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Malapropisms, anachronisms and an adios
Expanded from the 7-26-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 7-28-2009, 9-28-2009

The Barbwire TV show will be in re-runs until SNCAT's studio move is completed. You may view them M-F 2-4:00 p.m. PDT on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16, 216 and high-def 80-295. Keep an eye on the Barbwire print edition for updates.

Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest. A button for older shows is being installed. You may also search by date — M-F for the past year save holidays.

Click here for on-demand re-runs
from the 2009 legislative session

(775) 882-8255

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

As the followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Berra might effuse, a clean-rolling broom gathers no moss.

Donning the mantle of ancient Olympic center fielder Hercules the Mick, let's sweep out several stables and a few boys' locker rooms.

NO BALLS AT SPARKS CITY HALL. Former Washoe D.A. and District Judge Mills Lane once told me that he read my column because I call it like I see it every week, putting my name on it and sticking my chin out.

That lesson has been lost on Sparks City Hall moles who continue to take anonymous potshots over L'Affaire Daly.

I seem to have touched a nerve last week by noting that Sparks labor leader Richard "Skip" Daly saved the city about half a million dollars by pointing out that the winning bidder on the $7 million Spanish Springs sewer construction job should have been disqualified because the company was not licensed to do business in Nevada.

The latest pea-brained potshots assert that Mr. Daly did not save the city any money, as he wanted the original bidding process maintained. Daly wanted the city to follow the law, which it had failed to do.

Rather than awarding the job to the lowest legal applicant, the city went into spin control and restarted the bidding process. City hall would not admit to having been caught asleep at the switch.

With all 10 of the original bids now public record, the new round came in much lower, undercutting the city's claim that substantial changes had just come to light on a project years in the planning.

Had Daly not pointed out the illegality of the original low bid, the city would be out half a million greenbacks.

This led to a very acrimonious city council meeting on July 13, with Councilmembers Ron Smith and Ron Schmidt firing off character assassination against Daly.

He told KRNV TV-4 news afterward that "when they start making personal attacks, you know they've got nothing else."

The Tribune failed to report on the volatile exchanges, despite having a reporter present.

Which brings me to Jake Highton's column of last week .

TOO LEGIT TO QUIT. Writing about his true love, newspapers, Prof. Highton wondered how long the hard copy form can survive. I found hope in an AP story a few weeks ago.

"The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is a rarity among large U.S. newspapers — it’s selling more weekday copies than a decade ago. In Idaho, the Post Register’s circulation has remained stable, while many other print publications have lost readers to the Internet. How can this be? The executives behind the Arkansas and Idaho newspapers believe it’s because they’ve been giving free access to their Web sites only to people who subscribe to the printed edition. Everyone else has to pay to read the Democrat-Gazette and the Post Register online. Meanwhile, most publishers have been giving away their stories and photos to all comers on the Internet." (Read the full story.)

The prestigious Harper's Magazine has long done the same thing. Subscribers like me get access to the web edition and extra content.

Those who don't subscribe to the best magazine in the country have to wait several months before reading online.

The bottom line is that to help the bottom line, the publication has to provide information that the public wants. It calls for experienced people who know their markets and their readers. It also demands firing consultants who tell insecure editors and publishers what they should already know.

The short-lived 10:00 p.m. local news on KREN TV-27 provided a perfect example. It looked like a high school newscast, not that the young journalists didn't try hard. It quickly became painfully obvious that management had not hired a news director who knew the territory. Indeed, I don't believe they had one at all.

The Tribune and Big Nickel are positioned to take advantage of the above.

Should we do so, Prof. Highton will have an interesting laboratory to observe as we try to cure what ails a very viable but plodding industry.

SHORTSHOTS. UNR tenured faculty have been asked to donate 4.6 percent of their salaries to the university foundation. Bad idea. That secret society has long been a slush fund of questionable transparency. I'll attach links to my 1996-1997 series with the web edition of this column at President Eisenhower on segregation and Edward R. Murrow on Sen. Joe McCarthy, Walter Cronkite came too late to the game on Vietnam. Murrow and Cronkite both worked for CBS News, which was probably the problem. Murrow was ousted when he began to produce social commentary, ending with 1960's Harvest of Shame about the plight of America's farm workers. Perhaps Cronkite remembered the ousting of his old boss, a reason but not an excuse for reading government press releases about the Vietnam War for many years before his 1968 post-Tet Offensive epiphany...My spies in Gomorrah South report that neither Reno Mayor Bob Cashell nor Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will contend for the governorship next year. Neither has made it official, but you read it on the Barbwire first...The Laub & Laub law firm, ubiquitous in TV advertising, has been hit with an embarrassing decision for attempting to rip off an injured client. "Instead of doing anything to benefit Mrs. (Raquel) Mora, Laub and Laub simply sought to increase its fees in direct conflict with the law and its clients' interests while purporting to represent her," Judge Robert Perry ruled. "In reaching this decision, the Court is mindful that Laub and Laub has a reported history of conduct wherein it disregarded clients' rights in preference to its own," Perry wrote in zeroing the firm's legal fees in the case and awarding them to Mrs. Mora. The full decision along with other Laub lobs are available at did freshly-minted Republican state senate candidate Ben Kieckhefer leave the employ of Gov. Jim the Dim? My Carson City spies report that the ex-reporter got tired of lying to his former press colleagues to cover the guv's ass.

Remembrances of Gary Wolff are permanently archived at and may be accessed via this page.

Please send any additional ones along.

Thanks, AB

GOODBYE, WOLFFMAN. Longtime union leader and retired Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Gary Wolff will be laid to rest at a memorial service this Thursday, July 30. It begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Sparks Christian Fellowship Church, 510 Greenbrae Drive in the Greenbrae Shopping Center.

A potluck reception will follow. "Guests from the area are requested to bring a little extra, as we anticipate guests from around the state that would have a logistical hardship bringing a dish. Beverages will be supplied by the Nevada State Law Enforcement Officers' Association," according to an official statement released by the union.

Donations to the family may be made at Nevada State Bank, account number 0558034575. For more info, contact Trooper Lori McGrath at 775-846-4685.

I worked side-by-side with Gary for more than a decade. He was a credit to law enforcement and organized labor. He passed away at his home in Reno on July 21 at age 65.

Among his survivors are a son and daughter, both with NHP. Sgt. Blair Harkleroad lives in Reno and Trooper Angela Chavera works out of Las Vegas. She started with the patrol in 1995. Sgt. Harkleroad joined in 1996. Gary spent six years (1966-72) with the California Highway Patrol and 24 with NHP (1972-1996).

Rest in peace, Wolffman.

You did real good.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Reruns of his legislative session TV programs are cablecast Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m. on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital channels 16 and 216 and high-definition channel 80-295, available on demand at Barbwire.TV. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Shaky foundations

The Barbwire became heavily devoted to higher education scandals for more than half a year beginning with the 10-27-1996 installment. If you start there and read forward for the next six months or so, you will be shocked, shocked at what you find. The 11-3-1996 column begins exposing university foundations in earnest. The University Scandals of 1996-1997 were entered by the Sparks Tribune in two categories of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize competition.

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?

...and more ammo

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

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
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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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