Calvin Coolidge and prairie dog stew
Expanded from the 9-26-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 9-27-1010
HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins third straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." — Voltaire

SUING FOR SCHOOLS: Click here to view the new Barbwire show on your desktop

Currently rerunning on Boulder City cable. Go to and then go to the BCTV link.

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution of the Dec. 6 and Feb. 21 programs as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award

Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest TV programs. You may also search by date — M-F for the past year save holidays.

Click here for on-demand re-runs
from the 2009 legislative session

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

According to legend, President Silent Cal Coolidge once hosted a vivacious and popular actress at a White House dinner.

Washington was abuzz with speculation. What would the famously taciturn president say to the superstar?

The immovable object was about to meet the irresistible force.

All eyes were on the pair and the assembled multitude let out an audible gasp as the actress leaned over and whispered something to the president. They saw him respond, then jaws dropped in amazement as she convulsed with laughter.

Later, a reporter who had been in attendance ran into her on a train and dared to ask her what Silent Cal said.

"I asked him 'Mr. President, why are you so quiet all the time?' He answered that 'after President Harding, the people want a sober son of a bitch and that's exactly what I'm giving them.'"

Like any good comedian, Coolidge knew how to read his audience

I can't say the same for the Democratic Party.

Last Friday, Washoe County Democrats held their annual awards dinner. It was a rather sober affair.

Acting as undertaker for the evening was keynote speaker Mitch Stewart.


He's the national director of Organizing for America, the successor to 2008's Obama for America.

The event was not a sellout.

Mr. Stewart started off reminding people of his greatest defeat, working for the re-election of then-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S. Dakota.

Great, the keynote speaker led off with "I'm a loser."

Daschle's opponent, John Thune, along with President Bush the Lesser and Shadow President Cheney, accused Daschle of being the "chief obstructionist" of Dubya's agenda by using filibusters. (Sound familiar?)

They also made the standard allegations of treason because Daschle was critical of the Iraq war.

Thune also made a big deal of wanting to poison prairie dogs. Daschle angered environmentalists by agreeing that the pesky critters deserved genocide.

If that sounds like the elements of a comedy routine, it should. But not for keynote speaker Stewart, who droned on into the evening in a bloodless, humorless, unprepared speech which was basically his standard seminar instructing inexperienced precinct workers.

Unlike Silent Cal, he didn't read his audience and concluded with this earth-shaking advice: talk to 10 people about Democratic issues and get them to talk to 10 people.


His entire lecture missed the point of this year's elections. You can't defeat raw, unreasoning emotion with classroom instruction.

Hardassed advocates like Michael Moore are pulling out what's left of their hair trying to get the Donkeykong party to act like its mascot and kick some jackass.

We live in an age of government by media spin. Corporate America governs via FOX News, which cows liberals and progressives into advocating pale imitations of moonhowler positions. ("I not only want to kill the prairie dogs, I want them made into stew to feed the poor.")

The nutso right is providing the greatest straight-man act any comedian was ever handed. But the Dems are fresh out. Al Franken, D-Minn., turned into Calvin Coolidge the minute he was sworn in as a U.S. senator.

Mitch Stewart didn't even see the obvious setup at the beginning of his speech, the silver lining in his permanent cloud: "At least Tom Daschle's loss was good for Nevada because it made Harry Reid majority leader, so you ought to thank me for being such a lousy campaign manager."

Democratic leaders are too afraid to laugh at the jokes running against them.

It's time to lighten up or God save us all in November.

OOPS DEPT. Last week, I gave the incorrect year in which then-Clark County Commissioner Lorraine Hunt ran for lieutenant governor. Worse, I printed two different years. As long-ago New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker once said, "I don't make many mistakes, but when I do, it's a whopper." Ms. Hunt first ran for light guv in her final year on the Gomorrah South Commission, 1998.

OOPS, PART DEUX. In the Aug. 22 installment of this weekly rant, I misnamed Tonopah High School. What's worse, I knew better, proving that just because you know better doesn't mean you'll do better (see above), kinda like some political candidates I know.

The column knocked GOP U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle for working to successfully block the Muckers' one-time use of Satanic black jerseys in a 1992 football game. The dark togs were intended as motivation to avenge a loss to Laughlin the previous season which their coach had called the "blackest day in Mucker history," according to longtime Tonopah newspaperman Bill Roberts. Mrs. Angle used the issue to help propel her to a win for Nye County School Board.

Longtime Barbwire readers will remember this column running a long series that year about right-wing religionaut attempts to take over local educational bodies, which they did across the nation.

The Muckers, wearing their traditional red (another color of the devil) and white (the color of surrender), won the game anyway.


Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, second vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced on Sept. 18, 2010.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place for third year in a row.
Next year, we go for the sombrero.

The winning entries:

Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck
Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


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 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo

Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

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

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
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
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Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2010 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration 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

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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