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Brothers Grinn mailing!  Smikov Grinn
 Sep 07, 2005 09:08 PDT 
The Brothers Grinn present
our September 8, 2005, mailing!

Our special "Energy Crunch" issue

"When I was a boy, I was told that anyone could become president, and now I am beginning to believe it."
-- Clarence Darrow


The Brothers Grinn have received the following confidential memo from President Bush to Vice President Cheney, in which Bush outlines what steps the federal government is considering to curtail the looming energy crisis. Reporters wishing to verify this memo should just take our word for it. Our source is a high-ranking official who needs to remain anonymous in order to protect his cat.

We now present the memo, grateful to have a man like George Bush leading the United States during this dark hour:

Dear Dick:

Sorry you couldn't make the Cabinet meeting yesterday. After Katrina, one of the big topics we addressed was the current energy crisis and what we can do to bring costs down for the nation's drivers. You know that I'm with you a hundred percent on "Conservation is a great personal virtue," but every other schmoe there seemed to think people should be burning less gas.

For a lark, I figured I'd give Sam Bodman a shot at it, since I did make him Secretary of Energy, but that's where I drew the line.

(That reminds me, we've got to lean on Steve Johnson - the man just won't shut up, as if he thinks the EPA has something to say about fossil fuels! I thought I made it clear back with Christie Whitman that the EPA should butt out of these things. With the American Way of Life at stake, the last thing we need is someone crying about emissions standards and air pollution.)

Anyway, Bodman's ideas:

1. Tougher mileage requirements for new cars. Now there's a Clinton legacy. Doesn't he remember I dumped this idea back in 2001? Bodman drones on and on that setting higher fuel efficiency standards will lower the amount of gas that drivers use, blah blah blah, yada yada yada.

All right, you might think I'm caving, but if you had to listen to him blather on and on, you'd get sick of it too. My idea: Starting with the 2007 models, all new U.S. cars should be either a motorcycle or one of those new gas-electric hybrids. (Man, I love my Harley - at least when I can pry it away from Laura. Now there's a woman who just likes her leather!)

We're also going to send agents from the EPA out to steal people's old cars and drive them into Lake Michigan so that they can use the insurance money to buy hybrids. Heh, who says government agencies can't work well together?

(Chao, over at Labor, of course always has to spoil the party and says making too many payouts in a single year could be problematic for the auto insurance industry. Okay, fine - let's just cap their obligation for theft/loss at $100 a car, or make it payable over fifty years or something. Heck, why not both? We made it work for the health insurance industry, we'll make it work here.)

2. Encourage people to ride their bikes. Bodman thought that if people rode their bikes to work instead of driving their cars, they'd save gas and money. If we can get them to ride their bikes to church, the post office, or Aunt Sally's Tattoo Parlor across the street instead of driving, there'll be millions of gallons of gas saved every day. In places like L.A., it might even settle once and for all whether cars cause smog, or Democrats do.

Okay, I can go for this. And it'll help us get those health nuts off our backs about the obesity issue -- people can exercise some weight off without having to cut back on their fast-food diets.

Sure, the idea makes Rumsfeld a little squidgy, since he's heard that's what they do over in China, but he's got some stock in Cannondale and Trek, so I think he'll spring for it.

Besides, Lance Armstrong is big right now, and if he was willing to appear in "Dodgeball: The Movie," I'm sure we can convince him to do a quick TV spot or two. This December, everyone will be getting up two or three hours earlier to ride their bikes to work. No more gridlock, it'll be great!

[Note to self: Watch sharp turns, wear kneepads.]

3. Find and develop alternate fuel sources. I just knew Bodman was going to bring this one up. The writing was on the wall years ago, but someone keeps cutting it from my speeches, along with any mention of bringing home our troops from Iraq now that the active combat is over and Saddam Hussein has been removed from power. (You wouldn't know anything about that, would you, Dick? I only ask because you're usually the last person to review my speeches before I deliver them.)

