Senators urge stocking up : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

From Yahoo news, dated Feb. 28 <:)=


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans should prepare for the year 2000 computer bug like they would a hurricane, by stocking up on canned food and bottled water in case vital services are cut off, senators leading a congressional study of the problem said Sunday.

Global trade could also be disrupted because major U.S. trading partners, including Japan and oil producers Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, may not be able to address the computer glitch in time, Utah Republican Sen. Robert Bennett and Connecticut Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd said.

``This problem is real,'' Bennett, chairman of the Senate's special committee on the so-called Y2K problem, told CBS's ''Face the Nation.'' ``This will not be the end of the world as we know it. But we have to stay on top of it.''

The problem is that many computers as now configured cannot recognize the year 2000.

To save expensive disk space, early programmers tracked dates with only the last two numbers of the year. If not fixed, many computers will read ``00'' as 1900. That could cause many computers to crash or generate errors come Jan. 1, 2000.

Bennett and Dodd, who is vice chairman of the Senate's Y2K committee, are expected to release their report on the computer problem Tuesday.

According to a draft copy of the report, the nation's airports started preparations too late, and shipments of goods and services by sea could be disrupted because the maritime industry was running behind.

``It's not unwise for people to do a little stockpiling,'' Dodd told NBC's ``Meet the Press.''

He said people should buy bottled water, canned goods and other essentials as they might to prepare for a ``good storm, a hurricane'' that would last two to three days.

Dodd said people should also keep copies of their financial records in case banks run into unforeseen problems. But he said that banking problems were unlikely.

There was no need for people to buy electricity generators or stockpile propane because a prolonged nationwide blackout was unlikely, Bennett said.

The committee's draft report added that due to limited resources and a lack of awareness, rural and inner-city hospitals across the United States would be at high risk. It said more than 90 percent of doctors' offices had yet to address the problem.

The draft report concluded that more serious problems could strike other countries, including some major U.S. trading partners far behind in Y2K readiness.

``Planes will not fall out of the sky, but disruption of flights and global trade between some areas and countries may occur,'' the draft report said.

The committee singled out major oil producers Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for failing to prepare for the computer glitch.

Japan and Mexico were also at serious risk, along with France, Germany, Brazil, Italy and Spain, according to the report.

Bennett and Dodd said the U.S. nuclear arsenal appeared to be safe, but the computer bug could cause weapons systems in other countries to malfunction. Dodd said it was critical that Russia, Pakistan, India, China and other nations work together on the problem.

But both senators said there was no way to tell how serious the disruptions would be.

``When we get to New Year's Eve, everybody, no matter how informed we think we are, is going to be holding his breath,'' Bennett said.

-- Sysman (, February 28, 1999


I'm so sick of hearing this that I'm beginning to hope just one plane WILL fall from the sky. With any luck, it'll be the one Jane Garvey's on.

-- Vic (, February 28, 1999.

Yea, I know Vic. I'm gettung a little tired of the hurricane line too. <:)=

-- Sysman (, February 28, 1999.

Is Jane pretty? Perhaps we could find room for Clinton on that flight?

-- Taz (, February 28, 1999.

If Bush were still prez he'd do it. After all, he's a trained skydiver!

-- WantSumArkensauce? (BillKlintone@whitehouse.orgy), February 28, 1999.

TAZ, Pretty has nothing to do with it....remember Paula Jones?

-- Eye On Y2K (, February 28, 1999.

Senator Dod is a total idiot! He recommends storing up 3 days of food! Most people have more than that in their kitchen cupboards and their refrigerators!!! I hope people will remember his idiotic Y2K recommendations, WHEN HE WANTS THEM TO RE-ELECT HIM!!! The poor people who believe in him will surely die and will not be able to re- elect him!!! Senator Bennet six months ago used the words "The end of western civilization" and all of a sudden he made a complete turn around! I'm betting somebody higher up told him to SHUT UP!!!

-- Freddie the Freeloader (, February 28, 1999.

Hi Freddie. I think you are correct. I think the heat is on. It will be much more interesting when the Senate report is public, today (?). We all here know the "bump" is going to be more like a mountain. At least these guys are saying to do something! It's still early in the game. They can't go all out now - it could wake the sleeping public! <:)=

-- Sysman (, March 01, 1999.

Dodd said "Stockpile". I took it to be a politically correct way of saying do-it, a secret message from him to the get-its.

