Maine gvt to stockpile 13 MILLION cubic feet of rice and beans for Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Maine Wants to Stockpile for Y2K

by Declan McCullagh

12:00 p.m. 18.Mar.99.PST

WASHINGTON -- If Belinda Gerry has her way -- and Y2K goes terribly wrong -- the Maine government will hand each resident some 200 pounds of rice and beans next year.

The state legislator proposes spending US$50 million to create a mammoth 13-million-cubic-foot food stash that would feed every Maine resident for months.

-- Declan McCullagh (, March 18, 1999


Where would they ever store it?

-- Watchful (, March 18, 1999.

I think it is a wonderful initiative. I hope they manage to pull it off.

What I find baffling is the fact that some officials seem to feel that they just can't put their thinking caps on and make it happen.

What's so difficult about it? You decide that's what your going to do and you just do it.

-- Stash (rice&, March 18, 1999.

I humbly suggest you actually read the article if you're still wondering where they would store it. I talked about this at length with the general who's the head of the maine national guard.

-- Declan McCullagh (, March 18, 1999.

Ka Ching

-- Vic (, March 18, 1999.

That incredible amount of rice and beans would last only a couple of months for 1.3 million people. All this hassle and logistic nightmares for storing and upkeep. Wow. Think about the cities of 4+ million. Noway in heck the Red Cross and National Guards could feed all the DGI's in the US who didn't prepare.

Well, my hat goes off to Belinda Gerry for trying.

-- Chris (, March 18, 1999.

Your hat's off to her for trying? Geez, and here I was thinking that the folks weren't fans of Nanny Government -- the idea that bureaucrats know better than you and I. I mistakenly believe that folks around here believed in the idea of individual self-reliance, not handouts from government.

Shucks, why not raise taxes and have the government dispense a year's worth of food to us? And medicine? And toilet paper? And candy corn?

There's a phrase for that idea.

Ah, yes: The former Soviet Union.

-- Declan McCullagh (, March 18, 1999.

I'm one of those 1.3 million Mainers who will not have to avail myself of the gov't's rice and beans. There are many of us who GI here in this state. We're not loud or boisterous re: our preparations, but after Ice Storm 98, the "wake-up call" was heard loudly. I personally applaud the effort to provide for those who can't or won't.

-- Ted (, March 18, 1999.

I'm one of those who want to see Maine and every state warn their constituants to prepare individually for more than the ridiculous official "3 day storm".

But I'm also realistic enough to know that every DGI will not. They are DGI's. I don't want to see mass death. At this late stage, Belinda Gerry's efforts are something positive. If nothing else, it will hopefully wake up some people who will wonder why legislators are talking about stockpiling so much rice and beans, and prompt them to do individual preparations.

-- Chris (, March 18, 1999.

So much for cheap prices for the rest of us who don't live in Maine. Glad most of us already got what we need.

-- @ (@@@.@), March 18, 1999.

Sounds like a good way to start a food run to me.

-- SCOTTY (, March 18, 1999.

The way I see it, there's nothing to prevent them buying supplies from farmers instead of Walton Feed. There's plenty of grain in this country. Storing it reliably would be a huge hassle, but I imagine they would not be packing it all into five-gallon buckets like we do. According to the article it's not that likely that the bill will pass, though.

I don't think this is socialistic at all. Any more than it's socialistic to have a police force or military. I wish every state would do this, though that would perhaps require the breakage of some overseas contracts. We export vast quantities of grain. In any case, it makes me feel less like a whacko for my little shed full.

-- Shimrod (, March 18, 1999.

Declan, If we faced a forced choice between total starvation for everybody, and the worst government possible (e.g. The Soviet Union), I think most people would vote with their stomachs, (last vote they'd get for a while though.) Similarly, peoples' general political philosophies can certainly become much more accomodating when they're facing up to a drastic crisis. At this late stage it doesn't matter much who does something constructive or how it's done, just do something useful ANYBODY!

We find ourselves in situations where most people don't have much self-sufficiency or material independence - well, lots have $-type material independence but few have the real thing - and this is largely due to our Keepers and the mindsets they've imprinted us with over the last 2or300 years. And if our Keepers are going to keep on Keeping on, and I see little that could get rid of them prior to y2k, then they might as well be doing something materially productive for their pets, rather than doing the saymo saymo, pretending there's no big changes afoot.

