Bicycling toward the history books
The late historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., popularized the view of American history as falling into roughly identifiable cycles of about 30 years.
I wrote this on Nov. 8, 1992: “For historical perspective, please read ‘The Cycles of History’ by (Schlesinger) and ‘The Politics of Rich and Poor’ by conservative Kevin Phillips.
“Phillips traces unbroken presidential cycles dating back to Thomas Jefferson. Each contains a ‘minority interruption.’ This century’s blips on the screen were Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter·.
“ ‘Years ago, both scholars predicted a Democratic victory last Tuesday (Nov. 3, 1992). Phillips also correctly foreshadowed the election of Richard Nixon in a 1968 book (‘The Emerging Republican Majority’).”
Well, we’ve had our presidentus interruptus in Dubya, the accidental president installed by a Supreme Court vote of five to four after a stolen election. President Obama will have to roll the rock back up the hill all over again and will need help from all of us to get it done.
Schlesinger also warned of another looming danger. Political attitudes are formed when people are between the ages of 15 and 24. They bring those values with them when they come to power roughly 30 years later. Franklin D. Roosevelt grew up in the Progressive Era when his presidential cousin, Teddy, was busting Standard Oil. John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society were updates of the FDR New Deal of their younger days.
Which means that the devil children of Ronald Reagan will rise like zombies from a bad black-and-white movie to haunt us in about five years.
President Obama should thus perhaps consider establishing a Cabinet-level Department of Exorcism.
I wrote the following on Nov. 12, 2006: “With respect to Jill Derby, she should have listened to me last year. I told her personally, and reiterated in a Dennis Myers article in the Reno News & Review, that her only chance lay in busting the unconstitutional gerrymander of the district. I told Regent Derby that Christ off the cross couldn’t win in the northern congressional district with a Republican voter registration edge that would swell to more than 50,000 by Election Day. She instead ran as a Republican conservative and things went well until Dubya and Congressman-elect Dean Heller reminded people of the ‘D’ after her name. As Harry Truman once wisely advised, if you give people a choice between two conservatives, they’ll always vote for the real thing. And if the other team outnumbers you by 50 grand, you’re toast before the bread is baked.”
Derby told me in 2005 that she would work on the gerrymander after she was elected. Different year. Same result.
My live-call and chat-crawl TV show may be in reruns both tomorrow and Tuesday.
Monday at 10 a.m., the Reno City Council goes into session. They are scheduled to consider a staff report ordered two weeks ago regarding the city’s very deficient settlement offer to Charter Communications. Among other things, it will give Reno control of community television in these parts, subordinating the interests of Sparks and Washoe County. (See the Barbwire of Oct. 26.)
The staff report is missing from the city’s Web site and the city clerk could not find it Friday. I asked Councilman Dave Aiazzi for a copy, but did not receive it by press time.
Charter threatens to take community channels 13, 15, 16 and 17 dark on Thanksgiving Day, banishing them to cyber-Siberia. It will be the beginning of a slow, painful death for public, educational and governmental (PEG) TV in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas counties.
My consumer organization, ReSurge.TV, is prepared to go to court if state and/or local governments do not act in the best interests of the ratepayers. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told Mr. Myers at the Reno News & Review that he would join Reno’s lawsuit to stop Charter.
The Federal Communications Commission has received so many complaints that it is now investigating the national epidemic of PEG assassination as well as the fairness of cable pricing. (Why act now after so damned long? Perhaps it’s a harbinger of the Obama effect.)
“The agency’s (Oct. 30) letter (to major cable providers, including Charter), questioned the companies’ practice of moving analog channels into digital tiers to free up bandwidth for other uses, such as high-definition channels. Analog customers will have to get a digital set-top box from the operator or buy the digital TV tier to watch those channels,” the Associated Press reported.
“The FCC’s letter was sent out a day after Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports magazine) sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation asking for an investigation into the practice of moving analog channels to the digital tier.
“ ‘Consumers are left paying the same monthly rate for significantly less service, or must rent more expensive set-top boxes for each television set they own,’ said Consumers Union, a nonprofit advocacy group,’ ” AP noted.
So, if I’m stuck in the bowels of Reno City Hall on Monday (watch Sierra Nevada Community Access Channel 13), my Channel 16/216 show may rerun the killer program I did with now-former University of Nevada Regent Howard Rosenberg.
On Tuesday, we will rerun the June 6 edition with local civil rights legend Pat Shannon (formerly Baker). Four decades ago, she sparked the construction of Pat Baker Park in northeast Reno as a testament to racial tolerance in the wake of the 1968 slaying of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Guess who sent me the first election night e-mail of joy as soon as the result became clear?
Pat Shannon herself, from the wilds of Montana: “Congratulations. A lovely day for all of us. We are civilized at last.”
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and editor of NevadaLabor.com. He hosts live news and talk (682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2 to 4 p.m. on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16 and 216, streaming at Barbwire.TV. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.