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

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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

James Bilbray, Jr.: Shakespearean Arthurian
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 9-22-2021 / 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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Adios, old roommate. You done good.

Last Sunday, former Nevada university regent, congressman and state senator James Bilbray, Jr. died in Las Vegas at age 83. He was my friend for half a century.

Jimmy got elected to the University of Nevada System Board of Regents at age 28 in 1966. In late 1971, he decided to do what was deemed impossible, run against twenty-year Democratic Congressman Walter Baring for Nevada's lone congressional seat.

Nobody gave him a snowball's chance. He had great connections, starting with his dad, the popular Clark County assessor. But he worked for everything he got.

Jimmy and a fellow southern Nevada buddy named Harry Reid worked as DC capitol police officers when they were in law school.

When Nevada's population grew enough by 1980 to give us a second congressional seat, the southern seat was gerrymandered to be forever Democrat, the northern seat a lock for Republicans.

I've always wondered if then-State Sen. Bilbray helped Harry get that on.

Harry won the Gomorrah South seat in 1982 and held it until he replaced Paul Laxalt in the US Senate four years later.

Jimmy replaced Harry in 1986 for four terms until the year of Newt Gingrich and the Contract on America in 1994.

We met in '72 when a Vegas friend of mine recommended me to Jim's quixotic campaign.

Campaign guru Don Williams said "we checked you out with the news media, Andy. They like you. You're one of the boys."

I don't know if I've ever been paid a higher compliment.

Bilbray upset a sleeping Baring in the September 1972 Democratic primary. It helped that Environmental Action named ole fuss 'n' feathers Walter to its legendary "Dirty Dozen" list.

When we won, we thanked God. Mr. Williams was more practical. "And thank Jimmy's dad for the 50 grand."

We hit Walter with everything we had and I started getting heat that we were too negative.

"Never stop hitting him," advised my Gomorrah South counterpart Ivan Braiker.

Bilbray had been advised by former Baring confidante Charlie Bell that Ralph Denton had Walter beaten in 1964 but decided to go positive and let him get away.

Reno Mayor Pete Sferrazza was in the same advantageous position in 1992 and took his negative spots off the air or he would most probably have defeated incumbent Barbara Vucanovich.

Bilbray and Bell had a serious falling out over — what else — money after the primary. (Charlie and Walter had a deal to split all campaign contributions 50/50 until Charlie learned that Walt was holding out on him.)

Miffed at being stiffed by Bilbray, Charlie called House Republican Minority Leader Gerald Ford, R-Michigan -- yeah, THAT Gerald Ford.

"Gerry, this is Charlie. Do you want the Nevada seat?"
"We've written it off. This kid Bilbray's too strong."
"Gerry, this is Charlie you're talking to."
"I'll get back to you in 48 hours."

Twenty four hours later, a guy from DC with a little black bag full of cash got off a plane at McCarran International and had a quick meeting with Bell, who started doing all the fun tricks he had honed so well keeping an inert drone in Congress for two decades.

Ever the hot dog wanting to entertain, Jimmy told a partisan crowd at UNR that he unequivocally supported George McGovern's presidential candidacy.

It ended up on the front page of every paper in the state.

Douglas County realtor David Towell, the unknown Republican nominee, started running spots saying "when you elect a McGovernite, you get more taxes." From the Charlie Bell playbook.

Towell and campaign manager Tony Payton put up billboards showing Towell shaking hands with President Richard the Rotten.

Baring teamed with Bilbray's fellow university regent Dr. Fred Anderson in endorsing Towell. Old Walter accused Bilbray of a "scurrilous campaign of lies and half-truths."

Actually, if Walter had not misled the press about his pre-primary St. Mary's hospitalization, he might have squeaked through. Lesson learned. When Rep. Vucanovich was in St. Mary's for breast cancer followup in 1984, her people made sure no one leaked it to the nosy media.

Jimmy also did a helluva job beating himself. Right after the 1972 primary, he and WIlliams took a victory lap to DC where Jimmy leased a house. The media jumped all over that overconfidence. Then, Williams kept Bilbray away from the media.

"You guys are running like incumbents," groused KTVN TV-2 reporter David Kladney. He was absolutely right.

Jimmy was an Arthurian crusader, advocating for the little guy and the environment. But he hurt himself. Often.

Jimmy was a Catholic and took the church's position on abortion only in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother. That cost him some women's votes. (Today, the doofus governor of Texas has promised that rape will become a thing of the past now that he's outlawed abortion. What a guy.)

In early 1972, Jim got into powerful Democratic Gov. Mike O'Callaghan's teeth when the guv wanted to torpedo the career of UNR poly-sci Prof. Richard Siegel, co-founder and future president of the Nevada American Civil Liberties Union.

Dr. Siegel had led the floor fight over an issue Mike wanted passed by the 1972 state Democratic convention at Harrah's-Reno. Siegel and some students defeated it when the convention ran into the evening and most of the old-timers had adjourned to the bar. The students stuck around and mustered the votes.

Jimmy stopped O'Callaghan's revenge cold at a subsequent regent's meeting, advising them that an order to never grant Siegel a pay raise was probably illegal and would backfire.

Big Mike still endorsed Jimmy against Towell in the general election. I produced the radio spot.

Jimmy was also Shakespearean in his personal tragedies which led me to promulgate the Barbano Dustbuster Rule: Let the dust from the campaign settle a bit. Never run for a lower office too soon after defeat for a higher one. In 1974, Jim ran for lieutenant governor and lost to Washoe DA Bob Rose.

Harry did the same damned thing shortly thereafter.

After losing to former Gov. Paul Laxalt for US Senate in 1974, he ran for Las Vegas mayor in 1975. The only exception I've ever seen was Sferrazza, who was re-elected mayor after losing his first campaign against Vucanovich in 1986. Incumbency helps.

Jimmy had a daughter, now deceased, who suffered from diabetes. After his defeat in 1972, he teamed with the same Dr. Fred Anderson who had opposed him. They led a campaign to raise money for diabetes research.

That reinforced perhaps his most memorable campaign position that the health care system should ask "how sick you are, not how rich you are." When will we ever learn?

My apartment near KRNV TV-4 and the airport became the campaign crash pad in 1972. It was one of the greatest times of my life.

Some friends from those years are gone, some are still around here and in faraway places.

Jim had very human flaws but nonetheless did great things. He was and will always be my friend.

Requiescat in pace.

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 Quarantino 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 comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <


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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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