maxomai: dog (dog)
This was a terrible year for just about everyone and everything, and that includes my predictions for this year. That said, I did better this year than last, scoring 6 out of 14 correct predictions. Let's go through what I predicted for 2016, where I was right or wrong, and why.


  1. Hillary Clinton will be elected President of the United States --- DID NOT HAPPEN

    This seemed like a slam dunk given the polls at the time, and the dynamics of electoral politics since 2006. So what happened?

    The Clinton campaign blames the Comey letter to Congress for shifting undecided voters to Trump. Post-election polling shows about half of Clinton voters blame Russia, because Russia hacked the DNC and the Clinton campaign (which is supported by the intelligence community including the FBI), and also because they believe Russia somehow changed the vote tally (a hypothesis for which there is no supporting evidence).

    I think what really happened is simpler and more prosaic and depressing. The DNC and the Bill Clinton people resorted back to their old ways and fucked up a perfectly winnable Presidential race, a la Al Gore in 2000.

    In particular, they fucked up on messaging. Most of their television ads were about what a horrible person Donald Trump is, rather than why Hillary Clinton should be President. They adopted a slogan, "Love Trumps Hate," that once again made Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton, the center of attention. Everyone involved in the campaign --- and I mean, everyone from the lowest level canvassing and phone banking volunteer to the candidate herself --- needs to go back and re-read George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant, which spells out in plain terms why this is an inexcusible fuck-up.

    That's just one way in which the campaign fell apart. There's dozens of others, from not bothering to engage the Democratic apparatus in Madison, WI, to presuming Pennsylvania was safely in their column, to continually writing off the Bernie people at an organizational level.

    The end result is a mess. Donald Trump is a thin-skinned, grossly incompetent President-Elect, whose actions post-election might have asuaged the investor class but have terrified and angered half the country at the same time that it has galvanized the white supremacist so-called "alt-right." He shows all the signs that his administration will be corrupt, brutally racist, and unrepentantly authoritarian and antidemocratic. There are even signs that he might be a Russian puppet.

    Trump is a weak PEOTUS in a lot of ways, but one that should not go ignored is his level of support. His approval ratings are at an historic low for Presidents-Elect. He has negative coattails such that the GOP lost House and Senate seats. And, his popular vote margin is at about negative 2.9 million.

    This gives the Democratic Party a narrow path to avoid extinction. It needs to win big in local and state races, and hold its ground in Congressional races, in 2018, if it wants a shot of winning the White House in 2020 or getting back control of Congress in 2022. Trump's unpopularity gives them a shot, and it's already produced results in the form of a flood of new volunteers and apparatchiks. What's needed to capitalize on this new blood is a return to the fifty state strategy espoused by Howard Dean in his tenure as DNC chairman.


  2. The Democrats will gain seats in the US House of Representatives, but nowhere near enough to take control in the next Congress. --- HAPPENED

    This actually happened, and it's one of the most underreported political stories of 2016.


  3. The Democrats will score a net gain of at least four US Senate seats, enough to control the Senate in the next Congress. --- DID NOT HAPPEN

    Long story short, Democrats blew a lot of easily winnable races by assuming that the Great Lakes states were in the bag.


  4. Kate Brown will be elected to finish her predecessor's term as Governor of Oregon. --- HAPPENED

    Oregon Democrats did worse this election season than expected, but Kate Brown won in a shoo-in. Dennis Richardson's win as Secretary of State should sound alarm bells for 2018.


  5. Augustus Invictus will NOT be Florida's next US Senator. --- HAPPENED

    In fact, Marco Rubio went back to run for his old seat, and won. That said, it might well have been that Augustus Invictus was simply before his time. The events of the next few years, and in particular, the success or failure of fellow authoritarian Richard Spencer in Montana, will tell us more.


  6. Tammy Duckworth will win the general election to represent Illinois in the US Senate. --- HAPPENED

    And so Barack Obama's Senate seat repeats the pattern in which it has been since Alan Dixon lost the Democratic primary to Carol Mosley-Braun; that is, switching parties every six years.


  7. Black Lives Matter will dominate the Presidential race --- DID NOT HAPPEN

    In fact, what dominated the Presidential race was two even bigger manifestations of America's deeply rooted racism: anti-Muslim and anti-Latinx sentiment espoused by Donald Trump. It's not going to get better without a lot of work.


  8. Gun sales will continue to reach new records; prices of both guns and ammo will increase. --- HAPPENED

    Gun buyers assumed that Clinton would win and kept buying guns in anticipation of a Clinton administration AWB. New records were met each month. Now that Trump is going to be in power, I expect the gun market, which is usually driven by fear and anxiety, to level off, even as it gains new customers on the left.


  9. ISIS will execute a Paris-style attack on the United States. --- HAPPENED

    This would be the Pulse Nightclub shooting of June 12th. This focused the gay rights movement briefly on the cause of gun prohibition. I suspect that's over now that there are bigger fish to fry.


