Virginity & political plastic surgery

Expanded from the Sunday, 6-27-2004, Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
and the 7-2-2004 Comstock Chronicle

For the past half-dozen years or so, a secret society has formed in northern Nevada. The members are united in one common cause: not giving a penny to the corporate welfare queens who own the Syufy Theatre chain.

All three of Joe Syufy's movie houses in these parts were built with the labor of unfairly treated workers. The Sparks and downtown Reno cinemas were generously subsidized with public money. Many of the Sparks workers were gypped out of their fair wages because the mayor and city council (with the exception of Councilman John Mayer) refused to listen to Rail City labor leaders.

Because the council would not act, by the time unions had proven their point to state officialdom, the workers and their subcontract employers had scattered to the four winds. Union members were properly compensated, but those without such protection saw part of their pay become donations fattening Syufy's bottom line. (For an obscene amount of background on that hassle, use the search engine and punch in "Syufy.")

Some of us have long memories. To this day, I have never paid penny one to Syufy's celluloid monopoly.

Syufy Secret Society Skulkers, the time has now come to call off the boycott. The Mahatma has sent a message resonating around the world. Mike's Nevada Militia must now ride to sound of the guns — the noise being made at about 900 movie houses across the nation.


Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 wins the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival

Moore film tops $8 million
on opening day

Mike on the road with Crackers the Corporate Crime-Fighting Chicken.

Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," a film I never gave much chance of being released before November, is apparently doing Harry Potter/Mel Gibson-level business since it opened Friday. I saw people standing 50 deep in 90-degree heat to get opening day matinee tickets at Park Lane Mall. Wire services report sellouts across the country, including here.

It's time to surrender our virginity, fellow purists. Hie thee down to Syufy's stores and encourage your friends to do the same. New grudges are much more important than old ones. This film must be seen.

POLITICAL PLASTIC SURGERY DEPT. The Reno Anti-War Coalition will mark the cosmetic birth of Iraqi sovereignty this Wednesday. Members will pass out leaflets at N. Virginia and Fourth streets in downtown Reno at 5:30 p.m., then hold a peace vigil at the federal building at S. Virginia and Liberty at 7:00 p.m. I understand they invited the vice-president, but he told them to go Cheney themselves.

DISCONNECTIONS DEPT. My apologies to all of those who tuned in SNCAT Channel 13 last Thursday evening expecting to see the City of Reno's cable committee meeting. As chair, I submitted the agenda to city staff, but somebody dropped the ball and didn't post it in time to be legal under the open meeting law. We've moved everything to our next meeting on July 29. You'll find the agenda at

Last week, Charter Communications sent rate hike notices to digital cable customers. KRNV TV-4 misreported that no rate increase had been imposed for the past three years. The current goosing applies to digital cable converter boxes, according to Charter's recent letter to customers. In May of last year, the company imposed a 13 percent general rate hike. Because they are a deregulated monopoly, Charter can place price increases under whatever shell it wants. Tomorrow, they could add charges for postage and there's nothing we can do.

Federal legislation is sorely needed to stop this runaway train. Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton promised us lower rates and increased competition when they colluded on the 1996 deregulation law. They lied. We also need new state laws to protect consumers. With the help of Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, I tried and got beaten by cable industry money at last year's legislature. Make this an issue when you talk to any political candidate between now and November.

DISCONNECTIONS, PART DEUX. Apologies are also in order for the absence of the Barbwire in last Sunday's Tribune. "Dubya does Father's Day for battered spouses" is a pretty good piece of animosity which made it into Friday's Comstock Chronicle. As for Sparks, the Trib's phone system went down just before I uploaded my piece and the cyberdominos crashed from there. (Perhaps SBC was still ticked off about the things I said about them during my union's strike last month.) You will find the lost column at

DISCONNECTIONS THAT COUNT. Last month, some racist bigot talk show host at KKKOH-am set his dogs loose on Washoe County registrar of voters Dan Burk. The radio rabble-babbler whipped up his yahoos and rednecks to pressure county officials to fire Burk for daring to allow voters to register and vote in Spanish. They didn't want to hear that federal law requires it. They sent nasty e-mails, made threatening phone calls and some even showed up at the registrar's office to harass the staff. The radio racist called Burk's actions un-American. County Manager Katy Singlaub backed Burk up, according to reports on Latino Radio Lazer 107.7-fm and KUVR TV-68.

This is just the start of wholesale, Florida-style voter intimidation and denial of basic Constitutional rights. As in 2000, the only way Dubya can be installed in office is to make sure lots of people are denied their right to vote. I shudder to think that a third of ballots across the nation will be cast on computerized machines leaving no paper trail. Anybody who thinks nothing can go wrong in the new digital age, please talk to the Trib newsroom.

See you at the movies.

Be well. Raise hell. | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US
Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive


Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 35-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors (CWA signatory)
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins.