Commentary

Wed
26
Apr

An evolving Frontier

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

The Union Pacific Eastern Division, the first railroad across Kansas, reached Junction City the first of November, 1866.

A special excursion train from Leavenworth toured the new route Nov. 6. Tourists were greeted at the Fort Riley stop by the “Boy General,” Bvt. Major General George A. Custer of the newly formed 7th U. S. Cavalry and Bvt. Major General John W. Davidson of the 10th U. S. Cavalry.

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Wed
26
Apr

Trumpspeak confuses all

By Jerry Marsh

Does the onus for clear communication fall on the sender or the recipient? If readers do not understand what I write, is it my fault or theirs? I suspect we all agree that the burden falls on me.

I allude to President Trump’s recent announcement to the world that in anticipation of a North Korean missile test, the United States had sent an armada to the Sea of Japan in order to demonstrate toughness and resolve to Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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Wed
19
Apr

Manning’s Peak

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

The great cattle trail known as the Chisholm Trail was a natural pathway that had actually been followed by early Plains Indians long before Jesse Chisholm’s wagons cut a well-defined trail into Indian Territory. Chisholm’s greatest contribution to the trail was his unerring ability to adjust the route to good creek and river crossings that could accommodate regular wagon traffic.

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Wed
19
Apr

And all that Jazz

By Mark McCoy

What is it about Jazz that seems to transcend generations? I was at the Midland Hotel in Wilson, listening to the tunes of the Greg Harris, Matt Fuller and Grant Larson Trio on St. Patrick’s Day and in my bones I knew that my ancestors had been in this very town — if not in this very same spot — listening to the melodies of America’s own performing art form. Jazz was the rock n’ roll, hip-hip or pop of my grandparent’s generation. Born in the brothels and taverns of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, it is the major performing art form born in America.

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Wed
12
Apr

Legend of Skunk Johnson

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

They say he seemed to appear out of nowhere about 1869 or 70. No one is certain where he came from, “except that his dialect indicated that he was a native of Hoosierdom (Indiana).”

That was how the legend began.

Tales of his exploits became one of the traditions of the frontier and was told years afterward in newspapers across the country. A story in 1911 noted that, “For years his story was told by campfires, and always with boisterous laughter” ... over the origin of his name.

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Wed
12
Apr

Tax of the One Percenters

By Josh Hoxie

After the failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the Trump administration has set its sights on its next big project: so-called “tax reform.”

And the “reform” they seek appears guaranteed to elicit disdain from all sides — with the notable exception of the ultrawealthy.

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Wed
05
Apr

Beyond border strife

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

Captain Eugene Millett and his brothers, Hiram and Alonzo, returned from the Civil War to the devastation of the family home northeast of San Antonio near Seguin, Texas.

Their father had died in 1863 during their absence and thieves had stolen nearly everything. The Millett brothers joined with the neighbors to round up scattered stock that had escaped the raids.

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Wed
05
Apr

Fair Tax for Favored Few

By Jerry Marsh

Last week in his regular legislative column in the Indy, Rep. Steven Johnson gave readers an important heads up: “We will be working on a single bracket or flat income tax ... .” The flat tax is a proportional tax that after a standard deduction taxes all income levels at the same rate.

Proponents like to label the flat tax a “fair” tax. The concept rests on the false premise that Joe Sixpack earning a median income or less and paying the same income tax rate as Richard Rich constitutes tax fairness. One might fairly ask where was this fairness concept when the legislature exempted the Favored Few from paying any state income tax at all?

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Wed
29
Mar

Taming the Texas cattle

By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray

When Joseph McCoy opened his cattle market at Abilene in 1867, he brought a solution to a vexing situation for everyone in the cattle business. The shortage of beef in the northern states created a great demand for cattle. At the same time, Texans had an abundance of cattle. However, Texas was a long way from lucrative markets in the north.

McCoy’s “cattle depot” on the Union Pacific in Abilene brought the Texas cattlemen and the northern buyers together in a way that had not been done before. The early trickle of 35,000 head of cattle in 1867 rose to a reported 190,000 head on the range around Abilene in 1871.

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Wed
29
Mar

Tax system lacks fairness

By Jerry Marsh

It has been a winter without snow, at least until the snow job from Sen. Richard Wilborn appeared in last week’s issue of the Independent Reporter, Page A12, for those who would like to verify my summary of his remarks.

Asked why he voted against HB2178, a bill that would have helped repair some of the damage Kansans have suffered with Gov. Brownback’s fiscal policy, he claimed to support a “fairer tax code” and one that did not add “a surprise payroll tax increase to hard working Kansans.” It was his expressed concern for tax fairness for hard working Kansans that I most want to call to readers’ attention.

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