Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream
The Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Columniator Hall of Flames


Site map
SITE NAVIGATION TIPS: When all else fails, read the instructions (A favorite John Hanks aphorism I've been using for decades)

Je Suis Charlie
"Our republic and its press will rise or fall together." — Joseph Pulitzer

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


An Alternative National Anthem
By Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) & Sharon Robinson
© 1988 CBS Records, Inc.

   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 that the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows that the captain lied.
   Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died.
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   And a long stem rose.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that you love me, baby.
Everybody knows you really do.
   Everybody knows that you've been faithful,
Give or take a time or two.
   Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
   Without your clothes.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that it's now or never.
Everybody knows that it's me or you.
   And everybody knows that you live forever
When you've done a line or two.
   Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
   For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that the plague is coming.
Everybody knows that it's moving fast.
   Everybody knows that the naked man & woman —
Just a shining artifact of the past.
   Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
   That will disclose
What everybody knows.

   And everybody knows that you're in trouble.
Everybody knows what you've been through
   From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach at Malibu.
   Everybody knows it's coming apart.
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
   Before it blows.
And everybody knows.

Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.


I hope you understand I just had to go back to the island.
Leon Russell, 1942-2016

"The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have." Kierkegaard

Busted bus system: High-paid pimps & thieves
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 10-6-2021 / Expansions in blue

Greatest Hits Dept.


Barbwire nominee Dennis Myers elected to NPA Hall of Fame

Support Don Dondero
and Jake Highton next.

Send endorsements

Barbwire wins 11th Nevada Press Association award

GOLD 2017-18

2018 First-Place Winners

From the depths of despair to the den of iniquity & holy of holies

"Excellent work. These are some of the most moving columns I've read."
— NPA contest judge/9-29-201

The Grasshopper and
the Dragonfly


Kicked off the Ledge

Back to the Future in
Mississippi West Nevada


Gold 2017
Don't ask Renown Med for marijuana to help your chemo

We Don't Need No Education
Toxic turf threat ignored

Kate Smith & Lady Gaga

Bronze 6-pack
In the Uber-Nevada legislature, words can kill
On artificial turf, don't breathe unless absolutely necessary (above)
Leading questions, lead-headed leaders

Hopelessly trying to win an earthquake
2013 Loony Tunes Legislative Lexicon
The politics of media ga-ga boosterism

More statewide and national award winners

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

1997 Pulitzer Prize entries

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
BEATING LUSH RAMBO AT HIS OWN GAME: Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

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

Tomorrow's news today —> Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential


STRIKE TWO. The third Teamsters Union strike against the local bus system is now into its second week.

The first came in 2002. The second, last month. We're on a roll!

The five elected officials who make up the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC) have pulled a Pontius Pilate, washing their hands, wiping off fingerprints and bleaching the stains they have left on worker and passenger lives — including lactating mothers.

The commissioners all cower behind lawyerly advice.

Reno City Councilmember Jenny Brekhus has been the lone advocate for the little people. She does not but should sit on RTC, as the the longtime solo voice for passengers and workers — all of whom have daily been exposed to unsafe COVID-19 conditions for the past 20 months.

WHITE FLAG SURRENDER. France-based mis-manager Keolis-19 doesn't have to care because RTC boss Bill Thomas, perhaps without authority to do so, waived all contractual penalties against them in March, 2020. And kept it secret until last month. (Smoking gun at

This week, Brekhus demanded an investigation.

"In a series of tweets posted Saturday, Brekhus, one of the only local leaders to publicly support Teamsters Local 533 at both strikes, asked Gov. Steve Sisolak and members of Nevada's congressional delegation to investigate Keolis," KRNV TV-4 journalist Ben Margiott reported on Oct. 4.

"Brekhus called for the investigation in light of a story showing that a former Keolis general manager 'authorized a contract with his wife's company,'...She tweeted that she expected to hear about charges against him for 'misuse of funds' but has not." (The Barbwire reported this last year. See for sordid details.)

"Brekhus also called on the five-member RTC board, which oversees RTC and Keolis, to take a more active leadership role," Margiott noted.

