Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


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The Barbwire's Silver Anniversary—>Now we go for gold
Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows.

— Leonard Cohen

Travus T. Hipp
Feb. 20, 1937
— May 18, 2012

NEW: The Bullfrog Times-Picayune and
Sticky Stones: Last blast from the past

NEWLY UPLOADED: Love ain't free
Evelyn Kerr's remembrances of the life and times of Travus T. Hipp from the pages of TimeMazine

CD available

"If voting mattered, they wouldn't let us do it."Travus T. Hipp, 1982

Barbara Bennett, Erik Holland and Václav Havel
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-22-2014 Sparks Tribune

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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We Don't Need No Education—> Neverending Barbwire Series


Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

Support the project at

Updated 8-30-2011
Reruns on Carson-Dayton 226

Additional programs
on Boulder City cable. Go to and then
go to the BCTV link.

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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How corrupt was follytix when voters sent an angry message by electing Reno Mayor Barbara Bennett in 1979?

Brothelmeister Joe Conforte dominated early 1970s Sparks government. Casino owner John Ascuaga finally regained control in 1975.

One Sparks contractor developed a curious habit of submitting last-minute low bids on Reno public works. Officials suspected a spy leaking competitor proposals. The contractor forgot that if you lie down with dogs, you get fleas. He later went under.

A Reno official embezzled untold sums of money and completely got away with it.
Only an oblique reference was made at a city council meeting. Afraid of looking bad, city hall covered it up and the new potentate enjoyed a prosperous retirement.

I once asked a Reno councilcritter why he reversed himself on a popular vote.

"Everybody who pays for political campaigns was in the audience."

Of course.

In 1993, the Reno paper asked four downtown moguls what they'd like to see on the riverfront.

Eldorado magnate Don Carano favored government buildings. Two decades later, the grand duke's will has largely been imposed.

No competitors allowed.

As I wrote on April 3, this year's Reno mayoral election exudes eerie echoes of Bennett '79.

Nobody gave the renters' rights grandmother driving the yellow Volkswagen Beetle any chance in a crowded field including three incumbent officeholders.

California speculators cruised the streets with briefcases full of cashier's checks, snapping up properties and jacking up rents. Thanks to eight new casino operations, people were living in tents on the river.

By electing Barbara Bennett, the people sent a message: Get things under control, dammit.

A managed-growth minority came to the council under Bennett and remained under her successor, Pete Sferrazza.

Then Mayor Jeff Griffin blew up the historic Mapes Hotel, State Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, facilitated the casino district railroad trench for his law firm's clients, and give-the-store-away infatuation infected local governments for 20 years.

Now, Reno and Sparks slip, slide and slither on banana peels.

Incoming officials will likely preside over municipal bankruptcies. You can't deposit cheerleading in the bank.

Reno News & Review Editor D. Brian Burghart recently wrote what can only be termed an anti-job description:

"Can I point out something obvious? Every time I hear one of these people tell me their business bona fides qualify them to be mayor, I want to gag. Every single problem this city has—and I am not exaggerating—goes back to an overbearing business influence on our city government. Government is not business, and decisions that are good for business have been horrible for our city's citizens."

The late great investigative commentator Jack Anderson once reported that he had looked all his life for a great president and finally found one: Václav Havel, the eminent playwright who led Czechoslovakia to a peaceful transition from Soviet rule.

During trying times, people look to artists and philosophers before the accountants and opportunistas take over.

Artist Erik Holland's low-budget campaign and well-reasoned positions most closely parallel Barbara Bennett: infill before urban sprawl, expand public transit (he takes the bus), make developers pay their way — and he's the only candidate who actually lives in downtown Reno.

The crisis call has been sounded.

How will you answer?

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)


HOLLAND ON UNIONS FROM A PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN: "There is an alternative to a future of developer driven sprawl built by non-union labor. The first thing we must do is allow the public back into the process. And the public gets to say no sometimes."


HONOR YOUR DON. Campaign season is upon us. I'm working to elect legendary Nevada photographer Don Dondero (1920-2003) for the Nevada Press Association Hall of Fame.

His life's work appeared worldwide, including the Tribune and most probably every newspaper in Nevada.

