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An Alternative National Anthem
By Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) & Sharon Robinson
© 1988 CBS Records, Inc.

   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 that the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows that the captain lied.
   Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died.
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   And a long stem rose.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that you love me, baby.
Everybody knows you really do.
   Everybody knows that you've been faithful,
Give or take a time or two.
   Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
   Without your clothes.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that it's now or never.
Everybody knows that it's me or you.
   And everybody knows that you live forever
When you've done a line or two.
   Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
   For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that the plague is coming.
Everybody knows that it's moving fast.
   Everybody knows that the naked man & woman —
Just a shining artifact of the past.
   Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
   That will disclose
What everybody knows.

   And everybody knows that you're in trouble.
Everybody knows what you've been through
   From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach at Malibu.
   Everybody knows it's coming apart.
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
   Before it blows.
And everybody knows.

Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.


I hope you understand I just had to go back to the island.
Leon Russell, 1942-2016

"The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have." Kierkegaard

Black History Month Blacklash
Reno City Council endangers historic Nevada black church for developer
Bethel A.M.E. Pastor marshals support at City Hall on Feb. 28, 2024

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford keynotes Aug. 26, 2023, NAACP dinner

Selling sex in morally righteous Mississippi West
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 3-8-2023

Choking on the bones of Mississippi West
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno /
Expanded from the Wednesday 4-28-2021 Sparks Tribune / Updated 5-4-2021 & 8-25-2023 GMT / Expansions in blue

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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

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I wish I could say this is the final installment of a trilogy about Reno police chokeholds, but based on a long, sordid history, this story will never end.

As I reported over the past two weeks (see below), three decades ago, a Reno police officer used a chokehold on a 20 year-old white man across the street from the University of Nevada-Reno. City hall was on such weak legal ground that they quickly settled with his family.

Part of the deal was vowing to go and sin no more. I got feedback that, "carotid control" was still in use all the way until the Nevada Legislature banned them last year. Last June, RPD issued a press release announcing the ban that was supposed to have been in effect for some 30 years.

So I asked for some recent stats and they ain't pretty.

2010-13: 25 (6.25 per year average)
2014-19: 67 (11.17 per year)
2020: 3 (Nevada legislative ban mid-year after George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis)

Wonder if they kept stats on the racial breakdown of people who were strangled? Did they ever have zero years? Did anyone die after they made the deal three decades ago? How do Sparks and Washoe County stack up? What are the current minority numbers of sworn officers in these parts?

My 2016 coverage of the Reno police online application form's discriminatory bias will be linked to the web edition of this column at

Stay tuned.

MISSISSIPPIWESTNV.US/ Several years ago, the great Nevada journalist D. Brian Burghart launched a website called Fatal Encounters. For his labor, the former editor of the Reno News & Review won all the marbles at the annual Alternative Media Association annual convention among many other richly deserved accolades.

Several major news organizations, including the Washington Post, copied Mr. Burghart's consolidation of information on police shootings.

Given the Sparks police swiss-cheesing of suicidal black teen Miciah Lee last year and so many other chronic maladies plaguing the High Desert Outback of the American Dream, might it be time for a website consolidating information about the multiple nefarious permutations of oppression perpetrated in these parts? I've already got enough cross-links to start a page, beginning with Mr. Burghart's magnum opus.

All suggestions appreciated. I know exactly to whom to dedicate it —>

—> DR. MARY WHITE STEWART, Feb. 11, 1945 — April 13, 2021. My dear friend Mary lost her long battle with cancer two weeks ago. She established what became an entire department at UNR dedicated to every aspect of human rights. She was raised right.

Her mom, Helen White Stewart, was the first non-African-American member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. Mary is survived by two daughters, Tyler and Kate; her sister, distinguished artist Holly English, and her sometimes disarmingly cantankerous brothers, Stewart, Geoffrey and John White, Jr., all prominent local attorneys.

