The new year has already come in with a bang. In his inauguration speech, Mayor Greg Ballard exhausted all his ideas for the future of the city in exactly eight minutes.
Meanwhile, jobs continue to be a problem with the unemployment rate at the Indianapolis Colts complex alone skyrocketed 100 percent over last year. There's the promise of more layoffs to come there. And the Indiana Pacers have won exactly twice as many games in a week as the Colts, a fact not without a great deal of irony.
The week of the new year is normally one where pundits make predictions about the upcoming 12 months, secure in the knowledge that nobody will even remember them after a few weeks. To try and put a twist on that, I'm going to make some predictions about the things I hope and believe will happen in 2012.
There will be a Steve Hammer-brokered deal, a grand bargain if you will, that will solve two of the most intractable issues of our time: abortion and gun control. Conservatives want to restrict abortion and liberalize gun laws. Liberals feel the opposite way.
So here's my grand bargain: link the number of abortions performed with the number of guns sold. In other words, a gun can be sold only after it has been certified that an abortion has been performed at a local healthcare facility. If no abortions were performed that day, no guns could be sold.
Will a conservative gun nut really lust after buying a semi-automatic weapon if he knew that an innocent unborn child had to be slaughtered in order for his transaction to take place? And will pregnant women insist on having an abortion if they know it means putting one more gun on the streets? It's a win-win situation. I'm surprised that nobody has thought of it before.
It will result in fewer abortions, which is something that everyone wants, and less guns, which most rational people want.
Onto the next topic. Irrespective of his performance in Iowa, Ron Paul has impacted the Republican party to such a degree that whoever becomes the nominee will have to adopt at least some of Paul's policies. Since Paul's fiscal policies don't benefit the rich enough, the nominee will have to reject those. And since his international policies will result in the annihilation of the earth, the eventual nominee will have to drop those too.
That leaves Paul's belief that marijuana should be legalized as about the only policy not crazy enough to actually have a chance. Therefore, my next prediction is that Mitt Romney, that wild and crazy Mormon, will have no choice but to call for pot to be legalized.
In doing so, he'll gain the crucial stoner vote, which means Romney's campaign posters will look as cool as Grateful Dead concert ads from 1971. New varieties of weed will be named after Romney (or Santorum, or Gingrich or whomever). Horrible jam-band songs will be written about him.
It also means President Barack Obama will have to double down on the issue and not only ask to legalize pot but provide it, free of charge, to the chronically unemployed people under the guise of a stimulus program to benefit the snack-foods, sci-fi movies and psychedelic music industries. You heard me right. Because of Ron Paul, pretty soon people will be smoking legal marijuana.
This will also finally be the year that millions of youth realize that wearing pants sagging down past their butts looks really stupid. This has a correlation with the death of hip-hop music, another event that will be made official this year. The baggy-pants trend started in prisons, where inmates were given ill-fitting clothes, and became a trend that crossed cultural lines. I think this will be the year that teens will realize that those pants are as dumb and pointless as customized Myspace backgrounds and start buying pants that fit. Millions of parents will sigh in relief and millions of other citizens will be happy not to have to see the boxer shorts of teenaged boys.
And, hopefully, 2012 will finally see our nation's police agencies seriously tackle the issue of noise pollution. Our cities are full of cars booming bass beats. These people should be ticketed. Closer to home, I'm hoping IMPD will finally shut down the crappy metal band that practices two or three times a week in the other half of the duplex where I live. I'm all in favor of loud music at concerts in nightclubs; in my living room while I'm trying to watch the game, not so much. Police need to rectify this crucial quality-of-life issue that is ruining our city, by which I mean this crappy band.
Have a great 2012!