Tag Archives: Sam Brownback

Why Can’t Kansas Get Any Good Press?

I’ve been away for awhile. Frankly I haven’t had any inspiration to write lately, but a couple of weeks ago I heard a ridiculous story concerning my home state, and today I read another. Both received national news coverage. Just like when our state Board of Education decided that teaching evolution wasn’t important, these stories make us look crazy.

I was listening to “All Things Considered” on NPR a couple of weeks ago and heard an interesting story about our state capital of Topeka. Apparently, prosecuting domestic violence cases is just to expensive. It’s so expensive that the municipal court of Topeka can’t afford to do it. It’s so expensive the Shawnee County District court can’t afford to do it. So what did these two groups do? The district court told the city of Topeka that they would only prosecute cases outside of Topeka. If it happens in Topeka the municipal court was responsible. It seems pretty cut and dry, but Topeka had an ace up its sleeve.  The city council simply repealed the municipal domestic violence statute. Now the municipal court has no authority to prosecute these cases.  As city manager Dan Stanley points out, this doesn’t make domestic violence legal because it is still covered by state law. The problem with this situation is that the two parties simply fought with each other rather that trying to find a mutual solution. Instead, they fought and ended up in a situation that is truly not beneficial to anyone.

This brings us to the story I just read about 25 minutes ago.  Kansas Governor Sam Brownback apparently had some ‘splaing to do. At a Youth in Government event in Topeka, Brownback made some remarks. A senior at Shawnee Mission East High School (home of the Lancers) made a tweet during his remarks with the hashtag (I hate myself a little for using that term) #heblowsalot. Brownback’s staff saw the tweet and called the school. The student ended up in the principal’s office and was told to write a letter of apology.

Now the Governor is apologizing for his overzealous staff, and saying the right to free speech is a “treasured freedom.” I think Gov. Brownback did the right thing. I don’t really have a problem with what his staff did. They should be monitoring social media that involves the Governor. I don’t know why they called the school. They probably shouldn’t have but that is a minor offense. My real problem is with Shawnee Mission East and principal Dr. Karl Krawitz. At what point did the school believe they have any right to order a student to apologize for a comment made on the internet. The student concerned is an adult and has all the constitutional rights of a  U.S. citizen. There is no reason that she should have spent any time in the principal’s office, and certainly no reason the school should have told her she should apologize for voicing her opinion. If anything Dr. Krawitz owes her an apology far more than  Governor Brownback.

Well, I hope my beloved home state gets some better press in the future, but it does feel good to be back.

One last thing, Herman, another woman, give it up man.

Dinner, an Adventure Pt. 2

Two days ago, I prepared myself some chicken-fried chicken. I said I would post more about that meal the next day. Unfortunately I couldn’t manage. I think I am finally able to accurately explain the experience that brought me to what might have been the greatest home-cooked meal of my life.

I knew I had leftovers. They seemed unrelated however. Mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. They don’t seem to go together. It took the realization of chicken to make this all happen, Chicken was the only meat in my house.  If you put those three things together: chicken, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes, you are most of the way to my fall back meal at Cracker Barrel. All I needed was a vegetable and I had green beans, but what to do about gravy. It turns out gravy is easy. This is the story of what happened next.

I proceeded to make my meal. Only to realize that my kitchen looked like this!


Step #1) Clean

So I strapped on my mp3 player, dialed up some Jimmy Smith(renowned jazz organist) and set to work. Thirty minutes and a number of songs later my kitchen had regained its original glow.

Step #2) Preparation

Pan-frying is an interesting method. It can be easy, clean, and enjoyable. It can also be messy, frustrating, and difficult. The difference is preparation. The problem with frying is that it includes a great number of steps. If you are prepared for those steps; however, it’s as easy as can be. You start with the assembly line


The Assembly Line


Henry Ford was a smart man. What you see here is 1 1/2 cups of seasoned flour, one egg(lightly beaten) whisked with 1/2 cup of milk, and a resting plate. A few things to note the seasoning in the flour is as follows:

2 tsp. seasoning salt, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 3/4 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 paprika (I used smoked paprika. Use whatever you prefer.) Finally, there is a plate for the meat to rest on before frying.

Step #3) The Gravy

When the assembly line is complete, you can turn to the gravy. Gravy needs a little time to make, and a little more to thicken. During that second phase is where all the other cooking takes place. To make the gravy I melted 3 Tbs. of butter in a saucepan. Once the butter is melted, whisk in 3 Tbs. of flour. This creates a roux. You want to keep this over medium low heat. We don’t want the roux to cook too much. You do however want to give it a couple of minutes to meld. This will avoid a floury taste in your gravy. After a couple of minutes drizzle in 1-1 1/2 cups of milk, whisking continuously. As the milk combines with the roux it will thicken into your gravy. This would be a good time to mix in a couple healthy pinches of salt, and pepper to your personal preference.  I like a peppercorn blend for gravy, but do what you feel. Place this at a simmer to thicken. You could bring this mixture to a boil, but I don’t. I use the simmering time to do my frying.

Step #4) Fry Time

Now it’s time to turn to the chicken. For chicken-fried chicken, you need a cut of chicken flattened out. I used a boneless chicken breast pummeled with, of all things, a can of fruit cocktail. The idea is to lessen the thickness of the chicken to ensure that it cooks thoroughly.

Chicken Tossin'


Toss the flattened chicken into the first step of the assembly line. As the chicken is coated with the seasoned flour, it is prepped for further breading. Then, dip it in the egg/milk mixture and back in the flour. Now, we are creating a batter around the chicken. Once the chicken has been coated a couple of times place it on an empty plate to rest. In the meantime, heat your frying oil to a high temperature, preferably in a cast iron skillet.

