Archive for predictions

2014 Predictions: "New Jersey will conduct traffic studies where traffic is actually studied."

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crystal ball prediction guy

Here are a few 2014 predictions via the one, the only, Will Durst:

YE OLDE PREDICTIONS PIECE: CIRCA 2014

The dawn of the new year signals civilization’s return to several grand traditions including the ancient hoary one requiring we professional columnists to trot out the tried but true “Ye Olde Predictions Piece.” Either that or the even triter but true “Ye Olde Resolutions Piece.” But we wandered down that trail last year. And most likely will again in 2015.

Therefore, being the traditionalist ink-stained wretches that we here at Durstco are, it is with great pride and a certain amount of feigned dignity that we honor this revered journalistic practice. Hence, here they are: predictions of what to expect from various folks during the 5th year of the second decade of the 21st century.

IN THE YEAR 2014:

Barack Obama will finally purge himself of the heavy burden of high expectations.

Lindsay Lohan will engage in activities that will trigger a slow sad shake of the head from Charlie Sheen.

Locavore chicken wings will become all the rage at 60 bucks an order.

Hillary Clinton will change her hairdo so that it looks eerily like Elizabeth Warren’s.

A Silicon Valley start- up will trump Twitter by limiting users to punctuation marks. “!!!!?!”

The NRA will respond to another senseless school shooting by calling for the closing of all schools.

The NSA will ratchet up their online game- room monitoring to include Words With Friends.

The TSA will expedite passenger security by perfecting the implementation of the two handed wedgie.

Starbucks will be revealed to be in league with Amazon, charged with the goal of keeping consumers up longer so we can shop more.

The Justice Department will break laws, then conduct investigations into who told the press about the breaking of those laws instead of investigating the crimes stemming from those laws being broken.

John Boehner will encourage the nation’s unemployed to move to Mexico for one of the thousands of good US jobs now there.

The Tea Party will still steer America so that it teeters on the brink of a fiscal speed bump.

Justin Bieber will visit the grave of Mother Jones and declare her a Belieber.

Congress’s Approval Rating will sink below the poll’s margin of error.

Washington and Colorado will experience a huge uptick in tax receipts from the sale of Funyuns and Ho- Hos.

Scientists will conclude global warming is protecting Earth from another Ice Age causing Rush Limbaugh to call for a return to diesel- powered toasters.

Chris Christie will talk his way out of a rabbit snare into a bear trap.

Joe Biden will change his hairdo so it looks eerily like Chris Christie’s.

Kim Jong Un will play point guard for the North Korean National Basketball Team, then execute Dennis Rodman for stepping on his foot.

Anthony Weiner will attempt another high profile comeback and people will just laugh.

All 4 Duck Dynasty Boys will enter the 2014 Louisiana US Senate GOP Primary but will knock each other out. Literally.

New Jersey will conduct traffic studies where traffic is actually studied.

Vladimir Putin will win a gold medal in the Sochi Olympics Biathlon Event. And will do it shirtless.

The Airline Industry will make every effort to rid the skies of the most dangerous security threat known to man: passengers.

Will Durst is a nationally acclaimed and award- winning political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about his new CD,“Elect to Laugh” and his calendar of personal appearances.

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Video- Pat Robertson's 2014 Predictions: President Obama will 'withdraw' in 2014 to 'go surfing'

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I've worked with the elderly and this man should be playing some bingo with a drool bib accessory, not hosting a television show. Thanks RWW.

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Today's Conservative -- The Short List

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conservative politics

Now that the House has gone on it's well earned and deserved holiday vacation (was I supposed to say Christmas break to avoid being accused of a war on Christmas?), and with the Senate poised to finish up doing more in one week than they did in the preceding 51 weeks, (thanks to a fixed filibuster rule), it's a good time to look at where we stand politically as we approach 2014.

