January 1, 2011
2011: The Year AheadBy Staff
Several AT contributors offer their predictions for the year ahead. They range from the insightful to the silly and are offered for entertainment purposes only (in other words, don't hold anyone to them).
The phrase "witch hunt" will enjoy sudden new media popularity as Rep. Darrell Issa becomes chairman of the House Committee on Investigations and Government Oversight. Correspondingly, the phrase "the public's right to know," ubiquitous during the Bush administration, will appear not at all in the mainstream media.
John Edwards will be indicted by a federal grand jury in Raleigh, North Carolina in connection with use of campaign funds as hush money for Rielle Hunter. The Holder Justice Department will negotiate a plea bargain which requires no time served, citing the public humiliation Edwards and his family have already endured as ample punishment. A gag order will be part of the plea agreement, and the media will immediately rush to castigate anyone commenting on the settlement as defiling the sacred memory of St. Elizabeth Edwards.
The National Enquirer will publish a cover story detailing the sexual escapades of John Edwards with two other women he met the evening his plea bargain is reached, celebrating the event at a suburban Raleigh watering hole.
PBS will produce a television special celebrating First Lady Michelle Obama's exquisite taste in colorful wide belts, with many glamorous shots of her in various outfits. None of the photos will show her derrière.
Barack Obama will continue smoking, but no photos of him doing so will appear in the press. Michelle Obama will step up her haranguing of the nation's eating habits in the name of reducing health care expenses. She will never once mention smoking.
Governor Jerry Brown of California will announce after taking office that the financial straits of the state are far worse than anyone imagined and will demand an income tax surcharge of 5% on all Californians earning over $100,000 a year, along with a 2% hike in state's sales tax (to 11.5%). He will also call on the state's unionized workers to supply givebacks on their lavish benefits and retirement packages. In the spirit of compromise, he will settle for a $5-per-visit co-pay on psychiatric service visits and sex change operations.
Incoming Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie will back down from his pledge to publish the long form birth certificate of Barack Obama, citing privacy issues. In an unrelated matter, Hawaii will be awarded the lion's share of the remaining unspent stimulus funds.
Sales of the Chevy Volt will be far below forecasts, sparking calls for higher federal subsidies to buyers of the electric car, including a new tax credit for electricity purchases by Volt owners. "Right-wing media" will be blamed for the poor sales.
Hillary Clinton will resign as secretary of state, citing the need to be closer to her family, as husband Bill shows signs of heart distress in tests at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In order to be closer to the premier medical facility, the Clintons will purchase a house in nearby Mason City, Iowa, announcing that the peaceful atmosphere of the bucolic Hawkeye state is the perfect tonic for stress.
Former Rep. Alan Grayson will join MSNBC as a commentator, appearing frequently on the "Morning Joe" show, frequently reminiscing with the host over the House gym and the rigors of managing a congressional staff, while frequently remarking that Sarah Palin is really stupid.
Thomas Lifson is editor and publisher of American Thinker.
At some point in the coming year, the country will suffer a serious disaster or setback with clear and easily understood roots in administration policy. Obama himself will ignore it until it's too late, the Dems will declare it solved before any effort at all begins, the media will blame it on Bush, and the Frum-Brooks-Parker axis will declare that we have to "rally around" because Obama is "our president."
In other words, same as last year.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker site.
Keith Olbermann will release a "Best of Keith Olbermann" DVD set packaged for Christmas. This will have the best hits in his Manhattan storage facility, including attacks on the baseball coach of his suburban New York high school and never-before-seen footage of him walking out on his homeroom teacher after she refused to replace the Pledge of Allegiance with an excerpt of his after-school sports broadcast. Olbermann will walk off his "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" set after NBC refuses to buy the remaindered copies after total sales of the gift set hit three: one each to Olbermann, his girlfriend, and his mother.
Olbermann will enter the competition in "Chopped," the hit food network show in which four chefs compete to cook dishes made from mystery ingredients. The television anchorman, who is notoriously touchy about his weight, will be ejected from the network's New York City set after attacking the panel of judges, haven taken personally the inclusion of pork and eggplant in his mystery ingredient basket.