  10. ISIS will lose half their territory between 1/1/2015 and 12/30/2016. --- DID NOT HAPPEN

    ISIS has lost territory, but only by about a quarter, not a half, as measured in square miles.


  11. Oil prices will go back up to $70/barrel this summer --- DID NOT HAPPEN

    In fact, OPEC kept the spigot open. Demand has increased thanks to the cheaper oil prices, and prices never got above $50.


  12. The Oregon Ducks will win the Alamo Bowl. --- DID NOT HAPPEN

    What should have been an easy game turned into a stunning, horrifying collapse, presaging a dreadful 2016 season. Cue sad trombone. I remain a fan.


  13. The Carolina Panthers will beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl --- DID NOT HAPPEN

    In fact, the Panthers played the Broncos, and lost. The look on Cam Newton's face when the clock expired says it all.


  14. The Chicago Cubs will return to the postseason. --- HAPPENED

    A lot sucked about 2016, but it had great sports stories. The biggest is that Leicester City, a perennial underdog in British soccer, won the Premier League championship for 2015-2016. A very close second to that is the Chicago Cubs coming back from three games down, and eeking out a tough, harrowing win in game seven, to win the World Series and end a 108 year championship drought.


Tomorrow, I will state my predictions for 2017. See you then!
maxomai: dog (dog)
Last week, I scored myself on how I did with my 2015 predictions. Today I am making my predictions for 2016. Here we go!


  1. Hillary Clinton will be elected President of the United States

  2. The Democrats will gain seats in the US House of Representatives, but nowhere near enough to take control in the next Congress.

  3. The Democrats will score a net gain of at least four US Senate seats, enough to control the Senate in the next Congress.

  4. Kate Brown will be elected to finish her predecessor's term as Governor of Oregon.

  5. Augustus Invictus will NOT be Florida's next US Senator.

  6. Tammy Duckworth will win the general election to represent Illinois in the US Senate.

  7. Black Lives Matter will dominate the Presidential race

  8. Gun sales will continue to reach new records; prices of both guns and ammo will increase.

  9. ISIS will execute a Paris-style attack on the United States.

  10. ISIS will lose half their territory between 1/1/2015 and 12/30/2016.

  11. Oil prices will go back up to $70/barrel this summer

  12. The Oregon Ducks will win the Alamo Bowl.

  13. The Carolina Panthers will beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl

  14. The Chicago Cubs will return to the postseason.




Let's go through these one by one, shall we?




  1. Hillary Clinton will be elected President of the United States.


  2. This is an easy prediction to make if one pays attention to the polls. Clinton is lapping Sanders (who has my vote in the primaries) two-to-one, and is going to waltz to the nomination. In the general election polls, Clinton clobbers the front-runner (Trump) and most of the other candidates as well. In fact, the only candidate that comes close to beating her right now is Chris Christie, and he's third tier.



    The bigger question is what kind of coat-tails she will have. Which brings us to:



  3. The Democrats will gain seats in the US House of Representatives, but nowhere near enough to take control in the next Congress.


  4. The GOP has a massive majority (+58 seats with one vacancy), most of which are safe (and gerrymandered as fuck). The would have to lose thirty (30) for the House to switch control. The House is going to stay in Republican control, barring a massive, and I mean biblical, GOP meltdown. Paul Ryan has already managed to avoid a budget meltdown, which puts him light-years ahead of Boehner, so the chances of the GOP creating more self-inflicted wounds is slim. Of course, if their Presidential Candidate pulls a Mourdock, all bets are off.



  5. The Democrats will score a net gain of at least four US Senate seats, enough to control the Senate in the next Congress.


  6. The US Senate, on the other hand, is much more volatile these days. Assuming I'm right about Clinton, the Democrats only need four (4) seats to win back control of the Senate. Of the 34 seats being voted on in 2016, only thirteen (13) are up for grabs in any real sense. Democrats are likely to pick up seats in Wisconsin and Illinois assuming just moderate coat-tails. If Clinton has wider coat-tails (i.e. because she's running against Trump), then the Democrats have a good chance to pick up seats in Florida and New Hampshire as well, and to defend their seats in Colorado and Nevada. That would give them a total of fifty (50), just enough to barely control the chamber (with the Democratic Vice-President breaking ties). Unfortunately, that puts Chuck Schumer in charge, and he's never seen a war or a violation of civil liberties that he didn't like.



  7. Kate Brown will be elected to finish her predecessor's term as Governor of Oregon.


  8. Oregon is a purple state that's on the threshold of turning blue. Between that and Democratic strength during Presidential election years, she's a shoo-in. The real challenge will be 2018.



  9. Augustus Invictus will NOT be Florida's next US Senator.


  10. This is the easiest prediction on the list, but it's worth making given how many friends of mine seem to like this guy. As for who WILL be Florida's next US Senator, I don't know, but I'm pulling for Alan Greyson.



