Thursday, January 1, 2009

And You Thought 2008 Was Bad ...

Call me a pessimist, but I think celebrating the end to a rough year is a bit premature. 2009 is probably going to suck even more than 2008 did and, let's face it, 2008 sucked pretty hard. So without further ado, here are some predictions:

*** Growth in total U.S. GDP will be less than 1% for the entire year.

*** There will be at least two stories that come out of Wall Street that make Bernie Madoff look like Robin Hood. One will be of another individual money manager who swindled investors, the other will be of some brand name investment house gone crooked (think Enronesque).

*** Gas does not get above $4.00 a gallon -- at least here in Wisconsin. The demand just won't be there (or here, as the case may be).

*** The credit crunch begins to trickle down to things smaller than houses, like cars student loans and credit cards.

*** There will be only two auto makers in Detroit by the end of the year.

*** By the end of the year a lot of major cities in America will start to experience a perceptible increase in crime rates.

*** Blagojevich stays in office through June. The Illinois assembly will eventually call for a special election to fill the empty seat.

*** There will be at least three incidents like the Chip Saltsman thing currently going on where conservative demonstrate they are out of touch when it comes to minorities. These will be silly, unforced errors that will be compounded by a stubborn insistance that what was done was not offensive/racist/insensative/whatever, when a simple apology would have made the issue go away.

*** Pakistan. I don't know what, but they're will be some kind of huge story to come out of Pakistan this year whether it be a coup, some kind of terrorist incident in another country that is traced back to Islamabad, an incursion by the U.S. into Pakistan territory. Something ...

*** Piracy will continue off the coast of Somalia, but the U.S. won't get involved in policing the area (other countries will do the job).

*** Peace talks will finally resume in a serious manner between Israel and Palestine, but they will proceed slowly.

*** Statewide Smoking Ban gets voted on in the Assembly, but stalls in the Senate.

*** Watchmen will be awesome. G.I. Joe ... not so much.

*** Neither the Packers nor the Brewers make it to the playoffs. Badgers get bounced in the second round of the NCAA tournament in March. Marquette loses in the 3rd round.

*** Brittany Spears will try to make another comeback. It will suck just as much as the last one.
So there you go. Don't expect much from 2009 except pain, misery and existential dread. On the bright side, I'm sure there will be a number of unanticipated inctances of mirth to pass the time. And, since I don't want to go out on such a sour note, here's some good news to expect:
*** Chicago will be named the host of the 2016 Olympics in October.

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