In 2012, at least 682 executions were known to have been carried out worldwide, two more than in 2011. At least 1,722 newly imposed death sentences in 58 countries could be confirmed, compared to 1,923 in 63 countries the year before.
But Amnesty stressed that its figures do not include the thousands of executions that it believes were carried out in China, where details are shrouded in secrecy.
"The regression we saw in some countries this year was disappointing, but it does not reverse the worldwide trend against using the death penalty. In many parts of the world, executions are becoming a thing of the past," said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
"Only one in 10 countries in the world carries out executions. Their leaders should ask themselves why they are still applying a cruel and inhumane punishment that the rest of the world is leaving behind."
In March, Colorado came close to becoming the 19th state to abolish the death penalty, but the bill failed after Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) voiced opposition and suggested a possible veto. A few months later, Colorado's death penalty is still firmly in place, and the state is poised to complete what would be only the second execution in 45 years (the last was in 1997). Few dispute that Nathan Dunlap committed a horrific crime and murdered several people at a Chuck E. Cheese. But judges, university professors, and other prominent state leaders are urging Gov. Hickenlooper to commute Dunlap's sentence, both because crucial errors that defined his trial may have led him to get a harsher sentence than others, and because killing anyone under the perverted state system would be a miscarriage of justice. According to letters filed with Hickenlooper's office:
All three people on death row are black men. In a state that is only 4.3% African American, Colorado's death row is 100% African American.
All three men on death are from the same one county, out of Colorado's 64.
All three men committed their crime when they were under the age of 21.
Two law professors who studied Colorado's application of the death penalty concluded it was unconstitutional, after finding that prosecutors pursue the death penalty in less than one percent of the cases where it is an option, and that the state failed to set "clear statutory standards for distinguishing between the few who are executed and the many who commit murder."
"It appears that race, geography and youth largely determines who gets the death penalty in Colorado," wrote a group of NAACP leaders in a letter urging Gov. Hickenlooper to grant clemency. They note that not a single black juror served on the panel that sentenced Dunlap to death.
In addition to the injustices that define the Colorado system, a group of former Colorado judges also point out that Dunlap's bipolar disorder and psychotic tendencies were not even mentioned at trial. In fact, according to their letter, Dunlap's lawyer told the jury that there was no explanation for his violence.
For those outside of Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper testified before a panel in Washington D.C. that along with his Halliburton buddies, he 'drank fracking fluid' - a now infamous quote that has been used in countless newspaper articles around the country to defend the 'safety' of Fracking.
Lastly, in response to two cities, Longmont and Fort Collins passing fracking bans - the same Governor took to the airwaves to announce that he would sue any city attempting to ban fracking on behalf of the Oil and Gas industry.
This article is not to further vilify Governor Hickenlooper any further than he has already done by himself, but to point out the Governor's expanding vulnerability to a primary and to get feed back on who would be the best to defeat the Governor and hold the seat for the Democratic party.
And, this is also an article that will sho potential challengers to the Governor how they can chart their path to a primary victory.
The Fort Collins City Council slammed the door on fracking within city limits Tuesday and potentially opened another door to legal action.
With a large crowd looking on, council members voted 5-2 on Tuesday to give final approval to an ordinance that prohibits hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within the city.
Fort Collins to Governor Frackenlooper: Bring it on!
The council heard about 65 speakers, with nearly all urging them to impose the ban. Several said the city needs to protect the city's air and water quality from pollution generated by fracking.
Resident Julius Lisi said he moved to Fort Collins because of its high quality of life and clean environment and he doesn't want that to change. The city should stand up to the threat of a lawsuit by Hickenlooper, he said.
"I don't want Fort Collins to be sued any more than you do, but some things are worth fighting for," he said.
Yes, some things are worth fighting for.
Colorado's Governor John Frackenlooper obviously feels the same way and has clearly shown the citizens of Colorado whose side he is on.
Gov. Hickenlooper has severely damaged his personal credibility to assert fracking is "safe." During recent testimony before a U.S. Senate committee in opposition to greater federal regulation, Hickenlooper again claimed to have "drank fracking fluid"-without disclosing that the product he consumed is not used commercially.
This logically calls into question why he spent years telling anyone who would listen, without any more detailed explanation or qualifiers, that you can drink fracking fluid.
Those questions become deeper when Hickenlooper makes sweeping claims about the safety of "fracking" in pro-industry ads that are refuted by the state's own records of accidents and water contamination all over the state. With the facts established, and regardless of the local press' inexplicable willingness to run cover for him, it's undeniable that Hickenlooper has been willingly and knowingly deceiving Coloradans every time he has told them this lie - which is frequently as Governor.
How, then, cities rightly ask, can his administration be trusted to protect their communities?
Despite his folksy charm and army of spin doctors, Hickenlooper has nothing with which to reassure them. And now, in the hardest test of his vaunted popularity yet, the charm offensive is about to lose its charm.
