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Pony Express - 2013-13: Reflections and predictions

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Can you believe it -- 2012 is almost over already. Time does fly -- the paint just dried on 2011. So now it's time to reflect on the events of the past year and fearlessly forecast what will happen in 2013.

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HEROES OF THE YEAR: For the tenth year in a row (10 years too long) the heroes of the year are the brave young men and women serving our country in the Armed Forces in Afghanistan and other outposts around the globe. To date, 2,168 Americans have died in Afghanistan and over 50,000 have been wounded. What a price to pay. We can't have a truly Happy New Year until they're all safely at home.

JUNIOR HERO: Aaron Magness is a seventh-grader in Champlin, Minn. In November, his pal, Malachi Franz, was bumped while eating candy and the candy got stuck in his throat. Aaron noticed his friend turning blue, so he jumped behind him and gave him three abdominal thrusts -- the Heimlich maneuver -- and the candy popped out, probably saving Malachi's life. The newspaper story didn't tell who ended up with the candy.

PERSON OF THE YEAR: Certainly no living politician was person of the year in 2012. Several years ago, I named Charles Ponzi, who died in 1949 as person of the year because the pattern of his criminal frauds had influenced Bernie Madoff on how to cheat thousands of his victims of millions of dollars. So that is the precedent I've established for naming a non-living person as person of the year. This year, I'm naming Abraham Lincoln person of the year. The just released movie, "Lincoln," based on the book "Team of Rivals", by Doris Kearns Goodwin, demonstrated the genius of Lincoln in appointing his enemies and rivals to his Cabinet and practicing the art of compromise (a dirty word in 2012) as a means of getting issues resolved. I honestly believe President Obama should follow Lincoln's example by appointing the very capable Mitt Romney to a cabinet post like Secretary of the Treasury or Secretary of Commerce. That would be a signal to all Americans, and to the world, that we have a new attitude in this country and we intend to work out our problems with the best talent available.

MORE ABOUT ZACH: Last year I reported that Zach Gabbard, a 17-year-old basketball star from Perham, Minn., who had suffered a cardiac arrest on the basketball court and came within a heartbeat of dying, was back among his family, friends and community in recovery. This year we can add that Zach graduated from high school and has enrolled in college. He's not playing basketball anymore, but he's still a star.

GUN CULTURE: 2012 has been a year of guns, bullets and deaths. Too many guns, too many bullets and too many deaths -- of innocent victims. Isn't it wonderful that we can get all the guns we want, including semi-automatic assault weapons with large capacity magazines? We have paid the price in Aurora, Colo., Oak Creek, Wis., Portland, Ore., New Town, N.D., Little Falls and Cold Spring, Minn., and just weeks ago in Newtown, Conn., and many other places around the country. Hunters aren't the problem, but the mentally disturbed, careless (stupid) owners (dad in St. Paul left his loaded pistol in a cabinet where his nine-year-old son accidentally shot his two-year-old brother in the head; and another dad was packing his loaded pistol in a pickup box in Pennsylvania where it discharged and killed his seven-year-old son), and quick-trigger homeowners who shoot "intruders" who turn out to be their paperboys, sons and granddaughters. Only in America does this happen -- we have 87 gun deaths every day in the country -- over 30,000 each year. Advice to the seriously disturbed who premeditate a plan A to murder people and plan B to do away with themselves: Do plan B first.

TRUTH: Trust was a victim in the political campaigns of 2012. Truth was manipulated, spun, exaggerated, extorted, hedged, fudged, fibbed and covered up by both sides. The campaign of 2012 was dishonest and vicious -- an embarrassment and a disgrace.

FACES OF THE DEVIL: Satan had at least two faces in 2012. Jerry Sandusky, convicted of molesting nine boys in the shower rooms of Penn State, and Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator who has killed at least 40,000 of his own protesting citizens to date.

FACE OF EMBARRASSMENT: 30-year-old Eric Hartsburg of Indiana got a Romney/Ryan tattoo on his face. He vowed he would keep it even if they lost. Now he's taking steps to have it removed because he thought Romney was acting like a sore loser.

GET SERIOUS: Disappointed that Obama was re-elected, citizens in all 50 states have filed petitions to secede from the United States. Texas leads the parade with the most signatures. But more serious citizens in Austin, disgusted with the secession nonsense, have petitioned to have Austin secede from Texas and remain a part of the United States.

REVIEW OF PREDICTIONS FOR 2012: I had a good year -- age is improving my ability to see the future. I predicted the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and Gophers would double their win totals from the previous year. The Vikings and Gophers did it, the Twins certainly did not. I predicted Mitt Romney would be nominated by the Republicans, but Obama would win in a close, rough and tumble election. I predicted reality television would begin to fray at the edges. Now it's even being questioned as to whether it's phony. Of course it is. I predicted brilliant, worthless inventions. Last month I pointed out that one of the top inventions of 2012 was a cloud in a room for artistic drama. I also predicted a brown (no snow) and warm winter for 2011-2012. The ground was white before the newspapers hit the stands with that one, but it was very warm.

NOW, PREDICTIONS FOR 2013:

THE ECONOMY: The economy will slowly continue to improve. Unemployment will go below seven percent. Be optimistic.

ROYAL BABY: The royal baby expected in England this spring will be a girl. Her first name will be Victoria, after the English queen who reigned 64 years from 1837 to 1901. Her second name will be Elizabeth, after two Elizabeth's since then.

SYRIAN DICTATOR: Bashar al-Assad has vowed he will not leave Syria. But he will -- in a body bag.

GUN CONTROL: There are no easy answers. Hunters will not lose their guns. But Congress will limit magazine capacity of semi-automatic weapons. Mental health will continue to be a problem in this country.

BROTHERHOOD PICNIC: Oprah Winfrey will organize and sponsor a gigantic "Brotherhood and Compromise" Picnic for all U.S. Senators and Congressmen to encourage brotherhood and compromise. All 535 will have "previous commitments" and nobody will show up.

YOU THE READERS: You continue to show up and I thank you for your comments and letters. Bless you and Happy New Year to all.

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