By Andrew Barbano
Osama bin Laden remains the most powerful man in the world.
He permeates every society as this monster mannunkind increasingly lives in fear and suffers from exploitation for power and profit.
The malady is simple to diagnose but impossible to cure as long as human weakness trumps human kindness, as long as greed triumphs over respect, as long as ignorance subsumes love.
We remain an adolescent nation still playing cowboys and Indians, shooting at TV. Our vanity knows no bounds. We are demonstrably much more interested in butt control than gun control.
Ronald Reagan was right: Government is the problem. The feds are our biggest drug dealer for better (VA, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare) or worse.
BigPharma got Congress to pass a law neutering the Drug Enforcement Administration’s power to stop wholesale distribution of opioids, making them more available than Girl Scout Cookies. At the same time, our failed “war on drugs” acts as a price support system for all the illegal potions on our streets.
We’ve been breaking bad and it’s breaking us.
THE BIG FIX: MONEY AND WOMEN. I’ve preached for decades that economic opportunity is the Holy Grail. Lack of a foreseeable future hurls young people into the molten maw of violence worldwide.
The solution requires just two ingredients: Thousands of women in power and trillions invested in modern health and education. Worldwide.
Otherwise, the festering miasma of fear and violence becomes a death spiral consuming us all.
IMPORTANT DATES: National student walkout for gun control March 14. Stand by for detention, you rambunctious little protestors…Ides of March and St. Patrick’s Day with the Reno Bighorns, March 15 and 17, NAACP scholarship benefit; info: Christin Smith 775-544-2288…March for Our Lives – and against guns – March 24 in front of the Thompson Federal Building, W. Liberty at S. Virginia, 11:30 a.m. Info: Nnedi Stephens, 775-338-4561…FREEBIE ALERT: Same day, 11:00 a.m. March 24, stylish hat party and free lunch for womens’ rights; Evelyn Mount Center, Valley Road…April 11 TBA: Washoe County sheriff candidates forum sponsored by the Reno-Sparks NAACP, ACTIONN and other community organizations. Watch this space.
MAYORGA CHANNELS JANIS JOPLIN. The late labor leader and my good friend Tony Mayorga threw one helluva party in Sparks last Saturday. Upwards of 150 of his closest friends joined his large family to say adios.
Rock legend Janis Joplin left money in her will to throw a killer bash should she meet an untimely death, which she did at 27.
Tony Mayorga, 65, didn’t want a tearful funeral. He wanted joy and fiesta. Last Saturday, he got his last wish.
Family, union sisters and brothers and friends from throughout the region showed up in a continual stream at Walton’s on Sullivan Lane. Other than an invocation, only three spoke briefly: His son-in-law Carlos Gomez, Assemblymember Skip Daly, D-Sparks, and The Barbwire Man.
Tony was a member of Skip’s union for four decades, moving up to training coordinator and president of Laborers’ Local 169. I represented my union, Sparks-based Communications Workers Local 9413, as well as the Reno-Sparks NAACP. Former NAACP President Lucille Adin also paid her respects. Ex-Harry Reid aide Yolanda Garcia drove in from Carson City, accompanied by her lovely mom.
Former Operating Engineers Local 3 Apprenticeship Administrator Greg Smith attended. Following the political path paved by his late wife, Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, he’s seeking the north valleys county commission seat.
The food catered by Nico’s Tacos of Sun Valley was primo but only the most daring sampled his nitro salsa. (My sinuses are still clear.) Nico is a very gregarious guy who insisted that I print his phone number. I would never be so crassly commercial as to include 775-379-2008 in a newspaper column. Sorry, Nico.
If anyone tells you Barbano went crazy Saturday, blame Nico. A guy watching him cook was wearing a “Zacatecas” baseball cap. Somehow, we communicated that the band might know the song.
Named after a state in north central Mexico, it’s the greatest concert march ever written. (I still have the solo cornet part stashed with my trumpet from lo, those many years ago.) Needless to say, I went nuts when the three-piece group named Calibre Norteño not only knew it but played it pretty well (save for the killer fanfare intro that’s a challenge for even the best horn men).
Sparks PD was not called to calm down the Italian who jumped up dancing and screaming.
We will induct Tony Mayorga into the César Chávez Nevada Labor Hall of Fame on Chávez’s 91st birthday, March 31. (CesarChavezNevada.com/)
Adios, old friend. Thanks for the cerveza and the music.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <email@example.com>