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Bill Sniffin: Thankful For Readers, Donors, Writers, And That COVID Is Almost Over!

in Bill Sniffin/Column
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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Just think, 2020 is almost over.  Now that is something to be thankful for.

This has been a year to remember. And to forget!

This year has been a long, strange journey. But better news is on the way. New vaccines are coming and in 90 days, most of this pandemic could hopefully be a memory soon. We will permanently put it in our rear-view mirror.  Now that is something for which to be thankful!

It is easy to be thankful for all the good work that has been done by health care workers and EMTs here in Wyoming and around the world. A lot of you have gotten sick and some have died. We are so thankful for your service at this time.

We need to be thankful to all those folks working in essential jobs from stocking shelves in supermarkets to keeping our plumbing unclogged. And everybody else, too.

Back in July, one of every 67 people in Wyoming who tested positive died. Today that number is one in every 125.  Now that is something to be thankful for.

We are thankful that the 2020 elections are apparently behind us. Talk about a long, strange journey.

Besides COVID-19 the other big story was the election. I am so thankful to have it behind us although the results were not pleasing to many Wyomingites.

As the state that saw one of the nation’s highest percentages of its votes go to President Donald Trump (70 percent), we are chagrined that the final tally does not appear to be going his way.  But how does someone get 73 million votes in this country and still lose? Amazing.

I want to thank all you subscribers for your loyalty.  At latest count, there were 10,056 of you and new ones are joining us at a rate of 1,000 per month.  We also have some readers who have not yet subscribed (it’s free) and we welcome them to our site, too.

Many folks do not know that we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so if you donate to Cowboy State Daily, not only are you helping us cover the news but you get a tax deduction for your donation. So, here is a big shout out to our donors who have helped sustain us in our 23-month life here in Wyoming.

I want to personally thank our Executive Editor Jimmy Orr, Editor Jim Angell, and reporter Ellen Fike for their dedication this year. They have done a wonderful job.  No other news team can match ours for Wyoming know-how and years of service to Wyoming.

A huge shout-out goes to Wyoming’s best weather forecaster Don Day.  We, literally, could not publish a daily newsletter without him. Occasional reporters Wendy Corr, Jen Kocher, Tim Monroe, Tim Mandese, Ike Fredregill, Laura Hancock, Cody Beers and many others also receive my appreciation for their work.

Our weekly columnists and occasional columnists have been terrific. They really give Cowboy State Daily that daily dose of insight that our readers just love.

I tip my hat to Dave Simpson, Jim Hicks, Jonathan Lange, Ray Hunkins, Doug Gerard, Rusty Rogers, Foster Friess, Frank Eathorne, Rod Miller, Matt Micheli, Tom Lubnau, Cody Tucker, Tom Jones, Ray Peterson, Darin Smith, Amy Surdam, Karl Brauneis, John Davis, John Waggener, and many, many more.

Thanks for Annaliese Wiederspahn for launching this site with financial help from Foster Friess.  And to our board Tucker Fagan, Haley Davis, and Kristin Walker.

But on personal note, this has been one of the most exciting years of my life, serving as publisher of the Cowboy State Daily. 

Who would have thought that after 56 years in the news business, that I would be able to help a news organization at this age and cover the biggest story of my life?  How cool is that!

But I have to admit that shortly after taking over the reins of this wonderful operation, I was greeted with the twin negative dynamos of the COVID-19 epidemic and the Wyoming economy going into free-fall.

It’s stunning to me that after taking those two hits last spring, Cowboy State Daily is not only still standing – but thanks to the help of all the people mentioned above – we are growing and thriving!  And thanks to our advertisers and to the entities that have given Cowboy State Daily grants in 2020.

And finally, I am thankful for my wonderful wife Nancy of 54 years and our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and all our friends. Happy Thanksgiving! 

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Dave Simpson: Nine Pounds of Turkey Per Person

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By Dave Simpson, columnist

By sheer force of habit, we bought an 18-pound turkey this year.

Then we realized that it would only be the two of us for Thanksgiving dinner.

That works out to, uh, let me do the math, nine pounds of turkey for each of us. That’s more than we usually eat at one sitting.

I’m writing this before the holiday, so the bird is lodged like a beached whale out in our garage (beer) refrigerator. It’s cheek-by-jowl right now in the freezer compartment.

