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Photo: Debra Reid, Sparks Tribune

   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...
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   and a long red rose.
   Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
That's how it goes.
Everybody knows.

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

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

Freebies for the rich and famous
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 6-7-2023 / Expansions in blue

Help wanted: corporate lobbyists. No experience necessary. Just follow the simple rules below and you'll get rich and infamous.

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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

Tomorrow's news today —> Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential


     1. NEVER, EVER LET THE CITIZENS VOTE on your corporate welfare proposal. They might show some sense and turn you down. Play politics instead.

     2. IF THEY INSIST ON DEMOCRACY, GIVE THEM NO CHOICE EXCEPT WHAT YOU WANT. To move to Las Vegas, all the Oakland A's need do is look at Sparks-Reno follytix. Taxpayers were given no choice but raising regressive sales taxes to save the mass transit system and to build new schools to accommodate population growth. A higher sales tax means nothing to somebody making six figures. To some poor lout trying to support a family, well, just take a third job.

     3. SEND IN CELEBRITIES to pimp for your project. Movie stars Jeremy Renner and Mark Wahlberg visited Carson City this year pimping corporate welfare for movie companies. A few years ago, all tennis millionaire Andre Agassi had to do was show up at the ledge to get big bucks for his elite private school while public education remained starved for resources.

     4. UNDERSTAND THE SUCKERS. Most officeholders are average folks from humble roots. Wear expensive suits. Fly in on the corporate jet. Nevadans always think somebody from out of town knows more than they do. I recall a couple of Reno city councilcritters who fell for the ass-kissing and got very full of themselves. When they were voted out of office after one term and had to go back to sweating for a living, they suffered culture shock when none of their former "friends in high places" would return their calls.

     5. GREASE THE SKIDS. Also known as campaign contributions. All elected officials are pro-education save when it benefits their benefactors.

Let 'em eat cake. Or Top Ramen.

Last Sunday, the Reno Gazette-Journal did a helluva job showcasing local teachers who have to moonlight in other jobs to make ends meet. Alas, it was nothing new.
Back in the 1990s, Nevada teacher of the year Fred Horlacher testified in Carson City that he couldn't get approved for a car loan because his Washoe teacher salary was so low.

     6. BUY OFF POTENTIAL CRITICS. Jobs-jobs-jobs has always worked for our "extractive" industries, aka mining and gambling. Gambling was legalized in 1931 because the state was broke after the mining boom went bust. The deal was that gambling taxes would pay for community services. You know, inconsequentials like schools, parks, roads and first responders. Over the years, they bought who needed to be bought to keep their taxes the lowest in the world. Today, the regressive screw-the-little-people sales tax is the principal source of state-level funding. Mining remains close to tax-free and the gambling casino tax hasn't been raised for 20 years.

Tesla promised lots of union jobs for their Storey County battery plant. Elon Musk and Gov. Veto Sandoval made sure it was not put in writing. When Sandoval starting hustling a similar project for Gomorrah South, unions showed up with a huge banner saying "Fix Tesla First." They didn't, the Las Vegas hustle passed but went belly up.

Occasionally, you will run into some backward-thinking hardass who won't listen to reason. Instance in point, actor-wrestler Jesse Ventura who won an upset to become governor of Minnesota.

When presented with a measure for a huge new taxpayer-funded palace for the Minnesota Twins baseball team, he said "I'm not signing that."

Zounds. If businesses want a stadium, they can pay for it themselves? Who ever heard of such a thing?

Well, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, now in the Stanley Cup hockey finals, and the likewise contending Women's NBA basketball team paid their own way and are doing just fine.

PLAN B: Be patient for a change. The Twins bided their time until Ventura left office after one term, then got their wet dream.

     7. SELL THE SIZZLE. Make people think they can have their steak and eat it, too. Sporting goods giants Cabela's and Scheels took advantage of a dumbass law called Sales Tax Anticipation Revenue Bonds. Governments get low interest rates and taxpayers are on the hook if the welfare recipient goes belly up.