It's actually quite a big, important year. It'll be the half-way mark of Obama's second term, it'll mean the full Affordable Care Act will finally be in effect and probably most telling will be the midterm elections where the balance of political power, the control of both houses, will be up for grabs. America will get to speak on how they feel the current 113th Congress is doing. (Hint: recent polls show about a 9% approval rate).There was the government shutdown, Obamacare's rocky rollout and of course, the huge progress both houses made in immigration, voting rights, and the farm bill.  

We'll finally see if this shapes up to be a classic battle of the rich vs. the poor. The elitist GOP faces off against the Democratic party of the people. Will it be be banks vs. consumers? Special interest groups vs. John/Jane Doe? How about right-wing bigotry vs civil rights? Undoubtedly this will shape up to be a donnybrook of conservative vs. liberal thinking. Basically the three main parties, the Democrats, the Republicans and the Tea Party will be butting heads both in primaries and in general elections. Some of the outcomes are very predictable thanks to gerrymandering. Other contests are going to be electrifying in their focus on the values the candidates and their affiliations think are most important to the electorate. Basically, how far right is right?

The big catchphrase on the GOP side is "conservative values." Everyone on the right and even in the more moderate middle are shoring up their bona fides in that "conservative" arena. Will we see a rise in the number of Reagan Democrats or a crashing down of the fragile right-wing bone china of the Tea Party extremists?

Just so we have a solid understanding of who and what makes for a real conservative, Jon Stewart has put together a short segment that explains it all. If being to the right of sanity is who your looking for, grab a pencil or pen and a pad. Jon Stewart is kicking ass and taking names.

Watch and see who makes the grade and who fails. 2014 is gonna be a great year for politics watching. Even Nate Silver reportedly is getting his eyes checked because they're already starting to go crossed.

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Zoltar Predicts

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Zoltar

Hey, when it comes to predictions, who better than Zoltar?

Kreskin you might suggest?

He's retired. But the man who should retire yet still is going strong is Chris Matthews. He's flexing his bat crazy wings going out on the limb to tell us what he sees in the future. Well, the Republican future anyway. Watch the clip and see for yourself. Now remember this is the guy who predicted Hillary Clinton for the Democrats in 2008 (off by just a hair) and also Rudy Guiliani for the Republicans.  That was just before he was predicting Mike Huckabee and suggesting it could go to Rick Perry.

Ah, there's nothing like a tingling sensation up your leg as a sign of the future. So when Chrissie speaks, lots of people listen. The intelligent one's don't put much stock in it though. Chris's predictions run at about 40%. That's a star in baseball, but a failure in political punditry. Nate Silver, he ain't.

The problem with Tweety is that he believes others and not himself. There's no doubt that Rand Paul is a contender. But he's so flawed that even the Republicans can't back him with the exception of the far, far right. Now many people are willing to say that's the area of the party you have to appeal to for a chance to win the nomination.

As true as that may be, when the Republican debates begin, so will the mudslinging. Paul's ridiculous stands on immigration, the economy, social security and national security are going to be picked apart. Even supposedly moderate Chris Christie whose about as popular as leprosy with the Tea Party faction was able to crush Rand Paul in their tete a tete recently. It wasn't a case of the bigger man winning, it was a case of Paul being far astray from mainstream thinking. His hypocritical stand on "gimme, gimme, gimme" is just the beginning. When he proposes weakening national security while stripping women of their reproductive rights, you come across as this sketchy, indecisive guy. I predict Rand Paul is going to become the invisible man after the New Hampshire primary.

So, Chris Matthews, you go on predicting all you want, but I'd stick with a sure horse in this race. It's Clinton running from the Democrats and she'll wipe up any candidate that the GOP puts in her way. You don't stop a runaway train, you wait until it loses its power on it's own. Hillary ain't running out of steam any time soon. And when fossil fuels run low, she'll show her foresight with solar power on her back.

