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Hot '5 Or Stinko Cinco?

Good and bad predictions for the new year

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"It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future," declared baseball legend Yogi Berra. Here's my year-end stab at crystal ball gazing.

Politics

President George Bush will renege on his promises to reform social security, overhaul federal taxes and lower the Federal budget deficit.

Bush will quietly ignore any proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Such an amendment will not garner the two-thirds vote needed to pass both Houses of Congress anyway.

Since the election confirmed his infallibility, Bush will give even fewer press conferences than he did in 2004—why put up with the carping of doubters from the liberal media? There is an upside—we will be spared his irritating smirk and his butchering of English syntax.

The Republican Congress will once again try to ban both therapeutic and reproductive human cloning—it will fail in the Senate.

Due to opposition by civil libertarians on both the Right and the Left, sections of the USA PATRIOT Act relating to foreign intelligence and law enforcement surveillance authority will be allowed to expire on December 31, 2005 as provided by law.

Science

No cloned human baby will be born in 2005 (despite what the Raelians or Panayiotis Zavos claim). Cloned baby monkeys, on the other hand, are possible. Cloned babies by 2010.

No asteroid will strike the earth in 2005 or in 2029 either.

The first application to use human embryonic stem cells to repair crushed spinal cords will be filed with the FDA.

No grants for actual human embryonic stem cell research will be issued from the new California stem cell research fund in 2005.

Renewed government funding for cold fusion research is likely. Could this be the solution to any global warming worries? Naturally, ideological environmentalists would oppose it. Recall that neo-Malthusian Paul Ehrlich warned that cold fusion by providing humanity with a cheap inexhaustible energy supply would be "like giving a machine gun to an idiot child." Luddite Jeremy Rifkin declared, ""It's the worst thing that could happen to our planet."

The Space Shuttle Discovery will not be launched by June 3, 2005.

Environment

Climate computer models will project that man-made global warming is more certain and worse than ever. Evidence for this claim will remain scarce.

There will be no further commitments to cut carbon dioxide emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 at the United Nations Climate Change talks in Turkey next October.

Unfortunately, the number of people who are undernourished worldwide is likely to increase in 2005. For part of the reason see WTO prediction below.

Economics

The European Union will stymie trade talks at the next World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Hong Kong next December. The farmers from the 10 new EU member states have just got on the munificent EU ag subsidy gravy train and they won't want to be put off. The U.S. won't object too strenuously because red state farmers have just harvested one of their biggest bumper crops of subsidies ever. Rich country subsidies are a crime against poor farmers in the developing world, not to mention a taxpayer ripoff at home.

Culture

Michael Moore will join Fat Actress Kirstie Alley as a Jenny Craig weight loss spokesperson. Just kidding. However, without the passions aroused by the election, his new "documentary" attacking the pharmaceutical industry will largely be relegated to the art house circuit. No more Palmes d'Or at Cannes.

Crime

The recent drop in the U.S. crime rate will level off—with violent crime already at the lowest level ever recorded.

After Martha Stewart gets out of jail, she will be a bigger celebrity criminal than O.J. Simpson (oh, he wasn't convicted was he?) for the next year. See you on Good Morning America, Martha. And it's too late to buy her company's stock. It's already rebounded in anticipation of her release. Can't say that same thing about Enron or WorldCom stock.

The Federal government will continue to lose the "War on Drugs," causing great and unnecessary damage at home and abroad. Thanks to the drug war, America will remain Numero Uno in confining its citizens to prison: 2,166,260 and counting. But there is a bright side—the high prison population explains a good bit of our plummeting crime rates.

Sports

The Red Sox will not win the 2005 World Series. (That is the ball game that's played with a stick, right?)

Happy New Year! (That's a wish, not a prediction.)