"The Challenge Ahead": Steve Hewitt

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Y2K, The Challenge Ahead

Volume 11 | May 1999 | Issue 5


Steve Hewitt (editor, Christian Computing Magazine)


I can see light at the end of the tunnel. The surveys at the close of 1998 showed a rising percent of people becoming alarmed about Y2K. I have been saying that the fear generated by the hype of Y2K could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, however, surveys show that the number of people in America overly concerned about Y2K is dropping. Sales of survivalist foods and the purchase of gold are also starting to drop. The word from pastors across the nation is that the number of calls and cries of concern for Y2K are declining.

Now that the panic is starting to subside, businesses are reporting that they are getting the job done, and more and more people are learning how to separate fact from speculation, what can we expect in the future? What will many of those that sought to scare us into action or preparation say now about Y2K?

It seems amazing to me that this far into the Y2K situation some still refuse to change their position. Just as astounding to me is that some who over-sensationalized Y2K and used their position in Christian media to sound an alarm about Y2K now are noticeably silent. Do they believe that we will just forget the dire warnings that they shared with millions? Are we to now assume that silence is their way of letting us know that it is no longer a problem? It reminds me of World War II - years after the war was over, Japanese soldiers were found in hiding, still preparing to provide resistance because no one told them the war was over. Many Christians are waiting for a word from those who encouraged them to prepare for the worse. Should they continue in light of the present information we now have? They are waiting!

Some of our Christian media leadership have implied that Y2K was of great concern to them. They encouraged the sale of alarmist books and preparations that many considered vital to survival. Now that it appears that the problem was grossly overstated, what will they say to their audiences?

I find it amazing that certain statements have been allowed to go unchallenged. Sometime during the last months of 1998, Michael Hyatt was asked to address the staff of Focus on the Family. During January 1999, they played most of his speech on their radio show. During the presentation he began to talk about upcoming Y2K dates. Michael stated that he believes that certain dates will provide us with the steps down into whatever chaos were going to experience. He pointed to January 1, 1999 and other dates as potential Y2K disruption dates. He was correct in this assumption, because most computer programs that are date sensitive look forward to dates rather than back. (And many businesses DID have Y2K crashes on January 1 and April 1, 1999, although the public was not affected.)

He went on to state, And the next big date-and I think this is going to be a real one to watch-is April the 1st [1999]. New York State, Japan, and Canada begin their fiscal years. And New York State, New York City being the media hub of the world, if there are problems there, theyre going to be broadcast around the world. So the smoke and mirrors will be gone and theyll be hitting real, live situations as we go along. Were already hitting them, but were going to hit them in greater pervasiveness.

OK, now that April 1, 1999 has come and gone, what can we expect from Michael Hyatts perspective on how we are doing with the Y2K problem? Well, on April 13, 1999, he posted an article on his web site entitled, Dont Chase the Y2K Red Herrings (written by E. L. Core). Here it is stated, Likewise for fiscal (or financial) years. The Canadian government, and the New York State government, began their fiscal year 2000 on April 1, 1999. As I write, no problems have been reported. And that is exactly what should have been expected. For, in most cases, only a small portion of an organizations computer systems deal with the fiscal year: accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and general ledger. The amount of work required to fix these financial applications is a lightning flash in a thunderstorm compared to fixing all the rest of an organizations systems that deal with dates. Is this a sign of the way poor speculation will be explained away? Hey, a prediction was made and nothing happened. Will there ever be an admission that early speculation was over exaggerated, or will some just assume their audience is not paying attention.

One more thing I find amazing is that some are now admitting that we will not experience major disruptions of vital services here in the US. Yet they claim that we need to continue to stock up and prepare, because some speculate their might be a recession next year and we need to be ready to minister to those who might be affected. A recent survey of economist published by USAToday on March 30, 1999 stated that they did indeed feel there was a chance there could be some recession next year. However, the article stated, The problems the economists foresee don't come mainly from the software bug, because most businesses have already acted to correct it. Instead, the experts see the economy whipsawed by the actions of consumers and firms preparing for the worst. Because so many people have been encouraged to stock up on everything from toilet paper to can goods, there is a chance that during the first six months of the year 2000, we will not need to buy as much. This would lead to a recession, possible layoffs in some industries and some economic problems. Now, if these economists are correct, then those that are preparing are fueling the potential for a recession. How ironic that Christian organizations are lead the parade of encouraging preparations. In some cases, so that we can better minister to those that are affected by the potential recession (which we are helping to CAUSE by encouraging more people to stock up and prepare!) This is almost like shooting someone in the leg, and then offering to tend to their wound as a way of ministry!