  11. Tammy Duckworth will win the general election to represent Illinois in the US Senate.


  12. The Illinois Democratic Party establishment is lining up behind her and Hillary, and they have enormous electoral strength in Presidential years, so this is an easy deal. Again, for her, the challenge will be to hold on to that seat --- which used to belong to Barack Obama --- for more than one term. Nobody has been able to do that since Alan Dixon lost it to Carol Mosley-Braun in 1992.



  13. Black Lives Matter will dominate the Presidential race


  14. Black Lives Matter will be bigger than abortion, bigger than guns, bigger than gay marriage, bigger than the economy, bigger than ISIS. Black Lives Matter will be THE issue of 2016. It will be so for two reasons.



    First, Black Lives Matter protesters will make sure the issue goes to the forefront of Presidential politics, and stays there. They will disrupt debates, interrupt conventions, and pull the kind of stunts we haven't seen since the 1970s, to make sure they are heard. Why shouldn't they? They're literally fighting for their lives.



    Second, the backlash against Black Lives Matter is strong, and it will be fodder for whomever the Republicans choose as their candidate. Especially if that candidate is Donald Trump: he will run on white resentment and bring it from 4chan to the prime time. White privilege is a thing, folks.



    This is not to say that conditions will improve for African Americans, but only that the discussion will be had. Which, unfortunately, will feed into the next prediction:



  15. Gun sales will continue to reach new records; prices of both guns and ammo will increase.


  16. We've seen this happen over and over again. A mass shooting happens. There is media outrage and calls to "do something," perhaps including a ban on "assault weapons." In fact, Congress and the President aren't going to do anything even remotely close to an assault weapons ban. Obama can only do so much with executive orders, and with the Republicans controlling Congress, they're not even going to pass universal background checks. Your average American isn't going to consider that reality, both because most people have forgotten grade school civics and because they're scared out of their wits. And so, people who have been considering getting an "assault weapon" or a similar firearm will rush to pick one up before Congress or the President does...something. This is classic panic buying, which we've seen happen at least a dozen times since 2008.



    I am frankly disgusted by this situation, both by the utter pants-shitting cowardice on the pro-gun side, and both the craven dishonesty and the sheer roaring incompetence on the anti-gun side.



    Let's set a few things straight.



    On the one hand, we need to do something about the flow of guns to gangs and the horrendous suicide rate in gun-holding households. We can address this without violating people's rights by cracking down on straw purchases, educating the public on the laws of gun safety, and encouraging people to keep their guns locked in a safe. Even better would be universal background checks, to give prosecutors a hammer to use against the grey market. If we do these things, the rate of gun deaths will go down, a LOT. If the pro-gun side would acquiesce to a few measures like this, that have an enormous benefit for everybody with no net change in the rights of law abiding gun owners, it would do away with a lot of the anti-gun side's talking points. In fact, if, as part of this bill, we set mandatory minimum standards for concealed carry licenses that include a program to encourage widespread reciprocity, that would go a long way towards opening up gun rights for the rest of us.



    On the other hand, the anti-gun side is a study in bullshit. For example:



    The Assault Weapons Ban, as proposed in HR4269, is lunacy. It calls for, and I quote, banning "(A) A semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any 1 of the following: (i) A pistol grip. (ii) A forward grip. (iii) A folding, telescoping, or detachable stock. (iv) A grenade launcher or rocket launcher.
    (v) A barrel shroud. (vi) A threaded barrel." Of those, the grenade launcher or rocket launcher is the only feature that makes such a rifle more deadly. Fortunately, grenade and rocket launchers are already severely restricted as Destructive Devices, and practically impossible to get. Threaded barrels are for attaching sound suppressors, which are also strictly regulated under rules similar to those for grenade launchers. The rest of those features --- pistol grips, forward grips, adjustable stocks, and barrel shrouds --- don't make a rifle any more deadly than a semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and DOESN'T have any of those features, such as a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle or a Springfield M1A. This is about banning guns that look scary, because you think that by taking them away from people, you can keep them from playing warrior. Except that the actual point of mass shootings is to commit terrorism, either against the state or against the culture.



    What's even dumber about this proposed ban, however, is that by making it illegal to purchase a semi-automatic version of an AR-15 patterned rifle (for example), you're encouraging people to pursue the other, remaining legal options. Which include --- wait for it --- Class III fully automatic versions. Whoops!



    Also, it is not paranoid to claim that people are trying to take away citizens' guns, when everyone from the President to the President's likely successor to the New York Times is calling for Congress to look on Australia --- which used mandatory buy-backs --- as a model of gun control. You are a lying, gaslighting shit for claiming otherwise.



    That's not to say that progress can't be made, but both sides are going to have to give something up first. The pro-gun side has to give up the notion that any gun control is a step towards a total ban. But before the pro-gun side does that, the anti-gun side has to give up Australia and England --- that is to say, prohibitionism --- as models for gun control. A better model, the model they need to adopt, is that of the Czech Republic or Switzerland, which have active gun cultures that are nonetheless tightly regulated. That way we can work towards making sure that law-abiding gun owners are competent enough to manage the firearms they own, without undue risk of mass disarmament.



