News

GOP plan would trigger major layoffs at SLAC

Eshoo, fellow Democrats, warn of dire consequences of Republican proposal

The prospect of major layoffs at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and other federally funded institutions was raised Thursday by California Democrats in response to a budget-slashing Republican proposal under discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, and Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, were among eight members of Congress participating in a conference call with reporters to decry "a whole lot of craziness" in a GOP-proposed continuing resolution that would spark immediate cuts to federal programs.

Admitting the proposal would never clear the Democrat-controlled Senate or the desk of President Barack Obama, the lawmakers nonetheless said they wanted constituents to know about a "volatile situation" in Congress sparked by "a substantial number of new members who have fire in their eyes."

An 18 percent cut to SLAC's funder, the Department of Energy's Science Office, is one element of the proposal.

The plan also contains a 29 percent cut for the Environmental Protection Agency, cuts to the Pell Grant program for college students, major cuts to community health clinics serving low-income people, and complete elimination of funding for federal family planning grants and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Democrats said.

A "shut-down of most (SLAC) operating facilities" would be the result of an 18 percent cut, according to a document supplied by the California Democrats.

"Depending upon the out year budgets, we would either lay off starting June 1 (allowing for required 60-day notification period) or furlough without pay starting April 1, approximately 750 to 1,000 staff at the laboratory," the document said.

"This would leave approximately 750 to 500 staff still on payroll to manage the site in 'warm standby mode,' an insufficient number to operate the major facilities."

SLAC Director of Communications Farnaz Khadem said the proposed 18 percent cut effectively would be a 36 percent budget cut to SLAC since it would come at mid-year after six months of spending at the regular level.

"We want to continue to talk to lawmakers and make sure they understand both the negative impact of these kinds of cuts on communities and on the national labs and the kinds of jobs we're talking about," Khadem said.

"We also want to make sure they understand the positive impact the research that goes on at these labs has, and the effect on American competitiveness if these labs were to close down for some period of time."

In a letter supplied by Eshoo's office, Stanford University Dean of Research Ann Arvin joined deans of other California research institutions in urging Congress to "preserve important funding for education and research."

Noting that California institutions receive 10 percent -- or more than $3.15 billion -- of all funding from the National Institutes of Health as well as more than $1 billion a year from the National Science Foundation, the deans said major cuts to those agencies would threaten research that drives "cutting-edge discoveries that power our innovation economy.

"Large scale cuts to our science infrastructure will set us far back at a time when competing economies are employing the American model and increasing investment," the deans' letter stated.

Arvin co-signed the letter with research deans from the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the University of Southern California.

"We know hard decisions have to be made to reduce our debt and deficit," Eshoo said.

"But cuts today shouldn't impair our competitiveness tomorrow.

"This resolution sacrifices critical investments in order to hit an arbitrary number. It will cost thousands of jobs, and it will gut research and development programs at a time when other nations are investing heavily and rapidly."

Comments

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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 10:24 am

This is not the first time in recent memory that SLAC has had its budget cut--

SLAC is facing budget cuts, layoffs (2008):
Web Link

SLAC 2007-08 All-Hands Budget Presentation:
Web Link

None of the articles about this possible budget cut, or the one in 200-7/08 seem to actually provide the taxpers/readers the total size of the SLAC budgets (operating and capital). The media never seems to think in terms of "the big picture" .. they just seem to write whatever they are told.

Also missing from this discussion is the value of the SLAC projects in the grand schemes of things. It's not hard to find any number of scientists waxing euphoric over the "great work" that goes on in government-sponsored Megascience/Megalabs. But how has this science actually bettered our lives?

The SLAC people have done very little to explain to the US people what they do with our money. Ultimately, there is only so much "high energy physics" that the taxpayer can afford to fund. So .. where is the money going, explained in terms of new products, or medical advances?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

What SLAC has done is very publicly refuse any Defense Department work.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:39 am

Have you looked at the SLAC website (slac.stanford.edu) to find out what they are doing? They frequently have public lectures. They no longer do high-energy physics, but they still do excellent research. This is fundamental science which lays the groundwork for bettering our lives, perhaps decades later. It is a shame that our politicians have such a poor understanding of science. Those short-term thinkers who ask for immediate gratification from every project will kill the future of this country more certainly than any terrorist could hope to do.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OLDGUY
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

"But how has this science actually bettered our lives?"


Do you live in a cave? How about the internet?? Velcro?? Lasers?? GPS?? Lithium Batteries?? Even the semiconductor. And these are but the tip of the iceberg.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Donald, you hit the nail on the head. These right-wing fanatics will surely be the demise of this country if we don't get rid of them soon. Of course, most of them sprang forth from the income disparity in this country, and they associate intellectuals and Silicon Valley with much of that disparity, as much so as Washington and Wall Street. So we shouldn't be looking be looking for much sympathy from their ranks. It just keeps getting crazier and crazier. People with resources are going to have to step up to the plate and help bring this country back on track. Otherwise, it will be left up to these short-term ideologues, and they will have a field-day. All these uprisings around the world should not be ignored by anyone.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by former slacker
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I worked at SLAC for many years. I am not a physicist. There are so many dedicated scientists working there, including support staff who may face layoffs. That is distressing. However, I never quite understood why our country could not combine the efforts of all of the major DOE funded laboratories into one or two major laboratories who could do the work that so many labs are doing. I think that although the science is very important to the present and future, the DOE could save money combining the efforts of the best minds and still remain competitive. Even within our own country, the labs are competitive.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Save California
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

The basic research work done by SLAC can be done elsewhere, like Texas. We need to take back that land and turn it into an environmental preserve. Tear down that ugly scar, and allow it to return to nature. Imagine a beautiful pasture, where herds of deer are allowed to roam free. California needs to respect our environment. My husband and I have been environmentalists for decades, and we hate to see California reduced to a paved-over landscape.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Slightly off topic - but part of the problem. We are spending way more money than we take in. That's the bottom line.

It's going to take cuts and revenue increases. To increases taxes to cover the revenue shortfall, without any budget cuts is a ridiculous proposition. It's going to take both sides to fix this. We cannot keep kicking the can down the road - we are at the end of the road.

We can blame W., the wars (mostly W, but Obama isn't helping), Wall Street, etc. But at this point it doesn't matter - we are out of room and we cannot keep borrowing against the future (or from the Chinese for that matter).

I'd be more than happy to return to Clinton Era tax levels. But I'd like to see the budget expenditures to come in line with that as well.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tea Party
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

The Tea Party does not care about the unemployment rate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm

The GOP spends like drunken sailors (actually, no offense to sailors!) when they are in power, yet when out of power they appropriate some odd facade of "fiscal responsibility."

