Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009 predictions

this year is harder than last year. there’s no upcoming election for me to prognosticate about and i'm still not sure how obama will act once he gets into office. because i'm feeling a little more uncertain as i write this time around, i’ll be surprised if i end up with a 83.333% success rate again. i was trying hard to come up with 24 predictions, i wanted to do the same number as last year, but instead i was only able to come up with 21. as i said last time, my predictions are what i think is most likely happen at this particular moment, not necessarily what i want to happen.

without further ado:

1. all, or almost all of obama’s cabinet nominees will be confirmed by the senate (that is, no more than one will be rejected or withdrawn). also if one is rejected or withdrawn, the replacement will be confirmed.

2. the prison at guantanamo bay will be closed before the end of the year.

3. at least one supreme court justice will announce his or her retirement in 2009 (though the retirement might not go into effect until next year)

4. some kind of major health care reform bill will pass both houses of congress in 2009, but it won’t be a single payer system.

5. the NLRB still won’t have a full complement by the end of 2009 (currently there are only 2 members on the 5-member board).

6. the employee free choice act will not pass the senate.

7. there will be significantly (i.e. at least 40k) fewer u.s. soldiers in iraq by the end of the year than there are now. but the withdrawal rate will be below the one-division-per-month rate that obama promised during the campaign.

8. roland burris will be a u.s. senator by the end of the year, as will al franken.

9. but caroline kennedy will not.

10. the economy will continue to tank in 2009, with the economy shedding jobs for at least the first six months of the year. the dow will end up being higher at the end of the year than it is now.

11. there will be an effort to repeal, or at least undo a substantial portion of the bankruptcy reform act (by that i mean the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005). the effort will at least get as far as having a bill in congress, though it may not get out of committee.

12. the price of oil will be higher at the end of 2009 than it is at the end of 2008.

13. hamas will still be in control of gaza by the end of 2009.

14. bibi netanyahu will be prime minister of israel.

15. israel will not attack iran in 2009 (neither will the u.s.) and the standoff over the country’s nuclear program with the international community will continue.

16. thailand will get yet another new prime minister in 2009.

17. the maliki government will lose ground in the provincial elections to be held later this month.

18. osama bin laden and ayman zawahiri will still be "at large" on december 31, 2009.

19. there will be some kind of coordinated armed action by the international community against the somali pirates.

20. the number of u.s. forces killed in afghanistan in 2009 will be higher than the number of u.s. forces killed there in 2008.

21. and on a personal level, we’ll still be waiting for this to happen, but this will actually come to fruition in the coming year. that is mrs. noz and i will set foot in central asia at some point during 2009.