Tom Cruise's Earful

Expanded from the 6-26-2005 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune.
Edited for the 7-1-2005 Comstock Chronicle

The great Damon Runyon once gave timeless advice to sportsmen and gamblers — never play the other guy's game. If some sharp comes up to you and says he'll bet that he can pour cider in your ear without you knowing it, there's only one thing sure: you're going to end up with an earful of cider.

Bring on the cider, anything to block the talkety-talk of today's high-tech Tower of Babel. I would rather watch the floundering San Francisco Giants or countless Harry Potter reruns than pay attention to metastasizing mass-media muttonheadedness.

Almost all of what passes for news and political debate represents a sellout. Most media content is manufactured within the confines of corporate straitjackets. Anyone who strays too far from conventionally accepted positions is ignored as "outside the mainstream."

What used to be a surging tide today trickles all the way from point "A" to point "B," from Arch-conservative to Basic-conservative. Moderation is for fools who don't want face time on the tube, liberalism is equated with communism, homosexuality or treason among those like Lush Rambo who are either too lazy or too addled to look up the term in a dictionary. (Couch potato effort-saver: "liberal" means open-minded and willing to consider new ideas.)

In merry auld England, the potato lobby is even suing to get the term "couch potato" removed from the Oxford English Dictionary. They probably got the idea from that idiot congressman who thought up "freedom fries" and nowadays defends the delights of the menu selection at our Guantanamo Bay Gulag. Wimpy Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., owed nobody an apology.

Words are being increasingly perverted into band-aids to patch the gunshot wounds bleeding the body politic. There's no such thing as partial birth just as there's no way to be a little bit pregnant. Addle-pated actor Tom Cruise insists that there's no such thing as psychiatry or chemical imbalance. Has he never been drunk?

Such nonsense is perfectly acceptable in today's faith-based TV nation. The depredations of Dubya's White House don’t matter because the majority of voters were instructed to support him as a man of God. Truth is for wimps, facts be damned (or darned, take your pick).

Former Nevada Republican-Libertarian Chuck Muth's e-bulletin last week inadvertently capsulized modern follytix in one typographical error. Quoting the White House Machiavelli's recent attack on liberals as treasonous fellow-travelers of Usama Bin Laden, Muth attributed the statement to "Karl Rover." Indeed, he's the tail that wags the dog.

To guys like former Sparks schoolboy Rover, facts are just guesses to be debated with nonbelievers and defined by the imams and preachers of whatever blackrobed persuasion purveys the popular superstition of the moment. The earth is flat and the center of the universe. The facts of evolution should be taught along with the God-snapped-his-fingers version of creation. I presume equal time will be given to the Hindu view of the world as balanced on the back of several giant barnyard animals.

If you eat barnyard beef, remember that Dubya's dunces practice faith-based meat inspection. They analyze almost none and expect you to have faith in their promises that Mad Cow Disease can't happen here.

Take it on faith that you don't have to worry about those melting glaciers and crazy weather patterns. It's God's will and has nothing to do with crud faithfully emitted in your increasingly expensive gasoline exhaust.

Long suffering Hawthorne is fighting a faith-based military base closing. Nevada leaders presented actual facts to the feds last week, apparently forgetting that reality means little to the Dubyites.

The president has apparently won his Social Security campaign with his faith-based message that we've got a problem where none exists. The wussy Donkeyites are willing to sit down and negotiate over another manufactured crisis. Have senior citizens been found with weapons of mass destruction?

We now choose our leaders on faith-based voting. An overwhelming percentage of Nevada's electronic voting machines last year did not have paper trails. Little wonder that those so selected have successfully put us in two faith-based wars.

We've always had faith-based pharmaceuticals, but now that pill pushers can bring dogma to work, we have faith-based family planning. Look for a big comeback for the old aspirin between the knees method of birth control.

Alas, faith-based draft dodging will be a lot harder given the Pentagon's newly exposed data base on every kid in the country. So I guess it comes down to picking your meatgrinder. Mad cows or mad warmongers.

The most perilous danger of faith-based citizenship comes when emotional appeals cause you to commit Constitutional suicide. The moonhowlers are again lighting the fires of faith-based First Amendment burning. If torching the needlework of Betsy Ross should be criminalized expression, why not cross burning? Better yet, put a cross on the American flag and place that in the proposed amendment, too.

The opposite of desecration is consecration. If you favor government establishment of a religious symbol, better to venerate and protect freedom of speech.

Don't play the other guy's game.

FLOAT 'N' FEATHERS. The Angel Kiss Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to helping families of children with cancer, presents its White Water Race & Jazz Festival today from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Reno's Wingfield Park. (See below.)

OUT OF SIGHT. I'll be kicking tushy again this week on Sam Shad's Nevada Newsmakers, but many of you won't be able to see it. The KRNV TV-4 origination will be bumped by women in skimpy skirts flitting about on grass before British aristocrats.