Final notes

Dave Hunt has a great book out on the subject of Y2K. It is called Y2K A Reasoned Response To Mass Hysteria. It is well documented, and not only explains why things are looking better, but also explains why we got into the panic problems in the first place. Look for it in book stores everywhere, or you can help support CCMag by purchasing it from our online bookstore.

Also it should be noted that I have discovered that there are TWO Joseph Projects. One is simply called the Joseph Project and the other is called the Joseph Project 2000. There has been much confusion due to the two organizations having names so similar. I have spoken out against the Joseph Project on a few occasions because my contact with some of their personnel has not been positive. I felt that they have been leading the pack on preparations, and then they also are making money by selling the supplies that they scare you into believing you need. Many others have been speaking out against the Joseph Project, unaware that there ARE two different organizations. Although I do not agree with everything in Shaunti Feldhahns book, I feel she has come a long way in starting to get the word out that things are looking better. Her organization, the Joseph Project 2000 has never sought to sell supplies or food, and insists on working with pastors and avoiding church conflict. While we both still dont agree on everything (but then what two people do), I want to help my readers to be aware that there are two different organizations out there with different goals and purposes.


-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), May 18, 1999


More folks out to make a quick buck. Sigh.

Dave Hunt has a great book out on the subject of Y2K. It is called Y2K A Reasoned Response To Mass Hysteria. It is well documented, and not only explains why things are looking better, but also explains why we got into the panic problems in the first place. Look for it in book stores everywhere, or you can help support CCMag by purchasing it from our online bookstore.

-- Grocery Shopper (let@buyers.beware), May 18, 1999.

Um....Grocery...that's like the adult blue whale calling the baby hippo "large"

-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), May 18, 1999.

I guess real men can't be bothered to read the thread about 14 lines below with the exact same title on the exact same person.

Steve Hewitt? Sometime makes one reassess the "fallacy" of ad hominem argument.

-- Puddintame (achillesg@hotmail.com), May 18, 1999.

I am one of those who, based on comments from numerous speculators, including Ed Yourdon, was expecting more blatant problems by this point. However, it could be a serious mistake to conclude that the hard work of Y2K project members is responsible for the lack of trouble to date, and therefore bodes well for the future. There are countries where Y2K work has barely begun, yet I don't see them falling apart at the seams because of 1999 problems. Why not? Either the entire problem was grossly overestimated, in which case the world may have wasted over a trillion dollars on fixing it, or the 1999 problems are trivial compared to a truly big problem to come later. I believe either of these possibilities is more likely than the "we've got it under control" conclusion.

-- Bill Byars (billbyars@softwaresmith.com), May 18, 1999.


Beware of thinking things are mutually exclusive when they are not. There are probably many factors which together contribute to the lack of problems so far. Some of these are: we got to some of them in time, we (and expecially those overseas) are kluding around them as they happen, less developed countries aren't so reliant on computers, there weren't as many lookaheads as some thought, there aren't as many truly serious date bugs as feared, and perhaps others.

These aren't exclusive, they act in concert. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we're not out of it yet. Not time to relax.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 18, 1999.

How soon they forget! It has only been about three weeks since this came to light.

After years of work, with enormous effort, by a very large group of highly paid people, there "IS" good news for Northwest Airlines

So this means every system that could possibly affect you and I must be added to the ?compliant list?

How are all those stock holders going to receive the good news?

Billions more being allocated for a non problem,

Billions "yet" to be spent -- already allocated,

And of course, what will all those lawyers, waiting to get a piece of the TRILLION dollar pie tell their families?

Guess they can get some good buys on prep suplies huh?

"Early crisis dates have come and gone, giving proof that the repair effort is paying off."

"There were just thousands and thousands of bugs that had to be weeded out," Dufek explained in his sun-filled conference room near the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. "There is no question that every major application we have would have failed. Absolutely no question about it."

What's needed

About 200 people, give or take. That's how many Northwest has thrown at the Y2K computer bug.

