Live Streaming Barbwire.TV

2:00-4:00 p.m. PST, 22:00-24:00 ZULU/GMT/CUT/SUT
Charter digital cable channels 16 & 216 in Reno-Sparks-Washoe

Peter Pans in public office
Expanded from the 3-1-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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

Some little boys just refuse to grow up.

Last Tuesday on my TV show, I broke the story of the sexual harassment brouhaha at the Washoe County District Attorney's office.

Tribune editor Nathan Orme posted in-depth report last Thursday, as did former Tribune columnist Dennis Myers in the Reno News & Review.

For Sparks, it was a case of déjà vu all over again. Washoe County is being sued by the same attorney who won big bucks from the Rail City because of a climate of sexual harassment in the Sparks city attorney's office.

Following in the tiny footsteps of Sparks city attorney Chet Adams, Washoe D.A. Dick Gammick reportedly had a workplace affair. As did Sparks staffers, county employees also claim retaliation as part of a toxic environment.

OFFICER NOT-SO-FRIENDLY DEPT. D.A. Gammick's street shenanigans have gone unreported but continue to rankle local law enforcement.

It seems that Mr. Gammick's workload is so light that he has time to write traffic tickets.

He reportedly had his personal vehicle outfitted with flashing lights and has been pulling people over and issuing citations. If county workers and equipment were used, he should reimburse the taxpayers.

Besides ticking off police and sheriff's departments, this appears to be an unhealthy blurring of lines.

Let's say the D.A. tickets some guy who happens to be under surveillance and is soon thereafter arrested on major charges.

A smart defense attorney could assert that since the D.A. himself issued the citation, his office should be disqualified from prosecuting the perp.

So Washoe County could end up footing the bill for an outside agency to handle the felony case all because Mr. Gammick likes playing traffic cop.

DIM BULBS DEPT. People brighter than me at Sparks City Hall just forked over $114,000 for an out-of-state suede-shoe to come up with a new slogan for the Rail City.

Sorry, boys. "It's happening here" is so generic that it couldn't win a junior high school competition.

I never cease to be amazed by the inferiority complex of powerful people in these parts.

When I first came to northern Nevada in 1971, a local advertising guru told me that the way to generate big business was to fly in somebody from over the hill to impress the locals.

Jesus of Nazareth went through the same thing in his home town of Galilee – a prophet without honor in his own country.

Consultant Roger Brooks also suggested re-naming Victorian Square as "Festival Place" and changing the Sparks Marina to "Celebration Lake Park."

The out-of-town expert further recommended hiring a special events salesperson and spending about a million dollars on "re-branding" Sparks.

I case you're wondering what re-branding is, let me play George Carlin.

Re-branding has replaced "positioning" as the hot advertising industry buzzword.

The late and great comedian warned about relabeling things for which we already have a perfectly useful and descriptive word.

But fuzzy jargon impresses local hicks.

Re-branding and positioning are just more expensive and extensive replacements for "slogan," something you say about yourself.

"Ford has a better idea" remains memorable long after Ford ran out of ideas.

In perhaps the best ad campaign of all time, advertising legend Bill Bernbach placed "It's ugly but it gets you there" above a photo of the lunar landing module. No auto appeared, just a Volkswagen logo at bottom.

Perhaps it's a sign of our times that current advertising is memorable only for its blandness, a reflection of our increasingly group-think corporate culture which produces clutter like "it's happening here."

In 1976, the Long Beach GrandPrix was very close to signing United Airlines as a major sponsor of its new Formula One event.

A group of executives toured the downtown street race course and were shown where their on-track signs would be placed.

Some green kid then gulped and stepped forward to tell the emperor he had no clothes.

"Planes and cars both crash. I'd hate to see worldwide distribution of a photo of a wrecked racer under our sign on the same day that one of our aircraft went down."

End of sale.

How tempting would it be for the suggested Sparks cutline to be appropriated for any mishap?

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


Sexual harassment at city hall. It's happening here.

Cops arrest young man for the crime of walking while black. It's happening here.

Wheelchair-bound protestors forbidden to use public sidewalks and forced to demonstrate in oncoming traffic. It happened in front of the Nugget in 1989.

Corporate welfare spending bankrupts city. It could happen here very soon.

Adding insult to financial injury came last week's revelation by Tribune reporter Sarah Cooper that special events cost the city $180,000 in 2008.

And we want more?

It's happening here.

TOLJASO DEPT. Cabela's and Scheels sporting goods stores are among our largest and most recent corporate welfare queens.

Showing no shame, Cabela's told Reno officials that if the taxpayers paid their construction costs, the new Verdi store would bring three million new tourists a year.

I published the real numbers.

In 2007, 5.1 million visitors came to Washoe County. Cabela's proposal was preposterous, the equivalent of adding a new Hot August Nights every month and then some.

The Reno city council forked over the tax money anyway.

Scheels proved slightly less dishonest, promising merely 800,000 new visitors.

How are we doing so far?

Last week, the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority reported that our 2008 visitor count was down by half a million.

These new tourist magnet stores should have insulated us from a slump, but apparently it can't happen here.

I think I'll open a New York office at Mail Boxes, Etc., and fly in somebody to sell a marketing proposal to both cities.

It's easy money.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

   "The economy is going to start coming back," Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said. "The housing market might still be dragging, but gaming is going to be coming along. Cabela's and these other stores coming to town are going to bring some tourists in." — Reno Gazette-Journal, Jan. 6, 2008

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
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
Search this site | In Search Of...


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.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors, CWA 9413 signatory

Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins