Jewish World Review June 4, 2003 / 4 Sivan, 5763

Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann
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Consumer Reports

Terror attack preparation: Too much or too little? | At the Pentagon, Monday, Defense Department apparatchiks handed out emergency masks to journalists who are regularly assigned there. The three dozen or so reporters were briefed on how to use them against chemical, biological and radiological particles. No indication that they could be useful against any usual inquiries from Secretary Rumsfeld.

They might be a little frightening, but imagine how frightened the reporters feel whose beat is the statehouse in Arizona. For, there, over the weekend, that state's director of homeland security Frank Navarrete said rather simply and without a lot of fanfare, that the next time the national terror alert is raised to orange, Arizona may simply stay at yellow. If the information contained about an orange alert pertains specifically to the coasts, says Navarrete. Arizona might just skip it, thank you very much.

There are several factors, he explains, first a question we raised here a month ago when it became known that, with every day on orange, New York City has to spend an extra $700,000+, the financial reason. Mr. Navarrete says he has no idea how much the first four oranges have cost Arizona, but that the federal government is being nice enough to reimburse $28 million the state has already spent.

And there's another reason to stay yellow: Orange scares people. "We have to keep in mind," he says, "of the fact that, if we continue to do this and nothing happens, it loses impact with the citizenry. It becomes a here-we-go-again mentality."

So next time we go orange, remember, you have a choice. Visit lovely Arizona, where the temperatures are just a little bit warmer and the terror is just a little bit lower.

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The writer hosts MSNBC's “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” The news program, dedicated to all of the day’s top stories, telecasts weeknights, 8-9 p.m. ET. Comment by clicking here.

06/02/03: Bush vs. Clinton?
05/29/03: Ticket blitz in New York City? Hey, at least pregnant women won't be blocking stairwells
05/21/03: ‘Barney’ as torture
05/08/03: Because you just can't take the news too seriously
04/30/03: Should we be more scared of SCARS, or a government that will readily deny you your freedom on the suspicion that you may have it?
04/29/03: Man bites dog --- really!
04/28/03: Because you just can't take the news too seriously ...
04/25/03: The panic over SARS
04/22/03: Playing —and greeting cards in a changed world
04/21/03: Reading your own obituary ... and other 'oops' moments
04/15/03: Saddam Hussein and the Sorcerer's Stone: The secret to Saddam's immortality

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