Enlist in the campaign to install Big Don.

Please send me your memories and endorsements via e-mail or to P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

The Barbwire got the late Reno Gazette-Journal columnist Guy Richardson elected in 2012.

Help me double down

TOO LEGIT TO QUIT. The Barbwire's ongoing investigation of phony Nevada graduation rates, now in its third year, just got respectable. (Scroll down to Hiding in Plain Sight.) Read it and weep, then review the series for yourself.

TOAST ALERT. Teachers' union tax petition supporters and opponents would do well to review the Barbwire of Feb. 28, 2013.

Passage of the tax initiative could easily lead to a successful court challenge that would at the same time blow out not only the revenue hike, but also term limits and the state's worst anti-union laws. Something for everybody. [UPDATE]

ANTE INTO THE GAME: Support the new season of Barbwire.TV by putting your money where my mouth is.

PayPal monthly subscription software is now operational at the website.

A thousand thanks to those who already responded and keep sending show suggestions. Current frontrunners include (pardon the pun) wild mustangs as canned goods, education and  i-Guns with César Chávez in Nevada recently surging.

Now come queries about ballot questions. The Jan. 30 column brought a surge of inquiries about the Nevada State Education Association corporate tax petition on this November's ballot.

Stay tuned.

"Media is the plural of mediocre."
                              — Jimmy Breslin

  Please forward additional ideas or vote on the above.

  I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/

The medium that shapes public opinion needs at least one refuge where it is not filtered through the distorted green eye shades of prissy corporate accountants for whom profit is the only priority; where self-censorship is the journalist's normal work environment and where all sins of omission are tacitly encouraged and forgiven with the wave of a balance sheet.

This is important.

We've got work to do.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)



Andrew Barbano is a 45-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Stabbing rock-sucking kangaroos on the Ides of May
Reno Gazette-Journal blatantly manipulates mayoral contest
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from
the 5-15-2014 Sparks Tribune

Negative Optimism: Making the best of being worst
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-8-2014 Sparks Tribune

Nevada State AFL-CIO conventioners join anti-education initiative business coalition
Steve Sebelius / Las Vegas Review-Journal 5-2-2014

In search of the modern day Barbara Bennett
Barbwire by Barbano / Substantially expanded from the 4-3-2014 Sparks Tribune

We Don't Need No Education
The continuing Barbwire series

...and more ammo..

Nevada Day Required Reading
The Lady in the Red Dress
The Barbwire's classic Nevada Day column written in 1983
The compleat history of the Silver State in 500 words

Sparks Tribune 10-31-2013 and previously

Barbano on the Barbwire plots new TV season
Barbwire Special Web Edition / 10-21-2013

Barbwire: Nevada not really a state
No, we were not Battle Born in Kenya
Top 10 reasons Nevada lives in the 19th Century

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-17-2013 Sparks Tribune

Low-income penalty: Nevada socks it to the working poor
BARBANO: Nevada is one big company town
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

State of Health
National health care comes up against a very sick state. WHAT'S IN IT FOR US?
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

USA at crossroads: New Deal or new Confederacy?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-10-2013 Sparks Tribune
UPDATE—>Bill Moyers: Shutdown is simply secession by other means

...and more ammo yet

The Post-Dated Recession: Pay me now or pay me later
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The Post-dated Recession
By Joshua H. Silavent / Daily Sparks Tribune / 5-3-2011

Union decline and rising inequality in two charts
by Colin Gordon
Economic Policy Institute / 6-5-2012

Used in
journalist Mark Robison's extensive Hard Labor: Nevada unions tout role in helping workers, firms, economy (Sunday 2 Sept. 2012 Reno Gazette-Journal, page one, Reno Rebirth section of the print edition). Union men Jim Burrell, Paul McKenzie and Guy Louis Rocha did the movement proud. Not included in the RGJ online edition.

The Barbwire Labor Day column
Reno Gazette-Journal / 9-3-2012

Nevada Press Assn. Better Newspaper Contest
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years in a row.

The winning entries
Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck

Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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


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 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

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We Don't Need No Education
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Copyright © 1982-2014 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 45-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors, CWA 9413 signatory

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