Congrat's to NW for having the foresight to attack this non problem so rigorously. I think if I were planning to fly, I might seriously consider NW, but then I guess I would want to see some good evidence from AV gas suppliers (jet fuel) just to make sure the mixtures are just right, and control towers, landing lights, SatCom ..... oh well, I can't even get excited enough to help fools.

PS. Beware the baggage!

-- unspun@lright (
mikeymac@uswest.net), May 18, 1999.

Thanks for the humorous post from Hewitt. LOL. Funny, isn't it, that Y2K .... hasn't .... happened .... yet. This stuff is like something out of 1984: Newspeak. No matter how one views 1999 "dates", nothing can change that.

Nor can anything change the wisdom of being prepared, whether Y2K turns out to be a bump, TEOTWAWKI or something between. Preparation is done on behalf of great stakes and real risks. Hewitt's bizarre claim that there should be apologies for urging preparation is just that.

Gee, how improbable that, given the huge amount of money (thankfully) spent, there is good news in 1999. Wow, amazing. Guess that means Y2K is fixed. Not.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 18, 1999.



-- spun@lright (
mikeymac@uswest.net), May 18, 1999.



-- spun@lright (mikeymac@uswest.net), May 18, 1999.

My humble appologies --

I'm back

I'm sure there will be excellant coverage on potential problems, I have every confidence the airlines will do their best to assure passenger safety, especially regarding baggage. They have families too! I'm just paranoid I guess!

-- unspun@lright (mikeymac@uswest.net), May 18, 1999.

One reason things may have quieted down may be because a lot of people who believed there would be disruptions have already made their preparations.

Another reason may be that people who sounded the alarm early have already told everyone they care to. Or maybe they got enough of a negative reaction that they decided it wasn't worth the trouble and just quietly continued about their business of preparing. That's what I'm doing. I've made up my mind and done what I'm going to do. I don't really care what anyone else does or whether they agree or not.

There are also some people who really don't know about it yet. They haven't had a chance to react one way or the other. I think the vast majority of the population of the world falls into this category. It's hard to believe, but I think it's true. Unfortunately, they won't have time to prepare once they've heard even if they want to.

-- Clyde (clydeblalock@hotmail.com), May 18, 1999.


Not humorous, but curious, rather...that all of the grand prognostications made by all of the prophets of Doom have dissolved into little puddles of nothingness. And given the fact that nearly all educated observers of Y2k agree that that causes and effects of Y2k will be spread out over time, i.e. not concentrated all together in one Big Bang at 12 midnight 12-31-99; yes it is VERY significant that all of these early predictions of Y2k doom have fallen completely flat. Oh...excuse me....95% flat. That's still pretty flat.

YOU talk about "newspeak"? Now THAT'S funny. You folks predicted this and that and the other, and when it didn't happen, you had twenty ways to Sunday to explain it away, like you didn't say what you PLAINLY said. Where I come from, that's bald-faced lying. Don't know what you call it. Or did you guys learn your apologetics from Clinton's speech-writing team? (Um, that would still be lies.)

Prudent preparations? Nothing wrong with that. Doing that myself.

But your bizarre claims that there should be preparations to the degree you would suggest are just that. Bizarre. The vast majority of the world's IT/business/governmental community agrees. And those are the facts, Jack.

-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), May 18, 1999.

They call it the Year 2000 problem for a reason.....

-- (the@year.2000), May 18, 1999.

I will never understand, despite many peoples attempts to analyze it, what the pollys and naysayers get from trying to ridicule people preparing. If I was a polly I'd just think "They seem crazy to me, but its none of my business".

Also I read Dave Hunts book --- how anyone can call it complete or "well thought out" is another mystery. If you page through it at "Borders" sometime you'll get a few laughs anyway.

-- Jon Johnson (narnia4@usa.net), May 18, 1999.

Chicken said,

"But your bizarre claims that there should be preparations to the degree you would suggest are just that."

What almost ALL of us suggest is that individuals should prepare up to the max of their own ability AND in correspondence with their own estimate of the stakes and risks. Their OWN estimate.

Wow. Bizarre.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 18, 1999.

Y'know, i keep hearing "....companies are compliant....", "...Companies have it solved..", "With all of the companies who are finished..." But, I can't seem to name one of all those companies. OH, right the two lil' banks that have actually come out and said they were compliant, and no slither words allowed in th estatements.

