I know, I know. We live in volatile, topsy-turvy times. What kind of fool would attempt to prophesize in this climate of change? Yet, my confidence in the following forecasts for 2007 is unshakable. Consider each of the following the predictions to be a lock. You can take them to the bank. I guarantee each and every one of them. So, bet the farm on these picks, if you can.
Our troops will begin to leave Iraq by the end of 2007. This is true, not because of the Baker Report, not because of growing deaths due to violence, and definitely not because of the new Democratic Congress. President Bush will cut-and-run because Republican Congressmen, who formerly supported the Iraq War, will fire-bomb the White House themselves if the President doesnt eliminate the war as an issue leading up to the next election.
The Detroit Lions will finish 8-8 next season. No NFL team can win with the mass of injuries the Lions suffered in 2006. There is nowhere to go but up for the Lions - and they will. GM Matt Millen has finally found the right head coach for the job, but they still need a healthier team for an upswing.
Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richey, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie will all retreat from the public eye to avoid their demons and the paparazzi. We, too, could use a break, guys.
In 2007 expect the price of gasoline to exceed $4.00 per gallon. Prices will continue to jump out of sight because oil companies watched Americans grudgingly accept prices when they briefly crested at levels over $3/gallon in the past. Never mind demand and supply. Pump prices are based upon how much we can be gouged before we get mad enough to act. The oil companies will tempt us all to become terrorists next year.
The Detroit Tigers will again contend for the championship as long as they keep their pitching staff intact. This team is no flash-in-the-pan.
Unfortunately, many of the U.S. soldiers leaving Iraq will be redeployed in Afghanistan, which is also on the road to disintegration. Only the capital Kabul gives lip service to rule of law. The fragile Karzai government is being threatened more and more by the resurgent Taliban and violent militias roaming the Afghan countryside. Afghanistan will replace Iraq as our biggest military burden a year from now.
In the near future, some study will determine that coffee consumption is unhealthy - again. Last year the word was that coffee in moderation is a good thing to do. Just to be sure, I now cut down on coffee every other year.
The Detroit Red Wings are a little tougher this year, so they should survive long enough to be ousted in the 2nd round next spring.
In 2007 the U.S. Congress will pass a new minimum wage law - and it will hurt the economy. Hiking the ceiling on wages makes politicians feel altruistic, but most economists will tell you such laws are always a disaster. Minimum wage raises unemployment and ultimately increases the cost of living for everyone.
Rocky VII is now a very real possibility for 2007. Did you know this years Rocky VI was the best since the original? Yo, just when we thought Rocky Balboa had hung up his gloves for good (and that was 1979).
The Detroit Pistons will easily make a run to the NBA Finals. Why? Despite the loss of Ben Wallace, their bench is vastly improved. If Rasheed Wallaces injured ankle doesnt heal, though, the Piston will be eliminated in the second round.
There may never have been a Presidential race as wide-open as the next one. At the end of 2007, the huge field of candidates should be narrowed down to two: Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards. The conservatives will then have a fit over Giuliani and back Pat Buchanan as an Independent. With Giuliani and Buchanan splitting the Republican vote, John Edwards will be elected as the next President. Oops, ignore that one. I dont want to reveal anything from 2008, yet.
Otherwise, for next year, I predict everyone will have a Happy New Year.