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1997-08-16 16:19:45


The Clintons on the Year 2000: Bug-Free!



Hillary and Bill recently gave speeches on the Year 2000. They are launching yet another PR stunt: this time on the new millennium. (The new millennium begins in 2001, but I guess nobody told them.)

Well into a long catalogue of expected triumphs, the President did make this promise:

"Now, as the millennium turns, as we have all seen from countless reports, so do the dates on our computers. Experts are concerned that many of our information systems will not differentiate between dates in the 20th and the 21st century. I want to assure the American people that the federal government, in cooperation with state and local government and the private sector, is taking steps to prevent any interruption in government services that rely on the proper functioning of federal computer systems. We can't have the American people looking to a new century and a new millennium with their computers -- the very symbol of modernity and the modern age -- holding them back, and we're determined to see that it doesn't happen."

Oh yes we can!

"We're determined...." You would think that his (their?) determination is all that we need to get 1.5 trillion lines of code repaired, worldwide. Anyway, he seems to think so.

In retrospect, this speech may become a kind of epitaph on his presidency -- his most short-sighted speech ever. That's saying a lot.

Hillary's introduction is especially choice. First, notice that the Webmaster posted the speeches with the word "phonetic" left in. After someone's name, we read "(phonetic)." More amazing: the word occurs after obvious names. How else would anyone pronounce "Sandra Harnes"? Sandra Harness? Sandra Harnees? The same insertion appears in the President's speech: "Marilee Goldman (phonetic)." Some speech writer thinks the President could have trouble pronouncing that name. I can see it now: "Franklin Roosevelt (ROEzevelt)." And how did the PR munchkins neglect to edit out this stuff before posting these speeches on the White House Web site? Maybe they will if word gets out, but it really shows that they are asleep at the wheel. This is not what I would call painstaking care.

Second, check out her reference to dropping out the "19" from computers. It's clear that she knows something of what's involved, yet she carefully skipped over it.

I guess I'd call her speech, "No bug, M'Lady."

"MRS. CLINTON: Thank you very much, Governor John Carlin. And I want to thank, on behalf of all of us, the World Children's Choir and their artistic director, Sandra Harnes (phonetic). I learned that their credo is to sing together to create friendship, peace, and health for themselves and the planet, and I want to thank them for contributing to this event this morning. . . .

"A few years ago most of us gave us little thought to the approaching millennium. We didn't spend time conjuring what it would be like to drop the 19 from the calendar and our computer and replace it with a 20."


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