BARBWIRE
by
ANDREW BARBANO
Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


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Je Suis Charlie
"Our republic and its press will rise or fall together." — Joseph Pulitzer

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"Media is the plural of mediocre."
— Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017)


   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.


I hope you understand
I just had to go back to the island.

Leon Russell, 1942-2016

Melvin and Howard: The untold reality show
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 12-12-2018 Sparks Tribune / Updated 12-14-2018 / Expansions in blue


Greatest Hits Dept.

WE WON: BIG NEWS FROM THE NEVADA PRESS ASSOCIATION CONFAB IN GOMORRAH SOUTH —> BARBWIRE NOMINEE GUY RICHARDSON INDUCTED INTO HALL OF FAME ON FIRST BALLOT

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The 9th Muse
Barbwire wins 9th Nevada Press Association award

GOLD 2017-18

2018 First-Place Winners

From the depths of despair to the den of iniquity & holy of holies

"Excellent work. These are some of the most moving columns I've read."
— NPA contest judge/9-29-201
8

The Grasshopper and
the Dragonfly

9-6-2017

Kicked off the Ledge
4-18-2017

NATIONAL NEWS FIRST-BREAK
Back to the Future in
Mississippi West Nevada

10-18-2017

Gold 2017
Don't ask Renown Med for marijuana to help your chemo

10-4-2016
We Don't Need No Education
Toxic turf threat ignored

12-13-2016
Kate Smith & Lady Gaga
2-14-2017

Bronze 6-pack
In the Uber-Nevada legislature, words can kill
4-28-2015
On artificial turf, don't breathe unless absolutely necessary (above)
11-24-2015
Leading questions, lead-headed leaders
1-19-2016

Hopelessly trying to win an earthquake
4-18-2013
2013 Loony Tunes Legislative Lexicon
5-30-2013
The politics of media ga-ga boosterism
3-20-2014

More statewide and national award winners

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

1997 Pulitzer Prize entries

Barbwire.TV:
15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

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

Tomorrow's news today —> Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential
TOP SECRET— HushHush!

 

Howard Hughes came to Nevada in the 1960s to launder Mafia-owned gambling properties into white collar legitimacy.

The agoraphobic industrialist and movie producer had a long and sordid history with organized crime. (See investigative reporter Howard Kohn's "The Hughes-Nixon-Lansky Connection," Rolling Stone, 1976.)

I bring up the Silver State's checkered past because Melvin Dummar died Sunday in Nye County at age 74. Gas station owner Dummar gained fame by forging the infamous Mormon Will which purported to leave him one-sixteenth of Hughes' billions, about $156 million.

Dummar asserted that he had picked up a bedraggled and disoriented Hughes on a lonely road in central Nevada. He purportedly got the old man to safety.

The fanciful story was made into the multiple Oscar-winning 1980 Jonathan Demme film "Melvin & Howard" starring Paul LeMat, Mary Steenburgen and Jason Robards.

When Hughes died, a handwritten will magically appeared in Salt Lake City apparently punching Melvin's ticket to fame and especially fortune.

The Mormon Will was challenged in court and legal heavy hitters were betting that Melvin would win. All but one guy.

The late Reno top gun lawyer Bill Lohse and I used to hang out in Reno's first fern bar, the fondly remembered Delmar Station in what is now called MidTown. Over beers one night, Lohse told me of hoisting a few at an upscale joint in the courthouse district with some of his peers.

One distinguished member of the State Bar asserted to a judge in attendance, "your honor, I'm at the heart of this matter and the Mormon Will be authenticated."

Only Lohse disagreed, stating "no jury will believe Melvin Dummar."

He knew of whence he spoke. When Bill was fresh out of law school, a Nevada judge assigned him to take a pro bono case as a public defender in Hawthorne.

A local office worker named Melvin Dummar was accused of forging a check and cashing it at the El Capitan casino.

When Bill asked Melvin "what's your defense?" Melvin just smiled and said "I didn't do it." (Remind you of anyone in the news today?)