A family gathering took place Tuesday. A memorial will be announced for June. Mary's complete (and awesomely impressive obituary) will be linked to the expanded web edition of the Barbwire at

(Pardon me while my eyes get wet.) Damn, I'm glad I got to know you, lady!

Requiescat in pace.

YOU KNOW YOU'VE LIVED HERE TOO LONG when you don't have room for all the obits of old friends: Country music radio star (with a voice I'd kill for), Martin Flynn, 78. My former talk radio colleague and onetime northern Nevada number-one morning jock Lou Gutenberger, 88. Piano virtuoso and strong union man Wally Jones, 82. White Sage Studios impresario, world-class graphic designer and man of the Comstock Paul Cirac was 65. And beautiful Tempest Storm, 93, who resided here with her husband, actor/singer Herb Jeffries in the mid-1970s. He was African American and their marriage damaged the great exotic dancer's career. She died in Las Vegas last week.

Remember them as great artists, all. They have enriched my life and those of so many others.

I look forward to attending your next show.

RENTVOLUTION.ORG/ Been getting calls from the oppressed of NomadLand. One woman, a weekly motel senior citizen whom I put with The Guardian of London a couple of years ago, reports that her rent has gone from $800 to $900 a month.

A retired black union man who lives in a very old apartment complex in Carson City, just got jacked up from $825 to $990.

The only surcease from such sorrow (renters rights bills have been nuked at the Democratic-controlled legislature) lies with local housing authorities who have federal relief funds in the pipeline.

As with unemployment money, good luck to those in need. Nevada has the smallest state government of all the states and we are just not geared for one crisis, let alone a series.

Alas, 'twas ever thus in Mississippi West.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡Sí se puede!

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (And my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)


Andrew Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,, BallotBoxing.US,, and among others. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <>

Getting paid to choke in the clutch
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno /
Expanded from the Wednesday 4-21-2021 Sparks Tribune / Expansions in blue

You tell me if these guys are worth their six-figure salaries from the taxpayers.

CHOKED WITH PRIDE. Local bus system execs last Friday reported to their elected board of directors about their wondrous vaccination record.

Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Director of Public Transportation and Operations Mark Maloney glowingly stated that "between 75 and 80 employees have already taken either their first dose or both."

Sounds great, huh? They never do let facts get in the way of a good story over there. RTC has over 200 employees which means that they are not even 50 percent vaccinated.

Essential employees like drivers and support staff should have been fully vaccinated before the general public but were not. More than 20,000 riders per day plus employees continue being endangered thanks to RTC's superspreader policies.

And these guys get paid for this?

ALL CHOKED UP, PART DEUX. Last week, I reported that the City of Reno and its police department agreed not to use choke holds after a 20 year-old white man was strangled to death across the street from the University of Nevada-Reno about three decades ago.

But Reno did not "officially" ban choke holds until last June 5, right after the downtown George Floyd riot and a few weeks before the Nevada Legislature made it law.

But if they had banned strangulation in the early 1990s, why did they need the press release from last June 5? Public relations? Probably. Or perhaps lack of institutional memory.

I have been told by insiders that the choke hold made a comeback at RPD in recent years.

A retired Reno cop says they returned to using such a dangerous-to-apply and potentially deadly use of force because "most of the officers can't fight, and it gives them an advantage that they wouldn't have mano-a-mano."  

That's not only macho thinking but also means nothing much has changed in three decades. As I printed last week, the big cop who strangled the skinny kid near UNR wasn't trying to kill him. The officer was just poorly trained. The young man's family got a chunk of money and the city promised to go sin no more.

Too bad it didn't take.

I have asked RPD for an annual list of choke holds going back a decade. They referred me to their website to make the formal request. Three computers and five different versions of web browers all came back with the same verdict: website unavailable.

Back to U.S. Postal Service, perhaps?

Stay tuned.

SISTER SERAPHINE, CALL YOUR OFFICE. Maybe St. Mary's Hospital is just plain being out-competed. They lost the bidding for the biggest account in town, the Washoe County School District, so perhaps bad times have come upon the anointed of the Lord.

