"If you can't say anything nice about someone, sit right here by me."

Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth  



Site Map
SITE NAVIGATION TIPS: When all else fails, read the instructions
Je Suis Charlie

¡Viva Chávez!
César Chávez Celebration / Celebración de César Chávez
31 March
/ 31 de Marzo

Followed by a moon shadow

TRAVUS T. HIPP, 1937-2012

ADIÓS, COMPADRE — Our friend Travus, 75, passed away peacefully between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. PDT on 18 May 2012 at his home in Silver City, Nevada. The sun is in eclipse as I write this at 6:30 p.m. on May 20.

SLIGHT CHANGE OF VENUE (5-22-2012) — Adiós in Silver City, Nevada, Saturday, May 26, 2012 —>
The auld church where Travus lived and died is too small for the expected multitude, so gathering, gnoshing and remembering will commence at the Silver City Community Center, 385 High Street, at 10:00 a.m. PDT. Bring food if you want but most important, bring yourself and all your memories. Memorial service starts at High Noon. Travus will be buried next to his rock star companion Lynne Hughes, a short walk away. My remembrance of Lynne from the 3-21-1993 Daily Sparks Tribune will posted with Travus' formal obituary at this website. All memories accepted for permanent posting hereat. Thanks for all your kind words. Keep up the good work and the good fight.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano

NEW — Travus' life story and obituary
Travus' last column in the 5-20 Daily Sparks Tribune
Debra K. Reid photo / Sparks Tribune Jan. 4, 2009
Trib Columniators Throw Their Soapboxes

Guest Writings by Travus T. Hipp
TRAVUS 2005 // TRAVUS 2006 // TRAVUS 2008

Happy Pills
by Travus T. Hip
From the 12-19-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune
Reproduced by permission
Copyright © 2012 Cabale News Service

Since health care has become one of the hot-button issues on our national list of priority problems that we refuse to address in a realistic manner, it behooves us to examine the root causes of our medical shortcomings.
I submit that the profit motivation of medical treatment is one such cause. Time was when doctors visited their patients at home using a mixture of folk remedies, patent medicines and their own concoctions to relieve the apparent symptoms. The doctor often had a bag of pharmaceuticals that he often prescribed and he would leave a week’s dosage behind with hand-scribbled instructions for the local druggist. Medicine was a skilled profession and paid a modestly high wage as reward for long and costly training.
The second major assault on the sick and elderly was the point where the druggists, highly trained apothecaries whose main job was the compounding of chemicals and natural elements into custom treatments for individual sufferer. Urban life and the diseases of crowded living meant that sales of medicines skyrocketed the profits of corporate drug manufacturers and their high-commission sale forces, who worked the doctors offices with kickbacks and outright bribes for most of the last century with the blessing of the medical associations, both national and state. The drug peddlers discovered that even the tiniest change in the formulation of a product allowed the company to get a new patent. Thus, the multitude of brand name cures offered over the counter and by script.
Meanwhile, prescription medication is now the leading choice of recreational drugs by “abusers” as young as third grade, where ADD kids have established a black market trade in “happy pills” Tops of the pops is Ritalin, prescribed by so many teachers of “problem students” whose only desire is to turn them into quiet zombies staring into space for most of the period. These prescriptions are issued by the teachers and schools without parental or medical oversight.
The cure is obvious, but none of our political leaders will even discuss it.
Using Obama’s health care system as a base from which operate, the government must take control of the drug industry, its economics, research and distribution. Harsh enforcement of standards and malpractice awards might move reform forward.
The doctors monopoly needs to be broken up, with med schools concentrating on producing as many doctors as possible, trained under policy devoid of overworked internships and other exclusionary practices that guarantee that only the obsessive and greedy will survive to get their diplomas. A review of drug prescriptions by individual MDs could clarify where the flood of street abuse originates.
The bottom line is making health care a human right, to be delivered by a government that cares more for people than profits.

EDITOR’S NOTE: After writing this column and emailing it on Thursday, Travus T. Hipp, a longtime radio commentator and contributor to the Sparks Tribune, died at his home in Silver City. His long-running tagline described him as “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” and though he was a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame he was described as unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views. Those views made him a truly unique part of the Sparks Tribune for many years.

