NATURAL SELECTION — Mother Nature evolved this wooden woodpecker as her signature sculpture after sending us a sumptuous salubrious summer. Tiny Twiggy the Tweeter is all of half an inch in length. (Actually 19/32 of an inch or 1.5 centimeters if you've really gotta get picky.) The Lilliputian xylemesque xylemwhacker would fit nicely on your pinky-fingernail.

Twiggy the woodpecker on Apricot Lane
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award
from the 10-4-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune, Updated 10-5 and 10-6-2009

No matter how tough times get, sometimes we get a reminder that good days are near.

Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award

The Barbwire TV/webcast show will return as soon as new studio construction is complete. Your contribution will be most welcome. Keep an eye on the Barbwire print edition for updates.

Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest. A button for older shows is being installed. You may also search by date — M-F for the past year save holidays.

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Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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The little valley by the muddy Truckee got a big one this summer in the form of a spectacularly bountiful harvest. I began to notice with my peach trees. Right after I upload this column, I will spend the rest of the weekend making Nana Barbano's peach preserves. (Good Lord, I'm morphing into my grandmother in my old age!)

Evidence that my yard was not alone was delivered by none other than the Teamsters. A couple of union guys took a work break under a crabapple tree in front of my house. They asked me what the sweet fruit was.

Sweet crabapples?


We compared notes as we munched a few.

The normally tart-as-Paris-Hilton fruit matured as sweet as store-bought this year. Some will shortly become jam in my kitchen.

Teamster drivers get around town a lot. They reported seeing bumper crops of peaches, apples, pears, even figs. I told them of one summer long ago when I visited a home near UNR with a fruit-laden tree producing apricots as big as softballs. The Teamsters said they had witnessed similar this summer, our valley taking care of us at a time when food is a little harder to come by.

Mother Nature even provided elegant sculpture. I picked one peach which had been skewered with a curious twig.

Upon closer examination, the twig is a perfect depiction of a tiny woodpecker about half an inch long.

I will post a photo of this mini-work of art with the web edition of this column at

Reminders to be patient and hopeful abound, even as the first frost blows in on the honey winds of fall.

Bad times will come again no more.

THE FUTURE OF CORPORATE HEALTH CARE. Last Monday, Sept. 28, veteran KOLO TV-8 journalist Terri Russell reported that 15 experienced nurses, five of them members of Service Employees Union Local 1107, have been fired by Renown/Washoe Med for not attending or being late to a mandatory meeting on computers.

There was no appeal from the set-in-cement appointment. All 15 are very experienced and thus among the highest paid.

Curious, eh wot?

All this from a place constantly trying to hire good nurses as this corporate vampire touts itself as such a wonderful place to work.

Union reps are not talking much because they don't want to jeopardize the appeals of their members. As for the 10, I gotta hunch they wish they had a union right now.

Renown is the latter-day descendant of the county hospital stolen from the taxpayers in 1985. The complete history, including the damning Washoe County grand jury report, is available exclusively at

Any of the firees or other Renown/Washoe Med employees who have stories to tell are encouraged to contact me.

THE FUTURE OF CORPORATE WORKERS. The feds just found foreign-owned Newmont Mining guilty of killing another worker, a typical case of Nevada negligent homicide. Steven L. Halverson, 57, was fatally injured in June at the open-pit Genesis Mine in Carlin.

I am an arch-conservative when it comes to companies treating workers as disposable because our weak state and federal labor laws prevent employees from suing and make death and injury just a small cost of doing business.

Till the day I die, I will advocate for a corporate death penalty as fair retribution for intentionally killing a worker by knowingly maintaining an unsafe workplace.

ADIOS TO A UNION MAN. "I am sad to report that brother Roger Maillard died on Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Carson City," Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson stated in a memo to his members.

"Roger was one of our full time lobbyists during the past several sessions of the Nevada Legislature," Thompson added. Maillard was a retired member of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 4041/AFL-CIO.

"Those of you who worked with Roger over the years knew him as a tireless advocate for state workers, retirees and labor in general," Thompson stated.

Longtime union activist and community media supporter Danny Coyle reports that a celebration of life will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11, at Carson City's Brewery Arts Center Theater, 449 W. King St.

In lieu of flowers, donations to a favorite charity are encouraged. Walton's Chapel of the Valley in Carson City is in charge of arrangements. For more information, call (775) 883-6442.

Roger Maillard put his money where my mouth was. When I approached the Carson City labor lobbying corps about supporting the expansion of my TV show into the capital city during the 2009 legislative session, Roger was the first to ante into the game with a personal check to defray expenses.

As I go forward, I will always work to justify his faith in me.

SUPPORT ALTERNATIVE MEDIA. Please consider supporting the cause of non-corporate community TV and radio as we raise funds to re-launch community station KJIV-fm. Go to ReSurge.TV to contribute online or send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510. Please feel free to contact me for additional information.

Times are indeed tight for many, but this is important. If the only voice public officials hear is a carefully-sifted corporate point of view, we get a one-party political system, which explains the bi-partisan assassination of the public option in the now-vacuous national health care debate.

For a sensible alternative, the visionary 2002 plan proposed by former Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, will be linked to the expanded web edition of this column at

GARY WOLFF UPDATE. The Reno Gazette-Journal's pay-to-play website for Gary Wolff (1944-2009) has now expired.

As promised, I have uploaded all the personal remembrances to the permanent Wolffman memorial linked to my July 26 column at the Barbwire archive. All additional comments are most welcome.

The retired Sgt. Wolff was the longtime leader of the Nevada Highway Patrol Assn., now a Communications Workers of America affiliate.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, member of Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced 9-19-2009

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


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 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

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

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
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
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Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
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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

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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