Red Cross withdraws from Y2K expo : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

[I will refrain from comment, as I am involved in the Expo.]

Red Cross withdraws from Y2K expo By Vikki Ortiz of the Journal Sentinel staff February 1, 1999 Waukesha -- Worried that its participation would indirectly show support for chemical warfare or use of other weapons in preparing for a possible year 2000 computer meltdown, the American Red Cross has dropped out of the Y2K Preparedness Expo to be held here this month. "Our message has been simple and clear: We don't want people to be unnecessarily concerned," said Candace Doyle, director of public affairs for the American Red Cross in Milwaukee.

Chuck Ball, organizer of the "Upper Midwest Y2K Preparedness Expo," scheduled for Feb. 12 and 13 at the Waukesha County Exposition Center Arena, said he was stunned and confused by the Red Cross' decision.

"We aren't recommending anything specific. All we're saying is come to the expo (and) make up your own minds," Ball said.

The expo -- touted by Ball as the first of its kind in the Midwest -- is designed to feature vendors selling food and food storage products, generators, lanterns, flashlights and other gear to people concerned that a year 2000 computer glitch may cause havoc.

Doyle said she advised Ball that the Red Cross would not participate in the event after looking at a Y2K World Wide Web page that advertised the event.

She said she was frightened to find that the Y2K page provided information on anthrax, biological/toxin warfare, bombs and a multitude of guns.

"Clearly, that's something that at the Red Cross we don't get involved in," she said.

Ball said he and other expo organizers had nothing to do with the Y2K Web page that Doyle viewed.

Rather, he said, vendors for the expo are being encouraged to not scare visitors and will be required to follow a strict code of ethics and provide media documentation for any stories told on the expo floor.

Expo organizers cannot be held accountable for Web pages that may appear connected on the Internet, he added. "You have no control over who's in the Web ring," Ball said.

The Waukesha event will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 12 and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 13. Ball said he organized it after researching the possible Y2K problems for about eight months.

Some state and municipal officials are worried that Y2K computer glitches could lead to power failures, breakdowns in municipal water or sewage systems, or the failure of security systems. The potential problems are the result of some computers recognizing a year by only its last two digits. Unless reprogrammed, some of these computers could stumble when their clocks move from 99 to 00, for example.

The Red Cross initially agreed to participate in the expo because its leaders believed it would be a good place to distribute the organization's pamphlets on preparing for Jan. 1, 2000, Doyle said. The Red Cross, she said, is treating Y2K as it would a winter storm or similar emergency, encouraging people to have flashlights with batteries and battery-operated radios. The Red Cross will offer food, clothing and shelter to those in need, she added.

Officials at the Red Cross' national office supported Doyle's decision to drop out of the event, she said. "We certainly realize that people are concerned about Y2K and there may be some glitches," Doyle said. "But we felt that being in that expo would give some credence to a view that we don't hold."

No other organizations among the 30 to 50 involved have canceled participation in the expo, Ball said, adding that he isn't worried that those who hear of the Red Cross leaving will follow suit.

Still, Ball said he was disappointed that the Red Cross made its decision based on information he had no part in disseminating.

But Doyle said that even if the two Web pages were not directly related, Red Cross officials could not risk having the public believe the non-profit agency endorses the use of chemical warfare or weaponry for Y2K.

"I suppose you could say it's a jump, but it's a jump I felt I had to take because the Red Cross deals with a lot of people," Doyle said.

-- Steve Hartsman (, February 02, 1999


Hhhmm, strange the Red Cross would be spooked by the linking of Y2K with terrorism, cyber + chemical + biological etc. since that is exactly what the United States government is loudly doing.
Steve, hope you read all the threads re Terrorism subbing Y2K in recent Military & Government categories in this Forum's archives. Sounds like the Red Cross is out of the loop.

Red Cross organizers need to have a little chat with FEMA or at least do some web news surfing. Their intelligence is suffering!

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xx

-- Leska (, February 02, 1999.

It sounds like it was purely a political decision. I'm glad the other exhibitors chose not to follow suit. Any guesses about who's pulling the strings here...?

-- paranoid (, February 02, 1999.

