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Omdahl: Uncertainty Going into 2016

By Staff | Jan 1, 2016

A significant start to 2016 will occur Jan. 12, when President Barack Obama gives his last “State of the Disunion” address to Congress. This time, the Republican side of the chamber will applaud. That will be the significant part.

Governor Ed Schafer will be picking up the reins as interim president at the University of North Dakota this month. He has been preparing for the job by pushing a chain around his garage. That best represents the chain of command in higher education. In North Dakota, organization charts reflect pay scales, not authority.

Russian and American astronauts get along famously at the space station. The road to peace is sending more Russians and more Americans into space.

Smart astronauts are putting off extended space travel because it becomes more uncertain every day what the country will look like when they return. They may be considered immigrants and refused admission.

March 1 is Super Tuesday, when 14 states will choose delegates to party conventions. Trump is being given the edge in the Bible Belt states because they see him as the ideal manifestation of Christian love and humility. “One nation under God” needs his kind of leadership.

The big uncertainty of 2016: Will Donald Trump hand Democrats the same victory given them by Barry Goldwater in 1964?

North Dakota criminal justice people are concerned about the dramatic increase in the number of folks filling prison cells at $45,000 a year. Legislators are focused on the cost of jail time but I question the numbers. If there are too many folks in prison, why do we still have a lot of miscreants running around robbing, raping and pillaging?

As far as state revenue is concerned, 2015 was a tragic year. Oil prices dropped over 60 percent and state revenue went into the tank with them. To deal with the shortfall, legislators suggest cutting state budgets and saving the reserves for even rainier days. Where is Noah when spenders need him? More of same for 2016.

Minnesota was a total disappointment in 2015. When the Minnesota legislature raised taxes, we thought our ship had come in and put up billboards welcoming Minnesota businesses to our tax haven. None came. Maybe tax havens don’t work.

The Sons of Norway and Germans from Russia will sponsor a sance this year for German and Norwegian settlers who came to North Dakota in the 1880s. They are expected to come from the past carrying placards: “Immigrants Count”.

In 2016, Fargo will continue working to bring water from the Missouri River across the state to guarantee that the Red River will never go dry. Not only will it guarantee a steady water supply for continued growth but it will encourage the return of steamboat traffic on the Red and launch a new ship building industry.

The Garrison Diversion Project will continue to be a diversion. A band of volunteers from Minnewaukan, armed with shovels, will show up at one end of the 40-mile New Rockford Canal with the goal of draining Devils Lake into the Missouri River. The problem is that the ends got lost in 1985.

Only 50 percent of state lottery receipts go to winners while 90 percent of reservation casino money rewards gamblers. In 2016, we shouldn’t be surprised to see a march on Bismarck by folks carrying placards declaring that “Compulsive Gamblers Matter.”

It looks like the only certain thing about 2016 will be uncertainty. That’s for sure.

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