Category Archives: Commentary/Polls

Sunday blog: Women are spaghetti, men are waffles

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — There have been a few books, often written in an amusing style, about the differences between men and women’s mode of thinking:  One of the first was the (now) well known book, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”

Robert Escandon

That the brains of the two genders are wired differently is now an accepted fact.  Modern technology, like PET Scans, show us that parts of the male and female brains light up with electrical activity,  in different regions (and with different intensities), when presented with the same stimulus.

This is a whole new area of research and is exposing fascinating facts, some of which are disturbing.  Tests conducted on psychopaths, serving long prison sentences, show absences of electrical brain – stimulus to emotion and to visual images of suffering.  It’s as if that part of the brain is either not wired correctly or is not even present.

When I was last visiting England a news report spoke of a man who drove to a north-London gas station, at night, and brutally stabbed to death the night-shift attendant, who he didn’t know and who he had never met before.  After the senseless murder, he drove off and five miles later stopped at another gas station. 

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Lincoln Place question

What do you think should happen to Lincoln Place (the building on Washington and Lincoln)?

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Sunday Blog II: Civility usually works better… Is soccer a good fit for Wellington?…

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Sometimes I just get in a mood to rant.


The past Cowley College debate

I am not about to dig up the overwrought, overindulged, overrated, overanalyzed, over-the-top arguments about the developer’s agreement with the city of Wellington and Cowley College and I’m allowing no comments on the subject below. The subject matter is dead at least on this site.

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

The only reason I’m bringing it up isn’t because of the issue itself, but the dynamics surrounding the issue. If you remember more than a week ago, it took the Wellington City Council two meetings – one on Tuesday and the other on Thursday — to discuss the same issue. I was stricken by how incredibly different the two meetings were.

On Tuesday, it was a raucous WWE atmosphere where I have expected chairs getting thrown at any second. Council members were fighting with one another, council members were fighting with the crowd, the crowd was yelling back, and there were insults and barbs all over the place. Facebook for the next two day was in a frenzy.

Sunday blog: When marketing goes really wrong

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow – When you next make a mistake, it may be useful to recall that large organizations are just as capable of making mistakes, big mistakes too! HUGE!

Robert Escandon

One of the all-time classics concerned the Hoover Company, makers of vacuum cleaners and other household machinery.  Such was their domination of the British market that the company name was even synonymous with the activity.  Even now, people will say “I’ll just ‘Hoover’ this rug.”  When foreign competition came knocking, Hoover found itself with warehouses full of their outdated vacuum cleaners that weren’t selling, so, they resorted to the traditional marketing ploy of offering benefits associated with the purchase of a vacuum cleaner.

Now, it was well known that the public take-up of promotional offers was very limited,  (often less than 1 or 2%) hence companies could afford to offer decent incentives knowing that few people would actually take up those incentives.  However, the general marketing opinion was that incentives would garner interest at the retail level effectively boosting advertising.

That was the wisdom of the day. The Board of Directors for Hoover U.K. were getting desperate to rid themselves of their growing vacuum cleaner inventory and Hoover U.S.A. were putting big pressure on them to regain market share.  The U.K. Board decided to offer a special inducement to customers and mounted a big advertising campaign, which was “Buy any Hoover vacuum cleaner and get a return flight to New York.”

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The healthcare poll question







Do you feel like healthcare should be a human right?

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Each one of us has a different memory of 911, here’s mine…

Editor’s Note: The following is a reprint of a column I wrote six years ago about my personal experience of that fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001. This is my story while working at the Wellington Daily News.

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Granted you all are probably tiring of yet another rehash of 9/11 — that terrible day 10 years ago.

But we do all have a story to tell. Here’s mine.

On that morning I was a news editor for the Wellington Daily News working beside Linda Stinnett, Brady Walker, and a slew of hard working Wellington people putting out the news of the day. The paper had just been bought out by corporate and our printing press had just been disassembled and our paper was printed in El Dorado. Our deadline was at 9:30 a.m.

For some reason, the front page was done that morning which was a miracle in itself. Making deadlines was not a WDN strength and corporate was not too shy in telling us about this fault and how it needed to be rectified quickly.

