Saturday Morning Reads: The Dakini Office Pool

Good Morning!

It’s that time of year again!   It’s time for my annual salute to the late William Safire’s annual “Office Pool”.  I’ve been doing it since December 2008 which is basically about 6 months after I started this blog. Safire’s last column of the year in the NYT always had a list of predictions that challenged you to beat the pundit.  Some of my favorite questions have to do with the results of elections as well as topical things like the number of troops left in places like Afghanistan.

Let’s make our predictions!

1.  The winner of the Republican nod for Presidential candidate in 2012 will go to  _______________ and the next president will be_______________.

2.  The state with the most surprising election outcome will be ___________ where ___________________.

3.   The next dictator to go–one way or another–will be:

4.   The biggest court case this year will be about:

5.   The winner of this year’s super bowl will be:

6.  The next big Congressional stand off will be about ______________ and ___________ will be the one to cave to the opposition’s demands.

7.  The big political surprise of the year will be:

8.  The largest movement of US troops will be to:

9.  Joe Biden’s first gaffe of the campaign will be:

10.  The next major ecological/natural disaster will concern:

Okay, sharpen your pencils and let’s get started!

Here’s some other predictions to give you some inspiration!  Of course the biggest 2012 predictions have to do with the end of the Mayan Calendar.  Here’s some thing  on that.

There are many theories floating around the Internet about how the world will end next year. The most popular being the Mayan prediction from 1,300 years ago. According to the Mayan Long Count Calendar, December 21, 2012 will mark the end of a b’ak’tun, a 144,000-day cycle. The b’ak’tun that will end on December 21 is the 13th cycle, a number that started all the apocalypse predictions. The truth is that the Mayan never predicted any cataclysms. The end of the Long Count calendar was just a measure of time for the ancient Mayan. It was Franciscan missionaries who actually attached the end of the world myth to the end of the 13th b’ak’tun.

There’s also some predictions out there for a Super Vocano eruption.

Another doomsday scenario for 2012 is that a supervolcano will erupt to kill off all life on the planet. Supervolcanoes are capable of spewing out thousands of times more magma and ash than regular volcanoes. A supervolcano eruption could wipe out millions of people and blot out the sun with ash. The largest supervolcano explosion happened 74,000 years ago in Sumatra. The explosion of Mount Toba released 700 cubic miles of magma and a thick layer of ash that covered all of South Asia. There are a dozen supervolcanoes today, most of them lying at the bottom of the sea but researchers agree that chances of a super-eruption happening next year are miniscule. Geologists think there is a super-eruption every 700,000 years or so and there is no sign that a super-eruption is going to happen anytime soon.

Here’s some Wall Street predictions for the US economy. This is from BlackRock’s Bob Doll who is its chief equity strategist.

2012 is likely to feature a slow-growth world that includes a recession in Europe. The United States faces headwinds, but manages to achieve growth of between 2% and 2.5%. China and India slow somewhat, but, along with the United States, make up two-thirds of global GDP growth. The big risk remains that of a financial breakdown in Europe, which would tip the developed world, if not the emerging world, into recession. Inflation should also continue to move lower. Should the muddle-through environment come to pass, we believe earnings and some improvement in confidence would allow equity markets to move higher, with US stocks leading the way.

The Daily Beast has some political pundits with their predictions.  Here’s John Avlon’s best guesses.

Anyone who tells you they know who’s going to win the presidential race isn’t telling the truth. This is going to be close—especially if Mitt Romney is the nominee and scores someone like Marco Rubio or Chris Christie as his VP.  President Obama’s basic job approval and economic numbers make him a historically vulnerable incumbent, with his primary asset being his personal likability. Likable people get fired if they can’t do their job. The one thing I’ll say for certain is that if President Obama is reelected, it will be by a much smaller electoral margin than in 2008—and possibly razor-thin.

So,  what do you think 2012 will bring?

Will Fidel Castro die?  Will Israel bomb Iran?  Will Hillary Clinton announce her retirement from the State Department?  C’mon! Dust off those crystal balls and share!!!