Nation nearly 100% ready (pigs fly)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Nation nearly 100% Y2K ready
By Jonathan Sidener The Arizona Republic Oct. 19, 1999
President Clinton's point man on Y2K told a group of Phoenix residents Monday that the nation's key systems are ready for Jan. 1, 2000.
"The national infrastructure is closing in on 100 percent," White House Council on Year 2000 Chairman John Koskinen said of the latest calculation of Y2K preparedness. Last month, the nation was deemed 98 percent ready.
He said questions remain about local and international preparedness. But international problems will not result in the accidental launch of nuclear weapons and are not expected to hurt the U.S. economy.
"Y2K is a real problem," Koskinen told the 90 people who showed up for a Y2K Community Conversation at the Pueblo Grande Museum on Monday night.
"It's probably the biggest management problem the world has ever faced. On the other hand, we've made tremendous progress."
Koskinen said that banks, air traffic, telecommunications and utilities have all demonstrated their readiness. Before repairs, some computers would have confused 2000 with 1900.
The Year 2000 guru said that he personally will have enough food, water and flashlight batteries in his house to last a few days, but he doesn't expect to need them.
"My guess is that power outages will be measured in minutes and hours, not days," he said in an interview before the program. "I think ice and snow will be responsible for more outages (on Jan. 1) than Y2K."
Koskinen has enough confidence in airline preparations that he will fly on New Year's Eve from Washington, D.C., to New York. At that time the airlines will already be in 2000 because they run on Greenwich Mean Time.
At the same time, Koskinen said questions remain about local education, from grade school through college, about small businesses and small health-care operations.
"There are people taking a wait-and-see approach. They may think that they don't have a big IT (information technology) operation. They'll just fix it if it breaks.
"They may find a bottleneck and it may take weeks or months. There will probably be some businesses that fail."
Koskinen said many countries waited too long to start working on the problem and will run out of time and resources.
"Some are going to have real problems. I don't think it will affect our economy. Fortunately, much of our foreign trade is with Canada and Mexico and they're basically done (with preparations.)"
Residents were also told that the Phoenix is ready, including its water system.
"Every single department is Y2K compliant," said Councilwoman Peggy Bilsten, who chairs the city's Transportation and Technology Subcommittee.
She said the city tested a contingency plan for the water supply system by shutting down the computers and running everything manually.
Other members of the panel said that systems from the 911 emergency dispatch to the county jail and local pharmacy have been tested and contingency plans have been drawn up.
Police Lt. Mike DeBenedetto said that the 911 system passed a date rollover test and another test overloading it with callers. He also said that cell doors in the county jail default to a closed position in the event of any problems. He said that there will be extra dispatchers working New Year's Eve and that Sheriff Joe Arpaio will have extra detention officers.
Koskinen said pharmaceutical companies with foreign factories have stockpiled raw materials to ensure that the supply line is not interrupted.
John Carpenter of Walgreen's said his chain has increased supplies at its Flagstaff distribution center.
William White of US West said that phones are ready for 2000.
"It's reasonably safe to say that on Jan. 1, the sun will shine and the phones will ring," he said.
Ray Jussila of SRP had a footnote to US West's promise.
"I just want to add that the lights will come on," he said.
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), October 19, 1999
"It's reasonably safe to say that on Jan. 1,
the sun will shine and the phones will ring,
and pigs will fly."
-- spider (email@example.com), October 19, 1999.
Some are going to have real problems. I don't think it will affect our economy. Fortunately, much of our foreign trade is with Canada and Mexico and they're basically done (with preparations.)..."
Canada is our #1 partner and, with the help of NAFTA, Mexico became #2 recently (passing Japan). We run major trade deficits with both of them (approx. $20 Billion each), so we got "issues" even if they are "Y2K-ready". Pretty cold comfort there.
Trade deficit numbers spooked the market last month. The September trade numbers come out tomorrow. Wonder how much we owe everyone else at present...
-- Mac (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 19, 1999.
"I think ice and snow will be responsible for more outages (on Jan. 1) than Y2K."
In addition to knowing what will happen with Y2K Koskinen is also now able to predict the weather!!
-- @ (@@@.@), October 19, 1999.
But what is it we import from Canada and Mexico? I know food is a heavy item for both and, for Mexico, some electronics, oil and clothing. But it seems almost everything I buy these days is made in China, including clothing and electronics. In addition, last week I saw London Fog coats made in Belarus and Misty Harbor coats made in Ukraine.
Aren't the numbers based on dollar amounts? Just because we import expensive items from those two countries doesn't mean we'll be okay if other countries have problems. It's the little things that will cause serious problems--like pharmaceuticals, for instance, and the raw materials obtained from developing countries. Even the most ardent optimist has to admit that Koskinen's remarks are a bit too glib, Y2K or no Y2K.
-- Old Git (email@example.com), October 19, 1999.