BARBWIRE
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ANDREW BARBANO
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Je Suis Charlie
"Our republic and its press will rise or fall together." — Joseph Pulitzer

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Photo: Debra Reid, Sparks Tribune

 

 

An Alternative National Anthem
By Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) & Sharon Robinson
© 1988 CBS Records, Inc.

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows that the captain lied.
   Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died.
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   And a long stem rose.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that you love me, baby.
Everybody knows you really do.
   Everybody knows that you've been faithful,
Give or take a time or two.
   Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
   Without your clothes.
Everybody knows.


   Everybody knows that it's now or never.
Everybody knows that it's me or you.
   And everybody knows that you live forever
When you've done a line or two.
   Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
   For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that the plague is coming.
Everybody knows that it's moving fast.
   Everybody knows that the naked man & woman —
Just a shining artifact of the past.
   Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
   That will disclose
What everybody knows.

   And everybody knows that you're in trouble.
Everybody knows what you've been through
   From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach at Malibu.
   Everybody knows it's coming apart.
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
   Before it blows.
And everybody knows.

Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

 


I hope you understand I just had to go back to the island.
Leon Russell, 1942-2016


"The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have." Kierkegaard

Updated 5-5 & 5-10-2022 GMT

¡FELIZ CINCO DE MAYO!

Barbwire by Barbano: 4-20, 4-27 & 5-4-2022
Rent control legal under Nevada law
Expansions in blue

Dare not speak its name
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 5-4-2022 / Updated 5-5-2022 GMT

Actual knocking-on-doors candidates of every stripe appear to be hearing about one thing more than any other (gasp): Rent control.


Greatest Hits Dept.

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Barbwire nominee Dennis Myers elected to NPA Hall of Fame

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The Grasshopper and
the Dragonfly

9-6-2017

Kicked off the Ledge
4-18-2017

NATIONAL NEWS FIRST-BREAK
Back to the Future in
Mississippi West Nevada

10-18-2017

Gold 2017
Don't ask Renown Med for marijuana to help your chemo

10-4-2016
We Don't Need No Education
Toxic turf threat ignored

12-13-2016
Kate Smith & Lady Gaga
2-14-2017

Bronze 6-pack
In the Uber-Nevada legislature, words can kill
4-28-2015
On artificial turf, don't breathe unless absolutely necessary (above)
11-24-2015
Leading questions, lead-headed leaders
1-19-2016

Hopelessly trying to win an earthquake
4-18-2013
2013 Loony Tunes Legislative Lexicon
5-30-2013
The politics of media ga-ga boosterism
3-20-2014

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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

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TOP SECRET— HushHush!

 

Everybody wants affordable housing in the abstract but political leaders are stuck in cement shoes when it comes to concrete solutions.

In 1978, coinciding with the rise of the Reaganauts, Sparks-Reno was as much a boomtown as today. Eight major casinos, sparked by the MGM Grand, had opened and even gambling execs were living in tents or vans down by the river.

Back when he was still a Democrat, future State Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, backed a temporary rent control law to blunt landlord profit gouging. The establishment went bananas. Adding insult to injury, Townsend narrowly lost to a self-admitted Republican slumlord.

After Townsend's high-profile loss, rent control was dead, right? Wrong.

A champion rose up from the Oddie Blvd. mobile home park. A grandmother named Barbara Bennett got into her little yellow Volkswagen Beetle and organized tenants to push for a rent justification ordinance.

Prodded by their constituents, the Reno City Council actually passed rent control and got so much heat, they quickly nuked it. (Barbwire 7-17-2019)

After Townsend's high profile loss AND the city council's collapse, rent control was dead, right? Wrong.

The late great Grandma Bennett filed for mayor in the spring 1979 city primary. She had no money and no chance, right? Wrong.

She beat two incumbent councilmembers in the primary and the incumbent mayor in the general election. In 1999, the only Reno mayor to make the Reno Gazette-Journal's list of "100 who made a difference" was the little old lady in the yellow VW. A downtown Reno park today bears her name.

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN. The housing situation in today's Tesla Town is made worse as state and local governments pass out corporate welfare like cookies and turbocharge uncontrolled growth. Without developer money to mitigate the impacts, increasing numbers of people are on the streets or down by the river. Throw in a pandemic recession, garnish with war in Europe and the little people languish.