When in power, they are the second Santa Claus, giving away money, that's why Reagan tripled the national debt, and GW Bush doubled it. The GOP leaves the mess for the opposition party to clean up. Clinton did it, taking deficit to surplus, and President Obama is trying, inheriting the worst economy since the First Republican Great Depression.

Geez, Bush inherited a SURPLUS, then Cheney said "Reagan taught us deficits don't matter" then doubled our national debt AND left us a mess!!! Lord, give me a FIVE trillion dollar (Bush's debt) credit card like that and I'll build ya a great economy! Five Trillion. Wow. Took a $100+ billion Clinton SURPLUS and left with a trillion dollar deficit his last year. And a recession. Coupled with anemic job growth compared to Clinton.

Is that the presidential economic hat trick? Sadly, yes.

When out of power, they attempt to assuage the (albeit small) real fiscal conservative segment of their base by trying to shut down government. Boehner will do so in March.

Jude Wanniski was the originator of the two santa claus idea, in the 70's, it goes hand in hand with the laffer curve, supply side and other discredited GOP practices that have bankrupted our great country.

It's all designed to fulfill the "starve the beast" approach: first bankrupt America, then shrink government to nothing, except supporting donors. The GOP found it does not have either public support, nor the internal moral fiber, to shrink government when they are in power (see Reagan, Bush the First and Bush the Lessor - they couldn't, and didn't do it.)

They don't care about American workers. John Boener has said so this week, and hasn't done a thing about jobs, like he said he would. They don't care about American families, except the top couple dozen for whom they want to, and have, given billions in tax breaks. The GOP only cares about corporations and their profits, and the piddling small part of those profits that corporations funnel back to buy and elect the GOP.

Science? The only science the GOP cares about is whatever public research that can be funneled cheaply to the private sector.

Privatize profits, socialize losses.

SLAC, arguably being part of the great American infrastructure, is screwed, like the rest of the infrastructure that gave America such a great run in the second half of last century.

There cannot be two santa claus'. We need a party of fiscal responsibility.

And it ain't the GOP.

Good luck, SLAC.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Aside from real estate costs, running a lab like SLAC in Texas is unlikely to save money. Of course it would cost a fortune and several years to move it, but the real issue is the lack of surrounding support. SLAC sits in a community where there are manufacturers of electronics, lasers, vacuum equipment, machine shops, welders, dip brazers, etc. who are qualified to do anything that SLAC can't do in-house. SLAC can attract highly-qualified personnel because they are already in the area. In Texas you would need to build that whole culture and industrial support base before you could do anything efficiently.

I have gotten budget cut alerts from various directions this week: science, NPR, transportation, etc. The politicians aren't willing to cut the large programs that make up 88% of our budget and they will need to cut everything else practically to zero to have any effect on the deficit. This means wiping out many good programs which keep our society functioning and moving into the future. This is cowardly and counterproductive.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Donald, you haven't seen College Station and the other research centers around Texas. They can match anything we have here any day of the week.


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

And all of these items were invented at Stanford Linear Accelerator?

> How about the internet?? Velcro?? Lasers?? GPS??
> Lithium Batteries?? Even the semiconductor.

Don't think so. SLAC was founded about 1962l whereas, semiconductors were under investigation by TI and Fairchild a few years before that.

And velcro? Was that one of NASAs great claims to fame?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

This is what happens when you give crazies power. Ask the Germans what happened to them after voting crazies into power in 1929. For those who don't realize how loony the situation is:US forces are chasing Taliban all over the Afghan wilderness while we have our local, US made Taliban running wild, far more dangerous and deadly, except here it's called GOP/Tea Party.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Save California
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm

My husband and I have never voted for the republicans. We are life long Democrats. However, if the republicans can succeed in shutting down this horrible scar in our lands, then we shall give them credit. We Democrats used to be the ones that protected our environment, but now we seem to be supporting the despoilment of our state.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm

> elected crazies ..

The crazies were elected in 2008. The following short clip reveals the truth of the Obama Administration ..

Geithner Admits: Obligations in President's Budget "Unsustainable"
Web Link

The President's budget is $3.7T. During the Bush years it got to be about $2.3T, which seemed really out-of-line. So .. as for the GOP spending like Sailors .. seems that Obama and the Dems get that credit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

A pox on both their parties. The pets of parties differ, but in the end they "compromise" and everybody gets a little.
Let them defund the EPA, the Dept of Education, and the Dept of Energy for a start.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Al W
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Seems unlikely that Present Obama would move $ from Democrat friendly CA to TX.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Bush 2009 budget 3.1 trillion NOT 2.3 as you "claim" Web Link 2008 was something like $2.9T, not 2.3

2.3 instead of 3.1? Wow. *SO* close. Missed it by *this* much!

Someones looking for a lump of coal, alright.

Care to re-think your drunken sailor comment in light of fact?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm

> Care to re-think your drunken sailor comment in ]
> light of fact?

3.7 is larger than 3.1.

There's the President's budget, and then the House Budget (with concurrence of the Senate), that is then presented to the President. Congress is under no obligation to pay attention to the President's budget.

The $3.7T number is Obama's budget. Clearly larger than anything Bush proposed. During the time of the highest budgets during the Bush years, the Dems were in control of the House and Senate .. and they weren't listening to Bush much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yawn
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm

yawn....basic math..we can't spend more than we have. We can't spend more than our kids can make. We can't spend more than our grandkids can make.

Have to cut.

Period.

Anyone who wants to invest in SLAC with their own money is free to do so..stop taking it from us. They have nothing to do with our security at all.

Ok, let the screaming and riots and name calling begin. I know, I know, people like me want granny to die in the street after starving to death because she can't afford dog food, we want to shut all the schools and send kids barefoot into the street, we want shut down all health care, we want to shut down all science, we want to turn us into an anarchy... yawn...

We want the government to stop stealing from the producers of today and tomorrow, to stop borrowing from China, to stop devaluing our money through massive printing, to fund their favorites toys and friends, the "winners", be they SLAC or Unions, Auto companies or Planned Parenthood abortions, countries around the world, ...

etc etc.

But, feel free to start the civil discourse whenever you wish.OH..I see you already have.

In the meantime, your children will thank us for not stealing from them for our own pet projects.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

"in light of" was a reference to his FABRICATION of Bush at 2.3 when he was at 3.1, gimme a break!

Only missed that by $800 million.

Yes. 3.7 is obviously larger. Duh. Can't put that by you.

But blaming Democrats for Bush's drunken sailor spending? For taking Clinton surplus to deficit? For Cheney's "Reagan taught us deficits don't matter"?

