All posts by rudysyndrome

2013 Score Card

As mentioned when we published our Predictions for 2013, we racked up an all-time
high score of 90% on our 2012 predictions. So, it is nearly a mathematical
certainty that our numbers will go down this year. That’s the nature of numbers
and averages. Let’s see if we managed to prove out the law of averages by
earning an all-time low score this year. Drumroll please…

1.  The madness that is the fiscal
 negotiations will be replayed all over again at the end
of February, when the Republicans will avoid any substantial revenue increases,
which we need, and the Democrats will avoid any substantial spending cuts,
which we need. The net result will be the worst of each, rather that the best
of both.

TRUE/FALSE. The dysfunctional nature of the US Congress actually
resulted in a
shutdown of the federal government. Not
in February, but from October 1-16. So, we only get half of a point here for
missing the timing. The real news is that even conservatives have now fallen
prey to the false notion that the only way to increase revenues is to raise
taxes. That is wrong. The fiscally conservative and pragmatic approach is to
increase revenue by
lowering taxes. 

2.  Which brings us to prediction number two: Americans will
continue to 
dislike Congress more and more, despite
having sent virtually all members back for another term in the 2012 elections,
something some people would acknowledge is the textbook definition of insanity.

TRUE. Congressional approval, as tracked by Gallup, started the year at 15%, dropped to an
abysmal and record breaking low of 9% in November, and will end 2013 at a
record-low year-end mark of 12%. As one member of the US Senate often quips,
that leaves only family members and paid staffers who approve of the job Congress
is doing.

3.  People will start refering to the year 2013 colloquially as
“’13″ or “thirteen,” rather than “two-thousand thirteen”
or “twenty-thirteen.” This will save thousands of wasted words, hours
of airtime, Twitter characters, and newsprint as we finally let ourselves merge
into the 21st Century, rather than holding onto the “year
two-thousand” as if it happened ten minutes ago.

FALSE. Despite our best efforts to the contrary, referring to the
two-thousand teens as “twenty thirteen,” “twenty-fourteen,”
and so on, has not caught on yet. But, we’re not giving up hope. There is a
reason 1914 is known as “nineteen-fourteen,” and not “one
thousand nine hundred fourteen.” The latter is simply too cumbersome. So,
we are going to keep trying. 2014 is “twenty-fourteen.” Really. Say
it over and over until is sounds right to you.

4.  NFL fans, owners, and players will stop pretending and
finally acknowledge that professional football is only about making money and
has nothing to do with putting together a winning team to which fans can become

TRUE. And, evidently, some members of Congress agree. Dr Tom Coburn,
(R-OK), the Senator rated most conservative among all members of the US Senate,
has proposed removing tax exemptions from the NFL and sports leagues classified
as tax exempt, non-profit organizations.
Politico covered this topic in May in a piece
that is worth reading.

5.  The shine that wore off of Facebook after its
less-than-stellar IPO will continue to tarnish as other more targeted social
interaction opportunities continue to emerge in online communities, and
advertisers acknowledge that the Facebook marketing model they didn’t really
understand doesn’t really work.

TRUE. Four of the top five social media marketing campaigns of
the year were on Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Foursquare. Only one of five
was on Facebook. This may not be indicative of all campaigns across all
industries, but it does tend to suggest that Facebook marketing has serious and
legitimate competition from other players. Nevertheless, credit where credit’s
due, Facebook’s
stock doubled in 2013 and they still rule the
day in terms of number of users and user interactions.

6.  Last year, we predicted that Americans, regardless of party-affiliation or political
involvement, will begin to realize what an effective Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton was, as her replacement begins
to be scrutinized for failing to live up to the incredibly high standard she

TRUE. I have taken a surprising amount of heat for this prediction. Somehow,
readers took this prediction as an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Nothing
could be further from the truth. My politics and hers could not be more
different: she is a big government, tax and spend liberal; I am a committed
conservative, dedicated to fiercely defending the constitution and the
principles upon which this country was founded. Furthermore, as Secretary of
State, Hillary Clinton presided over one of the most tragic incidents in recent
history when she completely failed to respond to the attacks on the US
Consulate in
Benghazi. Even if that were her only mistake,
and it was not, that single event was disastrous enough to be her political
undoing. Nevertheless, when you compare her to the likes of Susan Rice, Eric
Holder, and John Kerry, Hillary Clinton strikes me as the adult in the room. And,
that is a sad commentary on the current administration.

