To some, The Sting is Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s greatest work. To me, it’s a half -foot thick file spanning more than four decades of my time in Nevada.
Back in the 1970s, years before computer incursion became a mainstream topic.
I had an election stolen from one of my candidates. I got called crazy when I brought it up on a 1982 election night commentary.
In one my earliest forays for this newspaper, I wrote a four-column 1988 series about how to electronically steal an election. Parts of that series ran in papers statewide, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal. One of the installments brought my first Nevada Press Association Award and my info was used in legislative testimony about tightening up the system.
Here are some lessons I learned.
1. Even a smoking gun meltdown doesn’t mean governments will ever devote continuing money to secure the system. All red flags were raised before the 1988 election but the Bush v. Gore debacle still happened a dozen years later.
2. Contracting out election hardware and software to private companies is a monumental mistake. Their programs are proprietary and usually unavailable for review.
3. Corporations hire better programmers than governments, save for the Russians and now, perhaps the Chinese and North Koreans.
4. BACK TO THE FUTURE. The only safe solution remains analog: Paper ballots.
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE DEPT. Was it just coincidence that Monday’s New York Times published a curious juxtaposition on the front of its business section.
Warning signs of a recession appeared next to a piece about Amazon looking to acquire more grocery stores. Amazon has already swallowed Whole Foods but neither article mentions the obvious: When recession is in the offing, grocery stocks rise along with those of other necessity suppliers like energy companies.
There, I’ve warned you.
SIGN FROM THE TIMES. “There is nothing benign in Trump’s language,” wrote columnist Charles M. Blow this week. “There is a reason Martin Luther King Jr. said ‘In the final analysis, racism is evil because its ultimate logic is genocide.’”
WE DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION. At long last, I got at least partial taxpayer costs of the two days off with pay enjoyed by Washoe County School District HQ workers on June 27 and 28. Fearful that a short black lady might (gasp!) show up for work, school board chair Katy Singlaub Simon Holland and her close circle of friends ordered the district’s administration building shut down. At least 95 employees got paid a total of $18,317.65, not counting soon-tobe-fired Superintendent Traci Davis’ salary for those days. (I’ve asked if that included benefits.)
Turned out that the diminutive Ms. Davis was out of town. The amount did not reflect more than $8,000 (and counting) to hire a political juice PR firm at $175 an hour while still paying a communications staff of about 30 professionals.
See continuing installments of this expensive soap opera at the Pink Floyd Archive at NevadaLabor.com/
GIANT BIRTHDAYS. Over the past week, NevadaGram travel news and erstwhile Gold Hill News Publisher David Toll turned 83. Retired 32-year State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, turned 84. Men to match our mountains, indeed.
THUNDER FROM THE HEART. The thunderboomer clouds of summer had painted a cooling rainbow over Reno’s Rancho San Rafael by the late afternoon of July 31, 1984. On that date 35 years ago today, Betty Joyce Luffman Donlevy Barbano (1941-2005) gifted me with the rest of her life by becoming my only wife.
Gracias, querida mia.
THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING. Nevada scored a couple of major public relations coups in the past few days. The machine gun used to kill and wound people at the Gilroy, Calif., Garlic Festival, was purchased legally in Nevada. That should be great advertising for local businesses.
And Sparks Mayor Ron Smith criticized Washoe County Library Director Jeff Scott for allowing Drag Queen Story Time at the Sparks Library.
Constitutionally, that’s a push. Second Amendment firepower balanced by First Amendment Green Eggs and Ham.
I know where I’d hurl some eggs.
BARBWIRE CONFIDENTIAL SPY REPORT (We’re everywhere). Overheard at a crowded local gynecologist’s office as a woman’s husband tried to sign her in: “Sir, I think you are in the wrong medical office.”
The young clerk was dead serious. With all eyes upon him, the husband wasted neither breath nor opportunity.
“My name is Pamela!” the bearded man loudly announced. “I’ve had corrective surgery. Don’t I look it?”
Maybe they’ll read that item at the next Sparks Library Drag Queen Story Time.
Mayor Smith will, of course, be welcome. He can even wear fourinch spike heels.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com/
E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.