Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


Je Suis Charlie

¡Feliz año nuevo!
César Chávez Celebration XIII / Celebración de César Chávez XIII
Tuesday 31 March 2015
/ Martes 31 de Marzo 2015
Circus Circus Reno

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"If voting mattered, they wouldn't let us do it."Travus T. Hipp, 1982

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   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

It became necessary to destroy the community in order to save it
Barbwire by Barbano / Special online edition 2-26-2015

"No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session." — Judge Gideon J. Tucker, 1866 (often erroneously attributed to Mark Twain).


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Barbwire wins sixth Nevada Press Association award

We Don't Need No Education—> Neverending Barbwire Series

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Updated 8-30-2011
Reruns 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 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

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Long lines of labor commissioners and attorneys general have simply chosen laxitude over exactitude when it comes to pesky workplace laws that their drinking buds don't like.

Senate Bill 119 is absolutely unnecessary —> Nevada governments and out-of-state contractors are already expert at flouting the letter and spirit of the Nevada prevailing wage law.

SB119 hits the Nevada State Assembly Government Affairs Committee this morning. Chairman John Ellison, R-Elko, can strike a blow for fiscal conservatism by shredding it.

First, the cost to taxpayers of processing and implementing the measure will be eliminated. So will any potential litigation should it pass.

Two pieces of shaky and shady skulduggery have mostly neutered the current prevailing wage law, so why spend money doubling down?

SB119 may be inexpensively amended as a whole to become a rare piece of Nevada consumer-friendly legislation: truth in labeling.

It can be used to re-title the Nevada Labor Commissioner to Employer Commissioner. That's basically how the office has worked for several decades anyhow.

As to the school maintenance and construction taxes in the bill, that fight was lost two years ago with a Democratic legislature.

Hope springs eternal.

Long lines of labor commissioners and attorneys general have simply chosen laxitude over exactitude when it comes to pesky workplace laws that their drinking buds don't like.

You can get the idea from the following U-News posting from 25 October 1999 —>


Reno City Council reviewing leaseback strategy to build new civic center, an end run around prevailing wage laws.
The city apparently lacks the financial capacity to build it and is seriously considering having it privately constructed.


This technique has been frequently used by the University and Community College System of Nevada to avoid the Nevada Prevailing Wage Law and facilitate construction by importation of cheap, out-of-state labor.

Newly elevated Sparks City Manager Shaun Carey called leasing an "obvious strategy" for the oft-discussed new Sparks city hall.

The Nevada labor commissioner ruled long after the project was completed that the downtown Sparks Syufy 14-plex theater should have been a prevailing wage job. An anti-labor Sparks government disagreed despite firsthand knowledge of the city's subsidizing of the project, triggering the law. Syufy went on to burn the city for $1,035,000 in good faith money which was supposed to guarantee timely and effective completion of redevelopment projects. The Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada maintained pickets at the Syufy site for almost a year.

Scattered to the four winds over time, many and probably most of the workers will never get their back pay.


So there you have it. Lax enforcement and shaky financial shell games.

How shaky? Ever wonder why the rickety upper east grandstands at UNR's Mackay Stadium wobble so much? Built privately to circumvent the law.

Not to worry. The place is scheduled for a major facelift that may save a little face. And your ass if you buy a ticket to sit there.

Assuming you can afford it.

In the Barbwires of February 17 and February 10, I showed how eliminating area-standard wages imposes a pay cut on the entire community.

That's about as conservative as you can get.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR for César Chávez Celebration XIII on the great one's birthday, Tuesday, March 31, at Circus Circus Reno. Details at

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)

The Underbelly of the News—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential


65 YEARS OF KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD. Read Tribune alumnus Dennis Myers' tour de force about a tour de farce in the Feb. 5 Reno News & Review. His cover story "No Fair" provides a quick and vicious history lesson about Nevada government failing to take care of its people.

MYERS: Nevadans may well wonder why one of the state’s biggest and most familiar problems could be ignored so assiduously for decades, like an elephant in the room. In the end, the explanation comes down to a rule of thumb for politicians: Offending the affluent comes with consequences. Offending the working poor does not.

He also posits a tax solution which liberals may find quite surprising. (I resemble that remark.)