WHY haveb't I heard oh, let's see, it's May 18, that would be 6 and a half (close enough for first order approximations) months to go, 5000 comapnies of reasonable size, assume an even distri-, nah, lets assume a gausian distribution. Disregard time for testing, and we should be about a half standard deviation from the peak so we should have ROUGHLY a thousand of the 5000 complete, and about three hundred and fifty a week for the next six or seven weeks, and the other 1500 spread through the rest of the year.

OR we can NOT disregard testing, which will move us WAY down the rising side of the curve, probably 2 to 2.5 standard deviations, say for an approxiimation, we should STILL have a couple hundred announced and be seeing announcements at the rate of 25-50 per week.

I guess these announcements must be kinda like Cavaliers season ticket holding "fans" who show up disguised as blue seats.

Or they are making their announcements in VERY OBSCURE trade papers with circulations under 5,000, and all to technical libraries and engineering School libraries.

To quote one of our more "unique" talk show hosts (of "megadago's" fame, and yes it's a send-up of Rush) "Beleive me when I tell you" that I REALLY WANT to see these announcements. I REALLY DON"T WANT TO have to use the stuff in the basement, but I got NOTHING to hang my hat on except 2 (or maybe 3) lil' banks, and ONE airline.

Can anyone help with specifics??


-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 18, 1999.

Answering Jon Johnson and BigDog:

Jon said, "If I was a polly I'd just think 'They seem crazy to me, but its none of my business'." Right on fella, if that's all you folks were doing. If it weren't for Doomer efforts to persuade other people that they should be Doomers also, I wouldn't give a hoot. But that's not what's going on. If you think it is, you have a possible career as a Clinton speechwriter ahead of you.

Same comment to BigDog. You're a Christian, right? You know what proselytizing means. That's my problem with Doomers. If you were truly 'minding your own business', I'd have no problem with you folks. But that's not present reality. Doomers by and large are proselytizing out the wazoo. For whatever reason. And those are the facts, too, Jack.

-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), May 18, 1999.

OUCH!! he said dusting the foot with sulfa powder. I CAN type but not tonight, I guess.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 18, 1999.

Chuck -- could you please try to sound a bit more like Gary North please?

-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), May 18, 1999.

Chicken --- one of the constant complaints of pollys is that we are always thinking "only of ourselves". I can't speak for others, but the single reason I post here is to encourage others to prepare: grandmothers, fathers, neighbors and the like. If that is preaching, I plead guilty as charged. But that is a far cry from "bizarrely" telling others HOW they should prepare.

Chuck --- against the constantly repeated litany of the so-called critical 1999 dates looms the massive monolith of the iron curtain of silence. Actually, many of us cut a lot of slack (maybe way TOO MUCH slack) about this along the "well, those poor companies, if they really said they were compliant, shucks, think of all the lawsuits they would invite." Which, according to some of the lawyers who have posted here and that I have talked to privately is a lot of horsehocky. They're certainly JUST as likely to protect themselves (that is, assuming they really are Y2K compliant). However spun, the POLLYS (I remember Paul Davis predicting this on this forum as recently as two months ago) have long predicted that thousands of companies would have declared compliance by now.

Uh ...... hello?

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 18, 1999.

Big Dog,

I talked to one of the leading Y2K lawyers at the Wash DC Year 2000 Group meeting a few months ago; he agreed, he thought it was crazy that a company wouldn't announce compliance because of lawyers. I told him that I had repeatedly heard that, though. He admitted he had heard it too, but he clearly didn't agree with it. I have to admit, I probably don't either; I mean, look at Chevron- "Hey, we're going to do our best, but disruptions may happen" (or words to that effect).

BTW, OT: I did not have you in mind when I posted that Charlie Register "civility" link the other day. It didn't occur to me til later that you might think so (if you did). I was actually thinking in more general terms about the level of, uh, discourse that frequently occurs here now.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), May 18, 1999.

Oh Drew,

Excuse me if I question your credibility again (latest in a long string), but what is this "one of the leading Y2K lawyers at the Wash DC Year 2000 Group meeting" stuff? Got a name? Got something substantial that would verify to anyone in the skeptical public that this is something you haven't made up on the spot?

-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), May 19, 1999.

Oh, you resent that insinuation?