Pretty sure I’ll get a drumstick this year, maybe two. We won’t have to arm wrestle for the dark meat. But at nine pounds of turkey, I’ll probably only have room for a couple pounds of dressing, and maybe a pound of “pink stuff,” which is a mix of whipped cream, cranberries, and maybe marshmallows. Ask my wife.

Then every year we have “Green Beans Tannenbaum.”  This doesn’t have anything to do with the German word for Christmas tree. No, back when I was in the newspaper publishing biz, we would sometimes invite single employees stuck in town for the holiday to our house for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, so they wouldn’t be alone.

And one year a reporter brought a hot dish to our Thanksgiving dinner, which entailed canned green beans, mushroom soup and toasted onions. That reporter’s name? Tannenbaum! And forevermore the Simpsons have enjoyed what I call “Green Beans Tannenbaum” at Thanksgiving and Christmas. (With just three ingredients, anyone can make it.)

And then of course there’s pumpkin pie, which could be in jeopardy this year, what with the size of the turkey we will be slogging our way through.

How did two people end up with an 18-pound turkey? Isn’t this bad planning? Couldn’t we have anticipated this conundrum and adjusted accordingly?

Well, yes, especially given the sucking chest wound of a year that is 2020, when government officials in many states are telling us how many people can gather at our homes for Thanksgiving dinner. (Did you ever think you’d see this day in America? Honestly now, did you ever?)

At two people, we will be pretty safe from Covid, but a little forethought, given this Beelzebub of a  year, would have meant buying a smaller bird.

Turns out both of our sons will be out of town for Thanksgiving, but if they were here, an 18-pound bird would be reasonable. (Their mother sends them both home with lots of Tupperware full of leftovers.)

Our daughter, on the other hand, seems to think that being days away from delivering another grand child is reason enough to not put her husband, her two-year-old daughter (bordering on a “terrible two,” but you didn’t hear that from me), and all the necessary accouterments in the car and drive 230 miles to eat a turkey dinner with us, then jump back in the car and drive 230 miles home.

Takes all kinds, I guess.

Our son-in-law is the only one in the family who actually likes white meat, and I figure there will be about four or five pounds of it on this 18-pound bird. So he will be sorely missed.

My wife and I will soldier on, however, remembering one of our best Thanksgivings back in the 1990s.

We had a flat tire on the way to Thanksgiving dinner with my parents and my brother’s family near Chicago. I was worried sick about an optometrist’s assessment that a problem with my daughter’s eyesight was “beyond my expertise.” The appointment with an ophthalmologist was still days away. I was a nervous wreck. Worried sick.

“That’s it!” I said after we got the flat tire fixed. “We’re going home!”

We all got to pick whatever TV dinner we wanted. The kids had macaroni and cheese. I had a  delicious “He Man” turkey dinner. It was probably our most memorable Thanksgiving, and a few days later my daughter’s eye problem turned out to be nothing at all.

(I think our very pregnant daughter ought to get in the car and come down here to help us deconstruct this 18-pound turkey to make amends for worrying her dad sick that Thanksgiving years ago. It’s the least she could do.)

Dave Simpson can be contacted at davesimpson145@hotmail.com

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Phil Van Horn: “Can You See What’s Happening?”

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By Phil Van Horn, guest columnist

In the movie “Tombstone”, the red-sashed outlaws, self-named “The Cowboys”, create chaos and attempt to intimidate the Earp brothers.  Kurt Russell’s Wyatt asks his brother:  “Can you see what’s happening?”

The responses to this most recent global pandemic, at all levels and throughout all cultures, is a template for future fast-track declared crises; a case study model for greater imposition of future rule by decrees rather than laws.  

The responses to this pandemic, which was developed in a government laboratory and unleashed on the world, have accelerated the erosion of individual freedoms across all cultures.  One of the sad ironies in all this is that these incursions on liberty are initiated by those who claim to want to protect civil rights.   

The other irony, and this is more tragic, is the acquiescence by citizens.   

In the context of what has transpired so far in the year 2020, ponder the potential for either or both of the following two scenarios in the not-too-distant future:  

In the first, a President or Governor declares climate change to be a “health crisis” in response to alarms raised by interest groups, the media or an appointed advisor.  This health crisis is confidently asserted to be caused by human economic behavior.  

By executive action, a state of emergency is declared. Restrictions are imposed on the number days we may drive our vehicles and businesses are ordered to be open only 4 days per week.  Remember:  such a fiat won’t require legislation by an elected law-making body.