" ' This latest collapse here with the transit system strike is a story that's been written for a while and there just has not been leadership at the RTC level to come forward and say 'We need to fix the system. We need to invest in the system,' Brekhus said. 'They are hiding at arms length from this relationship with Keolis which was always set up to fail....

" ' If you're a community of our size, approaching about a half million, and you don't have a decent, workable transit system, you're going to fail. And the people you're going to fail are the most vulnerable. They're going to be those on the economic margins. They're going to be the disabled and they're going to be the elderly.'

"RTC chair Neoma Jardon last week said the French-based company has met its contract parameters since taking over bus operations in July 2019," Margiott stated.

Of course, Neoma, your pal Bill Thomas removed all performance mandates so there are no contract parameters. Let's go to lunch.

Rumor has it that Jardon and her fellow term-limited Reno councilmember Oscar Delgado have their sights set on running for Washoe County Commission next year in order to stay on the highly-paid public dole.

"Union leaders have publicly urged the RTC board to 'Fire Keolis,' citing unfair labor practices, regressive bargaining tactics and safety issues during the COVID-19 pandemic," Margiott noted.

Other RTC members are Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson along with county commissioners Bob Lucey and Vaughn Hartung. [CONTACT]

STRIKE TOO. At press time came word that members of the union representing roughly 60,000 TV and film production workers voted nearly unanimously to authorize a strike in Hollywood. That will ripple through the economy, as the transit strike has done here. Stay tuned.

SUE THOMPSON, 1925-2021. Sixty years after her first hits, sweet sounding Sue Thompson died in Pahrump, Nevada, on Sept. 23. She was 96.

"Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)", a top-10 hit in 1961, was followed by "Norman", "James (Hold the Ladder Steady)" (1962), and "Paper Tiger." (1964)

She followed "James" with "Have a Good Time," which Tony Bennett had recorded in 1952. She left her teenage little girl sound behind and turned to country music the rest of her life.

She may have been the first early rock star to score air play with a new recording while in her 80s. Her cut of the standard "You Belong to Me," her all-time favorite, got picked up in 2010, "Ms. Thompson still sounding sweet and clear," the New York Times noted.

She played Las Vegas, Tahoe and Reno. Whadya expect from a native of Nevada — Nevada, Missouri.

"Most popular songs actually are country-and-western songs with a modern instrumental background," she told the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1963, noted in her New York Times obituary last week.

She was no ditz. In 1966, she came under fire while on tour entertaining U.S. troops in Vietnam.

She once sat for hours with a severely wounded soldier, "helping him conjure up good memories," the Times reported.

"She came back shaken," the Times stated.

"I will never be the same I saw and learned unbelievable things."

She was ill for weeks afterward and long suspected that she had been exposed to Agent Orange, which has deformed, debilitated and killed untold tens of thousands of Americans and Vietnamese to this very day.

Nonetheless, she volunteered to return to the soldiers in 'Nam but her second tour got cancelled as too dangerous.

Rock stars have been dying since the Buddy Holly/Ritchie Valens/Big Bopper plane crash of 1959. I don't know why this one got to me.

Maybe it's because in my mind, the former Eva Sue McKee (she selected her stage name from a phone book) will look and sound 17-cute forever.

Looking forward should dominate your psyche at any age. We need to often remind ourselves of that. Thus with her passing.

Requiescata in pace, pretty girl. Hold the ladder steady for us. We won't be taking the bus.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer
(And my French.)

Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,, BallotBoxing.US,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <

Striking blows for justice
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 9-29-2021 / Expansions in blue

Just when I thought I was going to have a mellow week, my Teamsters sisters and brothers struck the local bus system.


A service that recorded just one work stoppage since its 1982 founding (Hot August Strike 1.0 in 2002) has now had two in just the past two months. Strike 3.0 hit the streets at noon last Monday.

Our elected officials on the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County are now giving taxpayer money to Uber and Lyft to carry some of the RTCRide system's weight.