Well, if you got the facts, spill 'em. That's what reporters do. (Look under: Mitch Ratcliffe)

Otherwise, do yourself, and all of us, a favor, and quit trying to fill us up with this Roleigh-Martin-type-unidentified-source-horsecrap.

Tell the truth or get out.

-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), May 19, 1999.


Why are you skeptical of Drew, while you don't question Mr. Hewitt's sources?

-- Codejockey (codejockey@geek.com), May 19, 1999.

Two questions.

First, there seems to be some inconsistency in the policy line here . .

Jon said . . "I will never understand, despite many peoples attempts to analyze it, what the pollys and naysayers get from trying to ridicule people preparing. If I was a polly I'd just think "They seem crazy to me, but its none of my business"."

BigDog said . ."I can't speak for others, but the single reason I post here is to encourage others to prepare"

So does the forum dedicated to "encouraging others to prepare" operate a policy that those people who wish to "encourage others to take their decision whether to make (or not make) potentially expesive, often marriage-wrecking, drastic, life-altering changes based on current and reliable information rather than emotive, uninformed, outdated and overstated rumor" should shut up and mind their own business ?

Note that NO "polly" that I have ever seen has EVER encouraged ANYONE "NOT to prepare (if they want, or feel they need to)". Most state openly that a degree of preparation is FUNDAMENTAL whether for Y2K, weather problems, earthquakes or whatever. They seem to differ from you merely in their discretion over what kind of information to accept, and what kind to reject.

So why is the policy "Shut the pollys up" ?

What does it say about your confidence in YOUR position, that you react so censoriously to alternative positions ? If your arguments were so rock-solid, surely youd be keen for "pollys and naysayers" to post here so that all newcomers could see for themselves the error of their views. And if thats so, why the descent into personal attacks against them when genuine questions are asked ?

Secondly, I notice that regular posters here often accuse non-doomers of "having blood on their hands" (IF we get TEOTWAWKI). And yet well documented cases are already coming in of people who's lives have been irreversably damaged due to their having acted upon early advice from the fear brigade. Does their blood not count ? And if after all TEOTWAWKI doesnt happen, in fact, if relatively little happens, what responsibility do the group plan to accept ?

Maybe, if the majority of posters here advocate reasonable preparation, with a clear emphasis on the REASONABLE, then they, as much as the "pollys and naysayers", should be speaking out against anyone who's position would tend to encourage despair, panic, fatalism or extreme action of any kind. Such people are vociforous and hyperactive here, and they seem to me to do the cause more harm than good.

Clarification on these issues please.

Thank you.

-- Confused (about@the.rules.com), May 19, 1999.


The lawyer was one of the first two speakers at the February meeting, both of which were from the same firm, which was called, in the introduction, one of (or the) first law firms in the country to start work on the legal aspects of Y2K. It was simply one of the routine after-the-meeting-is-over conversations that everyone has there. I just asked the question of him for my own general information, to get his point of view (just as I asked one of the other lawyers another question on another topic). Since I didn't intend to write a story on that particular meeting, I didn't write down his name- I don't know which of the two from that firm he was. Of course, since you've already ever-so-graciously apparently decided I'm a liar (I suppose since I don't agree with you), I guess there wouldn't be much point in providing his name anyway.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), May 19, 1999.

Drew and Chicken,

The point being made about "real" sources is an important one. While I believe what Drew says is probably true, since the attorney that he quotes states that he has heard both sides of the story, SOMEONE here asked why no one questioned my sources. Maybe it is because I GIVE the names of my sources constantly.

Here is an attorney and law firm that is doing major Y2K consults with companies around the country. Mark J. Colucci with Kroger, Gardis & Regas. They are located in Indianapolis IN. I will not give out their phone number here, but if you are interested in contacting him, send me an email and I will give you the phone and fax number.

Mark told me that law firms across the nation are instructing their clients to be as open and honest as possible, but to NEVER paint too positive of a picture, as this will just end up making them liable. He explained that this is why we should not expect companies to rush to the microphone to announce that they are Y2K ready and have all the bugs worked out. Even IF they think they do, they should not express this, because when it comes to technology, you NEVER can be sure you have all the bugs worked out. (Anyone ever know of a single software program sold that was entirely bug free?)

Big Dog,

You stated in your opinion that all I am about is trying to stop you and others from preparing. Have you READ my stuff? Hey, the 17 years I pastored, I led my churches in disaster relief.

