Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


Je Suis Charlie

¡Viva Chávez!
César Chávez Celebration XIV / Celebración de César Chávez XIV
Wednesday 30 March 2016
/ Miércoles 30 de Marzo 2016
Highlights of the 2015 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

If only Shakespeare had written the Constitution
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 1-26-2016 Sparks Tribune


Support Don Dondero next
Note: Alas and alack, Dondero did not make it in 2015.
Wait 'til next year!

Barbwire wins sixth Nevada Press Association award

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

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Help us get the word out.

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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

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Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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The U.S Constitution was mostly composed by future president James Madison in late 18th Century English.

Too bad he had no flair for early 17th Century Shakespeare.

In the longrunning sit-com Two and a Half Men, screwoff urchin Jake Harper (played by Angus T. Jones) protests that his school assignment, Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, is not written in English.

If only the Constitution were so arcane, we might not have the likes of madcap Ammon Bundy freezing his buns off in Oregon and asserting that the federal government has no power over him unless the local sheriff grants it.

That's the same doofus constitutional scholarship that landed actor Wesley Snipes in prison for tax evasion.

In addition to Madison's text, there are more than two centuries of amendments, legislation, court decisions, regulations, treaties and presidential executive orders which impact every aspect.

Bundy is a sideshow compared to the union-busting case currently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court (Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association).

The plaintiff asserts that public employees don't have to pay for union services even if they receive union benefits in states which have passed "agency shop" laws.

Republican State Controller Ron Knecht, proving that college degrees don't guarantee depth, recently wrote in the Elko Daily Free Press that it's like a magazine subscription. If you don't re-subscribe, you don't have to pay.

Actually, in Nevada, which has no agency shop law, about four in 10 workers get a free ride courtesy of dues-paying union members.

The chiseling minority receive union pay, benefits and representation for nothing, the equivalent of getting Knecht's magazine for free.

Union busters assert a First Amendment right to freebies on grounds of freedom of speech and assembly (free association).

OK, two can play that game. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments mandate that no person may be deprived of property without due process of law. Taking union member dues to service non-members certainly fits that description.

That's two amendments for the good guys vs. one for the bad guys.

Constitutional checkmate?

Perchance to dream.

MAJ. JOHN ARTHUR RIGGS, 1946-2016. The longtime Sparks resident, holder of a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, died Jan. 12. His was a lifetime of service to America and Nevada. The UNR grad established full-time schools in the state prison system and was also a longtime parole and probation officer. 

He served as state president of the Nevada Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) and commander of Reno Camp 25 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

My friend John will be memorialized at 10:00 a.m. on Jan. 26 at Mountain View on Stoker Ave. in northwest Reno.

HAPPY TALK. "The happiest human activity is sex and the second-unhappiest is Facebook." So reports the venerable Harper's Magazine in its February edition.

I would have guessed right on one of out two.

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

The Underbelly of the News—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

BARBWIRE WEB EXTRAS... TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY: FEEL UP YOUR FIRE METER. The Reno Gazette-Journal did big spreads on threeconsecutive Sundays (Sept. 14, Sept. 21 and Sept. 28, 2014) 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


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, whom 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 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 47-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

Leading questions and lead-headed leaders
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 1-19-2016 Sparks Tribune

In Sparks, politics isn't personal, just business
Conflict of interest means never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 1-12-2016 Sparks Tribune / Updated 12-14-2016

If you can't trust Dear Abby, whom can you trust?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 1-5-2016 Sparks Tribune

Open season on law-breaking dangerous drones
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 12-29-2015 Sparks Tribune, Updated 12-30-2015

Faraday's fair name befouled in fallow fields of Vegas
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 12-22-2015 Sparks Tribune

This is not the America anyone's God blessed
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 12-15-2015 Sparks Tribune

And we didn't even get kissed afterward
Barbwire by Barbano / Sparks City Council Special Online Report 12-14-2015

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap — again and again
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 12-8-2015 Sparks Tribune

Turf and training: Dirty deeds done dirt cheap
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 12-1-2015 Sparks Tribune / Updated 12-2-2015

On artificial turf, don't breathe unless necessary
Toxic turf all over town
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 11-24-2015 Sparks Tribune

Sorcerer's apprentices work cheap in Nevada
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 11-17-2015 Sparks Tribune / Updated 11-20 and 11-24-2015

Weekend at Bernie's with Eugene McCarthy's grandchildren
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 11-10-2015 Sparks Tribune / Updated 11-12-2015

Last of the dinosaurs: Grease for corporate gears
Reno Gazette-Journal "retires" most experienced journalists
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 11-3-2015 Sparks Tribune

The Donald and The Church Lady run among us
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 10-27-2015 Sparks Tribune / Updated with a merry 'toon 10-27-2015

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

...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

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 © 1982-2016 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 47-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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