A few months back, I wrote the story of a couple forced to pay $500 just to apply at five apartments. (A background check costs less than a buck.)

Such exploitation has brought international shame to Sparks-Reno. In 2018, I lined up desperate renters for The Guardian of London's west coast bureau. None would allow their names to be used. I tried to start a Facebook page where people could anonymously post the facts about larcenous landlords. Tenants who responded were still too intimidated to go forward in this fire-at-will/no-cause-eviction state.

It is thus no wonder that rent control weighs heavy on the minds of voters while pols remain scared to freakin' death.

Officeholders always pass the buck saying they don't have the authority without specific legislative approval which will never come.

Maybe it already has.

In 2015, the Nevada Association of Counties pushed Senate Bill 29 thru the ledge. It "gave more power to County Commissioners," according to Creative Commons via Wikipedia.

The bill reaffirmed existing draconian "home rule" law, which means Nevada municipalities have no power other than that specifically granted by the state...

EXCEPT (drum roll, please) "boards of county commissioners," who "in the absence of a constitutional or statutory provision requiring a power to be exercised in a specific manner," (shall have) "all other powers necessary or proper to address matters of local concern for the effective operation of county government, whether or not the powers are expressly granted to the board."

Zounds.

That advice came from a pack of flaming liberals. It was written on August 15, 2016, by Deputy Attorney General Dennis Belcourt to Nye County District Attorney Angela Bello on letterhead from noted socialist Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R). His first assistant AG was former Assemblymember Wes Duncan, R-Las Vegas.

You may have noticed Mr. Duncan in last week's Tribune being sworn in as city attorney by Republican Mayor Ed Lawson. (Them closet socialists are everywhere!)

Which brings me to the Democratic primary for Washoe County Commission District 3 (northeast Reno/western Sparks).

Candidate Kyle Isacksen told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he favors creation of a "rental registry" database to "find out where the money's going, who owns the houses...and then, the next step is rent stabilization."

Shades of Barbara Bennett. Landlords would have to justify rent increases during tight times based on actual costs.

Isacksen's next step would be some form of rent control. "Are you in favor?" I asked. "Yes," he said.

One of his two opponents, Hawah Ahmad, was a bit more circumspect, apparently noticing that the hills of the Truckee Meadows are littered with the bones of those who uttered the shibboleth.

"I appreciate the notion of rent control, but it doesn't positively impact the demand issue we have and isn't anything we can get enacted immediately...I personally think incentivizing good landlords is important," she stated. "My most immediate potential fix is the creation of county positions to negotiate long term leases" (I assume with incentivized good landlords) "that are specific on rent increases to come over a period of time for those transitioning out of homelessness and individuals on fixed incomes (seniors and disability recipients). We need to also change what the county defines as affordable housing to be more than just a percentage of units. A rent registry would help," she added.

I heard back from candidate Mariluz Garcia's campaign management but they did not venture a position. Her statements to the RGJ's Mark Robison were long on homelessness but did not mention the word "rent."

Links and references at NevadaLabor.com/ Monitor for late-breaking developments.

LET THEM EAT MASKS
Sparks-Reno superspreadators give booby bus boss big bucks


RAZING THE BUS SYSTEM.
Local bus overlords just gave a huge raise to regional transit bus boss Bill Thomas who has presided over three Teamsters strikes and a humongous decrease in passengers. (The wusses wanted masks. Who knew?)

Thomas and his foreign contract enforcers colluded with the Washoe County School District during the strikes and even stopped Sparks transit driver Michael Lansborough from speaking to media.

The longtime RTCRide operator is sole support of his wife and son, Logan, who has no lower legs due to a genetic flaw but still took to his wheelchair and joined dad on downtown Reno picket lines during last year's Hat Trick Strikes. (Photos at the front page of NevadaLabor.com/)

Mike is now home recovering from open heart surgery. Support him and his family at <https://gofund.me/7eae2ed0> or by sending checks or money orders payable to him at Teamsters Local 533, 1190 Selmi Drive, Suite 100, Reno NV 89512. Tell your friends.

