Apparently this generation isn't the first to have the vapors over running out of its main energy source. The Victorians worried about Peak Coal. Somewhat related: Steampunk Star Wars, featuring an actual steam-powered R2D2.
A commenter over at Ace's place wins the internet WRT Roland Burriss, after news from the Chiacgo Sun-Times that:
Pending final resolution, it's possible Burris will get some office space, a limited staff and maybe even be put on some kind of payroll. Though the senators may allow him on the floor, to hang around in the back, Burris could not vote or sit behind one of the desks in the Senate chamber..
In some ways. the Democrats haven't changed at all since the 1960s.