Showing why he became a great trial lawyer, young Lohse quickly confused and discredited all testimony against sly Melvin. (See Joe Pesci's hilarious 1992 performance in "My Cousin Vinny" as a reference.)

Then things got rough. The prosecution's star witness was the longtime casino cage cashier whose pre-trial testimony was simple: "I saw that man sign that check."

Lohse pulled a Clarence Darrow. The legendary Scopes Monkey Trial defense attorney once had a criminal case he knew he was going to lose.

His last resort was to put the defendant on the stand. (Lohse knew he could not risk Melvin testifying.) Fortunately, smoking was allowed in court a hundred years ago.

Darrow bought a very good and very large cigar and tightly wound a stout wire through it. He told his client to take a single puff when he got on the stand, then hang the stogie over the railing of the witness box and never touch it again.

Darrow launched into the most nit-pickety, elongated, boring line of questioning he could create — while the day wore on and the cigar ash grew and grew and grew, but never fell to the floor.

His guilty-as-sin client was acquitted. Jurors said afterward that they couldn't remember much of what the defendant said and thus thought it unfair to convict him.

In reality, they had been effectively distracted, transfixed watching the cigar. Some might call it hypnosis, Darrow called it a win.

Lohse's diversion was Mrs. Dummar and her infant. He instructed her that no matter what was happening in the courtroom, "every time I turn around, I want to see you cuddling, rocking and kissing that baby."

Bill then launched into a long, sententious, convoluted line of questioning. By the bitter end, the cashier was so confused she herself was not sure what she had seen.

The jury almost acquitted Dummar save for just one who held out for conviction. Hung jury. Dummar walked and went on to greater glory.

That part of the story has never been told. Until now.

STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: The Reno News & Review alternative weekly is celebrating its silver anniversary. Two of their charter dinosaurs, columnist Bruce Van Dyke and news editor Dennis Myers, were present at the creation by former Reno Gazette-Journal reporters Mike Norris and Larry Henry and former Associated Press bureau chief Bill Martin. Myers and Henry both served hard time at the Tribune before meandering toward greater glory. Largely because of Myers, the RNR became and remains the best newspaper in the state.

Congratulations.

Happy High Holly Days.

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
_______

Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, executive 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 NevadaLabor.com and BallotBoxing.US and SenJoeNeal.org and DoctorLawyerWatch.com/ As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988 and received its ninth Nevada Press Association award and 6th first-place at the 29 Sept. 2018 NPA annual convention in Las Vegas. (That trophy and about six bucks will get you a Latte Mocha Cotsafracas Chingade at just about any Starbux worldwide, guaranteed.)

WEB XTRAS & SMOKING GUNS —>

PINK SLIPS, PURGES AND PRUNING. I need to hear from recently purged Eldorado Hotel-Casino employees. Barbwire spies report perhaps 100 workers getting the ax just in time for the holidays. In this newspaper, at Barbwire.US and in the London Guardian, I have lamented the deepening desperation of renters here in Tesla boomtown.

I'm now getting complaints about medical and dental practices purportedly pruning their patient loads, cutting loose the less-lucrative. That's de facto malpractice but medical professionals are lawsuit-proof under Nevada law — unless you're rich enough to personally pay a few hundred grand in legal fees.

That's why TV lawyers only advertise for arrest or accident cases these days. If you've been cast adrift by patient pruning, call me at (775) 882-TALK or e-mail me.

Sore-oppressed Soul-Sister Cities: Menlo Park and Reno-Sparks-Fernley share similarly sad high-tech stretch marks

"All humanity has left the area": paying for Tesla's Gigafactory
Barbano and Nevada conservatives decry corporate welfare depredations

By Rory Carroll / The Guardian 7-3-2018

Editor's Note: The Guardian publishes 180,000 newspapers daily in London and environs and generates ONE BILLION monthly web page views.

(I should live so long.)