Bill Thomas will soon be making almost $300,000 a year including benefits. Maybe he'll send a small check.

Take care of each other and be careful out there. Pray for Ukraine and 53 other currently war-torn lands.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

__________________
_
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com, SenJoeNeal.org, DoctorLawyerWatch.com, BallotBoxing.US, ConsumerCoalitionv.org, ChantalCoalition.org, Rentvolution.org, MIssissippiWestNV.org and CesarChavezNevada.com among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Acrobatic fencers & heavily-armed doublespeakers
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 4-27-2022
Updated 5-5 & 5-10 -2022 GMT / Expansions in blue

"The distinguished member of Parliament is quite acrobatic. He can straddle the fence while keeping an ear to the ground." — The best insult ever hurled in the British House of Commons

Somebody find me a one-armed economist who can't say "but on the other hand."

The High Desert Plantation just got a double dose of two-fisted doublespeak.

Both our superspreader local bus system and the Reno Fire Department share a common malady: The left hand apparently doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

RTC UPCHUCKS: Last week, perhaps for the first time in more than 30 years of bashing the Regional Transportation System and its mismanaging minions, I actually printed something nice.

      "A Trump-appointed (of course) judge in (where else?) Florida just ruled that the Centers for Disease Control has no authority to mandate masks in public transportation. So why have a CDC anymore?
"Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections are spiking all over the country and worldwide.
      "To its credit, the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County announced that masking will 'continue' to be enforced on their mass transit systems.
"For more than two years, their foreign contractor, Keolis Transit, has fought the federal mask mandate fang and claw. They have lost every round at the federal level to Teamsters Local 533. (See NevadaLabor.com/)
      “ 'RTC Washoe made the right choice by not following the decision of a judge in Florida,' said union president Gary Watson.
" 'The RTC and Teamsters have rarely seen eye to eye lately, but this move is a step in the right direction, and a step to continue to protect transit operators and passengers alike,' Watson added.
      "Masks save lives. Wearing one protects others from you but if they are exhaling freely, only an N95 model gives you any serious cover."

BUS BOSSES CRASH AND BURN. On Tuesday morning, less than 12 hours after the Tribune went to press, the overlords of the Superspreader Bus System changed their minds — or lost their minds, depending on one's perspective.

      Tuesday, April 19, 2022 7:18 a.m.: "Gary, As noted below from the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), the mask requirement has been rescinded. With that in mind, we would like to remove our local requirements from the buses and buildings. Please let me know if you are in agreement, or call me when you get a chance. I expect huge amounts of the riding public who are aware of this will argue with the drivers if we don't go along with the new TSA ruling.
      Thanks, (signed) Phil Pumphrey, General Manager-Reno Operations, Keolis Transit"

Taxpayers have paid millions to that inept, for-profit corporation. Ridership immediately nosedived when they took over in July, 2019, fully eight months before COVID-19 hit. What an outfit.

GREATEST HITS, PART DEUX. Last Monday, local police and fire dispatchers got a "help I've fallen and can't get up call." They sent paramedics from the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA). Both first responders wore masks. Bueno.

The next day, another such call came in. This time, the Reno Fire Department sent a hook and ladder to help a senior citizen off the floor. NONE of the three firefighters wore masks. Well, they had masks, but they wore them under their chins.

The RFD crew chief defended his laxity by noting "that mandate's been removed."

Yes, but you guys may be unknowingly carrying the plague and spreading it just by breathing. Or you can contract it by huffing and puffing while lifting aging bodies.

That doofus deserves a night in a hot tub with a cold Dalmatian. I refer him to this immortal quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger's most famous film: "Listen and understand. That Terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear. And it absolutely will not stop — ever — until you are dead!"

UPDATE FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH: An emergency room insider told me that "Reno firefighters are notorious for not wearking masks." Do they still train staff on the meaning of the "protect" part of "protect and serve." (p.m. 4-27-2022)

A TRIP DOWN AMNESIA LANE. Reno actress and playwright Jeanmarie Simpson will reprise her Reno-birthed one-woman show "A Single Woman" at 6:00 p.m. this Friday, part of a political fundraiser at the Potentialist Workshop, 836 E 2nd Street.

