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Sen. Obama, meet Mr. Durocher
Expanded from the 8-31-2008 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 9-4-2008, 9-5-2008

"Win any way as long as you can get away with it. Nice guys finish last."

Thus quoth Lippy Leo, manager of the Giants the last time they won a World Series in 1954. Durocher also posted a winning record with the Chicago Cubs.

The current Cubs manager, Lippy Lou Piniella, is likewise not noted for diplomacy or shyness.

Since he is a longtime resident of The Windy City, I assume that Sen. Barack Obama has gone to a few Cubs games. If not, he should make time in the next few weeks and observe the combative Piniella's successful style. (Obama is a very gung ho White Sox fan.)

In his victory lap last week at Mile High Stadium, Obama said "what I will not do is suggest that the Senator (McCain) takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism."

Mr. Durocher: "How you play the game is for college ball. When you're playing for money, winning is the only thing that matters."

John McCain understands. Like Bush the Elder in 1988, he has nominated a younger lightweight for vice-president largely to appeal to what can now be termed the Facebook demographic: people who vote based on how somebody looks.

It worked for Nevada Gov. Jim the Dim and Bush the First. Both Jim Gibbons and Dan Quayle became laughingstocks. With eyes wide shut, enough cosmetic voters embraced the yahoos to make them winners.

History may judge the Denver Demolitioncrat convention as an exercise in self-congratulatory self-destruction. Sen. Hoover McCain has broken Obama's momentum by placing Miss Sled Dog on the ticket. (COLUMNUS INTERRUPTUS: Just got an e-mail from Gov. Sarah Palin noting that she's commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard. Nice to know we are being protected from invasion by Eskimos, Canadians and Siberians.)

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.

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

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

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


Dan Quayle's penchant for thick-headed statements have been eclipsed only by Dubya. Daddy Bush banished Dunderdan to the hinterlands for the rest of the 1988 campaign, surrounding him with aides to keep the media away.

Ms. Palin is already showing that she is worthy of standing in Quayle's very small sneakers: "I didn't get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why the ship is built."

The Exxon Valdez destroyed a large part of Alaska which will never recover. It happened because the wrong person was captain. (The neoconservative U.S. Supreme Court just added insult to injury, wiping out most of the damages won by residents and businesses in the permanently polluted Prince William Sound.)

Worse, a ship in harbor is not necessarily safe during a major storm or hurricane. In port, it risks being thrown against a pier or onto rocks, so many vessels are taken to sea to ride out the situation.

PALINTOLOGY: McPalin can win. Obama's campaign squandered countless hours of worldwide TV time playing pattycake.

Did no one criticize John McCain for changing religions in order to win votes in the South Carolina primary?

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: "what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes."

I shudder to think of comparing Donkeyite wussie words with what the Repelephants will exude at this week's hatefest in St. Paul, where the GOP adds insult to injury.

In addition to doing their thing in the state which produced Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone, Harmon Killebrew (see below) and Al Franken, the GOP is starting on Labor Day. Sparks unions have gotten calls from irate Republicans who consider it absolutely low brow.

If it motivates union members in particular and voters in general, then it's one of the few mistakes the McCainanites have made recently.

SCURRILOUS RUMOR DEPT. Like Twins slugger Killebrew, Gov. Palin was purportedly born in Idaho. Since the latter day version of the Smear Boat Veterans Forsooth is working the web questioning Obama's citizenship, I'm starting a purely invented and incredible, fabricated and fatuous, ridiculous and rascally rumor of my own: Sarah Palin is not a U.S. citizen.

As I noted on my TV show last Friday, she has the same last name as Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin, a documented Limey. In their movie Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Palin's signature song was the manifestly anti-abortion Every Sperm is Sacred. Gov. Palin shares both the last name and the political position. Her citizenship is thus questionable and she may be legally barred from holding national office.

Shove that up your swiftboat smokestack and puff it.

ON THE AIR: My show will be in rerun tomorrow, 2:00-4:00 p.m., replaying my entertaining two hours with University Regent Howard Rosenberg, taped on the day the Nevada Supreme Court ruled him and a passel of other local officials ineligible to seek re-election this year due to our cockamamie term limits law.

Sam Shad will re-air his interview with Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., this Tuesday. Taped in February, 2007, Biden agrees with McCain and Dubya's position on immigration reform. Public outcry killed the proposal, Shad notes, adding that Biden's remarks will raise serious questions.

Shad is still trying to get the opposition to stop using copyrighted video from his interview with McCain wherein the Arizona senator supports the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. Shad's show airs at 12:30 p.m. on KRNV TV-4, with a rerun at 9:30 p.m. on Charter cable channel 3 in Washoe-Carson-Douglas. Check the web edition of this column for the complete statewide schedule.

SPEAKING OF CHARTER CABLE. Thanks to former Tribune reporter Dennis Myers, who posted a statement from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Myers' Reno News & Review blog. The Nevada Democrat is now on record as willing to join potential City of Reno legal action to keep Charter cable from moving public, educational and governmental (PEG) access television to high-cost, low-audience digital cyber-Siberia.