Editor Nathan Orme Remembers Travus
From the 5-27-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune
Reproduced by permission

It isn’t often you get to read the final words of a person’s life, but that is what I was able to do last week. Longtime columnist, radio commentator and independent spirit Travus T. Hipp emailed in his weekly tirade last week on Wednesday and died on Friday. It was an eerie and humbling feeling to read those words and know they were the last of his colorful and storied career.
I heard about his death before actually reading his column, so when I opened his email I was nervous with anticipation about the topic. Ironically and appropriately it was about the unhealthy state of health care in America today. He wrote about how medicine is driven by profit rather than a desire to help people and how pills are pushed on patients not for their own benefit but to benefit the manufacturers who make money off them.
I don’t know how Hipp died, other than “in his sleep,” as I read in several reports. I do know that he was an avid and public self-healer, preferring to smoke the “medicine” that most people risk arrest to acquire. I also know he was ill about a month ago and couldn’t turn in a column one week. For a guy like Hipp, that’s pretty sick.
This story isn’t verified, but its accuracy would not surprise me: I was told that just before he died, Hipp declined to be taken for medical treatment and instead wanted to be home with his dogs. I know I’d want to be with my beloved beasties if the end was near, but I also wonder if Hipp preferred to ask his four-legged friends to take him to their doctor.
A few months ago, my girlfriend’s 12-year-old Saint Bernard needed to get her regular vaccinations. Problem is the dog weighs 140 pounds and has a bad back leg so she can’t get in the car. Luckily, we convinced our good-hearted veterinarian to come to the house to administer the shots. You won’t see that kind of compassion from many human doctors.
I interviewed a chiropractor recently who told me no doctor has the ability to make a person “well.” He told me, “Wellness cannot be distributed or created by someone else.” To achieve “wellness,” a person must be more than free of disease, he said. Making one’s body work at optimum performance levels — as it is naturally wont to do — is based on individual choices about exercise and diet. Unfortunately, most people’s choices about consumption (whether it is food, drink or chemical) and physical exertion (or lack thereof) make them not well. Eating an apple instead of those French fries or walking around the block instead of smoking that cigarette are two such examples of these little choices that add up over time. It isn’t necessary to pay a doctor, make the choices to be well.
Don’t take this to mean I am “well” personally. Sure, I have always been relatively free of disease or malady, but I am pretty far out of shape and don’t eat the kinds of food I should. I know that if I were to make an appointment with a physician, I would bore him or her with my lack of something to cure. The only thing my doctor would be able to do to collect a fee would be to prescribe a pill I don’t need. Maybe that’s why I don’t ever go to the doctor, but I probably should take some time to be “well,” which I can do myself.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to see if my girlfriend’s Saint Bernard has any “wellness” tips for me.

Nathan Orme is the editor of the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at

Hurling their soapboxes
by Krystal Bick
From the 1-4-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Reproduced by permission

“We have the best diversity of the state,” Andrew Barbano said. “No one can touch us.”

Thus began the first official meeting of The Daily Sparks Tribune’s weekly columnists. Some, like Barbano and his notable labor union crusades, having written opinion pieces for the paper for more than 20 years, seeing the growth, progression and even corruption of the greater northern Nevada area.

Around the table, the knowledge shows.

Travus T. Hipp, with his hearty laugh, sits tall at the table with his prominent wide-brimmed ranching hat, as perhaps one of the last honest hippies in the area.

With newspaper clippings in hand, sits University of Nevada, Reno’s prized (and arguably feared) journalism teacher, Jake Highton.

Down the table sits Larry Wilson and his 30 years of teaching at local elementary schools, writing as he said, “to keep people on an even keel given these economic times.”

Across from him, Harry Spencer brings his knowledge of the area dating back to 1945, with more than the occasional celebrity encounter in the public relations and advertising business.

David Farside, a vocal activist, can educate on the benefits of being a vegetarian as well as his bout with polio in 1949, which taught him “how to be a human being.”

Nathan Orme, the self-proclaimed “newbie” of the bunch, started writing his column only a year ago when he took the editor position.

And then there’s plumbing contractor and self-declared “Sparks Boy,” Ira Hansen. As he argues his conservative views, he has a smile on his face, jokingly calling himself “the lone voice of reason.”

Some have met before, others are meeting each other for the first time. Here are the highlights of the diverse group’s afternoon debate touching on everything from the future of newspapers to legalizing prostitution.

Q: Judging by some of the banter at the table, this is the first time a lot of you have met before, especially all in one place like this. Did you have any preconceived notions of each other just by reading each other’s columns?

