"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wSaturday, September 10, 2005

A VERY PRIVATE CRYSTAL BALL: Got an e-mail from a colleague this Tuesday. The title was "Rehnquist's death." Message: "Good call." For the past month or so, yours truly had predicted that the late chief justice would, well, become the late chief justice in the next few months. If I remember correctly, I said I'd be surprised if he lives to the next session -- which begins, I believe, in October. I make predictions like this all the time but for some reason haven't taken to writing them down in a public forum.

For instance, after the first London bombings, I tried to recruit a someone from a certain free market think tank to dash off an op-ed that made the following point: With these big Islamoterrorist schemes, al Qaeda et al tend to get about one big bang for their buck. Once you blow something big up, the police clamp down, the politicians take notice, the local Muslims -- either out of fear or patriotism -- do a little policing of their own or tip off police that so and so might be a threat, and their contact with foreign money and brains is disconnected. Consequently, you tend to see one big boom and several smaller actions or failed attempts, but nothing on the original scale. Couldn't find any takers. After the fizzled London bus bombings, the author would have come off as a genius, but, hey, them's the breaks.

Then again, I would have lost out big time on another prediction. I was going to do an op-ed on a phenomenon that has been observed for the last five years. I was going to counter a lot of predictions about the doomed lameduckery of the Bush administration by saying, look, Bush always has bad summers, and these always lead to predictions of his political demise, and then he always pulls it out in the fall. The paper I pitched the idea to was a little bit interested but not enough that I thought I had great chance of landing it, so I didn't write the piece. Come to think of it, that was another good call.

posted by Jeremy at 11:37 AM