Even Newt doesn't try that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm

> But blaming Democrats for Bush's drunken sailor spending

Congress sets the spending. That's basic Constitutional law. To suggest otherwise demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Federal finances.

Bush's drug entitlement was clearly over the line, and no doubt a political sop to elders for their votes. The doubling of the military budget was a response to 9/11.

Spending during the Obama years will result in nothing by massive debt. There's virtually nothing that we will have to show for that money by the time of the next election.

But the real test is whether the (R)s will be able to gut this Obama pig of a budget, and trim back the $3.7T to $2.5T, or so.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Federal Budget (2011):
Web Link

The link above is to a NYT interactive web page that provides details about the budget. Put the cursor in each of the larger blocks, and smaller blocks will appear that provides interior details as to how funds in the larger blocks are actually spent.

When Bush took office, the Defense budget was about half what it is now. The rest of the budget is almost on auto-pilot, with Social Security and Medicaid carving off about 55% of the budget. The interest on the debt is becoming pretty large too.

So .. anyone who believes that Bush spent like a sailor might point out the budget category, and the amounts, that make you think so.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SLAC_Nobel
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

What institution was affiliated with the 1976, 1990, and 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry? If I am not mistaken, wasn't this institution SLAC? I am proud to live in a community that hosts a groundbreaking institution that hosts this amazing track record. In addition SLAC is the first and so far the only facility in the U.S. or internationally that had built and operates a free-electron x-ray laser (The Linear Coherent Light Source). Last week a groundbreaking article was published in the prominent scientific journal nature describing the first x-ray snapshots from this laser of the molecular machine associated with sunlight capture in plants. Understanding this process just might hold the key to new energy technology and our energy future..Why can't some of our lawmakers in Washington try to understand this..
Germany, China, India, Japan, France, Switzerland, Taiwan, Israel, and the U.K. have been moving ahead in similar research areas as those being performed at SLAC and other U.S. National Laboratories..It would be a pity for our nation if the House GOP proposal. Our scientific competitiveness would indeed suffer.
Thank You.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Medicare part D: "and no doubt a political sop to elders for their votes." Nope, it was to Big Pharma. That's why the law prohibits the government from negotiating bulk pricing in that very law. Unlike every other country on earth.

"That's basic Constitutional law. To suggest otherwise demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Federal finances." Dang it! I forgot all those vetos that Bush signed. As part of basic Constitutional law.

"The doubling of the military budget was a response to 9/11. " Are you saying Iraq was in response to 9/11?

Iraq, Medicare part D, cap gains tax cuts, top bracket tax cuts - yup, that's about it. Smaller stuff like NCLB, etc..

That's how he doubled the national debt.

"Reagan taught us deficits don't matter."

Gut it to $2.5T? No way. Only if they shut it down. Ask Newt about that. And Boehner knows Newt, and he's no Newt.

Go find that interactive budget allocator at NYTIMES.COM that's been floating around for a year. Can't be done w/o slashing DOD.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SLAC Fan
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Arguments about the budget aside, the people arguing against SLAC should realize that these cuts target about 1% of the budget short-fall, and target research which has been proven many times over to lead to creation of jobs and revenue, and to maintain America's technological superiority to the rest of the world.

Before mindlessly attacking SLAC, realize:

1) The proposed cuts will do absolutely nothing to solve the budget short-fall.

2) Will cripple basic research and ultimately make America weaker compared to the rest of the world.

Finally, the suggestion to move it to Texas is ludicrous. And you call it a "scar"? You do realize that removing SLAC would still leave an empty field filled with empty buildings, firmly belonging to Stanford University, next to Sand Hill Rd, right? Seriously...channel your environmental energy onto something that makes sense...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by not a SLACer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Isn't it the STANFORD linear accelerator center? Can't Stanford pay for it? They're one of the richest universities.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:37 pm

The suggestion to move it to Texas on environmental grounds implies that there is nothing of environmental worth there, a rather parochial view.

It is no longer the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. It is the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, a Department of Energy Lab that is operated by Stanford (for now). They will soon go out for bids on management, and Stanford will have to compete with other bidders for the contract..


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Local SLACer
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I looked up numbers about SLAC because none of the media articles seem to mention them - see first comment on this article. SLAC staff is about 1500 (layoff or furlough 750-1000 staff leaving 750-500 still on payroll - from this article). A quick glance on the DOE website's "About" page found FY2012 budget request by laboratory document. Web Link
In that doc it says SLAC's FY2010 appropriation was 300M$ with a request of 325M$ for FY2012. With the fiscal year half gone, SLAC has likely spent 150M$. 18% cut would make FY2011 budget 254M$ leaving 100M$ to spend for the rest of the fiscal year. Because layoffs require 60 days notice, they'll have to layoff at least 700 staff (45%) June 1st to meet the budget number.

SLAC's budget is about 1% of the DOE total budget (28B$), which is 0.7% of a 3.7T$ national budget. Cutting the DOE budget by 18% is a 5B$ savings.

Almost 2/3rds of SLAC's budget is spent on Basic Energy Sciences - which is mostly biology and environmental research - think medicine, disease, environmental cleanup. 1/3rd is for more obscure, difficult to justify high energy physics research.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Some of these comments are pretty funny.

Shut down SLAC and heal the scar on the land ... I think is hilarious. First this is not the kind of tool one wants to get rid of I think. If it was torn down, the land would just be used for housing or something else, look at the area west of El Camino in Palo Alto and how it being developed. I there healing the scar is a fairly lost cause at this point. Take a look with Google Maps into the Palo Alto Hills and all the development scars that we have there. The mountain lions seem to be wandering around wanting to check into motels there is so little room for them in the hills anymore.

I'd love to get rid of the airport, there is not much point to it, and that land would be useful for recreational use for the people who live here ... but SLAC?

The idea that SLAC had anything to do with lasers, velcro, computers. Lots of this was not even NASA but the military.

I have to say I'm against giving Texas anything until they return all the money they stole from us in the electricity crisis around 2000, they ripped us off.

but the thing that makes the most sense is that as we keep firing and laying off people they have less money to spend and that means less businesses and more layoffs and so on ... we are going to flush ourselves right down the toilet with this kind of thinking and actually with a debt that exceeds out GDP we probably already have.

I wonder if the next 20 years Russians will be lionizing Putin for the collapse of the American Empire as much as we hail Ronald Reagan.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 19, 2011 at 12:02 am

Seriously ... I'd rather sell Texas to the Chinese!
We could give them a discount if the take George W. Bush with the deal.
Sorry, all this silliness just makes me want to join in! ;-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Truth to Power
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 19, 2011 at 12:30 am

The really sad thing is that at this point the GOP wants the jobs to go away. They know these cuts don't make sense and will hurt the economy: they just don't care. Boehner said it himself today that if cuts cause the loss of jobs, so be it. They are so desperate to take back the white house that they will run this country into the ground for two years to make things as awful as possible so they can convince the voters to do it. Sad thing is, it might work.