  17. ISIS will execute a Paris-style attack on the United States.


  18. Last year, I was wrong about the scale of the attacks; but I'm not wrong about the motives. They want to raise money. With the United States hammering their ability to deliver oil, they're starving for cash, and they're going to need to raise revenues elsewhere. One possible stream is donations from the rest of the Middle East. An attack on the Continental US with a high casualty count would really help them here. Also, it would push the United States further into Islamophobic hysteria and war fever, which is what they're trying to achieve.



  19. ISIS will lose half their territory between 1/1/2015 and 12/30/2016.


  20. Despite all their bluster, ISIS doesn't really control a lot of territory --- most of what they have is empty territory that they can't patrol or enforce, although they control key checkpoints along the way. Their ability to hold those checkpoints depends on their economy and their recruiting. Their recruiting is doing just fine, unfortunately, but their economy is under pressure as the West blows up oil wells and oil trucks. They'll try to make up the deficit elsewhere, but it's not going to be quite enough. They'll need to conserve resources, which means they'll need to fall back to more defensible positions. Which means they'll cede control of huge swaths of territory, mostly on the Iraqi side, in order to better defend Raqqa.



  21. Oil prices will go back up this summer.


  22. When oil was $100 a barrel, the United States went from being a net oil importer to a net oil exporter. This is because our consumption went down (because gasoline was expensive and fuel guzzlers were phased out) while production went up (because it suddenly became profitable to extract oil from tar sands, and because of the discovery of huge oil reserves in the Dakotas). OPEC is eager to stop competition from the United States, and so they're producing more oil than the world needs in order to keep prices low. The result: the price has dropped in half ($70 to $35/bbl) since January 1, 2015. This means new American wells aren't being developed. As the current wells dry up or go off-line, American production will drop, and oil prices will start to tick up. I predict $70/bbl between June 1 and September 1, 2016.



  23. The Oregon Ducks will win the Alamo Bowl.


  24. The Ducks went 9-3 this year, which is lackluster compared to the last few years, but still good enough to qualify for a bowl game. More to the point, they showed remarkable improvement in the second half of the season (6-0). Their opponent, Texas Christian University (TCU), went 4-2 in the second half of the season. In other words, the Ducks have gotten hotter and the Horned Frogs (formerly the Horny Toads!) have gotten colder.



  25. The Carolina Panthers will beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.


  26. The Panthers aren't the best team in football this year, but they're the hottest, and have the best record in the NFL at 14-1. Granted: they're in the NFC South, which is generally dreadful. I think they're going to surprise people by powering their way through the playoffs. The Patriots, on the other hand, are dominant in the AFC, as usual. I personally am thinking the Panthers will go all the way.



  27. The Chicago Cubs will return to the postseason.


  28. They were good in 2015, and recent trades have made them even better in 2016. Jason Hayworth in particular is a pitcher's nightmare. I still don't think they'll go to the World Series (although I'm starting to set aside money just in case), but I think they'll go to the NLCS again.



maxomai: dog (dog)
Back in December of 2014 --- those crazy, halcyon days gone by --- I posted my predictions for the year 2015. Unlike other prognosticators, I like to review my predictions a year later, to see how I did. Sometimes I do well, sometimes I do poorly. This time, I got a total of two (2) predictions right, my worst record so far.

To review, my predictions were as follows:


  1. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will declare their candidacies for the Presidency of the United States before April 1, and will quickly dominate their respective parties’ Presidential races.

  2. ISIS will attempt a major terrorist attack on US soil.

  3. The United States will begin major combat operations against ISIS before December 31.

  4. The Supreme Court will declare that bans against same-sex marriage violate the Constitution.

  5. Ebola will kill at least 100,000 people, mostly in West Africa.

  6. The Dow Jones Industrial Average will top 20,000.

  7. The Chicago Cubs will make it to the postseason.

  8. The Oregon Ducks will beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National College Championship Game.

  9. The Seahawks will be repeat Super Bowl champions.



Let's go over each one and review what happened and where I went wrong.


  1. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will declare their candidacies for the Presidency of the United States before April 1, and will quickly dominate their respective parties’ Presidential races.