My friend who is involved with our local Red Cross chapter, told me the only reason why they participate in Y2K awareness expos is to get donations. If people would just prepare ahead of time, no one will even need the Red Cross, FEMA, or anyone else. The Red Cross got hammered in Columbia and my friend said he doesn't plan on volunteering if Y2K is as bad as predicted. I wonder if that warehouse in San Francisco is still filled to the brim with goods that were suppose to go to the hurrican victims in Honduras a few months back? Your Red Cross at work again. They don't want goods, they wanted $$$$$$$$!

-- bardou (, February 02, 1999.

Long time back, I was a student, cut school to throw sand bags on the Missouri river dike at Omaha. 3 am. Red Cross coffee truck rolls through, charging for coffee. Salvation Army coffee truck rolls through, handing out coffee and doughnuts free of charge to the workers.

Same picture a few years later in Korea. Both were there, Red Cross wanted pictures, glory, and money. Salvation Army simply was there, doing a great job.

Haven't passed a Christmas bell ringer from the Salvation Army since without dipping deep. Haven't given anything to the Red Cross.

-- not donating (tothe@red.cross), February 02, 1999.

Dead wrong - and stupidly wrong too.

This reactionary Red Cross bureacrat got so scared by the staffer who reported the problem that she doesn't even understand the problem. - She overrecacted to a separate Webb page (advertising the event, but not connected to the event) that indicated not that "chemical weapons and anthrax" were a response to Y2K - but that this preparedness expo would enable people to prepare AGAINST possible anthrax and biological hazards.

That is, other possible hazards exist, and and person should be ready for many different things, Y2K events being one of the possible hazards.

So how do we protest this bad, reactionary, fearful decision to the national Red Cross?

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 02, 1999.

What do you know, someone at Red Cross actually has a "keen sense of the obvious" and had the guts to do something about it. It always starts out sounding so reasonable - be prepared, just in case, you can always eat it if it turns out to be nothing - and it ends up discussing the relative merits of pump action shotguns. Listen up you Y2K losers - it's OVER! It has been a lot of work, but now the bump in the road scenario is a foregone conclusion. Look on the bright side, now you can party instead of pathetically hunkering down in your bunker.

-- Computer Pro (, February 02, 1999.

Computer pro:

Unfortunately, it IS a bump - a great big bump, and it looks like you'll be thrown from the car and run over by the vehicle. Bummer. We hardly knew ye.

-- lisa (just@bump?.only?), February 02, 1999.

The Red Cross had a booth at the Seattle y2k Expo last weekend. They had a variety of firstaid packs and other items for sale, as well as handout info...

-- Suzanne L, Longtime Lurker (SuzanneL-@webtv.not), February 02, 1999.

Can't echo 'not donating's' comments strongly enough. It is my opinion that the R.C. is one of the most opportunistic and money-grubbing operations extant. I've worked alongside them at various Emergency Management operations... although the people at the bottom do a great job with what they have, the management is more concerned with publicity than in seeing that everybody gets blankets (and not free blankets, either, mind you). I detest working with them, much prefer to help out the Salvation Army, which I feel is a much more efficient and savvy organization.

My father, WWII combat veteran ETO, told me of many instances during the war, both home and overseas, when the R.C. charged serviceman for coffee, donuts and little comfort items - things that the R.C. had paid absolutely nothing for, donations and tax dollars seeing to that. The Salvation Army, OTOH, gave with no strings, as befits a fine Christian organization such as it is.

One other thing: I heard reported in the aftermath of the OKC bombing that the R.C. allegedly opened up mail containing checks addressed to folks in its shelters and cashed said contents without the shelteree's knowledge or consent. Anyone have confirmation of this, or any more info?

-- Why2K? (none@this.time), February 02, 1999.

I like the Salvation Army too, and donate goods whenever there's a disaster in our community. I also shop their stores once a week and I have found no fault with them. They don't hound you to death for money either!

-- ~~ (, February 02, 1999.

You mewling, pathetic, BABIES!

You dare to accuse an organization like RC of MONEY GRUBBING! because they don't want to be associated with wild-eyed black-heli's everywhere, 'gubmint' out to get us types!

This thread makes me puke!

NONE of you who grovel at the feet of little eddie 'yourdonefor' have ANY idea how much money he has made for himself off of y2k, do you?

