Fred Flintstone for Governor
Expanded from the 10-1-2006 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

I was shocked by the sleepy analysis of last Monday's gubernatorial debate. Jim Gibbons got his warrior ass kicked by a girl and none of my colleagues in columny seemed willing to admit it.

Only longtime Las Vegas Review-Journal commentator Jane Ann Morrison caught Rep. Gibbons, R-Nev., in the outright lie that TV stations would pull his commercials if they were not accurate. They don't censor car dealers, let alone candidates.

State Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, did not rebut it, disappointing conduct from a political science professor.

That Titus hit on all cylinders was tacitly admitted by the silence of the right wing noise machine (and the lukewarm GOP peanut gallery in attendance that night). Only education critic Joe Enge could manufacture a potshot at Titus for asserting that all studies show the benefit of full-day kindergarten. Lonesome Joe scrambled to find a study to disprove the offhand blanket statement. He ended up quoting a paper from Kansas where they think the Flintstones is a documentary.

This is perfectly consistent with the Republican right's decades-long campaign to destroy the public school system. They are doing a helluva job. Even experienced reporters gloss over glaring errors.

Only Reno Gazette-Journal editorial writer Steve Falcone correctly called the bottom line: Titus and Gibbons both talked about not raising taxes while protecting various government programs without proposing how the fastest-growing state in the nation will pay for its crying needs.

They won't, so we won't. And kids like the one noted below will just have to die.

Superficiality means never having to say you're sorry.

SMOKIN' SAM STEPS UP. The political weatherman elevates Nevada's first successful statewide TV show to a new level tomorrow as he talks with former President James Earl Carter.

On Tuesday, Shad and co-host Ray Hagar of the Reno Kazoo-Journal will try to smoke a few past Neal Levine, an advocate for medical marijuana Question 7, and Roger Miercort, MD, of Radiation Oncology Associates.

Continuing medicinal matters on Wednesday, Shad and Hagar will strike a match to Michael Hackett, campaign manager for Question 5. That's the more restrictive of two second-hand cigarette smoke measures. Q-5 currently trails in the polls largely because the gambling industry wants its own law, Q-4.

That catastrophic casino cougher leads because of casino coffers. These hackers do it the old Nevada way, telling their employees and suppliers that the industry will close down if (fill in the blank) wins.

They pushed that lie in illegally threatening their employees with termination for signing Sen. Joe Neal's, D-N. Las Vegas, 2000 petition to raise the world's lowest gross gaming tax. They've done it to countless candidates and now they use the same intimidation tactics to sell lung cancer, asthma and emphysema as good for business. And they will probably win again.

Larry Matheis, Executive Director of the Nevada State Medical Association, will also take part on Wednesday. I don't think he will be defending the gambling overlords.

Continuing the environmental polluter theme on Thursday, Hagar interviews Sen. John "Vegas Hair" Ensign. I'll climb aboard the pundit panel with lobbyist Alfredo Alonso and Alison Gaulden of the Democratic Women's Caucus.

Nevada Newsmakers airs at 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday on KRNV TV-4 with same-day reruns at 9:30 p.m. for Charter cable sufferers in Washoe-Carson-Douglas. The complete statewide broadcast schedule will be linked to the web edition of this column at

FOX PAW OF THE WEEK. With all due disrespect to Rep. Gibbons, I cannot award him the verbal gaffe trophy. It properly goes to Reno Gannett-Journal editorial staff for failing to correct a whopper which probably arrived via press release. A story announcing a local appearance by former Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto termed her the world's first female prime minister. To paraphrase Yogi, if Indira Ghandi or Golda Meir were alive, they'd be turning over in their graves.

I can't blame the newsies too much. Their super-profitable employer chronically understaffs by about a dozen journalists.

Worse, experienced reporters who might provide an institutional memory are pushed to retire so that lower-paid newcomers will up the corporate take.

To err is human, but the bottom line is divine.

BURGEONING BLUE STONE WALL: 38 days have now elapsed since the Reno-Sparks NAACP asked for a meeting with Sparks' police chief.

THE SICK STONE WALL: Regular readers know that the Tribune, among many others, has been trying to help terminally ill William Albiniano, age 8. Last week, I reported that the family found daylight. Although unable to get reinstated in the over-rated Nevada Checkup plan for children of lower income, I relayed that they had qualified for an alternative.

Alas, it apparently fell through.

William thus remains without a health care program backing his fight to stay alive till he reaches 13. As the Tribune's Janine Kearney wrote, those with his kidney-destroying disease usually don't make it that far.

As with Medicaid, Nevada government requires that you impoverish yourself, divorce your spouse or orphan your children. Something's cruelly wrong when our abusive health care system treats those who are not rich as criminal and guilty until proven poor. Then they are demeaned for daring to ask for government assistance in order to survive.

Little William remains the poster child for the most expensive health care system on the planet in the richest nation in recorded history which delivers service comparable to some third-world banana republics. Plenty of stats and studies prove it, but I'm sure some corporate-funded right wing nut can find a piece of bogus research from Kansas to refute it.

Will we ever fight back like the fiery citizens of Manila, Tiananmen Square, Indonesia, Ukraine, Venezuela and most recently Budapest? When the recently re-elected Hungarian prime minister was caught on tape admitting to a campaign of carefully crafted lies, the streets erupted in protest.

Here in the land of the feeble and home of the sheep, we roll over and play dead under the myth that we remain a beacon of democracy lighting the world.

We can be again if some leader will step forward to fan the old flame. Alas and alack, I continue to fear that only a looming worldwide economic collapse will allow a new Franklin Roosevelt to arise.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns

PLUMBING THE DEPTHS OF LABOR HISTORY. Sparks-based Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 350 will celebrate the centennial of its founding exactly 100 years to the day this Oct. 13. I'm gathering historical items for a commemorative publication and I need your help. Anything having to do with construction of Sparks and Reno, organized labor in general and plumbing and pipefitting in particular, especially including photos, will be most welcome for consideration. But don't wait. We go to press very soon. Call me.

State of Nevada
Secretary of State

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Copyright © 2005, 2006 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan, NAACP member, editor of and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. The above Flintstones comment came from comedian Lewis Black. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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