Amidst the busy-ness of this lovely Spring day, we wanted to share with you, blossoms for your consideration, some good news, along with opportunities for action and progressive involvement. In this post you will find info about:1) The Annual Meeting of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP), Saturday, 1 June in Springfield;2) Colorado Governor Halts Execution, seeing system as ”broken”& a means for us to thank him; 3) Next monthly meeting of the Columbia MADP Chapter: June 134) Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act—Supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s efforts to bring college loan interest rates to same level enjoyed by banks; 5) Striving to halt Wall Street oil speculation/profiteering—Sen. Bernie Sanders and another of his progressive struggles;6) Wildlife Photos (just publicly released) from China of the Giant Panda and other area creatures—a reminder of the immense value of conservation efforts
May you find joy, meaningful labors and time in this day and those to follow. In solidarity, hope and with other best wishes,
Jeff Stack, coordinator
Mid-MO Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) 573-449-4585
1) June 1, Saturday: Attend the Annual Meeting of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty in Springfield
The MADP Board of Directors cordially invites you to our annual meeting and Public Panel Presentation: “The Death Penalty: Does Justice Demand Vengeance?” in the Headquarters of the Council of Churches of the Ozarks 627 North Glenstone Avenue Springfield, Missouri Meeting.
Car-pooling from Columbia, 7:00 am, Eastgate IGA parking lot E. Broadway & Old Hwy. 63.
Board meeting to begin at 10:00, followed by public meeting and panel presentation at 2:00- pm
with presenters: Dr. Martin Mittelstadt, Evangel University Tom Carver, Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Representative Charlie Norr 132nd District. It will be a full day of information and organizing toward abolishing the death penalty.
We hope you will join us. Call 573-449-4585 ASAP to confirm your attendance for car-pooling and so we can inform Springfield organizers.
2) Thank Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper for Halting Execution & Casting Death Penalty as Broken
On Wednesday, Gov. John Hickenlooper indefinitely delayed the execution of Nathan Dunlap. Equal Justice USA, reports the Governor stated: “’If the state of Colorado is going to undertake the responsibility of executing a human being, the system must operate flawlessly. Colorado’s system of capital punishment is not flawless.’ In stopping this execution, the Governor has questioned the use of the death penalty in its entirety. He calls it an unfair failure that is “not making our world a safer or better place.” He cites the states that have repealed the death penalty in recent years and notes that the people of Colorado themselves have been considering the possibility of repeal.Applaud the Governor for having appropriately high standards when it comes to life and death – and for his willingness to call the death penalty like he sees it.”
Log on (copying and pasting the following link): http://org2.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=xnOBmT0yQXl5KC98HGIiwZvyPWekTq5J,
3) Attend the Next MADP Columbia Chapter Meeting 13 June 7:00 pm
All are welcome to join us in the lower level of the Unitarian-Universalist Church, located at 2615 Shepard Blvd. Participants will plan public education efforts, discuss both developments regarding individuals living under a death sentence and your concerns. Scroll to the bottom of this note to read notes from our last meeting.
4) Urge Senators that Student Loan Interest Rates Be Fixed at Level Enjoyed by Banks
Millions of US citizens “who took out loans to pay for college could face a major crisis this summer if Congress doesn't act to stop interest rates from doubling,” notes the group Progressives United. “But progressive champion Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a brilliant solution: Keep student loan interest rates at the same low level Wall Street banks have to pay. This is exactly why so many progressives like you worked to bring Sen. Warren to the Senate.” Help support her and this compassionate, sensible position by signing the CREDO Action petition—urging your senators to support the Bank on the Student Loans Fairness Act.
The petition reads: “The U.S. government should lend money to students at the same low rates it gives Wall Street banks. Support Senator Elizabeth Warren's Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act, which provides a one-year fix to the impending doubling of students' rate by setting the student loan interest rates at 0.75%.
Log on to http://act.credoaction.com/sign/warren_students/<http://act.credoaction.com/sign/warren_students/> .
5) Support Efforts to Investigate & Stop Wall Street Speculation on Oil Causing Prices at Gas Pumps to Soar
“The average price for a gallon of gas has gone up by more than 41 cents in the past five months. Supply and demand? Hardly,” retorts Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) in his “Bernie’s Buzz” report. “The price hikes come at a time when U.S. oil inventories reached a three-decade high while demand for gasoline is lower than four years ago when prices averaged only $2.30 a gallon. So Bernie is pushing for an investigation into oil price manipulation like one already underway in Europe. He also would set a 30-day deadline for federal regulators to use emergency powers to curb excessive speculation in crude oil markets. Both ideas were offered as amendments to a bill now before the full Senate.” His perspectives, sadly particularly not in the mainstream of congressional thinking, resonates powerfully with most US citizens, we suspect.
To add your voice to a poll he’s taking, log on to http://www.sanders.senate.gov/polls/<http://www.sanders.senate.gov/polls/>
6) A Portfolio of Hope: Wildlife Photos from China, a Reminder of Nature’s Beauty and the Importance of Conservation
Earlier today, we received a post from the World Wildlife Fund, which noted they have been working with Chinese officials over the past several years to monitor and help conserve the Giant Panda and other animals living in the wild in various regions. Check out the photos they have shared—flesh and blood fortification for us to support ongoing efforts of good stewardship of this precious planet we share with so many amazing life forms. Log on at…http://worldwildlife.org/stories/a-peek-at-pandas-in-their-remote-mountain-habitat?utm_source=wildwire&utm_medium=email&utm_content=may2013&utm_campaign=wwf-marketing
Notes from the 8 May 2013 MADP Columbia chapter
Present: Jeff Stack (facilitating), Wylie Miller, Andrew and Sarah Twaddle, Margaret Tyler (note-taking), Steve Meyerhardt, Laird Okie, Bill Easley and Winifred Scott.
Men Living in Missouri under Death Sentences:
Reggie Clemons (report on the judge’s examination of his appeal/ wrongful conviction claim expected June 1), waiting on news of court decision of Reggie Griffin and his claim of wrongful conviction.
Mark Woodward (had been convicted of murder, given life sentence): waiting to hear from AG Koster to see if the state will re-try him (currently free).
Public Education Update (Ryan Ferguson & Wrongful Convictions):The program at the Law School was very successful—about 100 people attended. It was reported that 11 people in MO had been wrongfully convicted of murder and exonerated.
Summer/Monthly Meeting Schedule:Will meet in June, but not July and August.
Missouri Legislative Update: Missouri Legislative Session Update: Nothing is happening. (Cost Study Committee Chair offered a substitute for private sources of funding.) SB 61 on calendar, but it won't be brought out for a vote.
a. Mississippi executions stopped.
b. Maryland’s governor signed a bill repealing the death penalty. It was said that cost was an important issue. Kevin Scruggs, originally from Columbia, was a leader with state group.
MADP State Meeting-Springfield June 1:Panel Discussion, 2:00 – 3:30: “The Death Penalty: Does justice Demand Vengeance?”
Everyone is encouraged to go and to carpool. Bill would like to go. Jeff will check on a van.
Murder Victim Family Support Group Meeting --Sunday, October 6
This is a statewide MADP and FOR meeting for a stand-alone support group.
Jeff is helping to bring people together along with Val Brown, whose daughter was murdered. Potluck lunch and gathering at the Rock Quarry House off Grindstone Pkway.
Columbia MADP FundraiserSuggestions:
Bring in Kevin Scruggs for a fall program or fundraiser. Andrew Twaddle will give Jeff his e-mail address. Program timing could be set up for a time that Kevin would be visiting home in Columbia.
Possible Fund-raiser/ Future Public program Film being currently being worked on of 12 wrongfully convicted men around the USA, by two independent producers utilizing a mobile studio.
Future Legislative Strategy:
Working on ABA-inspired reform bill, working with former Kansas City police chief.
Organizational Suggestion: Perhaps we could use a Phone Tree to make calls for future meetings, other actions.
Next Meeting: 7:00 pm, Thursday, 13 June, Unitarian Universalist Church, Lower Level
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