Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Grading my 2013 Predictions

Look at that, another year has come and gone! Which means it's time for me to crack open the archives to answer the time-honored question: just how full of shit is Upyernoz? Let's look at the data. Twelve months ago I predicted a bunch of stuff. Here's how I did.

1. chuck hagel will not be confirmed as secretary of defense.

Uh, no. Not an auspicious start, I'm afraid.

2. bashar al-assad will no longer be in control of any part of syria by the end of 2013 and he will either be dead or living in some country other than syria.


3. bibi netanyahu will survive the upcoming national elections and he will still be prime minister of israel at the end of 2013.

Hey, I got one! Unfortunately.

4. nothing major will happen on the israeli/palestinian conflict. by that i mean: (a) there won't be a final israeli-palestinian peace deal, (b) hamas will remain in control of gaza, and (c) hamas and fatah will not have a real reconciliation in which they end up sharing power. [yeah, i have done this one before. by why not stick with a winner?]

And the winner still wins!

5. neither israel nor the u.s. will attack iran's nuclear facilities in 2013 (by that i mean a military strike, i'm not ruling out something like mysterious explosion that may or may not have been caused by the mossad or CIA) [yes, i know, i always include some variation of this one]

No attack! It looks like my old standbys are at least paying off.

6. there will be another ridiculous debt ceiling showdown in congress and the president will not bypass the showdown through either the constitutional argument or that platinum coin trick, no matter how much people like me yell at him to do it.

Actually, 2013 brought us two, count em, two, ridiculous debt ceiling showdowns! The second one was hidden in the midst of an almost as ridiculous government shutdown, but it was there! And the President didn't use any fancy tricks to bypass either one. If there were justice in the world I would count this right twice. But there is no justice. But I do get one point for a correct prediction.

7. scott brown will try to run for kerry's vacated senate seat but will lose.

No he didn't (although he probably would have lost if he tried).

8. no gun control measure will pass the u.s. congress in 2013.

Hurray! I got this right (and um, gun maniacs control our political system...)

9. there will be at least one major (= more than 10 dead or injured) gun massacre incident during 2013. (despite that, i am still sticking with #8)

I don't think there was one. At least I can't think of any and my googling hasn't turned up any. If you can think of one, identify it in the comments. But until that happens, I'm counting this one as wrong. The Boston Marathon thing doesn't count because it wasn't a "gun massacre" even if there was gun play later on when the perps were on the run.

10. the u.s. supreme court will rule for the gays in both the DOMA and proposition 8 cases.

They struck down DOMA and denied standing in the prop 8 case, which effectively legalized gay marriage in California. While the Court could have gone even further and found marriage to be a fundamental right for everyone, thus mandating legalization of gay marriage nationwide, I'm still counting this as two rulings for the gays, which means I win the point for this prediction.

11. no more states will become "right to work" states in 2013.

Right. No states have passed "right to work" legislation since Michigan did in December 2012.

12. none of the central asian former soviet republics (i.e. kazakhstan, kyrgyzstan, uzbekistan, tajikistan, or turkmenistan) will have a different head of state at the end of they year than they had at the beginning of the year. [another repeat, sorry]

Yes, the line-up remains Nazarbayev, Atambayev, Karimov, Rahmon, and Berdimuhamedow, as it has been since Atambayev joined the roster in 2011. Two of them have been in power since their country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

13. northern mali will still be outside the control of the government in bamako at the end of 2013. i.e. either the multinational military operation currently being planned to take it back won't happen, or it won't be completely successful by the end of the year, meaning that at least some part of "azawad" will still be in rebel hands).

Wrong. The "multinational" (i.e. "French") operation happened and took control of all the Northern Malian population centers. Northern Mali is still unstable. But the breakaway Republic of Azawad is no more. So I blew this one.

14. the EU debt crisis will not be resolved in 2013, southern EU members (particularly greece, spain and portugal) will continue to be impoverished by the ECB's austerity demands.

I think I was right on this one.

15. greece will default on at least some of its debt.

Officially, Greece did a technical default in 2012. But I was predicting another one in 2013. As far as I can tell, that didn't happen. No point for me.

16. both "pussy riot" prisoners (i.e. nadezhda tolokonnikova and maria alyokhina) will be out of prison by the end of 2013.

It was close, but I got this one.

17. julian assange will no longer be living in the ecuadoran embassy in london.

Nope, he's still there.

18. there will be multiple attempts in the courts and at the state and federal level to weaken and undermine the PPACA. while the law might suffer some funding cuts and possibly some of its provisions or regulations will be watered down, it will survive 2013 and will hobble into effect on january 1, 2014.

I'm counting this one as right. Despite all the court challenges (including several ongoing ones), a budget and debt ceiling stand off in which the GOP tried to force the democrats to repeal or delay the law, and the glitches that marred the unveiling of the insurance exchange, the Affordable Care Act is going into effect.

19. unemployment will be under 7% at the end of 2013, which will be trumpeted as some great victory even though the rate will still be at a rate that would have been considered too high prior to the great recession.

Hmm, I'm not sure what to do with this one. The official rate as of the end of November is 7.0%. We don't know what the very end of 2013 will be. If it stays at 7.0 or goes up, I lose the point. If it falls even by a little bit, I get a half point. I don't think I deserve a full point because I haven't seen much trumpeting. I'm counting this as a half point wrong, with another half point up in the air. I will update this part of the post when the December percentage goes public.

UPDATE (1/10/2014): The December figure it out and it is 6.7%. I get a half point for this one.

20. mitt romney will all but disappear. that is, he will not appear regularly on talk shows, or comment publicly about politics, or run for any other office.

I'm going to count this as correct. Although he might have had an appearance or two, Mittens is mostly out of the public eye. He definitely is not running for anything else, nor is he regularly commenting about politics (he didn't get a op-ed column a la Rick Santorum).

21. angela merkel will no longer be chancellor of germany at the end of 2013.


22. hugo chavez will no longer be in charge of venezuela at the end of 2013.


23. presidential and parliamentary elections for the palestinian authority that are currently scheduled to take place some time in 2013 will not occur.

The elections did not happen. Gimme a point!

24. libya will continue to be a fractured violent country with local militias in control more than the central government. despite that, the country will hold parliamentary elections in 2013 because the international community still does not want its intervention in libya to be viewed as a failure.

Although they have done voter registration, the elections have been postponed until early 2014. Even though I got the fractured and violent bits right, I'm going to have to count this one as a wrong.

25. this blog will enter its second decade with some changes.

that last one is a cheat, because i'm the one who can make it come true. i guess i'm just betting that I won't change my mind.

My cheat-prediction referred to this. I didn't change my mind! Cheat successful, so point for me.

Provisional Final Score: 15 to 9.5 (with that extra half point from #19 still up in the air). Which means my percentage right is either 60% or 62%, depending on where that half point goes. Either way it is my worst record yet. (2012: 15.5 right to 6.5 wrong (70.455%); 2011: also 15.5 right to 6.5 wrong (70.455% correct); 2009: 14.5 right to 7.5 wrong. (65.909%); 2008: 20 right to 4 wrong (83.333%)--I never did a 2010 prediction because Kazakhstan)

My 2014 predictions are scheduled to appear 2 minutes after this post goes up, on the other side of midnight. Happy new year!

UPDATE (1/10/2014): Final Score for 2014: 15.5 to 9.5, 62% right.