STAR bonds are paid for by projected sales taxes from the corporate welfare recipients and sold by local governments to pay for the construction of new stores. All retailers need do is show that more than half of their customers would come from out of market. Just hire some fancy economist to come up with an academic-looking projection that your store will attract tourists (making gamblers support your proposal).

Sparks was embarrassed that the first outfit to use STAR bonds at the Marina was Target, which closed its Prater Way store to build in the Marina district near Scheels. Target, a tourist attraction? Well, their paperwork said so.

     8. LOSE YOUR CONSCIENCE. Controlling the process means controlling the information flow. The current octopus known as Renown Health stole our county hospital in 1985 by creating a phony crisis.

"Health care costs for poor people will bankrupt Washoe County unless you privatize the county hospital."


"So let us take that white elephant off your hands before the place starts running in the red." (It never had and never did.)

The Nevada State Medical Association stole that gimmick 20 years ago with a media campaign screaming that doctors were leaving Nevada because of high malpractice insurance costs foisted upon them by all those nasty trial lawyers suing on behalf of crippled patients.

TV spots saturated the airwaves showing a lineup of white coats on both sides of a desert highway walking toward the distance. It wasn't true, but there was little opposition. The trial lawyers lobby was caught flat-footed.

"Keep our doctors in Nevada" passed, limiting how much wronged patients could collect. The shuck worked and today, unless you are mega-rich, you can't get a lawyer to sue if you've been sliced and diced. The costs of the bringing the case will exceed any potential judgment.

That's why TV lawyers chase car accidents.

The medical lobby has replayed the same shuck this year when the lawyers are trying to raise the damages cap to bring some semblance of accountability for medical mistakes or incompetence.

     9. MANUFACTURE A MEDIA IMAGE OF BENEVOLENCE. There are plenty of public relations suede-shoes who can soften up the marks to support their own rape and pillage.

There be plenty of starving charities, matey. Throw throw them a bone and they will praise you before the TV cameras. Aaargh.

     10. FAKE SINCERITY. Be humble, self-effacing, aw-shucksy. "Gee, people here are being so nice I almost don't want to take their money."

     EEE-YO-LEVEN! TAX SOMEBODY ELSE. Taxing tourists is always an easy sell. That's how the Las Vegas Raiders got their Gomorrah South mansion. The gambling industrial complex has always been death on increasing the tourist-targeted hotel room tax, except when they can score off it. When teachers asked for a tiny bit of the Raiders room tax hike for education, the casino overlords swatted it down.

Let 'em eat cake. Or Top Ramen.

     SOMETIMES, THERE'S PAYBACK. The City of Oakland was hoist on its own petard. To pay Al Davis to bring the Raiders back from Los Angeles, they remodeled the Oakland Coliseum for football, making it unfit for baseball. A's ownership has used that as a reason to move elsewhere, just like the 1989 Charlie Sheen/Tom Berenger/Wesley Snipes movie "Major League" where ownership fields a losing team to facilitate a move.

Life imitates art.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell.
/ Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.) Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 54-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Web Xtras & Smoking Guns—> Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive

Tina Turner's Basketburger
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 5-31-2023 / Expansions in blue

Life was pretty good in the America of March 24, 1962. JFK and Jackie were in the White House. Soviet missiles in Cuba had not been discovered. Unions were strong, the post-war middle class prospered, inflation was zilch and the country's inherent racism was breaking down.

Music played a major role. Elvis Presley, who grew up listening to soul radio in Mississippi, sang black songs to white audiences.

Ray Charles' album "Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music", featuring several Hank Williams compositions arranged for full orchestra, topped the charts.

The biggest thing in the United States on that Saturday evening was the welterweight championship rematch between champion Benny "Kid" Paret of Cuba and the man he had dethroned less than six months earlier, American Emile Griffith from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

However, the fight was only the second biggest thing in my hometown. The Ike & Tina Turner Revue was booked a couple miles from my house at Kearney Bowl, probably in the main building.

When I was growing up, west Fresno was about as multi-ethnic as a town could get. Neighborhoods still had fading nationalistic nicknames: Germantown, Italiantown, Armeniantown, Portuguesetown, Russiantown, Chinatown.

There were no such labels for the substantial black and Latino populations. Didn't much matter by the 1950s as ethnic lines had blurred.

