Elephant traps and idiot flaps
Expanded from the 3-11-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 3-13 and 4-1-2007

The news oftimes makes me cuss like a prosecutor: Ask the question, dammit!

Herewith, a dirty laundry list of answers to obvious questions which have somehow dropped through cracks in the tiles of a checkered and increasingly fragmented profession.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   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

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

NEWLY UPLOADED BLAST FROM THE PAST: The reasons behind the failure of Nevada's first non-smoking casino
Barbwire 3-2-1990

WASHOE'S SCHOOL BLUES. Much has been made of the Washoe County School District's lack of funds for new school construction. Administrators have been waving the red flag of double sessions, among other things.

How did we get in this fix? The WCSD's Dr. Steve Mulvenon explains it thus: "There are plenty of statutes that apply differently to various counties depending on size. It was the intent of the legislature — on this funding issue — to restrict sources only to certain school districts. For example, the residential construction tax (impact fees for schools) is available only to districts in a county below 50,000 population. (The) Clark County School District got access to the room tax and real estate transfer tax in '97. (The) statute says they are available only in counties above 400,000. Some say the district was 'asleep at the wheel' in the '97 session, others remember us at the table asking to be included. History is unclear. If we were asleep then, we're not now."

Washoe County's population is currently estimated at nearing 380,000. In a few years we would qualify under the Clark County trigger. That's time we don't have. Alas and alack, educators are up against a no-new-taxes governor who is all for education as long he doesn't have to do anything about it.

All this dovetails nicely into my decades of ranting about public moneys like room taxes being skimmed for corporate welfare and casino promotion. The chickens are coming home to roost. Speaking of dirty critters...

THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE DEMOCRAT. Gomorrah South's George Harris aka GOP George to supporters and detractors, has, like Ann Coultergeist, proven that there's a fat living to be made as a freelance political hatchetman for corporate interests.

In an e-bulletin last week, he trashed freshman Secretary of State Ross Miller for (gasp) leaking a public document to the public.

The paperwork was a letter from Miller to Gov. Jim the Dim about lack of disclosure of the guv's 2006 legal defense fund.

"Using the media to gain a political advantage is pretty pathetic," harrumphed Harris. (Apparently, no one has ever used the media in that way before. Like George, I'm shocked, shocked.)

"But Miller, trying to advance his state career off a national issue, apparently knows no other route," GOP George glopped. "He is simply acting like a subdivision of the Democratic Party. No Secretary of State has ever done anything like this."


When Harris accuses Miller of infringing on the attorney general's turf, he ignores that campaign slush fund disclosure is Miller's job. GLOP George also conveniently forgot how Miller's predecessor, now-Congresscritter Dean Heller, R-Nev., abused his office in a partisan manner by attempting to reduce Democratic voter turnout for John Kerry (Barbwire Nov. 8, 2004), which Heller now denies. (Sam Shad's Nevada Newsmakers, Feb. 22, 2007).

In an earlier e-bull, GLOP George's fellow travelers trashed the memory of historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. These guys have no class. I disagree with and can torpedo just about everything Nobel laureate Milton Friedman ever did, but I refrained at his passing a few months ago. A death diss, we can afford to miss.

GERRYMANDER IS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU'RE SORRY. In a recent article about a measure (AJR 12) introduced by Assemblyman Harvey Munford, D-Las Vegas, the Reno Gannett-Journal noted how northern Nevada lost four legislative seats during the 2001 reapportionment, but neglected to state the reason: At the behest of the White House, Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, broke his word and sent the four seats south in exchange for removal of 8,000 Democrats from the new southern Nevada congressional district. Adding insult to injury, Raggio's cohorts ran advertising in 2002 blaming four local assembly Democrats for what Raggio had done. Two survived, two did not. Only this column set the record straight. [[UPDATE 4-1-2007: Munford anti-gerrymandering bill killed.]]

SHEEPISH GRINS. Beleaguered UNR Professor Hussein S. Hussein sent a letter to Gov. Gibbons last Monday asking him to call off the dogs. The oft-honored researcher has been placed under constant surveillance since blowing the whistle on the university's abominable mismanagement of its experimental farm. You will find the letter posted in its entirety with the web edition of this column at Barbwire.info. [[UPDATE 3-13-2007: COMPLETE LINKS TO AN ARCHIVE OF THE ENTIRE SCANDAL MAY BE ACCESSED AT THE BOTTOM OF DR. HUSSEIN'S LETTER.]]

No matter who changes at the top, the U-System remains the same. I spent more than six months digging into its depredations in 1996, for which this newspaper paid the expense of a Pulitzer submission. That archive is available online. One of the things I found out was how the university's multifarious foundations are used as clandestine slush funds. I got a good chuckle when I saw a recent call for investigation. Gee, it's only taken a dozen years and a brouhaha at UNLV.

HOMELAND INSECURITY. Former Sparks state senate candidate Joe Carter just scored major ink in Las Vegas by pointing out security problems of railroads transporting hazardous stuff through our communities. Carter, legislative director of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, has submitted a bill draft request concerning yard and railroad security (BDR 779). Stay tuned.

Also on the legislative front, it looks like Assembly Bill 171, which I noted a few weeks ago, is an elephant trap set by Dems. It allows sponsors to say they introduced a tough-on-employers anti-immigrant bill, knowing full well the measure has no chance of passage. They'd better hope no one calls their bluff.

HOW GAY CAN YOU GO? Amid all the publicity about the upcoming beefcake fantasy film The 300, apparently a typically gory and romanticized comic book version of the fabled Battle of Thermopylae, none of its warmongering glorifiers have pointed out one fact: Them Spartan warriors was practicing homosexuals. With his administration's love for rewriting history, Dubya will probably host a screening at the White House.

Does Coultergeist know about this?

Be well. Raise hell.



Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007; (not available online for several months, if at all). I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune. — AB

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the NevadaLabor.com search engine and sweep for "Barlett."

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

...and more ammo

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966

      Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
I've been telling you so for more than 10 freakin' years

The Molly Ivins Hall of Flames
BARBWIRE 2-4-2007

Some of Molly Ivins' greatest hits

Reno war protestors march in memory of Molly
February 7, 2007

    A group of Reno anti-war activists took the late newspaper columnist Molly Ivins' final words to heart and put them into action Tuesday.
    "We're doing this for Molly," said Paula McDonough, who organized the Molly Ivins Pots 'n' Pan Brigade that protested the war in Iraq outside the Bruce Thompson Federal Building in downtown Reno. "We're doing this because Molly asked us to."...



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Copyright © 1990, 2007 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org, and a member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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