When the oil has reached temperature (you’ll know if a drop of water spits oil back at you) you’re ready to put your chicken in. Place your chicken in the fat and frying begins.

Step #4) The Microwavables (optional)

In my meal I had some leftovers. The mac&cheese, biscuit, and mashed potatoes came straight from the fridge. The green beans were canned so they needed heated up too. My method was to heat up the things that took the longest first. So the order was: 1)green beans, 2)potatoes,               3) mac&cheese, and 4)biscuit,

Obviously, you should adjust to accommodate whatever side dishes you prefer.

While mastering the microwave timing, we should talk about frying time. If you’ve flattened your chicken out to a 1/4 – 1/2 inch, you’ll want to fry about four minutes per side. You will notice a nice browning that resembles what you see in restaurants. What you won’t expect is the wonderful flavor. After 4-5 minutes per side you should let it rest 2-3 minutes before plating. After that put it on a plate with your potatoes, cover in that glorious gravy and indulge.


Independent Kansan felt the need to relax this week and get away from the hard-hitting world of social and political commentary.  Don’t worry though, the GOP is trying to repeal the healthcare law, and Sam Brownback proposed his new budget. There is still plenty to talk about. Until then, try the chicken-fried chicken. You won’t be disappointed. You could have this:

Happy New Year: A Look at 2011

Well, it is official. One particular midnight has come and gone and now we all get to spend the next few months writing the wrong year on the date line. Typically people write all about New Year’s resolutions at this time. The blogosphere will be crowded with people making promises to themselves. I am not going to do this. One, if you really want to know my goals for 2011, I have a feeling you’ll ask.  I have instead decided to look forward at what 2011 holds for us.

Across the country new governors are being sworn in. To list a few of my favorites: Andrew Cuomo in New York. I list him because New Yorkers we’re smart enough to not elect his opponent Carl Paladino. Paladino on at least two occasions sounded like he was going to clock the a reporter with the gall to interview him. The second time was during an interview with NPR’s Robert Segal, when he was asked about the first time.

Break out your tie-dye, grow out your hair and light a joint,California is going back to the Seventies. From 1975-1983 Jerry Brown served as California’s 34th governor. Upon leaving he prophetically stole a line from a future California governor saying, “I’ll be back.” Tomorrow, on the 28th anniversary of his first inauguration, Brown is back for his 3rd.  His re-re-election brings up an important trend in American politics. If people know your name because you run for something in every election, they’ll vote for you. Well, except if you happen to be a witch.(I’m looking at you, O’Donnell.)

I could talk about my own state of Kansas and incoming governor Sam Brownback. Unfortunately, I’m to frightened/depressed/wanna-move-to-Canada to do so yet. Maybe, Brownback won’t be so bad. He has already appointed the top lawyer in the Governor’s office. That guy was an advisor to former Attorney General Phil Kline. So, I’m not really excited so far. Hey, I was wrong. At least I can talk about it a little.

Nationally, we had a very productive lame-duck Congress, after a fairly productive regular Congress. This fact combined with the unofficial start of the 2012 Presidential campaign, makes me believe nothing is happening in Washington for a while. Luckily, we still have Sarah Palin going all “Mama Grizzly” on us. So there will be something to talk about. There should be a George W. Bush Award for Providing Comic Fodder. Palin would be a shoe-in.  All in all, 2011 might prove to be a calm year. There are no Olympics, no World Cup. There won’t be any true election fervor for a while, so all our Muslim and Mexican friends can relax for a bit. (Unless you live in Arizona or a few other places, like Kansas, but more on that later.)

Perhaps the most important event of all time, but probably for at least 2011 can be summed up only one way.  “YOU GET THE OPRAH NETWORK, YOU GET THE OPRAH NETWORK, IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT CABLE OR SATTELITE PROVIDER, YOU GET THE OPRAH NETWORK.”

Oprah is now not just on your t.v. for a few hours. She’s got a whole network. I don’t really watch cable television so I won’t see much of it. If you want to win a car or humpback whale, the OWN is for you.

I would like to recognize just a few people who I don’t think got nearly enough press in this last year.  I’m sure you all remember the 30 or so miners who were trapped in a Chilean mine this year. They endured an unbelievable event and in the end were hailed as heroes around the world. One guy who didn’t get as much press was a man named Jeff Hart. Jeff Hart flew halfway around the world from Afghanistan to Chile. His job was to drill the hole that the miners escaped through. There were countless others, from engineers to medical staff and beyond. Unfortunately, I don’t know their names, but without them not one of those miners would have ever seen daylight again. They all deserve Time’s Man of the Year award.

So here we are America at nearly 234 and 1/2. Let’s hope we make it to 235. To all our readers have a Happy New Year. We here at Independent Kansan hope to provide another year of civil argument in a world of cable-news,political-spinning madness.

Independent Kansan’s New Year’s Resolution 2011: “Count how many ways Glenn Beck says that Barack Obama is a Communist.”

I had to sneak it in there. That’s gonna be a tough one though.

Election Night Continues. . .

Jerry Moran is going to the Senate, and Sam Brownback is apparently going to govern the state of Kansas (provided he doesn’t abandon us to try and run for President in 2012. Interestingly if this Tea Party mood continues Brownback would actually have a chance.)  No one has called the KS 3rd, but I don’t think it’s likely that Stephene Moore is going to win. The worst part seems to be that Kris Kobach is leading with %58.  The man who wrote Arizona’s immigration law is looking to win. This night isn’t getting better.