Oops, I forgot. Some time ago, the Dominican Sisters turned over the venerable hospital to a rapacious California corporation, Prime Health Care.

Last Monday, KRNV TV-4 reported that St. Mary's just fired three percent of its staff, about 50 nursing supervisors.

My union, Communications Workers of America Local 9413, represents non-medical staff in St. Mary's sprawling organization. The California Nurses Association represents frontliners.

Both picketed the hospital several times last year. CWA has been stonewalled in contract negotiations. CNA had serious problems with lack of protective equipment.

Kinda like the Regional Transportation Commission's RTC Ride buses. Let the drivers get sick... (Two have made it to intensive care and perhaps more. Over two dozen and probably more have been infected. Highly-paid RTC mega-execs don't talk to lowlife union representatives.)...and tell the public that everything is beautiful. Take the COVID-19-immune bus to St. Mary's to experience health care Valhalla.

It's getting harder and harder to write satire. A few weeks ago, RTC offered free rides to people who needed to get to vaccine sites.

So someone could get jabbed for free, catch the virus on an unsafe bus, and be dead a week before the vaccine could have any effect.

What a country. I think I'll write a book about all of this stuff for placement in the fairy tale section of the library.

RED DINGBAT BLUES. Madcap freshman Georgia Republican Congressperson Majorie Taylor Green has introduced a measure to expel longtime African-American Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

The loquacious Maxine had the temerity to tell Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to "respect the chair and shut your mouth" when he went overtime trashing Dr. Anthony Fauci in a committee hearing.

Green was stripped of her committee assignments earlier this year after endorsing violence against Democratic politicians.

Rep. Waters' sister, Velma Moody, died from COVID-19 last May.

Meanwhile, Ms. Waters rallied demonstrators on the streets of Minnesota marching for justice after another black man was terminated with extreme prejudice by local law debasement.

Green hasn't got much to do other than raise money from moonhowlers, speaking of which...

LUV LETTER FROM A FAN (Sanitized). "F---- you communist motherf....." well, you can fill in the blanks.

I try to respond to all correspondence. Here's my reply.

"Dear Reader: Are you or your mom looking for a date?"

I have not heard back. Stay tuned.

LATE-BREAKING — WALTER MONDALE, 1928-2021. National monument.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡Sí se puede!

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (And my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <>

Pardon me if I get all choked up
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 4-14-2021 Sparks Tribune
/ Updated 4-17 & 4-21-2021 GMT Expansions in blue

Back when I was beating Lush Rambo on the radio, I spent a lot of time talking about the murder of Charles Bush by Las Vegas Metro Police.

Casino exec Bush, 39, was asleep in bed when three cops burst in without a warrant, put him in a choke hold and killed him. By the way, he was black.

It took place in Gomorrah South on July 31, 1990, and eerily foreshadowed the deaths of both Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

The cops, of course, were exonerated.

It was "the 44th consecutive justifiable verdict handed down in coroner’s inquests since 1976," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last year.

"Two days later, then-District Attorney Rex Bell announced that he would not charge the officers. 'I would destroy the whole integrity of this process if I overturned it.' Bell said of the coroner’s inquest," the RJ noted.

"Twenty-seven years would pass before another LV Metro officer faced charges in connection with an in-custody killing," the report stated.

The hills around Clark County's Mummy (aka Sunrise) Mountain have been figuratively littered with the bones of black men dying at hands of LV cops ever since.

The department re-shuffled the deck after George Floyd sparked worldwide protests.

“I don’t think reclassifying it is enough,” said Wesley Juhl, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and a former crime reporter for the Review-Journal. “I think every cop knows what to say to avoid any accountability, and it’s just as easy enough for them to say, ‘I felt like my life was in danger.’ ”

“My first reaction in reviewing Charles Bush’s killing was how eerily familiar it is,” Juhl said. [UPDATE: Bush attended the University of Nevada-Reno and still has friends in these parts.]

“If you change some of the names, this could have happened yesterday. It’s the same thing: zero accountability, a district attorney that’s reluctant to act, questions about racial bias involving policing. It’s really sad that we haven’t made more progress.”

