The June Swoon Morally Obtuse Golden Goosies
Expanded from the 6-13-99 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
The Sparks election is
over and nobody much cares. The Balkan War is sort of over, kinda like the
As one bloodsport supplants
another, Barry Bonds is back in a Giants uniform and all is again right with
With most of the mean season
gone (hockey's about done but rasslin' lasts forever), the timing is marginally
appropriate to award the Academy of the Morally Obtuse Summer Golden
SEN. JOE NEAL BROKEN RECORD AWARD goes
to newbie Sparks City Councilman Mike Carrigan who credited his big win to
a platform asserting that growth is not paying for itself. He sounded just
like the anti-establishment North Las Vegas Democrat, save for never playing
the flipside of the record. So he gets only half a Golden Goosie.
THE QUEEN VICTORIA SILVER
MEDAL goes to Sparks mayoral runnerup Peggy O'Neill. This award is named
in honor of the time her majesty attended an international steeplechase which
the British entry did not win.
"And who was second?" inquired
"Your majesty, there is
no second," came the stiff-upper-lip response.
Like Carrigan, pretty Peggy
gets a one-sided memento for apparently running on the same half-platform
with only a slightly different result.
THE WHOLE THING TROPHY
goes posthumously to the late Barbara Bennett, elected mayor of Reno in the
upset of the century 20 years ago last week. Her Honor set the enduring standard
for local follytix.
Especially in Reno, any
candidate who says "I'm for controlled growth and my opponent took tons of
money from developers" can inquire about reserved parking at city hall.
Pete Sferrazza used those
words to win six elections. Had Martha Gould chanted the Bennett mantra in
1995, she and not His Egoness Jeff
Griffin would have succeeded Sferrazza as Reno mayor.
Carrigan apparently sang
half the Bennett songbook well enough to win by 40 whole votes. O'Neill would
have done better save for one thing: Sparks is still a small town. People
talk to each other.
They knew both mayoral
candidates were in fact status quo establishmentarians. O'Neill's campaign
thus became quite transparent. You can't run as a partial populist.
THE JOE NEAL AWARD goes
to Sen. Joe Neal, the only officeholder in the state with the guts to play
the flipside of the record. Neal has for years said to all who will listen
that the reason our cities are stressed is because the gambling industry,
principal cause of said uncontrolled growth, does not pay its fair share.
THE TRAVELING SALESMAN
PURCHASE ORDER goes to Harrah's honcho Phil Satre, someone who has not lived
here for years but is sort of moving back for a few days a month. Such
carpetbagging apparently qualifies him for appointment to the Reno-Sparks
Convention and Visitors Authority where he will ensure that the latest corporate
welfare tax increases properly benefit his company.
THE COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL
AWARD is a tie between Sens. Bill
Raggio, R-Reno, and Maurice
Washington, R-Sparks. Raggio sponsored a bill liberalizing spanking.
Washington liberalized the places where people may carry concealed firearms.
Gov. Kenny Guinn liberally
signed both measures. Perhaps their intent was to make it easier for abused
kids to defend themselves.
RUMPLED KILT-SKIN AWARD
goes to Michael Mahatma Moore, fresh
off being censored by the Bravo Network which refused to air his pre-Columbine
satire entitled "Teen Sniper
The Emmy-winning director
has now been nominated for a high honor by International Gentleman's Quarterly.
He asks webheads to write "I vote for Michael Moore in the International
Man of the Year category" to
GQ before June 30.
"Should I actually win,
GQ will take my picture and not only put it in the magazine but blow it up
and hang it over Picadilly Circus in London," the baseball-capped buddha
added via (what else?) e-mail.
"We are convinced this
will ruin GQ."
A worthy cause and worth
another meaningless vote. If you missed the Sparks election, here's your
chance to make amends and have just about as much impact on how things are
THE SILVER SPOON WHERE
THE SUN NEVER SHINES AWARD goes to billionaire presidential candidate Steve
Forbes, who made a speech last week decrying dastardly blackguards (politicians
like him) who want to get their greedy hands on Social Security. Forbes would
instead turn our money over to those paragons of virtue on Wall Street.
He also promises to shred
the new $20 bills which "look like Monopoly money" in his expert opinion.
Forbes certainly knows
his subject. His late father left him with a bigger gold card limit than
most national treasuries.
Forbes advocates a flat
tax, which means he wants his rate lowered to your rate. Combined with
privatizing Social Security, Forbes would complete what Ronald Reagan began
20 years ago, history's biggest transfer of wealth to the top five percent.
Will our betters become
benevolent when we have no more to give other than our firstborns?
"A group called Billionaires
for Steve Forbes cheered as Forbes announced his candidacy for president
in New Hampshire March 16," reports Labor
"Dressed in tuxedos and
sequined gowns, members of the group carried signs reading 'Tax Cuts for
Me, Not My Maid' and 'Keep the Wage Gap Growing.' Behind the event was a
Boston group, United for a Fair Economy, which pointed out that Forbes' flat
tax proposal would slash taxes for millionaires and billionaires (Forbes
himself would save $174,000 a year) and raise taxes for those earning under
Ron Gunzburger, publisher of
the Politics1 Report wrote last week
that "the Forbes campaign announced plans for the multimillionaire publisher
to do something different: reach into the pockets of other wealthy people.
After paying for much of the campaign to date from his own pocket, the campaign
announced that Forbes would hold his first major fundraising event on June
Apparently, too much ain't
enough. Other than Dan Quayle, Forbes has no competition for a Morally Obtuse
Remember, the only way
to eat goose or crow is with lots of ketchup.
Be well. Raise hell.
Barbano is a member of CWA Local 9413. He is a 30-year Nevadan, editor
of U-News and head of
Casinos Out of Politics
(COP). In 1998 he served as gubernatorial campaign manager for
State Senator Joe Neal, D-North Las
Since 1988 Barbwire by
Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune, where an earlier
version of this column appeared on 6/13/99.