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Nevada: The state for solo souls
Expanded from the 4-5-2009 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

Si se puede?


We just can't do it.

The decision was made for us by those in command decades ago.

Not that we haven't performed some mighty efforts to fool Mother Nature.

We have diverted rivers to make the desert bloom, from alfalfa in Fallon to fountains gushing in Gomorrah South's sea of neon.

We recently allowed the strip mining of Mount Tenabo, a Nevada peak sacred to the Shoshone.

But who cares?

We stole their land fair and square centuries ago, didn't we?

For the past 500 years or so, everything – good, bad and ugly – has been done in worship of the goddess of progress.

Apparently, nobody asked toward what?

The nation's problems appear marginally solvable.

Dear Nevada's, not so much.

We've been kidding ourselves, thinking we could turn this fragile desert into sagebrushy 'burbs with limitless Bermuda grass.

We've been willing to pay just about any price to prove that we can be as boring as Peoria.

Remember the old saw about "Las Vegas has more churches per capita"?

Nobody asked "more than where?"

Another urban legend carefully nurtured by a respect-starved cat house. 

The Silver State, worse than many others, suffers from the Hollywood cowboy mythology, a religion more popular than any other.

Its dogma is simple: You are a rebel, a rugged individual, sitting tall in the saddle, a loner able to survive on no more than can be carried in a stylish leather saddlebag.

You can sleep on the ground, laying your head in your saddle with only a thin blanket and the spirit of John Wayne to keep you warm.

Actually, Nevada's head has always been up its saddle.

Heartless casino mogul Steve Wynn gloried in glomming water for his wasteful theme casinos because of the show value of erupting fountains in a desert environment.

Good for his wallet.

Lousy for the environment.

Las Vegans are now in a race to construct an upstream straw into dwindling Lake Mead before their water pipes run foul with their own downstream sewage.

Yes, they use the man-made lake as their toilet.

Who says God has no sense of humor?

Our lust for respectability has made us the most urban state in the nation.

About nine in 10 of us live in Clark County or the Sparks-Reno-Carson-Douglas strip.

So why not strip water from the rurals?

They don't have the votes to stop us.

Ditto with the backward Shoshone who inexplicably object to bulldozers on their lands.

If any place typifies what Dubya and his Dunces once termed "compassionate conservatism," we live in it.

Doonesbury comic strip creator Garry Trudeau best defined the term:

"Compassionate means we care, conservative means you're on your own."

I prefer the definition of "conservative" as once espoused by a real one named Travus T. Hipp: It means conserve.
Take care of this wonderful place and its people.

Last week, word came from the biennial petting zoo we call a legislature that hope has faded.

State services, especially our bottom of the barrel educational system, will be gutted.

Apparently no one wants to raise enough tax revenue to bridge the gap.

Our three major employers happen to be exploitive industries – gambling, mining and the federal government.

They take more than they give and we are out of tricks to make up the difference.

The bottom line: people are going to die.

Maybe not you or me, but someone we know.

Somebody weak or sick or small.

The person in dirty clothes we pass on the street and pretend not to see.

They will pass away largely unnoticed because our major newspapers now charge for obituaries.

Unless the death of the faceless becomes newsworthy, like a body washed up in the mucky Truckee, the deceased become the equivalent of a tree falling in the forest. It may have made a sound, but nobody noticed.

Because nobody has to.

The system was rigged to fail decades ago.

We are the compassionate conservative state.

You are on your own.

May God help you because no one else will here in the macho state of solo souls.

Be well. Raise hell.

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


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
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
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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, high-definition channel 80-295. 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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