The Official Blueberry Town predictions for 2017

January 1, 2017

We are not sure of the rules, but we do know that any blogger or other gum-flapper who does not make a list of annual “predictions” might as well hang it up and climb in to a bottle. Last year, under another nom de plume, we produced a list that was oh-so-very-wrong in the matter of presidential politics and the Rose Bowl, but did not lack for inspiration (our call on the Dow Jones Industrial Average was close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades, and we generally did a lot better than famous predictor Byron Wien).

Anyway, in no particular order:

1. The Iowa Hawkeyes will win the Outback Bowl tomorrow. Note that the shelf life of this prediction is about 24 hours.

2. Donald Trump’s earliest actions in office will relate closely to Barack Obama’s efforts to stymie him. This is a good summary of those efforts. Specifically, we predict that Trump will:

  • Quickly take some step to reinforce the U.S. commitment to Israel, including at least one of (a) moving our embassy to Jerusalem, (b) visiting Israel personally, perhaps on his first official trip abroad, and (c) directing some form of overt military cooperation, such as an exercise, that will draw the ire of all the right people.
  • Trump will issue an executive order reversing President Obama’s 11th hour designations under the Antiquities Act, triggering the first of what will be relentless litigation from environmental activists on a wide range of subjects (in general, we believe that environmental activists will be the biggest losers among the core Democratic constituencies under Trump).
  • Similarly, Trump will move aggressively against the big raft of new regulations that the Obama administration has pushed through in the last year or so, with an emphasis on the new regulations from the EPA.

3. President Trump will indeed pursue a rapprochement with Russia, with two main objectives: (1) to increase Russian commitment to the fight against radical Islam so their guys die instead of our guys, and (2) to create a geopolitical counterweight against China. However, he will pursue this slowly, waiting a few months until the “election hacking” kerfuffle fades from public memory.

4. Mexico won’t pay for the “wall.”

5. The Democrats and the press will continue to make a big deal out of Trump’s various conflicts of interest, but this will not diminish his relatively low popularity, such as it is, unless something else entirely intervenes to hurt him with his base. Then the conflicts will suddenly get traction in the public’s mind. Democrats will develop a keen interest in having the FBI investigate the executive branch.

6. The first big domestic crisis of Donald Trump’s presidency will be catalyzed by a horrible urban crime or an ambiguous police shooting. Trump’s reaction in the moment will have a far greater effect on his popularity and credibility than any “scandal” likely to emerge, unless the organized left gets too excited and overreaches, in which case that will have the biggest effect on Trump’s popularity.

7. Trump will retract the Title IX “dear colleague” letter. University administrators will breath a sigh of relief, but not admit it in any circumstances that might involve a recording device. SJWs will go bananas, but nobody who has never heard the word “intersectionality” will actually care.

8. Black Lives Matter and allied groups will become much more active (see #6 above). Conversely, the word “alt-right” will all but disappear from the popular discourse by late spring.

9. In the spirit of striking “deals,” Trump will challenge the ideologues on both sides. Trump will act more like the “mayor” of America than its president, and at some point he will trade away some cherished position of the social conservatives — maybe a pro-business SCOTUS nominee who is a bit squishy on “life” — in return for Democratic Chuck Schumer’s support for corporate tax reform. Or something like that. Or, maybe, he will offer Democrats the huge infrastructure bill they have been clamoring for since, well, the end of the Johnson Administration, but only if they sign up for reforms in federal contracting, labor, and environmental rules that will allow that spending to be productive.

10. Trump will continue to call up CEOs and intimidate them in to high profile concessions. This will be very confusing for Democrats, who will not denounce the shakedowns per se — how could they after the Obama years? — but will try to deny that they do any good.

11. Income inequality in the United States will not increase, and may even narrow, during the Trump presidency (we will not see the data soon enough to know whether this will be true in 2017). The main reason will be because the stock market will do poorly compared to the Obama years, but the share of corporate expenses going to labor will also increase.

