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Charter cable channels 16 and 216 in Reno-Sparks-Washoe

Back to Work
Expanded from the 11-9-2008 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 11-11, 11-12-2008, 11-14-2008, 11-16-2008

Okay, so Barack Obama kicked ass and a euphoric world danced and rejoiced. So did I. But party time is over and everyone must now go back to work, including the president-elect.

Save northwestern Nevada community television

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Updated math behind the move
Updated 11-16-2008

Charter Communications plans to illegally move four channels of analog to the digital tier.

One channel of analog bandwidth accommodates two to 10 channels of digital programming, depending on the complexity of the streams. High-definition movies eat up a lot of bandwidth.

A Charter statement quoted on TV-4's Aug. 4, 2008, 11:00 p.m. newscast said that Charter is doing this to "free up more bandwidth for high definition channels."

Charter thus gains bandwidth for between 8 and 40 digital channels by banishing community TV to the digital tier, a net gain of 4 and as many as 36, depending on content.

Charter VP Marsha Berkbigler, in her first speech to the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee in Dec. 2002, said each additional channel is worth $1 million a year to Charter — and that's at 2002 prices.

So Charter stands to make between $4 million and $36 million by doing this, unadjusted for inflation.

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers

Carson City gets the facts
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 10-19-2008

Talks with Charter fruitless
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 9-7-2008

Sparks, Washoe, Carson and Douglas consumers urged to contact their local governments to join the fight against Charter
Surge.TV 8-25-2008, Updated 8-28-2008

Evil empire eats its appetite
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-24-2008

Bandwidth bandidos admit their greed
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-17-2008

Sue the bastards
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-10-2008

Deregulation means never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-3-2008

Last year's columns about skulduggery at the Nevada Legislature which led to this mess

MORE: Smoking Guns

Government contact info

Barbwire.TV: 15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file


BICYCLING TOWARD THE HISTORY BOOKS. The late historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., popularized the view of American history as falling into roughly identifiable cycles of about 30 years. I wrote this on Nov. 8, 1992:

"For historical perspective, please read The Cycles of History by (Schlesinger) and The Politics of Rich and Poor by conservative Kevin Phillips.

"Phillips traces unbroken presidential cycles dating back to Thomas Jefferson. Each contains a 'minority interruption.' This century's blips on the screen were Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter....

"'Years ago, both scholars predicted a Democratic victory last Tuesday (Nov. 3, 1992). Phillips also correctly foreshadowed the election of Richard Nixon in a 1968 book (The Emerging Republican Majority)."
Well, we've had our presidentus interruptus in Dubya, the accidental president installed by a supreme court vote of five to four after a stolen election. President Obama will have to roll the rock back up the hill all over again and will need help from all of us to get it done.

Schlesinger also warned of another looming danger. Political attitudes are formed when people are between the ages of 15 and 24. They bring those values with them when they come to power roughly 30 years later.

Franklin D. Roosevelt grew up in the Progressive Era when his presidential cousin, Teddy, was busting Standard Oil. John F. Kennedy's New Frontier and Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society were updates of the FDR New Deal of their younger days.

Which means that the devil children of Ronald Reagan will rise like zombies from a bad black-and-white movie to haunt us in about five years.

President Obama should thus perhaps consider establishing a cabinet level department of exorcism.

DESTRUCTION DERBY, PART DEUX. I wrote the following on Nov. 12, 2006:

"With respect to Jill Derby, she should have listened to me last year. I told her personally, and reiterated in a Dennis Myers article in the Reno News & Review, that her only chance lay in busting the unconstitutional gerrymander of the district.

" I told Regent Derby that Christ off the cross couldn't win in the northern congressional district with a Republican voter registration edge which would swell to more than 50,000 by election day.

"She instead ran as a Republican conservative and things went well until Dubya and Congressman-elect Dean Heller reminded people of the 'D' after her name.

"As Harry Truman once wisely advised, if you give people a choice between two conservatives, they'll always vote for the real thing.

"And if the other team outnumbers you by 50 grand, you're toast before the bread is baked."

