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NHNE Y2K Report 20
Sunday, April 4, 1999

 

"News,
Inspiration,
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"

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NHNE Y2K Report 20
Sunday, April 4, 1999

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The NHNE Y2K Report:
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NHNE Home Page:
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You can also join our Friends of NHNE program. See the end of this update for details.

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Total NHNE Mailing List:
Last Mailing: 2177
This Mailing: 2180

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CONTENTS:

Y2K HEADLINES:

Canada, New York Pass Critical Y2K Test
White House Sets Poor Y2K Example
Key U.S. Computer Lags on Y2K
U.S. Water Crisis Projected
FDIC Plans Campaign to Calm Y2K Fears
Fed Sees Possible Complications from Y2K
Milwaukee to Buy Generators for Year 2000
Ten Most Feared Y2K Disasters

NHNE Y2K VISIONQUEST:

Part Two: Wednesday, Part Three: Friday & Saturday

Y2K GLITCH WATCH:

Firm's Illusion of Compliance Shattered

LETTERS:

Theobald: A Matching Grant

THE NHNE Y2K ACTION NETWORK:

Optimist: Prepare Just the Same
Building a Resilient Local Community

Y2K STORIES:

U.S. Federal Government Misses March 31 Deadline
Mission Critical Numbers Game
NERC Cooking the Numbers?
Grim News from U.S. Postal Service
Russia Faced with Problems on Many Fronts
AMA Issues Guidelines for Protecting Physicians from Y2K
Searching for "The Right Voice on Y2K"
De Jager Responds to Criticism of "Doomsday Avoided"

Y2K RESOURCES:

Gardening Resources

THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:

Good News Rises to the Top

THIS WEEK'S NEWS SOURCES

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LOOK BACK & REJOICE

"Our real needs are spiritual rather than materialistic. The most wonderful surprise is how many people share this understanding. They may express it in different ways, from a religious perspective or a desire to revive traditional values or from the vantage point of an ever-growing number of spiritual traditions, but the recognition is there. It is our challenge to give people an opportunity to express it. If we succeed, we shall look back at the end of the 20th Century as the end of the world as we knew it, and rejoice."

--- Robert Theobald, from his essay, "The Growing Split in the Y2K Debate"

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Y2K HEADLINES:

CANADA, NEW YORK PASS CRITICAL Y2K TEST
(Source: THE WICHITA EAGLE/WASHINGTON POST SERVICE, 4/2/1999)

One of the first critical dates of the millennium bug -- the April 1 start of fiscal year 2000 in Canada and New York state -- has passed with barely a hitch, offering a small but encouraging sign of progress in repairing the Y2K computer glitch. April 1 had been marked as an important checkpoint in the Year 2000 effort because it was one of the first dates in which some large computer systems would begin handling the two-digit source of the millennium bug: the year "00." While Canada and New York easily passed their first test, some experts cautioned that it was a tiny victory since the passage of April 1 tested only the portion of their systems that deal with the fiscal year. In addition, there is still the possibility of problems emerging as their systems look deeper into the new fiscal year. "We've been working on this since April 1996, so having this confirmation is still gratifying [but] Jan. 1 is still the real test," reminded Gary Davis, Year 2000 Project Manager for the STATE OF NEW YORK. "So far it's been a nonevent," echoed Jim Bimson of the Year 2000 office for CANADA'S TREASURY BOARD SECRETARIAT. Lou Marcoccio, Year 2000 Research Director for the technology consulting and research firm GARTNERGROUP, cautioned that, in the overall scheme of the millennium bug, April 1 is barely a noticeable point -- significant more for its symbolism than anything else. The bulk of Year 2000 failures will begin to take place after July, as more companies and governments start their fiscal years and more computer systems look forward into the next year, according to a GartnerGroup study of 15,000 companies in 87 countries, released in March. "October is when the music starts," said Marcoccio. "Until then, it all is just a lot of noise." (JG)

Link: http://www.wichitaeagle.com/technology/docs/y2k0402_txt.htm

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WHITE HOUSE SETS POOR Y2K EXAMPLE
(Source: Brian Friel, GOVEXEC.COM, 3/26/1999)

While 92 percent of federal agencies' critical computer systems were Year 2000 compliant by President Clinton's March 31 deadline, the White House itself will miss that deadline by seven months, according to White House spokesman Barry Toiv. By the end of March, only 25 percent of the White House's 68 mission-critical computer systems were Y2K-compliant and all systems won't be ready until October, he said. Toiv said Y2K work at the White House was delayed when Congress blocked funding for the OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATION in fiscal 1997. He also blamed slow progress on "the complexity and age" of the White House's computer systems. Of the government's 24 largest agencies and departments, only the AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT lags behind the White House. (JG)

Link: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0399/032699b3.htm

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KEY U.S. COMPUTER LAGS ON Y2K
(Source: Declan McCullagh, WIRED, 3/19/1999)

The DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES has abandoned plans to replace its aging payment management system, which hands out $165 billion a year in federal funds. "The problem is bigger than we all anticipated, and progress has been slower," said John C. West, Chief Financial Officer for the department's program support center. "To make the due date for Y2K...we're remediating the old system," rather than replacing it. Dozens of agencies rely on the payment management system which funnels money to everything from research universities and state governments to airports receiving grants from the FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION. "Deep down in my heart, I don't have the guts to change systems two months before Y2K," said West. He predicts the existing system will be successfully repaired by summer's end. (JG)