These so-called patriots make me sick.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yawn
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 19, 2011 at 6:38 am

Yawn...yes, oh yes. Every time Repubs control the House, we have job growth, and every time Dems control the house, we have job shrinkage.

Keep drinking the drug-laced koolaide so you can live in the fantasy world that believes Repubs want "jobs to go away".

Again, we want private sector jobs, not central controlled economy whereby a bureacrat takes from the producers, keeps his cut for his salary, then distributes to political friends.

Never forget Obama telling Univision that "we reward our friends, and punish our enemies". The wedding of greedy politicians, politicians greedy for power and money, to businesses is appalling and disgusting.

Time to stop it.

As for SLAC. Don't know enough about it, and certainly wish no harm on anyone, but if a family can't afford the a second car, it can't afford a second car. Our USA family is broke and living on debt.

It has to stop. We have to cut spending. Better the SLACS etc than the disabled who CAN'T work, the police, the firefighters etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 19, 2011 at 6:45 am

By the Republican's Logic, The Ministry of Magic must be doing the budgeting. They think that damage to the economy is arbitrary to where the budget ends up, so they're willing to recklessly cut to the point where America may lose a million jobs and go into a permanent recession so Right-leaning voters can feel good about GOP budget credentials. They also think that it won't matter than there's not enough budget left, once they've excluded the sacred cows of the budget process. They won't cut Medicare, won't cut the Military, and won't get rid of their Tax Cut.

Once you've decided not to cut the mandatory spending, any claim on major budget cuts go away, and its essentially just for show.

They talked big coming in, but they're simply exploiting the mood of their voters, trying to impress them that they're not liberals. State Governors are getting in the act, refusing rail projects and other capital improvements in an effort to look frugal, and engineering failures of fiscal responsibility so they can get to work slashing otherwise popular policies they don't like.

You want the reality of where Republicans are going? Look at Texas Governor Rick Perry. Draconian cuts to basic services in states that are already approaching or are dead last in the nation on helping their people. He claimed he was riding high, an economic and fiscal miracle. Now he's got a worse budget crisis to deal with than California, which he was laughing at.

Foggy-headed fiscal thinking is what got us into this, ignoring the fiscal and economic realities of this country for the sake of being doubly generous to the American people, providing programs and benefits without charging the taxes necessary to pay for them. They wiped out a surplus in good times, and now we have to suffer through the bad times with less ability to leverage ourselves out of it, without costing ourselves later down the line.


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Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

"yawn":

Your FALSE statement: "Every time Repubs control the House, we have job growth, and every time Dems control the house, we have job shrinkage."

Prove it, with links, please.

Repubs controlled the house thru 2006, with anemic job growth under Bush.

From the "liberal" WSJ: "Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record"
"...President Bush, once taking account how long he's been in office, shows the worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records." Web Link

And that was with SIX years of Bush/repub controlled house.

That's the facts. Your statement is demonstrably false. If you disagree, please show your work.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

>> Every time Repubs control the House, we have job growth, and every time Dems control the house, we have job shrinkage.

Yawn, you better slap yourself and wake up, you have it backwards.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm

> " Are you saying Iraq was in response to 9/11?

Yes. If 9/11 had not occurred, the US would not have invaded Afghanistan or Iraq.

> Can't be done w/o slashing DOD.

Before 9/11, the DOD budget was about $450B. It would be nice to reduce this back to that level. Any less than that amount needs some discussion, however.

The so-called "Pax Americana" has seen the US take over vast obligations for world peace/stability. We (the US) spend more on its military than (roughly) 160 of the world's other countries (including China and Russia). This expenditure results in cash being spent in many European countries, Korea and Japan, that results in lower defense expenditures for these countries (many of which have highly-vaunted social services as a result). To reduce the $450B even lower will result in the US's having to transfer the security of Europe and Asia to our "partners", who were the main sources of instability in these regions during WWI and WWII. Given their history, and their resulting dependence on US taking over their defense responsibilities, it would take decades before this transfer could be safety effected.

So, we are left with a real conundrum where our defense budgets are concerned. Security is the primary role of "the State". The slow shift after the "New Deal" era to Government as an agent of "wealth redistribution" has brought us (in large part) to where we are now.

Even if we could reduce the Defense budget to zero, the Obama view of the world is "big government--big spending". It would not be more than a year or two before he pushed his spending plans so that the President's budget would be well over $4T.

> Almost 2/3rds of SLAC's budget is spent on Basic Energy Sciences -
> which is mostly biology and environmental research - think medicine,
> disease, environmental cleanup. 1/3rd is for more obscure, difficult
> to justify high energy physics research.

It's a little hard to see the 2/3rds number on the SLAC web site. The high-energy physics research does stand out, however. Unfortunately, the beneficial effects of this research are not that obvious to people not in that "community".

Would it kill the SLAC people to post the on-going projects on their web site, with the dollar amounts associated with each project, the area that this research is intended to benefit, and some information about the end results of each project? Probably not. But that might be open them up to some embarrassing questions.

The question about how many of these energy research centers we need has not been fully explored. One poster has made the claim that SLAC refuses to do Defense work. Why? And if they are not (presumably as a University, or a group of individuals) willing to support the defense of the country with their intellects--why should the taxpayers be willing to turn over billions to them to do as they see fit?




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Posted by Sigh
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Ok, let's try the basic math one more time--

Closing SLAC will reduce the federal deficit by an amount so small you would not even notice it because of rounding. In fact, if you were to implement all of the proposed reductions in discretionary spending currently in Boehner's wet dreams, you would reduce the deficit by less than 0.01%. That's right, you would have to find 10 000 more cuts every one saving just as much as EVERYTHING proposed right now to actually remove the deficit.

This is not about us spending too much. Yes, we are. It's about choosing to fix the problem in a way that will actually accomplish something. The fact that the currently proposed cuts simply go after "easy" targets (easy here means targets without broad political support, regardless of whether they are useful or not), while failing to actually solve the deficit at all is simply cowardice on the part of the current congress. They want you to think they are acting tough while at the same time they are not cutting anything inconvenient for them. The fact that so many of you don't get that means that they are succeeding at pulling the wool over your eyes.

Look at the numbers in the budget. It is clear that no solution can exist without both cutting some amount of military spending and raising revenue from the citizens some way (taxes or whatever). You want us to live within our means? You want taxes. If you can't get that, it just means you are either deluding yourself or stupid. You can't have it both ways.

