Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Prognostications: How did I do?

Last December I listed a number of things that I thought had a high probability of happening in 2011, which is a mealy-mouth way of saying predictions.  So let's see how I did: 

There is a 25-30% that the teams in a certain American city run the table. You know, win the championship in all 4 major North American sports league. 
Yeah I meant Boston and it didn't happen. What did though was the Bruins winng the Cup, which means for the first time a city had all four of it's teams win their championship in less than 7 years. So I was greedy.
The oil peak begins to be felt again, as $4/gallon gas has been forecast and some have suggested $5/ gallon by 2012. Energy supplies will become a real topic, but many will blame price gouging, environmentalists and deliberate under-production rather than accept that we've hit a limit.
We remain on a production plateau and prices have dropped close to $3/gallon

I will go out on a limb and say that the wild patterns we have been experiencing will continue to be the new norm. There will be some more unprecedented events.
Let's see, record floods and droughts, heavy snows and warm winters, near record low arctic sea ice, wild shifts in airmasses in North America which, even at this late date in the year, are producing record tornado outbreaks.

American Higher Ed.
There will be an orchestrated push-back against those blaming the cancerous growth of administration for financial woes. There will be some troubling developments in enrollments. Institutions and those in them will still deny that cronyism in faculty hiring, grade inflation, declining standards, coverup of criminal activity, and retribution towards critics and whistleblowers exist within the ivy-covered halls.  But look out, I sense a few high profile scandals.
While not directly related to academics, the Penn State pedophile scandal counts as does the other ones coming out.  The UC crackdowns on Occupy Berkeley and Davis can be considered pushback as the students are pointing out the very rot that many academic administration thrive on.
The science of geology, dominated by academic geologists as it is, will continue its stupid, self-inflicted downward spiral. Departments will close or morph into more ridiculous entities and no one will do a damn thing about it.
Nailed that one.

Woe will be the Tea Party. Their vaunted fiscal conservatism will be revealed as nothing more than BAU tax cuts for the rich and using the local, state and national treasuries to enrich the wealthy private good, while cutting the public good taxes pay for. Most of the TP will show their true colors as nothing more than the ol' paranoid hate-filled "social conservatives"...Palin will devolve into further into a tabloid characiture, Beck will implode, Limbaugh will abide (unless outed).
 I think I did pretty good on this one, all though it is more woe be us, the TP is still in denial about their own shortcomings.  The American right is disintegrating.
A new, diffuse but real change will occur, populism of what used to be called the liberal or progressive kind. But since it will not be new-jerk anti-American and have a more working base, the established and inept liberals will at first ignore it, then attack it, then try to co-opt it.
Can you say Occupy movement?

One word - stagnation. Neither party in Congress will benefit, the GOP will look obstructionist and more fixated on what you're doing in your bedroom, while the Democrats will squander the opportunity to make a coherent statement on what to do. Naturally the pundits will miss this and then try wildly to spin a narrative. Colbert and Stewart will have a field day (or many). On the state level, the GOP will begin to regret their November success.
GOP was simply obstructionist, didn't even bother much with the social conservativism as I thought they would.

World Events
Electoral shocker in Ireland. Afghanistan will grind on, but the U.S. pullback will begin. The secret war against al-Qaeda will continue. Said organization will try some major attacks in Europe.
Korea: hopefully no war, but it's possible. Expect some surprises, an early NK success and use of chemical weapons, SK doing most of the ground fighting and the U.S. introducing the use of converted Ohio class subs to launch devastating cruise missile attacks.
Ireland? What was I thinking? Thankfully war did not break out in the Korean pennisula. Big stories were Arab Spring, civil wars in Syria and Libya, death of Qaddafi/khadafy/K-daffy whatever, and of course Osam bin Lade.

Local (SE Penn and environs)
Philly will continue to have crime problems.
Yeah, sigh...
By the end of the year, people statewide will begin to become angry that no economic benefit is coming from the gas boom.
Not yet, but there are stirrings....
Teabaggers will have some nasty infighting. Why? Farm subsidies. 
The solvency of a prominent institution in Newark, DE may not be as good as the institutional leaders have been saying, revelations of this will be considered a scandal.
They haven't yet opened UD Inc.'s books.

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