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Sex and politics as a religious experience
Expanded from the 1-4-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 3-22-2009

Save northwestern Nevada community television

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The math behind the move
Updated 11-16-2008

Charter Communications plans to illegally move four channels of analog to the digital tier.

One channel of analog bandwidth accommodates two to 10 channels of digital programming, depending on the complexity of the streams. High-definition movies eat up a lot of bandwidth.

A Charter statement quoted on TV-4's Aug. 4, 2008, 11:00 p.m. newscast said that Charter is doing this to "free up more bandwidth for high definition channels."

Charter thus gains bandwidth for between 8 and 40 digital channels by banishing community TV to the digital tier, a net gain of 4 and as many as 36, depending on content.

Charter VP Marsha Berkbigler, in her first speech to the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee in Dec. 2002, said each additional channel is worth $1 million a year to Charter — and that's at 2002 prices.

So Charter stands to make between $4 million and $36 million by doing this, unadjusted for inflation.

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers

Carson City gets the facts
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 10-19-2008

Talks with Charter fruitless
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 9-7-2008

Sparks, Washoe, Carson and Douglas consumers urged to contact their local governments to join the fight against Charter
Surge.TV 8-25-2008, Updated 8-28-2008

Evil empire eats its appetite
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-24-2008

Bandwidth bandidos admit their greed
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-17-2008

Sue the bastards
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-10-2008

Deregulation means never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-3-2008

Last year's columns about skulduggery at the Nevada Legislature which led to this mess

MORE: Smoking Guns

Government contact info

Barbwire.TV: 15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

The U.S. religious right has apparently decided that if you can't lick 'em, join 'em.

They have seen how the Islamic extreme right has prospered by promising lots and lots of sex.

As with the Moslems, it may prove an empty promise (see below), but becomes a great short-term organizing tool.

A recent edition of the London-based New Humanist, reprinted in the current edition of the Utne Reader, states that "conservatives are getting down and dirty to spread their social agenda" by "sexing up the religious right."

"God is outspokenly pro-sex!…Orgasm is an integral part of God's design for sex," states one evangelical advice book.

"We've always known that sex sells," writer Dagmar Herzog reports. "Now it's being used to sell both God and the Republicans, dressing up the old repressive values in fishnet stockings and flouncy lingerie….Evangelical writers even coined a catchy new term, soulgasm, to describe the joys that await the evangelical wife….Websites such as My Beloved's Garden even offer Christian sex toys and pride themselves on marketing these items without any oppressive pornographic images." (Somebody call HBO.)

Herzog adds that the religionauts are co-opting the language of New Age therapy.

Porn and promiscuity are signs of low self-esteem.

Children of gays and lesbians are alleged to especially suffer from the latter malady.

"Framing sexual conservatism as mental health promotion has become the main tactic" to bring religion into the public schools, Herzog writes.

"Scholastic and athletic achievement are presented as mutually exclusive with sexual activity. Virgins, it is said, have 'better life outcomes.'" (Their unintentional pun, not mine.)

"Secularizing its message allowed the religious right to repackage repression as the promotion of mental well-being." Sex outside their prescribed boundaries "is evidence of 'low self-esteem' and will inescapably lead to 'depressions,'" Herzog notes.


Karl Rove is looking for work and I predict that he will soon pick up consulting jobs blaming Democratic promiscuity for the worldwide economic depression which he and his bosses caused.

This new GOP theme will soon be seized upon by Nevada Gov. Jim the Dim who demonstrates his monklike celibacy at every opportunity, especially to good looking women.

Criminally indicted Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki will have to take great pains (whips optional) to deny his alleged financial promiscuity with state education funds. (I can see him on the witness stand now: "I was just trying to keep kids from getting depressed." What a guy.)

If sex cloaked in the prophylactic of religious propriety helps these guys sell their devotion to Mammon, America's one true god, look for budget cuts to be spun as a religious experience when the 2009 Nevada legislative session gears up to destroy what's left of Nevada government.

That way, even if beaten to death with Karl Rove's attack book bible, perhaps the state can at least die with smile on her face.

