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

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Photo: Debra Reid, Sparks Tribune

   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 the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows...
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   and a long red rose.
   Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
That's how it goes.
Everybody knows.

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

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


It can't happen here. We're too smart, right?
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 3-1-2023 / Updated 3-10-2023 / Expansions in blue

NEWS ITEM: Last week, the Washoe County Health District and Truckee Meadows Tomorrow co-sponsored a well-attended meeting about community health needs.NO ONE, not even vulnerable senior citizens, wore a mask.

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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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Such is America today, partying all the way toward mass extinction. The Terminator and his microscopic minions prosper within a world at war with itself.

As the old saying goes, there ain't no cure for stupid. Wise persons are supposed to know when they are fighting a losing battle. Nonetheless, some of us unwise irrepressibles press on regardless.

So let us flash forward perhaps 25,000 spins around the sun from now. Assume that a version of our species survives and a student of socio-anthropology decides to study our times.

Her name is U235. She has become sensitized to our almost intentionally forgotten primitive era almost by accident. On break from undersea AquaTerra Multiversity, she has traveled to one of the few remaining spits of land on an oceanic planet no longer called Earth save by historians. Understandable, as there is almost no earth left on Earth.

Emerging from underwater after a 20-minute 250-mile swim from her dormitory, she becomes enthralled at the rare sensation of sand under her lower appendages. Because most of the planet's surviving hominids have long ago returned to their aquatic roots, walking has become rare and increasingly clumsy — almost seal-like as generations have adapted to a completely liquid world. A few experimental children are even showing signs of developing gills millennia after they became vestigial as hominids evolved onto land.

Increasingly enjoying the feel of walking on what are now commonly called flippers, U235 stumbles across long-abandoned ruins on one of the few unsubmerged places on the planet. Using her shocking blue cranial antennae, her head senses something remarkable in a recessed area under a volcanic rock overhang.

Slowly, she ambles toward the outlines of an ancient cave. Entering the small opening, she notices a heavy cylindrical object of unknown composition, as tall as she is. She will eventually be able to translate the ancient writing baked into what turns out to be a very resilient ceramic-composite shell.

Presenting her findings to her ATM colleagues, U235 notes that "whoever designed that vessel was very wise. Metals of that time would never have lasted nearly so long. The ancient writing on that canister curiously said 'Nevada Cookie Jar,' " she excitedly reports.

"The other embellishments thereon were depictions of long-extinct vegetable species called flowers. When our master laboratory carefully machined the object open, I was ready with drawings of what were called cookies. None appeared therein. The labeling apparently reflected an obsolete custom common among ancient tribes called 'sarcasm.'

"Most remarkable therein was a swatch of amazingly well preserved vegetable matter with symbols prominently displayed thereon. The fragile finding was derived from a long-extinct lower life form called 'trees.' It took networking the finest brains at the multiversity with our dominant artificial intelligence capacity to determine the nature of the vegetable matter. It was called 'newspaper,' " U235 announced triumphantly.

"It dates from the early 21st Century," she wide-eyedly continued, antennae crackling electric blue with enthusiasm.

"This discovery at last pinpoints the earliest days of the devolution of what was once the dominant species. The erosion resulted in development of the hybrid carbon-silicon synthetic life forms dominant today.

"The ancient carbon-based life forms made survival impossible through the most shameless and self-destructive use of the resources of what had long been a remarkably resilient small planet. Constant attack on what had been a well-balanced and productive environment resulted in dominance by viruses and bacteria," U235 noted.

"Microbial ascension was enabled when hominids decided that the plagues of the early 21st Century were not worth addressing despite constant emergence and evolution of new threats. Hominids instead shunted their efforts toward pirating resources from other tribes, killing millions in the process.

"Demagogic leaders promised that the best days were yet to come and that mass plagues, die-offs and intentional mass murder were merely transitional requirements and nothing to worry about.

"Common safety measures fell by the wayside. Microbes thrived as humans increasingly died by participation in a sport entailing the aiming of devices called automobiles toward each other at high speed. Dangers were further exacerbated as powerful primitive cults emerged demanding worship of projectile propulsion systems. Large such devices were called 'cars' or 'missiles," others were termed 'guns.'