Link: http://www.wired.com/news/news/politics/ytwok/story/18588.html

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U.S. WATER CRISIS PROJECTED
(Source: Jim Lord, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 3/22/1999)

More than 30 million people in the U.S. are likely to be without water after January 2000, with nearly two thirds in the big cities, according to an assessment delivered during an American-Canadian meeting held on February 22, 1999 to discuss "Cross-Border Y2K Issues." John Koskinen, Chair of the President's Council on Y2K Conversion, who attended the meeting, "admitted that water is problematic." A recent U.S. Senate report on Y2K indicates that 11 percent of the community public water systems serving populations ranging from 100,000 to 1,000,000 people do not expect to have Y2K compliance work completed on time. The water situation for small and medium communities is even more grim: 23 percent of the 51,000 such systems are not expected to achieve Y2K compliance. In response to the above news, Y2K analyst Jim Lord's "Tip For The Week" is to store several times as much water as you think you will need. "If the government's numbers are correct," says Lord, "water will end up being the core issue of Y2K." (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/Tip/Lord/lord9912.htm

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FDIC PLANS CAMPAIGN TO CALM Y2K FEARS
(Source: BERGEN RECORD, 3/29/1999)

The federal government, concerned that consumers are afraid banks will collapse or have computer problems on the first day of the Year 2000, is planning a media blitz to put people's fears to rest. Donna Tanoue, Chairman of the FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORP. (FDIC), announced that the FDIC will travel to several cities, beginning with New York in April, to talk to newspapers and other media in an effort to calm people's fears. To explain the decision, Tanoue cited a recent Gallup poll that found that more than half of Americans still think banking systems will fail on Jan. 1. Bankers have tried to assure customers that there will be no problem on Jan. 1., but the public is looking for an official source beyond the banks themselves to assure them that their money is safe. "Because banks have not done a good job squashing that bug," said David Barr, a spokesman for the FDIC in Washington, "we've got to get it out there." (JG)

Link: http://www.bergen.com/

FDIC Y2K Home Page: http://www.fdic.gov/about/y2k/

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FED SEES POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS FROM Y2K
(Source: Caren Bohan, REUTERS, 3/25/1999)

The FEDERAL RESERVE is worried about its ability to provide emergency loans to banks whose computers might seize up because of the Year 2000 bug. Speaking to the SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE, Fed Governor Edward Gramlich warned that banks' requests for money through the central bank's discount window could rise "substantially in the future." While Gramlich was not predicting a bank computer problem, he said it was still important to be prepared for the possibility that it might happen. To that end, he asked the lawmakers to support legislation that would permit the central bank to make the necessary loans without running into technical constraints on its balance sheet. Balance-sheet constraints have become a concern in light of a trend of a decline in the amount of reserves that banks hold with the central bank. (JG)

Link: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/sc/story.html?s=v/nm/19990325/sc/millennium_fed_1.html

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MILWAUKEE TO BUY GENERATORS FOR YEAR 2000
(Source: Greg J. Borowski, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/26/1999)

The CITY OF MILWAUKEE is preparing to spend about $1 million on 13 new generators to guard against potential Year 2000 computer problems, including five portable units which can be moved to trouble spots come New Year's morning. The plan would put two permanent generators at the POLICE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING downtown and others at communication towers and dispatch centers. In addition, a generator would be placed in the part of the City Hall complex where most of the city's main computers are located. Fire stations would be equipped with special connections that would allow the portable generators to be hooked up easily as needed. District police stations, along with some other city buildings, already have generators. Early on, planners thought they might need a generator at one of the city's water plants, which could have carried a $3.5 million price tag itself, but they became more convinced that citywide power failures are unlikely. "If that happens, we'll have more problems than generators will be able to solve anyway," pointed out Ald. Don Richards, Chairman of the COMMON COUNCIL'S INFORMATION POLICY COMMITTEE. (JG)

Link: http://www.jsonline.com/news/Metro/990326citytobuygeneratorsfo.asp

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TEN MOST FEARED Y2K DISASTERS
(Source: Chuck Lanza, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 3/26/1999)

Here are the top ten most feared Y2K disasters, as compiled by Harrison W. Fox, staff member of the HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT, INFORMATION, AND TECHNOLOGY:

1. Oil and gas shortages
2. Defense weapon failures
3. Air traffic control system breakdowns
4. Utility grid blackouts and brownouts
5. Manufacturing and production shutdowns
6. Supply base and service interruptions
7. Water and sewer system breakdowns
8. Public health and safety-device failures
9. Embedded chip failures
10. Citizen panic (JG)

Link: http://y2ktimebomb.com/GL/CL/gl9912.htm

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NHNE Y2K VISIONQUEST

PART TWO: WEDNESDAY, PART THREE: FRIDAY & SATURDAY
By David Sunfellow

Part One of our three-part NHNE Y2K VisionQuest Report was sent out Tuesday of last week (http://dispatch.mail-list.com/archives/nhnelist/msg00057.html). Part Two of this special report, which will consist mostly of letters from our readers, will be sent out this Wednesday, April 7th. Some of the letters we received took my breath away and I'm sure you will find them as inspiring as I did. If you've got something to share about Y2K that you think others would appreciate, you'll need to send your comments to us no later than Wednesday morning to be included in Thursday's report. Send them to: nhne@nhne.com

This coming weekend -- Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10 -- are the days we've picked to stage the NHNE Y2K VisionQuest. As promised, I will spend some time in Part Two of our VQ special report talking about how to organize a visionquest in your part of the world. For those of you who would like to start thinking about it now, I encourage you to visit the following link:

Dreams & VisionQuests:
http://www.nhne.com/misc/visionquests.html

Along with providing general information in the Part Two of our Y2K VisionQuest Report, we've also set up a special listserve to allow those of us who are interested to communicate with each other before, during and after the visionquest. I will announce how to subscribe to this special list on Wednesday.