  2. I missed so many particulars on this prediction that I have to market as "DIDN'T HAPPEN." I figured that both would enter the race relatively early to raise money quickly and snuff out the competition. Neither candidate declared before April 1; they let their SuperPACs raise money and organize the ground game instead. I also figured that the primary races would be boring, and for the Democrats, they have been, the recent kerfuffle over DNC voter records notwithstanding. Clinton dominates the race in most scientific polls and will likely waltz to the nomination. The Republican race has been anything BUT boring with Donald Trump goose-stepping around and the most right-wing candidates snipping at his heels. Jeb Bush, the once-favorite, is now a third tier candidate at best, with everyone wistfully crossing their fingers that Donald Trump will finally say something so outrageous that his candidacy explodes like Howard Dean's did. But he keeps opening his mouth, and his support keeps growing, even as his supporters act worse and worse. In short, this is shaping up to be a general election that pits Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio. 0/1


  3. ISIS will attempt a major terrorist attack on US soil.


  4. I misjudged their model, assuming that a big glitzy attack would help them raise money and followers. They've switched modes however, and are ow primarily interested in pissing off the rest of the world to start an apocalyptic battle. The worst attack, or attempted attack, on the United States, occurred when a husband-and-wife team killed 14 people in San Bernardino in a hail of gunfire; but it looks like the police stopped them from doing much more damage, as their house was full of pipe bombs. This still doesn't rise to the level of damaging significant infrastructure or killing thousands. 0/2


  5. The United States will begin major combat operations against ISIS before December 31.


  6. I figured a huge attack, or even a medium-sized one, would force us into a major role in the war on ISIS. Here, I underestimated Barack Obama again. So far the US has kept out of major combat operations --- wisely, since that's exactly what ISIS wants --- and has kept itself to a more surgical role, disrupting transport routes, choking off oil sales, and sending in covert ops. Russia has taken on a more aggressive role, which has slowly become a quagmire. For all of Putin's tough talk (and for all that conservatives love him), Obama is playing the smarter game here. 0/3


  7. The Supreme Court will declare that bans against same-sex marriage violate the Constitution.
  8. <

    This wasn't the 7-2 slam dunk I thought it would be, but 5-4 is still a win. 1/4


  9. Ebola will kill at least 100,000 people, mostly in West Africa.


  10. Ebola was burning hot in West Africa when I predicted this, and I figured it would continue to burn hot as the world response would continue to be too-little-too-late. Then came two shocking events. First: the rest of the world, unbelievably, actually got their fucking acts together and poured resources into Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Second, less believably, the scientific community quickly rolled out new treatments that appear to work very well. Guinea and Sierra Leone are now EVD-free, and Liberia should be declared Ebola-free next month. Additionally, several of the experimental Ebola vaccines have tested safe in humans appear to work at or near 100% effectiveness, so the next outbreak should be a lot easier to contain. In short, not only did we beat Ebola this time, we're now close to beating Ebola for good. 1/5


  11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average will top 20,000.


  12. This stock market turned out to be weaker than I thought, with everyone on edge that a rate hike is coming. One major exception: Amazon shares. 1/6


  13. The Chicago Cubs will make it to the postseason.


  14. They did, and they did it in style. They also managed to beat the hated Cardinals along the way. Sadly, they lost the NLCS to the Mets, who then went on to lose to the Kansas City Royals. 2/7


  15. The Oregon Ducks will beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National College Championship Game.


  16. Both the Ducks and the Crimson Tide looked red hot last year. Ohio State, which didn't look anywhere nearly as hot, got their acts together nonetheless, and beat the Tide AND the Ducks to become the first winner of the National College Championship Game. 2/8


  17. The Seahawks will be repeat Super Bowl champions.


  18. I maintain they would have repeated as Super Bowl Champions if Russell Wilson hadn't tried that final, and most monumentally stupid, pass of the game. 2/9

maxomai: dog (dog)
That was fast.

Federal authorities arrested a Cincinnati man Wednesday in connection with an alleged ISIL-inspired plot to attack the U.S. Capitol.


While this technically fulfills prediction #2 for this year, one would be correct to object that Mr. Cornell, age 20, is a deluded patsy, and that this can't be considered a serious attempt to attack the United States. On the other hand, this fits the model of how ISIS and Al Qaeda operates these days --- spew online propaganda and hope that the marginalized pick up the torch.

Speaking of predictions, I had predicted (2014.10) that alleged "psycho" George Zimmerman would get in trouble with the law in 2014. That prediction didn't come true --- I was off by nine freaking days.

Also, as for my prediction 2015.8 that the Ducks would beat Alabama....whodathunk?
maxomai: dog (dog)
I predicted that Oregon would beat Alabama to win the national championship.

I was wrong.

Congratulations, Ohio State. See you in Texas on the 12th.

Go Ducks!
maxomai: dog (dog)
Earlier today (actually late last night), I posted my scorecard for my 2014 predictions. Now, here are my predictions for 2015. As usual, I'll grade myself on these a year from now -- but feel free to print them out or save a PDF to keep me honest!


  1. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will declare their candidacies for the Presidency of the United States before April 1, and will quickly dominate their respective parties’ Presidential races.

