Perhaps it's because I like in NYC or a too close reading of the texts of Hunter Thompson, but the terror alert on Sunday stunk to high heaven, and whenever my wife called me into the bedroom to replay Ridge's now famous presidential leadership quote (the wonders of Tivo) the bullshit meters were clamouring. There was one particular reason that the b.s. meters were redlining, though. Ridge announced that, "the United States Government is raising the threat level to Code Orange for the financial services sector in New York City, Northern New Jersey and Washington, DC." Now most of the country may not know this, but NYC has been on Orange Alert ever since 9/11. Hence the fatigued guardsmen in Grand Central and Penn Station along with the increased police presence.
I was quite confused as to why Ridge had called a press conference to announce that NYC would continue to be at Orange Alert. Later came the details about how this particular orange alert would differ from NYC's normal orange alert. Truck traffic would now be prohibited from entering Manhattan using several of the bridges and tunnels. That's when I thought, "fire drill." The RNC wants to turn this place into a fortress in a couple of weeks, but one doesn't make a city of 8 million dance to a certain tune without some warmup. One could make announcements about closures, etc., but that might cause complaints and even lawsuits from a few whackjobs. Far better, though, would be a terror alert that would allow for a dress rehearsal as well as softening up the population for the real thing in three weeks. Enter Ridge.
The city has already been treated to other kinds of drills over the past month, but this week the whole population got good and softened up. To boot, they threw in a campaign stop for the first lady at the freshly locked down Citigroup building.
Capping off the rehearsal was the lifting of most of the travel restrictions on Wednesday night. No need to tax everyone too much before the real thing. Yes it was the perfect test run for convention week. Now we're all ready to go and there's no need for a terror alert in late August. The lingering question is whether they'll shut down the Lincoln instead of the Holland tunnel during the convention as that dumps out near MSG.