This Thursday, April 8th, a group of us will be meeting in Sedona to participate in Robert Theobald's next satellite Y2K conference. After the conference is over, we will be planning our visionquest activities in Sedona. You may want to do the same. For more information about Robert's conference, you can contact:

Amanda Butcher
Phone: (509) 448-6733
eMail: amandab@nrf.org
Resilient Communities Website:
http://www.resilientcommunities.org

Until then, I send you all my best.

With Love & Best Wishes,
David Sunfellow

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Y2K GLITCH WATCH:

FIRM'S ILLUSION OF COMPLIANCE SHATTERED
(Source: Colin C. Woods, 4/1/1999)

Y2K analyst Gary North recently posted a harrowing real-life account of the "Jo Anne Effect" from Colin C. Woods, IT manager and author of "Empire of Promises" (http://www.colinlink.com/). Here are some edited excerpts:

"I am an IT Manager. I handle all [my company's] hardware, upgrades and billing software. Until about a year ago, our platform was largely MS DOS-based with a few Windows applications, and thus non-Y2K compliant. In July 1998, we installed an upgrade designed to be simply 'dropped into' our existing program, [which] by the way, is a custom-written financial billing and invoicing system engineered for Windows 95. [The overlay] was simple enough to install. Within minutes, everything appeared to be a success -- no data loss, no problems. Or so I thought."

"On January 1, 1999, something interesting happened: the computer wouldn't let me into the program. Each time I booted the program, the computer would say that my license had expired. At first, this appeared comical. However, by mid-morning, it was no laughing matter. I called their technical support. Their line was busy. I tried to fax them. Again, no luck. Finally, I managed to get through. I was told that a power failure had knocked them temporarily off-line. Amazingly enough, they told me that they didn't have the fix available right then, but to 'remain calm and be patient.' At this point, customers were jamming our phone lines, wanting their invoices -- they were anything but 'calm and patient.' By early afternoon, the software company had made a patch available on their website. Upon installing the fix, everything ran smoothly."

"That is, until a few days ago. On March 25, I began to notice some unusual quirks in our software: invoices were being generated with improper product quantities. At first glance, I simply shrugged it off as just a minor hiccup. However, even after repeated rebooting, the problem would crop up a dozen invoices later. I ran the data repair facility that is included with the program. Most of the data appeared normal, until it reached our main invoicing file, [where] the repair utility simply froze, completely shutting down our billing machine. Had I not made data backups only minutes before, all of the day's transactions amounting to literally thousands and thousands of dollars would have been lost, and would have had to be painstakingly restored by hand from the hard copies we also keep on file. From that point on, I began to see that this was more than just 'a minor hiccup.'"

"After I restored the backups, I examined our bills. I began to see that, although 99 percent of the bills processed were being properly generated, a handful had errors. Furthermore, upon running vital end-of-month statistical data, the program began to randomly dump names and accounts of customers totally unrelated to what we expected. In other words, statistical data that we normally depend on for proper bookkeeping and accounting at the close of each month was unreliable."

"After many difficult hours of research and extensive talks with the software company, it appears that that our data has been corrupted, [possibly] as far back as July or August of 1998! We may never know in full how it happened. It could have been software company. It could have been me or my equipment."

"I am writing this to present a point: the Jo Anne Effect is real. Y2K is real. Just because data problems don't appear in the data right away, it doesn't mean that they aren't hidden somewhere. It proves that data, once thought to be reliable, can change over time with little or no warning. Keep in mind, it took a MINIMUM of three things for me to even come close to fixing my broken data:

1. A phone to talk to tech support AND to get onto the Internet.
2. A reliable computer on their end so that they could investigate my data.
3. Power to make everything go."

"Think: Japanese banks, Wall Street, and most of all, the power grid. Now, think of the end of 1999. Some businesses could be in for the ride of their lives." (JG)

Link: http://www.garynorth.com/y2k/detail_.cfm/4284

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LETTERS:

THEOBALD: A MATCHING GRANT

Futurist Robert Theobald, whom we have quoted several times in our Y2K Reports and mailings, has offered to match donations to NHNE up to $500. With this offer, Robert also made the following comments:

"I am very much aware of how deeply the idea has taken root in the Web and email culture that services should be free. I consider this a pernicious myth. It usually means that it is necessary for a person to hold a job in the industrial-era culture in order to do good work in the transformed world we so urgently need to bring into existence. It is frankly ridiculous that NHNE has to make serial appeals. Because my cashflow is currently positive, I can make the offer of a matching grant. I challenge every reader and subscriber of the NNHE Reports and mailings to do their part to help NHNE acquire the financial support they need to survive and flourish. But I also believe that we need to look at this issue much more broadly. Most of us in this movement are reasonably well off. Until we see this kind of work as central to our lives and thus commit to funding it, we cannot expect to be an effective part of the transformation."

--- Robert Theobald, Spokane, Washington

[Thanks, Robert! Anyone interested in taking up Robert's challenge can make matching pledges via our website, email, or regular mail. See the end of this report for details. -DS]

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THE NHNE Y2K ACTION NETWORK:

OPTIMIST: PREPARE JUST THE SAME
By Lilja Finzel

After 25 years in the financial services industry as a programmer, information systems auditor and manager, information security manager, and business continuity planner, I've been an independent consultant for the last five years performing risk assessments, information system audits, and have done business continuity planning for clients in financial services, government agencies and utilities. The last three years, I have primarily focused on Y2K risk assessment for state regulators of credit unions, for a state accounting division, and for a utility; and contingency planning for a state fiscal agency, for a utility, and, in seminar format, for a variety of industries.

In addition to the paid work noted above, I've done quite a few volunteer Y2K presentations locally for town halls, churches, and other community venues. On some panels, I am often the only speaker with actual Y2K business experience, so I focus on that aspect if I'm one of many speakers. As a contingency planner, I always conclude with a message on personal preparedness -- not just for Y2K -- but for potential earthquakes, floods, ice storms, windstorms, and other power-outage situations.

On my personal Richter scale, Y2K has wavered from 5 to 8. I am in the 6-7 range right now -- moderate to severe problems in some industries and parts of the world, but not the end of the world as we know it. I'm feeling very positive about financial services being able to function, but concerned about recession in some industries that could affect banks. I'm quite positive about gas and electric utilities in the Pacific Northwest where I live. Major telecoms are in good shape too, I think. Cities, states and counties are getting the picture now: the State of Washington is done in several agencies and is now focusing on the weak ones. Oregon has less information system centralization, and most agencies are making good progress. I am less certain about food distribution and medical, although I personally know of good progress in these parts.

It's the rest of the world I'm not as sure of. So I am gradually stockpiling to more than my usual earthquake and storm preparedness levels and suggesting that everyone else to do the same, just in case. I am a natural optimist, however, and feel that things are moving along well in most sectors.

I am moving to a more rural spot about an hour out of Portland later this year. I am finally consolidating in one place and semi-retiring, but, just in case things are less rosy than I hope they will be at year end, my country place has better sustainability with its wells, propane, wood heat, great garden space, and lots of trees.

I really appreciate the Y2K Report. It saves me lots of time on my research. I use it mainly for news articles and current statistics. Because of the number of presentations I give, and my work-related travel, it's easier for me to print your newsletter each week rather than go through multiple websites to check out each cited URL. Your format saves me hours of online time and time in general -- time being the most precious resource this year!

Lilja Finzel
Independent Y2K Risk Assessment Consultant
Portland, Oregon

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BUILDING A RESILIENT LOCAL COMMUNITY

[The following post is in response to a request by Michael Pulsford of Adelaide, Australia for ideas of how he could rally his mixed community on the Y2K issue (Y2K Report 17).]

"I'd love to talk to Michael Pulsford about building a resilient local community. We live in a court of six households and one institution. So far, I have initiated Y2K conversations with two of the households, plus the institution.

"My neighbors are reasonably receptive to the wisdom of some forward planning, but I am finding resistance at the council level. My local councilor, Neil Rose, told me, 'Only right wing rednecks and doomsday Americans think that the whole system will go down. Besides, it will be a national emergency and the army will be called out.' I am also in contact with a member on the Council's Y2K Policy Panel, Peter Tull, and send him relevant updates from your Y2K Report. He personally is quite receptive, and has tried to put forward our viewpoint of looking after people at a community level, but is finding Council is not. They are having trouble deciding if it is a local or federal issue in terms of responsibility.

"By the way, the City of Maroondah has updated its computers to be compliant and they tell me they are confident that their automated doors will open."

--- Hal Tropp, City of Maroondah, Melbourne, Australia

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Y2K STORIES:

U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MISSES MARCH 31 DEADLINE
(Source: Y2KNEWSWIRE, 4/1/1999)

The U.S. Federal Government has not met its self-imposed March 31 deadline for Y2K compliance. The PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION is now claiming that 92 percent of the government's 24 largest agencies are Y2K compliant -- and not only have these systems gone through the full stages of analysis and assessment, but also remediation, testing and implementation. Of the eight percent not compliant, the Council has singled out the AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT for reporting that none of its mission critical systems are fixed. Various components of systems in the DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE and FEDERAL AVIATION AUTHORITY are also not fixed. (In a curiously conflicting statement, President's Y2K czar, John Koskinen, is on record as claiming that only 13 of the 24 federal departments are 100 percent compliant.)

While many applaud this apparent miraculous achievement, Y2KNEWSWIRE has taken a more jaundiced view: "Clinton's claims are a gigantic leap from the 80 percent reported compliance just two weeks ago by the U.S. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) [and are] are highly suspect." These questionable claims have prompted Y2KNEWSWIRE to draft 52 pressing Y2K questions that all journalists should be asking the Federal Government about the "92 percent" (but aren't). Here are some examples:

- Where are the statistics showing system-testing results?

- Who independently verified that the systems are now working and where is their report?

