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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

Losers, winners, saint, sinners & Yogi
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from Sparks Tribune 7-21-2021 / Expansions in blue

The overlords of the local bus system would normally lead a list of losers for the past week, but Washoe County has lost its edge to the freedom-loving racists down south, Douglas County, Nevada.

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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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Normally, when a librarian quits, no big deal. When cow county Nevada loses a national star, that's news.

Amy Dodson innocently introduced a resolution before her board of directors to support Black Lives Matter, tolerance and diversity.

Hundreds of other U.S. libraries did so in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May of last year.

Her proposal raised such a hue and cry that her own board would not back her up, voting 3-2 to spend $30,000 to investigate itself. (A recent report said it came in at $40k.)

Worst of the worst was Bull Connor wannabe Sheriff Dan Coverley who announced that because of Ms. Dodson's hubris, Douglas law enforcement would refuse to respond to any 911 calls from the library.

That's grounds for losing your badge in most places, but Nevada's backwaters often follow only selected portions of the law, stuff that they like.

One Douglas county commissioner even wanted to defund the library. (George Orwell, call your office.)

Ms. Dodson weathered the storm, won the prestigious 2021 Paul Howard Award for Courage, the Pulitzer for the nation's librarians, and has now taken a job in Illinois.

LOSER, TOO: The Reno Gazette-Journal which did an excellent job covering the Black Lives protest in Douglas County following the dissing of Ms. Dodson.

Reporter Jenny Kane and photographer Jason Bean ventured into the belly of the beast as about 50 protestors, including people from Sparks and Reno, were surrounded by more than 200 machine-gun toting freedom-loving racists.

The RGJ's sin lay in censoring itself.

Mr. Bean shot a photo worthy of a Pulitzer Prize.

His paper published it on the front page the next day, August 9, 2020.

It showed a white guy wearing a Black Lives Matter facemask being confronted by a maskless man in a bulletproof vest and a hateful-looking woman resembling a bad imitation of Wagnerian soprano Brunhilde in wraparound shades.

The expression of racial hatred on her face was so compelling that I didn't notice the black-on-black inscription on her bib until a Tribune reader pointed it out: "Offended? FUCK OFF!"

Apparently, the RGJ staff either didn't notice or tried to commit award-winning journalism on the sly.

When I went to their website, the photo had been nuked and was available nowhere on the web. (Barbwire Confidential readers know where to look.)

One Pulitzer, nuked.

WINNERS: The passengers, drivers and support staff of the Washoe County transit system.

As I reported last week, the five billygoats gruff who serve on the Regional Transportation Commission were scheduled Friday to rubberstamp a substantial raise and bonus for the guy who has run the bus system into the ground and onto the precipice of a strike.

RTC Executive Director Bill Thomas already makes $220,000 a year. His performance was "evaluated" by persons unknown and was given glowing reviews.

Not once in the voluminous "review" was management of the beleaguered bus system mentioned.

Drivers, union officials, Reno Councilmember Jenny Brekhus and community leader Chip Evans showed up to inform the commissioners of their dereliction.

For once, they at least pretended to listen and tabled Mr. Thomas' rakeoff for further review.

Monitor for smoking guns, pictures and other breaking news.

WINNERS: The Richmond, Virginia bus system, its employees and passengers.

Retired Laborers' Union Local 169 Business Manager Dan Rusnak reports "here in Richmond, the local RTC has announced they will use $5 million or so in federal Covid funds to keep the fares at zero until June 2022. Definitely eliminates a lot of passenger contact with the driver."

Washoe RTC's contractor, foreign-owned Keolis-19, has skimmed millions in federal funds directly toward corporate profit while spending only $380,000 on bus safety.

WINNER: Former four-term Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards who died last week at 93.

He was a quintessential larger-than-life southern pol, high-living, womanizing, corrupt to the hilt and very open about it.

His constituents loved him for it.

He also had a sparkling record of upgrading Confederate Louisiana into a more modern state, pushing reforms to help the common folks, hiring women and minorities and "improving social services, health, education and highways," according to the New York Times.