Olbermann will walk off the New York City set of "Countdown" after the new owners of MSNBC -- Comcast -- refuse to continue to pay three researchers to massage the Nielsen ratings for the angry cable host. The three have been employed full-time to look for the silver lining in each release of the "Countdown" ratings. For example, it was this crack team that discovered that Olbermann actually came within two points of beating Bill O'Reilly of FOXNews in the Westchester-Octogenarian-Females-Who-Have-Named-Their-Only-Child-Keith-Olbermann demographic. A statement released by Comcast emphasized that the company respects the host of its top-rated cable show, but its new financial guidelines for MSNBC dictate that the number of households watching must exceed the number of full-time employees of a show. "Get rid of the researchers," the Comcast executive -- a woman -- said, "and you have a payroll that makes sense." Olbermann, a well-known misogynist, extends his walkout by a week, saying that he "never take[s] orders from a girl."
The New York Times Company will find itself with its first profitable week in a decade after board chairman Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger angrily gets lost driving himself back to New York City from his upstate country home. He decides to drive back to the city after his limousine does not show, rents a car without a GPS, and drives in the opposite direction, eventually stopping in Buffalo. He mistakes the city -- governed by close to a century by Democrats who swear fealty to the New York Times editorial page -- for Bosnia and hunkers down in his car for a week until found by a passing state trooper. With its publisher out of touch, the Times accidentally turns a profit -- a first in more than a decade for the notoriously poorly run media company. However, Pinch returns, profits disappear, and all's back to normal on Manhattan's West Side.
Down in the newsroom, another piece of good news during the new year: columnist Maureen Dowd, author of Are Men Necessary: When Sexes Collide (her answer -- no, they're not needed), finally scores a second date. The good news is that she now has more material for the occasional personal column she writes about her battle with the weaker gender; the bad news is...the second date is with Keith Olbermann. She writes about the date anyway -- thereby adding to the Times readership the Westchester-Octogenarian-Females-Who-Have-Named-Their-Only-Child-Keith-Olbermann demographic. Her boss, Pinch Sulzberger, hails this addition to his circulation as a strategic initiative to extend the newspaper's domination of the wealthy octogenarian segment of the New York market. With this newfound strength in a suburban market, Pinch uses his editorial page to call for increased taxes in suburban New York and demands that Westchester County join New York City in subsidizing his Manhattan headquarters.
Other New York Times columnists will break new ground in the new year: David Brooks will read a book and not write about it. Paul Krugman will accidentally incorporate a fact accurately. Thomas Friedman will visit China and discover that in fact, that nation's Communist thugs are not perfect -- they smoke and eat too much salt. Meanwhile, Bob Herbert will get down with the revolution he so frequently chronicles and achieve a personal first by tipping his Trump Tower doorman -- but, as he will subsequently explain to readers, that's only because the doorman is African-American and needs the fifty cents to buy a city edition of the New York Post "for the sports."
The Washington Post will re-discover the word "macaca" after George Allen announces a challenge to Sen. James Webb (D-VA), who defeated him in 2006 with the help of the progressive daily. The Post will rename its Virginia section "Macaca" and will win a Pulitzer Prize for its continuing effort to make Virginia safe for Georgetown residents who want a country retreat free of southern accents and beef jerky.
Stuart Schwartz, formerly a media and retail executive, is professor of communication at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
C. Edmund Wright
Double Dip Recession: It's the gas price, stupid...and yes, there will be a double-dip recession, and it will be driven by a continued rise in energy prices. Energy prices' part in the economic meltdown might be the most under-reported story of the last three years -- and those prices are on the rise again.
With the Obama administration continuing to make offshore drilling difficult, if not impossible, and with Ben Bernanke devaluing the dollar, energy prices will continue to rise. If an energy shock can be the first domino that felled a booming economy, it can certainly cripple this one. And it will.
And just in case: if the economy does not tank fast enough to satisfy the jihadists, look for them to give the economy a shove off the cliff by way of a systematic and increased attack on Americans by way of credit card fraud and identity theft. When businesses can no longer routinely and conveniently take credit cards and debit cards because so many transactions prove fraudulent, we are in deep trouble. This is my wild-card prediction.
Just Say No: California and Illinois -- and maybe some other states -- will come begging to the congress for a bailout. And there will be all kinds of demagoguery about bailing out Wall Street and the auto companies -- why not California? But the Republican congress will say not no, but hell no! This will keep the Tea Party movement energized.