[MUCH MORE TESLACIDE]

"Facebook is taking everything": rising rents drive out Silicon Valley families
Property companies advertising their proximity to Facebook’s campus are giving low-income residents a choice: pay a huge rent increase or move out
By Sam Levin / The Guardian 6-20-2018


Peruse the Underbelly of the News —> Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

For all the news you never knew you needed to know 'til now: Tell your friends and friendly enemies to subscribe to Barbwire Confidential for warm laughter, cheap thrills, hot scoops and occasional cold logic at BallotBoxing.US/ Cheap at twice the price. (Hush Hush!)

Last year's dark foreshadowings unfortunately became reality. I thus suggest inoculation by signing onto the HushHush! list at BallotBoxing.US/ It's cheap as well as enlightening entertainment. Thank you kindly for your support.

Smoking Guns—>

A Christmas fantasy for freedom-loving racists
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 12-5-2018 Sparks Tribune
A pledge of allegiance for our empire's children
Editor
's note:
The above was published before the death of President George HW Bush. His record survives him.
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 11-28-2018 Sparks Tribune

Trumptasic tree ornaments for fun and prophet
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 11-21-2018 Sparks Tribune
Bluish waves, silver bullets, yellow dogs & chickens
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 11-14-2018 Sparks Tribune
If we stop killing, we stop killing ourselves
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 11-7-2018 Sparks Tribune
Personal & political hygiene for fun & prophet
The Nevada connection to murdered Saudi Jamal Khashoggi
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 10-24-2018 Sparks Tribune
BallotBoxing '18: Maximum confusions & contusions
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 10-17-2018 Sparks Tribune
Great Depression 2.0: Sure cure for what ails us
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 10-10-2018 Sparks Tribune
50 shades of rape: Tales of future past
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 10-3-2018 Sparks Tribune

Barbwire 30th Anniversary Trilogy
Now well into a 4th decade of equal opportunity harassment of the rich, famous & powerful
Sunday, August 12, 2018, marked 30 years since the first Barbwire appeared in the Rail City's newspaper of record since 1910. "The Chilling of Hot August Nights" brought the first of nine Nevada Press Association awards. I'll add more memories of the early days of the Barbwire as time, space and the political season allow. (See above right.)

Part 3: Biting the hand that feeds me
GOP '18 upsets: Déjà vu all over again
Laxalt and Heller favored to win in November
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 9-5-2018 Sparks Tribune
Part 2: Biting the moonhowlers
Good reasons to lie to those pesky pollsters
Heller eats sheep balls to get the courage to perpetrate guilt by association
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 8-29-2018 Sparks Tribune
Part 1: Bitten by my buds
Machine Gun Michele and her low-caliber, low-cut friends
The censored Barbwires of the 2015 legislature finally see ink and my fantasy fiancée bares all
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 8-22-2018 Sparks Tribune

30 Years before the masthead: Barbano remembers the Barbwire's greatest hits
By Kayla Anderson / Sparks Tribune 8-22-2018

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.


$75 dead or alive: Still crazy after all these years
A mass murderer becomes famous on TV a century later

How come nobody noticed 'til now?
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 2-21-2018 Sparks Tribune

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners Max Blank and Isaac Harris. Is not Mr. Harris eerily familiar to television junkies?

From the Emmy-winning opening slate of the blockbuster "Cheers" television series. Combined with its "Frasier" spinoff, it lasted 20 years.
The "shirtwaist kings" immigrated from Russia and made a fortune manufacturing "Gibson Girl"-style blouses. (Photo, "The American Experience"/PBS)
The Emmy-winning opening slate of the "Cheers" television series before the "slate" of creators is superimposed. Looks like Mr. Harris' dead ringer (at left) is having a bloody good time.

"Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Chico Marx disguised as Groucho Marx in "Duck Soup" (1933)
Back to the story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist holocaust

SITE NAVIGATION TIPS: When all else fails, read the instructions (A favorite John Hanks aphorism I've been using for decades)

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Copyright © 1982-2018 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and SenJoeNeal.org; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is the executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us.

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.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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