-- humpty (, March 18, 1999.

What is up with some of you,you talk about how the gov. should do something,tell the peoplethe truth,(mabe this is just the way!),when it slaps you right in the face you pick it apart.Are you that scared you can find fault in everything?Even if the attempt is fake the wor d will spread fast,a wakeup call for others.You can speak ill of this attempt of good will but the truth is I think your jealous and/or scared.

I don't think it will pass but it was a big step.And if it does I don't think I'll see any branding iron!We are not sheep,we do tend them,feed them and put them on a plate.And the same goes for anything that steps to hard on our toes.

Thank you Ted for your words of wisdom. :^)

-- Darlene (, March 18, 1999.

I can just see all the refugees from other surrounding states flowing into Maine because they have rice and beans. All those refugees that the government (since they are giving you rice and beans), will ask you to take those refugees into your home in exchange for rice and beans. When are you people going to stop relying on the government to wipe your butts? It does not matter if the government feeds someone for one day or two weeks, the food is going to run out and then what? Or better yet, you have prepared for your own, have been diligent and wise only for the government to come by and confiscate it to feed everyone else for a week or two weeks? Just something to think about.

-- bardou (, March 18, 1999.

Storage is no problem. Distribute it in November and December. Get food grade containers at massive bulk buying discount. Add about $15 to everybody's tax bill. Why wait until you lose all infrastructure to try to distribue it?

Declan, "Ah, yes: The former Soviet Union" Precisely. It' my contention that Gorbachev is sitting around drinking vodka and playing solitaire. We could probably hire him as a central planning consultant for about $200/hour. He could whip is up a real shiny centralized economy in about two weeks. (Course he'd have to understand that the gig would be up the minute the lights came back on!) I'd rather have Gorby than the kurrent okkupant; he's more honest, has more character and is probably more devoted to freedom.

-- Puddintame (, March 18, 1999.

It's too late for the State of Maine to stockpile beans and rice, and to tax the citizens to pay for it. When the SHTF it will mean that people are out of work, hungry, homeless, and couldn't afford to pay any tax bill to support even 3 weeks of beans and rice much less those that are on welfare. I really don't think many of you have thought through this process in realistic terms from beginning to end. People who are on food stamps and fixed incomes have to make it last until the next payout. Do you honestly think that the Cocoa Puff crowd will like eating rice and beans? And when that runs out they'll be turning on people who they think live in ivory palaces. Just something to think about.

-- bardou (, March 18, 1999.

I am not relying on the gov,I work my ass off,can you lug 2-5gal buckets of paint up a flight of stairs,(55 GAL. EACH),work on your knees on a hard floor all day,cut in wall after wall with your hands above your head all day,breath dust and fumes,climb up and down a ladder,move 10 to 23 solid doors one after the other????I work and I work HARD,my day does not end when I get home,I take care of a 750,00O CAMP WITH 100 ACRES,I have 2 kids,3 pets and my parents live with me,my dad is 72.I have been on the state before,worked under the table at a chicken barn,LOTS OF FUN.Now I own my own busines!!I am prepared,and I'm sure that when my preps run out I can plant,grow, by hand,knit,hunt and kill what I need.ARE YOU??

And if anyone comes to my door wanting to work like the rest of us,they have a bed and food.As for anyone taking what is oursgrown or given then you do not know Maine people at all.I gave up on the GOV. along time ago but I do believe in the people,our dreams,hopes and our kids.So if someone wants to give food away I'll be in line aslong as I'm not taking from someone in need,I'll take what I can get,and only if needed.And if TSHTF,someone with beans and rice to give away would be a GOD SENT.

Past my bed time.

Flame away,

I bid good day,

I came to hear of wiser words,

but all got lost on the way.


-- Darlene (, March 18, 1999.

It just plain seems kind of nice to have the State admit storing up food might be a good idea.

-- Deborah (, March 18, 1999.

The most important point of all of this isn't even the food (at least, important NOW). It's that any politician at a decent level would suggest it might be necessary. That's going to make at least a few people THINK. The publicity and the help that might do for individuals is worth the effort whether the measure passes or not. Go, Maine.