"With most hominids addicted to projectile propulsion, the species began to die out until what had evolved into today's artificial intelligence-based government subsumed and re-purposed them."

U235's findings were solemnly received. Ancient customs like applause or complimentary language were frowned upon. Emotion and memory were no longer favored traits and had fallen into disuse.

"I thus propose that this department of AquaTerra Multiversity undertake long term study of how these self-destructive impulses nearly destroyed all life forms on the planet so that it may never happen again," she stated.

"Now, please excuse me. I need to rush to the Desert Research Institute reproduction laboratory to review the progress of the synthesis drones who are tasked with composing my new carbon-silicon daughter."

It can't happen here, right? Right?

Stay safe, get vaxxed and pray for the children Palestine, Ohio, Ukraine and 63 other currently war-torn lands.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell.
/ Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.) Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 54-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 2-22-2023
Updated 3-10-2023 / Expansions in blue

The Nevada Legislature has started its retro-19th Century, every-other-year scramble to adjourn with minimal damage to the body politick.

This year, the lineup is stocked with starry-eyed newbies proposing windmills of laws worthy of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. It's all a hangover of President Ronald the Vague's fabled and fatuous pronouncement that "government is the problem."

Nevada Reaganauts pushed a lot of "reforms" to damage government as badly as possible. Even some otherwise intelligent Democrats voted to limit legislative sessions to four months every two years in addition to other strictures.

The Republican Party backed a constitutional amendment imposing political term limits. Critics noted that once experienced dinosaurs had been expunged, lobbyists would be more powerful than ever. They don't suffer from term limits.

Most lobbyists serve a very valuable function. They are experts on their issues and provide important information to legislators and staffers in the shaping of the law. But term limits arguably tilt the playing field in favor of big money which can afford the staff, time and money to outgun unpaid private citizens.

Nevada voters cemented term limits into the state constitution in 1996. The GOP's real purpose, of course, lay in the usual: power.

Most of the time since WW2, Democrats have dominated the state legislature largely due to the growth of Gomorrah South. The membership has always turned over every two years but some lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, had careers that were decades-long. There is something to be said for the value of experience.

Conservative money interests funded the campaign to place term limits on the ballot. As usual, the issue first ended up in the Nevada Supreme Court which cut the baby in half. Instead of one term limit amendment, the blackrobes imposed two.

The first, which passed, established term limits for state and local legislative and executive offices. The second, imposed by the court, applied only to the judiciary. It failed and Nevada's judges were permanently spared the embarrassment of forced retirement save at the polls, which rarely happens. Judicial races are usually very low profile and most incumbents run unopposed.

The independent judiciary independently thus awarded itself job security.

In Washoe County, term limits have just resulted in lots of new faces on elective bodies. Same with the legislature.

One Carson City freshman (are we supposed to say freshpersons now?) wants a state lottery to fund mental health care, a laudable goal. Noting the success of the California state lottery which began in mid-1980s, the gambling-industrial complex got lotteries banned on this side of the state line.

As an alternative, the casino overlords established the Megabucks progressive slot machine program, whereby one-armed bandits all over the state would be electronically linked to offer a very handsome payday for one lucky winner. It apparently failed. Witness the long lines of Nevadans traveling to play the national lottery in California.

Earmarking funds for a worthy cause seems noble. Alas, reality has proven otherwise. California lottery proceeds were earmarked for education, an attempted remedy for the destruction wrought by Ronald Reagan's two terms as governor followed by the Proposition 13 permanent property tax cuts in 1978.

The California legislature indeed devoted all lottery proceeds to education. And deducted the same amount to fund other budgets so the net effect for schools was zero. I guarantee gambling lobbyists will bring up that history if the newbie lottery bill even gets a hearing.

Nevada's schools will remain underfunded because the gambling and mining industries want it that way. In 2016, Washoe County voters were presented a punitive and regressive sales tax increase versus nothing to fund new schools and maintain old ones. Education "activists" thus carefully avoided pissing off the gamblers. It worked, so a people like a low-wage Sparks Nugget dishwasher or fixed-income seniors take the worst hit.

