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The future does not exist
Expanded from the 12-28-2008 Daily Sparks Tribune
"The past is the past, the present is uncertain, the future does not exist."
Save northwestern Nevada community television
The math behind the move
Charter Communications plans to illegally move four channels of analog to the digital tier.
One channel of analog bandwidth accommodates two to 10 channels of digital programming, depending on the complexity of the streams. High-definition movies eat up a lot of bandwidth.
A Charter statement quoted on TV-4's Aug. 4, 2008, 11:00 p.m. newscast said that Charter is doing this to "free up more bandwidth for high definition channels."
Charter thus gains bandwidth for between 8 and 40 digital channels by banishing community TV to the digital tier, a net gain of 4 and as many as 36, depending on content.
Charter VP Marsha Berkbigler, in her first speech to the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee in Dec. 2002, said each additional channel is worth $1 million a year to Charter and that's at 2002 prices.
So Charter stands to make between $4 million and $36 million by doing this, unadjusted for inflation.
Carson City gets the facts
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 10-19-2008
Talks with Charter fruitless
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 9-7-2008
Sparks, Washoe, Carson and Douglas consumers urged to contact their local governments to join the fight against Charter
ReSurge.TV 8-25-2008, Updated 8-28-2008
Evil empire eats its appetite
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-24-2008
Bandwidth bandidos admit their greed
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-17-2008
Sue the bastards
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-10-2008
Deregulation means never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-3-2008
MORE: Smoking Guns
Barbwire.TV: 15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008
The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
So wrote a scriptwriter in a movie the rest of which I've long forgotten.
I prefer the sign I observed many moons ago at Josef's Vienna Bakery in Reno: "Eat dessert first. Life is uncertain."
The fun of the future lies in its limitless flexibility.
You can shape it exactly the way you like.
It's your plaything, your escape, fresh modeling clay.
Herewith, my personal crystal ball which uses standard business time parameters.
Short-term is less than one year, medium-term is one to five. Long-term means from 2014 to the day we evaporate in a flash of fire.
Short term: We will keep inventing new and better means of killing each other for increasingly meaningless reasons.
Medium term: The economic devastation of the United States re-shuffles the international deck, giving smaller countries greatly increased power.
Long term: History proves futurist Jane Jacobs correct. The strongest economies in the 21st Century become those of emerging nations that split from larger political bodies. (Recent examples: Singapore, Norway, the Czech Republic)
Comic Relief: Unreconstructed Republicans in Elko County, Nevada, attempt to secede from the union and become a separate nation. They quickly become frustrated that no one takes them seriously when President Jenna Bush sends a single military officer to tell them to back off or she will have them all shot at sunrise.
Short: President Barack Obama finds he has inherited a hollow shell of a government. His attempts to stimulate the economy through increased deficit spending prove ineffective, as the country has been on the economic equivalent of a drug-induced high for the past seven years.
Medium: Largely to avoid the bankruptcy of the Big Three automakers, Obama scuttles his campaign plan and okays single-payer national health care, a basic government-funded program which covers everyone. Private insurers are allowed to sell plans for coverage above the government base, but few can afford them during Great Depression II.
Long: The Big One finally hits California. More than 100,000 people die in the earthquake. The disaster cripples the U.S. economy which was just beginning to recover. The formerly rich and powerful U.S. is forced to accept huge amounts of aid from foreign countries. Learning from the economic success of smaller countries, the United States slowly breaks down into regional zones of economic interest.
Long: Learning from the economic success of smaller countries, the United States slowly breaks down into regional zones of economic interest. The central government continues to handle the big stuff, while the regions form many of their own policies.
Comic Relief: On a narrow vote, the old south decides not to reimpose slavery, opting instead for updated versions of the non-union sweatshops which infect the region today.
Short: Nevada Gov. Jim the Dim becomes the darling of the few remaining conservatives who believe that government governs best by governing least. Jim Gibbons leads by example through not governing at all. Schools close.
Medium: Reno completes its transition from being a gambling town to a town with gambling. Las Vegas fails to plan ahead and much of Gomorrah South dries up along with its water supply and air travel.
