Here's Something: Magic 8-Ball knows all

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When I worked at Current Publishing, which the owners of The Forecaster publications bought in 2015, one of the best annual traditions we had in the newsroom was seeking clarity and wisdom from the Magic 8-Ball at the start of every new year.

Reporters and editors at Current Publishing’s family of weekly newspapers would come up with questions about news-related topics, and we’d publish the answers provided by the fortune-telling Magic 8-Ball.

The Magic 8-Ball never disappointed. It didn’t always give the correct answer, but the answers it gave were sometimes clairvoyant, biting, condescending, uplifting, scalding or downright funny. Sometimes all at once.

In keeping with tradition, I’m reviving the tradition of seeking clues to the future from the Magic 8-Ball. (Instead of a real Magic 8-Ball, with floating blue triangular answers inside, as we had in the newsroom, we’ll use the just-as-magical online Magic 8-Ball.)

OK, Magic 8-Ball, inquiring minds want to know:

Q — Will Democrats impeach Donald Trump, our 45th president?

A — Ask again later.

(Later)

A — Don’t count on it.

Q — On a related note, will Democrats overplay their hand and cause people to start feeling pity for Trump, as they start to realize the media and Democrats make it seem he can’t do anything right?

A — Most likely.

Q — Will ISIS, which Trump recently said we defeated in Syria, come back stronger than ever with Trump pulling our troops out of that war-torn region?

A — My sources say no.

Q — Will we ever see a wall on the U.S. southern border?

A — As I see it, yes.

Q — On a related note, will Congress deal with immigration reform or will the main reason Trump was elected continue to fall on deaf ears as it has for decades now?

A — Ask again later.

(Later)

A — You may rely on it.

Q — Speaking of Trump, will Twitter start losing followers as people realize tweets, similar to Trump’s, are like loose lips on ships?

A — Reply hazy, try again.

A — As I see it, yes.

Q — In a similar vein, will social media heavyweights such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram start losing users as people realize they’re sick of self-obsessed, snarky forms of communication?

A — Don’t count on it.

Q — Will Congress do something about internet privacy or will Facebook and Google continue to be allowed to gather information (i.e., spy) on everything we do?

A — My sources say no.

Q — Has it run its course, or will the #MeToo movement continue to claim victims in 2019?

A — Better not tell you now.

A — Very doubtful.

Q — Will the men that #MeToo has ousted from media come back and form their own network, with Les Moonves in the executive’s suite, NPR editors as proofreaders and Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose as lead reporters?

A — My reply is no.

Q — Here in Maine, will our next governor, Janet Mills, stick to her campaign promise of not raising taxes?

A — Most likely.

Q — Will Gov. Mills and Democrats in the Legislature work well with the Republicans?

A — Reply hazy, try again.

A — Outlook not so good.

Q — Will any remnant of the fishing industry still exist on the Portland waterfront by the end of 2019?

A — Outlook good.

Q — Will Preble Street install satellite shelters in Portland?

A — My reply is no.

Q — Will Preble Street build in other towns and cities in greater Portland?

A — Most likely.

Q — Will Cape Elizabeth install a toll booth at Fort Williams for those wanting to see Portland Head Light?

A — It is certain.

Thanks for your insight, Magic 8-Ball. We’ll be sure to check in with you again this time next year.

John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.

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