Bodman had a few ideas, mostly along the conventional lines of thought for alternative fuels. I've included here a few applications of these ideas that I came up with on my own, as well as a few fuel source ideas that are completely my own.

* Solar power. Bodman was thinking mostly of getting more people and businesses to set up solar cells, something he tells me the power companies in Arizona have been doing to great effect. My thought was that we could put satellites in orbit to collect the sun's rays, convert them into microwaves, and beam them down to a receiving station in the desert somewhere. I'm sure I read about that in a Larry Niven story somewhere. As a bonus military application, we can use it as a death ray against our enemies, like the Red Skull did in that old issue of "What If?" where Captain America had become president.

* Natural gas and bio-diesel. Bodman's of the opinion that most internal-combustion engines can be converted to run on these instead of on gasoline pretty easily. Perhaps we can set up a program where people who convert their cars twice can sell conservation credits to people with other cars that still run on gas. My own suggestion is to get our nation's sewage-treatment facilities to save the methane that our sewage produces, and use that either to generate electricity or to run cars. (Think of the potential for promoting that program! "It's your patriotic duty to go to the bathroom!" or maybe even "Think of your country when you flush!")

* Stem cells. We can't drill them for oil, and you know how the GOP feels about them, but I had a great idea after watching "The Matrix" while I was on vacation in Texas last month. Remember how the computers used people to generate all their power? Well, my thought is this: Why not take all the unused embryos from our nation's fertility clinics and artificially raise them in a Matrix-like environment. With them providing our power, America could go all-electric. As a way of expressing our gratitude, we could simulate a reality where everyone in the Matrix was doing stem cell research. See how this solves three thorny problems at once? We get electricity, no embryos are destroyed for stem cells, and we still get to enjoy all the benefits of stem cell research. I'm a genius!

* Garbage. From what Bodman told the Cabinet, about forty percent of our nation's oil needs are tied up in our cars. I figure if we throw $13.6 billion or so into research for developing a "Mr. Fusion" device like Doc Brown's DeLorean used in "Back to the Future," we could run cars off little more than banana peels and coffee grounds. [Note to Self: Possible Starbucks alliance?]

4. Carpool or use mass-transit. Thank God that everyone thought this sounded as un-American as I did. Scratch this, and go to No. 5.

5. Just use less gas. Okay, I'll bite. I promote it as "driving smarter, not further." (Sort of catchy, isn't it?) We can pay people a buck for every mile they don't drive during the week.

And then there's those yard freaks - we need to discourage people from cutting the grass. Maybe plant gardens instead? Not only does it cut back on fuel consumption, but fresh veggies here would save money and gas spent shipping shitakes and rutabagas from South America and Eurasia.

6. Drill for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge after all. I mean, what the hell, right? Once the nation's gas prices hit $6 a gallon, do you really think the public will care anymore? I know you're a betting man, Dick, and this one's the real deal. I'd lay odds they'll be asking us to invade not just Saudi Arabia and Kuwait but Canada too, just to get their oil.

I'm really sorry you couldn't be there, but I still think I managed to hold my own. No one said anything at all when I was done. Even Condi was a bit speechless, so I figure that no news is good news.


George W. Bush


P.S. The Secretary of Labor's still uppity. She kept bringing up how those trade zones we created -- you know, the ones that encourage U.S. industry to move overseas? -- waste a ton of extra fuel shipping the goods back and forth. The last thing we need here is someone like Chao, who's not a team player. Do something, will you? I hate being the heavy, and you're so good at it.


Brothers Grinn, BrothersGrinn.com, Cousin Otto, Grinn News Service, Jocko Grinn, Markle City, The Markle City WOW, Smirkov Grinn, and other distinctive characters and institutions created by the Brothers Grinn, and their images and likenesses are the intellectual property and trademarks of Ravensmyth Corp. Unauthorized use strictly prohibited, used here by permission. Ken Collins is not a member of the presidential Cabinet. At least, not yet.

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