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What may well be the first marriage of talk radio, talk TV and webcast webchat

Firefighters, firestarters and camels' noses
Expanded from the 5-17-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Save northwestern Nevada community television

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

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.

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

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

Charter Communications hires bankruptcy lawyers
MultiChannel News 2-8-2009

Charter misses $74 million payment
Reuters 1-15-2009

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



Nevada Republicans have identified the true enemies of the state: camels.

We shoulda known, right?

You betcha, as Sarah Palin might opine.

Fortunately, our local senators are protecting us.

Republicans Bill Raggio and Randolph Townsend are on critter watch, joined by Democrat Bernice Mathews.

The camel in question wants to get his noxious nose under the tent of the holy of holies by giving state employees a small fraction of the legal rights enjoyed by almost all other Nevada workers.

Washoe's stalwart senators know that once workers get a little respect, they'll want a whole lot more – that nose thing.

Bernice was apparently so steamed at the workers' impertinence that she walked out of a senate hearing last week before a vote.

The entire committee on government operations (including conservatives Raggio and Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas) then moved the state employee rights bill to the senate government affairs committee.

CAMEL ALERT. AB 395 gives workers the right to bargain as a group on non-economic issues, a cheap alternative to the current disastrous system where small labor-management disagreements can result in years-long court fights because there is no grievance process.

Anything that makes work for lawyers is apparently OK with our local senators.

Last Friday, the bill passed the government affairs committee 4-2 along party lines, with Raggio on the losing end and Townsend absent.

Testifying for the bill last week, I observed "I am guided by the words of NAACP national president Benjamin Jealous. In his recent endorsement of the Employee Free Choice Act now before Congress, he stated 'When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, he was helping sanitation workers win the freedom to form a union and bargain collectively with their employer....the struggle for civil rights and the struggle for workers' rights have always been linked together in this country.'"

Those Memphis garbage collectors were in 1968, and remain today, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the same union seeking passage of AB 395.

Watching Raggio and chamber of commerce opponents last week left me with one question: Do you people ever ponder the morality of beating down the worker bees every chance you get?

BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU DEPT. AB 413 was killed last week.

It was a poorly conceived bypass of the electoral college and would result in diminishing the votes of small states and minorities.

This put me and the Reno-Sparks NAACP on the same side as the Eagle Forum and against much of organized labor and every Democratic member of the State Assembly, which passed the bill 27-14 along strict party lines.

You may access the May 5 TV show I did with representatives of both sides at Barbwire.TV.

TAKING IT TO THE STREETS. At last Friday's United Auto Workers downtown Reno march for American jobs, a fellow demonstrator asked me "are you a firefighter?"

For the first time in my life, my true calling hit me.

"No, I'm a firestarter."

INSULT TO INJURY DEPT. In the ultimate act of chutzpah, General Motors is shutting down 16 U.S. manufacturing facilities, including four auto assembly plants. They will make up for it by importing cars from Mexico, Korea, Japan and China.

Now you know why I'm burned up.

FIRESTARTER LABORS LOST. Looks like the pirate ship known as the mining industry is going to escape having any of its tax loopholes closed.

In a slick political move, the miners got lawmakers to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot and give them an expensive statewide special election to do it.

The low turnout made it easy to win with only a small number of supporters going to the polls in spring of 1989.

BITING THE HAND, PART DEUX. Travus T. Hipp and I stood alone warning that the tax on "net proceeds" constituted Hollywood movie accounting where there's never a net.

The miners spun it as aid to education and much of organized labor and the teachers union took the bait and pimped it into place.

Two talk radio hosts couldn't turn around a statewide ad budget.

Now, the mining industry sits immune from paying a fair share when the state is hurting.

Nevada's two largest mining companies, Barrick and Newmont, have each recently killed a worker through knowingly maintaining unsafe conditions.

They thus became Exhibit A in making the case for the Barbwire corporate death penalty.

The César Chávez Day bill passed the state senate 21-0 and is on its way to the governor for signature. Congratulations to everyone who supported the effort spearheaded by Assemblyman Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas.

TV JEEBIES. The legislative session is collapsing too fast to announce my Barbwire TV lineup early.

Watch for updates of the airdates.

Call in at (775) 882-8255 (882-TALK).

GOV. JIM THE DIM got that way because he keeps his head where the sun never shines.

Last week, I published the Gibbons administration order muzzling state workers from talking with lawmakers.

A good Republican, Gibbons obviously spent a lot of time reading the Karl Rove playbook, as his popularity rating currently plays in the Bush leagues.

Now, he's threatening to veto the voter-approved indexing of Washoe County's gas tax to the rate of road construction inflation.

The guv asserts that people were too dumb to know what they were supporting.

That was certainly true when they elected him, so I can certainly understand his skepticism.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

From: Chrystal Main
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 8:07 AM
To: DCFS - ALL.DCFS (Restricted)
Subject: FYI

The Governor's Office has asked that the following information be shared with all DHHS agencies:

It has come to the attention of the Governor's Office that some agencies may have concerns with the budget bills proposed by the Department of Administration. These bills were drafted to support Governor Gibbons' executive budget and have the full support of his office.

Please do not testify against Administration bills in committee as those bills support
the Governor's agenda.

If you wish to testify on other bills that you have a personal interest in, please insure that you are either at the Legislature during your regularly scheduled time off or have taken annual leave.

Please do not identify yourself as an employee of DCFS, rather you may identify
yourself as a state employee if the Committee asks you where you work.

Chrystal C. Main, Social Services Chief
Systems Advocate
Division of Child and Family Services
4126 Technology Way, 3rd Floor
Carson City, NV 89706
(775) 684-4453
(775) 684-4457


From: Office of the Governor [mailto:nvg@GOV.NV.GOV]
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 11:19 AM

Subject: Press Release - Governor Calls on Citizens to Demand Openness From the Legislature

For Immediate Release:  May 13, 2009


Legislators need to hear from Nevadans immediately



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?

Continuing cable depredations

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

...and more ammo

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.

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
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2009 Andrew 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. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

He hosts news and talk Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at
Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital cable channels 16 and 216, high-definition channel 80-295. 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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