Koskinen is no computer expert. In fact, he had never used a PC until he joined the White House five years ago.greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Gary North posted a link to the following news article. Am I the only person who is appalled at Bill Clinton's choice for Y2K Czar?
White House seeks motivated, self-starter to oversee $7.5 billion fix of government computer systems on tight deadline. Ability to work with bureaucrats, skittish general public and hostile politicians a must. No power, but candidate must take full responsibility if project fails. Annual pay: $126,000. Had there been an ad for the job, it might have read that way. As it was, the White House knew from the start exactly the person it wanted to serve as chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion. It was 2 a.m. on a day in January 1998, and John Koskinen was awakened by a ringing telephone in his Amsterdam hotel room. "The president would really like you to do it," crackled the voice of the White House aide at the other end of the line. "I thought, 'Yeah, right,"' recalls Koskinen, who recently had resigned as top manager of the White House budget office and was globetrotting with his wife, Patricia. But a few days later, President Clinton phoned him, followed by a call from Vice President Al Gore. Koskinen took the job. It's no sinecure. The Y2K computer problem, which stems from the inability of some computers to distinguish between the year 2000 and 1900, is difficult enough in the corporate world. The challenge for the 59-year-old Koskinen is to spur government agencies -- not known for speedy responses -- to action while ensuring Y2K doesn't hobble the rest of the U.S. economy. A large part of his role is to be the nation's wet blanket, cooling the flames of hype and fear mongering about Y2K. He never passes up the opportunity to debunk year-2000 myths. Elevators won't go haywire, he says. Planes won't fall from the sky. Nuclear missiles won't launch accidentally. And he doesn't expect major Y2K-related failures in the nation's electric-power, telecommunications and banking industries. One of his favorite retorts to panic peddlers: "That's fine if you're a guy selling land in New Mexico, but we can't all run to the hills." Koskinen's sense of humor turns out to be a big help in his job. At a State Department meeting, an official asks Koskinen why any reporter would want to trail him for a week. "The cult of personality lives," he replies. Once the meeting gets under way, Koskinen is seated around a conference table with about 15 officials. Lesser-ranked aides form a semicircle behind the conference table. The hosts flash an incomprehensible blur of color-coded charts from an overhead projector -- all of which are meant to illustrate the agency's progress in fixing its computers. After 30 minutes, Koskinen senses the report is too rosy, especially as it relates to systems being retested after they have been fixed. "I'm more suspicious of testing that doesn't find problems," he chides. "The whole purpose of this process is to find problems rather than deliver good news." State Department Chief Information Officer Fernando Burbano pipes up: "Not only are we brutally honest, but we are also pretty consistent." "Pretty consistently an 'F,"' someone mutters, referring to the agency's grade on a recent Y2K congressional report card. The room explodes in laughter. When the topic changes to possible water shortages in foreign countries, Koskinen suggests the State Department order consulates and embassies to fill up their swimming pools "and boil out the chlorine" if they need extra water. "Can you really do that?" someone asks. "Sure, I was a Boy Scout," Koskinen says. Koskinen joined the Clinton administration in 1994 as deputy director for management in the White House Office of Management and Budget and soon found chaos aplenty: He coordinated the shutdown of bureaucracy in 1995 when Congress and the president were at odds over budget legislation. He is no computer expert. In fact, he had never used a PC until he joined the White House five years ago. His expertise is in devising ways to help large groups solve problems. When he began his current job a year ago, he designed a system of more than 100 private industry "working groups" representing vital sectors of the economy, all of whom filter information to the White House.
-- Rick (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 12, 1999
Having background, knowledge and experience IS NOT a requirement for this administrations appointees. LOYALTY is the ONLY prerequisite.
-- Ray (email@example.com), March 12, 1999.
This is the gist of the Wall St. Journal article threaded earlier. I guess the text has no made its way into the public domain.
-- Puddintame (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 12, 1999.
F Koskinem. Asshole. To subtlely deride Ed Yourdon, the guy is worse than a moron. Propaganda scumbag. Sleezeball. He belongs in Hitler's groupies. He will be left with the blood and suffering of millions on his shoulders, and revilement all down history. Bile butthead.
-- more disgusted (email@example.com), March 12, 1999.
Mr. more disgusted, how do you *real* feel about him?
-- rick blaine (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 12, 1999.
"The challenge for the 59-year-old Koskinen is to spur government agencies -- not known for speedy responses -- to action while ensuring Y2K doesn't hobble the rest of the U.S. economy."
Exactly why we should NOT listen to this man anymore. His job is not to protect or ensure the safety and well-being of the populous as a whole but rather to motivate the government agencies (without the power to push them) and make sure the bubble doesn't burst in the American economy as a result of Y2k fears and failures. Koskinen was never to be the point man for public issues but rather just another clueless manager who makes similar mistakes to those that got us in this mess in the first place.
I wouldn't trust this man to give any advice regarding personal preps or the probability of failure. He's not at all qualified and I bet speaking about problems as they relate tot he public wasn't even in his original "job discription".
We are such burnt toast Federally. The only way to act now is locally. Get involved with your neighbors and your community.
-- Michael Taylor (email@example.com), March 12, 1999.
Gee, I thought you didn't have to be a techie to "get it." So, why is it OK for Gary North to be hailed as an authority? He doesn't know much about computers either.
-- . (.@...), March 12, 1999.
The Weasels know not.
They speak strange words. Can you boil water to get rid of chlorine? Will purple elephants fall from the sky which was *not* the subject of the Senate Report?
The Weasels speculate,
-- Red Ermine (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 12, 1999.