After years of behavior modification and a continuously declining domestic economy, when the carbon dioxide curve doesn’t flatten rapidly enough to suit the bureaucrats, more restrictions will be imposed, including the number of times per month we may be permitted outside the home to buy groceries, dine out or visit the pharmacy. 

This is followed by definitions of essential and non-essential citizens.  And throughout it all, a significant number of American citizens acquiesce.  I expect there may be some readers who are already cheering at the thought. 

In the second plausible script: a state of emergency is declared to stop the spread of opioid drugs across our borders.  With broad strokes and few exceptions, borders and ports of entry are closed to all travelers and cargo, coming and going, for six months.  

When the overdose curve doesn’t flatten to suit, more stringent measures are imposed, including quarantines for all travelers arriving at or returning to all U.S. international airports.

“Can’t happen”, you say?  There are two prominent examples, among several, in our country’s history when citizens’ liberties have been unilaterally erased:  (1) the writ of habeas corpus was suspended at the beginning of the Civil War; and, (2) American citizens who happened to be of Japanese heritage were forcibly relocated to internment camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor and a declaration of war.

In both the above instances, there were assertions that the times required such unusual and exceptional orders. 

Each action was subsequently determined by the U.S. Supreme Court to be a violation of constitutional rights and represented extreme overreach, small comfort to those who had lost homes and were separated from their families.

The model for the further encroachment on and erosion of Americans’ freedoms and rights is being artistically crafted during this current pandemic, in real time, and as we receive minute-by-minute updates. 

Each news feed, broadcast and briefing roils greater fear; the single necessary condition for intimidation.   Our individual — and especially our collective fears, fuel widespread anxiety and submission.   In effect, cultural complicity.

Can you see what’s happening?

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Thanksgiving: How To Talk Nice

in Column/Mark Jenkins
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By Mark Jenkins, guest columnist

Thanksgiving dinner. Eating is over, pontificating begins.  Uncle Lou, drink in hand, is about to impart bizarre misinformation he found dropping down a rabbit hole.

He does this every Thanksgiving. His pomposity makes it appear, which is his unspoken intent, that every word coming out of his mouth is the truth. Style trumps substance with Uncle Lou, though. It’s all true just because he’s saying it.

Everyone is getting uncomfortable, unconsciously frowning, but thank God relief is on the way: dessert. Apple pie and ice cream and everyone’s smiling again.

So goes the trope, not the reality. A 2017 Harris poll found that 47% of Americans avoid discussing politics at all costs during the holidays.

If a heated debate erupts, 48% of people will try to change the subject, 43% will attempt to persuade everyone not to talk politics at the dinner table and 10% will just drink more.

Talking nice has become more difficult as our country has become more polarized.

People are listening less and shouting more. Most folks don’t enjoy confrontational conversations.

And yet, completely avoiding political discourse is not a path toward understanding, let alone compromise and mutual solutions. What to do? A little evolutionary psychology might help.

The human species in its current form, homo sapiens sapiens, has only been around for 300,000 years. For 99% of our existence, we have lived in small clans, 10-20 people.

Cooperation was paramount for survival. We had to get along and sharing the same belief system was fundamental. We are hardwired to be tribal.

Studies have found that we humans, because of our evolution as an extremely social animal, are afflicted with three cognitive shortcomings:

  1. Confirmation Bias: We tend to believe information, and the people that deliver it, when it confirms our own belief system. Conversely, we tend to ignore information (even if it is based on solid evidence) that contradicts our personal belief system.
  2. Motivated Reasoning: We accept what we want to believe with little self-questioning analysis, but scrutinize what we don’t want to believe, trying to find rationalizations for our own position.
  3. Cognitive Dissonance: humans struggle when trying to hold two opposing positions in their minds. This internal conflict is almost always resolved by siding with your tribe. Emotion, rather than evidence, underlies so many of our decisions.

Everyone from The Atlantic to the New York Times has written about how to have constructive political conversations. Here’s what I’ve learned, although I must admit I often don’t live up to these suggestions.

First, if you’re engaging in a political conversation in order to convince someone to change their minds, forget it.

This will only cause cognitive dissonance and push them deeper into their own worldview. People who are put on the defensive almost always double down on their convictions.

If you’re threatening their belief system, you’re threatening their tribe.

