Category Archives: Commentary/Polls

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Jeff Session’s cracking down on marijuana question







Do you believe Attorney General Jeff Session's desire to crackdown on legalized marijuana is justified?

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Sunday Blog, Culture Cow: Big moves in the new year by Netflix

Editor’s note: This week we are featuring Culture Cow as the Sunday Blog. Catch this weekly column, normally on Friday. 

Commentary by Devin McCue, Sumner Newscow — The new year is off to a great start in the world of streaming with enough new shows, original movies, and critically acclaimed films (shout out to the Godfather Trilogy) on Netflix to keep us busy until 2019. Perhaps the greatest edition however is Planet Earth II, named the No. 1 show on IMDB’s list of top 250 TV shows of all time.

The BBC took a decade to follow up on their breakout original series — third on the same IMDB list — to take a look backwards at places they’ve already visited like mountain ranges and looks forwards to new environments like cities. Planet Earth II is visually stunning and shows some of the best nature shots ever recorded.

David Attenborough’s voice guides the viewer to some of the most remote destinations on earth as we look at the grandeur of our planet and the incredible creatures that evolved over time to inhabit it.

On the darker end of the spectrum of Netflix documentaries is Rotten.

Netflix has quickly asserted itself as the premier locations for food documentary series with hits like Chef’s Table, Just Desserts, Parts Unknown, and several others, so it comes as no surprise the streaming service turned content-provider would turn its focus on the food industry itself.

Issue by issue, Rotten highlights the corruption and crime that rivets the food industry behind the scenes.

It’s very concerning and a must-watch for anyone that eats. The episode on Big Garlic hit very close to home as someone who puts garlic on everything imaginable.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Oprah for President question







What do you think of people pushing for a Oprah Winfrey Presidential bid in 2020?

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Sunday Blog: Taking emotion out of the equation

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — This has been a year where Donald Trump has entered a new phrase into the English lexicon of terms and that term is “Fake News.”  This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing!  It has made us all more aware of what we read and what we hear and the need to qualify statements that are issued.  Things advanced to the public may not always be fake news but they can be fake statements.

Robert Escandon

Let’s (just for fun) reverse one of President Trump’s remarks when he was running for office. Picture one of our nation’s military generals who had been asked to make a presentation to the press — he takes the opportunity to announce “I know more about establishing hotels and real-estate than all the Property Developers!”

Clearly, that would be a ridiculous statement, as was the original “I know more about ISIS than all the Generals!”   If the General had made such a remark publicly, then it would have sunk his promotional ship and his credibility along with it —- on the other hand, Donald Trump’s remark (along with lots of others) helped propel him to the most powerful office in the land.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The pit bull question







Do you feel Pit Bulls should be banned in Wellington?

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2017 Story of the Year: The effects of social media on Wellington

Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow – The last thing I wanted to do before writing my annual story of the year, was to write another one of those “we should all play nice on social media” articles.

I might as well write you shouldn’t drink too much alcohol, drive without your seatbelts, and not yell at the refs at a sporting events. It sounds good, but you aren’t going to do it — no matter how much I plead, cry and postulate.

Tracy “Cueball” McCue

So I’m done writing about it. Whatever. Be a insufferable jerk. I don’t care. Social media is more about you than the person you are trying to embarrass anyway.

But as I was sitting here thinking about what to pick as my story of 2017, something kept coming back to me. No matter the subject — whether it be the hospital, the tragedies, the scandals there was always something that linked it together.

Social media played some kind of part in the subject. And it is why I am making “the effects of social media on Wellington” as my story of the year.


I was thinking about this the other day as I closely follow the people circulating a petition drive to get the automated trash system on an election ballot. Could such a petition drive have been humanly possible before the advent of Facebook and Twitter? Oh, there have been local public initiatives before. I remember in the late 1990s, local option budgets could be protested via petitions. Wellington USD 353 voters used to trek to the polls every other year to pass a protested local option budget. But we haven’t done that since the turn of the Century.

2017 Story of the year: Prejudice is often in surprising places

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — Most of us comment that time seems to pass more quickly the older we get.  It certainly seems that way for me.  I guess there is a reasonable explanation for this:  When you are 20 and then have your 21st birthday, the year just passed will have been a 20th of your lifespan.

Robert Escandon

Whereas, if you are 80 and then have your 81st birthday, the preceding year represents only one 80th of your lifespan — hence time (in perspective) seems to speed up.  That’s my theory anyway.

