
Livermore in 2009 to head the Global Security Organization. Prior
assignments in Washington D.C. included assistant secretary in the
Homeland Security Dept. and 15 years in key roles with the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency.

He has not commented on why he stepped down so quickly—normally
leadership transitions have been planned for months if not more than a

A Google search shows precious little explanation or speculation
of the leadership change. That's a commentary—a sad one—on the state
of the so-called main stream media in this country. Albright led one
of two—the only two—national labs involved in nuclear weapons design as
well as the only one with the very expensive National Ignition Project
(the giant laser that, thus far, has failed to achieve its goal of
nuclear fusion).

In my days in daily newspapering, my newspaper and its
competition both had full-time reporters assigned to the lab. Today,
it is less than an after-thought despite being the valley's largest single employer.

Starting Friday, Bret Knapp will take over as interim director, moving
back to Livermore from its sister lab at Los Alamos, New Mexico. Knapp
worked in a variety of roles at Lawrence Livermore for 26 years before
moving to New Mexico to join the senior management team as principal
associate director for weapons.

Knapp will be the rare non-physicist to lead the organization—his bachelors and masters degrees are from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in mechanical engineering.

Knapp will serve as interim director while the board launches and conducts a national search for the new director.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Jimmy Olson, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 31, 2013 at 10:10 am

Hmmpht. Can you beat that? A Google search reveals nothing about this very important and very mysterious event in the now privatized lab. Hmmmpht. What to do? What to do? What's our intrepid newspaper man to do? How about making a phone call or two? Maybe interview someone? Nah, toooooo much effort involved in that. And then there's the matter of a AM tee time on the links.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Follow the money.

Posted by Lab Rat, a resident of another community,
on Oct 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Any idea the real reason Parney is leaving? And on such short notice.

Posted by Cubbrey Porter, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm

@Jimmy: I know, right?! Like when I called the White House, to ask about all that snooping business. They put me right through, and I said "Hey Prez, what about all this snooping biz?" And he replied, "Well, hiya Cubbrey -- I've been waiting for you to call. Please tell everybody hi and we don't spy on them -- BTW, you might wanna try to limit your porn sites, 'mkay?"

So, Tim -- take a lesson and just call 'em. They'll put you right through and give you the real skinny. From the third tee, even. Just do it!

Posted by Jimmy Olson, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Naw, Cubbrey, like, you know, really calling anyone affiliated with the lab? That'd be waaaaaay too much work. It would be like ... reporting. Hey Cub, maybe you'll do well using Tim as a model. Don't research your piece, don't interview anyone, don't bother to edit your work, don't read or respond to comments by your readers. There's probably an upper-level future for you with the PW.

Posted by Cubbrey Porter, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 31, 2013 at 3:27 pm

My J101 prof told me that blogs are for opinions, not necessarily for da nooz.

So, Mr. Tim NEVER responds to the friendly comments this blog incites? Hard to believe -- my Ma told me nobody can have too many friends.

Posted by Jimmy Olson, a resident of Livermore,
on Oct 31, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Certainly wouldn't want to hold bloggers to too high of a standard, Cubbrey. You know, like stating an opinion but not extending any effort to validate or invalidate because, like, you know, I'm a blogger and it's my personal opinion, and since I'm too gutless to read and respond to any feedback, I'll just toss any old unexamined/undefended claim out there because, hey, who cares? Like, I don't. It's not as if any of us seek to uphold any kind of standard here. Truth? Who knows? Anyone's opinion is as good as any other's. I say the world is round, you say it's flat. There ya go! See? How could we possibly find out whose opinion is better?

(Re. you J101 course.... Maybe you want to ask for your money back?}

Posted by Bryan Moran, a resident of Pleasanton Heights,
on Nov 4, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Dear Jimmy and Cubbrey.
Your comments are on the style and writings of the blogger, Tim Hunt, but the story is about the resignation of the lab director. You haven\'t said a thing about that. Please take yourself seriously, what you write is important. As you are taking time to comment go ahead and make about something that is real.

Posted by Jimmy Olson, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 4, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Wake up, Bryan. Without any supportive evidence -- you know, an interview or well-placed phone call -- there is no story. Only rumor and innuendo perched atop real laziness.

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