What's in store for us? Each week we rub our crystal balls and try to figure it out. This week: The erection of RBG statues, the flip-flopping of Councilmember Andrew Lewis, and President Hilary Duff will look a little... green?
Democrats won't expand the court. Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says "nothing is off the table" in terms of a Democratic response to Republicans filling RBG's seat before lunch tomorrow, but I cannot find a single reason to take that threat seriously. When Democrats take back the Senate, as I believe they will, they will only control the chamber by a slim margin. For fear of alienating the conservatives who voted them into office, neither Joe Manchin nor the new hires will vote to nuke the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, grant statehood to D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, or do anything that Democrats need to do to preserve the Republic. Instead, they'll do what Washington state Dems did when they took back both chambers in the legislature: spend all their political capital on moderate voting rights legislation and then spend the rest of their time watering down or blocking progressive bills in order to maintain a majority they absolutely will not maintain. R.S.
Designer helmets. Climate change who? Sorry, I didn't hear what you said about my fossil fuel consumption because of the noise-canceling feature on my brand new, designer Air Microclimate helmet. Forget the final frontier, we're going to be donning space helmets to breathe non-smoky, non-COVID air just so we can get back to going into the office for our nine-to-fives. N.G.
Another Seattle-area bridge will crack by the end of the year. The West Seattle Bridge is just the beginning. Last week's report from Seattle's City Auditor didn't paint a confident picture for a city surprised by its crumbling bridges and piers. The analysis rated 65% of Seattle bridges as “fair" and 6% as "poor." Among the baddest bridges? Magnolia Bridge and the University Bridge. With how 2020 is going, something has to crack before the year's over. Although, maybe the Great Wheel will snap first. C.B.
There will be an RBG statue EXPLOSION. Look, liberals love Nice Cop and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her life was truly the last thing keeping the Supreme Court from looking and ruling like a conservative frat party. RBG's status as a—checks notes—87-year-old justice has somehow translated into her image appearing on mugs, socks, T-shirts, and workout books. It's insanity. With her death, I predict that the merch-memorial machine will be outdone by mayors and governors looking for a quick, sympathetic win after a whole summer of righteous civil unrest, with tons of statues of the late Supreme Court justice popping up around the country. Someone slipped on a lace collar on that Fearless Girl statue. New York already plans to honor Ginsburg with a statue in her native Brooklyn. I bet we're going to see a lot of RBG in public squares in the years to come. J.K.
A lace collar placed on the Fearless Girl statue, in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, outside the New York Stock Exchange. More images as Americans mourn the loss of RBG: https://t.co/W14IErL8zZ 📷 Andrew Kelly pic.twitter.com/m7oGw7ViGl
— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) September 21, 2020
The Wall of Moms will finally extend hand-in-hand across the USA. People all over the country are about to be in the streets. A rushed Supreme Court nomination process will bring out regular Dems who mostly sat out this summer's George Floyd uprising. I initially thought the libs' and leftists' protests wouldn't link up, but Portland showed that federal aggression could unite the left. By November, I bet suburban grannies are hanging up their "Notorious RBG" t-shirts and donning black bloc. When cops release their propaganda photos of dangerous items acquired at protests, we'll see ITMFA pins next to Molotov cocktails. Of course, Trump will capitalize on all this urban outrage he's about to inspire and then steal another round at the White House. C.B.
This will be a big winter for knitwear. Remember how fast spring seemed to hit us this year? Winter’s going to come just as quickly, and between the pandemic and the unusual wetness of this winter, we’ll soon be even more cooped up indoors than ever. Conditions are shaping up for a perfect storm of everyone learning/re-learning how to knit, which means you’re going to start seeing a lot of lumpy, lopsided hand-made scarves before the end of October. From there, it’s just a matter of time before people start graduating up to mittens and socks—not because of any particular need for them, but because knitting keeps your brain occupied in such a way that you forget about whatever anxieties and depressions were plaguing you while you count stitches and rows. By the time we reach January, you’ll be able to tell just how stressed out someone is by the number of new sweaters they’ve made. M.B.
Europe's last dictator will fall by the end of the year. On Sunday 100,000 people marched in the Belarusian capital of Minsk to demand the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, who allegedly rigged the country's last election to secure his sixth term. Unlike the protests against police brutality in the US, the protests in Belarus have increased in size and intensity over the last seven weeks as the state cracked down on protesters and as opposition leaders fled the country for their lives. Hackers also doxxed "more than 1,000 employees of the ministry, which runs the police forces." Protesters plan to continue protesting every day while staging larger rallies in Minsk on Sundays, and Lukashenko plans to continue to keep arresting critics. Meanwhile, Russia put troops on standby in case protesters come too close to victory. With all this pressure, shit will undoubtedly go south, the international community will step in, and Lukashenko will go down. This is an optimistic prediction. R.S.