2017 was a year fraught with political arguments and disagreement on almost any topic you can name.  The Left and the Right are polarizing —- and emotions, in many instances, have become more important than cold reasoning.

And this is not limited to the U.S.  Europe has been busy tearing itself apart as evidenced by a surge in nationalism.  BREXIT, in my ex home country is a case in point.  The financial fallout, since the Brexit vote, has not been good for the U.K.’s economy as businesses are frozen out of the European free trade market and the Pound bounces around in value compared with the Euro.

2017 story of the year: The 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail exemplifies that things really haven’t changed

Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series concerning the 2017 Story of the Year. We will start with Sumner Newscow reporter James Jordan’s selection today. Sunday columnist Robert Escandon will feature his tomorrow. Then on Monday, publisher Tracy McCue will feature his.  

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Last year was the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail, and there were some celebrations in Sumner County. The trail itself of course went through Caldwell, and that corner of the county before heading on north to Wichita and beyond.  That does not mean the trail was cut 150 years ago, but it marks when the cattle drives began.

James Jordan

The trail was used to drive cattle north to the railheads, which did a lot to settle the west and to create the romantic notion of the cowboy.  The whole cowboy legend came from the 10-15 years that the Chisholm Trail was used to drive cattle north. The railroad kept coming south and making the trail “shorter,” until eventually the trail was no longer of use. The trail was not even called that in the early days apparently, but the name did eventually catch on to the trail that was being used.

Caldwell was widely known as a wild cattle town, but still, the legend far outweighed the reality.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Lincoln Street road closed question

So 2018 is upon us. Will Lincoln Street still be closed when 2019 approaches?

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Sunday blog: The effectiveness of tribalism

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow – The past few decades have seen the emergence of a new branch of science called “Social Psychology.”  Much of the key research in social psychology developed following World War II, when people became interested in the behavior of individuals when grouped together and in social situations.

Robert Escandon

Of longstanding interest and analysis is Joseph Goebbels’ “Total War Speech” of 1943.  Goebbels was Propaganda Minister for Nazi Germany and by 1943 it was evident that the tide of war was turning against Germany having been defeated in Stalingrad and having lost territory in the East and West.  What interests the Social Psychologists is how Goebbels manipulates truth and amplifies tribal reaction.

Albert Speer reports talking with Goebbels after the speech::

Except for Hitler’s most successful public meetings, I had never seen an audience so effectively roused to fanaticism. Back in his home, Goebbels astonished me by analyzing what had seemed to be a purely emotional outburst in terms of its psychological effect — much as an experienced actor might have done. He was also satisfied with his audience that evening. “Did you notice? They reacted to the smallest nuance and applauded at just the right moments.”

Essentially, the audience wanted to hear strong emotions delivered in an uncompromising manner.  They didn’t want to hear a balanced argument that contained truth about Nazi Germany’s dire situation:  They wanted to feel emotionally uplifted and to be reminded that they belonged to the tribe that (alone) had the means and resolve to end Bolshevism.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The soda pop consumption question

Sumner Newscow report — According to a New York Times article, President Trump drinks 12 Diet Cokes a day.

What is your soda pop consumption?



How much pop do you drink?

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Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Christmas Carol question







Answer honestly: Do you like Christmas carols?

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Sunday blog: The ever-expanding $20 trillion debt

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — So here we are waiting for the unveiling of yet another new tax structure.  Listening to the politicians, on both sides, is like reading an Alice in Wonderland novel.  Consider the National Debt that has been steadily climbing for years until now it is approaching $20 trillion.  So, just how big is $20 trillion? It’s a number so very big that we can’t comprehend it.  The graphic above is a representation (every little cube) of normal sized pallets loaded tightly with $100 dollar bills).  Thinking another way, every man, woman and child in the U.S. now is in debt to around $62,500.

Robert Escandon

This is money America has borrowed over the years and will have to pay back to the world economy.  If we ever default on our debt the whole world banking and financing system would crumble.  It is a precarious position which has been left to fester by successive administrations.

The problem has existed for years but was accelerated by President Reagan in his tax cutting stimulus.  He lifted America out of recession and made Americans feel good about themselves and their country but it was paid for by borrowed money.  It was not the organic growth from, within, that it has been touted to be.  His trickle-down economics was really just a distribution of massive sums of borrowed money. Trickle-down economics, when not supported by organic growth,  simply doesn’t work.