In 1955, Regal Petroleum bought the corner of Fresno and "B" Streets, next door to my families' properties. My dad's garage, the Barbano Motor Company, was across the street.

Half of the Regal station's building housed an office and merchandise showroom. (Back then, petroleum marketers gave away lots of customer freebies.)

My parents cut a deal to open a restaurant in the other half, the Regal Drive-In. The carhop experiment soon fizzled but Mary's food became quite popular. The first jumbo hamburgers were priced at a whopping 17 cents, a price which skyrocketed to 19 cents by 1959.

My family's vacant lot between the diner and our houses was paved as a parking lot.

That 1962 Saturday night started as usual with my dad, my brother and me gathered around our black-and-white TV, watching the Gillette Safety Razor Company Fight of the Week on ABC from New York's Madison Square Garden. This one was hot, the rubber match between Paret and Griffith.

About the third round, the urgent call came from mom who had been shutting the cafe down for the evening.

"Get over here!" she shouted across the asphalt. We had a phone but Italian mothers need no amplification if their kids are within 100 yards.

My brother and I scurried to the cafe which was filling up with very well-dressed people, a fashion rarity for a blue collar diner.

"Who are you?" my brother asked a guy perched at the counter.

"I'm Jesus Christ," came his flip response to the 14 year-old kid. Perhaps the dude felt that the Ike & Tina Revue could save Fresno by making rock 'n' roll a religious experience.

The touring company was probably running late and happened upon Mary's place.

The cafe could seat about two dozen with a shoe horn. The Regal was as packed as any weekday lunch hour.

I quickly informed our guests that Ike and Tina were quite popular in the central valley, even with Italian teenagers. Back then, rock stations played lots of "crossover" — rhythm & blues, country, folk and novelty music. I wish things were that inclusive today. We need it.

West Fresno was a true American melting pot. A mostly R&B record store opened half a block from our house. A Nation of Islam temple followed. St. Alphonsus Catholic Church and school were six blocks away. The two grocery stores in our 'hood were operated by Italian- and Chinese-Americans. Members from the nearby union hall were regulars at Mary's diner.

According to Tina Turner's recent voluminous New York Times obituary, she and her then-husband didn't hit it big until the latter 1960s when the Rolling Stones hired them as their opening act.

Not necessarily. "I'm Blue" (aka "The Gong-Gong Song") by The Ikettes was number 20 on the Cash Box magazine top 100 on March 24, the date they played Fresno — the night the band and the Ikettes interrupted the welterweight championship on "B" Street.

My brother furiously formed burger patties by hand while my mom cooked. (Everything at Mary's place was made from scratch, just like home.)

I called my brother Larry in California and asked if he could remember what they ordered. "Almost all basketburgers," he replied.

A basketburger was just that, a plastic basket about 10 inches long containing a jumbo burger and fries on white paper.

My bro fortunately recalled the price: 37 cents each. The Ike & Tina Revue, dressed for the White House, ate great food cheap at the Barbano place.

Adjusted for inflation, 37 cents in 1962 equals the buying power of $3.73 in 2023. I defy you to find a big burger and fries for $3.73 ANYWHERE today!

I had my hopes up and asked a well-appointed musician if Ike and Tina were coming. Alas, they had dinner elsewhere. I got the impression they did not usually dine with the band.

Shortly, a well-dressed man came bustling in and announced "it's over, he knocked Paret out." There went my hopes of seeing the end of a fight which lives today in infamy. Paret never regained consciousness and died 10 days later. He had become tangled in the mushy ring ropes while Griffith pummeled him before the referee could stop it.

Reforms resulted. A loose rope had whacked the back of Paret's head, contributing to the beating he was getting from the champion. As a result, boxing rings now have four sturdier ropes instead of three.

On Sept. 14, 1965, Griffith came to Fresno for a non-title mach with local favorite Gabriel Terronez at Kearney Bowl, a local institution founded by the Fresno Italian community, including many of my relatives. Griffith beat Terronez on a fourth round technical knockout.

Last month, the New York Metropolitan Opera premiered "Champion," a production about Griffith, who died in 2013.

