Good works and bad guys
Expanded from the 12-10-2006 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 12-24-2006 and 12-29-2021

A few days ago, I made one my periodic rounds of local businesses. My first stop was to Shelly's True-Value Hardware in the Greenbrae Shopping Center, where my old friend Bob Taylor and his family have done such a good job that they been able to withstand the onslaught of the national clone stores. The enterprise retains the name of the late, great Carl Shelly, who at one time was the owner and publisher of this newspaper.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   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

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

Time to bring back NAGPAC?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 8-1-2006

Wanting to browse some lit on a cloudy day, I headed to locally owned Sundance Books at Keystone and Fourth Streets in Reno. I purchased their last copy of former nun Karen Armstrong's latest foray into spiritual archaeology, The Great Transformation.

In this killer piece of exegesis, the British authoress traces the roots of all the world's great religious philosophies which began to evolve about 3,000 years ago in four countries, China, Greece, India and Israel. [1]

Guess what? They all pretty much arrived at one guiding principal: take care of each other, aka the Golden Rule.

Alas and alack, several thousand years of greed, egos and marketing have perverted them all. In order to sell something, you have to standardize and mass produce the product, in this case fear. The apocryphal Gospel of Thomas was excised from the New Testament for saying that you don't need a preacher to find God: The kingdom of God is within you, according to several great prophets, some of whom were executed for their trouble.

The epistle of St. James the Less was nuked from the King James Protestant Bible because St. James said that "faith without works is nothing," the wrong message for somebody selling faith-based salvation that lets Sunday true believers into the magic kingdom no matter what they've done Monday through Saturday.

Take care of each other. Regardless of how often that simple message gets sent to us, in every medium imaginable, it gets ignored by those with the most capacity to help. Somehow, attaining political power makes most leaders deaf to the principles they espoused which rallied the support to get to the top.

Take care of each other. No matter whether stated by Jesus of Nazareth, Mohammed, George Carlin or Larry Gelbart and George Burns in the greatest movie ever made, we're still killing each other in the name of some twisted version of God.

All we the weak can do is whatever we can in our little piece of the world to live up to the great admonition even if our betters will not.

So here are some good works happening right here in River City.

STILL HELPING THE KID. Kawasaki of Reno is raffling off a 2006 Kawasaki Eliminator 125. Tickets are $5.00 and the proceeds will benefit terminally ill William Albiniano. Linked to the web edition of this column at, you may read managing editor Janine Kearney's heartrending story of his family's struggle against the system to save his life. Kawasaki of Reno is located at 2315 Market Street, west of US395 between Vassar and Mill streets. The drawing will be held on Dec. 23.

HELP A FALLEN UNION BROTHER. Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson sent out an appeal to Nevada workers last week to help the family of Isidro "Willie" Pelayo. On Dec. 5, he was killed in a fall while working on the Trump Tower project in Las Vegas. He was a member of Laborers Local 872 and left a widow and five children.

Donations to help the family may be made payable to the Southern Nevada Laborers Charitable Foundation, c/o Travis, Nelson, Berry & Co., CPA's; 3620 N. Rancho Drive, Suite 110; Las Vegas, NV 89130.

SMOKING UNIONS. While we're on the subject of workers, the pleadings of the pro-smoking lobby in winning a temporary injunction against the recently passed restriction on cigarette smoking in public places rattled this old union man's cage. In convincing a Gomorrah South judge to flout the will of the people, an attorney for the bad guys asserted that "under the Fifth Amendment, the restrictions represent an unfair 'taking' of airspace within their buildings without just compensation," according to a report in the Las Vegas Sun.

That's very probably a smart legal move in a time of pro-business conservative judges who make it up as they go along.

Broadening the reach of unconstitutional "takings" has been a growth industry among lawyers for a long time. So why not allow that argument against the forcible taking of union dues? Nevada, along with 21 other states, suffers under the mislabeled "right to work" law which actually mandates that unions serve the needs of non-union workers. That's a taking of union dues to represent non-dues-paying freeloaders. Over the past half-century, it's had the desired effect of weakening unions. American paychecks, union and non-union, show the difference.

So why hasn't some smart labor lawyer taken a case to court asserting that right-to-work laws are an unconstitutional taking of union members' money?

REUNIONS. A couple of weeks ago, I helped a son find his long-lost father. He contacted me because I had featured dear old dad in an erstwhile Barbwire column. (See the online Thanksgiving edition at

Now, because of my Save the Cabbies war room comes a more difficult request from Betsy Corbett of Atlanta, Ga., who writes that "my husband has been looking for his father for many years. Last we heard he was a cab driver in Reno. My husband actually flew out there in 2002 looking for him and he went to several cab companies and finally found one that he worked at but just missed him. He had recently left to go gold panning. His father's name is Joe Corbett, he's very tall, 6'5", with dark hair and lanky. He is from Boston and I think he has been in Nevada for many years. Please help!"


HARRY DANGERFIELD. In the very same edition of last week's Lahontan Valley News where Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced obtaining three quarters of a million dollars for ongoing research into Fallon's childhood leukemia cluster, this online poll appeared: Will Harry Reid's role as Senate majority leader benefit Nevada? Yes, 32.39 percent. No, 60.23 percent. Undecided, 7.39 percent.

Sometimes you can’t win for trying, but thanks for trying, senator.

Be well. Raise hell.


Hot-tipped links to the ongoing story of the pro-cancer lobby's fight to flout the will of the voters in banning secondhand cigarette smoke

...and more ammo

[1] "In our current predicament, I believe we can find inspiration in the period that the German philosopher Karl Jaspers called the Axial Age because it was pivotal to the spiritual development of humanity. From about 900 to 200 BCE, in four distinct regions, the great world traditions that have continued to nourish humanity came into being: Confucianism and Daoism in China; Hinduism and Buddhism in India; monotheism in Israel; and philosophical rationalism in Greece. This was the period of the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Jeremiah, the mystics of the Upanishads, Mencius and Euripides. During this period of intense creativity, spriritual and philosophical geniuses pioneered an entirely new kind of human experience. Many of them worked anonymously, but others became luminaries who can still fill us with emotion because they show us what a human being should be. The Axial Age was one of the most seminal periods of intellectual, psychological, philosophical and religious change in recorded history; there would be nothing comparable until the Great Western Transformation, which created our own scientific and technological modernity." [Armstrong, Karen; The Great Transformation; Borzoi Books/Knopf/Random House; New York, NY; 2006; at xii.]

For in-depth interviews with Karen Armstrong by Bill Moyers, Tavis Smiley and others, search "Karen Armstrong" at

David Klinghofer interviews Karen Armstrong for Publishers Weekly

Freedom from fear: The greatest gift
BARBWIRE 12-24-2006


Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad
1. Jesus of Nazareth had blue eyes and blonde hair.
2. Buddha is a Christian saint.
3. Christianity existed more than 600 years before Jesus.

If you missed all three, you really need to read on.

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Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan and editor of Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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