12. The Cubs will win the World Series for the second year in a row.

13. Other foreign leaders will follow Trump’s lead and will tweet with more, er, spontaneity than in the past. Twitter stock (NASDAQ: TWTR) will rally when investors figure out that it has become essential to populist democracy. For that obvious reason, Twitter will resist or ignore the many demands from the corporate media that it suspend @realDonaldTrump’s account. Because even Twitter isn’t that stupid.

14. The talk radio boobery — who spent the last eight years predicting financial and economic catastrophe — will now expect the economy and the stock market to go to the moon. Instead, the Dow Jones Industrial Average will crack 22,000 during the year, but close within 5% of 19,762, its close on Friday last.

15. Libertarians will worry that the trend toward legal weed will slow under Attorney General Sessions, but politics will prevail — too many states have moved too far, and it is far too popular. Especially with Trump’s base.

16. I will weigh no more than 202 pounds (my current weight) on this date next year.

17. Uber and Lyft will resume passenger service in Austin.

18. Willie Nelson will be alive on New Year’s Day 2018.

19. As a defense mechanism, the attention span of the average citizen will continue to shrink.


Reasons to be happy for Cleveland

June 19, 2016

There are many reasons to rejoice in the NBA Championship of the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight. Among them, Cleveland itself has had an epic championship drought in all sports and had a tough run otherwise for something like 60 years, LeBron James had never delivered a championship for his hometown, and Golden State is named after California. All outstanding reasons to cheer the Cavs, especially if you are not from Cleveland. But that is not why we are so happy tonight.

It must be confessed that we are not a true fan of NBA basketball, or at least have not been since we lived in Chicago during the Jordan years, and now probably watch no more than three games in a season. We nevertheless read, virtually against our will, this article in the New York Times Magazine from a few months back, “What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over The Golden State Warriors.” Why were we compelled? Because the aggrandizement of Silicon Valley venture capitalists — who have accomplished many important things but are not nearly as godlike as they suppose — is such a banal elite media narrative that we were wondering if the Grey Bitch could possibly find anything new or interesting to write on the topic. It couldn’t, but it did mine this bit of championship class self-important douchebaggery from the majority owner of the Warriors, Joe Lacob:

But Lacob won’t accept that what the Warriors have achieved is a product of anything but a master plan. “The great, great venture capitalists who built company after company, that’s not an accident,” he said. “And none of this is an accident, either.”

There is no trash talk like VC trash talk, apparently. Suffice it to say, it was at that moment on a Sunday morning in late March, reading that paragraph with a great cup of coffee and a Spaniel by our side, that we resolved to cheer for whatever team was playing against the Warriors.

Here’s to the Cleveland Cavaliers, authors of the greatest and most just sports miracle of the decade.


The all-important state dignity question

May 4, 2016

After last night’s proceedings, this seems like the apropos tweet of the day:

Your Editor grew up in Iowa, and now (obviously) lives in Texas, so the alignment of our personal and state dignity gives us the quiet satisfaction that, sadly, is our last refuge in this benighted election year.


Eeyore’s birthday!

May 1, 2016

Your Editor always learns about Eeyore’s birthday because the streets in his neighborhood, and all neighborhoods within a mile of Pease Park, are lined with cars and people in weird costumes coming to and fro. So it was yesterday. We wandered over for some craft beer — which makes anything better — and to take in the fun and funk. We prefer the early and more sober phase, so our pictures are like totally safe for work.

Craft beer makes everything better

Acrobatics, Eeyore's Birthday

Another action shot, Eeyore's Birthday

Bubble craziness, Eeyore's Birthday

And, of course, painted ladies:

Painted ladies, Eeyore's Birthday


Aboard UA 357 to Chicago

April 27, 2016

We are nestled in the friendly confines of seat 4B enjoying our complimentary IPA, playing with the post-by-email feature of our blog. Please do not be alarmed. We will use this feature sparingly, if ever. Not even when Ted Cruz pulls out the Richard Schweiker gambit from your Editor’s adolescence and renames it after Carly Fiorina.


Voting early for Proposition 1

April 24, 2016

If you are a customer of Uber or Lyft, or work for Uber or Lyft, and want to keep doing either or both, consider voting for Proposition 1 (a complete argument will be forthcoming). This helpful map can tell you the times and places for early voting, which starts tomorrow morning, April 25.