"Everyone is welcome," stated a press release. "Non-perishable food items and monetary donations are encouraged ($100 is suggested, but $1 is gratefully accepted too!)."

Ms. Simpson's magnum opus brings to life the first woman to serve in Congress, Jeannette Rankin, R-Montana.

The media spin committed an unfortunate sin of omission.

It duly noted that Rankin, R-Montana, was "an outspoken champion of women’s rights and peace."

However, the promoters totally ignored how she got that way. Rankin voted against BOTH world wars.

In 1917, a few months after being sworn in, she was one of 50 who turned thumbs-down to involvement in World War One after racist President Woodrow Wilson broke his re-election promise to stay out of that European debacle. It directly led to the rise of Hitler. Ms. Rankin was not foolish enough to seek re-election in 1918 with America suffering fog-of-war fever.

Fast-forward a couple decades. Rankin returned to Montana and got elected again in 1940 — just in time to become the ONLY member of Congress to vote against WW2 after Pearl Harbor. She simply could not stomach the contradiction of supporting a "moral" war.

Future President John F. Kennedy and his ghost writer, Theodore Sorenson, should have included her in their Pulitzer-winning book "Profiles in Courage." But they didn't. Rankin became a pacifist icon and often demonstrated against the Vietnam carnage until her death in 1973.

Ms. Simpson's curiosity about Rankin resulted from a Reno Gazette-Journal article. She premiered her play in Reno and it became a Hollywood film with herself in the title role and Brat Pack alum Judd Nelson ("St. Elmo's Fire", "The Breakfast Club") in the cast.

Which brings me to my favorite member of Congress, Barbara Lee, D-Calif. (East Bay). She's the only congresscritter to vote against BOTH bumbling Bush the Elder's Gulf War and booby Bush the Lesser's Iraq War.

My kinda lady. Jeannette Rankin would applaud.

THANKS AGAIN
to all Barbwire readers and union members who continue to send support for Sparks RTCRide operator Mike Lansborough who is recovering from open heart surgery. Please help thru a GoFundMe page <https://gofund.me/7eae2ed0>. Should you prefer to mail a check, make it payable to Michael Lansborough and send to his attention at Teamsters Local 533, 1190 Selmi Drive, Suite 100, Reno NV 89512. Tell your friends.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

Pray for Ukraine and 53 other currently war-torn lands.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

__________________
_
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com, SenJoeNeal.org, DoctorLawyerWatch.com, BallotBoxing.US, ConsumerCoalitionv.org, ChantalCoalition.org, Rentvolution.org, MIssissippiWestNV.org and CesarChavezNevada.com among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 4-20-2022 / Updated 5-5-2022 GMT / Expansions in blue

"All the world seems in tune on a spring afternoon when we're poisoning pigeons in the park." — Tom Lehrer 1959

I've warned you many times and I admonish you again: Don't let your kids play on the plastic turf at Sparks' Golden Eagle Park.

According to last week's Tribune, the Sparks City Council spent $64,000 "to purchase SMG SportChamp artificial turf maintenance equipment" for the biggest expanse of crumb rubber turf in the country.

The NFL loves that hazard. It's very photogenic for TV and it's cheaper to maintain than that new-fangled stuff called grass.

If you've ever watched replays of football players kicking up black dust on pretty green turf, you've seen ground-up used tires containing almost 100 chemicals, some cancer-causing like lead, arsenic, cadmium and benzene. I started beating the drum about this on Nov. 24, 2015. I've talked to local high school coaches who are embarrassed to admit they know of the danger but are powerless to fight the system.

Crumb rubber turf infects schools all over Nevada and the nation. Locally: McQueen, Damonte Ranch, Manogue, Carson and Douglas high schools; the Jan Evans Juvenile Detention Center, UNR's Mackey Stadium, Wolf Pack and Peccole parks. (Research and archives ConsumerCoalitionv.org/)

More than 12,000 crumb rubber fields were in use as of 2019 with 1,200 to 1,500 more expected each year.

Only limited studies have been done and have shown no ill effects. Everything seems to have stopped after 2019. Hmmm...did some big health scare suck all the air out of the research rooms starting in 2020?

