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Charter digital cable channels 16 & 216 in Reno-Sparks-Washoe
Charter high-definition channel 80-295

The sunny angel and the man of steel
Expanded from the 3-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Save northwestern Nevada community television

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

The math behind the move
Updated 11-16-2008

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.

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

Last year's columns about skulduggery at the Nevada Legislature which led to this mess

MORE: Smoking Guns

Government contact info

Barbwire.TV: 15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

Rays of sunshine are beautiful not for what they are – we can't see them – but for what they illuminate.

Without them, beauty becomes dim if visible at all.

They last for oh, so brief a period of time, then they bounce off to shine somewhere else.


This afternoon, Sparks says goodbye to such a richly enriching ray.

Phyllis Kaiser glanced away a few days ago at age 83.

She was a wife, mom, nurse, musician and served in more capacities to help the community than this column has room to print.

Her complete obituary will be linked to the Barbwire web edition at

Comments are most welcome and will be permanently posted.

She was preceded in death by her parents and three sons.

The daughter of Las Vegas Mayor C.D. Baker and his wife, Pearl, Phyllis graduated from Las Vegas High School at age 15.

Politics runs in the family. Her daughter, Joni, served on the Sparks City Council and has long headed the Committee to Aid Abused Women.

The fruit does not fall far from the tree.

Phyllis received a City of Sparks commendation for improving human services in 1985.

In 1990, she was named a distinguished Nevadan by the University of Nevada and the following year was honored with a National Conference of Christians and Jews Humanitarian Award.

I regret that I only met Phyllis a few times.

She was one of those rare people who radiates kindness.

My late wife and I first felt that warmth 25 years ago.

We got a call from a friend who worked at Washoe County Community Welfare.

At the time, I was the Democratic Party's nominee for Congress and Phyllis wanted to see me.

We toured the humble facility on Sutro Street which distributed food and fuel and arranged for lodging for people in need.

At the end of our visit, Phyllis handed me a piece of paper (I still have it) and said "read this."

I was amazed.

It was the official announcement by the Reagan administration loosening up income guidelines for free food.

Any middle class family making into the $30,000 a year range could qualify – through November 15, 1984, when the threshold was substantially lowered.

The anti-welfare Reaganauts were buying votes with federal tax money.

It worked, as King Ronald the Vague handily won recoronation.

Phyllis was aghast at such cynical abuse of public resources.

A few years later, she told the Reno Gazette-Journal that she longed for the day when some good Democrats could get into the White House.

At least she lived to see that day in November of last year.

We say goodbye to this angel of the high desert this afternoon.

A memorial service for Phyllis will be held at 2:00 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time) at the Sparks United Methodist Church at Oddie and Pyramid.

The weather forecast calls for sunshine.

THE RAIL CITY MAN OF STEEL. In 1998, I wrote a special edition of the Barbwire for the Tribune's annual progress edition.

The Steel Bloodstream Tells No Lies greatly reflected the inputs of retired railroad engineer Bill McGee.

Through the wonders of the Internet, I recently got an e-mail from Bill McGee's niece, Lin Geist.

"I am writing you about an article that you wrote about my Uncle Bill. My father was Bill's wife's Geraldine's oldest brother," Ms. Geist stated.

"I have been trying to find my aunt for a few years now but all I can find out is that last known, she was still in the Sparks-Reno area possibly living with one of her sons, Lawrence D. or William E. McGee.

If you could in anyway help me contact my aunt, I would be ever so grateful.

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
Updated 11-14-2008

FCC investigates cable TV pricing
Associated Press 11-4-2008

FCC investigates complaints about moving cable channels and pricing
Orlando Sentinel 11-7-2008

Charter Communications hires bankruptcy lawyers
MultiChannel News 2-8-2009

Charter misses $74 million payment
Reuters 1-15-2009

Website predicts 2009 Charter Communications bankruptcy
Moody's downgrades Charter on reorganization talk


"I live in southern California and pass thru Reno a couple of times a year but I can't find out anything.

"Thank you for the great article on my Uncle Bill. I rode on his shoulders many a day down at the 'round house.'

"Aunt Gerry and I used to go to pick him up from a 'trip' and he looked just like the picture of him (in the article) in his overalls.

" He was a very special man with so many inventions just for us kids.

"He would really get a big kick out of 'googling' his name on the Internet," she concluded.

I put her in contact with some railroad unions and pension funds.

Anyone reading this article who might have information, please write Linda K. Nanson Geist and make sure I get a copy.

If you are not Internet-equipped, call me or send information to P.O. Box 10034, Reno, NV 89510, and I'll forward the material.


CHANNELING CHARTER. One of my talk show regulars informs me that my daily TV program is now available on an additional source, Charter high-definition channel 80-295. (Yes, they seem to have added punctuation to their new hand-held remotes. George Carlin, call your office.)

If you are a Charter high-def victim, tune in, turn on and tell a friend.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

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

Reno-Sparks NAACP opposes Charter channel switch

Charter negotiates Russian-style: Will accept 100% of everything
Daily Sparks Tribune 9-5-2008

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Reno city council votes unanimously to sue Charter to keep community TV accessible
Resurge.TV will also file

...and more ammo

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.
Alternet 5-20-2007

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.

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

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
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
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Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
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Copyright © 1982-2009 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of and, 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. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

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 digital cable channels 16 and 216, high-definition channel 80-295. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988 and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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