GET THIS cost him a life-time career as a respected IT pro; but apparently the "price" was right for him!

-- Mutha Nachu (, February 02, 1999.

M. Nature:

Beg to differ. When you sent that big F5 to Jasper a couple years ago -thanks, it was a doozy - lots of us donaters gave directly to the victims or victims' families or bank trust funds, not only because of the RC red tape, but because we wanted 100% of the funds to benefit the victims, not 67 or 71%. RC has a huge carcass to support.

-- Lisa (, February 02, 1999.

Meant Jarrell, not Jasper.

-- Lisa (correction@here.sorry), February 02, 1999.

Attacker Alert! Standard reply (Version II, Rev 02/02/1999) follows.

Okay "Mother Nature" and "Computer Pro":

Same question as always to an attacker/denigrator - give me five facts to show me that things will NOT fail on a widespread level - you have stated your opinion, and as always, accompanied it by aggressively attacking someone who is preparing ( and trying to educate others) by violently criticising their sales (profits) and accusing them of hoarding and huddling up "in a bunker" defending their family's lives and property.

Who are you? What is your experience in infrastructure systems management, repair, and troubleshooting? What information do you have, that you choose not to share, that tells you that there will only minor problems?

Why do you feel that a person who is preparing for an unknown disaster, using his own money to make preparations instead of trying to take scarce supplies from the government later, is a threat to you? Why do prefer people be hurt by a disaster rather than prepared for contingencies?

Do you operate a chainsaw without a face shield? Ride a bike without helmet? Drive drunk with your children in the front seat standing up? Walk blindfolded after dark across busy intersections? Rip the warning label off of your mattress and pillows?

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 02, 1999.

I thoroughly agree with the sensible opinions expressed above. It seems obvious the Red Cross used the web site as an excuse to drop out--who in their right minds looks at/gives credence to only ONE web site about anything? I haven't tried putting "Y2K" in a search engine lately, but surely it would draw around three million hits. Why did she pick just that one site to look at? Stinks, doesn't it? The Salvation Army gave Christmas to my then small son and myself one awful year, long ago, and asked absolutely nothing in return. My donations go to SA and animal rescue organizations. Period. Oh, and the guy who lives in a doorway behind a local strip center with his beloved dog and cat. Won't take anything for himself but accepts food, toys and vet care for his pets.

-- Old Git (, February 02, 1999.

mutha natchu:

As for the R.C keeping its distance from the Y2K forum, it's probably for much deeper reasons than you suggest in your exquisite post, i.e. they are doing as they are told, and not deviating from the 'party line' of two week's storage.

I'm far from wild-eyed, but I have seen unmarked, low-flying black helicopters - four in the last two years, to be exact... one was spraying something that made lots of folk around here become ill. I do believe that forces within the government have unpleasant "contingency plans" for future use against the American people.

As far as your desire to puke is concerned, just be careful to wipe off your fedgov ID afterwards.

-- Why2K? (none@this.time), February 02, 1999.

Bravo Why2K. These idiots seem to be copying and pasting the same tired insults that they use every time they post. Even angst ridden pre-pubescent little boys have more creativity than that. I know I did... Middle aged balding Feds, now that's a different story.

BTW, pump action shotguns are part of preparing, computer pro.

-- d (, February 02, 1999.

Folks, I've spent 15 years in volunteering with the ARC. Done my share of National Assignments (first med crew into Niles in 1984(?) for the tornado outbreak there, etc. Good friends on LOTS of nat'l assignments, done LOT of feeding here in town, fires, hostage situations etc. NEVER have we here or on ANY NAT'L ASSIGNMENT I've been on or had any information from, SOLD what we do. ANYBODY who can document sales of feeding or other relief supplies should drop the documentation into the mail to Alexandria,VA and mark it to Steve Bullock, Interim director. I happen to know this guy. While I have some issues with some of the stuff he has allowed to go on in his back yard, sales of relief supplies is NOT ON THE APROVED LIST OF ACTIONS, and you MIGHT be surprised at how fast things can be changed.

Ref the WWII sales of coffee and donuts, did your dad happen to know that the American RC STARTED OUT GIVING THEM AWAY until the BRITS COMPLAINED BECAUSE THEIR RC WAS selling them??? American RED CROSS was forced, by the military commands to sell, because this was the norm for the British Red Cross.