PJ in Texas

-- PJ Gaenir (, March 18, 1999.

Darleen, babe, you are full of shit, 55 gallons each! Wow! Let's see 55 gallons at approximately 8.44 gallons (maybe even more) that's 475+! Are you by any chance related to Popeye? No one believes your story here........cuz weeze tooo smart! Find some moron thread to post on.

-- got you babe (, March 18, 1999.

I went back to read what I had posted and yes I did put 55gal. and ment to say 55 lbs. each,each 5gal bucket of paint is 55 lbs.And no I'm not full of shit,just made a mistake.And I do paint for a living,just my husband and myself so all the fun parts of work we split.


-- Darlene (, March 19, 1999.

Someone writes above: "I don't think this is socialistic at all."

Someone else writes: "We find ourselves in situations where most people don't have much self-sufficiency or material independence - well, lots have $-type material independence but few have the real thing"

The answer, then -- in your worldview -- is to tax productive members of society and funnel the goods through an inefficient government bureaucracy to those who waste their money on buying doritos and leather couches.

C'mon folks, food is cheap. $100 will get you enough rice for a few months. Most everyone can do that, or borrow food from someone who can. What you're supporting is Y2K Welfare.

There are two different things that are being conflated here. One is that about five Maine legislators are worried that Y2K is serious. Everyone here loves that, esp. after being sneered at by the press and government officials for months or years. The other idea is that Y2K Welfare is a good plan. Folks here are not thinking clearly and confusing the two.

I thought that folks here weren't fans of Y2K Welfare. I was wrong. You're just enough special-interest group lobbying for handouts from the government. Sigh.

-- Declan McCullagh (, March 19, 1999.

I see both sides of this argument. On one hand, Declan thinks the government action is welfare. On the other hand, there's arguments saying it's good.

I personally don't think that stockpiling food for use in some kind of FEMA type effort is a bad idea. It's better than doing nothing and letting people starve, dammit! (Of course, many people do deserve to starve. Not denying that.)

Government has a role to protect its people. Whether it does this or whether it simply oppresses them is a matter of discussion, but protecting its people from a supply crash is every bit as fitting as protecting them from an invasion or a crime wave.

Of course, maybe they shouldn't dole this stuff out free. Maybe in order to be given this food, you should have to work. Hard. Digging holes and filling them in, perhaps. You'd be getting food in exchange. Don't like it? Don't work. Of course, you won't be eating either..but too bad.

-- Leo (, March 19, 1999.

I gotta agree with Declan on this one. I really gotta. *gasp*

It *IS* cheap to stock up on food - if you start doing it now! A couple extra this or thats every single trip to the store and by year's end....voila! Food.

Even people on welfare can do this for crying out loud. Really. Buy a bag of rice and a bag of beans or a couple cans of tuna or soup, etc. every shopping day. I several families who get food stamps. Some of them are stocking up. It isn't that hard to do.

My sister is on welfare. She has two children. She tells me "I cannot afford to buy anything extra for food, I am barely making it now". She has a brand-new computer (bought on time) two internet connections, 5 (yeah FIVE) parrots, 3 dogs, about 6 cats and they are all eating well (the animals). Her kids have to go to Gramma's to eat breakfast. You get the picture. Prime example of inability to stand on one's own two feet. Unfortunately the children are caught in the middle of sis's stupidity. And before you ask...I am 3,000 miles away and there isn't one thing in hell I can do to help believe me I've tried.

It's priorities people...priorities. There is always something that can be eliminated or cut back on to allow for a couple extra cans of food. Common sense dictates. (My sister has a shortage of that for sure but that's a whole nother tale...) Unfortunately there's always also an excuse. Any old excuse will do.....

This is part of the problem with our present society - wait for the government to take care of you. Helping others is one thing, but hanging on the tit of the government's another altogether.

Y2k Welfare - a new buzzword? LOL

Just my stupid little one person's opinion.

(flame-retardant undies installed)

-- Bobbi (, March 19, 1999.

Declan, you are one serious libertarian dude. If I were emperor I'd do my dead-level best to solve the problem. Let the political scientists be damned. I think you're just stirring up this little hornets nest for fun, but then again, how would I know.

-- Puddintame (, March 19, 1999.

