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Affairs of ancient and emerging states
by Andrew Barbano
Jan 31, 2009 | 600 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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This Thursday, I get to dabble in international relations for the third time in the past several years when I play host to three journalists from the former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

In 2005, the Northern Nevada International Center at UNR asked me to meet with Dr. Khettai Langkarpint, dean of law at Payap University in Thailand. He was interested in U.S. labor law.

Last year, a group of journalists from throughout Africa toured Sierra Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT). I got all their e-mail addresses and asked them to be my TV show’s Africa correspondents and I would return the favor. They can either keep in touch via e-mail or my daily show’s chat crawl. (Stay tuned.)

“Kyrgyzstan (also Kirgizia or Kirghizia), officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is a country in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, it is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east,” Wikipedia states succinctly.

It’s also damn close to Afghanistan.

“The name Kyrgyz, both for the country and the people, means ‘40 girls’ or ‘40 tribes’, a reference to the epic hero Manas who unified 40 tribes against the Mongols, as symbolized by the 40-ray sun on the flag of Kyrgyzstan,” notes the online encyclopedia.

Oksana Vasilevskaia, a native of Mongolia, is the director of Radio Tatina. She began her career in radio as a disc jockey, learned the radio business from the bottom up and created a financially stable and successful station.

Zharkyn Ibraeva is director of Radio Almaz-Naryn. “While working in very difficult conditions of a small and isolated market in the remote, mountainous town of Naryn, Ms. Ibraeva manages to successfully operate a private radio station, report for Azattyk Radio, a Kyrgyz service of the RFE/RL, edit an online news service, and serve as an activist for the Naryn Media Recourse Center,” her biography states.

Sultan Artykov is executive director of Radio Salam. He “heads a remote radio station in a small town in the southern region of Kyrgyzstan which, due to its geographical location and a number of successful projects, became very popular and reputable in the Fergana parts of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan,” his biography notes.

Fergana is in the southwest part of the country, which has a new claim to fame.

Barack, too

The small town of Barack, Japan, reveled in the election of our new president. Guess what? Kyrgyzstan has one, too.

Wikipedia tells of “the tiny village of Barak, Kyrgyzstan, (population 627) in the Fergana valley. The village is surrounded by Uzbek territory and located between the towns of Margilan and Fergana.”

As they say in Hollywood, Barack Obama is box office worldwide.

Steeling Elections, Part Deux

The Republican National Committee last week elected African-American Mike Steele as its chairman. The former Maryland Light-Guv warned that “those of you who are going to obstruct, get ready to be knocked over.”

Hmmm ...

The GOP minority in Congress is doing just that. House Republicans all opposed the president’s economic stimulus plan even after Obama made significant conservative concessions. Nevada Rep. Dean Heller, R-Cow Counties, voted with his fellow moonhowlers. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., even voted against health insurance for 4 million little kids.

I hope somebody asks Mr. Steele if he plans to bowl over such obstructionists.

Moonhowlers, Part Deux

Last Wednesday, Sam Shad let his TV show get out of control. My old friend Sam let two lobbyists interview an economist from the Cato Institute. The fawning questioners got smoked by some suede-shoe named Gerald O’Driscoll.

Cato bills itself as libertarian but is really just another right-wing corporate front. It’s named after the great Roman orator Marcus Porcius Cato.

Loosely translated from Latin, Marcus Porcius means Mark the Pig, which accurately describes Mr. O’Driscoll. He told Shad’s interviewers, Scott Craigie and Paul Enos, that he favors eliminating the capital gains tax for a year as a way to spur the economy. More tax breaks for the wealthy, that’s to be expected.

But in the finest tradition of Karl Rove and his fellow revisionists of Dubya the Dense, O’Driscoll said that Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts pulled us out of the 1981-82 recession, which Reagan inherited.

Bull. The recession was started and ended by Federal Reserve chair Paul Volcker, who tightened up money under President Carter and opened the spigots in 1982 under Reagan, who then re-appointed him. Mr. Volcker is now advising President Obama.

Mr. Enos was in diapers when those events occurred. Mr. Craigie is old enough to know better, but neither challenged the lie propagated by Mr. O’Driscoll from the think tank of the pigs.

Washoe County cut off

Watching your government in action is getting increasingly difficult in these parts. In December, Charter cable cut off about one in five subscribers from getting Sparks and Washoe County channels. Reno goes down on Feb. 28 unless you’ve got digital service.

Because the county didn’t pay its bills, Washoe County government Channels 17 and 217 went dark at 5 p.m. last Friday.

One ray of hope: SNCAT will be cablecasting legislative floor sessions and hearings on Channels 16 and 216 for those who have Charter digital service.

Cut off from life support

In another public relations coup for Nevada, the Wall Street Journal last week reported that cancer patients in southern Nevada are being turned out into the streets to die because of state Medicaid cuts.

“By early November, (University Medical Center) stopped accepting new patients at the outpatient oncology (cancer) clinic, and then canceled a contract for outpatient dialysis, saving $2.5 million a year,” the WSJ wrote.

“It also ended routine prenatal care, leaving 600 women to find other providers, and it discouraged women with high-risk pregnancies from using the hospital by closing a unit that was losing more than $2 million a year. The transition hasn’t been without risks, especially for the uninsured who can’t afford costly oncology drugs.”

Dr. Langkarpint of Thailand was shocked when I informed him of the repressive nature of U.S. labor laws. I think I’ll ask the Kyrgyz journalists what they think about our oppressive health care system.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. He hosts live news and talk (682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2 to 4 p.m. on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital channels 16 and 216, streaming at Barbwire.TV. E-mail barbano@ frontpage.reno.nv.us. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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