Much of this is déjà vu all over again. And again. A few years ago, Fallon cancer cluster research proved inconclusive despite an inordinate number of kids getting sick and dying. Cancer cluster designation proved a hard label to come by, especially since Churchill County air is besotted with pesticides, naval air base jet fuel and heavy metal manufacturing. Most fingers pointed toward the latter.

Colonia High School in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, has been in the news after activists documented 105 brain tumors (half cancerous) among graduates starting in 1972. I predict that years of study will show "no clear causation" meriting cancer cluster designation. As with crumb rubber turf, affected industries will tout exoneration.

Beware.

MORE KIDDIE HAZARDS. I saw a piece on KOLO TV-8 last week showing a moppet scaling the climbing wall at the 9th Street Boys & Girls Club. She had no safety harness. Zounds. I made a couple of calls to those in charge. Stay tuned.

MEDIA MELTDOWNS. KRNV TV-4 has covered 60 seconds of "Saturday Night Live" with a commercial for Charter/Spectrum cable. Last week, the spot pre-empted some of the opening skit in mid-stream. On the previous two weekends, the same ad covered part of the "Weekend Update" news satire. Computer glitch? Probably.

Corporations cut corners wherever they can, and that usually means people. A few years ago, the tornado emergency broadcast system in the Oklahoma outback failed because none of the radio stations in the area had anyone working. All were on computerized auto-pilot on a Saturday. People died.

MEMORY MELTDOWNS. For folks here in Mississippi West haven't heard, this is Confederate Heritage Month in Mississippi proper.

MASKING MELTDOWNS. A Trump-appointed (of course) judge in (where else?) Florida just ruled that the Centers for Disease Control has no authority to mandate masks in public transportation. (So why have a CDC anymore?)

Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections are spiking all over the country and worldwide.

To their credit, the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County announced that masking will "continue" to be enforced on their mass transit systems.

Their foreign contractor, Keolis Transit, has fought the federal mask mandate fang and claw for more than two years. They have lost every round at the federal level to Teamsters Local 533. (See NevadaLabor.com/) Maybe they've finally seen the light.

“RTC Washoe made the right choice by not following the decision of a judge in Florida," said union president Gary Watson.

"The RTC and Teamsters have rarely seen eye to eye lately, but this move is a step in the right direction, and a step to continue to protect transit operators and passengers alike."

A semblance of sanity at last in local mass transit land. Who'da thunk it?

Masks save lives. Wearing one protects others from you but if they are exhaling freely, only an N95 version gives you any cover.

After allowing thousands of far east air passengers into the country in February 2020 while telling the public not to worry, Czar Donaldov made mask wearing a partisan brand. He's been recorded by journalist Bob Woodward admitting that he knew how deadly the virus was early on, but still maintained the fiction. Almost a million Americans now lie dead while the ruler of Mar-a-Loco scores millions running the Republican Party as his profitable family business.

UPDATE: Masking enforcement lasted all of 12 hours. What a country.

IS SENSIBILITY SPREADING?
Last month, I groused about the Reno Gazette-Journal nuking its Saturday edition without giving subscribers a discount. (Barbwire 3-30-2022) The move also killed Saturday delivery for other publications in the region such as The New York Times.

Worse, their distribution contractor re-jiggered the system so that the odds of customers on my street getting their papers on any given day are 50/50 at best. You can call the Times to credit your account. The Kazoo-Journal sends you to voicemail hell followed by an e-mail form letter saying they will look into it. Then nothing.

The official excuse blames "the same labor shortage difficulties that are affecting so many businesses across the nation." I wonder what they pay in minimum-wage Nevada? Their corporate overlords scored $7 million in pure profit by selling the RGJ building to the CIty of Reno. So how about taking some of it to pay delivery drivers better?

Hope springs eternal. Six-day subscribers got a letter last Monday announcing a price DECREASE. Starting on May 10, the price goes down to $73.00 a month, a whopping $5.27 saving from the published rate.

Somebody check for snowfall in hell.

HAIL TO THE CHIEF. Reno Police Chief Jason Soto announced that he will retire at year's end. My money's on Deputy Chief Oliver Miller as his replacement. I've worked with him on community issues for years. He began his career with Sparks PD in 2000. He's paid his dues and has earned his shot at the top job. Stay tuned.