Declan is one person I'd like to see torn to shreds by the furious hungry mobs. Good riddance to a parasitic, arrogant, bought off, immoral, snide, revolting piece of crap. Burn him over rolls of Time mags.

-- lurker turned off (byDeclan@getting.worse), March 19, 1999.

Declan, what is your point to start a political argument? Have you joined the "Norm" club. Your stance whacks people coming or going, it is a no-win for everyone but you. And your comments have nothing to do with Maine's attempt at dealing with a y2k problem, they have everything to do with belittling everyone on both sides of the political issue, as you defined with considerably weighted and spun words.

Creating a war between those who propound grassroots response and those who think that big government is the only entity capable of preparing large masses of people is counter productive, because it is obvious that neither method is going to shoulder the burden on its own. Dialog should be directed towards grassroots and govt cooperation.

What is your point Declan? You reach huge audiences with your public writings. Some of those writings are informative, some aren't. You have protested in public that you had no personal control over some of the articles that have your name on the byline, intimating that if it was up to you you would be giving us the straight unspun skinny. But after this thread I wonder. Is Time going to come out with a substantive article re Maine's program and you are doing psychological research with the Yourdan respondents, so you can write a well crafted piece spun the way you and your editors wish?

-- Mitchell Barnes (, March 19, 1999.

To PJ in Texas - thanks for saying it for me. And to Ted (from Maine) - amen to "There are many of us who GI here in this state." More, I think, than we realize.

And I have found that those who were not aware were very willing to listen. I am interested in Rob Michaels' thread above: "Understanding Y2K Without the Internet" because so many of my acquaintances who DGI don't have computers.

I am beginning to feel comfortable with my own level of preparation, and with how much I will be able to help neighbors (most of whom GI, but are very elderly and will need some care). I took in six of 'em during the ice storm. They brought along whatever food they had, and we made do just fine for the six days we were without power here.

And to Declan - thanks for adding a new word to my vocabulary. "Conflated" sent me right to my O.E.D. If I've got it right, I hope to conflate my preparations, my neighbors' historical insights, and - if necessary - anything the State of Maine hands me.


-- Cameron (, March 19, 1999.

Some of the responses above are perfectly reasonable and quite thoughtful.

Others are just wacked out.

Take this one: "what is your point to start a political argument?" My point is to get folks thinking critically of Y2K Welfare. If that means that some folks think I'm starting a political argument, well, so be it.

Two other things. I don't know what a Norm club is. And when an article appears with "By Declan McCullagh" I have a great deal of control. But when it's someone else's byline and "Declan McCullagh contributed to this article," I have comparatively little. This is hardly breaking news, folks, really.

Let me try to put it another way. One can agree with the goal of Y2K Welfare -- feeding the hungry -- and not agree that the tax-and-spend means are the best way to accomplish it. It's the same way with normal welfare, or whatever other social service you care to name.

There are a surprising number of defenders of Y2K-Welfare-Tax-And-Spend-Socialism around here. Like I said, yet another special interest group looking for govenment handouts. Sad.

-- Declan McCullagh (, March 19, 1999.

Declan, "yet another special interest group looking for govenment handouts. Sad." We're not going to solve this high falutin' policy argument here and now, so let's at least refine the debate for the sake of accuracy.

I'll come to your statement "yet another special interest group looking for govenment handouts. Sad." Now let me write the truth.

"The folks on this forum are a special interest group. They see the public health and happiness of their neighborhood, their country and their world endangered. The folks on this forum have recognized the risk and taken action, at their own expense, to protect themselves and their immediate family Many on this forum have taken the next step and tried to protect their community from the risk, but most of these efforts have been ignored at scoffed at due to a number of factors including ignorance of the risk.

Many in this country do not have the means to buy a month's or more worth of food in advance even if they did perceive the risk. The folks on this forum are a special interest group who feel a need to protect the world, but an awful sense of impotence in implementing any defenses. If government handouts to others can provide any protection of the public health, then government handouts to others would be very welcome. Folks on this forum don't want others to suffer because they were ignorant or incorrect in their judgment. If handouts to others will save them, then we're for the handouts. This is indeed a sad situation."

I think what I've written is a lot fairer representation of what many on this forum feel.

-- Puddintame (, March 19, 1999.

