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Terror Alert Level Moves From Umber To Ochre
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WASHINGTON - The nation's terror alert level has been moved from "Umber" or "Someone is in danger, but it's probably not you" to "Ochre" or "Danger is likely for someone, maybe you, maybe not." This comes on the heels of Ralph Nader's announcement that he may again seek the presidency in 2004. "I don't think I'm the reason for the level change," said Nader, "I'm not even sure what the change means. Is Ochre worse?"

Alerts issued to law enforcement officials indicate that "credible information indicates the possibility that a likelihood may exist for zero or more persons to be in the planning stages, or later, or earlier, of an attack against targets that may or may not include U.S. interests." Nader is not actually named in the alerts, although a comment is made about "unnamed potential independent presidential candidates", which may be a reference to Nader.

"Absolutely not," said Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Secretary, "Mr. Nader is not in any way considered a threat. He only garnered 3% of the vote in 2000, he hasn't announced his candidacy for 2004, and he's not very likable as a candidate anyway. I mean, 'Ralph'? Name one successful politician named 'Ralph'. There was 'King Ralph', but I think that was just a movie."

"As far as the color change," continued Ridge, "Umber is more of an brownish-orange, while ochre is more of a orangey-brown. So you can see that the threat level has clearly shifted."

The effect of the change in the security level on the average American is unclear. "It really doesn't affect me," said Marie Roberg. Marie is a teacher's aide, who had not been aware of the change until we reached her at Wal-Mart. "I'll probably watch out, you know. For terrorists. And stuff like that. Mainly that."

"I'm always ready." This matter-of-fact statement came from Dietrich Miller, a self-proclaimed anti-terrorist expert and part-time power-washer. "I've got a gun. Can you see it? You can't, and you won't, and neither will they. Until it's too late. For them, I mean. We gotta take this country back from the terrorists."

Ridge left open the possibility that after the holidays the terror level may go back to Umber, possibly even Sienna.
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