For people who dig so well into Y2K, y'all don't check other stuff too well.


Conf to Hardliner, Arlin, and other alumni: When Desert Storm was in the build up phase, I had pleasure of sitting in an ARC vehicle (we were putting up about 15 people in hotels) with a former Viet Nam ARC Nurse. The military (she didn't say which branch) had asked ARC for the usual ARC support staff and her name had been on the short list for one of the (dozen or so) Station Manager slots, in country (Saudi). She treated us to a rendition of her answer, of which, the typable portions ran along the line: "but, I've already HAD my war. Go pick on some 20something chick. I KNOW what's involved!!"

This from one of the more active folks in teh local "Stand Down for the Homeless" who was REAL active in "Firebase Cleveland" a few years ago.


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 03, 1999.

Go back and read Mutha Nachu's post again carefully. See a close resemblance to Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts?

-- Do you see what I see? (, February 03, 1999.

Mr. Cook:

I could give you five, or I could give you five hundred, but I'm just going to give you one. If you can't figure it out, another 499 aren't going to help.

The very same people who are predicting a Y2K firestorm said that the implementation of the Euro would be a disaster that would bring a complete financial meltdown on that continent. Well, Mr. Cook, look at your calendar. Europe just processed their first month end. How come they aren't on their knees yet? According to the logic of these moronic Y2K alarmists, just one financial institution spewing bad data would contaminate all the other ones which are linked up to it. You getting the picture now? The Euro project is estimated to be 6 times the size of Y2K, yet it was brought in on time, and it works. Why don't you write Mr. Yourdon and ask him to explain why big computer projects are always late and riddled with errors?

As to my credentials, yes I have been designing software for over 20 years and have worked extensively on Y2K remediation. Compared to the rest of my career, it is the easiest money I have ever made. Tedious, and boring, no doubt about that, it sure ain't rocket science.

As to the folks spending their hard earned money on dehydrated garbage, no, they are no threat to me. I see them exactly the same way as the poor souls who line up week in, week out for their lottery tickets. Misguided and silly maybe, but not a threat. The state rakes off about 40% or so in profits, so it means less taxes for me. Lotteries are a tax on the stupid, but if people want to play, let 'em.

Finally you ask me about my appetite for risky behaviour. I'll take a calculated risk, but that's about it. Let me ask you this. Do you drive a car to work every day? If so, why? It's much, much, safer to take the bus you know. What's a little inconvenience when your life is at stake?

As for Y2K risk, let me put it to you this way. While all the nervous Nellies are going to be biting their nails next New Year's Eve, I'll be flying to Paris on the Concord, with nothing but credit cards in my wallet. I'll try to remember to have a drink of champagne for the fear mongers, after all, they paid for it.

-- Computer Pro (, February 03, 1999.

Computer Pro,

A thread about the Red Cross is not a place to get into a technical discussion of the Euro, so I'll just provide this link on why restricted Euro success tells us little about Y2K. This is from Westergaard 2000:

There are also non-technical reasons for taking Y2K seriously. One non-technical reason is that financial service providers themselves are worried. Here's an excerpt from a recent Denver Post article:

While your friendly banker might reassure you that there is no need to panic and start keeping your cash under the mattress, your friendly banker might be talking with forked tongue.

Colorado bankers - and stock brokers and credit unions and trust companies - are asking the Colorado legislature to protect them against lawsuits filed by customers in case the Y2K bug infests the nation's financial system.

A republican state senator from Englewood, Tom Blickensderfer, and a Republican state representitive from Greely, Tambor Williams, have proposed a law to shield "financial service providers" from liability if customers can't access their assetts because of the so-called millennium bug and decide to sue for punitive damages.

The protection is extensive.

You couldn't hold your bank responsible if your money is unavailable because of "transportation delays, energy failures or communications problems," according to provisions of House Bill 1190 now pending in the legislature.

It also provides financial institutions immunity for punitive damages as the result of "any failure of any computer system because of a Year 2000 problem."

So, come January 1 you're on your own, according to your personal banker.

-- Kevin (, February 03, 1999.

