Putting modesty aside and acknowledging my optimistic nature upfront, here are my predictions for 2012.
One: Packers Win the Super Bowl – This may sound safe, but remember the Phillies?
Two: Civil War in Iraq – Someone smarter than me wrote in 2003 that Iraq was a simmering caldron of civil unrest and Sadam Hussein, evil as he was, was a lid. We took it off.
Three: Tiger Woods Wins a Major – Mixing fun predictions with serious ones, I predict that a healthy Tiger Woods will win a major in 2012.
Four: The Economy Improves Slowly – While the optimist in me sees favorable trends in jobless claims, retail spending, and even housing starts, there is just too much uncertainty (See Instability in Arab World below, not to mention North Korea and the EU) to predict a robust recovery.
Five: Meryl Streep Wins an Oscar – Before I have even seen the movie, I predict that Meryl Streep will win an Oscar for her role as Margaret Thatcher.
Six: Obama Beats Romney – When it is time to go to the polls, I predict voters will look objectively at a president who rescued the country from the brink of economic disaster, saved the US auto industry, reversed the job loss trend (before Obama took office we were losing 400,000 jobs per month), and took out Osama Bin Laden.
Seven: Ron Paul Runs as Third Party Candidate – There is enough “Anybody But Romney” energy on the right to support Ron Paul as a third party candidate. I predict he will play Ross Perot’s 1992 role in the 2012 election.
Eight: Instability in Arab World – What’s going to happen in Egypt? Libya? Bahrain? Syria? Tunisia? Yemen? Who replaces tyrants like Mubarak, Saleh and Qadaffi? Will Iran build a nuclear weapon? How will Israel respond? These are frightening forecasts.
Nine: Newt Gingrich – Man of the Years – I predict Newt Gingrich will use some of the millions he made from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy a magazine from Rupert Murdoch and proclaim himself Man of the Years ranging from 1985 to 2025.
Ten: Throw the Bums Out – With congressional approval ratings as low as 11%, I predict incumbents will be tossed out on their keisters.
Eleven: Weather Will Be a Big Story – After the elimination of Osama Bin Laden, I would rank the weather as the biggest story of 20ll. An earthquake and tsunami caused the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in Japan. Flooding in Thailand resulted in damage that cost an estimated $45 billion to repair. Snow in October led to massive power outages in the Middle Atlantic States. Record rainfalls in the Northeast were coupled with droughts in Texas. Then there was hurricane Irene wreaking havoc up and down the east coast. Here in central Pennsylvania we felt the aftershocks of an earthquake near Washington DC.
While I am not a meteorologist, I play golf with guys from AccuWeather. Based on those credentials, I forecast more extreme weather events in 2012.
Twelve: Red Sox Fire Bobby Valentine – If you are not a baseball fan, you don’t care about this prediction. But, in the spirit of mixing in fun with very serious matters, I predict Red Sox nation will quickly lose their appetite for their new manager who tries to make the game sound a lot harder than it is. For a lifelong Yankee fan, this will be fun to watch.