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY: FEEL UP YOUR FIRE METER. The Reno Gazette-Journal did big spreads on three consecutive Sundays (Sept. 14, Sept. 21 and Sept. 28) on NV Energy smart meter fires. Welcome aboard. Barbwire readers were two years ahead on the fire meter issue. (Touch a Smart Meter, Go to Jail — 11 October 2012)

FIRE METER UPDATES: THE NEVADA FIRE MARSHALL'S INVESTIGATION concluded "don't worry, be happy." I'm still worried and will continue fondling NVE's precious equipment —> If your smart meter feels very hot, not just from sunshine, call 911. In its Sunday 21 Dec. 2014 front page headline major story, the Reno Gazette-Journal published results of the NVEnergy-commissioned "don't worry, be happy" echo study.

On 1-27-2015, the RGJ published an analysis based on veteran reporter Anjeanette Damon's review of more than 1,000 pages of documents. Barbwire bottom line: NVE handles this like auto manufacturers handle defects —> It's cheaper to pay legal settlements after people are injured or killed than to fix the problem.

Don'tcha worry 'bout a thing! If you can't trust your power company, who can you trust?

DIDN'T THEY MAKE A MOVIE CALLED "THE INCREDIBLES?" On 2-6-2015, the RGJ reported that the Public Utilities Commission has ordered NVE to hire an independent laboratory to review the material.

ANTE INTO THE GAME: Support the new season of Barbwire.TV by putting your money where my mouth is.

A thousand thanks to those who already responded and keep sending show suggestions

"Media is the plural of mediocre."
                              — Jimmy Breslin

  Stay tuned.

  I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/

The medium that shapes public opinion needs at least one refuge where it is not filtered through the distorted green eye shades of prissy corporate accountants for whom profit is the only priority; where self-censorship is the journalist's normal work environment and where all sins of omission are tacitly encouraged and forgiven with the wave of a balance sheet.

This is important. We've got a lot of work to do.

Get ahead of corporate-influenced news—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)


Andrew Barbano is a 46-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 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 Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Peruse the Underbelly of the News —> Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Smoking Guns...
Get ahead of corporate-influenced news—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

We don't need no stinking wages!

The skeleton of the underbelly of the news
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 2-24-2015 Sparks Tribune

Parsing our parsimonious public pursers
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 2-17-2015 Sparks Tribune

What else is new? Southern Nevada CLC authorizes strike sanction vs. wage violator.

The flush of victory and the irony of deceit
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 2-10-2015 Sparks Tribune

Senate Republicans take a jackhammer to the bedrock of Nevada trade unionism
The last bastion of local hire comes under fire
By Sean Whaley / Las Vegas Review-Journal 2-4-2015

Follytix, Foxcatchers and corporate weasels
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 2-3-2015 Sparks Tribune

We Don't Need No Education Archive

The ever-expanding Ira Hansen Archive of an anachronism

Walter White and some other white guy


Union decline and rising inequality in two charts
by Colin Gordon
Economic Policy Institute / 6-5-2012
Labor Day: State of the Unions
By Mark Robison / Reno Gazette-Journal / Sunday 9-1-2013

The above graph was used in journalist Mark Robison's extensive Hard Labor: Nevada unions tout role in helping workers, firms, economy (Sunday 2 Sept. 2012 Reno Gazette-Journal, page one, Reno Rebirth section of the print edition). Union men Jim Burrell, Paul McKenzie and Guy Louis Rocha did the movement proud.

The Barbwire Labor Day column
Reno Gazette-Journal / 9-3-2012

...and more ammo...

We Don't Need No Education
The continuing Barbwire series

Barbwire: Nevada not really a state
No, we were not Battle Born in Kenya
Top 10 reasons Nevada lives in the 19th Century

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-17-2013 Sparks Tribune

Low-income penalty: Nevada socks it to the working poor
BARBANO: Nevada is one big company town
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

State of Health
National health care comes up against a very sick state. WHAT'S IN IT FOR US?
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

...and more ammo yet

IMF Head Says Inequality Threatens Democracy. Here Are 7 Charts Proving She’s Right.
By Erika Eichelberger / Mother Jones/ 5-30-2014
“The behavior of the financial sector has not changed fundamentally…since the crisis.
The industry still prizes short-term profit.”

The Post-Dated Recession: Pay me now or pay me later
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The Post-dated Recession
By Joshua H. Silavent / Daily Sparks Tribune / 5-3-2011

Nevada Press Assn. Better Newspaper Contest


Hopelessly trying to win an earthquake / 4-18-2013

The 2013 Loony Tunes Legislative Lexicon / 5-30-2013

The politics of media ga-ga boosterism / 3-20-2014


Support legendary photographer Don Dondero next

2010 GOLD 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

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

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Copyright © 1982-2015 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 46-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 moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

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