7.  Business leaders from various industries will be recruited to
run for office as Americans become less and less satisfied with the extremist
positions taken by their elected officials, as well as their complete failure
to represent the vast majority of the population who have center-right
political views. And, some of those business leaders will accept the challenge.

TRUE. There does not appear to be a current study on this issue. Anecdotally,
we have observed several business executives who have said “yes” to
the encouragement of community leaders, friends and family members, to run for
office. And, we’ve heard positive reactions from community members in response
to the proposition that it’s time to elect leaders who are not career
politicians and have never taken a paycheck from the state. However, since I
was personally the subject of such a recruitment effort, and ultimately
accepted the call to run for office, we will not take a point on this one.
Although not entirely germane to this specific discussion, Richard Fox of Union
College in New York, published a very interesting
analysis about ten years ago addressing gender
as it relates to the decision
not to run for office. Because that was
not the issue of this prediction, we will not take time to discuss it
thoroughly, but recommend it for interested observers. 

8.  Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet
, will move back to her home state of New Mexico to pursue
the continuation of her extremely successful and politically astute career in
the public sector, this time seeking national office.

FALSE. Instead of New Mexico, Janet Napolitano ended up in California as
head of the University of California system. Perhaps she will come back to the
public sector at some point in the future, but not this day.  

9.  Charitable giving will trend toward educational charities
rather than those focused on medical research and human welfare.

TRUE. Educational giving trended up in 2013, according to Giving
, an organization that has been collecting, analyzing, and
publishing sources and uses of cash contributions to charities for the past 57
years. Another interesting observation we noted is the upward trend of
donations to adoption organizations and private foundations. Importantly,
giving overall is up year over year, an excellent sign for those of us who run
charities, as well as those of us who stand for the proposition that relief for
the needy is more properly administered by the private sector than by the

10.  And, evidence of global
 will continue to mount, regardless of the insistence by
some that, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary, global warming is
pure fiction.

TRUE. Evidence that the average temperature
of the atmosphere is warmer now than it was several decades ago is now
relatively easy to find. However, and this is and was the point of this whole
prediction: none of that really matters. Indeed, the most important thing to
note is that the earth is warmer now than it was in the 1950s. And, there is
much humans
can do to change it. We must stop arguing about an
undisputed fact (i.e., the temperature is up a few degrees on average) and
start refocusing the discussion on the real heart of the matter. That is, even
if we shut down every factory, stopped driving every car, turned off every
light, and disabled every coal generating plant, we probably still wouldn’t change the
temperature of the earth’s atmosphere even a fraction of one degree. The
temptation to focus on a non-issue for political expediency can be overwhelming
to career politicians. Those of us who are not should insist that we keep our
eye on the ball and not waste time arguing about a simple number on a
thermometer. Keep the earth clean, don’t waste natural resources, don’t
unnecessarily create pollution, be responsible, contributing citizens and
members of society. But, don’t waste time, energy, money, or effort pretending
we will change the earth. It was here long before we got here, and it will be
here long after we’re gone.

Now for a sneak peak prediction for 2014: 

Journalists, opponents, political hacks, pundits, fans and haters alike,
will scrutinize and analyze every word of this post. They will try to find
nuggets to use for their various purposes, some positive, some not. They will
quote and misquote and take things out of context and boldly make things up
that were never even said.
They will spin and twist and emphasize and criticize.
They may even Tweet or Post.  

Our advice to you all: lighten up. 
Develop your skill on par with your talent.

Approach everything you do with honesty and integrity.
Stop talking about it
and just do it.
People treat you the way you let them treat you.
And, most
important of all,
do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

That’s a wrap for 2013. Taking credit where it was warranted, we came in
at 65% this year. A pathetically low score if you were going for an A on an
exam, but about what we expected given there is no science whatsoever to the
predictions we make each year.  

Predictions for 2014 will necessarily look different than those we’ve
made in the past. Turns out that when you become a candidate for governor, your
blog gets a whole lot more traffic than it did before. And, these new readers,
who we appreciate very much, really only want to know one thing: why should you
be governor of Arizona? The answer to that question is one we are uniquely well-suited
and happy to answer. Stay tuned.


Happy New Year!



Historical Recap