What I am the most concerned about when it comes to Y2K is two fold. First, I am concerned about all of the mis-information that is being spread in order to create a fear based on folly instead of fact. We have traced down many outright lies, and much more half truths about Y2K. If Y2K is so bad, then there wouldn't be the need to sling the bull to scare people.

And, secondly, WHY is there such an attempt to scare the wits out of little old ladies across the nation? Because Y2K is a multi-billion dollar industry! There are laws that would protect people from some of the profiteering that is going on IF this was going on AFTER a disaster. However, there are no laws to protect the public from people like Scary Gary and others that are seeking to create the panic for their own purposes.

This is what we are about. Big Dog, store up all the food and water you want. Personally, I have nothing against you or anyone else for doing this. Buy a generator, buy a gun. Fine with me.

Just don't try going around the country, quoting out dated material, telling stories that can't be verified, or in many cases CAN be verified as half truths and lies. Don't try to tell people you have some inside information that God is going to use Y2K to punish America, or that this is a sure sign that he is just around the corner (I look forward to the second coming of Christ, but am getting sick and tired of these "signs of the times" wonder that make their living by using half truths to cry the sky might be falling.)

So, Big Dog, we may be able to be on the same side with all of this, IF I understand what you have said lately. IF your problem is that you think I am putting you down for preparing, you are wrong. I am after those that are using false information and speculation and hysteria, to scare others for the sake of money and profit. If you are not one of those, and you have done your research and believe that Y2K is worth preparing for, go for it. You can sit at my table any time.

Don't judge me, and believe you know what I am about, unless you have really read all of my articles.

Example, I like the Joseph Project 2000. While I don't agree with them completely, and believe that the situation of Joseph is not really applicable to Y2K, I do not question their motives, or their methods. However, there IS another group that calls themselves the Joseph Project. These folks I campaign against. They do not really care for the people they claim to seek to help. They use false information and half truths to scare their followers. And, of course, they are in the survival food and supplies business. They have split churches and have caused trouble across the nation. Do you see the difference?

SO much of the stupid bickering that goes on in this forum and others is because every one is so defensive that they are quick to judge, attack, and speculate instead of really listening to the other person. Hey, we do not have to all agree 100% in order to get along.

I would "speculate" that many of us would all agree that those that have been doing a very poor job of reporting on this situation has only hurt us all. I think we can all agree that those that have sought to profiteer from promoting Y2K fear should be rebuked. And I think we would all agree that those that encourage others to prepare beyond their means are wrong.

Can we also all agree that IF you think things might be worse than some of us optimists believe, that is it just fine for you to take whatever steps to prepare that you like. Hey, I have an all wheel drive van because here in Kansas City, I like to be the one ready for the next big snow. (However, since I purchased it 4 years ago, there either have not been any major snows, or I am out of town when they happen just my luck). But, hey, I like to be prepared, and have no problem with anyone else that likes to do the same for whatever circumstance they feel might be around the corner.

Do I hear an Amen anywhere?

-- Steve Hewitt (steve@ccmag.com), May 19, 1999.

Steve said,

"Just don't try going around the country, quoting out dated material, telling stories that can't be verified, or in many cases CAN be verified as half truths and lies. Don't try to tell people you have some inside information that God is going to use Y2K to punish America, or that this is a sure sign that he is just around the corner (I look forward to the second coming of Christ, but am getting sick and tired of these "signs of the times" wonder that make their living by using half truths to cry the sky might be falling.)"

[You'll get no argument from me on that stuff. But I have never read any substantive acknowledgement from you of the major stakes of Y2K, the continuing risks and the fundmental uncertainties globally given, AT BEST, some self-reported happy stories. You present Y2K as either hype, trivial or already fixed. About this, you are dangerously wrong and it IS misleading to communicate that, at least as dangerous as those who are misleading people in the way you describe just above.]

"So, Big Dog, we may be able to be on the same side with all of this, IF I understand what you have said lately."

[What do you mean, lately?]

"IF your problem is that you think I am putting you down for preparing, you are wrong. I am after those that are using false information and speculation and hysteria, to scare others for the sake of money and profit. If you are not one of those, and you have done your research and believe that Y2K is worth preparing for, go for it."

