Opinion Columns & Blogs

Mike Tharp: Predictions for the Year of the Ox

Mike Tharp
Mike Tharp

Time for New Year's predictions.

If you've read my blog, you know how well I did on crystal ball-gazing about the presidential election. I said it was gonna be a "close race."

No wonder I don't hit the casinos, play the ponies or gamble in anything but romance and love.

Still, who dares wins.

So, in no special order, here are some random forecasts for our future during the oriental Year of the Ox. They represent some of my hopes, dreams, guesses, fears and feelings. Some of them will be mighty disturbing, a few may be reassuring, even fewer may be right.

No brain, no pain. Go:


Global depression strikes.

Pakistan civilian government toppled by a coup.

Israel launches preemptive attack on Iran.

Afghanistan creeps closer to a quagmire.

Iraq slides steadily into civil war.

China strengthens its global reach.

North Korea's Kim Jong Il dies.

Japan somehow muddles through.

A world record-holder in track tests positive for steroids.

The Economist remains the world's best English-language weekly.

Elvis records continue to sell.


Bush pardons himself, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle and others so they can't be prosecuted for war crimes.

Assassination attempt on Obama fails.

One of the Big 3 automakers goes bankrupt.

Many repeats around the country of the Chicago workers' sit-in at their window-and-door factory after a major bank threatened not to lend the parent firm any more money.

Some of the protests turn violent.

The "posse comitatus" law preventing deployment of American military troops in the U.S. is broken.

Major breakthrough in treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Celtics win second straight NBA championship.

Defense Secretary Gates tells Obama he must consider reinstating the military draft -- and include females.

A cell phone is released that allows users -- mainly young females -- to write "diary novels"; these will become a huge social-media phenomenon (as they are now in Japan).

A South Korean all-boy music group and/or a Japanese all-girl group make it big in America.

Journalism schools -- now called Colleges of Communication -- continue to turn out graduates who can't write or report because they're taught by Ph.Ds, not by current or former pros.

Elvis records continue to sell.


UC and California State University systems drop students, freeze faculty.

Gay marriage is approved in the next court battle over Prop. 8.

The governor tries hard to get the 14th Amendment changed so he can run for president.

Some natural disaster -- earthquake, forest fire, mudslide, flood or tsunami -- hits Southern California.

More illegal immigrants leave the state and head south of the border because they can't find work.

More U.S. citizens in California leave and move to other states and countries for the same reason.

Jerry Brown nails the governorship more than a year ahead of the November 2010 election.

Hollywood continues to turn out only one or two movies a year worth paying to see in a theater.

Elvis records continue to sell.


The real estate market bounces back in the second half.

County CEO Dee Tatum resigns.

RMP craters for good.

Wal-Mart distribution center gets its first green lights.

Drought persists.

The rockslide blocking 140 to Yosemite just sits there.

None of the big-time newspapers -- Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times -- that wrote about Merced being "foreclosure capital of America" returns to write about our recovery.

The Sun-Star newspaper and Web site 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.

Whatever my predictions, Shakespeare, as usual, said it best in "King Lear":

"And worse I may be yet: the worst is not,

So long as we can say, This is the worst."

We at the Sun-Star will keep abiding by those old journalistic credos:

-- Publish and be damned

-- Print the news and raise hell.

-- Elvis records continue to sell.

Happy New Year!

Reach Executive Editor Mike Tharp at (209) 385-2427 or mtharp@mercedsunstar.com.