The HNIC Report

Update on Sisro Johnson

by Dax-Devlon Ross

 

 

For those of you who read my articles on a Dallas murder this past summer, I wanted to share a few updates. I haven’t forgotten the story and will have more to report soon. I am aware that Mr. Johnson was given a court-appointed attorney and placed in Dallas County Jail on $500,000 bond. Since August his attorney has filed four continuances, the last for a 10/18 trial date.

Part I: Permanent Record: Tracking a Murder Suspect Through Social Media

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

 

 

 

More to come …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Four Old Ideas for the Future of the Occupation Movement

by Dax-Devlon Ross

For the last two weeks I’ve been thinking about directions the Occupy Movement can go in that would allow more to become involved and keep the movement thriving as winter sets in. While we may not have clear demands from them, we know Occupiers want an alternative world. We also know that in any revolutionary movement you need people to play different roles. Everyone can’t be a soldier on the street. Some people have to keep their job and lay low and even appear to be indifferent so they can support the movement in ways that are vital to its endgame. For example, two weekends ago I was walking down Broadway and 105th when I noticed a sign outside a small restaurant I’d never even noticed before. They were offering an “Occupy Wall Street” salad. I went in, had a fantastic meal and spoke with the owner. It turned out he was closing the restaurant daily in order to drive food to the Occupiers. “They’re fighting for me,” he said to me. “The least I can do is show my appreciation and support.”

While the news coverage of the Occupation is becoming prickly and impatient, the conversation is spreading. As it spreads those who may not be cut out for street protests are going to be looking for ways to show their support. What’s already possible is the systematic divestment of capital from the markets and industries that are causing the most harm. These are just a few ideas that, while not new, could be resuscitated and given new life in the Occupy Movement.

1. Occupy Credit Unions Read the rest of this entry »

The NBA Quagmire, Part II: The Solution You’ve Been Waiting For

by Dax-Devlon Ross

You may want to read Part I first

 “[Football when you really come down to it, belongs in the sphere of human emotions. Real Madrid is a kind of religion for million all over the world. You can’t have that in the hands of one individual.”

                                                           –Two-time President of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez

I’m over the bickering. I’m over the greed. I’m over the sometimey product. I’m over the corny gimmicks. I’m over the lies. I’m over the overpriced tickets. I’m over its celebrity infested culture. I’m over long, wasteful season. I’m over perennial loser squads. I’m over the boring Dunk Contest. I’m over the drawn out playoffs. I’m over the inflated stats. I’m over David Stern’s reign as the longest-tenured commissioner and his smug attitude attitude toward everyone. Everyone. I’m over the no-hand check rule. I’m over the defensive three-second rule. I’m over the three-point shot. I’m over the television timeouts. I’m over the refs engineering decisions. I’m over a league that caters to people who aren’t even fans. I’m over the tattoos. I’m over the NBA.

But I’m not over basketball. And I never will be. Read the rest of this entry »

The NBA Quagmire, Part I

by Dax-Devlon Ross

A few days ago I got this e-mail from my longtime friend, fellow basketball enthusiast, sometime contributor to the HNIC Report and co-founder of Peace Players International, Sean Tuohey

Dax:

You were one of the first writers to break the Occupy Wall Street story and you have an obvious affinity for the game of basketball. I was hoping you might help us make sense of the connection between the current populist protest sweeping the globe and the sad state that is the NBA. The fact that NBA owners have mismanaged their business and are expecting the players and the fans to bail them out, seems so ironic. Could we fans somehow wrestle control of the league away from the owners and away from the NBA itself and create something new? I’m just one of many Americans who loves basketball but I cant stand watching the NBA and I want to do something about it. Any suggestions?

Quick story– June 2010. The bar was crowded. On the flat screens above my head the two most storied franchises in the NBA history – the Lakers and Celtics – were playing a pivotal Game 5. I was riveted. It was my childhood all over again. But as I glanced around the bar for someone to share the drama with I noticed something: hardly anyone else was paying attention. Puzzled, I nudged a friend who was standing nearby chatting up a law school student.

“You watching this?”

“How much time is left?” he asked.

I chafed at the question. “Like ten minutes.”

“Lemme know when there’s three.” And with that he turned back to his conversation.

Nevermind, except this same friend is an NBA player agent.

Lets face it, the NBA has become a bore. But this makes no sense to me because the league has the greatest basketball players in the world. Yet the product put forth on a nightly basis is almost unwatchable until those last seemingly manufactured minutes when timeouts stretch the game forever. Stoppages of play have killed the continuity of the game and subdued the story line.

What if somehow we fans put a business plan together for the players, sparking a huge global flow of ideas, innovations, new collaborative possibilities and create a new market for the game to thrive. Amare Stoudamire hinted last week that the players would be behind it.

Imagine a 50 game season with 20 teams, all of them stacked with only the best players. Imagine if guys who only compete during a contract year, or who’ve been hanging around well past their shelf life, or whose pro career should’ve ended in college were gone. Imagine if all of the faux franchises that will never turn a profit because their fans just don’t care enough were bought out and their best players redistributed to the remaining teams. Imagine if the players played hard every night and games counted as much as they cost for the average fan to go and watch.