Now if you want to make a long shot prediction to go along with your call on Rand Paul pick, look for Ms. Clinton to make it an all-female ticket by adding Elizabeth Warren to the bill. She's the financial and economy expert and Hillary has the foreign affairs area covered very well. Joe Biden was picked by Obama to enhance his bona fides in foreign affairs. Hillary will do the same and build Warren's national profile. It's called building the future with long term planning. Two bright women, an insider and an outsider running against two male, white, aging Republicans with no plan for the future except having no plan. That was Romney's playbook. There's no reason to think that the GOP will change in 2016. Remember, in the face of huge defeat, the Republicans put the same management team back running things -- Reince Priebus and company. Old and the same will give us old and the same.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Study: Want to know who will win the next election? Twitter knows all.

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doonesbury twitter

For the first few months, maybe even a year, that I was on Twitter, I got mocked. Paddy mocked me. My family mocked me. My cats mocked me. (Okay, that was a stretch, but they do mock me on a daily basis.)

"Who wants to read about someone doing their stupid laundry?" I was asked. "Why should I sign up just to read what bored people had for lunch?" they demanded. "How can anyone express themselves in 140 characters or less?" many scoffed.

Well we sure showed you, now didn't we? Ha!

Seriously, because of Twitter, I've had the honor of meeting some of my favorite political notables and TV hosts, of becoming a regular on two radio shows and a contributor on many others, made friends with people in "real life" who I'd have never been able to meet otherwise, learned a lot from brilliant professionals and non-pros alike, been the grateful recipient of compassion and emergency aid when I've needed it most, stayed in touch with my sons when they were on school lockdown/reeling from being in close proximity to the Boston Marathon bombings, gotten wind of breaking news nearly instantaneously, you name it.

As for those skeptics who ridiculed Twitter-- and me-- most of them now have active accounts. So there.

And if all that weren't enough, per the National Journal, there's a new study that claims that Twitter could very well predict elections:

Who needs polls? A study published Monday reports that campaigns could use Twitter to successfully predict the winner of most races, findings that might bolster the social media service's already robust political presence.

The key measure, researchers from Indiana University found, was a candidate's "tweet share," the percentage of total tweets about a race that mention them. The more often a candidate is mentioned on Twitter relative to their opponent, the study reported, the greater their chance for victory.

The findings were comprehensive: An analysis of tweets from the 2010 midterm elections found the data correctly predicted the winner in 404 of the 406 House races.

That's some track record! And check this out: It doesn't matter whether tweets favor someone or are critical of them. "When it comes to Twitter and politicians, apparently all publicity really is good publicity."

Polls aren't going anywhere, but now candidates and others have one more tool with which to manipulate us measure their popularity and impact.

And the best part is, if we don't like them, we can always block.

when you have nothing to say say it on Twitter

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Shhh. Listen. Hear Anything?

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Serenity

Ah, the quiet serenity of Congress on adjournment. No more harsh screaming across the aisles. No more chest pounding as to who's more right wing that the next guy. No more useless repeal Obamacare votes.

During this month long break from the frenetic Congressional world of gridlock, I'm going to go out on a limb. I think Congress is actually going to get a lot done -- by leaving town.

Kreskin predicts

My prediction is --  think Kreskin Predicts for you old enough to remember the Amazing Kreskin -- that the next "scandal" in Washington is going to be Recessgate. It's going to be all about recess appointments and Article II of the US Constitution.

I predict that executive orders are going to be flying fast and furious a week after the last stragglers of congressional legislators have left town. Obama is going to use the powers that he has to make appointments, activate portions of stalled bills and he'll force the GOP's hand.

I predict Obama's going to silence his liberal critics by doing this and showing some balls. He's going to upset the apple cart called the GOP Congressional Quagmire (or business as usual). They've already threatened to shut the government down. I predict Obama calls their bluff.

I predict he announces limitations on the NSA's snooping domestically. He'll have his fingers crossed, behind his back when he says it, but he's going to look to appease the left.