  2. ISIS will attempt a major terrorist attack on US soil.

  3. The United States will begin major combat operations against ISIS before December 31.

  4. The Supreme Court will declare that bans against same-sex marriage violate the Constitution.

  5. Ebola will kill at least 100,000 people, mostly in West Africa.

  6. The Dow Jones Industrial Average will top 20,000.

  7. The Chicago Cubs will make it to the postseason.

  8. The Oregon Ducks will beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National College Championship Game.

  9. The Seahawks will be repeat Super Bowl champions.



Let's go into all of these in detail.

Read more... )
maxomai: dog (dog)
At the end of 2013 I presented you with my predictions for 2014. It turns out that my record this year was bloody awful. I predicted:


  1. Neither the US House nor the US Senate will change hands.

  2. Mitch McConnell will lose his Senate seat.

  3. Wendy Davis will lose her bid to become Texas governor.

  4. The major issues of 2014 will be guns and health care.

  5. Oregon will become the first (and perhaps only) state to reverse its own anti-gay-marriage ballot measure by a subsequent ballot measure.

  6. The US will start putting boots on the ground in East Africa

  7. The US U3 unemployment rate will go below 6.5%.

  8. The movement to divest from Israel will become a major news story.

  9. Major reforms in surveillance methods will pass Congress.

  10. George Zimmerman will have another run-in with the law.

  11. Super Bowl XLVIII will be Denver versus Seattle.



Yeah. So, let's go over the agonizing details of what went wrong, shall we?

Read more... )
maxomai: dog (dog)
Earlier today, US forces are conducting ground operations against ground operations in Somalia:

The Pentagon told CNN U.S. military forces conducted an operation against Al-Shabaab in Somalia Monday. "We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told CNN.


You may recall that I predicted this last December. Also, back on July 2nd, the Pentagon announced the deployment of 120 "advisors" to that country. So this is hardly a surprise. It will be interesting to see to what degree Obama escalates against al-Shabbab, as a part of our 13-years-and-counting war on Al Qaeda.
maxomai: dog (dog)
Now that FiveThirtyEight.com has gone all Huffpo, the Princeton Election Consortium is your new place for election poll analysis. In today's post, they explain the state of the Senate races:

Only four races - Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, and Colorado – have no clear leader at the moment. If we assign all the other races, that gives 48 Democrats/Independents and 48 Republicans.


They then go on to explain that of these elections, the most valuable votes --- in terms of determining which party controls the US Senate after 2014 --- are those cast in Kentucky.

Donate below for the most bang for your buck



There is an ActBlue page set up to donate money to those campaigns that have the most effect on who controls the Senate (Kentucky, but also Iowa, Colorado, Louisiana, Alaska and Arkansas). Billions of dollars (not joking) are already going into these races, but they can still use your help.

Impact on my 2014 Predictions



Back in December I predicted that McConnell would lose his seat, either to Grimes or to his Tea Party opponent. It looks from the PEC analysis that my prediction wasn't that far off base. This isn't certain victory by any shot, but it is a dead heat, which is the closest McConnell has come to losing his seat in decades. That prediction is still alive.
maxomai: dog (dog)
Last year I made my Predictions for 2014. Let's see how I'm doing.


  1. Neither the US House nor the US Senate will change hands. - So far, too early to tell.

  2. Mitch McConnell will lose his Senate seat. - He won his primary bid handily, but the polls have him down slightly compared to his Democratic opponent, Alison Grimes.

  3. Wendy Davis will lose her bid to become Texas governor. - She's still down double digits in the polls, but new allegations of corruption, combined with the life breathed into her race by the Hobby Lobby decision, might change her fortunes. I'm not holding my breath.

  4. The major issues of 2014 will be guns and health care. - So far the antics of Texas Open Carry have kept guns in the forefront, while the Hobby Lobby decision has galvanized Democrats. Too early to call yet, but I'm confident that this one will pan out.

  5. Oregon will become the first (and perhaps only) state to reverse its own anti-gay-marriage ballot measure by a subsequent ballot measure. - We can now state that this won't happen. A Federal Judge struck down Oregon's gay marriage ban, and so Oregon United for Marraige has decided not to pursue a ballot measure.

  6. The US will start putting boots on the ground in East Africa. - Yesterday the Pentagon revealed that the US has 120 "advisors" on the ground in Somalia to fight Islamic terrorists. That's a successful prediction, IMO.

  7. The US U3 unemployment rate will go below 6.5%. - This happened last month. Currently the U3 rate is at 6.1%. Another successful prediction.

  8. The movement to divest from Israel will become a major news story. - Too early to tell.

  9. Major reforms in surveillance methods will pass Congress. - Too early to tell.

  10. George Zimmerman will have another run-in with the law. - Not yet, but we have just a little less than six months to go.

  11. Super Bowl XLVIII will be Denver versus Seattle. - Called it!

maxomai: dog (dog)
This morning the BLS released their latest unemployment figures. The US economy added 280,000 jobs in April. The U3 unemployment rate --- the one usually cited by the media --- dropped to 6.3%.

Thus my 7th prediction for 2014 has come to pass.

