Ashcroft warns nation with general, non-specific
speech; Ridge offers the obvious with "phone home";
and Dubya plays Battleship with an autistic altar boy

"What NOW?" was my response to the telephone's irritating ring that announced what had to be the 20th call of the day. My wife took the call, knowing that she was the better choice between the two of us to do so, considering my already foul mood.

"Oh really? No, it has been off all morning. Let me turn it on" Jane replied while making a bee line to the living room, obviously interested in what the caller had to say.

"War?" I queried, adding "Assassination?"

No such luck. The television came on and was switched to the channel of one of the big three networks and displayed our own U.S. Constitution Rewrite Editor John Ashcroft doing his best Chicken Little. It was only going to be a day of "elevated" enjoyment watching and otherwise monitoring the news.

here we go again ...

The oft criticized and infamous Terrorist Alert system was notched up from the mid-range "ELEVATED" bar, up to "HIGH" sometime around the noon hour here on the east coast. For citizens of the Trix Nation, that's up from lemon-yellow to orange-orange. In the immortal words of one Scooby Doo: "Ruh Roh!"

Ashcroft did a virtual replay of past alert announcements with reference to "unspecific threats" while rapidly shifting his eyes left to right. He has cards he's not showing. Targets are known. Believe it. Ashcroft knows how to dodge, bob and weave.

Homeland Security homie Tom "Duck and Cover" Ridge said for those state and local agencies that have terrorist plans in effect to stick to them, adding for those agencies without plans, "Good luck to you." As for suggestions for the general public, Ridge quoted his favorite movie with "Phone home." Thanks, Tom! I never would have thought to do that.


School children can now break out the gas masks, place them on the front left corner of their desks and color in the second highest block with an orange crayon on those charts the U.S. Department of Education provided. In fifteen years these children will be crowding mental health providers with a deluge of PTSS (post-traumatic stress syndrome) psycho therapy needs from all this. There will be an entire generation instinctively wetting and/or soiling their pants at the mere sight of a Sunkist orange. Mark my words on this one.

amend that amendment ...

The federal government was short sighted on the design of this "risk of terrorist attacks" alert scale. There should have been one more level, the color code of which would have to be black, must be labeled "DOOMED" and with the description being "they're here right now and the shit has hit the fan."

And speaking of the terrorist attacks, where the hell is the Big Kahuna of Terrorists? You remember, don't you? Osama? Osama bin Laden? Tall guy, scraggly beard, turban? Yeah, that guy! In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, ObL was the worlds Number One bad guy. He was right up there leading the ranks of such noteworthy folks as Hitler, Satan, Atilla the Hun, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger on the all time most dastardly dudes list.


At the time, rhetoric spewed from the White House and other Washington, DC, hovels was thicker than Los Angeles rush hour smog, Mount Saint Helen's ash-rain, and the WTC post-collapse dust clouds combined. We were going to use any and all means necessary to find, hunt down, handcuff, transport, and screw his dirty, rotten Muslim ass to the defendant's chair in a World Kangaroo Court.

Mountain ranges were bombed and caves were searched. Hard drives were seized and analyzed. Prisoners were captured, transported, imprisoned, interrogated and given Twinkies. The FBI and CIA were forced to shake hands and share data. Carnivore software scanned e-mail from grandparents to their grandchildren for "potential terrorist links." The (p)Resident pounded the podium with and marched the goose-step in his freshly shined penny loafers. But Osama was nowhere to be found.

These days we don't hear much about ole Osama, do we? We hear plenty about Saddam Hussien, Michael Jackson and Joe Millionaire. There's no lack of air time or print page space for the promotion of Star Search, Fear Factor, American Idol, Survivor, Ozzy Osborn, Weakest Link or Anna Nicole Smith. But there's nary a word even so much as whispered about Osama bin Laden.

That's because terrorism and war don't sell, period: that is unless we're the terrorists (remember to bombing of Belgrade, Yugoslavia) or we're winning the war (remember kicking Noriega's ass in Panama). The American viewing public has grown tired of all this news stuff and has moved onto more important things like who Joe Millionaire is bopping in a hot tub, cheap nipple slips and crotch shots on Survivor, and close-ups of cartilage sticking out of what's left of Michael Jackson's nose. Were a sophisticated lot, we Americans.

Diversions. Modern day life is full of them and nobody is immune. And don't think for a moment that your federal officials, broadcasters and print media moguls aren't fully aware of that fact and taking full advantage of it. Trust me on this one, too.

Remember: the color du jour is orange. And don't forget to have a nice, vigilant day!

Copyright © 2003 by Jeff Bauer
All rights reserved

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