- When exactly did these systems go on-line?

- Why didn't we hear announcements of agencies moving into the testing phase?

- What is the name of the project manager at each federal agency who signed off on the full compliance of these systems?

- Have the systems been end-to-end tested? (JG)

Link: http://www.y2knewswire.com/19990401.htm

Link: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/ap/technology/story.html?s=v/ap/1999033 1/tc/y2k_deadline_1.html

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MISSION CRITICAL NUMBERS GAME
(Source: FOX MARKET WIRE, 3/30/1999)

It turns out that some missions aren't so critical after all. A study of the number of federal government systems potentially vulnerable to the Y2K bug shows that about one-third of them have simply dropped off the "mission-critical" list in recent months. Government agencies "are under tremendous pressure from Congress to hit their numbers, to be 100 percent compliant. And in a practical sense, they will do so even if they have to drop some of their mission-critical systems," explained Robert Alloway, who heads the NATIONAL LEADERSHIP TASK FORCE ON Y2K, an independent, nonprofit organization.

In August 1997, the government listed 9,100 mission-critical systems, and its overall rating stood at 19.3 percent compliant, according to the GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GOA). As of mid-March, the government says, 3,298 systems have been fixed, and about 79 percent of its mission-critical systems are compliant. But that figure would only be 55.6 percent had 3,323 systems not been dropped or redefined, the GAO figures show. Here are some specific examples:

- The DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE has dropped 886 mission-critical computer systems from its August 1997 total of 1,239. That enabled it to say it had gone from 10 percent compliant to 65 percent.

- HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT started with 231 systems and ended with 62, boosting compliance from 22 percent to 73 percent.

- The DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE's numbers went from 3,695 systems to 2,581, and compliance from 18 percent to 52 percent.

While Alloway concedes that of the mission-critical systems dropped in the last 18 months, about 500 probably needed to be dropped, he worries that many reclassified systems are "being dropped down to the next tier of importance, primarily so they'll drop off the radar of what's important."

"The issue as to whether or not federal agencies were 'gaming the system' was raised some time ago," counters Russell George, staff director and Chief Counsel for the HOUSE Y2K SUBCOMMITTEE. "The subcommittee, working with the GAO, reviewed that issue and found no evidence that that was occurring,"

"Once an agency compiles its mission-critical systems, I don't think it should be able to change what's defined as mission-critical," suggests Ed Yardeni, Chief Economist for DEUTSCHE BANK SECURITIES in New York. "[Otherwise] the pressure will only increase for organizations to define down their systems." (JG)

Link: http://www.foxmarketwire.com/wires/0329/f_ap_0329_22.sml

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NERC COOKING THE NUMBERS?
(Source: Jim Lord, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 3/29/1999)

Last year the NORTH-AMERICAN ELECTRICAL RELIABILITY COUNCIL (NERC) was asked by the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY to determine the Y2K status of the electrical utility industry. In January, NERC issued a report on their findings that was very positive about how the power companies are doing with their Y2K efforts. However, the numbers used to substantiate NERC's assessment are questionable; for example, here is a statement from the instructions on how to calculate the critically important "percentage of Y2K work completed" figure used in the NERC report: "If no remediation and testing is required in an area that was inventoried and assessed, then show remediation and testing as 100 percent complete."

In a recent news conference, Department of Energy Secretary Richardson gave this assessment of the electrical utility industry, "Tests and repairs are now more than half done." Using an automotive analogy, imagine your car is towed to a garage with two flat tires. When you call the garage for a status report, if NERC was your mechanic, their report would probably go something like this: "Your flat tires haven't been touched yet, but two of your tires don't need repairs so...your tire job is half finished."

Based on the above, Y2K analyst Jim Lord's "Tip of the Week" is: We're not getting the whole truth out of these folks and until we do, you should seriously prepare for power outages much worse than a three-day inconvenience. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/Tip/Lord/lord9913.htm

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GRIM NEWS FROM U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
(Source: Karla W. Corcoran, Inspector General, USPS, 2/23/1999)

The following edited excerpts are from a surprisingly frank report by Karla W. Corcoran, Inspector General of the U.S. POSTAL SERVICE (USPS) to a joint hearing of the SUBCOMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT, INFORMATION, AND TECHNOLOGY and the TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE:

"In 1998, the Postal Service used automation and information systems to deliver 198 billion pieces of mail, maintain its nationwide network of over 38,000 post offices and facilities, and pay its more than 775,000 career employees. This dependency on automated systems makes the Postal Service highly susceptible to the Y2K problem. As a key element in our nation's communication and commerce infrastructure, its preparedness may be crucial to the nation's Y2K readiness."

"While the Postal Service has made progress in pursuing solutions to its Y2K problems, it still faces significant challenges in the ten months that remain:

- "[In] our most recent Y2K report, we found that briefings to senior management and Y2K reports designed for internal and external use were not always complete, consistent, or clear. We also found that the briefings to senior management did not include a standard report on the overall status of Y2K progress and were not provided at regularly scheduled intervals. As a result, senior managers did not always have the information they needed to monitor Y2K progress. Because senior managers did not have this information, they lost time-critical opportunities to make important resource and budget decisions."

- "As recently as last November, the Postal Service had no comprehensive report that effectively conveyed to senior management the status of the Postal Service's Y2K Initiative."

