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February 23, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-23

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 23, 1999 - 5

.Federal departments behind on

Y2K problem

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal agencies are
belatedly responding to the Year 2000 computer
prdblem, and some of the biggest departments,
inicluding Defense and State, are still lagging
behind, a House expert said yesterday.
Agencies, "are finally getting around in the last
year to really putting some effort into this," Rep.
*Stephen Horn (R-Calif.) said in releasing his sev-
enth quarterly "report card" on the status of efforts
to4'hat is known as the Y2K problem.
hlorn, who heads the House subcommittee
on government management, information and
technology, gave the 24 agencies he has fol-

lowed an overall grade of "C+." That's up
from the "D" grade handed down in his survey
last November.
"At least we know there is recognition that
Y2K is not a new cereal," said Rep. Constance
Morella (R-Md.), who has worked to draw atten-
tion to the problem.
President Clinton has given most federal
agencies until March 31 to upgrade their com-
puters so there will not be breakdowns in basic
public services on Jan. 1,2000. Most older com-
puters use only two digits to mark keep track of
what year it is, and could confuse 2000 with the

Agencies "are finally getting around in the
last year to .. pufing some effort into flis"
- Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.)
Member of Congress grading agency compliance with Y2K regulations

cent of federal computer systems will be ready by
the March 31 deadline and Koskinen said critical
transportation, defense and benefits programs will
be fixed well in advance of the yearned. "I think
the public should be satisfied that the risk is not
coming from federal systems."
Horn .gave 1 1 agencies, including the
Social Security Administration and the
Veterans Affairs Department, either an "A"
or "A-" for installing software that is Y2K-
compliant. He praised the Energy and
Justice departments for making major
strides since the last report.

year 1900 at the turn of the century, causing mal-
functions and shutdowns.
John Koskinen, head of the president's
Year 2000 Council, said he was pleased by
Horn's latest assessment. Horn, Koskinen

said, "has complained I was overoptimistic,
but when the dust gets settled we'll find that
I was more right than he was, and I'm
delighted with that."
Koskinen and Horn agreed that about 90 per-

Governors make pitch for money

nation's governors convened yes-
terday at the White House to deliv-
er a united message to President
Clinton that the states are entitled
to all the money from their $246
billion settlement with the tobacco
"The governors were pretty firm on
the idea that we don't want to be told
what to do with our money,"
Michigan Gov. John Engler said after
the meeting.
Engler wants to use part of
'Michigan's $8.2 billion from the set-
tlement to pay for scholarships for
students who do well on high school
standardized tests. Michigan should
get about $300 million a year and
Engler wants to put a majority of that
money into an endowment for the
scholarships, said his spokesperson,
"John Truscott.
Federal officials said in 1997 the
administration was entitled to part of
any settlement the states reach with
tobacco companies because the states
were trying to recover Medicaid
money spent on smoking-related ill-
The federal government pays the
states for at least half of Medicaid in
every state.
"I think everyone was encouraged
that the president said he wasn't try-
ing to take the states' money away,"
Engler said.
President Clinton "said he was
willing to work with us," the governor
The stakes are huge if Washington
tries to claim half the $246 billion in
settlement money the tobacco indus-
try will pay the states.
" But Engler said there also was sig-
)iificant bipartisan support in
Congress "for the proposition the

states keep the money and the states
decide how to spend it"
The governors are in town for the
annual National Governors'
Association meeting and Engler was
using the opportunity to promote
George W. Bush, the Texas governor,
as a presidential candidate.
Engler has been talking to other
Republican governors about Bush,
laying the groundwork for endorse-
ments and campaign help if Bush
decides to run.
"I am somebody who feels strong-
ly that George W. Bush ought to run
for president," Engler said. "I think
he's a terrific governor. He's one of
the leaders of America"
Engler has not wasted time in
supporting Bush. In contrast, when
former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas)
ran for president, Engler was one of
the last governors to endorse his
"He's doing a great job rattling the
bushes" for George W. Bush, said
Gov. Gary Johnson (R-New
Engler views the governors as a
resource, able to put their state net-
works at the disposal of the GOP
"One of the keys to being success-
ful is to have the governors very
involved in the campaign - and not
just say that they're going to be
involved," he said.
The governors also are pushing for
a system to collect sales taxes on
Internet commerce. Engler said that
was "the most difficult issue to
The other hot topic at the gover-
nors' meeting has been education.
Engler said discussion among the
governors illustrated that each state
has different priorities and needs