"We all knew he was going to steal, but he told us he was going to do it," said one of his supporters.

A biographer once asked a preacher who supported Edwards how he could support such a libertine.

"Well, he don't drink or smoke."

Yogi Berra would appreciate that response.

Edwards eventually pushed the envelope too far, soliciting bribes for casino licenses.

He shook down SF 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., for $400k.

He testified against Edwards, but the dirt rubbed off on little Eddie, causing him to sign over the team to his sister and idiot bro-in-law, leading to two decades of football mediocrity.

Me, I'm Italian but I only hold one grudge: I will never forgive Eddie for trading Joe Montana to Kansas City.

Had he gone to the slammer with Edwin, I would have called it even.

Edwards was a legend at Reno casinos who loved his amiability and very generous tipping.

Edwards generated the greatest bumper sticker in U.S. political history.

When he ran for a fourth term and defeated Republican Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, his supporters came up with the best meme I've ever seen: "Vote for the Crook. It's important."

Rest in peace, guv.

HOME RUN. The best story of the month is about a new Yogi Berra stamp. Yogi (1925-2015) is only the 30th major leaguer so honored by the postal service and the first since Lou Gehrig in 1989 to receive an issuance all his own.

I'm gonna buy a bunch.

The art on the stamp showing Yogi in full Yankees catcher's gear has been widely praised. It was painted by artist Charles Chaisson who comes from a long lineage of postal workers.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

"So I'm ugly," Yogi once said, adding " I never saw anyone hit with his face."

You're beautiful, Yogi.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡Sí se puede!

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 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 <>

Czar Donaldov infects Reno-Sparks bus system
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from Sparks Tribune 7-14-2021 / Expansions in blue

"Who controls the past, controls the future." — George Orwell

Tell a bright, shining lie often enough and enough people will believe it to make you mountainously rich.

One of my first bosses in the ad business once gave a perfect analysis as to why our car dealership commercials weren't working: "We're not telling people what they want to hear."

That advice applies to used cars and even more to follytix.

Don't like history? Detest facts? Think outside the confines of that truthiness box.

I love that our schools are being subjected to moonhowler warnings about hurting kids' feelings by teaching accurate history. Laws are being passed all over the Confederacy to muzzle teachers. Mao, Stalin and Josef Goebbels would be proud.

So teaching about slavery, Jim Crow, Indian wars and other niceties about America's checkered past would permanently wound our precious snowflakes and turn them into automatons? That ship has sailed, baby.

"Arrrgh! What diminishing academic and scholastic skills I come across with today's University of Nevada-Reno students at the undergraduate level," stated a longtime prof on Wolf Pack hill, adding "a recent 'student evaluation' criticized that 'while feedback is readily forthcoming (from the instructor), it is not helpful because the professor always insists on textual evidence.' Unbelievable."

Donald Trump is the poster child of post-facts America. He just called his treasonous January 6 rioters "peaceful people, these were great people...the love in the air, I've never seen anything like it."

Stormy Daniels, you've been dissed.

Remember how the pissed-off defrocked prez praised the racist Charlottesville, Virginia, rioters even after one killed a woman and injured others with his auto?

As always, Trump is not original. Stalin and Mao were also expert at rewriting history. Please read "Forced Forgetting" by Timothy Snyder, appropriately in the July 4 NY Times Magazine."

"In Europe, laws censoring the discussion of history have been a prelude to the rollback of democracy," Snyder writes, adding "memory management enables voter suppression."

Corporate America has become adept at twisting reality to break the backs of workers. Witness the plight of Washoe County bus operators and riders.

Drivers that do not have assigned routes are considered extra board operators and the company has been working them to death with 14-hour days.

People are burned out and quitting, one of the reasons that the RTC Ride system is short-staffed.

Retirements are the other factor. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reporting to work could prove a death sentence. It's no surprise that many who could just walked away.

The foreign-owned, for-profit corporation that mismanages the bus system has refused to enforce Coronavirus safety protocols for well over a year. Officialdom has sat shiva.