We were featuring a story on a military type exercise that was being conducted in Sumner County, I can’t remember the specifics. It was our usual day of mayhem. It was football season and the Wellington paper had just finished celebrating its 100th anniversary the week before.

I was quite pleased with my deadline making that morning.

Sunday Blog: Things are slow to change, until they change too quickly

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — There’s a saying:  “Things happen more slowly than you would have thought then happen more quickly than you would ever have thought possible.”  The same might apply to global climate change if mankind doesn’t do something about discharging large volumes of noxious gasses into Earth’s atmosphere.  The problem with such changes is that they don’t sit well with our psychology as we tend to process information, and then make predictions, in a linear pattern.  To use math terminology, we don’t think in terms of exponential growth, we think in linear timescales.

Robert Escandon

Think of an impending volcanic eruption.  The volcanologists and seismologists inevitably face a dilemma of when to warn the public.  Too early and they will be accused of fear-mongering leading to unnecessary panic among the public, too late and there will be accusations of not warning early enough to save lives.

Maybe we are in the early stages of such a situation with greenhouse gases and rising global temperatures.  Warnings are being issued (right now) by climate scientists but mankind cannot easily envision a sudden catastrophe.  After all, weather conditions haven’t changed greatly in the experience of our short lives so we don’t feel overly challenged at present.

BUT, our lives aren’t long enough to provide sufficient historical perspective for our psyche to comprehend.  If the science is correct, then global warming and its consequences will become apparent during the lives of our children and grandchildren.  When it does become apparent, it will do so suddenly and we will be surprised that conditions changed almost overnight.  A good analogy is a light switch — if you push it slowly then nothing happens. 

Dear Wellington Council: Don’t let us lose the Cowley College Campus

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Dear Wellington City Council… please.

Please, please, please sign the Developers Agreement for the Cowley College at the special meeting held at the Council Chambers tonight at 8:30 p.m.

Normally, I reserve editorials for Sundays. This one is too important not to do so now. For if you turn the developer’s agreement down tonight, Wellington runs the risk of losing this campus to another community. Whether it is a high risk or a low risk, I’m not sure. But if I were a council man from, say, Mulvane, I would be licking my chops. “Hey, we stole their casino. Let’s go get that Cowley College Campus as well,” I would be saying to myself.

Will that happen? Not sure. I just remember 10 years ago, getting close to this very day actually, there was confidence that a Kansas Casino would be built off Exit 19. Some would argue that of the four casino proposals listed at the time, the best proposal was the one to be built off the Wellington exit ramp. Wellington civic leaders worked hard to bring the town its casino. It had the better logistics, the more established police force, the equitable distribution of tax base revenue amongst countywide governmental entities, the support of the County Commissioners, the overwhelming support of the Wellington electorate and those living in the surrounding neighbors for which the casino was proposed. If you remember, Exit 33 neighbors didn’t want the casino.

Still…. it didn’t matter.

It didn’t friggin matter.

The Kansas Lottery Commission awarded the casino to Mulvane. And after the first company proved to be incompetent neanderthals and the proposal fell through, the state commission was asked to vote a second time. And it did so – to Mulvane. And the third time? Yep, Mulvane.

And that is where it now sits.

I’m not saying the same thing will happen with the Cowley College – Sumner Campus here. But those old memories came streaming back yesterday. If we, as in us, the community of Wellington, screw around with these Cowley officials with this petty squabbling about percentages on streets and electricity and whatever, then we run the risk of ticking off our partner.

I know the land was donated. I know it was sold as a centralized Wellington campus facility. But if this agreement is not signed tonight, you run the risk – whether it be small or large – of having that door opened ever so slightly and allowing the campus go someplace else.

And God forbid if that happens to Wellington!

I have heard people say, “the campus isn’t going anywhere because they have already started the dirt work.” Well, call Hibbett Sports of Wellington to see how that is working out.

I obtained the ballot question from the Sumner County Election Office yesterday. It reads:

I don’t see anything about the campus being built in Wellington in any of that wording.

I can hear the skeptics. Well, Mulvane already has a Cowley College. No, that is a storefront much like we had in the mid-1990s. This is a campus. Believe me Mulvane officials know the difference.