For those afflicted with Charter cable, I'll hold forth on Monday evening at 9:30 on channel 12 in Washoe-Carson-Douglas. White sheets and mayonnaise KKKOH Radio will broadcast the audio at 9:00 a.m. next Sunday. The complete statewide schedule and online feed of the program will be linked to the web edition of this column at

It will also feature a from-the-courtroom report on Darlene Jespersen's lipstick lawsuit case against Harrah's, argued last week before 11 blackrobes in San Francisco. (See below.)

Be well. Raise hell.


Frontline dispatch from the gender wars

SAN FRANCISCO (June 22, Special to — The 11-member panel consisted of Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder (appointed by President Carter) and Judges Pregerson (by Pres. Carter), Kozinski (by Pres. Reagan), Rymer (by Pres. Bush), Silverman (by Pres. Clinton), Graber (by Pres. Clinton), William Fletcher (by Pres. Clinton), Tallman (by Pres. Clinton), Clifton (by Pres. Bush), Callahan (by Pres. Bush) and Bea (by Pres. Bush).*

The questioning was extremely lively and revealed that there are very divergent views among the panel. Judges Schroeder, Pregerson and Fletcher all have written decisions addressing related issues and their comments showed a good understanding of how the relevant doctrines have evolved and that the federal employment nondiscrimination law actually aims to prohibit discrimination. A number of the other judges asked again and again, with varying phrasing but addressing the same basic point, how to have limiting principles so that a ruling in Darlene Jespersen's favor does not lead to a great flood of new lawsuits presenting outlandish claims.

It was somewhat dispiriting to see conservative, ostensibly "strict constructionist" judges having so little interest in the terms of the statute itself, and such greater concern about whether employers will be required to explain and justify their discriminatory policies, with a presumption that any such requirement would be an inappropriate burden on business.

Not a big surprise, but frustrating. Of course, it's always risky to draw too many conclusions from oral argument. The decision will probably be split, but a guess as to which side will carry the day is risky.

* The court's website does not say which President Bush appointed whom. Perhaps it doesn't much matter. The split above is six Democratic appointees to five Republicans, which predicts nothing. Senior U.S. Dist. Judge Edward C. Reed, appointed by President Carter, threw the Jespersen case out of court, a decision affirmed by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, both of which were overturned, resulting in the June 22 hearing.

Click here to access the history of the Jespersen case.

...and more ammo


Reno —The Angel Kiss Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to helping families of children with cancer, presents its White Water Race & Jazz Festival on June 26, 2005, from 11:00 am to 5:30 pm at downtown Reno's Wingfield Park. Enjoy live jazz, refreshments and the River Race Awards Ceremony. The event is open to the public. Anyone may compete in a 2.5 mile Truckee River race in one of eleven categories of "floating devices." The entry fee is $25 plus $10 for every extra person on board. Trophies will be awareded, including a wooden paddle with inscription for first, second and third place in all of the categories from serious racing to "most creative floating device" and "best dressed crew."  Family and amateur racing teams are welcome. No qualifications necessary to enter. Participants may use their own equipment or rent with a special discount from Tahoe Whitewater Tours on nearby Island Avenue.  

Reservations are encouraged, call (775) 787-5000.  Race Registration is from 10:00 AM to noon at the kiosk in Wingfield Park. There will be bus transportation for racers to the race start at Chrissie Caughlin Park provided free by Tahoe Whitewater Tours.  Racers begin launching at1:00 PM and will continue in heats according to categories and ability.

The awards ceremony will take place amid live jazz, entertainment and refreshments. The program includes the Nevada Dance Academy competition performance team, Frank Perry and Friends, sponsored by Maytan Music center, the Mile High Jazz Band and C.H.KYO Jazz and Blues Artists. Dave Finley from KRNV TV-4 will emcee the awards ceremony. Food and Beverage vendors include Silver Peak Restaurant and Brewery, Model Dairy ice cream and EJ's Jazz Cafe. Powerhealth Chiropractic will provide free massages. For sale will be exhibition grade event posters and photos by Outdoor Plus Digital Photo Lab, angel jewelry, greeting cards, Angel Kiss tee-shirts, raffle tickets and much more. Reno artist Erik Holland will draw caricatures. To entertain the children there will be clowns, face painting and an ongoing art workshop by Very Special Arts.

Sponsors supporting this event are: MONEY TREE, Dermody Properties, Heritage Bank, Powerhealth Chiropractic, Sierra Pacific Power Company, Western Nevada Supply Company, White, Meany & Wetherall, LLP, Alpine Insurance, Jensen Precast, Neita and Mark Montague, Geoffrey and Sally White, Peace Officers Research Association of Nevada.

All Proceeds from this festival will benefit Angel Kiss Foundation. For information and race registration please call (888) 589-KISS or go to Registration forms are also available at Tahoe Whitewater Tours, Bobo's Mogul Mouse and REI.

From the archives: Angel Kiss fulfills Ashley Rose Kisman's last wish, to meet pop superstar Britney Spears.

The Enemy Within

Lemming Cliff Notes

The Ragpicker God

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Copyright © 2005 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 36-year Nevadan and editor of Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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