All it would take is a little subtraction. Lets eliminate a third of the teams, cut at least half the season and condense the time it takes to play one game. It’s simple economics, really. By shrinking the model, you make it more desirable for both the players and the fans.

When Dr. J said, “we are all just care takers of the game,” he was calling everyone who has every fallen in love with basketball to duty. We must nurture the growth of the game and protect it for the good of future generations. The NBA has proven incapable of putting forward a product that we fans want to see and pay for. They have poisoned the game for petty profits in the name of corporate greed. It only makes sense that the sports we love to watch and play transform as society tries to right itself. The revolution is upon us. What can one person do?

Read Part II (AKA my response) here

Welcome to the Occupation: 21 Days, Two Deaths and the Evolution of the Millennial Generation

by Dax-Devlon Ross

1. 

Troy Davis and Steve Jobs.

Their lives evoke two quintessentially American allegories: the nightmare and the dream. One will be remembered and retold as a tragedy. The other will be remembered and retold as a triumph. One will evidence how far we have to go, the other how far we can go.  Read the rest of this entry »

Big Banks Just Don’t Get It…

by Dax-Devlon Ross

My friend just went online to check her balances and got this message from Citibank:

The arrogance of the big banks is beyond astounding! Citigroup fleeced the American people to the tune of a $20,000,000,000 bailout in 2008. This is the same conglomerate that reported second quarter 2011 net income of $3.3 billion and whose second quarter net income grew 24% from the prior year period and 11% from the first quarter 2011.

The most shameful part of this latest bank gouging is that it has the gall to act as if it’s offering customers a choice in the matter. Ha!

By the way, $15 x 12 months = $180. Now multiple that by the number of working class customers who can’t dream of keeping $6,000 in their combined accounts in this shitty economy.

That a bank reaping undue rewards from tax payers has the nerve, the audacity, the gumption, to hit its most vulnerable customers with a petty, needling “service fee” illustrates exactly why Occupy Wall Street is spreading across the country.

Long live the Occupiers!

Occupy Wall Street Videos

by Dax-Devlon Ross

From the NY Times blog

The police made scores of arrests on Saturday as hundreds of people, many of whom had been encamped in the financial district as part of a lengthy protest, marched north to Union Square. As darkness fell, large numbers of officers were deployed on streets near the encampment in Zuccotti Park, at Broadway and Liberty Street, where hundreds more people had gathered.

Arrests

Arbitrary Containments Read the rest of this entry »

Interview with a Death Row Warden

by Dax-Devlon Ross

Jim Willett oversaw more than 80 executions at the Walls Unit in Huntsville. Since 1924 all executions in Texas have taken place right in Hunstville. It’s a surprising and revealing look into what goes on the day of an execution and how it effects those who work in and around America’s death chambers.

What Does Pro-Life Really Mean?: The Intersection between States with Anti-Abortion & Death Penalty Statutes

by Dax-Devlon Ross

Fresh on the heels of the tragic conclusion of the Troy Davis saga, I was motivated to do a little research into our society’s culture of death. This year has also marked the must successful and comprehensive attack on abortion rights by state legislatures this nation has seen in nearly 40 years. A whopping 35 states threatened to or successfully passed legislation restricting the reproductive rights of women.

Writes the  ACLU, from which  this graphic was adapted, on this  year’s assault,

From denying women comprehensive health care coverage that includes abortion care, to forcing a woman to listen to scripts and speeches intended to shame her out of her decision, to debating complete bans on any abortion, the state legislatures saw it all this year.

What makes this all so ironic and troubling is the overlap between these allegedly pro-life states and their death penalty stances.

Statistically speaking, 76% of the states with death penalty statutes either passed or attempted to pass  anti-abortion legislation this  year. A stunning 53% of those states, including the top five killers, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri Alabama,  actually passed anti-abortion laws in 2011.

So, what do exactly do these states mean by pro-life?

Quiet Riot: A Dispatch from Occupy Wall Street NYC

by Dax-Devlon Ross

I won’t romanticize what’s going on down here in Lower Manhattan; it’s simply not necessary. After a reported 5,000 demonstrators showed up to protest Wall Street on Saturday,  a couple of hundred protestors operating under the Occupy Wall Street  banner remain camped out in a small public park they’ve since renamed Liberty Plaza. Throughout the day they break into peaceful marches along Broadway then return to their base for speeches. Most Wall Street workers don’t have a clue what they’re protesting nor do they seem to care, which though a shame isn’t surprising. The protestors are scruffy and haggard. They look like hippies. In an area of town dominated by power suits, protestors in jeans and sneakers may as well be invisible.

If you look at these protest purely from a quantity/quality standpoint, they’re pretty sad, especially if you compare them to what we’ve seen emerge in Spain, Egypt, Tunisia, Colombia, and even Israel over the last few months. But that’s the thing: you really shouldn’t look at Occupy Wall Street through the lens of other protests throughout the world. The protests are incomparably distinct in part because the adversary is bigger, broader and in some ways less tangible. But also because the injustice the protestors are addressing isn’t nearly as visible, articulable or, for lack of a better term, fixable. Read the rest of this entry »