[I am completely against using "false information, speculation or hysteria". I'm even against the wrong venues for hustling products OR agendas (I complain intensely if it is done here to sell things (Minnesotat Smith) or positions (Poole). But, again, you make THIS out to be the primary problem we face as of May 18, 1999. I believe that is a grave disservice to your readers and listeners. "Y2K Hysteria" is, at best, a minor note in a country consumed by materialism, with a negative saving rate and a Titanic-like determination not to notice anything inconvenient. That a few Christian nuts embarrass other believers (including me, both doing and receiving the embarrassing) is nothing new, it's been going on for 2,000 years and will continue apace until the Lord returns to enlighten us. Don't strain at gnats and swallow camels.]

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 19, 1999.

Amen, Steve!

That was a very sensible post, and I agree wholeheartedly that we should *not* be promoting fear. Like you, I also don't want to see anyone manipulated into handing over their money or making life- changing decisions based on someone's speculation. But my impression of your articles is that they come close to promoting complacency. Maybe you are overcompensating for the end-of-the-world types. Why not encourage people to research, pray, and make their own personal decision about preparations, instead of saying that the problem is mostly hype and in reality everything is well in hand (although I really wish we knew that were true).

Sure, some posts in this forum are "way out there". Some ideas are outright insane. Maybe because this is the only place some have to toss these ideas around, no matter how crazy, if only for an intellectual exercise. Heck, if I really believed in the TEOTW stuff, why would I bother to discuss preps at all.

Here in May 1999 we know next to nothing about how this will play out. I'm optimistic, but all the optimism in the world hasn't helped when my software project is out of time and cannot make the deadline. In fact, optimism works against you in those cases because it causes you to underestimate effort and disregard risks. I don't know what the new year will bring. No one knows. Any prediction at this point (either way) is pure pie-in-the-sky speculation. A shot in the dark. Anyone who thinks they can predict with certainty is kidding themselves.

We should *not* promote fear and we should *not* promote complacency. Instead, we should promote prudence and responsibility.

-- Codejockey (codejockey@geek.com), May 19, 1999.

Would that be the Dave Everyone is going to hell except me and my little band of followers Hunt??

-- Craig (craig@ccinet.ab.ca), May 19, 1999.

I heard Steve Hewitt and Michael Hyatt on the Dave Ramsey radio talk show "The Money Game". Steve Hewitt told the story of a glitch at an Asian port on January 1, 1999 and mentioned it being fixed in two hours or two days--something like that. The discussion continued with the listener, in my opinion, indirectly being given the impression that January 1, 2000 problems will be fixed just as quickly. If it's that easy, though, companies and government agencies could just set the clocks of their systems ahead now to 01/01/00, let the systems fail, and then fix them now in mid-May of 1999. If Y2K was this easy to fix, it already would have been in 1998.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.

BigDog, Maybe Hewitt is in the process of howling a new tune. If so, I welcome him to the corps.

Steve, panic mongering is very wrong, but there is relatively little of that going on. If there is any crime against humanity being committed, it is the concealment and minimization of the problem leading to underpreparation by the uninformed.

Right now panic mongering is the mote in the eye of civilization. Underpreparation is the log. Help us get rid of the log before we waste our energy on the mote.

-- Puddintame (achillesg@hotmail.com), May 19, 1999.


Of course your sources will go on the record. They're optimists. It's the pessimists who don't want to be named. And I repeat what I said before: if anyone is only hearing one side of the story (whichever side that is), they aren't hearing the whole story. Look at Susan Conniry's column at Westergaard Monday for a perfect example.


This whole "scare-mongering" thing is way out of hand. Modern American society is full of whiners (I'm not talking about anyone in this discussion; I'm merely making a general observation). It reminds me of Rob & Wendy Whiner on Saturday Night Live in the 80s. Some people just can't handle *any* bad news. It's so bad now that that IATA (International Air Transport Association) will not name the international airports they believe won't be ready. Although this information is true (ie, according to their surveys), they won't release it, because that would be "fear-mongering." This is just preposterous. Exactly how are businesses going to make contingency plans when they don't where they will be able to fly goods, services & people, and where they won't? This is the type of thinking that says we should dismantle the National Weather Service, because warnings about a hurricane or other storm which *might* hit (and kill) people are "scary" and people might get "upset." In point of fact, those warnings *save* lives.