Tina Turner, of course, went on to worldwide superstardom, including many dates in Reno. The girl from Nutbush, Tennessee, sang her song "Nutbush City Limits" in her Lawlor Events Center concert in Reno on May 20, 1997.
She also performed "Nutbush" at Fresno's Selland Arena on May 20, 1997. The Nutbush has become the unofficial national dance of Australia where they hold an annual contest to break the "world" record for mass nutbushing. Generations of grade school teachers have taught their students the Nutbush.

Tina was good at impressing kids. I know. I was one.

Godspeed, Ms. Turner, and please look up my mom. She has your basketburger ready.

Stay safe, get vaxxed and pray for those cruelly afflicted by the cruelly small minds on this small planet.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell.
/ Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.) Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 54-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Web Xtras & Smoking Guns—> An inconoclast remembers idols and icons

I spent a lot of time at Kearney Bowl as a kid. It opened as the Italian-American Amusement Park in 1927, started by a bunch of Italian guys, many of whom were my relatives. First came a dance hall and amusement park, then a fifth-mile race track which over the years produced four Indianapolis 500 competitors, including two-time winner Bill Vukovich (1953-54). In the Italian community, it was called "Santa Elia" (St. Elias) Park, alleluia.

From the Fresno Bee (The Republican) September 10, 1970
By Everett Feay

A CHAPTER IN FRESNO hardtop racing will close tomorrow night when Harold Murrell presents the llth annual Grapestakes Championship in Kearney Bowl. The race will end hardtop championship competition in the bowl as it will be razed this winter to make way for a Fresno Redevelopment Agency apartment project. The death of the bowl will end a history of athletics and other entertainment, dating back to 1928. The bowl property has been used for an amusement park, picnics, dancing, carnivals, football and motorcycle, midget, jalopy and hardtop racing. Its passing will be mourned by many but a new track will rise for racing next year.

IN THE LAST MONTHS of 1927, a group of Fresnans joined in a venture to build an amusement park and athletic grounds. In January, 1928, the Italian Celebration Committee purchased 10 acres of land in the Chandler track on Kearney Boulevard from Sen. V.F. Chandler for $6,000. Committee Secretary Sam Pascuzzi revealed, plans for the incorporation of a stock company to build a social hall, football field and a baseball diamond. The contract was let Aug. 18, 1928, for the installation of a dance floor. That was the start and from there the property grew into an amusement park with a variety of facilities and attractions.

By 1932 the. amusement park, corporation had 65 members. The officers were Tony Telesco, president, Joe Ochinero, vice president; James Renna, secretary; John Cosaro, treasurer; and Joe Barbano, trustee. [ EDITOR'S NOTE: He was my uncle. The Italian names in this article included some of my cousins and the fathers of kids I knew growing up.]

In 1954, financial difficulties forced the public auction of shares inthe company. Frank S. Caglia, representing the stockholders of the Italian Entertainment Park Company, reported the sale had become necessary to satisfy outstanding obligations of more than $170,000. On May 24 of that year a group of 13 purchased the company for $112,000 at public auction. However, only one bid was submitted, that by Joseph Renna, representing the group of 13. By that time the amusement park had grown to 26 acres. By 1958, a group known as Valley Sports, Inc., had taken over operation of the facilities. In January, 1959, a $70,000 renovation and rebuilding program was announced by Oscar Spano, president of Valley Sports. Other officers then were John Bonadelle, vice president; and Dr. Sumio Kubo, part owner and board member. The last face lifting for the bowl came in 1967.

NOT EVERYTHING RAN SMOOTHLY at the bowl. Besides the financial difficulties such things as fires and rowdyism at football games plagued the facilities. And during World War II came trouble with the federal government over a refurbishing and reconditioning job. The bowl then had the . name of Fresno Airport Speedway. The federal government charged new lumber had been used illegally in the construction work and stepped in to halt work in May, 1947 — one day before completion of work under the direction of contractor Joe Romano.

Joe Renna said whatever difficulties arose were quickly settled "during a, meeting with-federal officials' and the bowl, with seating for 18,000, was completed in time for a late May race.

