What's in store for us? Each Tuesday, we light candles at our WFH altars, DM Marianne Williamson for advice, and then write down our best predictions. This week: predictions on Black Friday, New Year's Eve, and our socialist stock markets.
We'll see a meaningful bump in COVID-19 deaths by Hanukkah. As Seattle and King County public health chief Dr. Duchin mentioned during his presser last week, COVID-19 death spikes normally lag behind COVID-19 infection spikes by three weeks. With 50 million Americans deliberately ignoring the advice of public health officials, we're going to see the beginning of a death bump on Hanukkah, and Santa will deliver Americans a big old spike on Christmas morning. R.S.
The skies above North America at Noon ET on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
📡 https://t.co/NePPWZCDVp pic.twitter.com/WOY9j0BXpx
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) November 24, 2020
Trump will announce his campaign for Trump 2024 the day the Electoral College meets, on December 14. Hour by hour, Trump shows an increasing unwillingness to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election. Just this morning, he's retweeted "I concede NOTHING!!!" and told Republicans to listen to the conspiracies. I think we've all given up on a concession, but instead of admitting defeat on December 14—the day the facts can't get any more transparent—he'll do the thing he knows how to do, which is to campaign. C.B.
Taylor Swift will win a Grammy for her song from Cats. Our long national nightmares are nearly at an end. The vaccine is coming; Trump is going to be expelled from the White House with a giant slingshot; and we’ll emerge from the dark days of December into a January that is pregnant with optimism—heralded by a belated victory for Cats, the greatest film ever made.
The original song that was written for the film, Beautiful Ghosts, has been nominated for a Grammy (Swift is also nominated in some other categories, but who cares), and it is the perfect anthem for the times to come: A melancholy reflection on the wasteland that prior generations have left us. The lyric “I watch from the dark, wait for my life to start, with no beauty in my memory” sums up the slow decline of the American experiment, as does the horny tailboner dance that immediately precedes the song in the film. The memories of something great were lost long ago, so let’s ring in 2021 by dancing with some beautiful ghosts. M.B.
Retailers' move to "reinvent" Black Friday will kill Black Friday. Black Friday is perhaps the most American end to a holiday spent stuffing ourselves in celebration of a whitewashed history of this blasted country. Though several states' lax attitudes toward the pandemic will likely result in familiar images of shoppers opening up the pit in the middle of Best Buy, most national retailers have decided to take a more COVID-friendly approach by pivoting to online "doorbuster" deals. By spreading out the sales from October to well past the fourth Friday in November, stores hope to assuage customers' COVID anxieties and stay buoyed by the pandemic online shopping wave. While the blatant excess still lives on, I believe this pivot to change up Black Friday is a chance for us as a nation to gut one of the yuckiest American traditions. Now for the cranberry sauce. J.K.
Federal relief won't come. Mitch McConnell refuses to move on a federal relief package that businesses and regular people need in order to financially survive the pandemic. The only thing that will change that dynamic is two Democratic Senate candidates winning in Georgia. Hope springs eternal, but I’ve been hurt in the past. Assuming Democrats don’t take the Senate, Republicans in the Senate will continue to block any attempt to bail out states, cities, and the people who live in them. Though there's some talk of tacking on a $1,200 stimulus check to the 2021 budget bill that must pass by the end of the year to avoid a government shutdown, one more check won't stop the initiation of mass evictions, the expiration of unemployment benefits, and other economic catastrophes.
Stabenow urged quick action on a short-term COVID-19 relief package, joining bipartisan calls for a narrower package to get through the winter. https://t.co/L3BToxA5Gt
— Roll Call (@rollcall) November 24, 2020
Any sort of "narrow" bills will rightfully fail to materialize. Federal negligence will leave relief efforts up to state and local governments, who will pass insufficient packages under pressure to “do something.” In Washington, lawmakers won’t pass progressive taxation large enough to cover the need, which will lead to more cuts to programs that everyone—especially poor people—rely on. The upshot: people who work for online retailers will be fine, while financial troubles for everyone else will worsen over the new few years. However, if Democrats really do make infrastructure week a reality next year, people who build roads might do okay, too. R.S.
Nobody will eat Big Bird. Turkey sales have been brisk this year, according to TMZ (???), but with gatherings much smaller than in years past, small birds will fly off the shelves and only superspreaders will want to bring home the giant 20-person beasts. As a result, supermarkets will be left with coolers full of colossal turkeys, and as the weeks drag on, the sales will become more and more desperate until QFC is practically begging you to take them home. At first, you will not be tempted; but then when the stores run two-for-one sales in late January you won’t be able to resist snatching them up and dragging them home (you may want to rent a dolly) to prepare. Make sure your freezer and oven can accommodate the big gals—if necessary, thaw them out and use a bone saw to split them—and while they cook, frantically search for recipes to make use of the 6-month supply of turkey meat you’re about to have. Or, you know, donate the uncooked food to a food bank. M.B.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan won’t follow through on the multimodal West Seattle light rail bridge. Last week, Durkan proposed that she'd like Sound Transit to consider creating a light rail bridge with bike lanes and pedestrian paths to run parallel to the soon-to-be-repaired West Seattle Bridge. While the plan is enough to make even the surliest urbanist salivate, it may be too good to be true. Durkan will need to find funding. She'll need to win over the suburban representatives on the Sound Transit board of directors, and, even then, the bridge might need to be built too steep for light rail. While many are pleasantly surprised to hear "climate mayor" Durkan actually propose a climate-friendly solution for once in her administration, others are wary this is a PR stunt to win Durkan good favor heading into an election year. N.G.
