The American Dental Association will eventually lose all credibility if it does not cut ties with mercury and abandon its decades-long promotion of this highly-toxic, poisonous heavy metal. After the decision, the ADA will appear foolish for having not made it sooner.
Prediction #13 - Terrorists may strike New York or Los Angeles
Confidence in prediction: 20%
Why? Because terrorists no doubt realize the U.S. economy (and banking system) is on shaky ground. It's no exaggeration to say that Wall Street is just one dirty bomb away from collapse. So the most likely action on the part of terrorists would be an attack in New York that would impact Wall Street, or an attack in Los Angeles that would likely target the shipping container port.
Note: I have no specific information to back up this prediction. That's why my confidence level on this one is only 20 percent. It could be that an Obama presidency helps repair international relations and diminishes the risk of terror-related events in the United States. But if he fails to repair international relations, we could experience yet more terror events in 2009 and beyond.
• A dirty bomb being set loose on Wall Street
• A chemical attack in the NY subway system
• An EMP attack designed to shut down computers on Wall Street
• A hacking attack designed to shut down the stock exchanges
There's also an outside chance that an attack could be waged on southern oil refineries in an attempt to clobber the economy by shutting down the fuel pipeline. If waged, such an attack would likely be pulled off with either chemical explosives or airborne biologicals, rendering the oil refinery work areas uninhabitable.
(Note: Please, readers, don't send me hate mail claiming "You just gave the terrorist ideas!" If I can figure this out on my own, so can the terrorists. And you can bet the U.S. government already has contingency plans for each of these scenarios. You can find these exact same plots in a fiction novel. All this stuff is fairly obvious, actually. I'm mentioning this here in the hope that we can PREVENT these attacks from ever taking place. And if we can't, I at least hope the citizens will be PREPARED to survive the days following such an attack.)
An EMP attack would be the most devastating to the economy, probably, as it could destroy computer equipment in a fairly large radius from the point of detonation. A dirty bomb, on the other hand, would create more of a humanitarian disaster and a much larger fear factor, so if the terrorists are looking to create maximum terror, they would opt to use dirty bombs. But there's more of a risk of being caught due to the radiation emitted by dirty bomb devices. It's the radiation, after all, that makes them "dirty," and there are already radiation scanning devices being used at U.S. ports in an effort to thwart precisely such an attack (thank goodness, too).
Straight chemical explosives are not likely to be used in an attack on Wall Street because their blast radius is too small to wreak the degree of chaos the terrorists are hoping to achieve.
If an attack takes place in the Los Angeles port, it would most likely be a dirty bomb attack that's detonated immediately after a container is offloaded, before it's screened for radiation. This capability is well within the technological grasp of well-funded terrorist groups. I don't know if Homeland Security has radiation detectors that work at a distance of anything greater than, say, 100 meters. I doubt they do, and that means dirty bombs can get well into the port area without being detected.
This is one prediction, by the way, that I hope I'm completely wrong about. Why? Because such attacks tend to concentrate power in Washington, giving presidents the popular support to wage wars and pass new laws that destroy the freedoms of U.S. citizens. Thus, from one point of view, it is actually in the interests of the power holders in Washington to see such attacks take place (although they would never admit that).
Bush took full advantage of the 2001 terrorist attacks to gut the U.S. Constitution and pass new domestic surveillance laws that cause your phone lines and emails to be surveilled right now. The ghost of 9/11 continues to haunt the remaining freedoms of Americans today.