Don’t pre-judge what your fellow conversationalist will say. Enter the conversation with an open heart and a desire to listen. Listen, listen, listen.

If you don’t understand something, ask questions without inserting your opinion.

If something is said that you find untruthful, you have the obligation to say so, but how and when you say something matters. Rather than lunging instantly like a guard dog, let them finish their thought.

Then you can respond with something like, “From my perspective, I disagree with your position but I understand where you’re coming from.” If you’ve really been listening, you should know why they believe what they believe.

Then it’s your turn to speak. Explain your position clearly and humbly. Nobody likes a blowhard.

Being judgmental or condescending will inevitably enrage  your fellow human. Be respectful.

Being pedantic is petty, being educational is insulting and relying on personal attacks, rather than cogent, evidence-based argument, is undignified. Personally insulting someone is a sure way to end the discussion.

When the conversation gets heated, don’t throw up your hands and walk away. Instead, be aware of yourself. Know that your buttons are being pushed, recognize the anxiety it may be causing, and consciously remain calm.

Finally, search for where your ideas and their ideas can meet. Try to remember we are all in this together. We all live on the same planet and must share the same resources, drink the same water, breathe the same air. We must find common ground to co-exist.

Jenkins is a Resident Scholar Wyoming Humanities

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Wyo Physician Says Guest Columnist Not Qualified To Discuss Covid-19

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In response to guest columnist Doug Gerard’s column “WY Board Of Medicine Has Done Blatant COVID Overreach” retired physician Dr. James McEvoy from Powell said Gerard is not qualified to discuss the matter.

The following is McEvoy’s Facebook comment in response to Gerard’s column:

Mr. Gerard. You said yourself that you are a layman and that the evidence for the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in the treatment of Covid19 is “muddled.” You mention that “some doctors” feel it is useful including a doctor you “trust.”

This article should clarify your confusion. In addition, just because you invoke the Constitution (Wyoming’s or America’s) as justification for your declaration that the Wyoming Medical Board overstepped its bounds, doesn’t make you correct.

You are not a doctor. How do you know what is best to treat patients with Covid19?

I am a retired physician. Since it is clear you don’t understand the requirement of medical practice, I will spell them out for you.

As a licensed physician in any specialty, you have a legal duty to conduct your practice according to accepted guidelines and practice patterns based on science and clinical data.

That means that when authoritative medical organizations recommend that a certain type of treatment is or is not indicated in a given situation, you are required to follow those recommendations unless you have enough evidence beyond anecdotes to justify off label treatments.

Infectious and viral disease experts determined after experience with the emergency use of those drugs in Covid19 treatment that they were of no benefit and had potentially serious risks. Therefore, the emergency use was rescinded.

The Wyoming Medical Board was correct. Stop writing about things you are not qualified to discuss.

By the way, abortion is part of reproductive healthcare for half of the human population and is settled law. That you don’t like it is irrelevant. What an individual does with their own body is no concern of yours. Mind your own affairs.

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Tom Jones: Wear a Mask; It Helps Protect You, Me, Our Friends, Family, And Our Neighbors

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By Tom Jones, guest columnist
Tom Jones is a former Park County legislator who served as the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee

I understand some people are upset about mask mandates.  They don’t like government telling them what to do. But we live everyday with government mandates.   Among them we:

Pay city, county, special district, state and federal taxes.

Go on green lights and stop on red lights. 

Educate ourselves, take tests, pay a fee and get a license to practice many professions. 

Don’t kill people.

Don’t rob people. 

Pay a fee and get a license to get married.

Don’t exceed the speed limit, by much.

Don’t go on our neighbors’ property without their permission. 

Register our firearms. 

Pay a fee and get a license to hunt game.

Use only the amount of water the ditch rider allows.

Don’t unnecessarily shout “fire” in  crowded theater.

Sit in our designated seat at UW football games.

Drive on the right side of the road. 

Park at our designated camp site in the park.

Build our homes and other buildings according to code.

Don’t build a slaughterhouse in a residential area. 

Make sure airplanes are safe to fly.

Make sure our employees are safe on the job.

Obviously there are dozens if not hundreds of other mandates,  many of which are so innocuous we don’t even think about them.

Remember, each of these mandates is based on laws and ordinances that were adopted in a democratic way by a legislative body composed of democratically elected officials that you had an opportunity to vote for.