Computer Pro,

And then there's the National Guard. Why are they preparing for Y2K if it's guaranteed to be the non-event you claim it will be?,business/30dab190.122,.h tml

-- Kevin (, February 03, 1999.

I appreciate your answers, and concur with your obsevation about the Euro conversion - but disagree about your conclusion.

Both conversion (Y2K and Euro) are, as you noted, slow tedious and paintaking - but not technically difficult. Both must be done correctly, then checked, and then integrated, then re-checked.

That most of Europe converted successfully is great - I applaud their success - but I caution that we are only two days into the second month - end of quarter, end of month, next month, and next year transactions remain uncertain. Forward-looking financial changes for the Euro are relatively straight forward too compared to Y2K remediation since they don't need as much legacy database conversion and exchange with other more uncertain formats in other companies - everybody had to convert to the Euro and that by itself means that Y2K efforts were shoved aside.

So everyone had a single conversion affecting only finacial matters in future and current transactions. And a political pressure to do it - missing in Y2K, and a single specific "target" standard.

Also - power, and other infrastruture-related threats - the "second show to drop" had no affect on the conversion itself, nor were they in way affected by the conversion. Not only were the infrastruture support establishments not affected by the conversion, but they wer enot threatened by it in the daily operations. Both master controller programs, the hardware itself, and the embedded chip potential problems exist within Y2K. No infrastruture failures (power, heat, light, nat. gas, water, sewage, 911, etc.) were a factor in the Euro conversion to cause a difficulty in recovering. The threat from Y2K combines all these, with no political pressure to solve the problem - some argue there is a political pressure in fact to minimize the threat - and the Y2K threat includes "safety of life concerns" not found in the Euro.

If more companies and utilities and government agencies had focused an effort on Y2K like they did for the Euro, I would have no worries about Y2K. They didn't, and aren't now. Now, Europe is under the Y2K pressure - before they have stabilized from the Euro conversion. Which now too is only partial - everyone is not yet "paid" in Eruo's evrywhere - and everyone is not "out of business" if they cannot accept or make change in Euro's.

Y2K allows no exceptions.

The Euro conversion (so far) confirms that Y2K could have be easily prevented entirely, and solved early, and solved correctly. Clinton-Gore are directly to blame for the current crisis for failing deliberately to fail to provide that focus, and thus indirectly for the potential failures to come.

Enjoy your trip on the Concord - like the bus service here in the rural areas outside Atlanta - we cannot use it. The nearest bus stop is three miles away from my house, and 3/4 mile from my office - and service begins after I have to be at work. It ends before I leave work. It cannot deliver tuba's or trombones to my son's music lesson, nor twoxfour's to my daughter's band hall to make shelves. It cannot get them to church on sundays, nor to the grocery store after midnight anytime.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 03, 1999.


Thanks very much for the Westergaard link. I hadn't read Adam Kaplan's "Why the Euro Currency Can't Happen" article before. Hilarious! Kaplan uses the adjective "stupid" twice, and the noun "stupidity" twice more, all in four paragraphs. Wow, Kaplan really proved what a beacon of intelligence he is, didn't he?

As for Mr. O'Beirne, I got as far as this in his article: "Of course, both are large projects requiring management and resources; but then, what project does not? The crucial difference is that Y2K is a mass change project to remove date-related defects, more like maintenance; the euro is the implementation of new functionality, which is more like normal new business projects."

ROTFL! You will note that he is inferring here that new software is easier to produce than maintenance on a proven system. This is so dumb and ass backwards that it makes Mr. Kaplan look like the smart one in this pair. You know the old story from technical support where the user asks "I got this message telling me to hit any key to continue  where is the "any" key?". I assure you that O'Beirne's contention that the implementation of the Euro was simpler than Y2K is the intellectual equivalent.

Over lunch I was thinking about asking Canada, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia and Paraguay if they want to start a new currency, maybe we can it the Dollero. I'll write a program which will allow every single financial transaction in all of these countries, plus the U.S. of course, to be settled in either local currency or Dolleros. Then for the tricky bit I will figure out a way to massage all legacy data into Dolleros, so that I can do future projections based on established trends. Piece of cake, should be done by dinner time. Then I can get back to my Y2K work, which will take the next five years ;-)

-- Computer Pro (, February 03, 1999.

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