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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

2021 Nevada Press Association Award Winner

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

Greatest Hits Dept.


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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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Just when you think the dark comedy can't get any worse, the danse macabre stalks in again.

Regular readers know that I've been beating up governments at all levels since last spring about lack of Coronavirus safety procedures on mass transit both in these parts and other markets served by greedy contractor Keolis America, a foreign-owned money machine.

More than two dozen local drivers — and who knows how many of their 20,000 daily passengers — have fallen ill because cowardly lawyers in Florida are actually running the Washoe County bus system. Two bus operators have barely survived trips to ICU. Two Las Vegas union members were not so lucky.

Dorothy Frazier, 59, a mother and grandmother, and Ja'Mesha McGuire, 28, were recently laid to rest. Their fatal misjudgment was showing up for work.

If you want to see chapter and verse with smoking-gun photos, just go to

Mass transit is the economic lifeline for the most vulnerable: minorities, the disabled, the elderly, the young, students, low-wage workers, the homeless and the poor.

My union sisters and brothers have beseeched every level of government to do something about these rolling superspreaders.

Half a hope arose late last week when the Centers for Disease Control announced mandatory mask-wearing on all public transportation. This went much further than President Biden's directive which could only affect interstate commerce. If a bus did not cross state lines, Keolis won, protected by flaccid governments and their agencies.

Alas, the CDC is relying on corporations to police themselves. Hmmm...Boeing policed itself and its 737 Max jetliners started falling out of the sky, killing hundreds and causing billions in economic loss.

Meat packing plants have been allowed to police themselves and hundreds of workers have been infected or died from our current plague.

"The CDC said that while it 'reserves the right' to enforce the order through criminal penalties, it will be relying on an honors (!) system practiced by passengers," Politico reported.

Ask the McGuire and Frazier families how well that works. The combined state/federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration here on the High Desert Plantation has authority over workplace safety, or so someone might think.

They have levied a few fines in the $13,500 range on casinos. (Peanuts by gambling industry balance sheets.) What have they done for the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County's (RTC) 20,000 passengers a day?

They informed Teamsters Local 533 that they have jurisdiction only over drivers, not passengers, and only when buses are not moving. On the road, it's somebody else's problem. Which, as I have been pointing out for more than 25 years, is at the root of the rot of local bus systems. It's always some other level of bureaucracy's fault, especially the top — the elected officials that are supposed to be protecting their constituents.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County is comprised of Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson, Washoe County Commissioners Vaughn Hartung and Bob Lucey; Reno City Councilmembers Oscar Delgado and Neoma Jardon, board chair. Mr. Delgado and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19 in December. He is currently CEO of the Community Health Alliance of Washoe County — guess bus safety isn't in his job description. A perfect fit to round out the feckless five.

INSULT TO INJURY DEPT. Last Monday, KTVN TV-2 News reported that those covered by Medicaid insurance can get help with vaccination transportation. I cringed when I saw video of an RTC bus as one of the options. So grandma can get busfare to get vaccinated if she's willing to risk the substantial possibility that that the vax will be too late if she contracts COVID-19 on the journey.

Keolis-19 and RTC on Monday put out laughable announcements that they will "continue to require transit passengers to wear masks." They haven't, don't and won't. Tell a big lie often enough and enough suckers will believe it to get you a raise.

Call 844-879-7341 to arrange your travel expenses but I strongly suggest avoiding buses. Let me know what they say. Tell 'em you heard the facts on the Barbwire.

CLINGING TO THE LEDGE. Will the newly-minted 2021 Nevada Legislature pass a law imposing fines on the likes of RTC Washoe and Keolis-19? Probably not.

Will they do anything for consumers on renters rights? Not much, if anything.

Will they outlaw crumb rubber artificial turf on places like Sparks' Golden Eagle Park and athletic fields all over this region? Nah, too much trouble, even though the ground-up old tires are loaded with chemicals that can give kids brain damage and cancer. Golden Eagle has the largest expanse of that toxic trash anywhere. Why is Sparks their best customer? And why is Nevada always number one for bad stuff?

Will the ledge mandate random tests on diesel trucks, many of which contain computer-foolers ala Volkswagen, installed by owners to fool smog tests, thus endangering the least among us — as usual? Doubtful. We love our macho trucks as much as we love our darling the airplane, which daily imports plagues that used to take years to travel here.

Will the ledge kill the STAR Bonds corporate welfare law that drains tax money from schools, parks, roads and first responders to build free new stores for the likes of Target and Cabela's? Nah.

This is Nevada. Corporate welfare are us. Just ask the mining and gambling industries. And Tesla. And Apple. And Panasonic. And Switch. And the Reno Aces. Ad nauseum.

"Media is the plural of mediocre."
— Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017)

UPDATE: The more things change, the more they stay the same here in old Mississippi West. [Barbwire 1-27-2021]

MOONHOWLER ALERT. Didja see the dorks out in front of the ledge in Carson CIty on Monday doing the Trumpista Danse Macabre? The stated their opposition to unconstitutional mask mandates with signs stating "breathe God's air."

When I was in school, that was called blasphemy. Oh, what the hell? Suck it up.

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.)

¡Sí se puede!
Andrew Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of, and He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <>



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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$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 © 1982-2022 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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