America is on yellow alert, facing a "significant risk of
terrorist attacks," homeland security chief Tom Ridge said yesterday
as he announced a color-coded system designed both to end confusion
over terror warnings and to be a handy guide to patriotic decorating.
and Attorney General John Ashcroft have issued four terror warnings
since the Sept. 11 attacks, and local officials have complained
the assessments were too vague. Bush advisers feared that the public
was getting frustrated with the broad, meaningless alarms and was
demanding narrow, almost-meaningless alarms.
we're trying to do is work with the states and local communities
and the private sector so we have a common vocabulary," the former
Pennsylvania governor said in describing the new system in a speech
to the National League of Disabled Republican Veterans meeting in
Washington. "Someone had suggested English, but we found that most
government officials knowledge of it is incredibly thin."
new system ranks threats by colors, starting with green at the bottom
and followed by blue, yellow, orange, red, and day-glow pink, as
the level of "populace fright" desired intensifies. The warning
level can be upgraded for the entire country or for specific regions
and economic sectors such as the office supply industry,
system's guidelines give government officials advice on what to
do as threats grow, but no such guidance is offered for the general
public, whom, Ridge said, "Can just figure it out for themselves,
if their so-called 'free market' is so clever, OK?"
Ridge's system, "Code Green" is a low risk of terrorist attack.
Emergency response procedures need only be reviewed. "Code Blue"
is a general risk, and officials are asked not only to review but
update emergency response procedures. Yellow is an elevated condition,
meaning there is a significant risk of attack. In addition to reviewing
and updating emergency response procedures, officials would be asked
to cross-reference and repaginate them. Increased surveillance of
local Kinkos copy shops and emergency spell checking would be implemented.
"Code Orange" signifies a high risk of attack, meaning the government
should coordinate all reviewing and updating efforts with armed
forces or law enforcement agencies and redouble its efforts at cross-referencing
and repaginating. Red means a "severe risk" of attack and may require
the positioning of trained editorial teams in copy shops and government
facilities, in order to expedite all-out reviewing and updating.
Cross-referencing and repaginating would be shifted to the Federal
Bureau of Emergency Interdepartmental Paperwork. Finally, "Code
Day-Glow Pink " would mean that the government had run out of file
folders in which to store the procedure manuals and, therefore,
will nationalize Staples.
special condition, "Code Mauve," may be inserted into any of the
other warnings. If that condition arises, it would result in a "prophylactic
cyber-shield" being placed on the web sites of Justin Raimondo,
Jeremy Sapienza, and Andrew Sullivan, denying everyone access to
their web pages.
yes, we know Sullivan is pro-Administration," said Ridge. "But we
can't stand his self-absorbed maunderings either, OK?"
predicted local leaders would take part in the new color scheme,
work together so that we have a seamless strategy through the
state and down to the local government, I'm afraid that we will
have a seamy strategy. Since the effort to invade and conquer
the entire world will probably be creating a lot of new terrorists,
we must consider this to be a permanent condition that we as a
country need to accept as a fact of life.
was also asked, during his address, if authority for the new "shadow
government" the Bush administration has established could be found
anywhere in the US Constitution.
he replied. "It is in a 'penumbra' added by the Shadow Constitutional
Convention. If you just hold the original Constitution up to a whale-oil
lamp at midnight on the Fourth of July, while wearing Benjamin Franklin's
first bifocals, you can easily get a look at the 'shadow constitution'
where such an arrangement is described in detail."
asked where citizens can acquire whale-oil, Ridge said, "Oh, they
can't under 'Code Yellow' whale-oil sales are banned throughout
Callahan [send him mail]
has just finished a book, Economics for Real People, to
be published this year by the Ludwig
von Mises Institute. Stu Morgenstern [send
him mail] was a frequent contributor to Slick Times,
until the presence of his articles drove the magazine out of business.
© 2002, Gene
and Stu Morgenstern
Callahan/Stu Morgenstern Archives
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