Same thing with Bennett. Both are using GI language. You know the code.

If he wanted to say, have a couple cans of soup on the shelf, he would have said that. He said "Stockpile" and meant it.

-- x y z (x@y.z), March 01, 1999.

Exactly Freddie, I've never been without at least a week's food simply because I hate going to the store very often. I also have more stuff I've bought on sale. I would have been a lot more impressed if they had said two or three weeks of food. Yardeni seemed to be the only one who hasn't sold out and morphed into a pollyanna.

-- gilda jessie (, March 01, 1999.

At first, I was upset with Dodd and Benett's low-key aproach to stockpiling. As Freddie said, he was talking "end of civilization if this happened tomorrow" last summer, and in his report he uses strong language again, " potentialy worse than any event this country has ever witnessed".

But then last night, while watching a local evening news story about Y2K and stockpiling and where they mentioned the report was due out this week, it occured to me that it was a smart aproach from the senators. The masses' mind has been pre-conditioned to think of Y2K and those who stockpile as fringe lunatics, cultist, extremists etc. by the media. Were the senators to propose to stockpile for any longer periods would portray them as lunatics too. I believe that the strong wording of the report and the discrepency in the incongruous advice to stockpile for 3 days will be picked up by the masses.

My husband picked up on this last night, while watching a local evening news report on Y2K and stockpiling. They mentioned the senators' report due out this week, and started what they said would be a series on Y2K and preparations. The tone was happy-faced and upbeat ofcourse, but no mention of lunatic bunker mentality, or other such non-sense. If you recall on another thread where we had an arguement hubby and I over how many cords of wood I should order (I said 4 he said 1), after the news report he said maybe I should get at least 2. Well, he couldn't give in to me, but that was my clue to go ahead with the 4 ;-) The attitude in my husband has notably changed since the news of Benett's report, albeit no big "aha!", but then my husband has a face to save since I've been argueing about Y2K with him for the past year. But he sees the discrepency between stockpiling for a 3-day storm and what the senators are saying, as well as with the report from the USPS.

Also, a while back there was a thread with an article where Benett had said "behind closed doors" that they were walking a fine line between waking up the masses to prepare and causing panic, or something to that effect.

A lot of damage has been done by the media with portraying Y2K and those who prepare in the wrong light, and now they must undo it with small doses of facts and the actual seriousness of the problem and the concequences, if people are going to believe any of it, IMO.

-- Chris (, March 01, 1999.

Regarding the senators "low key" public advisories: perhaps it might be helpful to read an article published today (3/2/99), and play "connect the dots." Take particular notice of the word "perceived" with regard to weakness. an.shtml

Inquiring minds want to know...

-- FM (, March 01, 1999.

Above link doesn't work. Here's the correct one: 1_xex_terrorism_an.shtml

-- Ned (, March 01, 1999.

Chris, my take on the Bennett/Dodd remarks is very close to yours. I wonder, too, if there wasn't some sort of behind-closed-doors schedule of ratcheting (as has been discussed here) and the senators either jumped the gun or didn't get the word that someone wasn't quite ready, hence the previous, shall we say, enthusiasm. We all know how government communications are very often lacking in some way or for some reason. Now the two senators have ratcheted back a bit. Somewhat far-fetched, but it's another explanation.

Your point about the word "stockpiling" being associated with Y2K loonies is right on the mark--perhaps the Senators are now beginning to detoxify the word, as you suggest.

Whatever the reason, I do feel a sense of relief that the word is being officially spread at last, no matter how low-key.

Fingers crossed for cords No. 3 and 4!

-- Old Git (, March 01, 1999.

Old Git, I wrote that post above before I read the "Senate to meet behind closed doors" thread. I gave another perspective on that one.

I've ordered 3 cords this morning to be delivered in 3 trips :-)

-- Chris (, March 01, 1999.

Yup, just saw that. I'm leaning to the view that most of the politicians pretty much know TS will HTF and the closed-door session is probably just to carefully spin things, maybe ratchet up just a tiny bit more. Above all, panic must be averted. As noted above, Bennett is trusted because he comes closest to what we know--but there's usually a time lag on that, i.e., he's a bit behind us. So I don't think there's even worse news than we already know. And I hope I'm right!

(Great news on the cords, also smart way to do it, a cord at a time!)

-- Old Git (, March 01, 1999.

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