The rowdyism' came a 'post-war football games. But in 1956, the then-called Fresno Recreation Park received the blessings of school and law enforcement officials. After the 1956 disturbance-free game between Fresno and Merced High Schools, Fresno Schools Superintendent Dr. Edwin C. Kratt and FHS Principal Jack Mulkey said the park was approved for continued school use. The first fire to hit the park came on July 12, 1934, when .the dance pavillion burned. A $15,000 dance hall soon sent up as its replacement. The other fire came last year when a $15,000 blaze hit the cafe.

CHARLES KASTNER, FORMER (Fresno State College) athlete, was one of the first sports promoters to lease the property. In May, 1934, he took over operation from the Italian Entertainment Park Company and launched plans for boxing, wrestling and midget races. The first boxing match was to be between Al Manfredo and Mike Payan. He planned a fifth-mile relay racing track — the size of today's paved oval. The track really came into its own in 1947 after the war-time renovation work had been completed. The first race program — May 23 — drew 84 midget racers. The qualifying had to be scheduled to startat 2:30 p.m. in o'rder to get all the preliminaries out of the way for the dedicatory ceremonies at 7:30.

On Feb. 28, 1959, Valley Sports named Ed York manager. Three years later Harold Murrell and Bob Klemm were named to operate the facilities. About a year ago, Valley Sports bowed out and Murrell took over the operation.

MANY DRIVERS ENJOYED BANNER years at the bowl. Included are such midget stars as Fred Hatfield, Bryce Morris, Dutch Helman, Ernie Lauck and Dick Springston. And such hardtop (and jalopy) drivers as Archie Tucker, Bud Byson, (sic, it was Dyson) Frank Secrist, Frank Phillips, BO Mims, Chuck Harm, Larry Ferrua, Scotty Cain, Loen Sealey, and, of course, the present crop of such men as Al Pombo, Clyde Prickett, Herman Button, Jerry Thompson, Bob Cetti, Morrie Williams, etc. Art Pollard and Joe Leonard of Indy-racing fame, rode motorcycles at the'bowl.

In all its years of operation, only two men died in race accidents. In June, 1946, Van Edwards' midget car went out of control and flipped, killing him. The other death came Aug. 27, 1960, when the car driven by J. C. Walkingstick was bumped and went out of control. It smashed into the pit gate, injuring six and killing Ray Albert of San Jose who was racing under the name of Ray Darnel. Among the injured were Ferrua and Secrist.

BARBANO NOTE: The Bee missed local favorite badboy Marshall Sargent on its list of drivers. The paper also overlooked multiple Indy 500 starter George Snider who dominated Fresno and central California short track racing before moving up to the USAC Indy Car circuit.

A more glaring omission was Bill Vukovich who won back-to-back Indy 500s in 1953 and 1954. He died at Indianapolis trying to make it three in row. His car flipped into the stands and the impact took off the top of his head.

As the late Renoite and Motor Trend, Car & Driver and Autoweek editor Leon Mandel often stated, "racing is very unforgiving."



Gabriel Terronez trained at the Merced Street Gym under the tutelage of manager Pat DiFuria, a patron of Mary's cafe, as were several of his fighters.

The gym was rented from my cousins, Frank and Minnie Fusca, proprietors of the legendary Naples Bakery at "B" and Merced Streets. Frank Fusca — known in Fresno as Frank the Baker — made the greatest French bread the world has even seen. I have fond memories of showing up after serving 6:00 a.m. mass at St. Alphonsus just in time for a breakfast of milk and fresh hot bread — with a fragile crust which would shatter like glass encasing bread lighter than the lightest cake.

The gym was at the back of the property toward "A" Street. They had been forced to move from their original location when Interstate 5 bulldozed much of the minority part of Fresno west of downtown. It was emblematic of highway construction throughout the nation, displacing communities with the least political power (kinda like Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles). My Aunt Martha (Tsi Marta) lost her house to the freeway, as did boxing mecca Ryan's Gym and the bakery on spacious grounds on the edge of Chinatown.

My ancestors, including my parents and grandparents on both sides, were all farm workers; hence my affection for César Chávez, Dolores Huerta and the United Farm Workers Union.