Do you really want to see Cowley College – Sumner Campus in Mulvane advertised off the exit 19 ramp?

“Hey, let’s just drop my kids off for a college education and then gamble. At least, I won’t have to drive to Wellington.”

Are you willing to risk the campus over a couple of mills which equates to $2.61 a month on a $100,000 home (which might get you an egg roll at your favorite Chinese Restaurant) to appease a few social media warriors? Mind you, these are mills that you have already been penciled into the 2018 budget you approved two weeks ago.

I tell you what if you turn this developer’s agreement down now, this put the bargaining leverage on Cowley College because essentially you are saying, “we don’t trust you.” Also, you made that recommendation at the May 11 work session meeting with the streets of going 50-50. To change your mind now, would be unethical — because you set the rules!

I’m not going to haggle over the details of the project. That information can be found here. There is so much ambiguity to these agreements – so much complexity. You could go on forever. Even city staff had trouble remembering the details of who paid for what with some of these projects.

There is no real right or wrong reason to these questions you will be asking yourself tonight.

But maybe it is in good faith to stand behind your city staff who was asked to perform a duty under your directive.

Do you really want to risk everything, and be faced with a legacy of losing Cowley College to a neighboring town? Do you really want to lose that one thing that gives Wellington the opportunity for growth in this community at the moment, when we have so many other pressing economic problems — including keeping our hospital open?

We lost the casino. The one redeeming solace we have is it wasn’t our fault. There was nothing we could do.

And yet it still stings.

If we lose the campus, we won’t be able to point our finger anyplace else but at ourselves. And that is a whole lot worse. Let’s stop the petty bickering amongst ourselves and secure this campus for Wellington.

You know I love football and I’m going to use an analogy here. You have a touchdown lead and all you have to do is kneel on the ball and run out the clock.

Don’t fumble the ball away.

It’s your legacy you’re talking about here.

Sign it now!

Culture Cow: It’s Labor Day, binge your life away

by Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow — In all actuality, this is the happiest Monday of the year: Labor Day!  Labor Day is a top five holiday, not only because there’s no school or work, but also because you can spend the entire day doing nothing and be completely content with that.  There are no obligations to be productive on Labor Day (in fact I’m only writing this article Monday morning, which explains the late publication) so enjoy yourself; walk around the house in your underwear and never walk outside, it’s your prerogative!

Unlike most Labor Days that are dominated by summer blockbusters, this inaugural Monday in September will be better spent watching TV (albeit, there are some great movies still in theatres like Logan Lucky, Wind River, and Dunkirk).  So find the remote and lose your productivity, it’s the pop culture event of the year.

The best way to kick off such a wonderful holiday is with the new season of the Netflix original: Narcos.  Narcos is a brilliant bilingual show about the Columbian cocaine trade in the 80s.  Much like the 80s itself, Narcos is full of good music, tense political debates, and lots and lots of drugs.  The new season is a clear departure from the begging of the series as it follows the undisputed drug kingpins, the Cali Cartel in the wake of Pablo Escobar’s death.

The show changed its narrator to the former co-star Pedro Pascal or as he’s known in the show, Detective Peña.  The new focus of the landmark Netflix series will breath life into the show and relinquish its dependence on the expertise of Wagner Moura, the actor who played Pablo and stole the show week by week.

Sunday blog: A really bad situation

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — Recently, I found myself mulling over past situations in my life, when things went horribly wrong:

Horrible Situation Number One: 

Robert Escandon

I had invited about 20 engineers (and their wives) to a nice evening meal at a restaurant just north of the university town of Oxford.  This is when I owned an Engineering Company and we had been awarded our best-ever contract from an engineering group at the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment.

So, the nice meal was to be a “thank you” to the group for all their business. I sat at the top of the table with Dr. Adams on my right and Mrs. Adams on my left.  Dr Adams was the principal director of the facility and therefore the one who actually placed the orders and who signed off payment checks.

I have four children so I know what a pregnancy looks like — at least, I thought I did.  The meal was going well and everyone seemed happy, so I took the opportunity to be courteous and politely asked Mrs. Adams “When is it due?”

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Hurricane Harvey question







How are you supporting the victims of Hurricane Harvey?