They will never handle it all — more than 20,000 passengers a day on average.

At this month's meeting of the commission, RTC mis-managers presented their annual report. While they tried to gloss over the awful truth, they apparently submitted some actual facts

The stats (available with this column at, showed that after for-profit contractor Keolis-19 scored a heretofore unheard-of 10-year (!) contract beginning in July of 2019, ridership immediately nosedived and cratered for eight months before the pandemic hit.

Then, of course, matters worsened when the French pirates refused to impose federal and state mask mandates. Matters have not improved.

Kept from the public until a few weeks ago, RTC Executive Director Bill Thomas used or abused his authority to waive all performance penalties, as much as $1,000 a day per lost route, among other things.

So the Paris-based outfit can provide miserable service with impunity. Can you imagine a ballgame without officials?

I want to know if Mr. Thomas had the authority to do what he did and why it was kept secret for well over a year.

Keolis is free to cancel routes, slow down service and shift transit away from seniors and the disabled — which they are now again doing as they did in last month's strike.

On August 30, Mr. Thomas announced that the bus system would at long last comply with federal and state COVID-19 safety mandates. An hour later, the new Keolis-19 manager told the union that masks would not be enforced.

Not surprisingly, the system has been running about 50 drivers short.

I wouldn't want to work for a superspreader and thus admire my courageous union colleagues who daily risk their lives to serve the young, the elderly, the disabled, the homeless, minorities and the poor, among others. (Go to the front page of to look at a photo that will break your heart.)

It didn't have to be this way. Reno Councilmember Jenny Brekhus told the commission that Keolis-19's despicable conduct is unique among all the public employee unions she has dealt with in her three terms at city hall. (She does not sit on RTC, dammit.)

RTC is comprised of Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson (R), Washoe County Commissioners Vaughn Hartung (R), and Bob Lucey (R); Reno City Councilmembers Oscar Delgado (D) and Neoma Jardon, (R) board chair. Board e-mail <>

To his credit, at the Sept. 17 RTC meeting, Mayor Lawson asked Mr. Thomas for complete information on Keolis-19 performance. Mr. Thomas said it was all in the written report. I hope Hizzoner didn't take that assertion at face value.

Some blackguard has been spreading the lie that the union agreed not to strike again in exchange for the health care deal they pried from the bandidos last month. (Keolis wanted to dump the excellent Teamsters insurance for something vastly inferior.)

No union worthy of the name would surrender its most powerful weapon when dealing with such an underhanded multinational.

If you're a bus patron, my heart goes out to you, as it does to those losing pay picketing the downtown Sparks and Reno bus terminals.


THE ENVELOPES, PLEASE. Mayor Lawson submitted Sparks Police Chief Chris Crawforth's recommendations to sit on the newly created Citizen Police Advisory Committee. (Barbwire 9-8-2021) The council approved the following.

Diversity/multicultural representatives, three year terms: Probation case manager Emily Miranda-Adams, ACLU program assistant and Black Lives Matter activist Lilith Baran and Dr. Terrell Foster, a distinguished retired educator who serves on the Reno-Sparks NAACP executive committee with me.

Two-year terms: business owner Kathleen Hanley, telecommunications manager Damon Harrell, administrative assistant Rikki Melanaphy, and homemaker/consultant John Frey.

Best wishes and godspeed, folks. Please keep me in the loop.

ADIOS DEPT. I've been doing too many of these lately.

DAVID RALPH HOY (1938-2021), native Nevadan and top gun lawyer, born in Ely. His father, longtime Democratic Party activist Ralph Hoy, moved the family to Sparks in 1950. Dave attended Sparks Middle School and Sparks High. His law partners were a who's who of Silver State legal talent. His brother, Dick, owned mobile home dealerships in Reno and Carson City and served as president of the state dealers association.

Dave was never so busy that he didn't have time to help an occasional confused researcher (aka me) he might run across in the Washoe County Law Library. His reputation was that of a man you could trust.

DON "SNOSHU" THOMPSON, 91, very extroverted businessman, athlete and hot dog promoter of Nevada skiing and golfing.

