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Editorial: Oh, 2022, what terrors and joys do you bring?
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Editorial: Oh, 2022, what terrors and joys do you bring?

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New Years 2022

As we pack away 2021 in the same Pandora’s box where we tried to stash 2020, The World-Herald editorial board decided to peer cautiously forward. What hope and indignities might the new year bring?

Here are our thoughts, mostly serious and a couple kind of silly, as we tumble toward a third year of COVID-19, another bitter election season and fresh hope and trepidation about Husker football. Hey, it’s Nebraska. We know it’s on your mind, probably more than the election.

Britain’s Economist magazine, looking at betting odds on various exchanges, calculates a 52% probability that U.S. inflation will top 4%, 82% likelihood that Republicans win control of the House and a 12% chance Tom Brady will win his eighth Super Bowl.

Our predictions are less data-driven, but likely about as reliable.

COVID: Medical experts say the viral contagion is likely to drop from pandemic to endemic status, meaning it will be with us but more like the flu, which causes from about 12,000 to 52,000 U.S. deaths per year. We can expect occasional coronavirus variants, but increasing global vaccinations, annual boosters and better treatment will finally quiet COVID-19.

Alternate reality: President Joe Biden signs an executive order banning COVID vaccines, prompting new conspiracy theories and a rush to clinics among the previously unvaccinated.

ELECTIONS: Yes, we must suffer another election season, and it will be capital U Ugly. We predict: No significant voter fraud, as is historically true; Republicans will do well nationally and in Nebraska (duh); but U.S. Rep. Don Bacon will face a tough re-election challenge from State Sen. Tony Vargas. We see a squeaker between two strong candidates that’s too close to call.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: This will pass if it makes it to the Nebraska ballot. Marijuana is a political winner across party lines, evidenced by Mississippi approving medical marijuana in 2020 and South Dakota approving recreational pot sales — though both of those states’ supreme courts struck down the will of the voters.

WORKER POWER: The national and state labor shortage will continue, forcing employers to offer bonuses, higher pay and make other adjustments. Job markets will be reshuffled as workers re-evaluate their goals and what they are willing to endure. You’ll order more food from kiosks. While workers will have at least temporary leverage, Nebraska and the nation will face a crisis in health care and education as teachers, nurses and others who have been on the front lines of the pandemic continue to burn out and leave their professions at unprecedented levels.

OUT OF THIS WORLD: Every attempt to predict the future is bold, but when it comes to exploring space, humanity has a good track record. So, this year we predict that the James Webb Telescope will come alive and put some of humanity’s biggest questions to work with realistic expectations of discovering answers to them. Brace for the most awe-inspiring images ever captured, and to be fascinated by the discoveries.

AROUND THE GLOBE: Extreme global poverty, defined as income of $2 a day or less, will resume its decline after a COVID-driven uptick in 2020. Roughly 1.9 billion people around the world have been lifted from that level over the past two decades. Yet roughly 600,000 Americans will be homeless — though those people have income exceeding the lowest global level.

BACK HOME: The remade Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha will open on schedule around Memorial Day, and be such a hit that it builds further excitement for riverfront amenities set for completion over the next couple of years.

HUSKERS: The football team will get to a bowl game after an incomprehensible five-year drought. There, we stuck our necks out. The Memorial Stadium sellout streak will continue. The volleyball team will make it to the Final Four in Omaha, where attendance records will be shattered. The basketball team will win an NCAA tournament game.

We mean the women’s team.

At least one thing remains certain after nearly 100 years: There is no place like Nebraska,

Dear old Nebraska U.

Where the girls are the fairest,

The boys are the squarest,

Of any old school that I knew.


December 2021 Public Pulse

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Pulse writer has concerns about the demolition of the W. Dale Clark Public Library.

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Regarding COVID, a Pulse writer says what divides us could unite us.

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A Pulse writer urges Nebraskans: Do your homework before voting for governor.

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A Pulse writer says to believe in the good in people after an unexpected birthday gift from a stranger.

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A Public Pulse writer urges upgrading Lake Zorinsky by making paths safer instead of destroying trees.

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A Pulse writer wants more Nebraska and Creighton volleyball on TV.

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The World-Herald seeks to provide a variety of perspectives in our opinion section.

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A Public Pulse writer says "blight," which Omaha officials too readily claim exists here, is in the eye of the beholder. 

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Ralston police help locate daughter's stolen phone and a Pulse writer is grateful.

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A Pulse writer "agreeably disagrees" with Rep. Don Bacon's criticism of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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Putting these valuable archive materials in one location, with knowledgeable staff, would be a great aid to library patrons and researchers, a Pulse writer says.

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