OF PRODUCE AND PROSTITUTES. Turns out that the promise of 72 virgins for every guy blowing himself up in the name of jihad was merely a mis-translation of ancient texts. (That's never happened in Christianity, has it?)

A few years back, a scholar noted that the proper translation of the promise of 72 virgins should have read that martyrs get "72 crystal grapes," which may come as high-fiber cold comfort to non-lesbian female suicide bombers.

OF STONES AND SHOES. Some smart investors began to bail out of the stock market as early as 2000.

As legendary investor Bernard Baruch once opined, "anybody who ever made money sold out too early."

I warned of imminent collapse years before the crash.

That and a buck will buy you a copy of this newspaper.

Sherlock Holmes once scolded Dr. Watson that "you have seen but you have not observed."

Perhaps we are more observant of what we now see.

Herewith, a couple of portents of the future.

First, rumbles out of the Black Tower pirate ship show hint of desertion at the top. [UPDATE: Prediction proves accurate, 3-22-2009]

City of Reno finance director Andy Green is reportedly resigning to take a similar job at much more money in Pasadena, Calif.

Green's principal assignment has been to wax a rosy shine over the cracks in Reno's financial structure, something I've been warning about for many years.

So sue us: Charter tells Sen. Reid and Reno
Ratepayers group may sue Reno as well as Charter
Daily Sparks Tribune online 11-11-2008
+ Barbwire Special Edition 11-12-2008
Updated 11-14-2008

FCC investigates cable TV pricing
Associated Press 11-4-2008

FCC investigates complaints about moving cable channels and pricing
Orlando Sentinel 11-7-2008


Website predicts 2009 Charter Communications bankruptcy
Moody's downgrades Charter on reorganization talk


Green's departure represents the second recent proof of local municipal financial collapse.

Last month, Reno councilcritters Jessica Sferrazza and Dave Aiazzi publicly inquired about researching the effect of the city defaulting on its bond payments.

I will still bet money that Sparks goes bankrupt before Reno files, as the larger city has a better cash flow and can hold out a bit longer.

Looks like it's high time for Reno City Manager Charles McNeely to serve notice and hightail it for his estate in Brazil, where his lessons in learning to speak Portuguese will pay off handsomely.

I hope he says hello to Joe Conforte for us.

Finally on the portentous front, I see deep meaning in the bizarre Miami shoe incident.

Someone, nobody knows whom, dumped thousands of pairs of shoes on a Miami area expressway last week, snarling traffic for hours.

Just an accident?

I don’t think so. Richard Nixon's greatest claim to infamy as vice-president in the 1950's lay in the time his motorcade was stoned in South America.

Shoes are now the preferred medium to diss President Dubya the Dense.

I think the footwear on the freeway is Florida's attempt to apologize for the 2000 electoral debacle that placed a criminal enterprise in charge of our government.

Which doesn't mean that the apology will ever be accepted.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

Not even 30 pieces of silver
Reno City Council Signs Community TV Death Warrant

Contact Sen. Harry Reid for help
Sparks Tribune / 11-23-2008

Rise of the machines
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 11-16-2008

The devil and the deep blue sea
Charter cable deal and Reno "settlement" offers are all death warrants for community television. Court battle looms closer.

Sparks Tribune / 11-11-2008 + Barbwire special web edition, 11-12-2008

Wisconsin statewide franchise law has not dropped cable prices as promised
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 11-8-2008

Falling all over ourselves
When will Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas counties get mad over Charter cable's ripoff?
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers
Decision holds great importance for Nevada

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Charter in serious financial trouble
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-12-2008

Charter offer deficient
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-28-2008

Reno-Sparks NAACP opposes Charter channel switch

Charter negotiates Russian-style: Will accept 100% of everything
Daily Sparks Tribune 9-5-2008

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Reno city council votes unanimously to sue Charter to keep community TV accessible
Resurge.TV will also file

...and more ammo

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?

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.

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 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
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Copyright © 1982-2009Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of and, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP.

He hosts live news and talk (775-682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital cable channels 16 and 216.E-mail As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988 and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.


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