BIG MIKE'S ON THE MEND. Sparks transit operator Michael Lansborough is still home recovering from successful open heart surgery. He may be cleared to return to work late next month.

The longtime RTCRide driver is sole support of his wife and son, Logan, who has no lower legs due to a genetic flaw but still took to his wheelchair and joined dad on downtown Reno picket lines during last year's Hat Trick Strikes. (Photos at the front page of NevadaLabor.com/)

Friends set up GoFundMe page.  <https://gofund.me/7eae2ed0>

Please be generous. If you'd prefer to mail a check, make it payable to Michael Lansborough and send to his attention at Teamsters Local 533, 1190 Selmi Drive, Suite 100, Reno NV 89512.

Thanks to all the Barbwire readers and union members who continue to send support.  Tell your friends.

Pray for Ukraine. And 53 other war-torn lands.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

__________________
_
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com, SenJoeNeal.org, DoctorLawyerWatch.com, BallotBoxing.US, ConsumerCoalitionv.org, ChantalCoalition.org, Rentvolution.org, MIssissippiWestNV.org and CesarChavezNevada.com among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Oil Ain't All That's Rigged
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 3-9-2022
Updated 3-10-2022 GMT/ Expansions in blue

Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) & Sharon Robinson

Blame Ukraine? Not so fast.

Would you rather read about sex, oil or oil and sex? If you chose number three, please continue.

Biden administration study finds
There's no such thing as a free labor market
With union rights reform dead again in Congress, feds try to use anti-trust laws against the malady

Hasn't worked against the BigOil oligopoly, but hope springs eternal.

The New York Times Business Section
(Labor sections have been extinct for 40 years)
By Eduardo Porter / 3-8-2022

It's not what you think, as the wife said to her husband when he walked in on her and her boyfriend.

The big news this week is neither bloody war nor truck convoys protesting non-existent mask mandates.

It's gasoline. I'd like to say I've never witnessed worse reportage in many decades of news addiction, but this one scrapes bottom.

The price of gasoline is rigged by a small number of oil companies with smart lawyers. I've been reporting on it for decades. (See the Barbwire Oilogopoly Archives at NevadaLabor.com/)

Alas and alack, as national news departments long ago realized, the public just doesn't much care. The powerful plead helplessness. Kinda like local officials saying they can't do much about homelessness. (See below.)

PASSING THE BUCKS. Just as our local bus system overlords say the collapse of the system on their watch is somebody else's fault, few government regulators decry the fixing of gas prices.

When the cost of a barrel of oil from somewhere on the sands of Araby rises at 9:00 a.m., why does the price at the pump go up by 9:15? Because the old con works. Very few media organizations (back when they could afford investigative journalism) would touch the story. Oil just isn't sexy unless applied by a big-breasted "masseuse" to the back of a powerful politician with cameras rolling. (In lobbyist terms, that's called greasing the skids.)

With the lack of media attention to this blatant price fixing, the public has been conditioned to accept and pay at the phony levels while blaming whomever they don't like. Meanwhile, the biggies laugh all the way to the bank. When open market per barrel prices start to decline, per-gallon costs recede much more slowly, of course.

Just about everything you get at a supermarket works that way, especially prescription drugs whether developed with taxpayer money or not.

BigOil long ago found the obvious hole in antitrust law. You can fix prices as long as you never talk to each other about it. For more than four decades, one "discount" chain sets the price on its road signs in the morning and area "competitors" price accordingly within minutes. Technically, no communication — just drive-bys assassinating your wallet.

Think about it. Your corner gas station has a few thousand gallons underground to start the day. At 8:00 a.m., war breaks out between the Saudis and Yemen. Or Ukraine and Russia. Oil futures spike worldwide. The gas already at local stations, acquired much cheaper, immediately skyrockets in price. The oil on the sands of Araby will not reach refineries for days or weeks. Same thing happens every time there's a refinery fire somewhere or a forest fire near a refinery.

If they thought the public would swallow a price hike because Tom Brady loses a Super Bowl, they would do so.

RENO CITY COUNCIL PASSES RENT CONTROL. They actually did, in 1978. Then big money forced city hall to renege. At least it sparked the election of Reno's greatest mayor, the late Barbara Bennett, the following year.

