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5:52 PM Mon, Oct. 22nd

Column: 'Real' 2011 psychic predictions and what to watch

Is 2011 already a baby saddled with a burden from old-fogey-2010 heavier then its diaper's contents? Does the world already have multiple swords of Damocles hanging over its head? Will the sea of change caused by economic upheaval and new technologies continue to accelerate in 2011?

The humorists have weighed in already with their witty predictions of what will happen. And, now, so have the professional psychics:

Michel Hayek, "the Nostradamus of the Middle East," predicts President Obama will be faced with situations "never faced by previous presidents." Toronto's Niki predicts Michelle Obama will become pregnant and Sarah Palin will divorce. Judy Hevenly sees Palin running for president. Sidney Friedman predicts the economy will improve and Justin Bieber will be involved in a three-way with an older woman (in case you were wondering).

And President Obama? Some psychics say he'll hang in there politically, but Terry and Linda Jamison, the "Psychic Twins" who correctly predicted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., say Obama is re-election toast. They also say the economy will slowly improve and Palin shouldn't be underestimated.

Meanwhile, there are the annual predictions that California will be hit by a huge earthquake and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro will finally croak. But those are as easy as predicting that Charlie Sheen will get drunk or Mel Gibson won't convert to Judaism.

Once upon a time, the psychic prediction business was big, front page stuff on the nation's then-thriving supermarket tabloids. Predictions SCREAMED in headlines - particularly after the crystal ball biz gained credence once Jean Dixon correctly forecast an unthinkable event: the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

But in recent years, it's hard to find psychic predictions even in the now-ailing tabloids until the end of the year.

Most psychic predictions are fun to consider but don't come true (some predictions for 2010 included an assassination attempt on Obama and massive worldwide UFO sightings that would cause governments to admit the "truth") and are about as accurate as Dick Morris' political predictions on Fox News.

But here are some key things to carefully watch this year that could give you an indication of where things are heading:

The Republicans' (doomed) attempt to repeal healthcare reform. How many Democrats will go along with them? What'll be the result later in the polls? Which party will be able to exploit this almost certain vote by the House (which will die in the Senate or be vetoed by Obama)?

White House response to the GOP's new congressional muscle. They KNOW investigations are coming by Rep. Darrell Issa. They KNOW they will have trouble from Tea Party-allied Republicans on the debt ceiling and program funding. Are they ready to respond? And will Obama and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell show they can work together or illustrate (more) dysfunctional democracy?

How each party responds to intra party tensions. Which party's base will get more disgusted with it? Obama's (liberal) base or the GOP's (Tea Party) base? Will moderates become more endangered in each party or make a clout comeback in Congress?

Jobs and home prices. Can unemployment be around 8 percent by year's end? Home prices are falling. Will they hit bottom and start to rise again by the end of the year?

Obama's new advisors. Speculation that Obama might make former Commerce Secretary William M. Daley his chief of staff, coupled with Obama's compromise with GOPers on the Bush tax cuts strongly suggest he is moving to the center. He has regained some independent voter support already. Will this process continue in 2011? How will the Dem's base react to signs Obama will "cave" (the buzz word used for "compromise")?