Councilmember Andrew Lewis's bad boy status will be short-lived. Lewis has only been in office as long as you need to gestate a baby. He's the youngest person ever to hold a Seattle City Council seat. Right out of the gate, though, he was impressive. He tried to subpoena King County Public Health so the entity would stop ghosting him and send a representative to a homelessness meeting. That had never been done before but was still technically legal. He came out with his own capital gains tax. He's agreed to defund the police by 50%. But, today, he's likely going to side with Mayor Jenny Durkan and sustain her veto on the council's entire 2020 rebalanced budget, a package he voted to pass initially and which makes inroads to defunding the police. With this vote, he's signaling that he's not really the city council's bad boy like some of us thought. Lewis's sustain vote today will dictate the future of his career at the city council as someone whose vote can be swayed and influenced. N.G
BREAKING: Lewis is still a bad boy.
Confirmation hearings will happen after Donald loses. I know it doesn’t make any sense. There’s no way Republicans can possibly logically justify it. But they haven’t been operating in anything resembling good faith for years, and they’ve lost the need to justify anything they do. After Donald loses in a landslide to Joe Biden, it will seem clear that Biden should get to choose the next Supreme Court justice. Yet Trump will force through a nominee sometime between November and January, and Republicans will go along with it. Democrats will sniff haughtily and write some EPIC TWEETS, vote on the nominee or not even bother, and then be like, “Well, we did what we could.” America’s existential crisis will deepen, not with a loud punctuation mark like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand but with a slow whine that gets imperceptibly louder every day. M.B.
Award ceremonies will look a lot different post-pandemic. Last weekend's Emmys were a pretty boring affair. In part, because the central appeal of awards shows—the red carpet, the fashion, the grand theaters—vanished due to the pandemic. Instead, viewers watched three hours of Jimmy Kimmel telling jokes to a silent virtual crowd and grainy video-chat footage of nominees in mundane settings. While the abysmal ratings from this year hint at the waning popularity of awards shows, I predict that next year (or whenever we're allowed to gather en masse again), the Emmys and other ceremonies are going to balls out in celebration. Winners will kiss the actor presenting their trophy à la Adrien Brody (but it'll be consensual); nominees will cuddle in their seats for maximum viral-load sharing; everyone of every gender will wear fantastical ball gowns just to stunt like we've unable to in quarantine; Gaga will perform Chromatica in full, even during acting award ceremonies; organizers will hire someone with actual jokes to host. I, for one, am looking forward to it! J.K.
Bars will banish loud drunks in the way they banish smokers. This prediction is based on a set of social practices that account for Japan's successful pandemic management. This nation of islands has roughly a third of the US population but a total of 79,438 COVID-19 cases and only 1,508 deaths. The US has nearly 7 million cases and 200,000 deaths. If the US were like Japan, it would have less than 5000 deaths today. Worse still, in the past two days, September 21 and September 22, the US had 20,000 more cases than Japan has had in the entire span of the pandemic. And what did Japan do that US clearly didn't?
[Though Japan has] no laws telling you what to do... everyone knows the rules. Wear your mask, keep your distance, sanitize your hands, have your temperature checked. Don't touch, don't shout. Don't cheer at soccer matches, and don't scream on amusement park rides.
The rules that may surprise many Americans are the last three. What they have in common is the voice-loud expression of some emotion, real or not real. Usually when it's not real, the loud person is in a bar. The drink has over-excited them. They have no sense of personal space. And if they are infected with COVID-19, the boom of their spittle makes nonsense of social distancing. You are not even safe eight feet away. You must leave the bar at once. Or, if there is a law in place that requires bar owners to eject and ban loud drunks, this annoyance will be shown the door. Expect such a law to appear in our post-coronavirus world. C.M.
Human/Venusian hybrids will take over the Earth. When we sent a crewless mission to Venus in early 2029, we expected the probe to collect a few atmospheric samples and maybe shed some light on the signs that life could exist on the inhospitable planet. Now that it’s 2036 and the probe has returned, it’s getting awfully suspicious that nobody’s seen the scientists who studied the samples. And has anyone else noticed that NASA officials have been looking… I don’t know how else to put this… kind of green-tinted? Something unexpected came back from that mission, and it’s starting to take over the government. How else can you explain President Hilary Duff’s recent endorsement of sulphuric acid baths? M.B.