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Sunday blog: Coping with abject poverty

Robert Escandon

by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — In the 1980’s I spent some considerable time in India working for a British company that engaged specialized engineering work for the Nuclear Industry.  The Indian government decided to buy the designs of a Canadian reactor which was based on a Calandria with heavy water as the moderator.  The design had its shortcomings relying, as it did, on the fidelity of hundreds of pipe-to-wall connections.  Not surprisingly, these had to be monitored for leakage of contaminated water.

One power station in Madras had a leakage problem which would require a complex and expensive remote-controlled robot to affect a repair.  The Indians were poor in money but rich in human bodies, so they elected to repair the leak (tightening a ring of bolts) using paid volunteers to run into the reactor enclosure, carrying a wrench and tighten the bolts by hand.  Scientists calculated they had less than one minute per person to carry out this work, during which time they would receive 12 months of normal accumulated radiation dose plus a set sum of money.  There was no shortage of volunteers!

 A line formed, composed of any able bodied man, who vaguely knew what to do with a wrench.   There was a mock-up of the pipe and bolt-ring and volunteers had to show the engineers that they could use the wrench to loosen the bolts and tighten them down again.  Those that had good dexterity and were physically fit got to join the line.  Using humans for tasks in a radioactive area even had a name in the nuclear industry — it was called “hot-jumping.” 

Sunday Culture Cow special: Taylor Swift’s new single tells her old fans… she’s dead

Commentary by Devin McCue, Sumner  Newscow — Taylor Swift, who most of you got to know as a country singer, has made an incredible career move on several front. This week she successfully broke free from her image as a “teen pop star that made all the little girls cry” with her highly controversial single “Look What You Made Me Do,” released this week. Later in this column, I’m going to feature the video to the song and break down the lyrics, to give you my Culture Cow opinion on what it all means.

Now I’m sure this single is going to be met with some resistance at first by people who aren’t ready to let go (understandably so because her old stuff was amazing).  The new album is Taylor’s way of launching the rest of her career.  She started it a little bit with songs like Bad Blood, but this song marks a clear break.

This is a calculated move by the Swift corp.  She hyped it up with a snake video that was apparently a slight at Kanye, even though I think it’s largely a beef for show.  I’m sure Taylor and Kanye have their reservations, but this beef is mutually beneficial for their respective images.

The song first and foremost is all about Taylor’s image.  She desperately needs to change it now before she’s locked in playing for people under 25.  A sexually charged diss track where you openly tell the fans the old you is dead? Yep that’ll do it.

Let’s delve into the lyrics (in italics) of this song:

I don’t like your little games,

Don’t like your tilted stage

Culture Cow: Direct diss to Kanye. After three years of hiatus, Taylor is starting off hot. Great step to changing her image.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The recycling question







Do you recycle?

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Sunday blog II: Who do we want to be?

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — One night I was pulled over by a law enforcement official. I was tweaking with the radio and had drifted over the center line, so he was curious as to whether I might be drinking. That was quickly resolved, but then I realized I did not have my wallet, thus no identification. I also could not find my vehicle registration, let alone my proof of insurance.

James Jordan

Fortunately, when he ran the tags they were registered to who I said I was. He gave me a ticket but said if I would bring my paperwork to the courthouse, it would be dismissed.  I produced the paper work the next day and the ticket disappeared.

This was a classic example of white privilege in South Carolina, though the same thing happens in Kansas. I was given the benefit of the doubt. In South Carolina, black people were not often given that benefit.

I have known black people in similar situations who were taken to jail for the night because they could not prove they owned the car they were driving. Sometimes they still had to pay the ticket even after the matter was resolved.

That is the world we live in, and it still happens.

Slavery is a very bad part of our history, but once the slaves were freed, the struggle did not end. Black people have had to fight for things like the right to use the bathroom, get married, vote, get a job, or drink from a water fountain.

Sunday blog: The eclipse and cosmological wonderment of the now

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — Most people know why an eclipse of the sun occurs.  In short, when the earth, moon and sun align, so their centers are on an imaginary straight line,  then the moon’s shadow will fall on the earth’s surface instead of just being broadcast somewhere into space.  This straight-line alignment occurs roughly two to five times per year, somewhere on the globe.

