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

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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

A hard rain falls on the land of the giants
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 2-10-2021 Sparks Tribune / Updated 2-18-2021 / Expansions in blue

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Barbwire wins 10th Nevada Press Association award

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We Don't Need No Education
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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

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Super Bowl Sunday brought the unkindest cut of all. Anne Feeney lies dead at 69.

The human rights movement has lost so many giants of late but somehow, transition of poets and artists hurts the worst. Their work becomes the first draft of our history. That's why songs and films are so important. A hundred or a thousand years from now, they may be all that people remember of what we were.

Those who tuned in to my erstwhile daily call-in talk TV show will remember a lot of Anne Feeney songs.

Those who subscribe to my e-bulletins have frequently seen this headline: "We just come to work here, we don't come to die."

The song was written by union longshoreman Harry Stamper but like any great artist, Annie rewrote it and made it her signature.

It has also often graced the Barbwire as opening line over the years.

Last year, I wanted to use the song in a union radio campaign and I called her. She was visiting her son in Los Angeles, gave me the OK and didn't ask for a fee. I told her the union would insist.

When I talked with her that final time, she was hurting but would still do whatever she could for the cause of workers.

Almost decade ago, I had a video crew ready to record her appearance at a local bistro. Turned out, it was my last chance.

SHE'S OK. (From the Barbwire of July 22, 2012) — Country-folk legend Anne Feeney, 61, was hospitalized in Oregon and had to scratch her show in Reno last Tuesday.

"My blood pressure was 78 over 22," she told me from Brooklyn, NY. She lost consciousness last Monday and was rushed to ICU with a serious kidney infection. Against doctors' orders, she still flew to San Francisco to perform at the annual LaborFest.

"I hate to miss a performance," she stated. I told her to get well and we hope that America's greatest living labor folk singer can perform in these parts sometime soon.
Imminent death is about the only thing that can keep her offstage.

"When I was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2010, I still did my last show in Sweden," she said.

That type of attitude adds irony to my favorite Feeney union song, "We Just Come to Work Here, We Don't Come to Die."

A WORTHWHILE LIFE, as Socrates might opine: "In 1972, while at the University of Pittsburgh, she co-founded Pittsburgh Action Against Rape," The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

"She graduated from the Pitt School of Law in 1978, worked 12 years as a trial attorney and served as president of the Pittsburgh Musicians Union. She also was president of a NOW (National Organization for Women) chapter. In 1991, she hit the road hard, traveling around the country to perform at folk festivals, labor conventions and rallies, including the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle, Solidarity Day in Washington, D.C., and the 2004 March for Women's Lives.

"Her songs were recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary and she shared stages with such legends as Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg and Loretta Lynn.

"Her business card read: 'Performer, Producer, Hellraiser' ."

Anne Feeney was my kinda girl.

HELLRAISER, TOO. Lacy J. Dalton, Nevada's resident country music legend and wild horse advocate, has added two timely originals to her awesome body of work. But be careful. A visit to the two top listings at will bring you close to tears. They did me.

The longtime Comstock resident just added "Mr. McConnell," a country waltz that tries to thaw the pogonipped heart of the U.S. Senate minority leader with advice from his mother. Last year, Lacy released "I Can't Breathe" in remembrance of George Floyd, murdered by a Minneapolis police officer now on trial.

You will feel George Floyd's desperation and pain in Lacy J's soaring wail.

I don't know if she ever met Anne Feeney, but Lacy's recent work does Annie proud.

Annie's "We Don't Come to Work Here" will be linked to the edition of this column along with a retrospective video and Lacy's website.

If those songs don't motivate you to do something for your fellow living beings, nothing else will.

LAND OF THE LOST. I've been hit with so many obituaries of late that I have not had room for them all.

First came former State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, on New Year's Eve. Then Dr. Richard Siegel, former chair of the UNR poly-sci department, ACLU Nevada president and my colleague on the Northern Nevada Multiple Sclerosis Society board for more than a decade.

On January 31, we lost BJ Thomas, longtime leader of Las Vegas International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 720 (aka the stagehands union) and the Nevada chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. A great advocate and a good friend.

Cy Ryan, 88, dean of Nevada capital reporters, died last week. The Nevada Press Association Hall of Famer was the gold standard for hardassed but accurate state government and political reporting.

Cy once wrote a story which included me that was screamingly funny but a major embarrassment to the Nevada Republican Party. It ran verbatim in the Reno Gazette-Journal statewide edition but was killed by editors in the Reno-Sparks run when they realized what they had.

Cy's credibility was such that journalists knew you could take his accuracy to the bank. But the RGJ's conservative editors were timid and their local readers lost a legendary laugh.

Last week came news of the death of lifetime union man Larry Yenko. Like Anne Feeney, he was a distinguished Nevada labor lawyer.

BJ, Larry and Annie now stand with Sen. Neal, Dr. Siegel, Big Cy and former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney as we mourn their loss and exalt their exemplary lives.

All Nevada labor mourns. We carry on in their honor.

As Lech Walesa might shout, Solidarnosc!

¡Sí se puede!

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 Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,, BallotBoxing.US and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <>



Maskerape: Get COVID-19 & vax on one bus ride
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 2-3-2021 Sparks Tribune

Capitol punishment and bus station blues
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 1-20-2021 Sparks Tribune

Bus drivers lay to rest one of their own, call on RTC to enforce COVID-19 protections
By Astrid Mendez / KTNV TV-13 (ABC-Las Vegas) 1-22-202

Funeral for 2nd Nevada bus driver felled by COVID-19

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Smoking Guns—>

$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

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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 serves as first vice-president and political action chair 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

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