MORE MAJORITY LEADERSHIP: Assemblyman John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, has made Bill Draft Request No. 278 which "revises provisions governing PEG access channels."

Charter has not only backed off (until at least Thanksgiving) moving community TV channels in Washoe County, but also in Carson and Douglas. I urge ratepayers in the latter counties to show up at local government meetings this Thursday and ask for support of the consumer coalition.

My organization, ReSurge.TV, stands ready to sue on behalf of ratepayers in communities like Sparks in which their governments have decided to do nothing. If you can afford it, please consider donating to the cause by mail at P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510, or at ReSurge.TV.

Enjoy a safe, happy, glorious and non-laborious Labor Day weekend.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

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


Sierra Nevada Community Access Television

Please send at least ten other people this notice and editorial.


Charter Communications is moving Reno – 13, Sparks – 15, public access – 16 and Washoe County – 17, will be moved to the digital tier and beyond the reach of most of their viewers.

Why should that be important to Charter’s subscribers or the rest of the people who don’t subscribe to Charter Cable?

The simple answer is that these are your channels, given to you by federal law. Cable operators are required to provide public, education and government (PEG) channels as a way of making public service programming available on the cable system without having to create public-service programming themselves. These channels are part of the public trust. They are your "property," just like the national forest or monuments in Washington D.C.

Most cable operators, like Charter, don’t share the sense of obligation to the community that their predecessors did. Cable operators have been railroading laws though state legislatures, relieving them of having to negotiate franchise agreements with the local communities. New statewide franchise laws still require cable operators to provide PEG channels. But, there is no guarantee of where on the cable spectrum the PEG channels will go.

The biggest downside to this move is for local government, community organizations and producers who count on easy and affordable access for their viewers. Federal law requires that these channels be easily accessible and available at the cheapest rate. Moving PEG channels up to the digital tier adds complexity and difficulty to watching these channels. And, the cost of the digital box is a huge jump in price over the basic cable rate.

There is a small, but important core of regular viewers who will be cut off from PEG channels, because they can’t afford a 25% increase in their cable fees. Moving PEG channels also effectively puts them out of reach of other PEG viewers, who cruise the basic cable tier.

Imagine a small, downtown park, surrounded by banks, boutiques, condos and shops. Parents bring their children to play here, church groups socialize, government officials meet, community organizations hold events, buskers perform and families from all over town come to enjoy the activities. The park has history, culture and tremendous community value.

Then, a developer convinces the legislature that it’s too much trouble dealing with the city on development. Now, the developer only deals with the state. The new law guarantees a park, but it doesn’t say where it has to be. So, the developer moves the park to an area five-miles out of town. And, to facilitate the move, an entrance fee will be charged. It isn’t hard to imagine what would happen to visitation at the park. And, where will the people who live in town to meet with government officials, participate in community events and activities?

The people of the Truckee Meadows wouldn’t stand for a developer perpetrating such a violation of the public trust. Why should they allow Charter to do the same thing with their PEG channels?

The above commentary appeared as a guest editorial in the 8-15-2008
Reno Gazette-Journal.


Contact: Les Smith
(775) 828-1211

RENO, NV - AUG 4, 2008 - In an apparent move to free-up analog channels for more lucrative clients, Charter Communications is moving the public channels up to the digital band, effectively putting them out of reach for the citizens of the Truckee Meadows.

"A huge number of people in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County will no longer have access to the information, programming and media that was provided for them by federal law," said Les Smith, executive director for Sierra Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT).

"Unless a wide majority of viewers go out of their way to buy the digital box and actively search out the public, education and government (PEG) channels, they will miss the opportunity to see what their local governments are doing," Smith continued.

"They won’t be able to get valuable information about what’s happening in their community or enjoy programming provided for them by program producers in the community."

"Those who will be most affected right away are the government channels, Reno channel 13, Sparks channel 15, public access channel 16 and Washoe County channel 17."

According to Smith, channel 16, the public access channel, provides media access for community organizations like the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Humane Society and others, who will essentially be cut off by the move.

This move to put PEG channels onto the digital tier is not the first time that the cable provider has banished PEG channels to what Smith refers to as "Cable Siberia."

The educational channel was placed at channel 200. The channel was originally designated to be brokered by SNCAT and populated with programming from the UNR, TMCC and the Washoe County School District.

"TMCC produced programming and put classes on the channel to start with," said Smith,

"But, after Charter failed to follow-through with a promise to provide special digital boxes for students, the audience for channel 200 basically dropped to zero. So, TMCC gave up and they haven’t put any new programming on the channel for the last couple of years."

Smith predicts that the other PEG channels may share the same fate, if Charter is allowed to force this move.

According to Charter Communications, PEG programming currently reaches 75,000 households in the Truckee Meadows. These numbers will be drastically cut for the government and public channels if they move to the digital tier.

Currently, the vast majority of viewership on the analog PEG channels is incidental, but significant, usually the result of people surfing the basic cable tier. Both the cities and county indicate that a high percentage of the people polled in the Truckee Meadows indicated that they had viewed a public meeting or program on one of the PEG channels.


...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
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Copyright © 1982-2008 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 39-year Nevadan, editor of and, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as 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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