Virtually all were originally requested by the people in response to a perceived need. 

In spite of these mandates, I believe we live in the freest country in the world and arguably the freest state in our country. 

So when someone asks you to wear a mask, or even tells you to wear one, put it in context. Why refuse to obey this mandate? It costs little to nothing. It helps protect you, me, our friends, family and our neighbors. 

As we have seen,  an economic shut is far more damaging to our country.  If we can avoid that by wearing a mask, let’s do it.

Happy Thanksgiving. 😷

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Doug Gerard: WY Board Of Medicine Has Done Blatant COVID Overreach

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By Doug Gerard, guest columnist

I’m deeply disturbed about a proclamation made in March By the Wyoming Board of Medicine.

I’m dismayed Governor Gordon, or his Attorney General for that matter, haven’t acted to correct the Wyoming Board of Medicine’s blatant overreach. After all, Governor Gordon swore in his oath of office to support, defend, and “obey” the Constitutions of the United States and Wyoming.

To put things in perspective, let’s start with the Wyoming Constitution and what it says about you and your health care:

ARTICLE 2 Sec. 38. Right of health care access.
(a) Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions. The parent, guardian or legal representative of any other natural person shall have the right to make health care decisions for that person.
(b) Any person may pay, and a health care provider may accept, direct payment for health care without imposition of penalties or fines for doing so.
(c) The legislature may determine reasonable and necessary restrictions on the rights granted under this section to protect the health and general welfare of the people or to accomplish the other purposes set forth in the Wyoming Constitution.
(d) The state of Wyoming shall act to preserve these rights from undue governmental infringement.

Pretty straight forward, right?

It says that you have the right to make the health care decisions you want and that the legislature may place limits on barbaric practices that try to find cover under the aegis of healthcare (e.g., abortion). Most importantly, the state is charged with ensuring that our right to the healthcare we want is protected.

This part of the Wyoming Constitution is quite dear to me. Way back in 2008, I started work to make Wyoming’s Healthcare Freedom Amendment a reality. After many twists and turns, the amendment finally made it through the legislature in the 2011 General Session. In 2012 voters had their say, and it passed overwhelmingly, with 77% of Wyoming voters for the measure.

The day after the election, I got an email from then-Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau, reading, “Congratulations, you’re the grandfather of a constitutional amendment.” It is the best email I ever received, three years of work paid off.

Now fast forward to March 2020, the age of COVID and the hydroxychloroquine controversy.

From my layman’s perspective, the science of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine effectiveness is muddled. While some studies and anecdotal evidence say the malaria drugs help, others say the drugs are ineffective. The scientific consensus is that, in general, the medications don’t provide any benefit for the treatment of COVID-19. With that said there remain a number of outspoken physicians that say the drugs help, and they proscribe them for their patients.

In March of 2020, the Wyoming Board of Medicine decided it knows what’s best for you and your healthcare. The Board issued a proclamation saying it will aggressively pursue and discipline any healthcare professional operating outside the ever-changing “standard of care.” The declaration explicitly threatens those that would or have prescribed chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in response to COVID-19.

This is unconstitutional. ARTICLE 2 Sec. 38 of the Wyoming Constitution is clear. You and your doctor get to decide the healthcare you want and receive, subject to the limitations set by the legislature. If you and your physician agree a medication, procedure, or other treatment would be of benefit to you, you have the right to that treatment.

Where is Governor Gordon? Where is the Attorney General? They are two of the top officials in the state. The Wyoming Constitution requires them to protect our right to health care we decide we need. Why have they let this stand?

I recognize that the Board of Medicine plays a vital role in ensuring Wyoming doctors have the proper training to earn and keep a license. The Board of Medicine is also there when things go wrong. The Board is responsible for adjudicating complaints against physicians, potentially ending their career and life’s work with revocation of their license to practice.

That said, the Board of Medicine doesn’t have the right to tell my dually licensed physician and me what healthcare I can and cannot have. This is especially true when the patient and doctor agree on treatment that is non-standard. The only institution that may place restrictions on my healthcare is the Wyoming State Legislature. It’s right there in the Wyoming Constitution.

Jump to July 2020; I get COVID. It’s personal now!

In eight days, I lost thirty pounds, was in zombie mode sleeping 20 hours days. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink enough fluids. Eventually, I ended up in the emergency room. In the ER, I received IV fluids and a prescription for a course of high dose steroids.