The legit media have ignored history but the Barbwire never forgets. (Barbwire, 7-17-2019).

I was thus bemused last week when Reno City Hall threw up its collective hands. No less than former Nevada Assembly Speaker, D-LV, and current Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Fitzpatrick raised the issue.

It's really simple. Rent regulation should trigger when availability drops below five percent and switch off above that level.

All them conservatives crying socialism miss the point. Socialism, defined as anything that helps people, is all around us: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, parks, roads, police, fire and other first responders.

Capitalism without regulation is tyranny. As is Leninism as practiced by Czar Vladimir the Last. Eric Hofer, the longshoreman-philosopher, noted in the 1950s that taken to their logical conclusions of one big outfit having swallowed up all the smaller ones, Leninism and capitalism take us to the same exploitive place.

But that ain't sexy.

TWO CZARS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT. Were Trump still president, he'd invite Putin to the White House for a testimonial dinner, a presidential medal of freedom and a blow job. Not necessarily in that order.

GAZETTE BURGERS, ANYONE? I feel sorry for Reno Gazette-Journal executive editor Brian Duggan. He had to send a letter to subscribers this week notifying them that the Saturday paper would no longer be printed. Internet clients could find a Saturday edition on the newspaper's website.

What about longtime subscribers like some of my neighbors who have no web access? They will continue to pay for seven papers a week but get only six.

Not Mr. Duggan's fault. That's what happens when soulless corporations take over companies then bleed, skin, butcher and dump the carcass roadside. The current owners scored $7 million selling the former Kazoo-Journal building to the City of Reno to be converted to a new police station but still canned reporters.

The RGJ marketing department has never been one to miss sales opportunities, but they've blown this one big time. They should at least offer a Burger King coupon to all their screwed subscribers for a free 10-pack of chicken nuggets, which BK just downsized to eight for the same price.

A perfect pairing of junk food kiss-offs. An Orwellian match made in heaven: Less is more in an "eedition." (Eek.)

Yeah, sure, and war is actually a "special military operation."

THE ROLLING LOGANS. Sparks transit operator Michael Lansborough is home recovering from major heart surgery. The longtime RTCRide driver is sole support of his wife and son, Logan, who has no lower legs due to a genetic flaw but still took to his wheelchair and joined dad on downtown Reno picket lines during last year's Hat Trick Strikes. (Photos at the front page of NevadaLabor.com/)

Friends set up GoFundMe page.  <https://gofund.me/7eae2ed0>

Be generous. If you'd prefer to mail a check, make it payable to Michael Lansborough and send to his attention at Teamsters Local 533, 1190 Selmi Drive, Suite 100, Reno NV 89512.

Thanks to all the Barbwire readers and union members who have continue to send support.  Join me in donating. Please. And tell your friends.

Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

__________________
_
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com, SenJoeNeal.org, BallotBoxing.US, ConsumerCoalitionv.org, Rentvolution.org, MIssissippiWestNV.org and CesarChavezNevada.com among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are entirely his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us
>

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$75 dead or alive: Still crazy after all these years
A mass murderer becomes famous on TV a century later

How come nobody noticed 'til now?
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 2-21-2018 Sparks Tribune

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners Max Blank and Isaac Harris. Is not Mr. Harris eerily familiar to television junkies?

From the Emmy-winning opening slate of the blockbuster "Cheers" television series. Combined with its "Frasier" spinoff, it lasted 20 years.
The "shirtwaist kings" immigrated from Russia and made a fortune manufacturing "Gibson Girl"-style blouses. (Photo, "The American Experience"/PBS)
The Emmy-winning opening slate of the "Cheers" television series before the "slate" of creators is superimposed. Looks like Mr. Harris' dead ringer (at left) is having a bloody good time.

"Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Chico Marx disguised as Groucho Marx in "Duck Soup" (1933)
Back to the story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist holocaust

Triangle tragedy recalled as requiem
"The Fire in My Mouth," a new oratorio by Pulitzer honoree Julia Wolfe, premiered with the New York Philharmonic Jan. 24

By Michael Cooper / The New York Times 1-23-2019

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Copyright © 1982-2022 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and SenJoeNeal.org; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is the executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us.

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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