Derby told me in 2005 that she would work on the gerrymander after she was elected.

Different year.

Same result.

RERUNS. My live-call and chat-crawl TV show may be in reruns both tomorrow and Tuesday.

At 10:00 Monday morning, the Reno City Council goes into session. They are scheduled to consider a staff report ordered two weeks ago regarding the city's very deficient settlement offer to Charter Communications.

Among other things, it will give Reno control of community television in these parts, subordinating the interests of Sparks and Washoe County. (See the Barbwire of Oct. 26.)

The staff report is missing from the city's website and the city clerk could not find it last Friday. I asked Councilman Dave Aiazzi for a copy, but did not receive it by presstime.

Charter threatens to take community channels 13, 15, 16 and 17 dark on Thanksgiving Day, banishing them to cyber-Siberia.

It will be the beginning of a slow, painful death for public, educational and governmental (PEG) TV in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas counties.

My consumer organization, ReSurge.TV, is prepared to go to court if state and/or local governments do not act in the best interests of the ratepayers.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told Mr. Myers at the Reno News & Review that he would join Reno's lawsuit to stop Charter.

So sue us: Charter tells Sen. Reid and Reno
Ratepayers group may sue Reno as well as Charter
Daily Sparks Tribune online 11-11-2008
+ Barbwire Special Edition 11-12-2008
Updated 11-14-2008

Wisconsin statewide franchise law has not dropped cable prices as promised
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 11-8-2008

FCC investigates cable TV pricing
Associated Press 11-4-2008

FCC investigates complaints about moving cable channels and pricing
Orlando Sentinel 11-7-2008


The Federal Communications Commission has received so many complaints that it is now investigating the national epidemic of PEG assassination as well as the fairness of cable pricing. (Why act now after so damned long? Perhaps it's a harbinger of the Obama effect.)

"The agency's (Oct. 30) letter (to major cable providers, including Charter), questioned the companies' practice of moving analog channels into digital tiers to free up bandwidth for other uses, such as high-definition channels. Analog customers will have to get a digital set-top box from the operator or buy the digital TV tier to watch those channels," the Associated Press reported.

"The FCC's letter was sent out a day after Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports magazine) sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation asking for an investigation into the practice of moving analog channels to the digital tier.

"'Consumers are left paying the same monthly rate for significantly less service, or must rent more expensive set-top boxes for each television set they own,' said Consumers Union, a nonprofit advocacy group,'" AP noted.

So if I'm stuck in the bowels of Reno City Hall tomorrow (watch Sierra Nevada Community Access Channel 13), my Channel 16/216 show may rerun the killer program I did with now-former University of Nevada Regent Howard Rosenberg.

On Tuesday, we will rerun the June 6 edition with local civil rights legend Pat Shannon (formerly Baker). Four decades ago, she sparked the construction of Pat Baker Park in northeast Reno as a testament to racial tolerance in the wake of the 1968 slaying of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Guess who sent me the first election night e-mail of joy as soon as the result became clear?

Pat Shannon herself, from the wilds of Montana: "Congratulations. A lovely day for all of us. We are civilized at last."


Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

The devil and the deep blue sea
Charter cable deal and Reno "settlement" offers are all death warrants for community television. Court battle looms closer.

Sparks Tribune / 11-11-2008 + Barbwire special web edition, 11-12-2008

Falling all over ourselves
When will Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas counties get mad over Charter cable's ripoff?
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers
Decision holds great importance for Nevada

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Charter in serious financial trouble
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-12-2008

Charter offer deficient
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-28-2008

Reno-Sparks NAACP opposes Charter channel switch

Charter negotiates Russian-style: Will accept 100% of everything
Daily Sparks Tribune 9-5-2008

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Reno city council votes unanimously to sue Charter to keep community TV accessible
Resurge.TV will also file

...and more ammo

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

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the search engine and sweep for "Barlett."

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
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Copyright © 1982-2008 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of and, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP.

He hosts live news and talk (775-682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16 (for at least the next 90 days) and 216. E-mail As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988. Tempus fugit.


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