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 from the record-breaking event at Circus Circus Reno
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Sahara Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada (21 November 1972) — In what would be his only northern Nevada match, Muhammad Ali squares off against world Light-Heavyweight Champion Bob Foster for the North American Boxing Federation heavyweight title. The referee is future Washoe County DA and District Judge Mills Bee Lane in his first championship fight. Former Golden-Glover Lane (20-1) achieved his own world fame, officiating at dozens more championship bouts. He starred in his own nationally-syndicated television show, Judge Mills Lane, for three years. Ali knocked out Foster in the eighth round but not before Foster became the first opponent to open a cut on the prettiest one's face. For many years thereafter, Lane gave away copies of TV reporter and now-retired attorney David Kladney's above photo.

When public interest is secondary to public relations
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 7-5-2016 Sparks Tribune

Karl Marx called religion "the opium of the people." Wrong. Opium is indeed the opiate.


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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.

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Be well. Raise hell.


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In all the publicity surrounding the big drug bust at Jones-West Ford, one minor aside got lost. The feds ordered their local operatives to delay the big event.


Alas, public interest often takes a back seat to public relations.

Websearch "opioid epidemic 2015" and Mother Google returns 601,000 results. Change the year to 2016, you get 824,000. That meat-ax comparison reflects reality. All of sudden, the opioid epidemic is getting all the buzz of shark attacks.

I'm a media guy always interested in the demonstrable results of orchestrated PR, propaganda, public relations.

An isolated instance in little Reno generates scant attention. Google it yourself. But if Oxycontin drug busts pop up all over the country in a compressed time frame, you score shark-attack sensationalism. Which provides a plausible reason for the announced delay.

I'm not saying there's no problem. I am saying that PR was apparently a major consideration, almost as if the attorney general sent a memo to local and regional agencies to save their biggest hits for the second quarter of the year.

Even if there was no concerted effort, it worked just that way.

UNINTENTIONAL INTENTIONAL CONSEQUENCES. A sign at a local medical practice last week reinforced the tragic tales now so familiar: No new patients needing opioid medication will be accepted. People in serious pain now have nowhere to turn.

It's quite similar to the attitude of big banks after they were fingered for crashing the world economy, much of it through fraudulent loan practices. They had plenty of money to help kick-start a dead economy but wouldn't lend a dime.

First, they got funds at zero interest from the feds and made major money loaning it back to the government at guaranteed interest from the taxpayers. Second, they were so scared of being accused of lender abuse that they didn't lend at all.

Just like doctors refusing patients in need.

LET THERE BE PAIN. "You never let a serious crisis go to waste," according to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

That's so American. We react rather than act. Let the bridges, roads and schools collapse, then we'll do something. Nevada voters imposed a sales tax in 1955 after government failed to plan for the post-war Baby Boom. The Washoe County School District now wants to raise sales taxes to pay for the Tesla Boom.

Medicaid patients in Sparks-Reno are losing their health care thanks to the mutual greed of St. Mary's hospital and insurers. Government appears intentionally powerless.

Where does one go for health care now that Jones-West Ford is out of the biz?

THE LAST UNION MEETING. George Battling" Nelson (1932-2016) requested that his memorial celebration be conducted like a union meeting. The Big Adiós for the great fighter for workers rights will be held at 11:00 a.m. this Saturday, 9 July 2016, in the Plumbers and Pipefitters Training Center, 1150 Greg Street in Sparks (89431). Nelson held many gatherings there as president of the United Auto Workers retiree organization.
For updates, watch (where you will also find photos and the story of the original Battling Nelson. Send me remembrances for permanent posting.)

George Nelson had a long history with César Chávez and the United Farm Workers union. More than 50 years ago, the Sparks resident stood with the greatest labor leader of the 20th Century, United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther, at the dedication of UFW headquarters in Delano, Calif.

Reuther provided stable funding for the new UFW from his giant union. Without it, the UFW might not have survived.

For his distinguished record of labor activism, which included delegations to Russia and Japan, Nelson was inducted into the César Chávez Nevada Labor Hall of Fame in 2013.

I was present on June 9 when the UAW presented the ailing Nelson with the Walter Reuther lifetime achievement award, one week before his death.

George "Battling" Nelson, 1932-2016

RIGHTING WRONGS. Lifelong boxing aficionado Nelson labored long on the centennial celebration of the legendary 1910 Fight of the Century.

The bout's Reno location at E. 4th and Toano has state historical signage. Homeowner Tim Elam built a monument commemorating Jack Johnson's training facility at Mayberry and Sherwood.

Nelson worked for years to complete the triangle of fight sites. On June 7, the Reno Parks Commission moved forward on a marker at the Moana soccer field, site of boxer Jim Jeffries' training camp.

Muhammad Ali said that he modeled his ring style after Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion.

Like Ali, Johnson was persecuted and prosecuted. President Obama has long had a posthumous pardon on his desk for approval. Battling Nelson gathered thousands of petition signatures in support.

Ali's March 10 memorial service came on the 70th anniversary of Johnson's death.

