Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A Red Letter Day

The Edsel of bureaucratic gimmicks may finally be on the way out. The Homeland Security Department, bowing to public criticism -- and a fair share of ridicule -- is ready to whitewash over its color coded alert system.

The pencil pushers are considering new warning systems. They're looking at low level alerts on their website -- similar to what the State Department does. Other alternatives include getting rid of the colors in favor of numbers or letters.

A product of the post-9/11 "we-gotta-do-something-to-look-like-we're-doing-something" mentality that embraced Washington bureaucrats, the color coded chart sits at "Yellow" or "Elevated" status most of the time. It's been raised to "Orange" or "High Risk" six times. But almost always amid confusing, vague descriptions of why we should suddenly become more fearful -- and always accompanied by admonitions to "carry-on-with-your-life-like-we-didn't-just-scare-the-living-bejebus-outa-you." (WashPost)

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