Edit Bonddad throws some lukewarm water on these numbers here.
maxomai: dog (dog)
Last month I posted my predictions for 2014, which included, at Prediction #11, that the Broncos and the Seahawks would go to the Super Bowl. The Broncos just beat the Patriots to advance to the Super Bowl, so that prediction is now officially half-right. Now let's see whether the Seahawks beat the 49ers to make the prediction come 100% true.

EDIT And with 22 seconds left, the Seahawks get an interception that ends the game. It's a Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl, and my 11th prediction has come to pass!
maxomai: dog (dog)
Seattle Seahawks 23
New Orleans Saints 15


This was a tough one for me, emotionally speaking, because I really like both teams. But New Orleans made a series of mental mistakes that sealed their fate, the last of which was when a receiver attempted an illegal forward pass instead of doing the smart thing and just running out of bounds.

Patriots 43
Colts 22


I thought Andrew Luck would put on a better performance. I was disappointed. On the other hand, when's the last time Tom Brady got no touchdown passes? In fact, holy shit, are the Patriots a running team now?

San Francisco 49ers 23
Carolina Panthers 10


Cam Newton is a hell of a quarterback. The fact that he led the Panthers this far speaks to that. But he got to a lousy start with that interception and never recovered. Kaepernick was just on fire with his running game. Parenthetically, all the talk about how Rivera and Harbaugh played under Mike Ditka made me feel old. Harbaugh is still the New Guy to me.

Denver Broncos 24
San Diego Chargers 17


I'm not sure whether Peyton Manning was just a better quarterback or the Chargers lost this on penalties. Either way, Manning looked good enough out there.

So, we're down to three more NFL games that matter, and my prediction of a Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl is still intact. Here's where we are next week:

Patriots v. Broncos: this is presently looking a bit like My Shoe v. Ant. If the Broncos shut down the Patriots' running game, Brady can just go back to his awesome passing game, and vice versa. Nonetheless, I hold out a slim, perhaps vain hope, that Peyton Manning will pull a rabbit out of his hat and save my prediction of a Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl.

Seahawks v. 49ers: This is looking like a more competitive game, with the Seahawks having home field advantage. My Seattle friends - most of whom are not football fans - should be wary next Sunday. This is a bitter rivalry, and emotions are going to run very high.
maxomai: dog (dog)
I just gave you my scorecard for my predictions for 2013; if you missed it, you can find it here. Now, I present my predictions for 2014. As usual, I'll grade myself on these a year from now -- but feel free to print them out or save a PDF to keep me honest!

My predictions are:


  1. Neither the US House nor the US Senate will change hands.

  2. Mitch McConnell will lose his Senate seat.

  3. Wendy Davis will lose her bid to become Texas governor.

  4. The major issues of 2014 will be guns and health care.

  5. Oregon will become the first (and perhaps only) state to reverse its own anti-gay-marriage ballot measure by a subsequent ballot measure.

  6. The US will start putting boots on the ground in East Africa

  7. The US U3 unemployment rate will go below 6.5%.

  8. The movement to divest from Israel will become a major news story.

  9. Major reforms in surveillance methods will pass Congress.

  10. George Zimmerman will have another run-in with the law.

  11. Super Bowl XLVIII will be Denver versus Seattle.



By the way, since the Alamo Bowl is December 30th, it doesn't make sense for me to predict the winner as part of my 2014 predictions. Nonetheless, I predict Oregon in a blowout.

With that said, my reasoning for all of the above predictions is below.

Read more... )
maxomai: dog (dog)
Last December, I gave you my predicions for 2013. Unlike most prognosticators, I try to hold myself accountable each year. This year, I can score myself relatively early, because enough stuff has happened that I can definitely mark my successes and failures. I did pretty well this year, with five right out of eight, although I had a couple of softballs to help me out. Let's go through which ones I hit and missed, below.

Read more... )
maxomai: dog (dog)
It's a little more than five months since I made my predictions for 2013. So far, it's looking bleak for my correct prediction rate, but I have some hope yet.

To refresh your memories, my predictions for 2013 are as follows:


  1. Meaningful action on the "fiscal cliff" won't happen until February at least

  2. The credit rating of the United States Government will take another hit

  3. No federal assault weapons ban will pass

  4. Assad will lose the Syrian civil war, but only after much blood

  5. Scott Brown will win the special election to fill John Kerry's Senate seat

  6. Obamacare will dominate the second half of 2013 politics

  7. Inflation will remain below 10%

  8. The Oregon Ducks will win the Fiesta Bowl



How am I doing? )
maxomai: dog (Default)
So, the Senate voted today on a number of amendments to an anti-gun bill, and the end result was a string of failures that left the gun rights side elated and the gun control side fuming mad. It seems that in just a few weeks we've gone from universal background checks, to limited background checks, to jack shit.

