Nickey Van Exel, Son of Former Mavs Player, Opens Up About Murder Conviction

For the first time since being sentenced to prison for 60 years, Nickey Van Exel, the son of former Dallas Mavericks forward Nick Van Exel, is talking about the night he shot and killed his best friend.

Van Exel said he was playing with a gun when he accidentally fatally shot his friend Bradley Eyo in 2010. Prosecutors didn’t agree with his account, charged him with murder and he was convicted three years later. In an exclusive sit-down interview with NBC 5’s Pat Doney, Van Exel said the night he killed his friend still haunts him today.

CLICK HERE for the full story on Nickey Van Exel’s exclusive sit-down with NBC 5.

US Population Diversifies While Voting Population Lags Behind

Citizens have questioned the validity of governing bodies throughout history. In America, this is especially true. In a large country of immigrants, many question if their government truly represents their people, even if it means undermining the democracy their forefathers built. When examining such a democracy, understanding voter turnout is important in determining who is really determining elections. The United States has consistently had one of the lowest voter turnout rates of not only western civilization, but of all developed nations, since the mid-1960s, so I question if voter suppression adversely aides one party. I hypothesize that if voter turnout increased then the Democratic party would receive a higher share of votes, due to the fact it has been proven Republican voters are more likely to vote despite poor conditions, such as weather (Gomez, Hansford and Krause 2007).

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When Will America, Truly, Start Representing The People?

A look at how the world’s most powerful democracy falls short:

According to Abraham Lincoln, The United States of America was the only “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” but people have often questioned how accurately the government represents the people. One major issue with representation in the U.S. government: how can you represent the people, if the people choose not to participate? Citizens often choose not to cast a ballot. In fact, since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the percentage of the voting-age population to cast ballots in presidential elections has fluctuated between 45 and 65 percent, resulting in six of our past 10 presidents identifying as Republicans. To clarify, Republican presidential candidates have won 8 of the past 13 elections, but it is sometimes said that Democrats would benefit from higher voter turnout. This paper intends to examine if either political party benefits from less participation in democracy, because that would run counter to the intent of the U.S. government – to be representative of the people.

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Book Review: The Slave Next Door

In The Slave Next Door, written by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter, attention is brought to contemporary forms of slavery. The book gives historical context to the practice of enslavement, before mostly examining how modern day slavery is perpetrated in different corners of the world. It also gives in-depth analysis to several types of modern day bondage. From child trafficked for sex to adults forced to labor under the threat of violence, the book gives insight into many acts that fall under what some consider slavery – depending on one’s interpretation of the label.

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Slavery’s Economic Effect on the New World

African slavery in the New World is one of the most important parts of American history. During the settlement of the North and South American colonies, many factors led to their development into autonomous countries. Specifically, in the British colonies in North America, settlers needed to cultivate the land of the colonies so that they could live and grow new cash crops to send back to England. A major challenge with those initiatives was that the labor was treacherous, due to the new land they colonized and people (American Indians) they encountered. The easiest economic option when faced with a capital and labor shortage is to add unskilled and low-wage laborers to the workforce. That labor shortage was filled in the form of enslaved Africans, which led to the systemic and violent – a fact not to be understated, because it was brutally inhumane – racism that is associated with slavery, not the other way around. Dire economic conditions drove the colonies towards slavery and were the reasons behind its exponential growth in the early 1700s.

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A Summer of Learning: History, Our Greatest Teacher

Incidentally, this summer, I took on the task of writing up a brief history lesson everyday. Another great opportunity, thanks to my internship at NBCDFW, as a part of the Emma Bowen Foundation. While it’s a simple reading-and-reporting piece, it’s a great place to start exploring. It has energized me many-a-times to expand on my brief research and learn much more about the related people and topics that have shaped this nation and our world. Maybe you can find something of interest. And remember, history is day by day.

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Recommended Reads:

Everything I’ve read (articles and books) that still sticks with me. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some, but a good place to start.

Listed alphabetically. Presented without personal commentary. A brief summary may be included.

America’s Future is Texas, Lawrence Wright

  • With zealots taking over the legislature even as the state’s demographics shift, Texas has become the nation’s bellwether – The New Yorker

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Inspired by James Baldwin’s 1963 classic “The Fire Next Time,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book, “Between the World and Me,” is a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today. – New York Times Book Review

Dear President Bush, Andrew Sullivan

  • Americans want, and need, to move on from the debate over torture in Iraq and Afghanistan and close this tragic chapter in our nation’s history. Prosecuting those responsible could tear apart a country at war. Instead, the best way to confront the crimes of the past is for the man who authorized them to take full responsibility.

How Post-Watergate Liberals Killed Their Populist Souls, Matt Stoller

  • In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system. – The Atlantic

Manchild in the Promised Land, Claude Brown

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

  • In the piece, Baldwin detailed his evangelical childhood and his views on the treatment and condition of blacks in America. Baldwin uses words, Langston Hughes once said, “as the sea uses waves,” and his evocative essay reveals, among other things, the daily fears that many African-Americans lived with as a matter of course. – The New Yorker

The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander

What If the Allies Had Lost World War I? – David Frum

  • The First World War’s horrific human and economic costs, the disappointment of hopes that the war would somehow reform or redeem society, the failure to achieve an enduring peace, the subsequent Great Depression that indicted the liberal world order for which so many Americans believed they had fought, the ensuing collapse of democracy in so many European countries, the slide toward a second world war—the experience of the two decades after the war systematically made mockery of every ideal and hope and promise for which Americans imagined they had joined the fight in April 1917. – The Atlantic

We Are All Witnesses, Jordan Ritter-Conn

  • Twenty months after Tamir Rice was killed in Cleveland, his mother is still grappling with how to grieve in private following her son’s public death – The Ringer

The Power of the Player

The University of Missouri had an immense impact on the rest of the NCAA this week. This came about because The University ignored the voices of graduate students, minorities, women, political groups and athletes, for months. Had the University shown some propensity to change this would have never happened, but it did and it changed college athletics for the better. What I am talking about has everything to do with the players strike and nothing to do with the issues. Without getting into the details of their cause, the Mizzou football team proved that college athletes have power. The team is only 4-5 and is not likely to make a bowl, but with the threat of them sitting out a game, The University of Missouri system’s president was forced to resign. Read More