- "The Postal Service relies extensively on external suppliers that are critical to moving the mail, such as airlines, railroads, and the trucking industry. Obviously, these suppliers are also susceptible to the Y2K problem. Therefore, it is important that the Postal Service become aware of the Y2K status of suppliers to plan and minimize potential disruption in services. Postal officials started to address the supplier issue in June 1998 and, to date, have identified almost 8,000 critical suppliers. As of January 1999, the Postal Service knew the Y2K status of 349 of these 8,000 suppliers."

- "For headquarters' suppliers, in January 1999, the Postal Service had identified 661 critical suppliers and inquired as to their Y2K readiness. Of these, 312 did not respond to inquiries. Of the 349 that replied, the Postal Service determined that 254 are at high risk of not being Y2K ready. The Postal Service has not developed contingency plans to address how it will move the mail if these external suppliers are not ready for the Year 2000."

- "The Postal Service operates more than 38,000 facilities nationwide. Many of these facilities are dependent on technology susceptible to Y2K problems, such as fire suppression equipment, heating and cooling systems, and building access controls. The Postal Service considers 700 of these facilities "high risk" because of the high volume of mail. These facilities rely on thousands of pieces of critical Y2K-susceptible equipment. As of January 1999, the Postal Service did not know the Y2K status of critical equipment in its facilities nationwide."

- "As of January 1999, the Postal Service had identified 152 critical information systems crucial to the core business activities of the Postal Service. As of January 1999, Postal managers reported that 127 of the 152 systems were reviewed, corrected, and tested at the system level. These systems still need to be certified and independently verified as Y2K compliant. Some systems will also need to undergo readiness testing. The Postal Service's initial target date for reviewing and correcting systems was September 1998. The current completion date is projected for June 1999, nine months after the original projection, which affects other information systems target dates."

- "The Postal Service exchanges a significant amount of data internally and with external organizations, such as financial institutions, customers, transportation suppliers, meter manufacturers, and the U.S. Treasury. These data exchanges need to be assessed and certified as compliant if the Postal Service's Y2K effort is to succeed. Even if the Postal Service's critical systems are Y2K compliant, it is possible that exchange partners' systems may not be Y2K ready. As of January 1999, the Postal Service has assessed about 4,300 out of approximately 5,700 data exchanges. About 2,000 of the 4,300 data exchanges assessed have been identified as critical. As of now, 123 of the 2,000 have been reported as Y2K ready."

- "The Postal Service depends on mainframe systems, midrange computers, network servers, personal computers, and telecommunications equipment. The Postal Service has been working to make this infrastructure Y2K compliant since 1996. As of January 1999, officials estimated that the Postal Service had more than 134,000 actual pieces of hardware, including about 120,000 personal computers and about 14,000 servers. To manage the inventory, the Postal Service has categorized the hardware and software into 2,000 unique types. As of January 1999, the Postal Service reported that solutions had been developed for 1,600 of the 2,000 types of hardware and software. Deploying the solutions will be a challenge because the Postal Service does not know which specific personal computers and servers are not Y2K compliant."

"The Postal Service is faced with a formidable challenge in completing all of these tasks. We believe the Postal Service should immediately reevaluate the initial assessment and shift priority to issues that are absolutely necessary to ensure that core business processes work in the Year 2000 -- those that move the mail, pay employees and vendors, protect revenue, and protect the safety of employees and customers. It is [also] critical that the Postal Service develop and test business continuity and contingency plans. Such plans will reduce the consequences of Y2K problems that could impair the Postal Service's core business processes." (JG)

Link: http://www.house.gov/reform/postal/hearings/corcoranfeb23.htm

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RUSSIA FACED WITH PROBLEMS ON MANY FRONTS
(Sources: Robert MacMillan, NEWSBYTES, 3/31/1999; Dale Hurd, CBN, 3/25/1999; Adam Entous, REUTERS, 3/22/1999)

White House Year 2000 chief, John Koskinen, is disputing reports that Russia has canceled plans for Y2K cooperation with the U.S. in response to NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia. "I have been given no official announcement that they are withdrawing [from the effort]. From all the information that we have now, I think we'll continue the dialogue." According to recent press reports in the U.S. and Russia, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov signaled a forced hiatus in the Year 2000 preparations, when he canceled a recent meeting with Vice President Al Gore because of the ongoing NATO military offensive in Kosovo. Russian and American experts had initiated plans to place Russian and U.S. technicians side-by-side in a joint nuclear command post during the months before and after January 1, 2000 (Y2K Report 16). The status of a group of DEFENSE DEPARTMENT officials in Russia since February to work on the Year 2000 bug is uncertain.

Before his trip to the U.S. was interrupted by the controversy, Primakov had intended to plead with the White House for more money. That's because Russia is broke and the country is running out of options, according to political analyst Paul Goble, who says that American leaders are kidding themselves if they think Russia is a functioning state. "It's a failed state...much more like the Congo or Somalia. The Russian government doesn't have effective control over its nuclear weapons. The Russian government doesn't have effective control over its tax system. The Russian government doesn't have effective control over its economy. There is no law. There are no forces maintaining order. What you have is chaos."