Robert Escandon

Eclipses of one body by another are a regular astronomical event.  The inner planet Mercury crosses the sun’s profile somewhat rarely; about thirteen times per century. Venus crosses the sun in a somewhat strange repeating sequence of 243 years due to the difference in the inclination of the orbits of Earth and Venus.  They are the only two planets that orbit between the Earth and the Sun hence we don’t see eclipses of the sun by other planets in our solar system.

Astronomers don’t generally refer to the movement of Mercury and Venus across the Sun as eclipses because they do not completely cover the Sun’s outline.  Rather, they describe them as “transits” which can be seen as a dot moving across the Sun’s surface

What makes our eclipse so interesting is the fortuitous ratio of the distances from Earth’s surface to the Moon and to the sun are almost (not quite) the same ratios as the diameters of the two bodies.  In the language of Geometry, the solid subtended angles to the moon and to the sun are approximately 0.5 degrees and 0.52 degrees respectively.  This means the Moon almost completely blocks the Sun’s image at the time of alignment.  Fortunately, the ratio is the right way round, as this gives us the opportunity to see just a little more of the Sun’s corona (atmosphere) during the totality.

Special Sumner Newscow weekend poll: The Solar Eclipse question







What's your opinion of the solar eclipse Monday?

  • I am excited, but staying home/working. (50%, 151 Votes)
  • Yawn. Whatever. (22%, 66 Votes)
  • I'm more excited that this overhyped event will be over soon. (20%, 62 Votes)
  • I'm so geeked, I'm heading north. (9%, 26 Votes)

Total Voters: 305

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The City of Wellington airport runway project question







Are you in favor of the Wellington Airport runway extension project?

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Wanda Whaley thanks community for support with Stomp Out ALS at County Fair

Correction: The following letter to the editor was misidentified. Wanda Whaley is the author of the letter. Please accept our apologies.

To the editor: I want to thank you for the articles and support you gave for the Stomp Out ALS at the Sumner County Fair campaign.

It exceeded my wildest dreams in participation and money raised.  When all is said and done I think the total will be a little over $3500, raised to help patients suffering with ALS.  

Dorothy Dvorak of South Haven won the Quilt made by Susan Paolo of Leavenworth Ks, and Michelle Harsh of Argonia won the Yeti cooler.

Culture Cow: Finally, Kesha has a new album; Check out Atypical on Netflix

by Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow — If you woke up and heard the faint sound of acoustic guitars and screaming, it might’ve been the distant cries of Miley Cyrus after hearing Kesha’s new album. 

Kesha is back and she’s changed a lot more than the spelling of her name (she unfortunately replaced the dollar sign with an actual “s”).  In one album, Kesha showed Miley how to properly balance party girl hits with country twang.  Rainbow is her first album in over five years because of her despicable agent’s refusal to let her record and it’s as complex as it is anticipated.  She spends the first half of the album reacting to the scandal that kept her silent for half a decade with emotional songs like Bastards, Praying, and Learn to Let Go.  The second act is a mix of pop and country songs; both genres blend together sometimes between choruses.  I wouldn’t classify this as a purely country album, but songs like Boots, Spaceship, and Hunt You Down are as country as they are entertaining.  Kudos to Kesha for kicking her comeback off with an album so good it might warrant a hug from Jerry Seinfeld.


Netflix is back at it again with its new series, Atypical.  Atypical follows an 18-year-old autistic boy named Sam who’s just looking for love.  Between his extreme literal understandings of things, aversion to girls in general, and love for Artic penguins, Sam does an excellent job explaining autism to viewers (such as myself) unfamiliar with his condition and proves himself to be a lovable protagonist.  Unlike traditional shows and movies concerning mental health, Atypical is told from Sam’s perspective.

Sometimes his mind will wander in the middle of an important scene and the audience is forced to come with him.  Atypical is a hilarious show that shows autism in an accurate and sympathetic light.  The show also develops its supporting characters; a practice cable shows seem to have forgotten.  The series creates interesting narratives and deeper character personalities to round out the plot, instead of merely focusing on the charming and embattled star of the show.  Check out Atypical, its eight episodes long and incredibly binge-worthy.

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