Now on to SLAC itself. There are economic reasons not to cut it. Do you know that the world wide web was created by high energy physicists? Do you know that the first web site was (and still is) hosted on a SLAC computer? The world wide web is currently a major source of revenue and jobs in the United States. Are you willing to give all that up just because you don't understand what high energy physics does for you?

If you still feel SLAC should be closed, let me suggest the only non-hypocritical option for you: disconnect from the internet (because without high energy physics, we would not have it), shut off your computer (because without understanding quantum mechanics, we would not be able to build one), and you'll be living the life you are asking for. Let me also point out: you will save roughly $50 / month on internet service. I suggest you invest it wisely.


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Posted by Yawn
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Dear Sigh: Every little amount helps. The 60 Billion cut the GOP just did in Congress is a drop in the bucket of 3.5 trillion...but we have to keep chiseling away.

I do not support any cut in security of our nation, we saw where that led from cutting in the 90s after the "Cold war' threat was "gone". I will not be caught flat-footed again. I am sure there are smarter ways to manage our military...I will be for that if anyone tells me how.

The very vast majority of both our budget and our debt has nothing to do with military, and is everything else. The everything else has to be chiseled away, little by little, before we completely collapse and it is all gone.

We have to make choices. There will always be someone affected.

Oh well. So be it.

Let the gnashing of teeth begin.


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Posted by Sigh
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm

The 60 Billion is not passed yet. Don't count your chickens.

Every little bit may help, but the fact remains that if you want to balance the budget, you need to change the way money is spent on the military and raise taxes. I am all for continuing to defend our nation, but you yourself said that there are probably smarter ways to manage the military. So lets find them along with cutting what makes sense to cut and raising taxes.

None of this changes the fact that cutting places like SLAC is throwing away our future. Like I said, if you want to not be a hypocrite and live in that world, turn off your computer and stop using the world wide web. It's as simple as that.


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Posted by Save California
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm

SLAC should never have been built in the first place. It is a horrible scar on our landscape. Both my husand and I completely opposed the Reagan library in the foothills, but not just because he was a republican fool. We wanted to preserve our beautiful foothills. However, there are now many Democrats who want to keep this horrible SLAC.

What has happened to us? Send this thing to Texas, and return our lands to the deer.


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Posted by Save California...from idiots
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Maybe it should never have been built, but it's there now. You may not like it and wish your foothills were less developed, but look around: If SLAC was not there, you would have another office park or a strip mall. Would that be better?

And besides, if it is so terrible, why inflict it on the people of Texas? What did they ever do to you? Really nice how you want to dump your toxic waste on them. Maybe you should clean it up yourself instead of passing the buck onto someone else?


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Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

"wondering"

Did you mistype or are you that uninformed?

your "Yes. If 9/11 had not occurred, the US would not have invaded Afghanistan or Iraq."

Iraq had ZERO to do with 9/11. 15 of the 19 were Saudi, which was as close to Iraq as it gets.

No one, even fox, tries to peddle that any more.

I assume you mistyped, if not, sorry, you have zero credibility, or near that of birthers and truthers.

If you are saying Bush, Cheney and the PNAC crowd used it as pre-text, then yes, I get it.

They were going to invade Iraq come hell or high water, no matter the cost in blood and treasure.

May they get a lump of coal every year.


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm

> If you are saying Bush, Cheney and the PNAC crowd used it
> as pre-text, then yes, I get it.

Effectively. Without 9/11, Afghanistan would not have been invaded. Without the invasion of Afghanistan, with its focus on Al Qaeda, then it's unlikely that Bush would have been able to develop a scenario to invade Iraq.

The word "enabling" seems more appropriate than "pre-text" in this situation.

> SLAC's budget is miniscule.

Currently, the US has perhaps $200T in funded, and unfunded, liabilities--primarily for entitlements. Spending more money on SLAC doesn't seem to be a really good idea, rather than beginning to focus on how to pay off all of these liabilities.

It's possible that the Federal Government will repudiate some of the debt, or somehow back away from some of the obligations--making this $200T smaller than it is now. But, the question remains--what is SLAC doing to justify whatever money is being spent on it?

If its role is justified, maybe it's worth keeping open. But if not, why not rethink our need for this sort of research? If SLAC were promising a Fusion Reactor that would allow us to use hydrogen to produce electricity--then this would be a great investment. But so far, there doesn't seem to be that sort of research interest
coming from this organization.


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Posted by Wondering about Wondering
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm

@Wondering?--

It's been said many times above, SLAC helped produce the world wide web. You apparently ignore that as a technology which contributes to your well-being while ironically you are using right now in responding.

Others have said it above, here it is again: Turn off your computer and disconnect or stfu. Simple as that.


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Posted by ni job
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Jobs: I don't care what kind of job just as long as it pays a decent, livable wage. Creating minimum wage jobs is of little use to those of us need a roof over our heads.


Constantly laying off people and cutting programs like SLAC is not the answer to our problems.

Raising taxes on the filthy rich, reclaiming the money stolen from us by banks and Wall Street crooks would be a good beginning. Stop feeding our tax dollars to the military/industrial complex. If companies are going to out-source jobs, make those companies pay billions into a welfare fund for their laid of American workers.

What's worst of all for me is that I'm now embarrassed to be an American; I hate being associated with a country that is run by idiots like the Tea Party and the ignorant, anti-science Republicans.

Is this what we Americans are reduced to?


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Posted by Economistic
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Much of the science at SLAC is important to the world; HOWEVER, the relatively new COO has, in my opinion, led the organization into an unsustainable, topheavy organization. He seems a ridiculous businessman, paying top$ for new managers who don't seem to be producing. The COO has both a deputy COO and a "mini" COO, for example. Sadly, some of the newer, overpaid new hires won't leave unless there is a layoff because they make absurdly high salaries and are afforded the ability to blame everything on their predecessors.
I'd like to know what the salaries are for the new CIO organization and measure that against computing system improvements. I doubt the ROI would be favorable

I think Stanford and the DOE need to get a modern Ops organization in place.


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Posted by Joann
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

I used to work at SLAC. Walter is wrong, as usual. SLAC has worked with the DOD. They simply refused to do classified military research. All research at SLAC is shared freely with other scientists. At least, this was true through the mid-90's when I left. I doubt the culture there has changed since; I would be sad to hear they had joined the bomb builders.

There is another solution to our budget problems: raise taxes on the undeserving rich, including corporations. If it's time for austerity, they should get the first helping, since so far, they haven't had any. Especially hedge fund managers, who need to pay income taxes instead of capital gains.