While Italian backyards almost always became gardens of Eden, Naples Bakery was special. The old bakery's grounds were a garden-orchard-amusement park — a wonderland to a kid. I still remember the big goldfish pond. Family gatherings at the bakery were to die for — the food was world class.

The second Naples Bakery sported a smaller garden paradise between the bakery and the gym.

Several of DiFuria's fighters became title contenders including Terronez and light heavyweights Dean Bogany and Irish Wayne Thornton who fought future champion Willie "The Wisp" Pastrano three times in 1963. Thornton won the first match on a unanimous decision and fought Pastrano to a draw in their second fight, both at New York's Madison Square Garden. Pastrano prevailed in their third fight on May 4, 1963, a majority decision at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Pastrano was dethroned in 1965 by Jose Torres. Thornton fought Torres for the title at New York's Shea Stadium in 1966. Torres won a unanimous 15-round decision but the fight was marred by Torres' trademark — an early-round kidney punch which debilitated the Fresnan for the rest of the fight. (Shades of Joe Lewis vs. Max Schmeling II.)

Thank you for joining this excursion down Amnesia Lane.

Additional remembrances will be appreciated.

FRESNO TODAY: A tale of two cities, the rich white north and the slumly south. See The New York Times Magazine California issue, Sunday 6-4-2023:

The Political Fight for Fresno: Parched, polluted and desperately unequal, California’s heartland has been controlled by the same landowners for generations. That might finally be changing.

GOATs, cults and corporations
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 5-24-2023 / Expansions in blue

"Not only does a mass movement depict the present as mean and miserable, it deliberately makes it so." — From Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer," 1951

The longshoreman philosopher predicted Joe Biden's current predicament when Donald Trump was just five years old.

The current congressional danse macabre between Good Ole Joe and Mean Ole Charlie McCarthy is nothing new.

For starters, go look at any scary photo of that madcap blonde congresscritter from Georgia who looks like a steroid-sotted weightlifter in a dress.

The muscular Medusa and her harpies currently hold Mr. McCarthy by his short-and-curlies and won't let go until they burn down his house. The Green Grinch from Georgia actually advocated going back to the future, better known as the Confederate States of America, the guys that lost the Civil War.

Madcap Ms. M wants some states reserved for decent white folks while others take the lesser classes. Much of the formerly United States of America would morph into huge gated communities, complete with passports and armed guards. Her model is a macabre meld of 1950's South African apartheid stewed with rotten Jim Crow encased in whited sepulchres of supremacy.

The world quakes in terror that the terrorism of our congressional backlashers will result in Great Depression 2 — even as we all stand on the brink of World War 3.

Double-double toil and trouble.

Only one thing appears certain from this Shakespearian tragedy of a Macbethian powerplay: We, the great unwashed, will take a financial bath.


We still suffer from 2011 Biden-negotiated budgetary caps.

"(That) bitter compromise convinced Mr. Biden of two things, according to a half-dozen current and former advisers: Do not negotiate with a speaker who cannot reach a deal —- (then-Speaker John) Boehner’s caucus was arguably less radical than the current bloc of House Republicans — and do not turn the process of avoiding government default into a discussion about budgeting," the New York Times reported last May 10.

A couple of weeks ago, Biden said he had been ordered to cave in by the Obama White House.

"A complex deal was reached, leaving Mr. Obama to explain to Democratic voters why he was not able to raise taxes and had agreed to at least $2.4 trillion in spending cuts," the Times noted.

Obama got re-elected, didn't he, so what's the problem?

Alas, the past is not necessarily prelude.

I fear that Biden will go for instant replay by ripping a page from Bill Clinton's playbook, triangulation: take the opposition's principal issues away by agreeing with them.

Remember "the era of big government is over" and "welfare to work"? Speaker Charlie McCarthy is today quoting from the playbook of the randy orangutan from Arkansas.

So the poor, the elderly and minorities can go suck lemons while more millions fall out of the middle class. With Trump or someone worse as the alternative, Democrats will have nowhere to go. Neither will non-partisans, whose ranks have been swelled with disaffected Republicans as well as Donkeyites. Game, set, match: Four more years.

