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History and serendipity
Expanded from the 6-1-2008 Daily Sparks Tribune

Just a few times in your life, several good things will come together at the same time. This week is such a week for me.

On Saturday, the Atlantis Hotel will host the 63rd Annual Reno-Sparks NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet, the venerable organization's major fund raising event.

The lineup of local and national notables would be enough to pack the house, but I found a superstar.

If you've lived in these parts for any length of time, you've heard of Pat Baker Park in northeast Reno. Pat Shannon Baker spearheaded the construction of the "instant park" by using her position as editor of Sierra Pacific Power Company's in-house newspaper to rally support.

"Legendary Reno photographer Don Dondero chronicled the park from its inception," she told me.

"SPP executive Jim Sale narrowed the time frame to a weekend. Leroy Badie, a resident in the park area, signed on as chairman of the action group. Preparation for the park took two months," she wrote from the wilds of Montana.

"The instant park became the Pat Baker Park at the close of a marathon three-day building spree. Contractors, nurserymen, an architect, residents from all over Reno, men from the National Guard, boys and girls labored around the clock for free. Work began at 7:35 a.m. on Friday morning, July 17, 1968. It was completed Sunday afternoon, July 19," she recalls.

Pat Shannon majored in journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. She spent the 1960's working in advertising and public relations in Reno and Carson City and currently lives in the Big Sky state.

She will not only be recognized as a special guest at the NAACP dinner, she does not come empty handed. She is bringing a boxfull of park construction memorabilia to donate to the Nevada Historical Society.

She will also present a five-minute video anchored by the late CBS legend Charles Kuralt, who came to Reno to chronicle the event after learning of Pat Shannon's motivation: the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., earlier that year. I am also working on getting her interviewed by the UNR oral history project.

The park area fell on rough times in recent years. The City of Reno acquired several storefront buildings which were attracting crime and bulldozed them. [READ MORE ABOUT IT.]

A celebration of the park's rebirth will be held in August, led by a onetime skinny teenager whom Kuralt filmed working on the construction. Lonnie Feemster went on to a 27-year career at SPP, is now a successful realtor and twice past-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP.

Tickets and tables are still available. Call Lonnie's mom, Dolores, at (775) 323-3677 for reservations.

Hurry. They will go fast as I send this story out during the week. For pricing info, go to

There won't be another evening like this one.

GOOD NEWS, PART DEUX. After 15 years and a couple of recent delays, my new TV/webcast show is set to launch this week. I was really excited as we tested the system and got broadcast quality, 30 frames per second video over the web.

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

Barbano on the Barbwire will air 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday on Charter cable channel 16 with a web simulcast. I will have to prove that I can type and talk at the same time, as I will be able to interact with live phone callers and chat crawlers all on the same screen.

We plan news and public affairs programming in the afternoons, led by veteran radio journalist William Albright.

The rest of the clock will be webcast radio (until an over-the-air fm station is launched) with programming by students and a surprising number of old pros you've enjoyed in Reno for many years.

So anyone who has talked with Mr. Albright about doing a show on the new KJIV, get your radio game face on.

The gateway to my show will be Barbwire.TV. Watch the site for announcement of a mid-week dry run webcast as we debug the system.

Write if you want an e-mail notice of the time. The show will launch on Friday, June 6, D-Day.

My first guest will be (surprise, surprise), Pat Shannon herself.

ADIOS, AUGUST. It hadn't needed a tuxedo in more than 30 years. When my stint as emcee of this year's César Chávez Day event came up, my first thought, of course, was where is August Ceccarelli when I need him?

The longtime master tailor and proprietor of Ceccarelli's Formal Wear passed away on May 27. I was a regular customer back in my scuffling days.

The first time I met August, he asked me if I was related to some friends named Barbano he had met in Buffalo, New York. I sent a letter to the Barbanos at the best address I could find, but never got a response.

Decades later, thanks to the Internet, I found the New York Barbanos. One is an MD in the neurology department at the University of Rochester. I never got a chance to tell August that the search finally bore fruit, but someday I will.

The father of seven, native of Veroli, Italy, and veteran of the D-Day Normandy invasion was 85. Services were held at Walton's in Sparks yesterday.

Requiescat in pace, old friend.


Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

...and more ammo

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

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 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

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

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

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?



Copyright © 1982-2008 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 39-year Nevadan, editor of and; a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO; political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP; and producer of the annual César Chávez celebration. 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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