Whoever floated the idea of Hick as presidential material is seriously wrong. He has failed the test of preparedness and statesmanship one too many times. His lies to Coloradans over the safety of fracking calls into question his character and he's in the process of betraying his Democratic supporters one by one.
When he talked to the firefighters (who were recently battling the Colorado wildfires), he talked to 80 firefighters, and within five minutes moved them emotionally and inspired them. That's something that he does, and it's just who he is.
He has always been able to do that. He wasn't scripted, and there was no teleprompter.
It was just him connecting.
I think he has to find more opportunities to demonstrate to the American people who he is.
Because he is real.
I certainly don't believe Hick's advice on fracking, but on this Team Obama should heed word.
In Hickenlooper's home state, there has been tension over how much local communities can regulate drilling within their borders, on top of statewide regulations. Hickenlooper says it would be "very tough" on industry if each county had a different set of regulations.
Here's an idea that will never happen: how about we add an excise tax to all energy extracted within the U.S. - a fair one, but one that keeps in mind the enormous profits of oil companies - and put all that money into wind and solar projects? (UPDATE: Looks like the brilliant Keith Ellison and Bernie Sanders have read my mind.) Hick has some words of encouragement for energy other than carbon-based. And the Governor's sympathy for energy extraction companies is very touching.
I'd like to thank, once again, Colorado's Republican caucusers (sp?) for picking the losing candidate in their recent presidential vote. Rick Santorum was never going to win the presidential election, but by picking the most far-right candidate they helped push their party further into Wackville and forced the eventual winner, Willard (Not the Rat) Mitt (Not Tagg) Romney to both abuse and take the abuse of the ever-present, gelatinous Santorum. Google that, political junkies!
Last time, when the (R)'s picked Mitt, he dropped out 2 days later. This time, Rick gave them a few more days of self-satisfied harrumphing before accepting the inevitable.
A mix of volatile organic chemicals coming from the process of fracking oil and gas wells poses a health risk to people living within a half-mile of a drilling site, according to a new study by the University of Colorado-Denver School of Public Health.
The three-year study in Garfield County detected levels of chemicals such as trimethylbenzenes, aliaphatic hydrocarbons, and xylenes in the air. All those chemicals can have neurological or respiratory effects, the study said.
Gov. John Hickenlooper Thursday looked to explain his decision to celebrate fracking in a radio ad on behalf of the oil and gas industry, and to apologize to environmental groups who were upset by it.
"Maybe we should have talked to the environmental groups before we did the ad," Hickenlooper told FOX31 Denver during an exclusive interview at the Capitol. (Duh! - Ed.)
Hickenlooper explained that the ad was meant to celebrate the new rule, agreed to last year by both the oil and gas industry and environmental groups, that forces companies to disclose more of the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", a process in which a water-sand-chemical mix is shot deep beneath the ground to loosen mineral reserves for extraction.
The stress fracking puts on our water supplies, air quality, and even our geological stability should not be ignored by our leaders. The profits of gas and oil companies will compel them to distort the environmental effects of fracking. We've seen this movie before, yet I still have hope the quality of life and health of our citizens will win out over the insatiable needs of Big Energy. Actions like the governor's won't help.
Last night, Ohioans soundly turned back an assault on worker's rights, defeating Issue 2 with 61% of the vote, and repealing the anti-labor SB 5. And they did it with a broad coalition, which points to a total reversal of the voting bloc that brought Governor John Kasich to power in 2010. It could have long-lasting implications for 2012 and beyond.
Guy Molyneux of Hart Research did polling last night for the AFL-CIO on Issue 2. And he released some eye-popping numbers on a conference call. Independents favored No on 2 by a 57-43 margin. This group voted for John Kasich in 2010, according to exit polls, by a 59-41 margin, a reversal of 32 points. And the numbers were even starker among working-class white voters. They went No on 2 with 61% of the vote, the same share as the overall electorate. In 2010, that group voted 57-43 for Kasich, a 36-point difference. White working class voters only give Kasich a 41% approval rating. Overall, 66% of Ohioans favor collective bargaining.
That is a sea change in electoral politics in the course of just one year. Labor took over 90% of Democrats and 30% of Republicans in their broad coalition, along with 57% of independents.
This should be a object lesson for local Democrats who have been rejecting their base in Colorado.
First, he didn't come out of the starting block with a compromise pleasing to the entrenched extremist Republican minority obstructing a tax increase (unlike a certain President we know) (ref. John Hickenlooper). He made a definite proposal and he stuck to it. When the Tea Party gurus tried to change the subject and make unions the issue, not taxes, Brown refused to fall for the Shock Capitalist feignt and stuck by the unions. He didn't flinch or apologize for his support of higher taxes, even suggesting - mirabile dictu - that the GOP's zombielike anti-tax dogma showed their bad faith and lack of concern for Californians (ref. Bennet and Udall). They squealed like stuck pigs with lipstick on (don't apologize Obama) and looked foolish.