HS: You can tell a lot about people based on their writing style, moreso than the content of the articles they write. … When I read the other columnists in the Sparks Tribune, I appreciate the fact they get their message out, that no two of them write alike. I like David’s (Farside) stuff because he researches it extremely well. Travus (Hipp) has a great sense of humor. Andy (Barbano) and I have bantered about on a couple of issues. … I know Jake is a great teacher because he gave my son Zach an A once. (laughs) I appreciate that.
DF: No, I didn’t have any preconceived notions. I thought Ira had more hair on his head but that’s about all.
AB: The only preconceived notion that I’ve been disabused of today was that I fully expected Ira (Hansen) to be both older and to have horns. Maybe they only appear in the full moon. (laughter)
LW: I expected fully to find a very diverse group of people and we probably couldn’t agree on any one solution to anything, but we would all figure out a way to solve all the Earth’s problems at one point. It’s kind of intriguing to get together and see what kind of group we really do have here and I think it’s kind of neat we represent a cross section of our whole community both locally and nationally, maybe even the world.
On the future of The Sparks Tribune and print media:
TH: Well, that’s all well and good, but let’s cut to the chase. We are all at this point involved in an archaic form that is fading so fast that it’s barely capable of keeping a paper on the streets in major cities.… I’m sorry but the advertising base of print media is dead, OK? So what we should be talking about here is if we want to continue to propagate our own propaganda then we had better come up with either a form or a system or a merchandizing operation that will allow the Sparks Tribune at all to continue to publish.
IH: I remember ol’ [newspaper columnist] Ralph Heller [and] his whole take was to keep the Sparks Tribune going and to actually make it grow. Now realistically, Travus (Hipp) is completely correct that it’s a shrinking market. I mean the ability to see newspapers in the future as you would in the past, is gone. There are so many outlets. But there’s still going to be a market, somewhere… What Ralph suggested, which always seemed wise to me, is that you have to diversify. Honestly our community isn’t as leftist as our column base is, and this is not criticism of anybody in the room.…The reality is, to create a difference between us and the (Reno) Gazette Journal is the way for the Tribune to survive and grow.
JH: To follow up on Travus, I think the real question for all of us, is will we have a physical newspaper in our hands in five years? That’s a question for all of us.
TH: Save the trees!
JH: No, I’m serious, people are not advertising in newspapers. They can read the newspaper free online. Why should they buy the Sparks Tribune or the Reno Gazette Journal or The New York Times if they can read it free?
AB: I disagree with Travus more than I do Ira. With respect to the future of print, on the one hand, yeah, promoting more diversity is a good idea, but the problem with newspapers is their decreasing relevance to their community and that’s a reflection of corporatism. In yesterday’s Gazette-Journal, you saw an article … of a newsletter in Spanish Springs, a free newsletter that has 40 advertisers in it because they are relevant to their community. I made several proposals to the owner of this newspaper on how to make the Tribune relevant and up the circulation and promote it. There is a way to make the Tribune increasingly relevant to up the print circulation and newspapers and print will always be with us. You cannot do everything on a Web site that you can do in print, starting with the fact that a print paper is a lot faster to use, but you have to make the paper much more relevant than we are making newspapers today. The elements of success in the Tribune are better than any other paper in the state.
Q: What is the most controversial column or column you have regretted writing for the Sparks Tribune?
DF: Actually, I got the most response on an article that I wrote about Hilary Clinton running as an Independent. And I couldn’t believe it. On my blog, I had a lot of hits, a lot of responses and I was surprised to see how many people really supported the idea of Hilary Clinton running as an Independent. Regrettable? No, I don’t have any regrets of anything I’ve written.
AB: My biggest regret and it’s something we all need to remember, is that words hurt. About 15 to 20 years ago … I found out that … the First Federal Savings Branch in Carson City had been robbed.… Apparently, federal law says that until you have proof that you’re in a high crime area you don’t have to go through the expense of surveillance video …so First Federal in Carson City did not have video surveillance and I printed that story as a good joke in the Tribune.… As it so turned out, there was a very nasty woman in the top three hierarchy at First Federal that did not like their director of security.… They saw my article in the Tribune and she used my article in the Tribune as an excuse to fire this gentleman, even though he had been lobbying for two freaking years to put video surveillance at all locations. This man lost his job because of my column. That column is my biggest regret because that man lost his job because of what I reported and it was misused by the executives at First Federal Savings. We need to remember that your words can hurt, even unintentionally.
