by Rod Haxton
If you thought 2016 was a year of the unexpected, you haven’t seen anything yet.
We’ve pulled our crystal ball out of the closet once again in order to provide a glimpse into what can be expected in 2017.
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After Gov. Sam Brownback disbanded the six-member Consensus Revenue Estimating Group and lowered tax revenue estimates to zero, Kansas finally exceeded projections in March by just over $377 million.
“This proves beyond any doubt that my live experiment is a success,” says Gov. Sam Brownback.
“It’s good to see that we’re finally moving in the right direction,” added Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman, Jr. (R-Olathe).
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Donald Trump disputes claims of a conflict of interest when government watchdogs say that he is benefitting directly as a result of the governments of Kuwait, Argentina, Russia and Qatar leasing entire floors of the Trump Hotel for $1 million a month.
“The people at the front desk of my hotel handle all the money. I don’t see any of it,” said Trump. “Where’s the conflict?”
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Fox News’ Sean Hannity says in August that news reports of President Trump approving a nuclear strike which annihilated Iran is another “liberal media fake news story.”
“Since Iran no longer exists, can we be sure it even existed at all?” asked Hannity. “And based on that, can we even be sure that a nuclear bomb was ever dropped on a country that we can’t prove existed?”
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Two months after Saturday Night Live was suddenly taken off the air, there is still no word about what has happened to cast members and Alec Baldwin following Trump’s tweet, “We have rooms available at Guantanamo.”
NBC executives issued a brief statement saying, “The entire staff is on hiatus while working out creative differences.”
The show’s producer, Lorne Michaels, has also been unavailable for comment.
In response to his Guantanamo tweet, Trump tweeted, “It was satire. Didn’t you get it?”
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Six months after Congress voted to repeal Obamacare, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran says in an interview with the Wichita Eagle that people took action by Republicans “too literal.”
“When we said for the past seven years we were going to repeal Obamacare we never meant that it would happen right away. I don’t know where people got that idea.
“We kept our promise, but it could take years for repeal to take effect,” he explained. “In fact, I may not even be in office when that finally happens.”
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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach resigns his elected position to assume a role in the Trump Administration as director of the newly created Department of Voter Fraud.
Kobach says his No. 1 priority will be to find and prosecute the “millions of people” who voted illegally for Hillary Clinton, denying Trump a majority of the popular vote.
“I’ve built a reputation by squashing voter fraud where it doesn’t exist and I intend to do the same at the federal level,” says Kobach.
Asked if that will also include investigating claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election, Kobach replied, “I don’t waste my time chasing after red herrings.”
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In a post-election analysis of the presidential election on CNN, Trump campaign manager and White House advisor Kellyanne Conway was asked about their brilliant decision to target viewers of “The Walking Dead” with their campaign advertising.
“Was it because this is a voter base that relates to the anxieties of an invasion and collapse of the world as they know it?” asks Wolf Blitzer.
“No, it’s because the audience could relate to a nation that’s been overtaken by a species whose brains no longer function,” replies Conway.
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Over the protest of school districts across the state, the Kansas Legislature approved a concealed-carry bill for high school and middle school students.
“This will not only make our young people more secure when they attend classes, but will give them a greater appreciation for the Second Amendment,” said former state representative Travis Couture-Lovelady who promoted the concealed-carry bill on college campuses and is now a lobbyist with the NRA.
Asked why the bill didn’t also include grade schools, Couture-Lovelady said, “There’s always the next legislative session. We don’t have to win all our battles at once.”
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In his State of the State address, Gov. Brownback unveils his plan to close the $350 million hole in the current budget year and a projected $582 shortfall in the following year’s budget.
He says plans to dismantle and sell off all assets in KDOT, shut down KPERS and sell off the tobacco settlement that funds early childhood programs will produce an estimated $770 million, “and possibly more.”
“Brilliant,” says Senate President Susan Wagle. “And I was afraid the governor was going to force us to come up with a plan.”
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In May, Trump announces he has reached a deal with China to fulfill his campaign pledge to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
“They make my ties, they built half the transcontinental RR, why not a wall?” tweeted Trump.
When asked about the missed opportunity to employ Americans, Labor Secretary Andy Puzder responded, “The Chinese were willing to work for minimum wage and no benefits. These are my kind of people.”