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Posted by Keep Menlo Quiet
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 20, 2011 at 12:21 am

I agree that SLAC is a shadow of itself. It was sold down the river during the contract renegotiation. DOE likely insisted on "leadership" they could control and Stanford fell for it. LCLS is saving SLAC in spite of the new bureaucracy laid in the past couple of years.


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Posted by Yawn
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 20, 2011 at 5:13 am

Dear Sigh: We agree on one thing.The 60 billion has not been actually cut yet. We have to wait and see what actually passes the Senate and the White House. I am quite pessimistic that any cuts will actually pass either body.

But, perhaps we are finally going to face the music and be responsible to our children.

Who knows? All we can do is talk, write and vote. Let's hope we vote more wisely in the future, but as Churchill is attributed as saying "he best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter". Our election results in California and the nation lately seem to prove this correct, and give me great pessimism for the future of our nation.


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Posted by Science Supporter
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2011 at 11:15 am

Don't forget, many of these SLAC employees are Prius-driving, bicycle riding, commuters from Palo Alto neighborhoods, that shop next to you at the farmer's markets and browse the library aisles with you too. I'd hardly call SLAC a "scar" on the landscape, and I'd remind SLAC-haters that this is an open science DOE laboratory founded by post-Manhattan project scientists that wanted to use science for good. Founders have Nobel Prizes and Peace Prizes. This is the one laboratory I'd expect to be supported by the Bay Area.

This area is not going to be torn down for an open space preserve, and nobody's moving the lab to Texas (the Superconducting Super Collider project didn't work). So, please take a yoga-calm moment and realize now is not the time to hope your neighbors lose a job, and that the only open-science laboratory gets shut down.


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Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2011 at 11:49 am

"But, perhaps we are finally going to face the music and be responsible to our children. "

Does that mean repealing the tax package compromise from December that will add trillions in debt over the years?

Debt that will be borrowed from China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Iran and others?

Any TRUE deficit hawk MUST have been against that, correct?


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm

If the politicians were serious about facing the music and being responsible for the next generations, they wouldn't have extended the tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans which will add trillions to the national debt. Additionally, they wouldn't vote for a military/defense budget fit for an empire. This country was not supposed to be an empire, we don't need to have troops in a 100 foreign countries, we don't need multi-billion aircraft carriers halfway around the world and we don't need billion dollar bombers. We need a US based military that can defend our borders in the extremely unlikely event of a foreign invasion. We can't afford to have a military budget larger than that of the entire rest of the world combined. Cutting taxes for billionaires while allowing those billionaires to outsource American jobs which further reduces the US revenue base and accelerates the debt and borrowing money from china, Japan and Saudi Arabia in order to maintain an empire we can't afford is the complete opposite of facing the music and being responsible to our children.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm

DoE was created during the Carter administration as part of an effort to bring more independent agencies into cabinet-level departments. The long-standing right-wing hatred of DoE has always puzzled me-- it long predates the "Tea Party" of today. I always wondered if people didn't realize how much Science DoE is responsible for

Recently, it has come into focus. I now realize that it is actually the science that they hate. No wonder hate DoE.


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Yep, the right-wing has always hated science with a medieval venom. There was a short article on salon.com yesterday about scientists from the Cosmic Census believing that at least 500 million Milky Way planets reside in regions where life could theoretically exist. There were extremely angry letters from right-wingers denouncing the findings and the scientists. It's like a throw-back to the religious witch-hunt against Copernicus and Galileo centuries ago. You should read the comments full of scorn and hatred against hybrid and electric cars, it's unbelievable, and really scary, since those medieval lunatics are now in control of the House and may end up controlling all branches of government after 2012.


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Posted by No BS
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Feb 20, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Cut the B.S. from SLAC


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2011 at 11:58 pm

> It's been said many times above, SLAC helped
> produce the world wide web.

It's common knowledge that Tim Berners-Lee, of CERN, invented the World Wide Web:

Web Link

As to SLAC's part:

Paul Kunz from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center visited CERN in September 1991, and was captivated by the Web. He brought the NeXT software back to SLAC, where librarian Louise Addis adapted it for the VM/CMS operating system on the IBM mainframe as a way to display SLAC's catalog of online documents;[7] this was the first web server outside of Europe and the first in North America.[8]
---

In the software world, assuming the Wikipedia information is correct, the SLAC librarian performed what is commonly called a "port"--which is the work necessary to allow software written on one operating system to run on another operating system.

So .. billions of dollars spent on SLAC resulted in a "port" that could have been done at NASA, or NOAA, or the US Army? There is no need for investing in a Linear Accelerator just to get a little software work done. This just isn't reason enough to justify more billions for SLAC (or the anger in your posting).

It might be interesting to look at the near-term future projects that this organization is planning, or that need to be done, to determine if that work really does need to be done, or if it can be pushed into the future.

> Additionally, they wouldn't vote for a military/defense budget
> fit for an empire. This country was not supposed to be an empire,

This is an intriguing point. The US started out being isolationist, for good reasons (Washington's desire to "avoid European wars"), but along comes WWI and WWII--and we end up in both of them. The Europeans can not be trusted to defend world peace. Nor can they be trusted to defend themselves. That leaves us imposing the "Pax Americana", or watching the world get carved up into various special interest blocks. The emergence of China as a world power will shift the balance of power away from the US, but China has no history of "benevolence" as a nation. (Remember too that the ruling Chinese Communist party killed [or caused to be killed] about 65M people, establishing the current status quo. It's a little difficult to believe that they will be offering the world the "Pax China" to replace the "Pax Americana" any time soon.) However, it's possible that at some point in time they may emerge as a force for world peace in a way that will cause Mao to "turn in his grave".)


> refused to do classified DoD work.

Well .. if that is SLAC's wish--so be it. The DoD should spend its dollars where it can get classified work in high-energy physics done, however. Spending defense dollars on projects whose results end up in the public domain doesn't make a lot of sense.


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Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:31 am

Some po' folks sure work hard to dispel the importance of basic research. They probably thought PARC was a waste of office space up in the foothills of PA.

Gutenberg isn't a famous name because he invented religion, language, paper, or ink.

Science and invention are not spectacular discoveries. They are someone building an ever so SLIGHTLY better mousetrap. Do you want it built in Europe? India, Russia or China?

Or do you love your country and understand the importance of science and mathematics; of education and research?

When ol' SSC reads some of these responses, he scratches his head. You can't have it both ways, eating your cake and having it too. You can't cut, cut, cut and still have anything left to build upon.

What part of American innovation don't you folks get?


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:46 am

> They probably thought PARC was a waste of office space
> up in the foothills of PA.

Paid for with private dollars. PARC was, by the way, the inventor of "the paperless office (ca 1973) .. which has never been realized in the workplace, and which created massive upheavals in the Xerox Corporation. Oddly, laser printers have been hugely successful because of PARC inventiveness, otherwise.