Hey, Hey, Mr. Union Man: Related to the prediction about California and its requested bailout, 2011 will be the worst year for public-sector unions since they were first allowed. Remember, even FDR was against public-sector unions for the very sound reason that they should not exist because there is frankly no one on the other side of the negotiating table representing the taxpayers. The national debate on this will raise the public's awareness of the cancer of public-sector unions. A move to ban them will gain momentum. This too will animate Tea Partiers.
GDP growth: about 3.0 percent.
Unemployment: there will be three months over 10 percent as people start to rejoin the labor force.
By late fall, Obamis are jawboning the Fed to keep interest rates low.
By late fall, the next asset bubble is in strong upward leg.
By late fall, New York Times op-ed writers are beginning to mumble about the need for price controls.
By Christmas, the MSM will all agree that Sarah Palin has peaked as a presidential candidate.
Even if I have to pat myself on the back, I have to admit that I am an outstanding prognosticator. I correctly picked Spiro Agnew as Nixon's running mate in 1968, Michael Dukakis as the Democrat presidential nominee in 1988, and Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008. Thanks to the Tea Party movement and its effect on the 2010 midterm congressional elections, the crystal ball looks a little rosier this year than it did in 2009. Here are my picks for 2011:
Ralph Alter is a regular contributor to American Thinker.
If you are going to go out on a limb, you might as well step up to the edge and stare into the abyss.
Hard to predict major news stories, since we cannot know if terror will strike or the Korean conflict will intensify or what major notable people will pass in the coming year. However, I think we can take a shot at certain stories.
- There will be two major hurricanes to rock the U.S.: one Atlantic that will hit northern South Carolina and into the North Carolina outer banks (Hurricane Emily) and one Eastern Gulf on the west coast of Florida north of Tampa (Hurricane Harvey) that will sweep south Georgia and parts of the area hit in South Carolina from Emily. A third Hurricane -- Lee -- will threaten Texas but run out of steam before landfall.
- A major earthquake will rock the Pacific Northwest. The epicenter will be in a sparsely populated area but send alarms of a possible major aftershock in a big city.
- Another major earthquake along the ring of fire will do far more extensive damage in Japan.
- A major heat wave in Texas and the Great Plains. It will be an unusually hot summer in Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.
- There will be a terror incident in the U.S., in a major eastern city, but not New York, tied to the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. It will not be a major incident, but it will be enough of one to rattle the country ahead of the remembrances.
- A second terror attack will be aimed at the infrastructure of the 2012 summer Olympics in London.
- A surprise leader will emerge from the first GOP debates. Mike Pence or Mitch Daniels will ignite the GOP base and become one of the two major candidates for the nomination in 2012. Ron Paul will become a front-line key figure. Marco Rubio and Herman Cain will be the two leading contenders for veep on the next ticket.
- Hillary Clinton will resign as SecState and continue to insist she is not running, but she will leave indicators that she could, at any moment, change her mind.
- Sarah Palin will announce that she will seek a U.S. Senate seat in 2012 as a senator from Arizona or Idaho.
- One of the four current living former presidents will pass away from natural causes.
- Silver will surpass gold as the hot metal commodity. Its price will soar to nearly $100 an ounce.
- Israel and Hezba'llah will start a new shooting war, Syria will threaten to and possibly actually enter the fight directly in the Golan Heights. This will ignite a controversial U.N. stance against the USA that will have talk of the USA considering its role in the body.
- Housing sales will rebound, and especially strongly in the case of existing homes in the sun belt states. However, this will come just as commercial real estate begins to go into major default across the country.
- Osama bin Laden will be sighted, said to be seriously ailing but still protected by the country he is in. The U.S. will raise the bounty on his head to $100 million.
- The San Antonio Spurs will win the NBA championship, beating the Orlando Magic in five games.
- The Milwaukee Brewers will shock baseball by winning the NL pennant before losing in the World Series to the Boston Red Sox.
- The Minnesota Vikings will announce that they are intending to relocate to Los Angeles...but will leave the uniforms and nickname behind. The newly coined franchise will have a lame nickname that is derided by fans.
- Urban Meyer will be named as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos.
- Tiger Woods will announce that he intends to get remarried to a known star -- but not to anyone he was previously connected to.
- The new movie just out, The King's Speech, will win best picture, just edging out The Social Network.
As I said, predictions are not interesting unless they are bold.
Here's hoping the ones that cause concern are well off the mark.
John Fricke is a national radio and TV host and conservative opinion commentator. His website is www.johnfricke.pedia.com.