Crystal Ball Watch 2005

Last year I made my annual predictions for the coming year. Let’s just say the old crystal ball must have been a bit cloudy, because I didn’t do all that well. Without further ado, let’s take the Wayback Machine back a year:

The elections in Iraq will have sporadic violence, but will still result in a win for pro-democracy forces. After the elections, the violence in Iraq will steadily taper down although not disappear entirely.

Well, this one was partially right. The Shi’ite list won, there were several months of horsetrading, a constitution was approved, and parliamentary elections were held. The level of violence has decreased in some areas, but increased in others. There’s a lot of good news from Iraq, but the process is ongoing. The new split between the secularist Maram bloc and the United Iraqi List will be the thing to watch over the next few weeks.

After the elections in Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld will decide to step down as Secretary of Defense, citing family reasons.

Maybe in 2006.

In the wake of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, Vladimir Putin will face increasing calls for his resignation due to the increasing authoritarianism of the Russian government.

Putin, though marginalized internationally, remains popular in Russia despite his increasing authoritarianism.

Fidel Castro will die, causing a brief chaos as his son Raul tries to take control of the government. However, with the help of Cuban exiles in Florida, massive pro-democracy protests will force the Cuban regime to hold free elections in which reformist candidates win decisively. After the elections, the sanctions on Cuba will be lifted and the Cuban economy will skyrocket due to a massive influx of US tourists.

Not yet, although one can hope that the old tyrant will shuffle off his mortal coil sooner or later.

The exodus from Movable Type to WordPress will only increase along with comment spam attacks.

This one was true – quite a number of blogs have switched from Movable Type to WordPress, and as WordPress continues to improve I’d suspect that trend will continue.

The hot gadget of 2005 will be the Motorola/Apple iPhone announced at MacWorld San Francisco in January.

The iPhone wasn’t introduced until late in the year, and it was a rather large disappointment. The iPod remains the gadget of the year, with the new video-capable model being a hot item for the holidays. Get ready for the Intel widescreen iBook in 2006…

Mozilla Firefox will end the year with a marketshare of over 25%. (In some cases, it’s nearly there already.)

On this site, it’s 20-30%. Overall, Firefox usage is probably less than 10%. Still, those of you still using Internet Explorer – what the hell are you thinking?

Iran will become a nuclear power.

Unless Israel or someone else decides to take matters into their own hands, this seems like something that will happen in 2006.

Osama bin Laden will be shot by US forces trying to flee from a raid along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Not yet, although again, one can hope.

Ayman al-Zawahiri will be captured shortly after.

See above.

Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi will be betrayed by Iraqi Sunni clerics seeking an end to the violence in their country. His badly mutilated remains will be found some days later outside Fallujah.

Al-Zarqawi is doing his best to alienate everyone. He’s already been disowned by his own family. One of these days, someone with a beef against him will take him out – unless he goes deep underground. I’m still thinking that this prediction may hold true in 2006.

President Bush will nominate Ted Olson to serve as Chief Justice after Justice Rehnquist succombs to cancer.


Michael Moore will marry Anna Nicole Smith in a secret Vegas ceremony. Those two massive walking trainwrecks were made for each other.

Fortunately that prediction didn’t come to pass either. Scientists now believe that such a pairing would result in the creation of an ultra-dense singularity from which no common sense or tact could escape.

President Bush will get serious about cutting the deficit, making him much more popular among conservatives and much less among everyone else. The projected deficit will go down due to lowered spending and increased economic growth.

Sigh… if only that were true. Counting on fiscal discipline from this Administration seems to be a fools errand…

The MoveOn wackos will break away from the Democrats after Howard Dean is rejected as head of the DNC. The organization will disband due to internal squabbles shortly afterwards.

Instead, we get the opposite – the MoveOn wackos now seem to control the Democratic Party. And we have Chairman Howard Dean of the DNC, which is great for comics and GOP pundits, but certainly not a healthy thing for the DNC.

Kim Jung Il will remain in seclusion, fueling speculation that he had died some time ago. No one will know for sure, and the North Korean government will continue to be the most oppressive on Earth.

Kim Jung Il seems to still be alive (and ronery!), and North Korea still remains a Stalinist hellhole. So at least I got the obvious part right.

We’ll all be a year older.

Other than certain Democratic leaders who appear to have regressed into two-year olds, that one’s a given.

Coming later today – my predictions for 2006…

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