> Gutenberg isn't a famous name because he invented religion,
> language, paper, or ink.

Again ... private dollars. (Oh, and Gutenberg may well have invented his own ink. Not a big point, just thought you might want to know.)

> What part of American innovation don't you folks get?

While government dollars have always been in the background of "American Innovation", the bulk of those dollars have resulted in products (or infrastructure) that have impacted the taxpayers more than "high energy physics". The railroads, canals, roads, harbors and light houses were all sponsored by government dollars in the 1700s and 1800s. But electricity, the telephone, the airplane, most ship design, and almost all advances in architecture were the result of individuals believing that they could "productize" their ideas without any government dollars, or interference.

Big science is another matter. It seems to be the domain of a special group of people, who are not all that willing to help us understand how their work will improve our lives.

(I'm not opposed to funding SLAC, I just think we need better reasons than we're seeing here.)


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Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2011 at 1:10 am

"...invented religion, language, paper, or ink..."

"Again ... private dollars."

I suspect the development of religion, language, paper, and ink were funded greatly by the various forms of government of the time, be they village elders, chiefdoms, up to monarchy and republics, etc..

Okay, not language, so much, and I guess I don't want to bring monotheism into this...

But paper and ink, I have to look into that! :0)

Gutenberg's movable type being a "privately funded invention"? Sure. I'll concede that though I'm sure it's debatable to some degree. Based on much basic research prior to it. Likely funded by the church or nobles.


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 1:43 am

> But paper and ink ..

Not paper .. but ink.

You might try: Janet Ing's "Johann Gutenberg and his Bible"

Starting around page 86 there is a brief description of the ink used in the GB. Ing does not claim Gutenberg invented "ink", but it's difficult to believe he didn't.

> Likely funded by the church or nobles.

Nope .. Ing's short book is worth a read.


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Posted by Save California
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 21, 2011 at 11:42 am

"If SLAC was not there, you would have another office park or a strip mall. Would that be better?"

That is just not true! The Reagan library was not built, and that land is still open in our foothills. We need to take steps to reverse these horrible past mistakes. SLAC can be exported to anywhere in the Texan flatlands, if the people in Texas want it, and I have very little doubt that they do. If it sweetens the offer, then open up SLAC to secret military research, so that all those republicans in Texas will salivate over it. However, we just need to get rid of this scar, and tear down the buildings, and return our precious lands to nature.

It is very sad that my Democratic Party has become a craven seeker of tax revenues and over-development. We used to be made of better stuff.


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Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm

"Starting around page 86 there is a brief description of the ink used in the GB."

Ink started in China, didn't it? He may have adapted a better formula, sorry, the book isn't in my library. . :0)

The point is JG, as with most inventors, did not suddenly invent the best mousetrap from no predecessor. They improve upon existing technology, using ideas and research from others.

"Science and invention are not spectacular discoveries. They are someone building an ever so SLIGHTLY better mousetrap. Do you want it built in Europe? India, Russia or China?"

It strikes me odd, that so close to the shining example of Silicon Valley, folks don't see the obvious about the importance of education and basic research. The importance to our economy and to our country.


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Posted by Second Santa Claus
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

And please, MOVING a research facility to reclaim some "foothills" that run under a freeway?


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Posted by Oh well
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm

This discussion really illustrates the small-mindedness and "me me me" attitude that is slowly reducing America from the greatest nation on the Earth to a mediocre consumer market for the more foresighted societies to sell to.

To address the two most rapid:

Wondering? : From your comments, you clearly have very misinformed notions of what "high energy physics is". You have demonstrated you can use the internet to look up factoids. Do it some more and we will talk when you can hold up your end.

Oh, and by the way, do you know what they do at CERN where you (correctly) stated that the web was born? I'll give you a hint, the initials are H.E.P....

Save California: You are simply a lunatic. Even if you defund SLAC, no one is going to tear down any buildings sitting in between office parks, strip malls, and freeway 280. In fact, given the large amounts of open space SLAC has prevented from being developed, it has probably resulted in more open space than would otherwise be there if the lab did not exist. If you want any credibility, find a cause that is worthwhile and reasonable. There are plenty of construction projects slated to the ruin the bay area that DID NOT ALREADY TAKE PLACE 50 YEARS AGO.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Saving California states:"We need to take steps to reverse these horrible past mistakes. SLAC can be exported to anywhere in the Texan flatlands,"

SLAC has contributed more to the knowledge of mankind and to our understanding of the world in which we live than the acres on which it stands ever would have- knowledge and beauty are partners, not enemies.


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Posted by Dear Save...
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Save california do california a favor and save it from urself!
U should move to texas, it would accomplish a lot more to save california.

Where did u get the idea that texas wants to host slac?

Someone above already asked u why you want to move it there if it is so terrible. Do u actually have any morality at all or do u just like dumping problems on texas for the fun of it?

what u propose is the same thing as if someone illegally dumps radioactive waste on ur front lawn and instead of cleaning it up urself you just bury it down the street and let ur neighbors die of cancer.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 22, 2011 at 6:39 am

I'm really surprised by the fact that the local public is unaware what kind of research is performed at SLAC. And how this research can and does affect our daily life.

I've listed just a few

To see more research go to the link provided

Web Link

Web Link

Effects of Thermal Annealing On the Morphology of Polymer-Fullerene Blends for Organic Solar Cells
Organic solar cells, which use organic polymers or small organic molecules to convert sunlight into a useable form of energy, are a promising new tool for providing inexpensive, environmentally friendly energy. To date organic solar cells have demonstrated comparatively low rates of efficiency, stability and strength. However, there is much room for improvement before the theoretical efficiency limits are reached.
In a recent study undertaken at SSRL Beam Line 11-3, a team of Stanford and SLAC researchers studied how the molecular arrangement of the two components that often make up the active layer of an organic solar cell—the polymer that absorbs photons and converts them into an electric charge and the fullerene that accepts this charge and transports it out of the solar cell—is affected by the heating process, which in turn affects the cell's efficiency.
Fragment Screen against HIV Protease: Discovery of Two Allosteric Binding Sites

HIV protease is a common and critical drug target for combating HIV infection and AIDS. As HIV develops resistance to anti-viral drugs, new therapies are required. Since most of the virus's mutations that confer drug resistance cluster in the active site of the protease, scientists are interested in molecules that may bind other places on the enzyme. Computer simulations aid the design of drugs and fragments, which are smaller than typical drugs, to bind the enzyme's surface in a way that compliments the activity of traditional active-site binding drugs.
A team of scientists led by Prof. Dave Stout at The Scripps Research Institute has used SSRL beam lines to crystallographically screen fragment binding to HIV protease. They screened 400 fragments and evaluated 800 crystals using SSRL's high-throughput robotic sample automounter system. They found two novel surface-binding sites that induce conformational changes in the protease.

