Mike Tharp: Predictions for the Year of the Tiger

01/02/2010 1:49 AM

01/02/2010 1:56 AM

Time again for New Year's predictions.

Last year's forecast batted over .500, with 21 predictions more or less coming true, 18 didn't and two were questionable.

Good for baseball. Bad for crystalball.

We leave the Naughties (2000-2009) and move into a new decade. Some are already calling this year 2KX, an abbreviation of the year 2010 from the Roman numerical system (K meaning 1,000 and X meaning 10).

The Oriental zodiac calls it the Year of the Tiger.

Whatever you call it, what might happen?

As Einstein supposedly said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

A lot of you think I'm nuts anyway, so here go guesses for 2KX or the Year of the Tiger (Y or N or ? after an item means yes, it happened this year or no, it didn't, or it's too close to call; no letter means it's a new prediction):

WORLD

Global recession deepens. (?)

Pakistan civilian government toppled by a coup. (N)

Israel launches pre-emptive strike on Iran. (N)

Afghanistan creeps closer to a quagmire. (Y)

Iraq slides steadily into civil war. (?)

China strengthens its global reach. (Y)

Global warming fears prove unfounded.

Nobody in the U.S. watches the Vancouver Winter Olympics, except for the ice skating.

Somalia remains the world's worst failed state.

Elvis records continue to sell. (Y)

UNITED STATES

Islamic suicide bomber strikes somewhere in America.

More "tea parties" and tax protests nationwide.

Health care reform passes.

Taxes rise.

Inflation stays under control.

Somebody invents a neat digital way to read print on a portable device -- better than Kindle.

Important breakthrough in preventing Alzheimer's.

More autistic babies born.

San Diego Chargers win Super Bowl.

Lakers (ugh) win NBA championship.

Kansas Jayhawks (yay) win NCAA Final 4.

Elvis records continue to sell. (Y)

CALIFORNIA

Jerry Brown becomes governor -- again. (Y)

UC and California State students protest higher fees, class cutbacks with mass demonstrations.

Assembly and Senate members continue to slurp at trough of special interests and ignore constituents.

Legalization of marijuana appears on November ballot.

Voters again reject gay marriage.

Drought worsens.

Feinstein, Boxer and Pelosi remain totally out of touch with most sane Californians.

SoCal female football league draws fans.

Elvis records continue to sell. (Y)

MERCED

Foreclosures worsen to include commercial real estate.

Atwater gets a big new retail project.

Sheriff Pazin is caught on camera -- any camera.

State Sen. Jeff Denham (R - Merced) gets elected to Congress -- unless a better seat opens up.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (BD - Merced) doesn't hold a single town hall meeting.

The rockslide blocking 140 to Yosemite just sits there. (Y)

Another council member in the county is busted for racist e-mails.

More and more senior citizens volunteer to help out in local schools.

UC Merced students and faculty spend more time and more money in Merced.

Elvis Records continue to sell. (Y)

And, just as in 2009, the Merced Sun-Star newspaper and Web site will continue to report and write and photograph and otherwise tell stories that matter in our community -- stories that nobody else is able or willing to tell. (Y)

As the masthead motto of the Aspen Daily News puts it: "If you don't want it printed, don't let it happen."

And as Ben Franklin's grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, wrote in 1790: "The Freedom of the Press is the Bulwark of Liberty. An impartial Newspaper is the useful offspring of that Freedom. Its object to inform."

Finally, this quote from H.L. Mencken is taped to my phone: "I find myself more and more convinced that I had more fun doing news reporting than in any other enterprise. It is really the life of kings."

Thanks for your support this year. We look forward to serving you even better in 2010.

Happy New Year.

Executive Editor Mike Tharp can be reached at (209) 385-2456 or mtharp@mercedsun-star.com

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