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2001 Predictions Revisited

01/04/02 12:00AM

Loyal listeners of VPR┐s commentary series may recall that just about a year ago your humble correspondent shimmied way out on the proverbial limb to offer a dozen predictions for 2001. Just to be different I offered these pearls of prophesy in the form of events that would not happen. Some of you suggested that by doing so I was making the safest predictions imaginable; that any idiot could predict non-events with unerring accuracy. In response to this criticism, I submit the following look back at those predictions so that you may draw your own conclusions.

I predicted that in 2001, not one mini-mart would be converted into a full-service gas station. While I freely admit that I have not exhaustively researched the validity of this claim, I haven't heard of a single such conversion. If you know of one, please leave the details on the reactionline and I┐ll check it out.

I predicted that not one Vermont daily newspaper would publish an editorial urging Vermont Democrats to moderate their liberal agenda in recognition of the new Republican majority in the Vermont House. And they didn't. But the Burlington Free Press has offered a decidedly centrist perspective of late, making 2002 predictions based upon Vermont┐s monolithic liberal media a lot riskier.

As predicted, nobody remade Stanley Kubrick┐s epic space adventure ┐2001┐. Nobody even watched Kubrick┐s ┐2001┐ last year.

As predicted, George W. Bush did not win a Pulitzer Prize. The prize was awarded to the Rutland Herald, a recipient that I would have considered equally unlikely. But hey, so far I┐m four for four.

I also predicted that Saddam Hussein would not retire to spend more time with his family and he didn't. On the other hand, last January I didn't dare predict when and how Bill Clinton would actually leave the White House; but he did - in characteristic style.

Civil Unions were not repealed. As predicted.

I said the Boston Red Sox would not win the World Series; and as a Sox fan, I would have been thrilled to be proven wrong. No, the Sox didn┐t win, but the next best thing did happen ┐ neither did the Yankees.

For you portfolio watchers, I said the Dow Jones Industrial Average would not end the year where it started. Slam. Dunk. I'm 7 and 0.

I said that Vermont would not experience an average winter, spring, summer or fall. Not one of our seasons matched up with statistical averages for temperature and precipitation, thus confirming my weather prediction for the entire year.

I predicted that the State of Vermont would not respond to the growing housing shortage by making it easier for people to build homes. The House of Representatives undertook modest efforts to reform our regulatory morass, but the Senate obstructed them, and so perserved my prognostication.

And thanks to their perfect season, the Red Raiders kept the Division I football championship in the City of Rutland for the sixth consecutive year; affirming my prediction that no non-Rutland team would take the crown.

But there was one more prediction, which I will repeat verbatim: "I predict that at the end of 2001 no one will look back to see whether any of my predictions ┐ or any one else┐s for that matter ┐ actually came true."

Okay, so I'm blowing that one myself with this review. And I've got to admit it takes a special idiot to personally wreck a perfect score. But hey, eleven for twelve ain┐t bad. Besides, given what DID happen in 2001, I┐ve decided to quit while I'm ahead and leave 2002 to more experienced fortune tellers.

This is Jeff Wennberg wishing you all the best in ┐02.

--Jeff Wennberg is a former Mayor of Rutland.
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