ADDITIONAL IRONY FROM JOURNALIST DENNIS MYERS' DAILY POOR DENNY'S ALMANAC: On June 28, 1914, exiled heavyweight champion Jack Johnson successfully defended his title against Frank Moran at the Velodrome d’Hiver in Paris. On June 28, 1971, four years after Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted and one year after it heard the case, the U.S. Supreme Court with its usual promptness overturned his conviction.

SENIOR STATUS. George "Battling" Nelson had friends and family to help him in his last days. He also received in-home hospice care. Not everyone is so fortunate.

The Sanford Center on Aging at UNR needs volunteers to assist senior citizens. As few as two hours a week can make a big difference.

"Trained Senior Outreach Services volunteer care providers assist and support clients 60 years and older who are frail, homebound and of low income. These seniors need essential services, socialization, emotional support and transportation for medical appointments and essential errands," according to program director Sina Ward. Volunteers do not administer medicine, assist with housekeeping, laundry, personal care or money management.

"The program goal is to avoid premature institutionalization, a very costly alternative for both elder and taxpayer," Ward stated. For more info, call 775-784-7506 or e-mail <>.

BACK HOME. Another César Chávez Hall of Famer, former Nevada Assemblymember Bob Price, D-North Las Vegas, is finally back home in Sparks after being bedridden for more than six months with illness contracted while hospitalized for surgery. Nancy Price encourages visits to cheer up the great warrior and longtime Rail City resident.

Bob turned 80 on May 23. I was honored to attend a small family party. His longtime colleague, former Sen. Joe Neal, D-N. Las Vegas, called in with birthday best wishes. Bob Price served almost three decades in the lower house. Bob and Nancy retired to Sparks years ago. He has been a member of Las Vegas IBEW Local 357/AFL-CIO for more than half a century. He helped build the showroom at the Las Vegas Hilton which was opened by Elvis Presley in 1969. Bob has The King's autograph on his old lunchbox to prove it. He chaired the Assembly Taxation Committee for many sessions and became legendary for his advocacy on behalf of the little guys.

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

The Underbelly of the News—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential


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, 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)

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.

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?

Smoking guns: Rooftop solar assassination Energy War Room

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.

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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.

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


Who owns Nevada's PBS TV 5-and-10-cent store?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 6-28-2016 Sparks Tribune / Updated 7-1-2016

Donald Trump, Charles Manson and Mother Theresa
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 6-21-2016 Sparks Tribune

Rent control, damage control and butt control
Barbwire uncloaks Donald Trump's running mate
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 6-14-2016 Sparks Tribune / Updated 6-16-2016

Muhammad Ali: Winning against earthquakes
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 6-7-2016 Sparks Tribune / Updated 6-10-2016

Irony Alert: Muhammad Ali's funeral on 6-10-2016 was held 70 years to the day of Jack Johnson's death in a 1946 North Carolina car crash

Nevada was a co-conspirator in blacklisting Muhammad Ali
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 6-9-2016

Barbwire Exclusive
The day Muhammad Ali & Sir David Frost faced off here
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-5-2013 Sparks Tribune

Nevada utilities contemptuously consume consumers
with continual legislative largesse

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 5-31-2016 Sparks Tribune

Dirty words for dirty deeds done dirt cheap
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 5-24-2016 Sparks Tribune

Karmic fowl, fox paws and other freakin' f-words
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 5-17-2016 Sparks Tribune

Be careful what you wish for: Justice is a game
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 5-10-2016 Sparks Tribune

Quick fixes & old hexes in the month of yes, you May
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 5-3-2016 Sparks Tribune

It's OK, that's the way we've always done it, right?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 4-26-2016 Sparks Tribune

When taking the cure is worse than the disease
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 4-19-2016 Sparks Tribune

Deconstruction, carpetbaggers and hall-of-famers
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 4-12-2016 Sparks Tribune

April Foolishness: How to stop a world at war
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 4-5-2016 Sparks Tribune

Fighting for human rights on César Chávez Day
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 3-29-2016 Sparks Tribune and Reno Gazette-Journal
Reno Gazette-Journal online edition 3-28-2016

True love, machine guns and My Sharrona
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 3-22-2016 Sparks Tribune

Those with crystal balls shouldn't throw stones
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 3-15-2016 Sparks Tribune

Remembering the first female U.S. presidents
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 3-8-2016 Sparks Tribune

TV or not TV — Oscar blackouts and PBS blacklists
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 3-1-2016 Sparks Tribune

Nevada caucuses: Star-studded or star-crossed?
Interview with Titanic star Frances Fisher campaigning for Bernie in Nevada
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 2-23-2016 Sparks Tribune

History foreshadows a GOP November win
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 2-16-2016 Sparks Tribune / Updated 2-19-2016

Psycho-spying the presidential pretenders
Psychological profiles of candidates and presidents
Previous analyses of Justice Clarence Thomas and President Obama proven correct
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 2-9-2016 Sparks Tribune

Donald Trump: from ivory tower to Hightower
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Tuesday 2-2-2016 Sparks Tribune

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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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