I Love Trashy Magazine Quizzes

By , 31 December, 2008, 1 Comment

Pathetic, I know. I don’t even like trashy magazines, but if one happens to be lying around, I happily flip to the page that says “Which Disney character are you?” and start circling. Maybe that’s why my heart leaps on December 31st of each year when William Safire offers us his quiz of predictions for the coming year. This year I’m spreading the love–here are the [link-enhanced!] questions, with my answers and comments in bold. Post your own picks (one, all or none), and we can come back here in a year to see how we fared:

1. In Demo-dominated D.C., post-postpartisan tension will pit:
(a) lame-duck Fed chairman Ben Bernanke against Fed chairman-in-waiting Larry Summers and Fed chairman-of-Christmas-past Paul Volcker (a k a “The G.D.P. Deflator”) over an “imperial Fed”
[Economists are pretty good at consensus-building, no worries here.]
(b) Hillary Clinton at State and trade rep Ron Kirk against Labor’s Hilda Solis over protectionism [Unlikely because Clinton will mop the floor with those two]
(c) Chief of staff Rahm Emanuel against United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, a Zbigniew Brzezinski acolyte, over Mideast policy

2. Springtime for G.M. will lead to:
(a) a slippery-slope series of industrial bailouts exceeding $100 billion
(b) a “pre-packaged bankruptcy” rescue sweetened by federal pension protection and guarantee of new-car warranties
(c) a multinational merger with troubled Toyota
Link

3. Toughest foreign affairs challenge will come if:
(a) Afghanistan becomes “Obama’s War” or “Obama’s Retreat”
(b) Iraq backslides into chaos after too-early U.S. withdrawal
(c) Depressed Russia moves on Ukraine
(d) India-Pakistan fighting breaks out
NONE: Afghanistan will be priority one, but it’s got the attention of many smart minds. It’s Obama’s policy re: internal Pakistani politics and security that will be the slippery slope, where his desire to seem hawkish could get him into trouble.

4. Oil selling below $50 a barrel will:
(a) threaten President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s June election in Iran
(b) reduce Arab support of Hamas and, in Israel’s February election, help Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud party reach the Tzipping point
(c) be the equivalent of a huge U.S. tax-cut stimulus

5. Best-picture Oscar goes to:
(a) “Doubt”
(b) “Slumdog Millionaire”
(c) “Revolutionary Road”
(d) “Gran Torino”
(e) “Frost/Nixon”

6. The non-fiction sleeper will be:
(a) “Power Rules,” a Machiavellian view of foreign policy by former diplomat and Times editor Les Gelb
(b) “Deep Brain Stimulation,” by neuroscience writer Jamie Talan
(c) “Bold Endeavors,” by financier and infrastructuralist Felix Rohatyn
(d) “Losing the News,” by Alex Jones
(e) “Ponzi Shmonzi: The Bernie Madoff Story,” crash-published by a dozen houses
(f) Fiction: “Shadow and Light,” in 1920s Berlin, by Jonathan Rabb

7. The don’t-ask deficit at year’s end will be:
(a) under $1 trillion, thanks to the new administration’s cutting of waste, fraud and abuse, as well as tax-soaking of the remaining rich
(b) $2 trillion, adding to the inherited Bush bailouts a raising-Keynes handout to shovel-ready contractors [The ever-clever Krugman reminds us that the deficit will have to keep growing long after the current crisis eases.]
(c) $1,393,665,042,198 and no cents. (Why so specific? A billion is a thousand million, and a trillion is a thousand billion. That’s 10 to the 12th power, or 1 followed by 12 zeroes)

8. In Congress:
(a) House Republicans Eric Cantor and Mike Pence will energize the G.O.P.
(b) Senate Republicans Lindsey Graham and Lamar Alexander will be the fulcrum of a bipartisan “Gang of 20”
(c) among Senate Democrats, Judiciary chairman Pat Leahy’s influence will rise because Supreme Court nominations will take center stage, while Harry Reid’s clout dissipates because of home-state weakness

9. Post-honeymoon journalists and bloody-minded bloggers will dig into:
(a) the jailhouse singing by Chicago’s felonious fixer, Tony (“Who You Callin’ ‘Boneheaded’?”) Rezko, to Dewey-eyed prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to reduce his six-year sentence
(b) suspicion by conspiracy theorists about the unremarked lobbying that led to the expensive renaming, after 72 years, of the Triborough Bridge to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge just in time for Caroline Kennedy’s campaign for anointment to an open Senate seat
(c) the retaliatory scheme to rename the Brooklyn Bridge the Clintons Bridge. We love the Clintons here in NYC.

10. The Supreme Court will decide:
(a) in nipple exposure or “fleeting expletives” o
n live TV, that the F.C.C. exceeded its authority in fining Fox for indecency
(b) that the Federal Election Commission was wrong to censure a moviemaker whose “biopic” was hostile to Hillary Clinton during her campaign
(c) that the appearance of impropriety in financial dealings of a West Virginia judge disqualified him from sitting in a coal-company dispute
(d) that Attorney General John Ashcroft and F.B.I. director Robert Mueller had a “qualified immunity” from being sued for racial profiling in imprisoning suspected terrorists
(e) that in al-Marri v. Pucciarelli, a legal U.S. resident cannot be held indefinitely at Guantánamo

11. Obama philosophy will be regarded as:
(a) proudly liberal on environment and regulation
(b) determinedly centrist on health care, immigration and protectionism
(c) unexpectedly right of center on national security
(d) all over the lot

12. Year-end presidential approval rating will be:
(a) eroding as recovery stalls
(b) soaring after economic turnaround propels Dow above 12,000(c) sinking but 30 points higher than that of Congress and the news media
(c) sinking but 30 points higher than that of Congress and the news media

1 Response {+}
  • The Fast Talker

    Excepting two I couldn’t answer…

    1. In Demo-dominated D.C., post-postpartisan tension will pit:

    (a) lame-duck Fed chairman Ben Bernanke against Fed chairman-in-waiting Larry Summers and Fed chairman-of-Christmas-past Paul Volcker (a k a “The G.D.P. Deflator”) over an “imperial Fed”

    2. Springtime for G.M. will lead to:
    (b) a “pre-pack bankruptcy” auto rescue sweetened by federal pension protection and guarantee of new-car warranties

    3. Toughest foreign affairs challenge will come if:

    (a) Afghanistan becomes “Obama’s War” or “Obama’s Retreat”

    4. Oil selling below $50 a barrel will:
    *None of these*

    (a) threaten President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s June election in Iran

    (b) reduce Arab support of Hamas and, in Israel’s February election, help Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud party reach the Tzipping point

    (c) be the equivalent of a huge U.S. tax-cut stimulus

    7. The don’t-ask deficit at year’s end will be:

    (b) $2 trillion, adding to the inherited Bush bailouts a raising-Keynes handout to shovel-ready contractors

    8. In Congress:

    (b) Senate Republicans Lindsey Graham and Lamar Alexander will be the fulcrum of a bipartisan “Gang of 20”

    9. Post-honeymoon journalists and bloody-minded bloggers will dig into:

    (b) suspicion by conspiracy theorists about the unremarked lobbying that led to the expensive renaming, after 72 years, of the Triborough Bridge to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge just in time for Caroline Kennedy’s campaign for anointment to an open Senate seat

    10. The Supreme Court will decide:

    (e) that in al-Marri v. Pucciarelli, a legal U.S. resident cannot be held indefinitely at Guantánamo

    11. Obama philosophy will be regarded as:

    (d) all over the lot

    12. Year-end presidential approval rating will be:

    (c) sinking but 30 points higher than that of Congress and the news media

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