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Friday, January 20, 2006

World Ends. Blacks & Women Hit Hardest.*

You can't make this kind of stuff up:

Global Warming Could Spell Disaster For Blacks
By Bruce Britt, BET.com

If you thought Hurricane Katrina was a once-in-a-lifetime fluke, think again. Concerned environmentalists say that unless the United States gets real about the threat of global warming, African Americans and other people of color can expect a repeat of disasters like Katrina.

Environmentalists blame the fierce new storms on global warming – the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Scientists attribute the phenomenon to gases produced by fossil fuels like gasoline, petroleum and coal. Though critics dismiss global warming as junk science, reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have continually found a discernable human influence on world temperatures.

That’s bad news, especially for African Americans. Citing Katrina as a case-in-point, some environmentalists say global warming impacts minorities and the disadvantaged harder than other groups. If global warming gets worse, many African-American communities will be more vulnerable to breathing ailments, insect-carried diseases and heat-related illness and death. But asking Black folks to give up gas-guzzling SUV’s and other bling is a tough sell.

Relatively, Blacks are environmental Good Samaritans. Per capita, we emit approximately 20 percent less carbon dioxide than Whites – well below 2020 targets set by the U.S. Climate Stewardship Act.

Yet Blacks are exposed to worse air pollution than Whites in every major metropolitan area. (link)

Don't blame me. I'm just the messenger.

The worst part of this is in the fact that there are millions of people out there who are fully prepared to believe this crap.

* A line made famous by renowned columnist James Taranto of Best of the Web Today fame.

Hat tip to Matt Drudge

Right Decision. Wrong Reason.

I was attracted to the circumstances underlying the story referred to in this editorial in today's Roanoke Times:
Briefly put...
The Roanoke Times

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour this week vetoed a bill that would have eliminated the state sales tax on groceries -- at 7 percent, the highest in the nation -- and increased the 16-cent excise tax on cigarettes to 75 cents.

In an earlier career, Barbour was a lobbyist in Washington for the tobacco industry.

Thank goodness for Mississippi, which Barbour has ensured will save other states from the embarrassment of being the cellar-dweller in the just performance of civic responsibility. (link)
My first thought was, "Since both taxes impact unfairly on the poor, I would have vetoed the legislation as well." If Haley Barbour wanted the cigarette tax increase to be eliminated from the bill because taxes on cigarettes are overwhelmingly taxes on the poorest of our citizens, I'm with him.

Unfortunately, Barbour's reason for the veto is same-old, same-old:
Miss. Gov. Vetoes Bill to End Grocery Tax

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Gov. Haley Barbour vetoed a bill Wednesday that would phase out a state sales tax on groceries and increase the tax on cigarettes.

"It's irresponsible to cut Mississippi's budget revenue while we're trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina," the Republican said. (link)
The state needs the money. The poor must continue to pay more than their fair share. As I recall, Barbour is a Republican. So sad.

My guess is the Roanoke Times editorialist wouldn't have objected if the state of Mississippi had simply raised the cigarette tax. After all, if memory serves, the Times editorial page came out in favor of a massive increase in the Virginia cigarette tax back in 2002 and in 2004.

Here's what all these guys need to remember - cigarette smokers are overwhelmingly poor and, in ever growing percentages, black:
Smoking Rises among Poor Blacks
By Emily Ann Brown, NNPA Special Contributor

... a recent report published in the current issue of The American Journal of Preventative Medicine, a large number of low-income African Americans who smoke have yet to follow suit in kicking their nicotine addiction.

The report also said that cigarette smokers in the Black community are getting younger.

In the report, 45 percent of the participants who smoked earned less than $10,000 a year while 37 percent of smokers made more than $30,000 a year. (link)
So. Here's my opinion: Both Barbour and the Times are wrong. And they should be ashamed of themselves. For their disparate reasons, both support egregious taxes on those who can least afford them.