Chernoff Issues Apathy Alert
Reacting to criticism that the federal government does not respond quickly enough in times of emergency and crisis, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff today unveiled what he called "a color-coded apathy alert system" that will warn the public of just how sluggish the government's response will be.
"In the past, people have asked, what is taking the government so long to help?" Mr. Chertoff said in a press conference in Washington. "It is my firm belief that this color-coded system will keep the public better informed about the government's precise level of apathy and indifference."
"In times of crisis, people have had to guess whether the government cares or not," Mr. Chertoff added. "This apathy alert system should totally take the guesswork out of that."
The color-coded system consists of five different colors, each corresponding to the government's degree of sluggishness, Mr. Chertoff explained, using a chart and a pointer to demonstrate the system for reporters.
According to the new system, the color yellow means "normal apathy - will wait and see how situation develops,"
orange means "heightened apathy - will not return phone calls"
red means "severe apathy --will not cut short summer vacation in Nantucket."
But even as he unveiled the new apathy alert system, Mr. Chertoff was less specific about how and when the system would be implemented
on a national basis.
"I don't see what the rush is all about," he said, telling reporters he was late for a golf date.