Playing Dixieland - The shell game continues
Fifth in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Expanded from the 5-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Updated 5-20-2012 and 6-24-2012
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Corporate Propaganda Research Archive

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows.

— Leonard Cohen

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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Updated 8-30-2011
Now rerunning on Carson-Dayton 226

Additional programs
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 as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

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.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award

When Washoe County's high school graduation rate skyrocketed from 56 to 70 percent in two years, eyebrows were raised locally and nationally but not in local media — until this column of April 22, excerpted by Dennis Myers in the April 26 Reno News & Review.

I pointed out that at least two widely divergent graduation reports have been published and that outgoing Superintendent Heath Morrison's own projected increase for the current school year is a mere one percent.

"We've been left trying to compare bad information with inaccurate data," one longtime activist told me.

The Reno-Sparks NAACP has contacted the Washoe County School District for original data with the goal of compiling one set of books the public can rely on. Branch President Lonnie Feemster, a census expert, questions why the African-American population of the area has increased while the number of black students has dropped. All the newbies can't be senior citizens.

All this underscores the growing suspicion that Morrison didn't do much more than reshuffle the deck and is now skipping out before the house of cards tumbles down. As it turns out, his new school board in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, is ready to change the way it compiles and reports student data.

Seems made to order for Dr. M.

HEAR NO EVIL. Why has it been so easy for Morrison to proceed unimpeded? Because, like supersalesman Prof. Harold Hill in Meredith Willson's The Music Man, he played to people's preconceptions and hopes.

Local officials right here in River City have always been susceptible to "over the hill" syndrome. If some suede-shoe swoops in from out of town, he gets due respect and easy access to the public purse. He must be worth it. He's from the big city.

The public likes and wants feel-good stories. Gov. Sandoval's administration and chamber-of-commerce types need positive press to hustle businesses into relocating to the High Desert Plantation: "We may have a notoriously underfunded educational system, but just look what we've accomplished in less than three years with the new messiah at the helm. God Almighty, what are we going to do without him?"

Funding was butchered. Teachers were fired. Graduation rates officially improved. Down is up.

SEE NO EVIL. In a display of bravado or foolishness or both, one member of the WCSD board of trustees actually asked for removal from my e-mail list after I uploaded the April 22 Mythological Morrison Miracle column. I could understand the same request from Nevada First Lady Kathleen Sandoval. I have not exactly been kind to her husband and she's not a public official. But one might think that school board members would want to read criticism of their stewardship. One would be wrong.

Anybody want to venture a guess as to which trustee asked for nuking?

I encourage anyone with comments on the current state of our schools to write me. Your names can be kept out. I have been compiling some surprising reader comments.

SPEAK NO EVIL. Dr. Morrison has given speeches before fellow administrators, schooling them on the fine art of public relations. How do you know when you've mastered the discipline? When you can convince reporters to publish what you say verbatim. Which is exactly what the Reno paper did last Sunday. A front page transcript and a guest editorial. This boy is real good.

The only person who has gotten Morrison-levels of ink out of the Reno Gazette-Journal this year has been former Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, and he had to die to do it.

WHO'S NEXT? District trustees have announced that they will conduct a national search but retired WCSD communications boss Steve Mulvenon disagrees. The prime season for shopping new administrators is over. Morrison, among others, put himself on the market and scored. To replace him now would mean choosing from the rejects. On Sam Shad's Nevada Newsmakers show last Tuesday, Dr. Mulvenon predicted that the trustees would appoint an interim superintendent and start a real search later in the year.

Other than the substantial salary, I don't know why anyone would want the job of walking the Morrison minefield guaranteed to blow your buns off.

SUPPORT THE NEVADA CITIZEN TV PROJECT to re-establish a people's channel hereabouts where education is sorely needed. You may donate at donate at ReSurge.TV or contact me, especially if you think great issues like the above demand extensive and rational discussion.

Help give the gift of non-corporate TV to your community. We are making progress toward returning a citizens station to these parts. Your support is both needed and appreciated. Thank you.

The Barbwire TV show is still in reruns. Check the expanded web edition of this column at

DONATE TO THE LETTER CARRIERS FOOD DRIVE this Saturday, May 12. The nation is in the throes of Great Depression Part Deux, so do all you can. Leave four or five bags of non-perishable food for your postal person to pick up. Union members tell me what you've always known: Every year, those who have the least give the most.

LIKE GOD PLANNED IT THAT WAY. After a downtown appointment, I dropped in on the Reno City Council meeting last Wednesday.

They immediately adjourned.

Coincidence? Yes.

Ironic? Hell yes.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first 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 and 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...

The above column is fifth in a current series on the collapsing future of Nevada education —>

We don't need no education

We Don't Need No Education, Part VIII
th in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-24-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Morrison & Maurins: M&M's hard to swallow
Seventh in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-20-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

All that's missing is an enemies list
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-13-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Abandon hope, all ye who enter college
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-29-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The Mythological Morrison Miracle
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-22-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The marshal is getting outta Dodge
So much for Nevada education's strategic plan + 4/25 Workers Memorial Day commemoration
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-15-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Breaking our own backs: If you have kids, move elsewhere
Have teachers made a deal with the devil? / St. Mary's firings begin
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-8-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Blast from the past: SUING FOR SCHOOLS
Barbwire 2-21-2010 / Updated 8-30-2011
Click here to view on demand plus other programs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

...and more ammo...

Proper Education vs. Public Relations
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 4-26-2012

David Brooks, Diane Ravitch and the education wars
John Merrow / LearningMatters.TV / 7-6-2011

Gates, Broad: Who is running Americaís schools and are they running them aground?
Maureen Downey / Atlanta Journal-Constitution / 5-9-2011
"Interesting Charlotte Observer story this weekend on whether the schools there are under the control of philanthropist Eli Broad, whose foundation, the Broad Foundation, has given Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools almost $3.3 million in recent years. (Broad has been a big funder in Georgia as well, and recognized Gwinnett last year with its highly coveted prize for being the nationís top urban district.)..."

Who's the power behind Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools?
If you follow the money, you'll find the Broad Foundation. And skeptics are questioning its clout.
Ann Doss Helms / Charlotte Observer / 5-8-2011

The Broad Report
Make no mistake, "what is happening in large urban districts today has been carefully orchestrated by vulture philanthropists." — Susan Ohanian

How to tell if your school district is infected by the Broad virus
Seattle Education / 4-19-2011

Why Charlotte-Mecklenburg parents should sue Peter Gorman and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board
Schools Matter / 4-4-2011

Demonizing Public Education
Diane Ravitch / Education Week 10-26-2010

Ms. Ravitch reviewed the film Waiting for Superman for the New York Review of Books

POWERFUL PUNDITORY PANJANDRUMS: Compelling guest commentary

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years in a row.

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 yet

Economist: This is a true depression
Elliott Parker Guest Editorial / Las Vegas Sun / 11-27-2011

The plight of the paper pushers
The great recession made bashing public workers a national sport
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Bury the Bad News with Rose-colored Reporting
How urgent can economic troubles be if leaders say things are getting better?

Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Fact-free nation: Inside the lie machine
Mother Jones Magazine May-June 2011 / Cover story and in-depth analysis

Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Plutocracy
Money fights hard and it fights dirty
Speech delivered at Boston University on 29 Oct. 2010
Part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series

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
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Copyright © 1982-2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-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 first 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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