If you feel the need to prepare yourself, feel free. If you feel the urge to spend your own money to help others less fortunate, I would not object.

But the response goes like this: Don't use my money to do it. Don't require me at gunpoint to hand over my hard-earned cash (pay taxes or go to jail) -- all so you can use my tax dollars on some liberal Y2K Welfare scheme.

Pretty simple.

-- Declan McCullagh (, March 19, 1999.

Thanks for the response Declan.

Why do you think it is necessary to get "folks thinking critically of Y2K Welfare"? To what end?

Norm is a real spinner, a new contributor to the Forum.

I understand your byline personal story, many questioned you about this with the Jan Time issue. And you ducked my point.

Why are you spinning and enturbulating the Maine story with politics? Did I miss your take on the Portland, OR, or the Kauai preparation efforts? It is March 19, 1999 after all. One would assume that the very fact that upper level planners and politicians are even considering the need for large scale preparation, regardless of who does it, as something to be very happy about. Certainly the grassroots people here in California are begging our highest level state politicians to become as involved, minimally, as those people appear to be in Maine.

Declan, at this late date, given the high probabilities for fairly major physical systems disruptions, here & elsewhere, I find it boggling that you assume the position that we need to examine the politics behind one or another method of small or large scale preparation. Very sad indeed! Rather reminds me of Berkeley's Bob Burnett saying that he couldn't Contingency Plan until he got a definitive statement from PG&E regarding the amount of electrical outage to expect after y2k.

Dialog overheard just after the Titanic hit the berg: "Shall we paint the lifeboats White or Navajo White before we allow anyone to use them? Let's form a committee to examine the ramifications."

-- Mitchell Barnes (, March 19, 1999.

Why am I "spinning" this story with politics? Well, geez, folks, it's all about politics. There's a reason it was in the politics section of Wired News. The governor wants one thing; the legislature may want another. This is the stuff of which political stories are made.

This is useless. I give up. There's more than one way to be a DGI, as folks have made so clear above.

All the points I wanted to make I've made already. Anything now is wasting my typing fingers and my time.

-- Declan McCullagh (, March 19, 1999.


Please don't give up, and you're NOT wasting your time. Thanks for the article.

BTW, Y2K IS about the politics of big business and big government mindsets AND computers, et. al.

What the article indicates, for me, is the potential Y2K severity possible, as one state government sees it. Thats significant.

And an interesting AND responsible approach to contingency planning, IMHO.

HOWEVER, I suspect a fraction of the money would be far better spent on mass media advertising and brochures available at every city hall, school and library encouraging residents to store a three months supply, and offering storage instructions, etc. (saves on those extra maintenance costs with distributed storage too). That way, people have individual control, are encouraged to take individual responsibility AND are told by their elected representatives, that this is a serious enough problem to pay attention to.

SO, in other words, IF our local and federal governments would encourage real preparations, even to the level of planting Y2K Victory Gardens this spring, we wouldnt need handouts. Wed all become pretty handy instead.



-- Diane J. Squire (, March 19, 1999.

I will let Declan's reply stand on its own merit.

Thank you!

-- Mitchell Barnes (, March 19, 1999.

Don't forget, only a few months ago there was a severe shortage of rice in, of all places, TAIWAN!! I don't know if it is still that bad but they were having friends from America send food to them!

-- @ (@@@.@), March 19, 1999.

The bill submitted to the Maine Legislature was sponsored and co-sponsored by 2 State Senators and 7 State Reps. Today's Bangor Daily News reported response from Governor King's representative. "He would probably veto the bill if passed." Also he wondered where one could store this amount of food or how it would be distributed to where needed. It appeared from the article that the governor would PROBABLY veto the bill if passed. In listening to him on the radio the other night he is not a GI, and may just be a denialist - with or without him I know of at least 10 towns that have community y2k programs in progress. His representative did not say he WOULD veto the bill - just PROBABLY. Politicians don't believe in being HEROES - what was interesting in the article is the Governor said we made it thru the icestorm which caused problems for "several days". That almost sounds like the fed's 3-day hurricane. I don't know where the governor was in January 1998 but here in Maine we were without power in our area for 10-13 days. On the main roads, 3=4 days but on the rural roads, 10-13. j.w.parker

-- j.w.parker (, March 19, 1999.

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