Jeff Koons—knee-deep in his land art phase—is behind the mysterious steel monolith planted in the Utah desert. Last week, Utah Department of Public Safety officers spotted a steel object planted in the middle of southern Utah's red rock canyons. The smooth, creepy ten-to-12 feet tall monolith seems to be purposefully planted in the desert floor, with some dating its presence in the area back to at least 2016. While no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility, conspiracies abound—mostly that this is the work of aLiEnSSSS. The juxtaposition of form and place (cool, manufactured steel against the desolate, dusty red of the canyon) makes the object FEEL alien, but I predict its source to be much more terrestrial: Jeff Koons. Just think about it. The cold, vacant material. The sly reference to pop culture (2000: A Space Odyssey). The complete disregard for asserting an egoistic project over nature. That screams Koons to me! J.K.
The @UtahDPS helicopter was assisting the @UtahDWR in counting bighorn sheep in remote southern Utah Wednesday when the crew encountered something entirely 'out of this world'...@KSL5TV #KSLTV #Utah
Photojournalist: @Photog_Steve5 pic.twitter.com/f8P0fayDIS
— Andrew Adams (@AndrewAdamsKSL) November 21, 2020
Republicans will block every single one of Biden’s cabinet nominees. Yes, yes, the nominees are all fairly conservative (by Democratic Party standards), and Republicans won’t be able to muster any coherent reason why they should oppose them. But since when has coherence stopped them? I'm old enough to remember Republicans made Clinton fire his Surgeon General for saying that you can't get AIDS from masturbation. Republicans have spent the last few years painting targets on any and all Democrats, and then re-painting them, and painting them again, and at this point, opposition is all they know how to do. They’ll use this as an opportunity to spin wild and totally untrue rumors about the nominees, cobbled together from opposition research and gossip they heard from their cocaine dealers, and as long as they can stop the government from operating properly, they’ll consider it a win. Biden’s next move could be to arrange a cabinet without going through the nomination process, gathering an informal group of advisors without officially designating them as cabinet members, since the rules are all made up and processes don’t mean anything anymore. Goodbye, America, it was nice knowing you (no it wasn’t). M.B.
Nothing will ever cancel the Super Bowl. Football teams are experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. If outbreaks occur this late in the season, they could disrupt the league's playoff schedule. Still, the NFL plans to keep games scheduled. The NFL is also planning to have fans attend the Super Bowl in February—at 20% capacity. As much as I detest it, at least we know that given rain, shine, or deadly respiratory virus sweeping the nation, America will always have football. N.G.
My least favorite tradition is the NFL taking an early victory lap every Sunday morning (bc gameday testing doesn’t come in till later 🤫) only for all hell to break loose Monday.
All clear, no COVID issues, we’re doing an amazing job.
The rest of the week: https://t.co/msslFS8de5
— Daniel Valente (@StatsGuyDaniel) November 24, 2020
And then there was one: The #Seahawks are the only NFL team that still hasn’t placed a player on the Reserve/COVID-19 list since the regular season began.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 18, 2020
The stock market will never crash again. Those who know my work know of my Marxist tendencies, one of which is to see economic doom always around the corner. I was right in 2001. I was right again in 2008. But I was wrong with the pandemic crash of 2020. The markets recovered very quickly and soared as never before while the conventional economy (also known as the real economy) continued to produce millions of unemployed Americans. (I was right about a V-shaped recovery of the conventional economy—it never happened.) The fact of the matter is the markets should have crashed in September of 2019. That's when the shadow banking system ran out of money, a situation identical to the crash of 2008. But the crash never materialized because Trump, that old fox, rebooted quantitative easing. What this comes down to is basically a less public bailout. And it worked. The new and likely permanent understanding is the government should never ever level markets alone. Self-correcting asset prices is a myth. Few things are more socialist today than our stock markets. C.M.
Trump will become a daily guest on Newsmax. Trump TV already exists. Have you missed the past eight months of Spicer and Co? The disinformation powerhouse Newsmax is getting a lot of attention ever since Fox News decided it couldn't go all-in on Trump's voter fraud conspiracies. (Fox is partially-in, but it's not all-in, and Trump demands total submission.) Trump's Twitter feed is already a mess of Breitbart, One America News Network, and Newsmax, but I think Newsmax will get 45. (And then, in a Murdochian twist, Fox Corporation will acquire Newsmax Media.) C.B.
No fireworks during New Year's. Germany announced that it will ban fireworks on New Year's Eve to stop people from hurting themselves and overcrowding hospitals. If Washington follows suit, this will be the second year in a row that Seattle doesn't have fireworks on New Year's Eve. Will that mean another year of absolutely fucked luck? N.G.
Joe Biden's team will find a core circle of Russian spies running the State Department, Department of Justice, and other major government institutions, but will not make the discovery public because Trump is too popular and the crazy will be on that MAGA crackdown tip. The spies will be quietly kidnapped, interrogated in safehouses, and deported. C.M.
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