Fearless predictions for 2006

By Kevin Wilson: PNT Staff Writer

I had considered dedicating this space of newspaper real estate to what I resolve to do in 2006. Suffice it to say, I decided not to take that path, figuring that I would once again break every resolution about my health, social habits and everything else.

In fact, it was a fearless prediction that I would break any 2006 resolutions I had made for myself. And that’s where this idea started, a list of fearless predictions that I will make regarding the 362 days remaining, counting today.

Finances
• As predicted by The New Republic’s Gregg Easterbrook previously, Detroit will feel the sting from Hurricane Katrina and its impact on fuel prices that will keep most from purchasing sport utility vehicles. With high sticker prices, high fuel prices and new reports that young passengers are no safer in SUVs than in other vehicles, consumers will flock to hybrids and smaller cars, which many U.S. automakers virtually ignored in a rush to profit on SUVs.
• In my personal finances, I will receive at least 100 mailings from Capital One, all with the exact same credit card offer. Though I will refuse each offer, this is still a good business choice for the company, which makes back all of its postage fees for every one person who signs up and is assessed a penalty for a late payment.

Sports
• In a year without a clear-cut candidate, Cleveland’s LeBron James will win the National Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player award in just his third year. This will do nothing to stop the Detroit Pistons from winning the Central Division, the Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA championship, where they will defeat the San Antonio Spurs in six games.
• The new steroid penalties in Major League Baseball, which call for a 50-game suspension for first-time offenders, will create a different set of standards for those who are caught. Those players who are of superstar caliber will face such backlash that they may never play again. Marginal players, on the other hand, will be treated with a much greater sense of compassion.
• Barry Bonds will deny steroid use in such an over-the-top way that virtually everybody will have an opinion.
• Following the retirement of Brett Favre and the hiring of a new coach, the Green Bay Packers will make the biggest and most surprising turnaround for any NFL team in the 2006 season.

Entertainment
• FOX will cancel the comedy “The War at Home” and the medical drama “House,” and the animated “Family Guy” series will be closer to its demise than its fans would like to believe.
• After a disappointing 2005 at the box office, there will be a slight improvement in 2006 with titles like Mission: Impossible III, The Da Vinci Code and X-Men 3. However, there will be a lack of intelligent films like 2005’s “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.”

Politics
• President Bush will find himself the target of criticism again for hiring people who are unqualified for their respective positions. My money is on either Hector Barreto, director of the Small Business Administration, or Stewart Simonson of the Department of Health and Human Services.
• The plea deal for former lobbyist Jack Abramoff could spell the end of many congressional careers, and the Republican Party will get the most blame because of its majority status.
• With both of these things in mind, the Democratic Party will somehow find a way to not fully capitalize on either of the aforementioned incidents.

Kevin Wilson is a staff writer at the Portales News-Tribune. He can be contacted at 356-4481, ext. 32, or by e-mail:
Kevin_Wilson@link.freedom.com