I was convinced that I was on a downward spiral and was concerned I might have an extended severe bout with COVID. I am confident the steroids stopped the disease progression in its tracks and put me on the road to recovery.

Just two days before my ER visit, a study was released indicating high dose steroids effectively treat COVID. Before that, steroids for COVID treatment were thought to be ineffective and potentially harmful.

It got me thinking: What if that study never happened? What if something delayed the research? How would this have affected me? Would I have gotten the steroids prescribed? Would I have recovered?

Given the Board of Medicine stance on COVID treatment, I can’t help but ask if that study hadn’t come out, would my physician have risked his license to prescribe steroids for me?

According to a physician I trust, the steroids were the medically logical action to take, even without the study to back it up. Even so, given the threat against physicians’ livelihood from the Board of Medicine, would a physician take the risk and act outside the ever-changing “standard of care” on COVID treatment?

From my view and experience, the March decree of the Board of Medicine is patently unconstitutional and, without doubt, hindering Wyoming residents’ healthcare.

The State of Wyoming, led by Governor Gordon with his Attorney General’s aid, need to step up and reverse the Board of Medicine’s unconstitutional action,

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‘In-N-Out’ Gets Closer to Wyoming But Cowboy State Daily Is Not Impressed

in Column/Food/Jimmy Orr/News
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2020 has been an awful year by any standard. 

The coronavirus, the Charlie Brown Halloween special being removed from broadcast TV, and the Chiefs winning a Super Bowl have made it one of the worst years in recorded history.

If there is a bright light on the horizon, it’s that vaccines for the virus look promising and — for some — the In-N-Out hamburger chain is getting closer to Wyoming.

Three locations in northern Colorado are scheduled to open by the end of the week.

“Our construction work continues to move forward for our locations in Colorado Springs, Aurora and Lone Tree,” Denny Warnick, In-N-Out Burger Vice President of Operations, said to Denver’s 9 News. “We are still on track to open our first three Colorado restaurants by the end of the year, and of course our distribution center will need to be operational by that time to support these locations.”

That doesn’t do much good if you live in Wamsutter, Lysite, or Recluse. But if you’re in Cheyenne or Laramie, you’re only a couple hours away to grab what many believe to be the best burger ever made.

At Cowboy State Daily, while we appreciate In-N-Out, our hearts go to other chains.

Bill Sniffin, a self-described connoisseur of fast food, has two favorites.

“As I travel around the country, we tend to sample various fast food joints.  In Texas, we like the local Whataburger chain. But when it comes to a national chain, the Five Guys Burger joints served up a delicious hamburger with a sack full of French fries.  Good service and tasty food. Our favorite,” Sniffin said.

Sniffin said he is not a fan of In-N-Out Burger.

“Their products remind me of the earliest days of McDonald’s and Henry’s Hamburgers 50 years ago,” he said. “Very simple and not very tasty. I will never understand the long lines I see at various In-N-Out Burger joints across the country.”

Ellen Fike, like Sniffin, gives the nod to Five Guys.

“I’ve only had In-N-Out once and I will admit, it was cold by the time we got back to the hotel,” Fike said.

“While Five Guys does have one of the best burger chains around, the secret to their burgers is to never eat them in the restaurant,” she said. 

“I find that when you order one and take it home (or have it delivered), the burger has time to melt the cheese (which is, in fact, the best cheese out there) and let all of the flavors meld together for a tasting experience like no other! However, their fries could win an award for ‘most disappointing’ or ‘most soggy’” she said.

Jim Angell, who ate every food item at Cheyenne Frontier Days last year, couldn’t narrow his favorite down to just one either. Arctic Circle and A&W are tops on his list.

“Arctic Circle — This chain has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid and there was a franchise I passed by every day on the way home from school,” Angell said.

“Well, to be completely honest, I didn’t always pass. Often I stopped for second lunch. The burgers are always seasoned well, the veggies are fresh and the fry sauce is to die for! And best of all, the fries are large and always perfectly cooked — not underdone, not burnt to a crisp. And generally, somebody is pretty liberal with the salt shaker. Always makes my heart pump a little faster. Really,” he said.

“A&W — Another childhood favorite, Angell said. “Before it closed in my hometown, A&W was THE place for a quick meal. The hamburgers are always fresh and well seasoned and the preparers are always generous with the condiments.” 