On top of the horrendous political and economic tensions the Russian people are currently experiencing, there are new reports of serious problems with 14 Chernobyl-style nuclear reactors located throughout the former Soviet Union. These facilities, all vulnerable to Y2K-related failures, provide many of the former Soviet states with anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of their electric power. It is believed that a Y2K-related failure at even one of these plants could pose serious safety risks and cause regional instability in Eastern Europe. Russia has been slow in recognizing the seriousness of the Y2K problem. In fact, Russian Prime Minister Primakov did not receive his first comprehensive Y2K report until February 26, 1999.

Link: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/ts/story.html?s=v/nm/19990322/ts/bug_1.html (JG)

Link: http://www.senate.gov/~y2k/news/pr032299.html

Link: http://www.newsbytes.com/pubNews/128711.html

Link: http://www.cbn.org/news/stories/990325.asp

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AMA ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR PROTECTING PHYSICIANS FROM Y2K
(Source: Dr. David Hibbard, personal correspondence, 3/18/1999, thanks to John Steiner)

The AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (AMA) is putting on Y2K information seminars around the country in an attempt to educate and prepare physicians. Dr. David Hibbard attended one of the first of these seminars held in Denver, on March 12. Here are some edited excerpts from his notes:

"There is an emerging 'Standard of Care' for dealing with the Y2K problem which the AMA is defining and passing along to physicians and hospitals. The implication throughout this seminar was that if this Standard of Care is not met by hospitals, physicians, and medical practices, then not only might patients be harmed, but the hospitals and physicians would be legally liable (civily and/or criminally) for failure to take adequate corrective action to protect these patients."

"Every conversation, every decision about Y2K should be written down and included in a 'Due Diligence File,' showing the thought processes you went through in preparing your hospital or medical practice for Y2K. They want you to make a paper trail which documents the efforts you have made to get all the information possible and then act on that information for the protection of the patients which the hospital serves."

"They are recommending that all elective surgery for the first two to three weeks of 2000 be moved up to 1999, or delayed until later, allowing the hospital staff to exert full surveillance of the hospital functions and corrective action if such is needed."

"They are recommending to individual physicians that they NOT admit patients to the hospital electively after the turn of the century, and admit only when really necessary."

"The AMA is considering having patients admitted to intensive care (ICU) sign an 'informed consent' form which would discuss the possibility that the devices in the ICU might fail and result in harm to the patient."

"If you are unsure of the compliance status [of a medical device], DO NOT USE IT.

"The AMA seminar presenters stressed the need for written contingency plans for all aspects of the hospital and clinic operations. They are recommending that each medical office have a meeting ASAP where the entire staff comes together and brainstorms about how to handle patients if worse case scenarios happen, e.g., the power is off, there is no water, sewers are not working. Then write all of this down and keep it in a Contingency File for each office."

"Each medical office should consider giving patients handouts which give instructions for patients who are on electricity dependent systems at home (oxygen concentrators, respirators, etc.) for dealing with prolonged power outages. Should the patient have their own back-up battery, or generator system, or should they go to their nearest hospital and hook into that hospitals' power supply, or should they have tank oxygen supplied to them by the oxygen company?"

"Each medical office should consider giving patients handouts suggesting that patients have a least a one-month extra supply of critical medications on hand in case the normal distribution lines fail. (JG)

List of noncompliant medical devices: http:// www.FDA.gov

Link: http://www.co-intelligence.org/Y2K.html

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SEARCHING FOR "THE RIGHT VOICE ON Y2K"
(Source: Victor Porlier, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 3/17/1999)

On March 10, 200 journalists assembled at a two-hour breakfast meeting in Manhattan hosted by THE MEDIA STUDIES CENTER to hear a panel of journalists and Y2K experts address the issue of "The Press and Preventing Panic," or, as Moderator Kerry Brock described it, "helping" the press in their search for "the right voice on Y2K."

As expected, the "experts" played down the seriousness of the Y2K threat. The underlying assessment was similar to Peter de Jager's recent comments: "Doomsday avoided, a low to medium possible bump-in-the-road may be coming to your locale." As a result, the Press should, in the words of Edward Kelley of the Board of Governors of the FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM, "suggest calm attentiveness to preparations," presumably of the three-day variety recommended by FEMA.

Here are some edited statements made at the meeting, along with comments by attendee, Y2K analyst Victor Porlier:

Kelley: "There are few places in our national life where the statement 'attitude can affect outcome' is so compellingly demonstrated as in the banking sector, particularly as we work to address Y2K."

Porlier: "The reality is that the remediated systems either work or they don't work. No amount of 'attitude' is going to change that."

John Koskinen, Chair of the PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON THE YEAR 2000 CONVERSION: "As it becomes clear our national infrastructures will hold, overreaction becomes one of the biggest remaining problems."

Porlier: "The problem here is that we have no proof that the national infrastructure will, in fact, hold. And in the absence of facts, we must prepare for problems, perhaps very serious ones."

Koskinen: "The less you know, the more you assume the worst."

Porlier: "A large number of Y2K remediators and project leaders, 'know more' and are assuming something far worse than a bump-in-the-road. Many top managers in corporations or government agencies and investment analysts 'know less' than the remediators and are assuming the best."

Kelley: "The overwhelming majority of [banking] institutions are reported by our examiners to be doing a thorough preparatory job, and they will be fully ready well in advance of December 31, 1999."