During the record-breaking heat wave of the past week, buses have simply stopped running on a lot of routes. Confused passengers are left to bake in the sun like cookies.

.RTC management's solution: Blame the Teamsters Union. Here's the truth from a longtime driver.

"I’m being told that (France-based) Keolis Transit is blaming missed routes on sick drivers. While drivers do call in, the company is supposed to be prepared for this. Every other transit agency is aware that drivers get sick. They have extra board drivers to cover these routes. Keolis refuses to pay for drivers to be on standby and therefore when a driver is sick there is nobody to cover."

Wonder how many are contracting the new more virulent and deadly Delta variant that has already killed two people here?

It gets better:

"There are routes that do not have a permanent driver. Keolis will not cover those because currently the Regional Transportation Commission is not imposing fines of $1000 per missed trip. The company has nothing to compel them to fill the route. They just assume they can leave the elderly, the less fortunate, the kids, stand outside waiting for a bus that will never come. I used to receive calls if they had a route to cover. Not any other drivers have gotten phone calls, either. The company has made no effort to cover these routes. No reason to do it. Please do not use my name."

RTC bureaucrats like RTC Executive Director Bill Thomas make hundreds of thousands a year to allow Keolis to mis-manage the system. The five elected RTC commissioners play see-hear-speak no evil.

Keolis has skimmed millions in federal relief dollars to corporate profit and shipped the loot to Europe while spending very little to make buses safer — while threatening drivers with firing for trying to enforce mask mandates. Czar Donaldov would be so proud of his true believers.

Even the capital of the Confederacy is doing better than us. Richmond's RTC has announced they will use $5 million or so in federal COVID funds to keep fares at zero until June 2022.

Monitor for video, smoking guns and other breaking news.

From the 7-7-2021 Barbwire:

HOT AUGUST STRIKE 2.0 ? The Regional Transportation Commission's mass transit system contract with Teamsters Union Local 533 expired at midnight, June 30. Once again, local governments have pulled a Pontius Pilate and washed their collective hands, asserting that it's not their department, just a beef between their hired gun and the Teamsters.

RTC was built for non-accountability to the public for the past 40 years. There have been several near-strikes and a full blown one 19 years ago. Political blame shifting has underscored the entire tense relationship.

SEE, HEAR & SPEAK NO EVIL DEPT. The current unaccountable politicians who seem 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 Community Health Alliance of Washoe County. Go figger.

Regional Transportation Commission board e-mail <>

Like today, the 2002 fiasco only happened because the contractor wanted it to. Today's for-profit hired gun is European-based Keolis Transit.

Strikebreakers are already in town, putting buses under possibly illegal surveillance. I will be even more outraged if I find out they are being paid with federal COVID-19 relief money. Ditto their $1,000-a-day union busting consultants.

The union wants a decent contract and safe working conditions for a change — not another lesson in the Union Busting 101 handbook which Keolis is following to the letter.

I've been down this road before. These tactics are typical of a contractor looking to bust out the mighty Teamsters in a minor market in order to give itself a calling card to generate business in other cities and countries. It's cheap to test-market your strategy in a small town, an old story.

Keolis has now accused the union of "dilatory behavior," which Keolis has been guilty of for years. Psychologists, especially those that dwell on the likes of Czar Donaldov, call the malady projection. (Remember how Trump called the Bidens a crime family?)

The crime here is the superspreader bus system as the COVID-19 Delta variant descends.

Our bus system transports upwards of 20,000 passengers a day and Keolis has refused to enforce masking or other safety requirements for more than a year. The workers are tired of living in fear, having seen dozens of their peers taken seriously ill, some in ICU. If drivers try to enforce mask mandates, they risk firing.

I am most tired of so many people who should know better calling this a "post-COVID world." That's true only of the 600,000-plus dead with more joining the club every day. A local woman in her 40's just became Washoe County's first fatality from the new more contagious and deadly Delta variant.

Monitor for smoking guns, pictures and other breaking news.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡Sí se puede!

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 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 <>


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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 © 1982-2021 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

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