WASHINGTON - Tom Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security, unveiled a sweeping new plan for Americans to remain safe in their homes. Chief among the points in the plan is an inflatable biosuit that Ridge says can protect ordinary Americans in most situations.
"This suit wards off mosquitos, wasps, poison ivy, and even some small dogs," Ridge said as the suit was modeled at a press conference. "We've even found that it may protect against home intruders, especially if they're intoxicated, because they are so frightened by the suit that they often flee."
The suit comes in a box that can fit into an ordinary walk-in closet, weighs under 200 pounds, and has its own battery-powered pump that can inflate the suit in a mere 90 minutes. Funding for distribution of the suit remains uncertain, but some government officials suggest that it might be distributed to many families in lieu of a tax cut check.
Ridge also announced that the suit will be manufactured by Halliburton Corp. He added that Halliburton won the $173 billion contract after competitive bidding against several other companies, including John's Small Engine Repair, Grandma's Memories Antique Shop, and an unnamed business run by a guy named Paco who sells hot dogs on Martin Street.
Critics of Ridge's plan point out that the suit does nothing to protect the wearer from chemical, biological, radiological, or conventional terrorist attacks. Senator Tom Daschle said, "My mother tried this thing on, and I sprayed her with pepper spray. It appears that the pump on the suit collected all of the spray and concentrated it on her face. She nearly died from coughing. Then, when I tried to get her out of the suit, it sprang a leak and she flew around the room, suffering serious injuries."
The Department of Homeland Security scoffed at the criticism. "Nothing can protect all Americans from all threats at all times," said spokesman Tim Barnes. "If somebody drops an atomic bomb on your house, you're not going to survive...well, not unless you're Dick Cheney. The truth is that this suit is a big step up from plastic sheeting and duct tape. If everyone on an airliner had one of these suits, and inflated them at the same time, the whole plane would be filled wall-to-wall with inflated suits, making it much more difficult for evil-doers to do evil and carry out their evil-doing plans."
Other points in the plan include funding for caches of emergency food and water in large US cities, across-the-board tax relief for Halliburton Corp., and a plan to shoot Massachussetts Senator Ted Kennedy into outer space.