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Charter digital cable channels 16 & 216 in Reno-Sparks-Washoe

Tap City: A blast from our sordid past
Expanded from the 1-18-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Update 2-7-2010: The predictions hereinbelow sadly come true

Save northwestern Nevada community television

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The 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

What are the poor taxpayers to do?

They got raped for years by lagging assessments and preferential tax breaks for the chosen few.

Now that property taxes are low, state and local governments are falling apart.

What to do?

The first step is for someone to say you can't have your cake and eat it, too. The time has come to make some hard decisions. Those decisions go to the core of Nevada life as we know it.

Perhaps anyone currently raising a family here should consider moving somewhere else.

Our school systems in Nevada – from kindergarten to graduate school – are shamefully underfunded now and have been for years.

The governor said that he has yet to receive a letter or postcard telling him that there is an alternative to cutting education budgets.

Funny, he never said a word opposing new sports pavilions at UNR and UNLV.

Now comes a report that Nevada ranks dead last among 51 states (behind DC, Puerto Rico or perhaps Guam) in the amount of state support for higher education.

Why let UNR and UNLV degenerate into Reno State and Las Vegas State colleges?

Why don't we consider shutting both schools down altogether?

Let's make Nevada live up to the reputation it already has all across the country – that of a 20th Century boomtown mining camp.

Let's forget all those wonderful plans for economic diversification.

Hewlett-Packard wouldn't touch Reno a decade ago because of what they considered a substandard educational environment for a high-tech industry.

More recently, Las Vegas lost a major new industry because it was viewed as a cultural wasteland – and they walked away even though all other conditions were right.

It was just that the area was perceived as a poor place to bring up a family, and the company thought that its people would not want to move their families to Las Vegas.

Maybe we should stop being such hypocrites, trying to change an image we really deserve.

Perhaps it is time to realize that we really don't have a state government here in Nevada and that we've never had one.

Nevada's state government is still basically a territorial administration.

We could probably rescind statehood, go back to territorial status and be better off.

We'd probably end up with a better share of our federal tax dollars that way.

Monopoly milk and dairy pricing is currently happening with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the Nevada Dairy Commission.

Insurance regulation in Nevada is non-existent.

Health care costs are totally out of control and the Greater Nevada Health Systems Agency and the State Division of Human Resources have been so shot through with political influence peddling as to be totally worthless.

The mentally disabled are still left to die through improper care.

DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN. All of the above was lifted from a speech I gave at the appropriately named Depression Deli, now a Reno E. Fourth Street topless joint.

The date was October 5, 1982.

More than a quarter century has now passed.

That economic crunch was followed by another a decade later in which the budget was again balanced on the backs of the physically and mentally disabled.

Now, here we are again in the same damned place, only worse.

Gov. Jim the Dim is every bit as weak and horny as his 1982 predecessor, List the Lustful.

Was I overstating the case when I said we might as well close the universities?

"We might just as well close the campuses down," said Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Gomorrah South, reacting to Gov. Gibbon's Rape of the State speech Thursday night.

My old friend Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, has proven entirely correct when he said a decade ago that growth had stopped paying for itself and it was time for gambling to pay its fair share. Never happened. Ditto with mining.

The legislature will again fail to discharge its constitutionally mandated duty to adequately fund education. I am talking to people about preparing legal action, as has been done in 37 other jurisdictions, especially in the deep south.

The Mississippi West of Nevada would then have a federal judge permanently running its educational system.

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

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

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

Charter misses $74 million payment
Reuters 1-15-2009

Website predicts 2009 Charter Communications bankruptcy
Moody's downgrades Charter on reorganization talk


Fine by me.

The federal district court has run western Nevada's water system since 1944.

Nevada has gambled too often and lost.

We are now out of chances and plunging ass-first toward Tap City.

MLK TODAY. Today at 3:00 p.m., the Second Baptist Church at Montello and Carville in northeast Reno will honor Hug High principal Andrew Kelly, the man credited with significantly upgrading his school's academic achievement and my pick to succeed Paul Dugan when the long-suffering Washoe County school superintendent retires.

Rev. Terry McCray-Hill of Sparks' Bethel African-American Episcopal Church will preach as part of a weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday celebrations.

On Monday at 10:30 a.m., the Rev. Onie Cooper will form his annual car caravan at the Second Baptist Church.

They will depart at 11:00 to drive the portion of U.S. 395 which Cooper worked for years to have designated as Nevada's MLK Highway.

BARBS AND BULLETINS. Longtime Reno activist William Puchert has launched a timely new blog designed to kick government in the ass. Highly recommended. See

ADDING INSULT TO INJURY DEPT. Last Wednesday, the Reno Gazette-Journal opened a posh new employee break room featuring high-def TV, a pool table and electronic games.

Not that the severely understaffed paper's employees will have any time to use it, something they duly pointed out to management, which noted that it was either use the budgeted funds or have them revert to corporate in New York.

On the same day, the workers were notified that everybody will have to take an unpaid week off in order to support corporate profits.

For more on how the RGJ thinks, check out The Chain Gang by Richard McCord at the Sparks Library – if you can find it open.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

Not even 30 pieces of silver
Reno City Council Signs Community TV Death Warrant

Contact Sen. Harry Reid for help
Sparks Tribune / 11-23-2008

Rise of the machines
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 11-16-2008

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

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

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.

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
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Copyright © 1982-2009 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. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

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 digital cable channels 16 and 216. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988 and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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