“I have a soft spot for the cheese curds as well, a relatively new addition to the classic restaurant’s menu. And let’s not forget the root beer. For many of us, this was our first exposure to the soda equivalent of ambrosia and it was a memory that stuck. Nothing beat someone bringing a jug of A&W root beer home on a hot summer night. Certain outlets even had a winter treat made of warmed up root beer with whipped cream and cinnamon on top. Quite good!” he said.

Jimmy Orr, who was suspended from McDonald’s during his high school days for making a giant phallic symbol out of hamburger meat (roughly 30 patties) to try to make his colleagues laugh, said Fatburger was his all-time favorite.

“Any hamburger chain that is bold enough to use the word ‘fat’ in its name is telling you something,” Orr said.  “They are focused on taste and taste only. They don’t care about anything else.”

“You bite into the hamburger and it oozes all over you,” he said. “The best way to eat a Fatburger is to put a garbage bag over your head. Well, actually, make a hole in the garbage bag and then have it drape over you.”

“The burger is so juicy and so large — and somehow so explosive — that it will ooze all over you by the time you’re done,” he said. “It just oozes.”

As a result of eating too many Fatburgers, Orr and a colleague launched competitive diets and is chronicled in the Two Guys Lose Weight blog at the LA Times.

In one blog post, Orr mentioned his favorite meal at Fatburger to his former trainer and what kind of workout was needed to counteract that 2,620 calorie meal. His trainer advised running a marathon.

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Dave Simpson: Somehow, I’m Not Feeling The Love

in Column/Dave Simpson
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By Dave Simpson, Columnist

Don’t look now, but I don’t think this “coming together” deal is working.

Joe Biden contends that it’s time to stop the political roughhousing; recognize that he will be president; realize that there was nothing to see here – move along folks – with his wealthy, jet-setting boy Hunter; realize that there was nothing to see here – move along folks – with the truly curious events of election night; and “put away the harsh rhetoric.”

Hmmm.

What he wants is the perfect victory. He and his party hounded Donald Trump for the last four years, ridiculing him, wire tapping his staffers, accusing him of every crime imaginable, making fun of his hair, dumping Big Gulps on the heads of people brave enough to wear MAGA hats, calling his supporters “deplorables,” hectoring his staffers out of restaurants, calling him a racist, spending $48 million on a two-year investigation that came to nothing, impeaching him over a telephone call, fighting him over every project, initiative, tax cut, trade deal and appointment he dared propose, and turning him into a nightly joke on network TV.

But, now Biden wants to be friends.

He might want to have a word with Robert Reich, the former Labor Secretary under President Clinton, who wrote this about Trump in a Tweet:

“When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.”

Catastrophe? I know people – normal people who don’t fly around in private jets – whose retirement funds are up over 30 percent since Trump was elected.

Some catastrophe.

But Reich wants to set us straight, pass out blame, maybe ruin some careers.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling the love here. And I’m going to wait a while before I beat my sword into a plowshare.

It’s time, our liberal friends and most in the news media tell us, to accept the election results, even though there are still members of Biden’s party who haven’t accepted the election of Donald Trump four years ago.

On “The View,” an angry Whoopi Goldberg scolded people like us the other day, shaking her finger and yelling that we just have to “suck it up, just like we did.” But they never sucked anything up, hating Trump with a vociferous intensity from before he was even elected. The angry women of “The View” never accepted the will of the voters in electing Trump in 2016.

A former Obama staffer named Hari Sevugan even suggested that a “Trump Accountability Project” be mounted, so that anyone who dared work for Trump could be held publicly accountable, so that they might never work again.

Late word is that someone in the Biden camp told the Trump Accountability Project folks to cool their jets, probably because highly-paid Washington perennials wouldn’t want a trend like that to get started.

I don’t think Joe Biden is going to get his perfect victory, with us all making S’mores around the campfire, singing “KumBaYah.”

The wounds are way too fresh for that.

I suspect they don’t really want unity at all. What they want is conformity.

AND LASTLY: In a recent column I suggested that if Democrats take control of the Senate, folks should bury their life savings in coffee cans in their back yards, and shelter in place in their basements until 2022. It was pointed out by a rather humorless reader that I am not a trained retirement planner (true), and folks could take me seriously. So, for the record, don’t bury your money in coffee cans.

Milk cans are more durable, and hold a lot more money.

I was also criticized for mentioning the fact that a successful candidate for the U.S. Senate was a former rodeo queen – asking why that would be a reason to vote for her.

I’ve never seen a rodeo queen kneel during the national anthem, disrespect the flag, tear up jack in Portland, lie, cheat, or spend money like a drunken sailor.

I say rodeo queen is a resume enhancer, any day of the week.

Dave Simpson can be contacted at davesimpson145@hotmail.com

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Jonathan Lange: Contrary To AP Report, Wyoming Delegation Supports Trump’s Efforts To Count Legal Votes

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

Multiple filings in state and federal courts alleging election fraud constitute the most momentous election news in two decades.

The 2020 election has the potential to be the biggest scandal in the history of our nation. By November 6, all three members of Wyoming’s delegation spoke in support of President Trump’s call to count every legal vote and discard every illegal ballot.

John Barrasso, Wyoming’s soon-to-be senior senator and Senate GOP Conference Chair, said: “As vote totals continue to update, Americans deserve confidence in a fair and transparent election. The President is right to ensure all legally cast votes be observed and counted.”

Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming’s first woman senator-elect, emailed through her spokeswoman, Kristin Walker: “Where there are instances of fraud, we must root them out, correct and hold those responsible to account. Anything less is a complete affront to the American rule of law and election integrity.”

Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s lone congresswoman and House GOP Conference chair, wrote: “Every legal vote must be counted. No illegal votes should be counted. The counting process must be transparent, and observers must have access. It’s the responsibility of the courts to apply the laws to resolve disputes. These things are necessary so that all Americans can have confidence in our election process.”

Nevertheless, the Associated Press reported that “top Wyoming elected officials refused to say Friday if they agreed with President Donald Trump’s baseless claim that Democrats are trying to steal the presidential election.” (Top Wyoming Republicans dodge question about Trump remarks, Mead Gruver, Nov. 6). This characterization bears little resemblance to the actual statements.

How can calls for a full counting of every legal vote be anything other than agreement with President Trump? It’s hard to read such misreporting as anything but a deliberate attempt to drive a wedge between Wyoming’s D.C. delegation and voters. Simultaneously, it props up the false narrative that Trump’s claims are “baseless.”

In a state where President Trump received 11 percent more votes than his 2016 victory, and which had the highest margin of victory of any state (69.9 percent), accusing a national politician of tepid support for Trump is certain to damage the relationship between representatives and constituents. While this misrepresentation may have been deliberately aimed at President Trump and Wyoming’s delegation, deception also causes collateral damage among the general population.

Lies disrupt communication. As a direct consequence, they destroy community. That is why everyone should be alarmed at the massive uptick in fraud and obfuscation that we have seen in the mainstream media and on social media in recent weeks and months.

No doubt the media outlets that conspired to hide the facts of Spy-gate, Hunter Biden’s laptop and President Trump’s legal claims were only trying to sway the election. Likely, they were not trying to dissolve friendships or split families. Nevertheless, they were far more successful in doing that than they were in swaying voters.

That is criminal. It should enrage every citizen.

The Fourth Estate—the free press—is supposed to unite communities around the truth, which enables them to hold their governing officials accountable. When the press becomes so partisan that it deliberately suppresses the truth in a bid to shield a politician from accountability, it divides and disenfranchises the community. In so doing, it has become the enemy of a free state and of every good citizen within it.

Truth is the bedrock upon which we stand as a united people. It holds us
together as families, churches, communities and nations. We are called to discover the truth, not invent it. It exists quite apart from personal perceptions or opinions. The more people there are who understand the truth, the more united is the society.

The upheaval we are witnessing in this year’s election process is far beyond the bounds of partisan bickering. Community-minded citizens from both sides of the aisle need to recognize that foreign governments, global media corporations and monied interests are openly attacking the community that is the United States of America.

Deliberately hiding factual reports and otherwise gaslighting the American public, their intent is to divide and conquer. Broken friendships, feuding families, deteriorating communities, and even divided churches, are only collateral damage as far as they are concerned. Power is their goal. Falsehood is their weapon.

But they cannot win if you stand for the truth. It is the job of every patriot of every political party to make truth, integrity and justice the highest priority. We must be more loyal to the truth than to any man. We must be more determined to find the facts than to win any election. We must be more willing to punish evildoers than to protect favored players.

Led by lies we cannot win. But united around the truth, we cannot lose.

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