The gross gaming tax on the largest, most profitable casinos has not been raised since 2003 and even then, the hike was small. The 1931 deal to legalize Silver State gambling was that casinos would fund government services. Not anymore. Sales taxes on dishwashers long ago became the principal source of funding for Nevada government services like parks, roads, schools and first responders.

Freshperson Gov. Giuseppe Lumbago has made a big deal of increasing per-pupil funding by about two grand annually. That won't dig our schools out of the sub-basement.

He touted spending lots of money in many places, conveniently ignoring that much of it came from that despicable federal government. Speaking of sins of omission...

30 LASHES WITH A WET NOODLE DEPT. Reno Fire Chief Dave Cochran just got hit with a state ethics violation for appearing in a 2022 campaign ad for Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto. At the same time, Republican Gov. Lumbago wallpapered the state with ads showing him in full Las Vegas Sheriff drag and apparently no one has heard a discouraging word. Speaking of discouraging outfits...

KEOLIS-19 LOSES AGAIN. The contractor mismanaging the local mass transit system just got fired by the Gomorrah South Regional Transportation Commission. LV even went with the highest of three bidders. Foreign-owned Keolis turned the Reno-Sparks-Washoe system into a COVID-19 superspreader and lost a hat trick of strikes by the Teamsters Union in 2021. RTCRide workers could again walk out anytime if strikers from Virginia come to town and establish picket lines.

Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson, current Washoe RTC chair, said the current system needs to be leveled and started over. Of course, money-wasting Keolis-19 is the place to start. So let's get it on. [[MUCH MORE]]

The $2 billion libel case filed by Dominion Voting Systems against the Fox Fake News Machine could destroy the First Amendment. Rupert Murdoch's outfit will appeal any loss and the moonhowler majority on the highest court, already under right-wing pressure to negate current standards, could use the Dominion action to place freedom of the press in a coffin.

Last Friday, conservative Republican NYTimes columnist David Brooks proposed radically changing local education by establishing "micro-schools" with smaller student bodies. Hmmm...where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, here, a few weeks ago.

Stay safe and pray for Ukraine and other currently war-torn lands, now up to 63.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell.
/ Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.) Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 54-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Gun—>

Why the science is clear that masks work
By Zeynep Tufecki / The New York Times / 3-10-2023

Moonhowlers: Fix Social Security. Please die.
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 2-15-2023 / Expansions in blue

Life imitates art. The dystopian, polluted world of the Charlton Heston/Edward G. Robinson film "Soylent Green" (1973) has gone mainstream.

That's the net effect of what's being proposed both here and abroad. In Japan, a place where elders are supposed to be respected, some yayhoos have suggested that the elderly should off themselves.

Said yayhoos are not outliers and this is nothing new over there. Or over here.

Ten years ago, Taro Aso (insults based on his last name welcome), the Japanese government's finance minister, said he would refuse end-of-life care and would "feel bad" knowing that his treatment was paid for by the government. (Guardian of London/UK 1-22-2013)

"Hurry up and die," he demanded of his elders as a fix for the government paying for senior citizen medical care.

Actually, Mr. Aso was behind the curve. In 1984, Colorado Gov. (1975-1987) Richard Lamm (aka "Governor Gloom") said pretty much the same thing. Supporting physician-assisted suicide, he said elderly people had a "duty to die."

He was elected as a Democrat and later schmoozed billionaire Ross Perot's Reform Party for a presidential run. He made lots of friends in Nevada when he said that one in eight Las Vegas women under 45 were prostitutes. Several hundred thousand hookers? Not even brothel legends Joe Conforte or Dennis Hough were that ambitious.

The terminally ill have a "duty to die and get out of the way" instead of fighting to the bitter end, Lamm said.

"Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life." (NYTimes 3-29-1984)

Lamm said "that the costs of treatment that allows some terminally ill people to live longer was ruining the nation's economic health," the Times reported.