Long: Nevada loses two congressional seats because of population shrinkage documented in the 2020 national census. Silver State housing becomes more affordable than at any time since the 1960s. Mining is finally taxed at a fair level and continues to expand, despite threats to move elsewhere. The foreign-owned industry's bluff gets called as someone finally realizes that companies can move, but minerals cannot.
Comic relief: After being impeached, Gov. Gibbons is asked for his political role model. "Gerald Ford, I guess" he answers, "a president who did no more than preside."
Short: Charter cable declares bankruptcy, placing emergency broadcast systems in serious jeopardy. (See last week's column.) The over-the-air digital TV conversion leaves many households dark.
Medium: Failure to build a hotel-casino at the Sparks Marina forces the Rail City into bankruptcy in 2010. Starved by similar promiscuity with corporate welfare giveaways, the City of Reno follows suit shortly thereafter.
Washoe County School Board member Scott Kelley is elected Reno mayor as every local government incumbent is swept out of office.
Long: Failing to generate the revenue for a new city hall, the Sparks city council begins a longrunning conflict over whether to move into free space offered by John Ascuaga at the long-closed Silver Club or by Harvey Whittemore at the Red Hawk casino. Whittemore, having hired far more former city officials, is tabbed as the favorite.
So sue us: Charter tells Sen. Reid and Reno
Ratepayers group may sue Reno as well as Charter
Daily Sparks Tribune online 11-11-2008
+ Barbwire Special Edition 11-12-2008
FCC investigates cable TV pricing
Associated Press 11-4-2008
FCC investigates complaints about moving cable channels and pricing
Orlando Sentinel 11-7-2008
Website predicts 2009 Charter Communications bankruptcy
Moody's downgrades Charter on reorganization talk
Comic relief: As my late wife, Betty, predicted all those years ago, the Mapes Hotel site across from Reno City Hall finally gets a permanent resident, a 7-11 store with three rows of gas pumps.
Short: Pope Benedict XV will continue pontificating in the Gerald Ford tradition.
Medium: As the deflating world economy continues to take its toll, people increasingly abandon sclerotic major religions for new approaches. The burgeoning green environmental movement concurrently fuels nature-based faiths such as Wicca and paganism. American whites find that they have much to learn from the ancient tales of the conquered original residents of this continent.
Long: Because we can no longer afford war, we give peace a chance. The first-ever major redirection of resources away from militarism brings economic recovery at last. Spreading the wealth brings the spread of peace, the fruits of which increase and multiply.
Comic relief: Mainstream religions suffer a body blow from which they never recover as little green men emerge from a spacecraft to hold a press conference. When asked if they have had contact with Moses, Jesus or Mohammed, they respond "who?"
I get to hold and photograph grandkid number 10 just as soon as I upload this piece to the Tribune.
I'm outta here.
Anyone who knows the film or author from which I gleaned the opening quote, please let me know. I detest using somebody else's work without attribution. (A version of the above Gerald Ford line came from the late Newsweek columnist Stewart Alsop.)
I wish you the happiest new year possible under current conditions.
Be well. Raise hell.
Not even 30 pieces of silver
Reno City Council Signs Community TV Death Warrant
Contact Sen. Harry Reid for help
Sparks Tribune / 11-23-2008
Rise of the machines
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 11-16-2008
The devil and the deep blue sea
Charter cable deal and Reno "settlement" offers are all death warrants for community television. Court battle looms closer.
Sparks Tribune / 11-11-2008 + Barbwire special web edition, 11-12-2008
Wisconsin statewide franchise law has not dropped cable prices as promised
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 11-8-2008
Falling all over ourselves
When will Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas counties get mad over Charter cable's ripoff?
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008
Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers
Decision holds great importance for Nevada
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008
Charter in serious financial trouble
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-12-2008
Charter offer deficient
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-28-2008
Charter negotiates Russian-style: Will accept 100% of everything
Daily Sparks Tribune 9-5-2008
Reno city council votes unanimously to sue Charter to keep community TV accessible
Resurge.TV will also file
The Dean's List
The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006
The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?
Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.
NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.
Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the NevadaLabor.com search engine and sweep for "Barlett."
The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below
ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press
SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.
By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)
Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.
Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.
BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey
BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy
The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966
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Copyright © 1982-2008 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP.
He hosts live news and talk (775-682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16 (for at least the next 90 days) and 216. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988. Tempus fugit.
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