Don enjoyed the dubious distinction of having played "Conan the Barbano" at the 1985 Sheep Dip satirical review at John Ascuaga's Nugget.

He was dressed in a bear skin cape and Viking warrior togs complete with a bull's horns head-dress foreshadowing the Q-Anon superstar who walked thru the US Capitol mostly naked last Jan. 6. (Sheep Dip costumers at least kept it G-rated.)

Don ended his Conan song-and-dance with a magnificent front- or back-flip. I can't quite remember the direction but it was damned impressive. I was rather flattered to see that someone considered me athletic for the first —and last — time in my life.

We were both spared the mutual indignity of sharing the Nugget stage together because the always-efficient Sheep Dip staff had erroneously given out my Shaft Award the night before. They always tried to give out the ultimate insult with the insultee in house but in my case, they made an exception. It avoided proper treatment by the Nugget janitorial staff only because somebody found it backstage and a radio station manager retrieved it for me.

That most prestigious memento of dubious achievement
still abides on my mantel just as the memories of the very extroverted Mr. Thompson will stay with me for my duration and beyond.

Requiescant in pace, my friends.

You done real good.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer
(And my French.)

Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,, BallotBoxing.US,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <

Web Xtras & Smoking Guns—>

SEE, HEAR & SPEAK NO EVIL DEPT. The current unaccountable politicians who seemed content to provoke a strike are Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson (R), Washoe County Commissioners Vaughn Hartung (R), and Bob Lucey (R); Reno City Councilmembers Oscar Delgado (D) and Neoma Jardon, (R) board chair. Mr. Delgado and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19 in December. He is currently CEO of the (for real) Community Health Alliance of Washoe County. Go figger.

Regional Transportation Commission board e-mail <> / RTC Executive Director Bill Thomas who gets paid $220,000 a year to look out the window while waiting to go to lunch.


For all the news you never knew you needed to know 'til now, subscribe to BARBWIRE CONFIDENTIAL—>Cheap. (HushHush!) Hie thee to BallotBoxing.US/

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

For all the news you never knew you needed to know 'til now: Tell your friends and friendly enemies to subscribe to Barbwire Confidential for warm laughter, cheap thrills, hot scoops and occasional cold logic at BallotBoxing.US/ Cheap at twice the price. (Hush Hush!)

Barbwire dark foreshadowings unfortunately have a way of becoming reality. I thus suggest inoculation by signing onto the HushHush! list at BallotBoxing.US/ It's cheap as well as enlightening entertainment. Thank you kindly for your support.


$75 dead or alive: Still crazy after all these years
A mass murderer becomes famous on TV a century later

How come nobody noticed 'til now?
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 2-21-2018 Sparks Tribune

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners Max Blank and Isaac Harris. Is not Mr. Harris eerily familiar to television junkies?

From the Emmy-winning opening slate of the blockbuster "Cheers" television series. Combined with its "Frasier" spinoff, it lasted 20 years.
The "shirtwaist kings" immigrated from Russia and made a fortune manufacturing "Gibson Girl"-style blouses. (Photo, "The American Experience"/PBS)
The Emmy-winning opening slate of the "Cheers" television series before the "slate" of creators is superimposed. Looks like Mr. Harris' dead ringer (at left) is having a bloody good time.

"Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Chico Marx disguised as Groucho Marx in "Duck Soup" (1933)
Back to the story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist holocaust

Triangle tragedy recalled as requiem
"The Fire in My Mouth," a new oratorio by Pulitzer honoree Julia Wolfe, premiered with the New York Philharmonic Jan. 24

By Michael Cooper / The New York Times 1-23-2019

SITE NAVIGATION TIPS: When all else fails, read the instructions (A favorite John Hanks aphorism I've been using for decades) | 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
The Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Columniator Hall of Flames
Annual César Chávez Celebration
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's/cabellyup, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
We Don't Need No Education
In Search Of...


Copyright © 1982-2021 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is the executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and a longtime member 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.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors, CWA 9413 signatory

Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins