By Doug Hissom Special to Published Jan 09, 2009 at 11:37 AM

The opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, its advertisers or editorial staff.

Keeping with tradition of sorts, we will eschew the usual year in review -- except, of course, to remind you that a Democrat was elected president -- and focus on the cloudy future looming before us.

The bong of soothsaying may be hazy, as it always has been, but we're trying to offer some clarity to discussions of what may be greet us in the next year. To create a map for the forthcoming year (and because it's fun), here are a few predictions that most likely will not come to fruition in 2009 and should not be taken to Vegas for the purposes of economic stimulus prospecting.

  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers quickly tires of being under the microscope as a starter and the Packers to trade him to the New York Jets so he can assume his former role as Brett Favre's ball boy.
  • Tired of being called on the carpet by aldermen for lousy snowplowing and street clearing efforts, City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works Director Jeff Manthes calls off plowing crews altogether, leaving Milwaukee bathed in a sea of white slush for the rest of winter. The move actually saves the city and county money since busses could no longer run and ambulances and police squads can't move either, leaving our fair city in a state of mild anarchy. Most people got through the crisis by increasing their beer consumption.
  • Continuing its track record of boneheaded planning moves, the city council in St. Francis puts the kibosh on a Cardinal Stritch University plan to mow down the Cousins Center for new dorms and offices. The council instead votes to turn the site into a landfill for waste ash from the Oak Creek power plant. Environmentalists attempting to save Seminary Woods commit mass suicide and their bodies are placed in the new dump. St. Francis residents are left scratching their heads, wondering what happened to the potential tax base windfall the land could have created.
  • After another year of relative inactivity in his office, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett tries to raise his profile by starting a "Where's Mayor Tom?" campaign. Residents are greatly confused, since most didn't even know who the mayor was. The political ambitions of Milwaukee Ald. Tony Zielinski continue to blossom as he declares his intention to be president -- someday. The announcement goes largely uncovered as Zielinski has to be reminded that the next election for president is in 2012. After hearing the news, Zielinski takes out his wrath on the residents of the Lincoln Court housing project, evicting the tenants for their wanting a beer store next door.
  • Seeing the Park East Freeway corridor remain undeveloped, the Milwaukee Common Council approves rebuilding the freeway.
  • Feeling a resurgence of its agenda-setting function by taking on such difficult targets as drunk drivers and pedophiles, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel announces a year-long campaign to rid the city of mosquitoes. The series will feature daily interviews with people who were actually bitten by a mosquitos and had their lives irrevocably changed.
  • In one of the stranger announcements of the year, Venezuelan-backed Citgo cancels its program to help poor folks get home heating oil, citing a downturn in the economy. Residents are left to ponder why a recession would hit a big oil company more than the common man.
  • Roland Burris, the yet to be seated U.S. senator from Illinois, continues to wait for his colleagues to let him play with them in the Capitol.
  • Seeing no repercussions from its attack on Gaza, the Israeli government agrees to take over the U.S. war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan -- for a small fee.
  • After going nearly a year without his name in a headline, former Gov. Tommy Thompson becomes the state's most notorious mass murderer, killing more than 100 people at the Ho-Chunk Bingo Hall. From prison, he announces his intention to run for president, receiving non-stop coverage from the local press.
  • Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, seeing the wisdom that mass transit is a good thing, announces that bus rides will be free and paid for by a new tax on members of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce.
Doug Hissom Special to
Doug Hissom has covered local and state politics for 20 years. Over the course of that time he was publisher, editor, news editor, managing editor and senior writer at the Shepherd Express weekly paper in Milwaukee. He also covered education and environmental issues extensively. He ran the UWM Post in the mid-1980s, winning a Society of Professional Journalists award as best non-daily college newspaper.

An avid outdoors person he regularly takes extended paddling trips in the wilderness, preferring the hinterlands of northern Canada and Alaska. After a bet with a bunch of sailors, he paddled across Lake Michigan in a canoe.

He lives in Bay View.