Structural Basis of Pre-existing Immunity to the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic Influenza Virus
An unusual property of the last year's H1N1 "swine flu" virus pandemic is that it disproportionately affected the young. People over the age of around 65 showed much less vulnerability than to more typical flu strains, suggesting that they might have been exposed to a similar virus over three decades ago. Another atypical property of the 2009 H1N1 strain is that its hemagglutinin (HA) subunit is the same subtype as the regular seasonal strains, whereas most pandemics are caused by viruses with novel HA domains. The HA protein extends out of the virus surface and is responsible for binding the virus to the cell it will infect. Because it is located on the surface of the virus, HA is often targeted by antibodies.
A group of researchers led by Prof. Ian Wilson of The Scripps Research Institute has found structural similarity between last year's H1N1 strain and the 1918 influenza virus that also caused a pandemic. They used SSRL Beam Line 9-2 to solve the 3D structure of the HA subunit of the 2009 H1N1 virus to 2.6 Å resolution. They compared their structure of HA of historic H1 flu strains from 1918 to the present. Their analysis shows a striking similarity between the surface residues in their HA structure and those of the 1918 virus, with decreasing similarity of viruses in subsequent years and a significant drop in similarity around 1940. The researchers also solved a 2.8 Å crystal structure of the 1918 HA bound to an antibody, which shows that the region that is conserved between the 2009 and 1918 strains matches the area recognized by the immune system.


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Posted by Chris
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm

For Save California.
Shutting down SLAC and tearing down the buildings will hardly return the area to your idyllic vision. This is a large scientific/industrial complex where very large evacuations for beam tunnels, machine galleries and experiment halls have taken place over the years. Of course all of these could be filled at great expense, but just removing the buildings would indeed result in the "scar" you keep mentioning. The cost of removing one large building at LBNL is costing about $50 million. Multiply that by 10-20 and you get the idea of the cost to just remove the buildings, then that again to fill the holes and tunnels that will remain. But wait, there's more! There have been chemical spills on the SLAC site that will require a large treatment facility for many years. Remove these facilities, and the chemical plumes will leach into San Francisquito Creek. I think this hardly fits into your idea of a natural habitat.

To Wondering?
You keep asking what of use SLAC has ever developed? One product I helped to develop while I was at SLAC is a solid state modulator. While this probably means nothing to you, there are companies around the world making very good profits on this development. See Scandinova at
Web Link
Another development was on imaging equipment for cargo containers. I am certain there are many more I was involved in. But, if you like modern electronics, engineered materials, many medical devices, the growing areas of bioengineering and nanotechnologies, thank the physics researchers. Now tell me their work was not useful!


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Posted by Ed Santa Crz
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Insist on an audit of not only equipment (including vehicles) purchased with tax dollars and what they are used for. Also, ask for an audit of what the facilities organization charges other organizations at SLAC to do work. My neighbor told me they charged nearly $one million for a modular building. Tax dollars on a million dollar trailer and our schools had to cancel music programs? Something is wrong here.


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Posted by C'mon
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2011 at 12:30 am

Sorry, "your neighbor" is not a credible reference to those facts.



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Posted by MenloVC
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 26, 2011 at 12:35 am

Here's a few quick business lessons:


Do not layoff the people who do the real, efficient work. SLAC has a lot of dinos in sr. mgmt who probably have multiple income streams (on full retirements, outside consulting, etc) who may not be hungry and concerned enough or able to put workable, lean solutions in place.

6sigma the place

Are your costs responsible and sustainable? If not, see above.

If someone continually spends mega bucks for minor solutions, they are in the wrong job and so is their boss.

Don't give sr.managers bonuses or raises of any kind this year. In fact, let them make some sacrifices. Buy some goodwill with the employees who are being traumatized by the bad communication. The quotes from SLAC in the above article are lame; there is no mention of the value of human capital and that is slac's key asset. Also, I don't think the math works. If management lays off a lot of people, eases their key deliverable requirements and doesn't cut the sr. layer, that's reprehensible.

To the staff: even though the economy is bad, suck it up and look for other opportunities. They exist even in this economy. Menlo and PA are brilliant with startups based on leading biotech, science these days.



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Posted by Drue
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I agree that SLAC should have major audits on spending. We need to put a halt to waste. Little things add up to a lot.

Start with the person who is having his office carpeted when we're getting ready to spend 50 million on new buildings. Why carpet an old office in a building that is going to be gutted. This is a small but infuriating example of the BS at SLAC. Layoffs with that kind of waste disgusting.


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Posted by Info
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 3, 2011 at 4:09 am

Who is getting an office re-carpeted in a building that will be torn down?

Where do you get this information?

If its true, it is worth a definite look as waste. Not sure it really warrants a major audit compared to other sources of waste, but it should be investigated, if your facts are actually correct and not just invented.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2011 at 10:41 am

I think everyone here is not getting the point. We already have fermi and thomas jefferson labs which are far more productive then the one time considered most dangerous lab from science magazine (slac). I worked there for many years. They do more unesessary spending than any other lab. constantly they are building new structures which they do not need, they over pay ($29hr.) to there contracted security guards (securitas) which are no better then your average $8hr guards. They built a hotel for users, and are constantly trying to catch this very old and falling apart site into the 20th century. They had $500,000 experiment detroyed by someone who had been recently fired, and walked RIGHT BY THERE OVER PAID SECURITY GUARDS at main gate, then right through a carded/security camera/24 hr monitored gate 17. they also had 16 servers stolen out of an abandoned building where they were being housed, for what reason they were housed there nobody knows? (inside job for sure/probably there head of security should be investigated). Not to mention the constant sewage and waste problems they have had there, numerous accidents (electrician almost burned alive) and most importantly...this place is shut down more than it is actually up and running and doing what it's supposed to do...EXPERIMENT! and let's be honest, what has slac discovered or done in the last 5 years to make such a huge and succesfull dent in our science technology....NONE! This place needs top be shut down for good, and all our money should be going into 1 0r 2 top labs (fermia/TJ) in the country, not to slac which does more spending, and more harm then good for anyone. after all, this country is trillions of dollars in debt, and california can barley afford to run this state.


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Posted by Perry P
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2011 at 2:22 am

Want to find waste? IMHO, Look no further than BS in EH&S. At E--M he jammed in his do nothing friends until we pushed them all out and now he has done the same to you guys at SLAC! For my tax dollars, I would ask you to cut that waste first. My opinion is that if you can not figure that out you are in trouble big


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