Perhaps. Or perhaps not.

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN. There will be no retrenchment from Trump's 2017 $2.3 trillion tax cut for the rich while the Pentagon allows major corporations to rape and pillage the treasury in the name of saving Ukraine. ("60 Minutes" 5/21, NY Times 5/22)

Worse, congressional moonhowlers want Trump's tax giveaways extended which will cost an additional $3.5 trillion according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Maybe the threat of defense contractors not getting paid next month will motivate the military-industrial complex to step in and resolve this mess.

Either way, Mr. Hoffer foreshadowed it: "What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation." ("The Temper of Our Time," 1967)

THE NEVADA WAY. Biden and his minions should look at what the Nevada AFL-CIO did in 2015 when faced with a Republican legislature intent on destroying workers' rights. Union members living in GOP districts knocked on doors to talk to citizens about the looming harm to working folks. State Assemblyman John Ellison, R-Elko, got an angry phone call from a constituent supporter he knew well. At home. At 3:00 a.m! Labor survived with bruises but no broken bones, all of which healed in 2017 when Nevada came to her senses and elected the first female-majority state legislature in U.S. history.

JOE-2 ANTES IN, TOO. Gov. Giuseppe Lumbago pulled a double trouble whammy last week. The ex-sheriff vetoed three mild gun safety bills while trying to keep cops from getting a pay raise. More guns. Fewer cops. Scary math, eh wot?

ROSE-COLORED GLASSES DEPT. "America is not a racist country!" gushed African-American Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, announcing his run for president. Did he read that from a Ron DeSantis press release? Nope. Mr. Scott earlier stated on the senate floor that he's been stopped by police a half-dozen times, suspected of driving while black. What's wrong with that picture?

ROSY SCENARIO, PART DEUX. Tom Brady just announced he's buying a piece of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Meanwhile, "Clark County officials are concerned that taxpayers could end up on the hook to cover debt payments for the county's part of the $395 million in public money that the Oakland A's are seeking to build a $1.5 billion baseball stadium in Las Vegas," according to the The Nevada Independent.

"In particular, sources said the county was hesitant given that it needed to dip into a debt service reserve fund to make similar bond payments for (the [NFL] Raiders' stadium)," the news service reported.

I know Mr. Brady has megabucks, but I wouldn't gamble on a town that could damn well run out of water well before the G.O.A.T. is eligible for Social Security. (Which he might need if he continues to make dumb investments.)

OOPS DEPT. KOLO TV-8 anchor Noah Bond pulled a blooper for the ages when announcing that Denver Nuggets' center Nikola Jokic? became a playoff MVP by breaking records long held by somebody named "Wild" Chamberlain.

Poor Wilt the Stilt. Fame is fleeting.

Stay safe, get vaxxed and pray for those cruelly afflicted by the cruelly small minds on this small planet.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell.
/ Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.) Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 54-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Cutting your woke to spite your face
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno
Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 5-17-2023 / Expansions in blue

"Listen and understand. That Terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear.
"And it absolutely will not stop — ever — until you are dead!"
Actor Michael Biehn in the classic sci-fi drama "The Terminator" (Released appropriately in 1984)

Woe unto the formerly United States of America. We continue to commit national suicide by succumbing to the myth that "the pandemic is behind us."

Both Big Joes have said so and they oughtta know, right?

President Biden and newbie Nevada Gov. Giuseppe Lumbago both used those exact words.

Forget the 1,100 Americans dying every week from the plague that's behind us. Let's party our behinds off.

We are perilously close to the pre-pandemic practice of suspecting that anyone wearing a mask must be a robber. Or worse (gasp) — a Democrat.

Largely thanks to early treatment of the plague as a liberal hoax, more than 1.1 million Americans lie dead. The World Health Organization estimates well over 21 million have succumbed globally.

In the immortal words of America's greatest philosopher, Yogi Berra, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

Some intrepid maskers don facial prophylactics to protect family members as well as themselves. Some people avoid rooms containing breathing people, especially cramped and crowded ones.

How anti-social.