TH: I would have to say my most controversial column, because I’ve written it four or five times, a couple of times for the Trib and various other papers, is my recommendation to bulldoze the schools and the entire public education system as it presently exists and start paying teachers to supervise the home educational accomplishments of kids who now have the resources to do college PhD level work and research and studying in their own closet if they want to.
IH: The biggest regret I have is that some of my columns I’ve actually said things that reading back it was a petty thing at the moment that I shouldn’t have done in the long run.
JH: I like to think I’ve written a lot of good columns but one of my favorites is I compared Eugene Debs and Emma Goldman to Jesus and I know that outraged a lot of people but by God, these two people were far more Christian than most Christians ever are.
NO: I wish in the day-to-day grind in getting this newspaper out that I had the time that Andy has or some of these guys have … to do a little more research and do a little more digging and maybe I guess participate in my own column a little more than I do.… It did feel good one time when a woman came in, older lady, and actually recognized me and made a comment on one of the columns.
AB: Did she ask for a date?
NO: No, (laughs) but I think she wanted to. But it’s always a good feeling to know that, wow, OK, somebody actually reads this and cares enough to remember.
Q: What do you think has been your greatest accomplishment as a professional columnist?
HS: My greatest accomplishment was getting laid off by the Reno Gazette-Journal because I have the temerity to help a friend in a political contest. The word came down that I would be put on furlough until the election was over. The election was over eight years ago, so thank God for the Sparks Trib.
DF: A great accomplishment is when I received calls from people higher up in politics and said, ‘David, I’m glad you wrote that, now I have some information for you.’ And you don’t have to go to them, they come to you and I think that’s an accomplishment for a columnist when you can stir that kind of interest and gain confidence of not necessarily a whistleblower but someone on the inside.
AB: In 1991, my Tribune column on forecasting what kind of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas would be and accurately I might add. It was picked up by the Los Angeles and San Francisco daily legal journals and not being a lawyer and scoring those two publications made me feel pretty good. Second, I wrote a four-part series in 1988 on how to steal an election on a computer and one of the four was picked up by the Las Vegas Review Journal. It accurately, and I wasn’t alone in this, predicted what would happen in Florida in 2000.
LW: I’ve had some minor accomplishments.… I really get feedback from people in the community from time to time. They come up and tell me they read my stuff and that they like it and that sort of thing. That’s a real ego boost.
IH: I had one day in particular when my column ran in the Sparks Tribune, the Elko Daily Free Press, The Nevada Appeal, I was doing my talk radio show and I got interviewed by a television station and on the same day I got interviewed by J.R. Reynolds on another radio show. So I was like ‘Wow for a little ol’ Sparks Boy, I’ve been in a lot of different media outlets at the same time. And people respected our opinion and frankly what the column does is it gives us a level of credibility that as individuals we really don’t earn (laughs). Technically, I’m not really a professional journalist. I’m in fact a plumbing contractor and I’m proud of my blue collar roots and I still every day go to work and today I have dirt under my fingernails from the work I did yesterday in the field so I’m not one of these guys that are living in, no offense professor, in the university ivory towers. I’m on the ground every day with real people doing real things and that’s what I write about in my column every Sunday.
JH: I’m grateful … for the Sparks Tribune. They have never ever censored me and I have written some controversial stuff. For example, I had a two-part series saying we should legalize prostitution, not in Nevada but the whole country. … Another time I urged legalization of all drugs. Again, controversial ideas, trying to suggest to some minds. In short, I’m freer in academia and with the Sparks Tribune than I ever was in newspapers. … I’ve really had no impact at all because I write from the heart and I write from the brain and it’s not shared by most people, including my wife.
NO: I haven’t been doing this long enough to have an impact. I hope to have one at some point. … As a relatively young, new newspaper editor, the thing that I’m probably most proud of is when we sent our entries to The Nevada Press Association this year, a good chunk of them were from journalism students over at UNR and I like to hope with at least a little bit of help from me and largely, 99 percent due to their own ability, they came back with a handful of awards. So I was able to send some students away with plaques that say First Place or Third Place or whatever it is that has their name on it.


More Guest Columns
Jake Highton 2005
Jake Highton 2006

Orland T. Outland

People vs. Corporate Con Job

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey

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

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

CNN's Lou Dobbs' new book "Exporting America" quotes Carey

U-News 2004-05 Archives | 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, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
Search this site | In Search Of...


Copyright © 1982-2006, 2012, 2017 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 36-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors (CWA signatory)
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins.