I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah Noel be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas we get we deserve
Sen. Mitch McConnell resembles the latter remark. Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau once defined “compassionate conservatism” during the administration of President Bush the Lesser.
“Compassionate means we care. Conservative means you’re on your own.”
After months of dawdling, Congress just passed a too little, too late relief bill that even Czar Donaldov thinks is more than 50 percent too small. And the money is free. Investors all over the globe are willing to loan money to the US Treasury at negative interest rates because we are still the safest place to stash cash.
The feds originally screwed up by failing to copy German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Rather than send millions to unemployment offices ill-equipped to handle the surge, Germany sent money to businesses and institutions to keep people employed. No long lines, no expensive re-training when things ratchet back up.
Here on the High Desert Plantation, some displaced folks haven’t received dime one and often go hungry just a step away from homelessness.
Meanwhile, McConnell fiddled while America burned. When you are looking more soul-less than Donald Trump, you have really achieved the wildest heights of sadism.
We remain a very primitive species. Our artists and philosophers have been advising us for millennia about our collective malady and how to mitigate it. We fail to listen at our peril. Who needs clean air to breathe if you’ve got respirator to do it for you? COVID-19’s lesson in irony — or warning from God — is lost on so many of our self-absorbed selves.
I can quote wise persons from Jesus to John Lennon, but you’ve heard it all before.
So I’ll quote the late Sir Sean Connery in his Oscar-winning role in The Untouchables: “What are you prepared to do?”
MEMENTO MORI. Death and Transfiguration are harsh themes at a time of year usually reserved for joy. C’est la guerre.
TOUCHED BY GREATNESS. This Sunday brings the 15th anniversary of the death of my wife, Betty Joyce Luffman Donlevy Barbano. She was 64 when pneumonia stopped her generous heart. It’s also the fifth anniversary of the day I got to interview Sen. Bernie Sanders. Thrice.
Monday would have been the 72nd birthday of Nevada’s greatest journalist, former Tribunite Dennis Myers, felled by a stroke at his Sparks home in August, 2019. He was the best that ever was and I will defend that point against all comers from Mark Twain on down.
I ran one campaign this year, nominating Dennis for the Nevada Press Association Hall of Fame. He was elected. He already stood among only eight others in the Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Columniators Hall of Flames, a much more exclusive club. Next year, he will be the first journalist inducted into the César Chávez NevadaLabor.com Hall of Fame — if we hold César Chávez Celebration XVIII on the great labor leader’s birthday, March 31. Cross your fingers, eyes, legs and toes.
DORIS NACHTSHEIM, 1930-2020. The retired teacher and community leader died on Dec. 11. I had the honor of serving on the Reno Philharmonic Board with Doris when its founder, Maestro Gregory Stone, was turning the reins over to a new generation. Gregory’s imperiousness was made palatable by his lovely wife, Inge, like Doris a teacher, who recruited Doris into the organization.
Unlike many, the old maestro and I got along very well. I never told him how much he resembled by late father.
Any artsy outfit is loaded with prima donnas, divas, egomaniacs and unrealistic dreamers. Doris was an island of calm sanity in what was always a rambunctious environment.
A couple of years back, Firefighters Union President and Reno FD Battalion Chief Dick Nachtsheim spoke before the Reno-Sparks NAACP. I stopped the big guy on his way out the door and asked if he was related to Doris.
“Yep, my mom,” he said, noting that he was one of the little kids on stage at many performances, including the burning at the stake of Joan of Arc, a Reno Opera Guild production.
Perhaps that subconsciously led him to his distinguished career.
SPEAKING OF OUT OF CONTROL FIRES. Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson has replaced Sparks Councilmember Kristopher Dahir on the board of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. Perhaps he will show some chops and try to control a mass transit system that refuses to enforce social distancing and Gov. Steve Sisolak’s mask mandate.
If epidemiologists are looking for patient zero in the current surge of plague infestations, check out the conditions 20,000-plus bus passengers and their drivers must endure every day.
I wonder if any of the current commission members ever ride the bus as former Sparks Councilman John Mayer did when he was on the bus board.
Much more at NevadaLabor.com/
CORREXION. I have been reliably informed that a recently re-elected Sparks Councilcritter is not a Republican but is registered as non-partisan. I’ll be charitable and not soil the newspaper with his name at Christmastime.
He ran a dog whistle campaign of intolerance against an opponent openly of alternative procreative proclivity. Not very Christian at all but quite Trumpian, which may partially explain but by no means excuses my confusion.
So an apology is certainly in order. Mea maxima culpa to the Republican Party for my error in thinking this sot was one of yours.
Take care of each other and be careful out there.
Happy High Holly Days to you and yours.
¡Sí se puede!
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
NevadaLabor.com/CesarChavezNevada.com Editor Andrew Barbano is a 52-year Nevadan whose reputation remains impervious to further augmentation or denigration. He serves as first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Lyrics from “I Believe in Father Christmas” by Peter Sinfeld and Greg Lake with a little help from Sergei Prokofiev.