Ultimately what we saw today was the end result of a months long battle of political wills. The gun control side had their members fully engaged but not fully organized. The gun rights side had their people fully engaged, and organized. And, despite the gun control side having better PR, the gun rights side had the better tactics this round. By choosing to fight on the issue of background checks - which should have been common ground - they made an assault weapons and magazine ban out of reach for the foreseeable future. They they made even background checks politically unpalatable. As such, not only has nothing happened, but even getting legislation that should have passed to establish universal background checks is going to take a major effort of years.

The gun control side made two major tactical blunders early in this fight.

First, they came in immediately with heated rhetoric in order to alienate people from the NRA. This had basically no effect on the gun control side, which was already engaged, but it had plenty of effect on the gun rights side, which went from demoralized and confused in December to pissed off and engaged by February.

Second, the gun control side - unwittingly - created a major example of how gun control legislation could go wrong, by passing draconian measures in New York State. Even though similar laws were never on the table, let alone feasible, on a Federal level, the notion that New York State could be repeated everywhere became a potent rallying cry.

So, that's where we're at. But, as the President, points out, this is just round one. The GOP controls the House and most of the Governors' mansions, but the Democrats probably have the White House until 2024. We've seen what the Senate can do - basically nothing. Right now, the gun control side has a better PR effort, but the gun rights side has more intensity.

In the short run, gun control is done on a federal level. There are still state measures under discussion, but we're going to see more gun rights measures pass than gun control measures. In the mid run - over the next ten years - we'll probably see universal background checks and minimum requirements for concealed carry licenses. In the long run, the tendency is toward erosion of Second Amendment rights, the last decade notwithstanding, and I think we can expect that trend to continue.

In any case, my prediction, that an assault weapons ban would not pass, has come to fruition.
maxomai: dog (Default)
Former US Senator Scott Brown, who recently lost badly to Harvard professor and current US Senator Elizabeth Warren, was, via PPP, the front runner to win the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by John Kerry. On the other hand, he also stood a good chance to win the 2014 Massachusetts Gubernatorial election. It all basically came down to what he wants to do.

Today, Scott Brown made his choice.

"I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time. And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me," Brown said in a statement. "That is why I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in the upcoming special election."


So, what does this mean?


  • The MAGOP doesn't really have a lot of other options to run for that seat, so whoever wins the Democratic Primary is automatically the front-runner. Right now, that person is likely to be Ed Markey, provided that he gets his shit together, fast. (Seriously, Markey, don't choke. Remember the lessons of 2010.)

  • This doesn't raise his chances to be Massachusetts's next Governor. We still have to see whether he decides to run for that seat, or to bow out of politics altogether. Honestly, I wouldn't put it past him to bow out, particularly if the conservative money just isn't there anymore.

  • Last but not least, another prediction bites the dust.

maxomai: dog (Default)
In December, 2011, I predicted that Boehner would be ousted as Speaker of the House in 2012. As of last week, I said that it was too early to call this prediction.

With his re-election as Speaker just now, that prediction has been put to rest. My official record for 2012 is 5.5 out of 9 predictions correctly made. Not that bad, but I've had better years.
maxomai: dog (Default)
As has been usual in the last five years, Paul Krugman has been more right than not on the economy. Today, it's a mixed bag.

Here's his take on the fiscal cliff negotiations that resulted in a deal today:

Well, the CBO estimates cumulative potential GDP over the next decade at $208 trillion.So the difference between what Obama got and what he arguably should have gotten is around 0.1 percent of potential GDP. That’s not crucial, to say the least.

And on the principle of the thing, you could say that Democrats held their ground on the essentials — no cuts in benefits — while Republicans have just voted for a tax increase for the first time in decades.

So why the bad taste in progressives’ mouths? It has less to do with where Obama ended up than with how he got there. He kept drawing lines in the sand, then erasing them and retreating to a new position. And his evident desire to have a deal before hitting the essentially innocuous fiscal cliff bodes very badly for the confrontation looming in a few weeks over the debt ceiling.

If Obama stands his ground in that confrontation, this deal won’t look bad in retrospect. If he doesn’t, yesterday will be seen as the day he began throwing away his presidency and the hopes of everyone who supported him.


Of course, drawing lines in the sand and then erasing them and retreating to a new position is how one negotiates in the first place, especially with a hardened negotiator. It's painful and disheartening to watch. It feels at each step like you've given up something important. And in the end, none of that matters; that does matter, the next day, and forever after that, is the deal, the end result.

So what are we left with? Krugman points out that this doesn't produce anywhere near the additional income needed to close the deficit. Because the sequester is delayed for two months, the Republicans get another shot at the fiscal cliff in February, this time with the debt ceiling looming over them. They get, in other words, a chance for a much better deal in February.

But President Obama gets an increase on both income and capital gains taxes on singles earning over $400k and couples earning over $450k, for $600 billion in revenue over the next decade.

That ain't chicken scratch with a Republican-controlled House.

As far as my first prediction goes, I'm still not sure whether I'm wrong on that or kinda-sorta-right. I'm leaning toward wrong right now.

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