Commentary: 2015-16 reflections and predictions

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 Time is a rocket ship and 12 months can flash by faster than the speed of light. So here we are at the beginning of 2016 already, and it’s time again for the end of the year reflections and fearless predictions for the year.   Heroes of the year:  For the 13th consecutive year, the heroes of the year are the brave young men and women serving our country in the Armed Forces of Iraq (again), Afghanistan, Syria and other outposts around the globe. Fortunately, in 2015 there were fewer casualties, but we’re not out of the woods yet. We want all our people home and healed.   

Person of the year:  Pope Francis again led the world in reminding us that there are more important things than shooting one another and making money. He took his messages of love and peace to Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Cuba, the United States, Kenya, Uganda and the Central Africa Republic.   

Photo of the year:  The picture of the body of a four-year-old Syrian refugee boy in blue shorts and a red t-shirt washed up on the beach in Bodrum, Turkey, in September. His boat capsized and he didn’t make it to freedom. A thousand words in that photo.   

Slogan of the year: Black Lives Matter.   

Toys in need of rules:  If everybody wants a drone to play with we are going to need some rules so they don’t hover over your bedroom window or get in the path of commercial flights and cause crashes.   

Olympic star crosses over: Bruce Jenner, Olympic Decathlon champion of 1976 (“the World’s Greatest Athlete”) is now Caitlyn Jenner.  

Trump:  If you want a president who is loud, arrogant, rude, insulting to Hispanics, Blacks, Muslims and women, a boaster, a tough-talker, bully and show-off, Donald Trump is your candidate. After all, he’s been endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin who also likes to brag, bluster, talk tough and bully. Putin was named Jerk of the Year in this very column one year ago.   

Trump’s worst enemy:  His barber?/hair dresser?  

Year of fear:  We have nothing to fear but fear itself. The sky is not falling and the peddlers of panic have forgotten the calm leadership of Churchill, Roosevelt and Eisenhower during World War II, the restraint of John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and the steady hand of Ronald Reagan during the Cold War.   

Obama’s greatest achievement in 2015: President Obama gets the blame for just about everything we don’t like, but when the war hawks in Congress, and the press and the political candidates want to bomb Iran and send boots on the ground to Iraq and Syria, the Commander in Chief has refused to get us into another ground war, easy to start and hard to finish, that would grind on for years.  We’re talking about saving American lives by not always being the world’s police and fire department. Thanks Chief.   

Now for my predictions:  Last year I predicted somebody would rudely stick his or her nose in a smart phone and snub you, sitting three feet away. It happened to me numerous times and to you too. I also predicted returning snowbirds would deny they were bored during the winter recess from the real world. They did. Can I predict or what?  And now, here’s what will happen in 2016.  

Republican nominee:  Are you ready for this? When none of the dozen or so candidates gain sufficient votes to be nominated, the Republican establishment, nervous about all of them, will meet in a smoke-filled room (an old tradition not exercised for generations), will pull the strings and, gasp, Mitt Romney will be nominated. That may seem like an obvious solution in June, but this prediction was made in December.   

Last man standing: Before Romney is nominated, the last original candidate standing will be Marco Rubio, about whom it has been observed that “he seems so sincere that when he speaks, young women swoon, old women pass out and toilets flush themselves.” If the insiders don’t pick Romney, Rubio will be nominated.   Democratic nominee:  This doesn’t take a crystal ball - Hillary Clinton has the nomination locked up. Give Bernie Sanders credit for raising some important questions.   

Election: Close call. The Republicans could have won if they could have come up with a better candidate earlier, but they didn’t. However, the prediction is this, that the candidate who gets the electoral votes from Ohio will be the next president.   

Attorney General:  This prediction will prove I know what I am talking about. If Clinton is elected, she will nominate Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar as Attorney General. Remember this prediction was made in December before anybody else raised the possibility.   

No pilot: Now that cars are driving around on robotic automatic pilot without actual drivers, the same thing will happen in commercial air flight.  Before next December, a pilotless plane will be scheduled for flight from Las Angeles to New York. My advice:  don’t be on it.   

Twelve foot baskets:  College and pro basketball, land of the giants, will get real and raise baskets from 10 to 12 feet. There will still be an occasional slam dunk, but not while standing on tiptoes.   

Global warming: When global warming brings the Atlantic Ocean to the streets of Miami, the headquarters of Scientists Who Deny Global Warming (SWDGW) will move their headquarters from Miami to Denver, the mile high city.  Last year I predicted you would get smarter and better looking.  You did.  Keep up the good work. Thank you for your comments, calls and letters.  Bless you and Happy New Year to all.