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An evening with the beautiful people
Expanded from the 2-22-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 2-26-2009

Save northwestern Nevada community television

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

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.

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

Friday night, I was among more than a hundred fortunate Nevadans to get a look at director Darryl Roberts' magnum opus, America the Beautiful.

Roberts himself attended the event at the University of Nevada Crowley Student Union.

He explains in the film that his original concept changed as production progressed.

He began exploring the causes of our obsession with how people look, the nation's fixation with the superficial and skin deep.

He ended up the Michael Moore of the cosmetics industry, and that's about the highest compliment I can pay.

"Michael Moore rocks," Darryl said after the screening.

He follows the very short career of Gerren, a six-foot tall size-four African-American girl who becomes an adult fashion supermodel at age twelve and is too old and "obese" to work by fourteen. (The definition of obese in this context means the face of the rail-thin waif became rounder and no longer bony as she grew up. She became a star volleyball player when she returned to high school.)

Roberts shows some of the ghastly results of plastic surgery that chop shop docs don't use on their TV commercials.

Director Darryl even finds the smoking gun: Life is a bitch and the bitch is television.

He interviews a researcher who studied the impacts of TV on a tubeless society. The laboratory was provided when the island nation of Fiji got television service a few years back.

Prior to TV, the idea of boniness as beautiful was unknown to their culture. Within three years, eating disorders had reared their ugly heads as islanders began to emulate what they saw on television.

Rather than just documenting our national mental illness, Roberts offers two solutions. The first: militant college coeds vs. cosmetics industry.

"I'm 47 and through them I can feel 18 again," Roberts says.

He is impressed with young ladies he has met all over the country who want to do something, so he's enlisting them in Roberts' Raiders. Their goal is to get major cosmetics manufacturers to remove cancer-causing and allergy-triggering chemicals from their products.

Europe has already banned them, but the industry has successfully lobbied congress and state legislatures to allow the nefarious ingredients.

Needless to say, Revlon is really pissed off at Darryl Roberts. I'm sure they turn redder as he criss-crosses the country picking up new awards on what seems a monthly basis.

He even scored a major coup just by something he said on CNN about MTV. The pop music network started a series exploiting young women, a more vicious version of The Biggest Loser.

Roberts complained about it on a CNN interview. Within three days, MTV received more than 10,000 complaints from angry women and canceled the series.

Fighting television with television works – his second solution.

Darlene Jespersen
Harrah's Photo

I've volunteered to help start a division of Roberts' Raiders here and I have the perfect chairperson: Darlene Jespersen, the former Harrah's-Reno bartender fired for her refusal to wear makeup.

Darlene's wrongful termination lawsuit made worldwide news and earned her a featured part in Roberts' documentary along with former Miss Nevada (and new mother) Teresa Benitez-Thompson. (Darryl interviewed the three of us on the same day four years ago, but my radio face rightly ended up on the cyber-cutting room floor.)

Jespersen was fired by Harrah's in 2000 for refusing to conform to a new appearance code which mandated a double standard for men and women. The program required all females to wear heavy makeup and to never change or show signs of age.

I was proud to escort the courageous Ms. Jespersen to the Friday showing.

My e-mail bulletin about the film brought a quick response from the lead organizer for a major Nevada union who wants to use it in training classes for both organizers and frontline employees. A DVD will be available this fall.

Venerable reviewer Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called it "a film that might rescue the lives of some girls ages 12 and up."

The film includes interviews with Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis, Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore, actresses Mena Suvari, Aisha Tyler and Paris Hilton, singers Tisha Campbell and Jessica Simpson and comedian Martin Short, all commenting on America's fixation with the superficial and skin deep.

WEB EXTRA: Eve Ensler, playwright of The Vagina Monologues, gives a hilarious interview — which earned the film an "R" rating, one step up from NC-17, the latter-day equivalent of "X."

Roberts announced on Friday that he thought long and hard about removing it to please the men at MPAA (the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the industry's puppet self-censoring front formed decades ago as a buffer against the bluenoses).

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 Communications hires bankruptcy lawyers
MultiChannel News 2-8-2009

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

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


They took offense at one word uttered by Ensler.




George Carlin, call your office.

Commenting about plastic surgeons selling cosmetic vaginal surgery, Ensler said if the connubial ship of state is not jam up and jelly tight after childbirth, "get a bigger dick."



Speaking of those who think with their penises, let's talk about Harrah's.

Darlene Jespersen had been a model employee at Harrah's for 21 years when she objected to being treated differently from male workers.

Once a female worker was given a makeover by a Harrah's image consultant, she was photographed and required to look exactly like that photo for the rest of her life or be fired.

Work clothes sizes could only be altered for women who had boob jobs.

Adding insult to surgery, Harrah's "Personal Best Program" required employees to "be able to tolerate second-hand smoke."

At the time, Culinary Union Local 226 secretary-treasurer D. Taylor called Harrah's new rules "tantamount to saying working mothers need not apply."

Jespersen's "Personal Best" photos (sans makeup) and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 7-4 decision denying Jespersen her day in court are posted at Despite being shut out of the legal system, Jespersen's case made new law which will help future victims of discrimination.

She currently works in Reno outside of the gambling industry. A complete history of the case will be linked to the web edition of this column at

I have invited Darlene to speak at northern Nevada's annual César Chávez celebration at Circus Circus-Reno on March 31, the legendary union leader's birthday.

She will join Daryl Bodick, organizer of the recent Reno march of the unemployed.

Watch for more details, ticket and sponsorship information.

IN MEMORIAM: Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the untimely death of
Nevada Alliance for Workers' Rights founder Tom Stoneburner. Stoney was one of Darlene Jespersen's earliest and strongest supporters.

Rest in peace, old warrior.

Your fight continues.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

Memo from Darryl Roberts

I've been screening the film at dozens of universities. I have 70 more universities to go actually.

Well, one of the complaints that I get from college women is "why can't the cosmetics industry take the toxins out of cosmetics like they do in Europe?"

I explained it to her, but she wasn't satisfied. This is the biggest single thing that women at universities across the country are complaining about.

One of them asked me, "what are we going to do about it?"

I said "we?"

She said "yes. We need you. You made this movie that opened our eyes. You can't turn your back on us now."

That comment shook me to my core and in my heart, I knew she was right. I had to help her. I had to help women all over the country.

So we started the "America the Beautiful" Action Network. So far 27,000 college women have signed up. We plan on having 100,000 soon and the goal is as she so eloquently stated, to get the cosmetics companies here is America to conform to the European Union Standard. If the environmentalists are correct, these toxins in our cosmetics are causing too many women allergies and cancer.

It must stop. So I'm going to go to three select (they've already been chosen) cosmetics companies on behalf of 100,000 women and explain to them why it's in their best interest to remove the toxins.

I had a plan to get Oprah to join me on behalf of women, but unfortunately that didn't go too well.

As I write this, The Oprah Show is on TV here in Dallas and they just ran a commercial saying that her show is sponsored by the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.

I have to be honest with you. This will be the biggest fight that I've ever engaged in.

Everyone is welcome to join us in this monumental movement to protect young women.

I started out just making a film that I thought was cool and I find myself now caring and fighting for women and their causes.

Since I don't have any daughters, every college woman I meet is my surrogate daughter. That's kind of cool, I have 27,000 daughters.

If you don't get this newsletter normally (meaning the only way that you're reading this is someone forwarded it to you) and you want to join our cause, sign up here.

Join the Fight!

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
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
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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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