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The high profile sexual assault/harassment question







What is your opinion on the high profile sexual assault/harassment cases of recent weeks?

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Sunday blog: The rotation of seasons is a special thing in the Midwest of America

Commentary by Robert Escandon, Sumner Newscow — I enjoy the rotation of the seasons that we experience here in the Midwest.  I also enjoy the magnificent storms that regularly roll across the plains.  A good thunderstorm will often find me sitting out, under the porch, watching nature’s fireworks display.

A good strong bolt of cloud-to-ground lightning will generate a “clap” of thunder rather than the rolling notes generated from lighting which is more distant.  It is fun to count the seconds, after a lightning bolt, to estimate how far away it was. The sound of thunder travels just a tad farther than one fifth of a mile per second.

Robert Escandon

It is my opinion that lightning strikes (which are cloud to cloud) don’t generate the same intensity of thunder that ground strikes do.  I have no evidence for this and wonder if readers would agree with that observation, or disagree, or have no opinion?

My wife often reminds me that I spend far too much time musing on quirky thoughts to which nobody else pays any attention!  She is my wife, so she is undoubtedly correct in her observations of me!

Of the four seasons, I love fall the best.  Spring is uplifting but seems to be over all too quickly.  Probably just my perception as I know it heralds the 100 degree days of summer, which sends me to live in air conditioning 24/7 — I just don’t cope very well with heat. 

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Tyson Foods in Sedgwick County question







What do you think about Tyson Foods showing interest in building a plant in Sedgwick County?

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Sunday blog: Living in Ark City, I can say I love the automated trash collection system

Commentary by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Arkansas City changed its trash collection to an automated system more than a year ago.

At the time I was as skeptical as anyone. For years I had taken my trash (after the wife reminded me three times) to the alley out back.  We usually just took plastic bags out there and hoped for the best. Sometimes a dog would get into it and make a mess, but usually it worked well.

James Jordan

Then they wanted us to take our trash to the street, and were even going to give us a big container to keep it in. I park on the street too, and that was my big objection.

But a year or so later, I’ll have to admit it is more convenient and parking on the street has never been an issue. Sometimes I park in front of the trash container, but that has never made a difference.

Having a big plastic container is also good. I’ve not had to pick up trash because a dog wanted a snack in a very long time.

Here is the rest of the story on those shameful attack Ads against Rep. Judd-Jenkins

Commentary by Larry Anderson, M.D. — Like many of you in the 80th District, our household just received the sixth glossy “attack ad” from the “Americans for Prosperity” group.  The first four and the sixth “attack ads” fault our Rep Anita Judd-Jenkins for voting to increase Kansas income tax rates but fails to admit that the income tax rates in 2018 will still be lower than what Kansans paid in the years from 1992-2012.  You may remember those 20 years as that time in Kansas history just prior to the “Brownback Experiment”.

A return to near previous income tax rates is essential if Kansas hopes to pull out of the downward financial spiral created by this “experiment”.  An “experiment/debacle” which led Standard and Poor’s to downgrade our Kansas credit rating in Aug 2014 and again in July 2016.

The Fitch Group and Moody’s also made similar downgrades due to what was seen as poor Kansas fiscal policy with inconsistent tax revenue, and especially worrisome was their finding that our elected KS officials were diverting appropriated funds, such as highway funds, and underfunding KPERS to supplement the state general fund balance.  More recently, during the waning days of our recent legislative session, Standard and Poor issued an “alert” as our legislators struggled to gather the bipartisan votes needed to override the Governor’s veto of a second budget.

Culture Cow: Finally… Taylor Swift releases her latest album

Happy Weekend! The whole world stopped turning, the lights went out, and the sirens rang out into the night… Taylor Swift finally dropped her new album, Reputation.  This album is her best to date and despite the frequent changes in style and producers, carries a singular narrative through every song.

Taylor shows her mastery of album structure and changes the listeners mood with a swift transition every song.  The unsung heroes of this album are undoubtedly the producers and co-writers.

Max Martin, Shellback, and Jack Antonoff made as much of this album as Queen T and I’ll commend them for their work track by track.  This album is ripe with double-entendres, hidden meanings, meta 4h  wall breaks, and so much more.  To help you navigate the subtle genius of Reputation, below there is a track by track breakdown of how Taylor Swift reasserted herself as the greatest pop artist on the planet.

Ready for it?

Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Roy Moore question







Do you believe Roy Moore should continue to run for U.S. Senate in Alabama?

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