Colorado Gov.: Should We As A State Be Taking Lives?

Colorado's Governor granted an indefinite stay for Nathan Dunlap, who was set to be executed in August. In doing so the Gov. questioned the death penalty itself (Photo Credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images).

Colorado’s Governor granted an indefinite stay for Nathan Dunlap, who was set to be executed in August. In doing so the Gov. questioned the death penalty itself (Photo Credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images).

Governor John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado did something rather extraordinary on Wednesday, when he prevented (by granting an indefinite reprieve) the execution of Nathan Dunlap. Dunlap was scheduled to be put to death during the week of August 18 for a horrible crime, the 1993 murder of four people – three teenagers and a mother of two – in an Aurora, Colorado, Chuck E. Cheese.

Hickenlooper’s reprieve was not based on anything having to do with Dunlap’s case, but was based on problems with the death penalty itself. As Hickenlooper writes:

“It is a legitimate question whether we as a state should be taking lives.”


One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley speaks for death penalty repeal,  surrounded by supporters and the media.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley speaks to supporters and the media for death penalty repeal.

Montana and Maryland, what do they share
With big Colorado, and small Delaware?
Big Sky Montana’s a red state, it’s true,
While Maryland’s one of the bluest of blue.

There’s one thing they all share – now take a deep breath –
They all might abolish the punishment of death!
Yes, these red and these blue states, the large and the small
Might soon not conduct executions at all!

And you can take action if you live in these states,
Because human rights change can’t be left to the fates.
Just click on the links or pass on to a friend
And in these 4 states executions may end.

Colorado | Delaware | Maryland | Montana

Don’t live in these states?  Don’t worry, because
You can forward the actions to someone who does.

Shine A Light On Worker's Rights

On April 4, 1968, shortly before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood with sanitation workers in Memphis to demand human rights, basic respect and collective bargaining to gain a better life. Today, hundreds of thousands of people are taking the same stand—together.

On April 4th people across the country will come together in support of worker’s rights and against the current assault on worker’s rights playing out in various US states.

All workers have a right to organize and to bargain collectively. Amnesty International stands in solidarity with all those seeking to defend collective bargaining rights anywhere these rights are threatened, and on April 4 we urge governors and legislators to protect workers’ rights by rejecting any attempt to limit collective bargaining.

We encourage Amnesty members to join the April 4th events and honor Dr. King’s vision for human rights. To find an event in your area and for more information visit the  We Are One website.  RSVP on Facebook here.

The Attack On US Workers' Rights

Protesters join forces to kill Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's bill during a rally at the Capital Building on February 18, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mark Hirsch/Getty Images)

Legislation currently working it’s way through several US states would drastically restrict workers’ rights and violate numerous laws.

States including Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee–following Wisconsin’s lead–have recently proposed bills severely limiting the collective bargaining rights of trade union members.

Shane Enright, Amnesty International’s trade union adviser said that, if adopted, these measures would violate international law:

“The US has an obligation to uphold the rights of American workers – including the specific right to organize and bargain collectively.”

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed a bill on Friday that undermines the ability of unions in the public sector to protect workers. The legislation also takes away nearly all collective bargaining rights for most public employees, limiting their negotiation rights only to wages.


Posted in USA

Money for Nothing

The death penalty costs money – more money than the alternatives – and, as Wonkette notes “basically every state in the union is broke”.  This is why (or at least one of the reasons why) more states than ever before are having serious death penalty repeal debates.  In Kansas, a Republican Senator has filed an abolition bill, telling “This will save significant money — money that could be used toward education programs and toward community corrections programs.”  In Colorado, they don’t have enough money to solve cold cases, and a bill to pass along the savings from death penalty abolition to create a cold case unit has passed its first hurdle.  New Hampshire suspended jury trials for an entire month to save money, and they haven’t executed anyone since 1939 – so why do they still have the death penalty?

Of course, the death penalty is a fundamental human rights violation, so even if it were dirt cheap, it would still be wrong and deserving of total abolition.  But it’s not cheap at all … and we can’t afford it.