Although the core infrastructure issues appear better now than they did a year ago, two facts remain: one, a year ago, the power industry *itself* was *full* of deep concern about this. This was reported to and by various journalists. To say this infrastructure problem, and others (like the FAA) never existed is irresponsible. Peter de Jager has written that the power industry just lucked out, and that's at least one plausible argument. Remember, as late as September of 1998, NERC was hardly offering guarantees things would go swell come 00 (and some in the industry still have at least some concerns). Yet some people (not referring to anyone in this discussion - at least I don't think) act like there never *was* a risk! Sheesh!

Second, infrastructure issues aside, Y2K remains a significant risk (your value entered here) for the US economy, and a high risk (my value) for the global economy (which of course will spill over into the US). As for those who disagree- fine. Opinions (including mine) are a dime a dozen. There's just one little problem, though: numbers. I don't see numbers which tell me conclusively Y2K has been eradicated as an element of risk from the US economy, let alone the world. Instead, I see growing numbers of companies admitting they won't get all of their self-admitted "critical" systems fixed (what will the impact of that be? Who knows? Maybe minor, maybe not.) I don't see huge numbers of businesses announcing compliance- and in case anyone has noticed, we're a little past December 31, 1998, now. Oh, and if this is the case with the best-prepared companies in the US, the best-prepared country in the world, what's going on in Germany? France? The UK? China? Eastern Europe? Brazil? Does anyone *know*? Of course they don't- and it's what you don't know that constitutes risk (hence, the reason for the insurance industry- you don't *know* you won't have a car accident, a house fire, a disease, or whatever- so you buy insurance). There's plenty of risk in the global economy from Y2K right now- more, I suspect, than is generally believed. But even the Clinton Administration, not known for being pessimistic on Y2K, has said it's their job to prevent Y2K from becoming a global economic crisis. Will they succeed? No one can say at this point. Will we see lots of positive press releases? Probably- but I'm more interested in numbers.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), May 19, 1999.

April 1999

My Y2K Predictions

by Steve Hewitt


(On business failures) ...With the advent of Y2K, businesses this year that will go out of business due to poor management will blame the Y2K bug as the excuse of the year. Hey, it is as good as any other excuse for a business going down.

(On food shortages)...However, I predict there might be food outages due to Y2K. Of course these will only be found during the last week of December 1999, and will be due to those that will clean out the shelves because of fear of Y2K.

(On electrical issues)...I predict that people across the nation WILL be without electricity on Jan 1, 2000! I know, I have surprised a few of you. However, I recently heard a representative at a Y2K meeting in which I spoke make this statement. "Some say we can not give you a guarantee concerning power on January 1, 2000. Well I can give you one." He went on to say, "The fact is, every day someone in America goes without electricity. Transformers overload, someone drives into a power pole, or even a squirrel can short out a transformer causing people to loose power." (Hey, it happened to the CCMag office.) The point is that there probably WILL be some people without power on this day, just like any other. However, you can bet that if anyone is without power on January 1, 2000, it will be speculated that it was caused by Y2K.

(On "doomers")...And finally, I predict that many who have been claiming that Y2K will be a major disaster, will take deep bows, accepting our thanks that nothing really bad happened.

Christian reporters that have helped to hype the Y2K story will either claim to have saved us, or I predict will slip quietly into the night and hope you forget their shouts of "the sky MIGHT be falling".

Mr. Hewitt, if you think anything in your article would cause any of your readers to even consider preparing for Y2K problems, you are sadly mistaken. The tone of the entire piece is one of dismissiveness and mockery.

It must be fun tickling ears. I'm sure your readers praise you effusively. They will not prepare, and in fact may use your writings as a basis to criticize and even inhibit others who are preparing. Congratulations.

You also provide a handy pop-up ad flogging your Y2K video. But that's not "profiting from Y2K", of course. That's just good ol' capitalism.

You represent your views on Y2K as far more "middle-of-the-road" in this forum than you do elsewhere. I have never read any article from you that would support any sort of preparation. If one exists, please provide a link or text. I will read it with great interest.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), May 19, 1999.

Thanks, Mac. What about it, Steve? Are you duplicitous intentionally or only unintentionally?

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 19, 1999.


Oh, sorry- I was referring to the Washington DC Year 2000 Group February meeting- I left that out.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), May 19, 1999.

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