I predict there will be some sort of jobs authorization plan, a liberal/progressive interpretation of his powers. Even if these are reviewed by SCOTUS when they return in October for their constitutionality, the effects will be felt immediately. And public opinion will trump the GOP's austerity program.

I predict judges -- at least in the District of Columbia. After all, the President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

I predict he's arranged, in a gentleman's agreement with a few resignations coming in soon that he'll fill in August. Their replacements are already standing by.

I predict that under the Article II of the Constitution, the president appoints ambassadors, ministers, consuls, and other officers as allowed by Congress. The president can fill vacancies in offices without Senate approval if the Senate is out of session.

I predict wherever necessary, the President will issue rules, regulations, and instructions called executive orders, which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require congressional approval. Every opportunity will be tapped. Look for some sort of global warming or infrastructure plan to be put into effect.

I predict none of this will happen. How's that for playing it safe?

Fortune teller

Obama's only got three years of his final term left. He squandered away the first year trying to work with the Obstructionist party. He has found that like American Express Cards, his political capital isn't accepted here. He's too proud and intelligent of a man to want "I Couldn't Get Anything Done" to be  his legacy. The man's not a quitter. He may not be up to all of our expectations, but who is? There's Catholics right now running around scared because Pope Francis dared to ask "Who am I to judge" when asked about gay priests. So there's no pleasing all the people, all the time.

Capitol Building at night

Obama is fully aware that we the people elected him on the promise of change. Well maybe we're on the cusp of seeing that -- starting with the flexing of the Chief Executive's powers during the congressional hiatus, when the capitol has gone dark.

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Cut Medicare and Social Security? What's the rush?

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Once again, Michael Hiltzik clarifies the very things that need clarification, this time regarding the panic over the earned benefits programs Medicare and Social Security. Notice I didn't refer to them as "entitlements," which as Hiltzik correctly explains, is "a noxious way of referring to [them], excellent programs that most workers have paid for during their careers and that have kept millions of Americans healthy and out of poverty."

He notes that all the scary forecasts and assumptions about which we've been hearing pundit after pundit yammer are questionable at best. Predictions are simply not accurate, so to base a premise or long term policy on them doesn't make much sense.

Hiltzik:

[Social Securities'] trustees... also project that under certain conditions of economic and employment growth — all of them perfectly plausible — it might never run dry. You don't hear much about that projection because it doesn't fit into the narrative that Social Security is "going broke."

Healthcare costs, with Medicare and Mediaid as big components, have been projected to rise to as much as 40% of gross domestic product by 2082 if not restrained. That's a fearsome prospect, but it's based on a long-outdated forecast by the Congressional Budget Office, which doesn't use the same methodology anymore. It was highly implausible, if not impossible, in the first place.

For people like me whose eyes glaze over upon witnessing the usual sparring and doomsday scenarios, there's this revelatory perspective on, well, perspective:

To put it another way, just because your son is 4 feet tall at age 6 doesn't mean he'll be 12 feet tall at age 18. And just because the average American born today will live to the age of 78 doesn't mean that a baby born in 2032 will live to 100. [...]

The reason smart people and companies don't make bets on the distant future is precisely because it's unknowable. Try the following thought experiment: Instead of looking ahead 20 years, look back 20 years, and try to list all the events that have had immense, material effects on today's economy, but were unimaginable in 1992.

Here's my list: 9/11. The Afghan war. The Iraq war. The housing bubble. The crash of 2000. The crash of 2008. The crash of Lehman Bros. The iPod. The iPhone. The iPad. The founding of Google. Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy. Obamacare. 

So all these projections from all these commentators who have all these agendas are probably useless. And all these panicky "fixes" would be worthless, not to mention harmful, remedies based on faulty estimates.

The life span of a congressional budget is two years, max, because no Congress can bind its successors. But changes in Social Security and Medicare are forever. So when you hear that we have to do it now, stat! or we're doomed, take it for the snake oil that it is.

Hopefully, most Americans aren't buying what they're selling.

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