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Playing the percentages
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April Fools’ weekend may not be an ideal time to play the percentages on what’s just around the bend in state and national politics, but here goes anyway.
With apologies to Slate online magazine and the Las Vegas odds-making establishment, here are some percentage bets on the likelihood that:
• Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will emerge as a big winner of the 2007 state legislative session (95 percent) and go on to run for governor in 2010 (80 percent —  too early for better odds).
• Former Attorney General Mike Bowers will attempt a political comeback as a candidate for governor in 2010 with a spectacular bid financed by the fees he and former Gov. Roy Barnes have received jointly from litigants (45 percent). Barnes will not be a candidate (99 percent).
• Construction on a major petroleum pipeline will start in Georgia (80 percent). Among corporate backers of the proposed pipeline: Middle Eastern interests who hate America and provided the assassins for the 9/11 terrorists attack (95 percent).  
• A bill to re-legalize payday lending will be finally passed (70 percent), even if it did not survive this year’s legislative crossover day.
• The Georgia Legislature will vote to authorize the state to take over financing of Grady Hospital (5 percent).
• MARTA will collapse financially (80 percent).
• The National Rifle Association will continue to encroach on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s “private property” turf (85 percent).
• The top issues in the next governor’s race: improved schools and public safety (95 percent).
• Unchecked traffic and unrestricted development will continue to harm the quality of life in metro and coastal Georgia (100 percent).
• A major police scandal will erupt in Atlanta as federal investigators seek to discover how the Georgia capital was allowed to become an international distribution center for illegal drugs from Mexico (98 percent).
• China will consider constructing a major auto-assembly plant in Georgia, but the proposal may be put on hold for years (60 percent).
• Just as it did more than 50 years ago, Georgia’s neglected mental health system will become a nationally publicized scandal (90 percent).
• Rep. Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, will end his career as House Speaker after the 2008 election (75 percent). His most likely replacement will be Rep. Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons (50.1 percent).
• Actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee will become the favorite presidential candidate of Georgia Republicans by the end of this year (75 percent). Thompson and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will form the GOP presidential ticket next year (80 percent).
• The Democratic candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama will fizzle by midsummer (70 percent) as he and Sen. Hillary Clinton rip into each other. Former Sen. John Edwards will emerge as the anti-Hillary Democrat (55 percent). Former Vice President Al Gore will jump into the presidential race (40 percent).
• The next president of the United States will not be Sen. Clinton (90 percent). The next president will be a Republican (65 percent), and Republicans will retake control of the Senate (70 percent) but not the House (85 percent).
• Former Sen. Sam Nunn will finally receive much-deserved international recognition for his work to avert nuclear terrorism (85 percent), but it may come too late (80 percent). The nuclear nightmare will have become reality.
• Former Sen. Zell Miller will reassess his political position (97.3 percent).
• Congressman Jim Marshall, D-Macon, will not run for the Senate next year (90 percent). In fact, the candidacy of DeKalb CEO Vernon “No Chance” Jones will prevent any serious Democratic challenge to incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss (85 percent).
• Gov. Sonny Perdue will continue to attract national attention to Georgia just as he did on a recent “Saturday Night Live” program (100 percent).
• Former President Jimmy Carter will publish a new book (95 percent), and it will make at least one population segment mad as hell (90 percent).
• Because of changing demographics, the next mayor of Atlanta will be white (55 percent).
• Earl and Merle Black’s new book, “Divided America,” will become a best-seller must-read for every political junkie (100 percent).
• Michael Broz’s opera “A Scholar under Siege” will become a much-talked-about regional hit when it debuts April 20 at Georgia Southern University (90 percent).
The opera deals with Gov. Eugene Talmadge’s attempt to take control of the University System of Georgia 66 years ago — an episode that made national headlines.
Broz, a professor of music at Georgia Southern, will not be honored for his work at the Statehouse (80 percent). In fact, a half-dozen legislators are working on a proposed law to identify and cull “liberal” University System faculty to set up a replay of the Talmadge fiasco.
• The odds on at least 50 percent of these items coming to pass: Not yet posted.

Contact Shipp at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160, or e-mail:

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