Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


Je Suis Charlie

¡Viva Chávez!
César Chávez Celebration XIII / Celebración de César Chávez XIII
Tuesday 31 March 2015
/ Martes 31 de Marzo 2015
Updates from the event at Circus Circus Reno

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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...
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   and a long red rose. That's how it goes.
   Everybody knows.

— Leonard Cohen

Corporate welfare unites me with the moonhowlers
Even Ira Hansen sells out to the gambling-industrial complex
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-19-2015 Sparks Tribune / Updated 9-29-2015


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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

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Not even Sparks Assemblycritter Ira Hansen is as conservative as me right now. I am one with the werewolves.

Walter White and some other white guy

Back in the day, I used to tell people that I liked having Ira's column in the Trib. Compared to socialist Jake Highton, libertarian Republican Travus. T. Hipp and uber-conservative Ira, I looked reasonable.

Over 17 years, extreme distaste for Nevada corporate welfare was the only issue upon which Ira and I ever consistently agreed.

Alas and alack, Ira just sold out to the dark side of the force, relegating me to the lair of the moonhowlers he usually controls in the Assembly Republican Caucus. That includes my fantasy fiancée, Machine Gun Michele Fiore, R-Gomorrah South, and 10 other GOP lycanthropic misanthropes who took a 31-11 drubbing from the gambling-industrial complex.

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority successfully pimped a $4 million tax increase for its casino overlords. Senate Bill 312 imposes a one- or two-dollar per night surcharge on local hotel rooms.
Now on its way to be signed into law by Gov. Veto El Obtúsè, it gives the money to the board which Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve last February called ineffective, beset by infighting and "the worst I've ever served on." (Reno Gazette-Journal 2-13-2015)

That's pretty much intentional. The first modest room tax was imposed in 1955 to fund "fair and recreation boards," still the legal description of the RSCVA. It meant just that — county fairs, parks and local recreational activities.

The casino moguls couldn't let such a pot of money go untouched and over the years skimmed the lion's share toward subsidizing their private businesses. SB312 stinks worse than a nicotine-besotted hourly crashpad because the hit is not just on tourists. A definition in the bill says "a hotel has an interior hall and lobby with access to each room from the interior hall or lobby."

That excludes most weekly motel hells, but not the decrepit multi-story dives that often accommodate the least among us. Soon, those destitute denizens of the detritus will contribute an extra dollar or two a day toward a dwindling industry's advertising budget.

The Republican automatic anti-tax zealots thus voted right for the wrong reason, including Sparks Sen. Don Gustavson and rookie Rail City Assemblymember Jill Dickman.

Ira remains the de facto speaker of the lower house. Inside the Republican Caucus, straw man Speaker John Hambrick, R-LV, is openly called "an empty suit." Both abandoned the powerless underdogs leaving the dogmatists to do something decent.

Ira borrows a page from Sen. Joe Neal's playbook about gambling's depredations

So today I proudly run with the werewolves after all my friends forgot why they were elected.

I will inscribe their names in the bible of Nevada corporate welfare at

MILESTONES. Barbwire/Molly Ivins Memorial Columniator Hall-of-Famer Travus T. Hipp signed off on May 18, 2012.

Camel jockey and Laborers' Local 169 member Mike Shaffer joined Mark Twain and Travus in the Comstock of the mind last April 19.

I wish them an elegiac drink on me at the eternal ethereal frontier saloon.

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

DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU DEPT. From last week's Barbwire:

SALUDO. Much has been made of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority landing three major veterans gatherings. The American Legion convention has played a lot of towns, even hitting Paris, France, in 1927, perhaps because of aviator Charles Lindbergh's solo Atlantic flight that year.
I like to think they went to celebrate New York Yankees Ruth and Gehrig building the greatest baseball team ever in that storied annum. Who knows?

I do know the validity of a 1970 prediction uttered to me by a veteran Las Vegas executive: "The American Legion will never be invited to Las Vegas again. Sure, it's nice we can say they came here, but they are never, ever, coming back. They don't spend money, they don't tip, they don't gamble and they cook in their rooms!"

I checked the American Legion website. Indeed, joining Paris among one-shot visits is our own Gomorrah South from 1962.

Reno-Sparks has always been a cheap date, so welcome back 9,000 legionnaires. I'm now thinking of opening a hotplate rental business.

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.) With less than two weeks to go before the beginning of the first special session, Myers once again looks positively psychic. Actually, he just reads history.

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. UPDATE: The report said all is well. I still recommend feeling up your fire meter on a regular basis.

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.

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

Hotplates, hotheads, hot rumors and hot Moose
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-12-2015 Sparks Tribune

MayDay! The bright side of riots in the streets
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-5-2015 Sparks Tribune

In the Uber-Nevada Legislature, words can kill
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-28-2015 Sparks Tribune

Tesla rewrites history to chisel worker paychecks
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-21-2015 Sparks Tribune

Radiation Nation: Gomorrah South bakes in the glow of victory
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-14-2015 Sparks Tribune

Revenge, redistricting and amnesia in Cartoon City
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-7-2015 Sparks Tribune

Harry Reid, Eddy Arnold, César Chávez and Gaga Madonna
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 3-31-2015 Sparks Tribune

High noon for the high desert outback of the American Dream
Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas.

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 3-24-2015 Sparks Tribune

St. Patrick, I need a green energy beer
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 3-17-2015 Sparks Tribune

Michele Fiore: the Italian girl mama wanted for me?
Barbwire by Barbano / Excised from the 3-10-2015 Sparks Tribune as "not suitable" / Updated 3-12 and 3-13-2015

Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
That was no lady, that was...none of your damned business!

But can she cook?

Barbano to legislative committee: Let Tesla, Switch and Apple help pay for police officer video cameras

Clinging to the Ledge: guts, feathers and all
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 3-3-2015 Sparks Tribune

We don't need no stinking wages!

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

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

Breaking Bad 5: Machine Gun Michele and the good ole boys
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 12-16-2014 Sparks Tribune

Breaking Bad 4: Ira and his ammosexuals flip us the finger
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 12-9-2014 Sparks Tribune / Updated 12-11-2014

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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