I go to medical appointments and few other places. Even doctors' offices have told me "the pandemic mandates have expired and we don't mask anymore."

I called around and found just one provider masking its staff. Patients optional. The rest confessed to becoming barefaced buccaneers.

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, mateys.


We never learned the lesson of Japan which did just about everything wrong in pre-vaccine 2021. Every. Thing. Except one: As a society, the Japanese are used to wearing masks just about everywhere, especially in their overcrowded and polluted cities.

Breaking News —> Masks work!

As a result, Japan came close to getting a COVID-19 get out of jail free card, at least early on.

Researchers have recently identified several new strains of the Omicron variant but none have become widespread.


Not to worry. The pandemic is behind us, right?

Experts have warned that we have not learned. The country is unprepared for the next pandemic.

Americans do nothing until large numbers of people lie dead.

In the case of gun massacres, we choose to do nothing, period.

"That Terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear. And it absolutely will not stop — ever — until you are dead!"

Alas, life imitates art.

PRIVATIZED PERDITION. Alas and alack, Medicare is becoming increasingly privatized for profit.

How much money can the big insurance companies who sell Medicare Advantage plans be making? Enough that one teases potential customers with a TV spot promising "as much as $300 a month in cash and extra benefits."

The weasel wording "as much as" is an eternal consumer red flag.

A 2010 TV story back when the moonhowlers were trying to kill Obamacare showed some woman carrying a sign advocating to "keep government's hands off my Medicare."

Poor benighted soul didn't know that Medicare has always been a taxpayer-paid big government program.

And about that dreaded "government takeover of health care."

That ship had already sailed in 2009 when the feds passed the 50 percent mark, paying for most of the nation's medical bills. Speaking of which...

SUICIDE WATCH. Last week, that scurrilous-dirty-commie-subversive-fake-news New York Times did something that Republicans appear unable to do.


But hey, arithmetic is woke and should be eliminated from schools as grooming kids for...adulthood, maybe? Jobs?

The Times
did a little math and calculated what will happen if Biden caves to our present-day wooden-headed puppet. Charlie McCarthy and his MAGA moonhowlers demand capping government spending increases at one percent a year.

That's well below what economic gurus consider acceptable inflation of between two and three percent a year.

At one percent, inflation eats us alive.

According to Congressional Budget Office data, if all federal agencies get cut equally, EVERYTHING takes an effective reduction of 18 percent a year for the next decade.

Exempting border security, the Pentagon and veterans health (but including other V.A. costs), all other departments will suffer slashes by a killer 51 percent a year — including Social Security, Medicare and you name it.

Hey, little kids don't need to eat lunch at school, right?

There will be other carve-outs because that's Washington.

As I recently noted, lawmakers representing farm states have already gotten a commitment to exempt corn-based ethanol gasoline additives.

Ethanol-mix gas pollutes as badly as the usual stuff, but as the late Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kansas, once noted "It doesn't have to make sense. It's a farm bill."

What a country.

ACCIDENTAL COMEDY DEPT. For some reason, KRNV TV-4's computers come up with the best unintentional laughers in this market.

A few days ago, a sports report featured a high school pitcher who stated "Like, Nevada is like my home."

The closed-captioning computer translated it as "the Vatican is like my home."

Silver State sports as a religious experience. Who knew?

NO RESPECT DEPT. In a report about petty theft and shoplifting, Channel 4 duly reported that smart thieves know that stealing anything under $1,200 is a misdemeanor but "anything over $1,200 is a felony."

The closed-captioning gremlins digested it as "anything over $1,200 is a Fernley."

Poor little Fernley, frequently feloniously flouted.

The one-time Wigwam Coffee Shop wet-your-whistle stop is now a full-fledged incorporated Sparks-Reno-Teslaville suburb.

Oh, well. Computers are human these days, filled with artificial intelligence.

To err is human, to forgive, A.I.

Besides, felony and Fernley are in the same section of the dictionary.

Close enough for artificially intelligent anti-woke ayatollahs.

Stay safe, get vaxxed and pray for those cruelly afflicted by the cruelly small minds on this small planet.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell.
/ Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.) Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 54-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

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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 © 1982-2023 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 54-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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