"In all, Metro paid out $1.1 million in settlements in Bush’s death."

A more on-point incident occurred right here in River City in the same time frame. One night in the early 1990s, a 20 year-old white man went thru a red light near the University of Nevada-Reno. He was pulled over at a convenience store just south of the Little Waldorf Saloon, across from Lawlor Events Center.

The first autopsy said he died from a cocaine overdose while in the process of being choked by a Reno cop. That's the same defense ex-cop Derek Chauvin's lawyers are using in Minneapolis.

The family's lawyers had a second autopsy done by a Las Vegas pathologist who stated the obvious, something like "Uh, no. He happened to be high on cocaine when he was choked to death by the officers."

The two officers involved did not intend to kill the kid. They were just not properly trained and the negligence went all the way to the top.

Ole fuss 'n' feathers Robert Bradshaw was Reno Police Department chief back then. His greatest claim to infamy was his first noteworthy act in 1982. He ordered every cop in Reno, on duty or not, to show up at the Pioneer Theatre to listen to him make a speech.
If you wanted to rob a bank, that would have been the time because there were no cops on the street.

During questioning under oath by the family's lawyers, Bradshaw was asked what he knew about choke holds.
You know, little stuff like how long before brain damage starts to happen.

He proved blissfully ignorant, stating repeatedly "you'd have to ask a doctor." Actually, brain damage can start after 10 seconds of oxygen deprivation.

"Would you feel comfortable applying a chokehold, chief?"


At that point, City of Reno defense lawyers asked for a break and posed the magic question: "How much do you want?" They realized how Bradshaw's cavalier macho admission would look to a jury.

The City of Reno paid substantial confidential money to settle the case and RPD also agreed to stop using the chokehold which the family insisted as a part of the settlement. That's still the case today.

The city required that no transcript of the chief's deposition under oath would be prepared by the court reporter in order to keep the lid on Bradshaw's reckless arrogance.

I wonder if RPD today knows that chokeholds are banned under that settlement. I think I'll ask for the city's policy before this goes to press.

Stay tuned. (UPDATE: See Smoking Guns, hereinbelow.)

CLINGING TO THE LEDGE: Reno Republican Assemblymember Lisa Krasner's AB 268 was voted with a do-pass recommendation out of the lower house's Government Affairs Committee last week.

I testified in favor. Washoe Sheriff Darin Balaam supports it, as do Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford and the Reno-Sparks NAACP.

Titled "Miciah's Law," it mandates that all counties adopt policies to de-escalate lethal situations before police start shooting.

Miciah Lee, age 18, black and suicidal, was shot to death by Sparks police in January of last year. His mom told the cops of his mental state.

Washoe County has long had a 24/7 rapid response team to mitigate such situations. Sparks cops never made the call and killed the kid. (Trust me, the official Sparks PD story will go down like the Titanic if it ever gets to court.)

It will cost the city a million or so but it won't bring the young man back.

The only negative vote on Mrs. Krasner's bill came from Assemblymember Annie Black, R-Neanderthal. Suffice it to say that Ms. Black makes former Assemblymember Sharron Angle, R-Reno, look reasonable.

¡Sí se puede!

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (And my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US, and among others. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <>

Web Xtras & Smoking Guns—>

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford keynotes Aug. 26, 2023, NAACP dinner

KRNV TV-4 June 5, 2020: Say what? RPD announces ban on choke holds after Nevada Legislature responds to George Floyd's killing

RUMBLES FROM INSIDE THE POLICE STATION: Longtime officers have said that choke holds were "quietly brought back" about 2015. 

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$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

Triangle tragedy recalled as requiem
"The Fire in My Mouth," a new oratorio by Pulitzer honoree Julia Wolfe, premiered with the New York Philharmonic Jan. 24

By Michael Cooper / The New York Times 1-23-2019

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Copyright © 1982-2021 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan, editor of and; 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 a longtime member 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.

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

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