The nation enters a period of grief and mourning today as three top Republican Senators simultaneously died on the Senate floor. The hearings on the current economic crisis had entered a question-and-answer period when the chief financial officers of major corporations were proposing programs to deal with the crisis and develop jobs and the economy into the future.
The head of Lockheed proposed a nationwide mag-lev program. By installing a grid of magnets in the nation's highways, he said, traffic could be computer controlled and "...the rubber would only meet the road.." when the traveler enters roadways off the interstate system. These mag-lev driven interstates would be entirely powered by electricity, enabling drivers to turn off their gas-driven engines, and saving billions of gallons of fuel. Each vehicle would receive an electric pulse to propel it, economizing on the amount of power needed, and virtually eliminating collisions. In low traffic periods, only a minimal amount of current would speed drivers to their destination. "Rush hours", he said, "would be staggered to regulate the drain of current on the system."
After the spokesman from Lockheed, a representative of the Detroit "big three" had suggestions on easing the industries' entrance into this new period of economic austerity.
GM, Chrysler and Ford are proposing a program to build light rail between cities of a few thousand people to reduce traffic, fuel consumption and accidents. All small towns would be connected with larger cities that are hubs of employment, commerce, and education. This proposal was intended to convince the Senate that a loan of over thirty billion dollars would serve the nations' long-term interests.
Also the automakers' representative suggested an immediate overhaul of engine production to install 1.6 liter diesel engines which get seventy miles per gallon, as has been demonstrated in Europe to be a viable solution to fuel economy.
A lesser-know science-based economist brought an elaborate plan to grow oil and fiber-producing perennials in marginal lands otherwise unsuitable for food production. These crops, she said, would eliminate the need to cut our nation's forests for toilet paper, preserve old-growth forests and the bio-diversity critical to human survival, and virtually eliminate the import of oil from overseas for diesel production. Her program, she said, would also eliminate the upward price pressure of food crops due to ethanol production, lowering the price of food for the entire world. Vegetable-based diesel would, in addition, be non-toxic, in contrast to present petroleum based diesel, which is a known carcinogen. This hardy crop would need neither insecticides, herbicides nor fertilizers, she noted, and would enable farmers to grow their own diesel fuel, further cutting imports and petroleum usage.
While the foreign press was explaining the effects of marijuana prohibition on the economies of third-world nations and the yearly budget of the CIA, a spokesman for US press interests was asked about the recent application for bankruptcy of the Tribune Corporation.
But the proceedings came to a final and unexpected halt after the recess, when the Republican panelists were embroiled in an uncontrollable laughing fit after the last industry spokesman, a Princeton economist, proposed nationalizing the Federal Reserve system, explaining that such a move would eliminate the inflation-deflation cycle of debt which, carefully employed, can dispossess US citizens of their investments, jobs, and economic viability. When the Princeton economist quoted from the words of Presidents Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR to establish credence for his theory, the Senators were suddenly and unexplainedly stricken with an uncontrollable laughing fit which concluded in heart attacks and strokes and the removal of the bodies from the Senate Chamber.
The spokesman from the oil industry was requested to re-appear on January twenty-second, when he is expected to request that Exxon be allowed to convert from fossil fuel to fossil fools, and to the production of lace antimacassars to grace the parlors and install listening devices in the TV rooms of Republican voters who, according to a national survey, are all either old or befuddled.
-- love holds the stars in their courses-- Maya Angelou