What else could the supremely intelligent Brown teach our timid Senators?
Second, Brown talked directly to the people of California, not just the obstreperous and incoherent Republican commandants. Again, unlike a certain President. Over and over again, he took his message to YouTube (you got to love that), as well as highschool gyms and union halls. For a septuagenarian he made a certain young president look like a geezer. Again the GOP squealed, and most people here saw the Republicans for what they are: ideological bullies who act like South Park's Cartman when somebody stands up to them.
There are more lessons for local (D)'s that can be learned from Jerry Brown. Sure, Mike Rosen would make fun of them and him, but is there an issue that he wouldn't -- no matter the source?
No, and that's the primary lesson our Senators, our Governor, and our unemployed Representatives can learn from a successful Democratic Leader.
Hick got a pass on his pro-corporate, anti-citizen stance the first time out. What does he say about the latest extraction methods of his former associates as they further degrade the environment in the search of that last ounce of fossil fuels sitting under Colorado's landscape?
Botton line: he took to the insider DC game like a duck to water and was lucky enough to run against a schizophrenic Republican Tea Party to actually win a full-term as one of our state's most prominent civil servants.
The new Congress has now been at work for two months, and that distressing dynamic is now in play in Washington (do we reallllllly deserve what we vote for?), which leads me to this question:
ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper hosts a very special roundtable discussion with exclusive appearances by Governor Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Gov. Nikki Haley, R-SC, to discuss the federal and state budget crises and constituent responses to the shortages.
Bless his soul, Deval Patrick is a true Democrat. But I'm guessing Hick will be hard to distinguish between the Tea Party/Republican governors in the discussion:
Those things are obvious. What I am afraid of is Hick will be another in a long line of Colorado Democratic Leaders (I almost put "Democrat" cuz I'm so tired of their wimpiness) that would be ashamed to run as Republicans yet can't find the principle to stand up for truly democratic - and Democratic! values - even as those who live and represent those values knock on the door and stare them in the face.
So the latest talking point about Governor Hickenlooper's horrible budget proposal is that "he got the conversation going" and "even he knows TABOR is bad". Almost every other caller to Mario's show on the subject contains those points, yet none of those callers have picked up on the obvious point that Mario keeps making: the Governor has shown no leadership on the issue, is doing no heavy lifting and has done few of the things he could unilaterally do to help the situation.
The biggest problem in this is that Hick won't even address the virulence of TABOR, when "everyone" knows it's a problem. Well, everyone knows this but the Governor.
But guess what? Even Colorado businesses, whom Hick is trying to tepidly placate, know it's a problem:
Colorado Business and Community Leaders View TABOR as Deeply Flawed
A wide range of Coloradans -- business leaders, higher education officials, children's advocates, legislators of both parties, and Former Governor Bill Owens (R), among others -- recognize that TABOR has limited the state's ability to fund critical services:
"Coloradans were told in 1992 . . . that [TABOR] guaranteed them a right to vote on any and all tax increases. . . . What the public didn't realize was that it would contain the strictest tax and spending limitation of any state in the country, and long-term would hobble us economically." -- Tom Clark, Executive Vice President, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation
I can't find the link now, but Colorado businesses went so far as to write a letter in opposition to TABOR to a state that was considering its passage. (I think it was Maine.)
So: Everyone "knows" TABOR is bad. Everyone says Hickenlooper "knows" this. And everyone "knows" Hickenlooper just wanted to start a budget conversation by dumping on Colorado's schools and students.
So how come Hick doesn't know what business knows in Colorado: that we need to eliminate TABOR and start fairly* taxing the rich to put our entire house, not just business, in order for the next generation of Coloradans.
Senator Michael Bennet certainly knows how to play the P.R. game.
His first success at this was his blatantly false statement that he was willing to lose his job over the Public Option. Of course, at the time he most likely knew that Barack Obama had taken the Public Option off the table and he would never face such a choice. But he sure did let everyone know about his bold statement. He even fooled little ol' me in that insidious lie.
A few times on this blog I've spoken about assumptions that are passed off to the public in media communications so as to present and propagate values in a way that is unquestioned. Derrick Jensen says all writers are propagandists and the press release regarding John Salazar's appointment is no different.
Here's what I think: I think you'd think like me if you really thought about it.
Theory of the "Undervote": by not voting for the either GOP candidate in the primary, a message should be conveyed to the victorious campaign: If you cannot get more votes than the local offices, you will not be able to get enough votes to beat Hick! Please step aside and allow a candidate to step in who can win in... November, check your ego at the door. Please invite as many of your contacts to "like" this page.
There have been three updates on the wall since the groups creation on July 24th. One update links to this Denver Post piece The Audacity of Tancredo which was not penned by Denver Post writer Chuck Plunkett who is a one of the 39 members so far in the group.
The group was created by Ross Kaminski from Rossputin.