Porlier: "Somewhere in the back of my mind there surfaced the memory of the Savings & Loan debacle when audits showed that all was well, until the banks began suddenly to implode. It would have been more persuasive if he had suggested how to get at the facts and inferences upon which those assertions are based. Bank depositors and Y2K analysts report widespread stonewalling by banks across the country. The only answers being given are that they are ready, compliant, or on schedule."

Kelley: "We don't have as much information about preparations internationally, and some countries are apparently only now beginning to seriously address the issue. We do not believe this will seriously affect worldwide financial activity, but it could result in some disruptions abroad."

Porlier: "His statements about international finance struck me as airbrushing; every international survey -- GARTNERGROUP, WORLD BANK, CIA -- has forecast an overseas disaster." (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/DSA/VP/vp9911.htm

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DE JAGER RESPONDS TO CRITICISM OF "DOOMSDAY AVOIDED"
(Source: Peter de Jager, 3/17/1999

As expected, Peter de Jager received a number of dissenting comments regarding his recent upbeat article "Doomsday Avoided" (Y2K Report 17). Here are some edited excerpts from his response to the criticism:

"[In a nutshell], here's my assertion: we've avoided global bank failures, global power outages and global communications collapse. That's good news and needs to be stated loudly and strongly. Why? Because there are charlatans and religious extremists masquerading as technical experts, and conspiracy theorists posing as computer consultants, who are saying with 100 percent certainty [that] everything is going to collapse around our heads. For the record, [while] I've stated loudly [that] we've avoided the doomsday scenarios, we've NOT avoided all the problems associated with Y2K. I said we've broken the back of Y2K -- I never said the beast was dead."

"Some of the messages started out: 'How dare you use your pulpit!' Here's how I dare: I created it for exactly this purpose by working 100+ hour weeks for the past five years. That's how I did my bit to spread the word on Y2K. That's why it exists. That's why I dare."

"Other messages started: 'I've lost a lot of respect for you.' In the beginning, when I started my efforts to create awareness, I ran into many obstacles. The ones that affected me most deeply were those that questioned my integrity or motivations. I pressed on and won the respect of many people. Not to mention the small, tiny fact that I was proven to be right."

"Some messages started: 'You've obviously sold out and are being paid to tone down the discussion.' I've been accused for the past eight years of selling out, first to the vendors, and now to the 'establishment.' I have no real defense against this attack. I cannot 'prove' my opinions are my own. Those who wish to believe this accusation can choose to do so. Those who know me personally know, without a shadow of a doubt, this is not the case."

"The most ludicrous category of messages started with: 'Why are you telling people not to make preparations?' I've NEVER said that, and it is very unlikely I will say it between now and 2000. [What I have said] is that planning for one-year disruptions, stock piling one-year supplies of anything, buying guns, and running for the hills are overreactions. I have [also] said that preparations along the lines of those sufficient to cope with Montreal ice storms are reasonable and prudent."

"I have always chosen to work on the biggest problem facing us on which I could have a positive impact. Years ago, that was the denial surrounding Y2K. Today it is the hype. I will always will speak honestly about this subject based upon the facts I have at my disposal. When the facts change, so will my message." (JG)

Link: http://www.year2000.com/archive/NFy2kdoomsday.html

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Y2K RESOURCES:

GARDENING RESOURCES
(Source: ASHLAND Y2K GROUP)

The Ashland Y2K Mailing List recommends the following gardening resources:

BOUNTIFUL GARDEN: excellent tools, non-hybrid seeds. (707) 459-6410

PEACEFUL VALLEY FARM SUPPLY: for the organic gardener. (530) 272-4769

RONINGER'S SEED AND POTATO: best potato starts and other heirloom seeds. (509) 925-6025

NICHOLD GARDEN NURSERY: quality seeds, lots of heirloom seeds. (541) 928-9280

"The Humanure Book": never buy fertilizer again.

"The Encyclopedia of Country Living" by Carla Emery: a guide for the rest of us.

"How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Every Thought Possible" by John Jeavons: the definitive work on bio-intensive gardening.

"The Sustainable Vegetable Garden" by John Jeavons and Carol Cox: the condensed version of the above book and enough to get you started in bio-intensive gardening.

If the books are not available locally, you can order them from AMAZON.COM. (JG)

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THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:

GOOD NEWS RISES TO THE TOP

"The higher up you go in an organization, the better they are doing."

--- John Koskinen, Chair of the PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON THE YEAR 2000 CONVERSION, at a speech to 200 journalists in Manhattan on March 10, 1999.

To which one wag in the audience quipped:

"Aren't YOU pretty high up in the White House's organization?"

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THIS WEEK'S NEWS SOURCES:

The stories in this week's NHNE Y2K Report were drawn, in part, from the following news sources:

SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS:
http://www.sangersreview.com/

YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER:
http://www.year2000.com/articles/NFarticles.html

GARY NORTH'S LINKS AND FORUMS:
http://www.garynorth.com/y2k/latest_.cfm

Sheri Nakken (Y2K NETWORK):
http://www.nccn.net/~wwithin/wncy2k.htm

Y2KNEWSWIRE:
http://www.y2knewswire.com

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Copyright 1999 by NewHeavenNewEarth

Please feel free to share this report with as many people as you like. If you do share this report with others, we ask that you reproduce it in its entirety (including all credits, copyright notices and addresses), not alter its contents in any way, and pass it on to others free of charge.

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