Predictions for a new millennium

Mayor Bob Walkup will be revealed to be a robot built by Raytheon Missile Systems!

That's just one of the shocking predictions from TW staff psychic Stella Sabrini, who has once again peered into her turquoise crystal ball to see the future and share it with our readers.

Sabrini says the media will soon disclose that the robomayor was developed in a super-secret politibot project initiated by Howard Hughes himself. The reclusive multi-millionaire foresaw the day when computerized androids would do a far better job of making decisions than politicians--and carry fewer germs as well.

But after Hughes' death, the project was mothballed until Hughes Aircraft Company was acquired by Raytheon Missile Systems. Workers found the unfinished robot in a closet along with plans for an updated Spruce Goose and jars of Hughes' fingernail clippings.

Recognizing the advantages of replacing elected officials with mechanical men under their complete control, the company's new owners eagerly green-lighted further research. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, engineers were able to design a software program that allowed the robot to analyze thousands of potential outcomes to almost any political decision. The AI program, dubbed the Friendly Granddad System (FGS), proved a complete success during Walkup's political debut in 1999.

For times of crisis, the model is even equipped with a wide arrange of offensive weapons, including automatic machine guns, two nuclear-tipped missiles and a death ray.

Unfortunately, the technicians were unable to perfect Walkup's mobility program--a bug that was corrected when the city acquired an electric car with a navigation program that Walkup can tap into directly while he recharges in the driver's seat.

The real Bob Walkup lives in hiding on a Caribbean island where he spends his days tuning up a fleet of antique cars and tinkering in his lab.

Sabrini also predicts:

· A dying race of aliens will visit Tucson--and find a cure for the virus ravaging their world in the DNA of the tiny cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. But the story has a tragic end when federal regulations prohibit the aliens from taking the birds back to their home and the ETs succumb to the disease.

· In an attempt to boost the fortunes of the University of Arizona baseball team, UA scientists will revive frozen baseball slugger Ted Williams to manage the ball club. But university officials put him back in cryogenic suspension to avoid paying his full five-year contract after the team fails to win a single game in his first season.

· Using parts they purchase on the Internet, members of Al Qaida will attempt to reactivate the silo at the Titan Missile Museum, but the Islamic fanatics are thwarted by a group of Green Valley residents who overpower them with golf clubs. Soon afterward, Osama bin Laden and his gang will be discovered hiding in the bowels of Colossal Cave.

· Jim Click Jr. sees his vast fortune wiped out by a class-action lawsuit filed by accident-prone drivers--and the auto magnate must take a job as a SunTran bus driver.

· Straight-talker John McCain steps down from his Senate seat to launch a new career making fun of Washington politicians as the new host of Comedy Central's Daily Show.

· To help balance the budget, the Pima County Board of Supervisors agrees to a contract making their day-to-day business the subject of a reality-based TV series, The Supranos. The show's depiction of dysfunctional politics is a hit for three years and helps several supervisors win reelection.

· Facing a mountain of credit-card debt, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio embezzles hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of pink underwear and flees to Mexico, where he eludes authorities by becoming a mysterious masked wrestler.

· After a lobbyist from the atomic-power industry accidentally renders the state Capitol inhabitable during debate about nuclear deregulation, the Arizona Legislature moves to Southern Arizona and sets up shop in the Biosphere.

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