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7 Political Predictions for 2014

Sure, budget brinksmanship and Hillary presidential hints are a given. But millions more sign-ups for health-care coverage and the ousting of Mitch McConnell? They could happen, too.

Whatever else the week between Christmas and New Year’s is, it’s a godsend for columnists who are short on serious ideas, because we get to do things like write predictions columns. Thank you, Pope Gregory. But I promise you a few surprises, and a couple made of concrete so that you can hold me to them and wave them in my face a few months hence.

1. Situation: Budget Deadline. Prediction: Deal reached after 9 p.m. on January 14.

The year will start bleakly—really going out on a limb there, eh?—as January 15 arrives. Remember, the budget deal reached in December did not appropriate any specific dollars toward any specific program. It just raised the ceiling on the amounts that may be appropriated.

So between now and January 15, congressional appropriators have to set those levels. One has to assume that the GOP establishment’s “no more stupid shutdowns” rule will still have force. But there will be enough Tea Party members willing to create enough mischief to make things suspenseful again. I somehow suspect that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), notably sidelined during the December negotiations, won’t be quite so cooperative this time around.

Get Ready!

14 Travel Predictions for 2014

South America and river cruises are in and more people are traveling for the food, but the verdict is still out on airfare price trends. Check out these travel predictions for 2014.

by Wendy Perrin

Coming up with the ten biggest changes in travel of 2013 got me contemplating what 2014 might have in store. Here are a few predictions for the new year:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Felipe Dana/AP

1. You’ll pay less for many flights within the U.S. (It’s about time!)
 Fare wars and tighter corporate travel budgets will cause a decline in North American airfares, according to the American Express Global Business Travel Forecast 2014.  The report acknowledges, though, that the airline consolidation (e.g., the merger of American Airlines and US Airways) could raise fares enough to offset your savings. We’ll see!

Back to Basics

Hopes for Religion in 2014

This could be the year that conservatives and gays make peace, women claim a bigger role, and churches set aside politics and concentrate on the business of faith.

It's been a wild year for religion in America, and next year promises even more twists and turns. While I don't have confirmation from a Higher Power on any of these predictions, I'm pretty confident that the Christian church will head down some of the following paths in 2014.  

Gays and Evangelicals Head to Camp David

Call me crazy ... but I think 2014 is the year that the gay community and conservative evangelicals finally get together, and start figuring things out. Because honestly, there's nowhere to go but up. 

Folks are already refusing to bake wedding cakes. We're sidelining duck callers. We're protesting beloved pastors. The two camps have lined up on opposite sides of the playground all year long, and spitballs are flying. Perhaps within the next year, a couple of brave souls will stand up and say: enough is enough.  And they'll sit down to hash out the important concerns of both sides. 

What’s Next

Top Tech Predictions for 2014

Microsoft may get its mojo back, smartphones will get cheap, and we’re about to enter the Year of Encryption. A look at what to expect in telecom and computing for the coming year.

How might 2014 play out in tech? Silicon Valley may again need to watch out for Microsoft, cheap smartphones will hit markets, and the Edward Snowden revelations will launch the Year of Encryption. Those are a few predictions from Mark Anderson, founder and publisher of the Strategic News Service newsletter, long a must-read for industry leaders and venture capitalists, and host of Future in Review, an annual gathering for tech leaders, investors, and policymakers The Economist called “the best technology conference in the world.”

131206-anderson-tech-predictions-tease

Noor Khamis / Reuters

What does Anderson see in his crystal ball? Here’s the new edition of his annual list of 10 predictions for the telecom and computing world for the year to come.

Siris Move Into Silos. Internet assistants display their importance as a category by spreading out into a large number of new Siri-like products, many of which work to increase utility by going deep into vertical markets. The results are improved success in voice recognition, knowledge-base utility, and customer trust and acceptance.