The HNIC Report

Month: August, 2011

Take Out the Trash Day Strikes Again

by Dax-Devlon Ross

Years ago someone — I forget who or where —  told me that if I read no other paper through the week, I should always read the Saturday edition. I wondered why. After all, chances are Saturday is the one day people won’t be reading the paper as dutifully and are more likely to bypass the news. Then I saw this episode of The West Wing and it clicked. Fact is, the Saturday NY Times is my one must-read paper of the week. Over time I’ve learned it’s where unpopular stories go to die. This week was no exception. While most of us were preparing for the Hurricane, this past Saturday’s paper had a doozy: 27% pay raises for state judges!

Miraculously, the same Albany budgeteers who want to fire teachers and gut state employee pension programs, found the money to increase judicial pay for an incontrovertibly broken system by an estimated $50,000,000 a year.



10 Things I Learned From Hurricane Irene

by Dax-Devlon Ross

Now that the hurricane has swept through New York, an assortment of Irene-inspired commentaries are sure to crop up in the city’s rags over the next few days. We’ll forget the fear that brought us together in a kind of doomsday dry run and start to point fingers. It’s inevitable, like weeds after a long winter. A few of the headlines I expect to encounter are:

  • ‘Mayor’s Tactics Too Extreme?’
  • ‘False Alarm’
  • ‘Administration Overcompensation?’
  • ‘Angry Residents from [insert a working-class outer borough community] Given Short Shrift?’
  • ‘Commission Formed to Review Administration’s Handling of Hurricane’
  • ‘New Yorkers from All Walks Say Storm Build-up Was Overblown’

As we drift toward Labor Day, Irene will undoubtedly recede from the headlines. By fall most of us will remember the battery shortage at Rite Aid more than the damage the storm caused.

But in an age of climate change where extreme weather patterns could, in fact, play a more prominent role in conventionally “safe” zones like New York City, the storm showed this writer a few important things.

1. In the event of a life-threatening natural disaster, prisoners are screwed

Rikers Island

Read the rest of this entry »

It Could Have Been Me: A Woman Wonders if She was Next …

by Dax-Devlon Ross

Part 2 in a 3-part true crime series about the life and crimes of Sisro Johnson, a Texas man charged with the brutal murder of his girlfriend Zulema McColgan.

Read Part 1 here

Author’s Note: At the subject’s request, I have changed her name in the story to protect her identity.

“Could it have been me?”

That’s about all 42 year-old Shelby could wonder as she stood outside of her office building, a cigarette in one hand,  a phone in the other. Five minutes earlier a high school friend had posted a link on her Facebook wall that had momentarily thrown her life off its axis. Now her thoughts swirled in a dark cloud of fear, anger and frustration. Read the rest of this entry »

Connecting the Dots to the Global Uprisings

by Dax-Devlon Ross


Mayor Bloomberg’s Misguided Young Men’s Initiative

by Dax-Devlon Ross

NAMOND BRICE: Like y’all say, don’t lie, don’t bump, don’t cheat, don’t steal or whatever. But what about y’all? What, the government, Enron, steroids? Yeah, liquor business, booze– the real killer out there? And cigarettes, oh [deleted]. You got some smokes in there?

FEMALE TEACHER: I’m trying to quit.

SOT: STUDENT 2: Drugs paid your salary, right?

HOWARD “BUNNY” COLVIN: Not exactly, but I get your point.

NAMOND BRICE: We do the same thing as y’all, except when we do it, it’s like, “Oh my God, these kids is animals!” It’s like, it’s the end of the world coming. Man, that’s bull [deleted]. ‘Cause this is like, what, hypocrite? Hypocritical.

From The Wire, Season 4

I couldn’t sleep last night. Mayor Bloomberg’s Young Men’s initiative was on my mind.  Early in the day I’d watched the Mayor stand before New York City viewers, purse his persmickety lips and announce he was ponying up $30,000,000 of his own cash in support  of a $127,000,000 effort to integrate young black and Latino men into the civic, economic, and educational life of the city. For a few hours I felt a wave of gratitude toward the Mayor. I thought, you know, it’s about time. But as the day wore on and reality set in,  my feelings soured.

Let’s start with the money. The total amount pledged for the initiative is up to (key words) $127,000,000. The figure seems significant … until you consider the following: Read the rest of this entry »