Hmmm...what about Reaganomics, also practiced by the Bushmasters and Trumpistas who came later, robbing the poor to give to the rich? What about our bloated and wasteful war spending?

Nah. Just blame old people.

Lamm later said that that his views had been sensationalized by the media.

Fast forward back to the future. French folks today are rioting in the streets because President Macron wants to slightly raise the retirement age.

And echoing Lamm and Aso, a Yale professor has suggested mass suicide of the worst kind: seppuku, ritual disembowelment with a Samurai sword. (How Hollywood. Akira Kurosawa, call your office.)

Like Lamm, Dr. Yusuke Narita, an assistant professor of, Yale, said he'd been misinterpreted and that he was mainly addressing getting old guys out of business and political leadership positions. Uh huh.

Narita has even advocated mandatory mercy killing. And a cadre of congressional Republicans just leaked a strategy to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. (Barbwire 1-18-2023)

The only thing left is to use the bodies of the elderly for Soylent Green's grannyburgers. Not to worry...

COVID-19 WILL DO THE JOB FOR US. I have been chilled to the bone with moonhowlers, including our new Trumpista Nevada Governor, stating "the pandemic is behind us."

Thus spake Gov. Giuseppe Lumbago in his first state of the state address. His factually flawed sophistry was music to the ears of casinos and economic development/corporate welfare boosters. Party on down, business as usual.

Last Saturday, the fake news New York Times published the following warning: "For Older Americans, the Pandemic Is Not Over. Seniors are increasingly left to protect themselves as the rest of the country abandons precautions."

Japan and South Korea have long traditions of mask wearing. To not wear one indicates that you don't care for others.

"Americans do not agree about the duty to protect others,” the Times reported.

"About three-quarters of Covid deaths have occurred in people over 65, with the greatest losses concentrated among those over 75.

"In January, the number of Covid-related deaths fell after a holiday spike but nevertheless numbered about 2,100 among those ages 65 to 74, more than 3,500 among 75- to 84-year-olds and nearly 5,000 among those over 85. Those three groups accounted for about 90 percent of the nation’s Covid deaths last month.

"Hospital admissions, which have also been dropping, remain more than five times as high for people over 70 than as those in their 50s. Hospitals can endanger older patients even when the conditions that brought them in are successfully treated; the harmful effects of drugs, inactivity, sleep deprivation, delirium and other stresses can take months to recover from — or can land them back in the hospital," the Times noted.

"Nancy Berlinger, a bioethicist and research scholar at the Hastings Center, made a similar point: 'The foundational questions about ethics are about what we owe others, not just ourselves, not just our circle of family and friends.'

"Three years in, the societal answer seems clear: With mask and vaccination mandates mostly ended, testing centers and vaccination clinics closed and the federal public health emergency scheduled to expire in May, older adults are on their own. [[Emphasis added.]]

“Americans do not agree about the duty to protect others, whether it’s from a virus or gun violence,” Dr. Berlinger said.

Peerless predixion: Hollywood will re-make and updated version of "Soylent Green." With Samurai sword-style light sabers, perhaps.

A MORE ATTRACTIVE PROPOSITION: MORE SEX FOR EVERYBODY. Magdalene J. Taylor's guest commentary in the Times took a happier stance.

"Sex is good. Sex is healthy. Sex is an essential part of our social fabric. And you — specifically — should probably be having more of it.

"Americans, in the midst of a loneliness epidemic, are not having enough sex. Across almost every demographic group, American adults old and young, single and coupled, rich and poor are having less sex than they have had at any point in at least the past three decades," she wrote.

Wow. Hollywood and television are not doing their jobs selling everything with sex. Perhaps they need to cut down on violence and start filming friendlier human interaction.

Sex is a lot cheaper than hospital care for gunshot victims.

As oldsters used to say when we were youngsters, make love, not war.

Stay safe and pray for Ukraine and other currently war-torn lands, now up to 63.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell.
/ Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.) Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 54-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Web Xtras & Smoking Guns—>

Why the science is clear that masks work
By Zeynep Tufecki / The New York Times / 3-10-2023

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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

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Copyright © 1982-2023 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 53-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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