Continued from Page 1
Prejean said, addressing her audience. "I
have come here where there is already a
fire. It inspires me and it gives me life.
Thank you for that."
Many students said they were
impressed with the speech. "It was
truly inspirational - very intense,"
said LSA first-year student Matt
Ableson. "It put you in the place she

Many said she gave them a chance to
think more deeply about the issue of
capital punishment and examine their
own opinions. "It opened my eyes to
issues I wasn't aware of,' LSA first-year
student Brad Liening said.
While there was little time for ques-
tions from the audience, Prejean was
available afterwards for a book signing.
An estimated 140 attended the one-
hour event, which was sponsored by the
Fourth Annual Exhibition of Art by
Michigan Prisoners.

Continued from Page 1
"It was virtually unanimous that it
was the kind of piece that America
should see," he said, describing his disap-
proval of organizations, such as the
American Medical Association, for com-
ing out against the airing of the tape
before they had seen it.
Martin Haag, senior vice president for
news at the A.H. Belo Corporation,
spoke about his decision not to air the
"60 Minutes" tape on his stations. He
said he had concerns about the sensitive
and personal nature of the story.
The decision not to show the tape "had
to do with showing the moment of
death," Haag said, adding he was also
worried that many children and teenagers
would be watching TV at the time the
show aired.
Wallace expressed some disappoint-
ment at what he said was a failure by "60
Minutes" to provide complete back-
ground information on Thomas Youk,
who died in the videotape.
During a break, Wallace shared details
with reporters of a follow-up story that
will run "within the next two to three
weeks" that will further examine issues
the show could not fully cover with the
first report.
Approximately 15 patients with ALS
were interviewed, Wallace said, along
with Youk's wife and two of his brothers.
Members of the activist group Not
Dead Yet gathered in front of panel mem-
bers and voiced strong opposition to the
legalization of assisted suicide. A few

chanted and held up signs, including one
reading, "Media + Kevorkian = Death for
Kate Weger, a member of the group,
said two-thirds of the people who have
died with Kevorkian's help have 1been
disabled, not terminally ill. Because
many disabled people lack money, trans-
portation and adequate resources, every-
day life can be more difficult, she said.
"If all these things were corrected,
would they still think life is not worth
living?" Weger asked.
Former Kevorkian attorney Geoffery
Fieger, who spoke about his experi-
ences defending Kevorkian in Oakland
County, noted the ironiy in the situa-
tion, pointing out that the protesters are
campaigning to have freedom taken
away from them.
"They are not capable in a free soci-
ety of making a decision about their life
so they want the governemnt to do it for
them," Fieger said.
Fieger added that there needs to be a
better understanding of what is being
fought for in the issue of assisted suicide.
It is "the right of mentally competent
adults to make decisions about their-life
without the interference of govern-
ment;' he said.
The conference also included a short
presentation by Oakland County
Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic,
who has ruled on 71 cases of euthanaisa
since he began his job. Dragovic gave
the official definitions of suicide and
homocide, adding that labeling a death
as a murder can only take place after
judicial proceedings.

Texas Gov. George Bush talks with Michigan Gov. John Engler yesterday at the
winter meeting of the National Governors' Association.

when it comes to education. What
states needed is flexibility because it
is "impossible for the federal govern-
ment to design a one-size-fits-all sys-
tem," he said.
Today, Engler was scheduled to
testify about education before the
Senate Labor and Human
Resources Committee. He was

going to use the opportunity to
urge that some federal education
funding to be turned over to the
states in the form of a block grant,
as the government did with wel-
fare, Truscott said.
"I favor turning power and
authority over to the state," Engler


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