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Charter digital cable channels 16 & 216 in Reno-Sparks-Washoe
Charter high-definition channel 80-295

New live shows this week on Carson/Douglas cable

Dingbat voters in the belfry of follytix
Expanded from the 5-3-2009 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

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



Somebody check for snowfall in hell.

I'm in agreement with the Hansen family. (Don't worry. It only happens once every decade or two.)

On my Tuesday TV show, I'll air a segment with Bay Area lawyer Barry Fadem who heads up an outfit called National Popular Vote.

NPV wants states to pass laws circumventing the electoral college in presidential elections so that no matter who wins on the state level, the candidate prevailing in the national popular vote gets the support of local electors.

So, if Barack Obama had won Nevada but John McCain prevailed in the national popular vote, all five Nevada electors would have been bound by law to vote for McCain or go to jail.

The Electoral College System
by William C. Kimberling

This site is a bit dated, but gives an excellent analysis of pros and cons

National Popular Vote

NPV's principal bankroller is John Koza, Ph.D., a computer science prof who teaches genetic programming at Stanford University.

His greatest claim to fame came in a decidedly low-tech enterprise.

He invented the scratch-off lottery ticket and now wants to scratch the current election system for an even bigger crapshoot.

Five states have already passed the measure (Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington).

Mssrs. Fadem and Koza seem to be relying on the hangover from 2000 and it's working.

Apparently NPV strikes Democrats as payback, just like presidential term limits were GOP revenge for Franklin Roosevelt winning four in a row.

AB 413 has already passed the Nevada Assembly on a straight party line vote (27 D's in favor with one absent, 14 R's against) and will be heard by the Nevada State Senate Committee on Operations and Elections on May 7.

A poll taken by National Popular Vote shows about three in four Nevadans in favor of the idea.

As the old saying warns, be careful what you wish for – you just might get it.

I discussed this idea with a longtime Nevada labor leader who noted that it could spawn recounts and court challenges in little hamlets across the nation as future Karl Roves look for ways to reverse elections.

Imagine the currently hung up Minnesota senate race multiplied a thousand times.

Who would run the country if the presidency were tied up in court for a couple of years?
Clarence Thomas?

Fadem says that under this plan, currently ignored states both big (like California) and small (like Wyoming) will get equal attention and people will know that all votes count for a change.


This will merely further enrich television and radio stations and starve precinct politics.

Candidates would likely shift personal appearances and campaign dollars from swing states to major population centers and still leave Wyoming in the dust.

Mr. Fadem says he has purchased TV schedules in the past, but seems unclear on the concept.

In general, a thousand voters in Podunk or Peoria cost about the same to reach on TV as a thousand voters in Los Angeles.

The difference in spot prices comes because a commercial in L.A. reaches many more thousands.

If you must reach all voters equally, TV is the greatest (and cheapest) equalizer.

Mr. Fadem asserts that candidates would have to pay attention to myriad local issues if they had to campaign everywhere at once.


They would run national TV spots on big general themes.

The net result would be far less discussion of issues specific to states and regions.

The cure would be worse than the disease.

I told Mr. Fadem that none of this matters until voters can be convinced that they are getting an honest count.

Republican voter suppression tactics in Florida (2000) and Ohio (2004) brought voter cynicism to new heights.

Assemblymember Peggy Pierce, D-Las Vegas, introduced a measure (AB 435), now dead, to go back to old-fashioned paper ballots in reaction to the burgeoning expertise of computer hackers to crack always-vulnerable vote counting systems.

Dr. Koza should use his vaunted computer expertise to fix that one first.

Mr. Fadem told me his group does not get involved with other issues and bristled when I likened that attitude to similar single-interest groups, like the anti-abortion movement which refuses to discuss contraception for fear of alienating some Catholics.

Fadem insists that more people will vote if they know their votes will count under this process.

With the exception of the Dubya-spawned debacles, the facts are otherwise.

I think all this just invites another 5-4 election decided by sexy Clarence, bigoted Nino Scalia and their black-robed soul brothers.

"This will make small population states, like Nevada, meaningless in the presidential election," says Ira Hansen's aunt, Janine.

Amen, sister.

Ira, tell your relative if she wants to do my show Tuesday, please call me.

TV RITES. The taped segment with Mr. Fadem will be cablecast in my Tuesday timeslot, 4-5:00 p.m. on Carson cable channels 10 and 26, with live streaming and on-demand reruns available via Barbwire.TV.

The show will also rebroadcast in Sparks-Reno and other markets statewide.

Former university regent Howard Rosenberg will be my guest and take your phone calls on Thursday, same time, same stations, new phone number: (775) 882-TALK.

KUDOS TO CATHOLIC ADVOCATES. Catholic Relief Services is promoting World Fair Trade Day on Saturday, May 9.

"Hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. and in over 80 countries will promote fair trade and campaign for trade justice together with farmers and artisans around the world," according to a statement.

Looks like we're getting close to a return to power of the once-militant Jesuit order and liberation theology.


For more info, go to

LIBERATION THEOLOGY, LOCAL LEVEL. The fourth quarterly commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be held on Saturday, May 16, from 1:00 to 7:30 p.m. inside the First United Methodist Church at First and West streets in downtown Reno.

Rev. John Auer is preparing a spectacular finale in honor of the man who inspired him to enter the ministry. For more information, call (775) 322-4564 or go to

The Reno-Sparks NAACP will host its 64th Annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet on June 13 at the Atlantis Hotel-Casino in Reno. Rev. Auer was one of the honorees last year. For ticket and sponsorship information, go to or call (775) 772-4432.

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
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 news and talk 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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