Thursday, October 30, 2003

Senate Rejects Global Warming Bill

Measure To Curb Carbon Dioxide Emissions Is Defeated

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(CBS/AP) The U.S. Senate rejected a plan Thursday to curb carbon dioxide emissions from industrial smokestacks as a source of global warming. It was the chamber's first vote in more than six years on the controversial issue of climate change.

The 55-43 vote against the measure co-sponsored by Sens. John McCain, a Republican, and Joe Lieberman, a Democrat, capped a two-day debate that the two senators described as the opening shot in what they acknowledged will be a lengthy effort to get Congress to address global warming.

Their bill would have required industrial plants — but not motor vehicles — to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to 2000 levels by 2010. The Bush administration said the bill would seriously harm the U.S. economy.

"Let's get real here: this is a very minimal proposal that should be a first step," McCain told the Senate, showing pictures of Arctic Sea ice loss and melting at Glacier National Park. "But we have to start somewhere. We will be back, because these pictures will continue to get worse and won't improve until we begin to address this issue."

A senator who is a former astronaut recalled Thursday the "blue-and-white awe" of earth's atmosphere, a view that "made me want to be a better steward of this planet." Sen. Bill Nelson called for an end to "putting our heads in the sand" with current U.S. climate policy.

"The earth from space looks so beautiful, and yet so fragile," said Nelson, a Florida Democrat who flew on space shuttle Columbia in 1986. "When we face a major change in climate," he said, "it is going to have devastating effects on the ecological balance of the earth."

However, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, said there was no need to introduce a "massive new regulatory process" for industrial carbon dioxide.

"It is not a pollutant," he said. "It does not represent a direct threat to public health."

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the bill's biggest opponent, said, "Like Kyoto, this is an extreme approach." Inhofe has called global warming a hoax perpetrated by environmentalists on the American public.

Proponents say addressing global warming will in the long run help the economy, but the White House said it strongly opposed the bill because it would require "deep and immediate cuts in fossil fuel use" to meet an "arbitrary" goal, and drive up household energy bills and gas pump prices.

"These increases in energy prices would effectively operate as a tax on American consumers and would have a severe negative impact on job creation," the White House said in a statement.

Sen. Kit Bond told senators the bill would cripple the U.S. economy. "Now is not the time to place more burden on our families and our communities," he said.

McCain, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, forced the debate and vote to the Senate floor by promising he wouldn't block a major energy bill that has been stalled in Congress.

The administration's stance on global warming has irked critics.

In August, the Environmental Protection Agency said it lacked authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from motor vehicles. In June, CBS News reported that an EPA report on climate change was gutted to eliminate strong language that "climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment" and was "likely mostly due to human activities."


Saturday, October 18, 2003

John Chavis - Free African American in 18th Century America

John Chavis
John Chavis was born on October 18th, 1763. He was a Black educator and minister who made great strides educating both Black and white students in the South during the early 19th century.

From North Carolina, his family was legally free which allowed him to pursue an education. Chavis arrived at Liberty Hall Academy in 1795, one year prior to George Washington's gift of 100 shares of James River Company Stock. He was a student when the institution changed its name to Washington Academy. On November 19 1800 with high honors they granted him a license to preach. His academic performance attracted much public attention because it contradicted the belief that Blacks were intellectually inferior to whites. In 1808, Chavis founded a school for the children of white slave owners. As an educator, Chavis taught full time.

He trained white children during the day and free Black children at night. He prepared the white children for college by teaching them Latin and Greek. The school he opened in Raleigh was described as one of the best in the state. It surely was an excellent school, for some of the most powerful men in white society entrusted their sons’ education to Chavis. His students include Priestly H. Mangum, brother of Senator Willie P. Mangum; Archibald E. and John L. Henderson, sons of Chief Justice Henderson; Governor Charles Manly; The Reverend William Harris; Dr. James L. Wortham; the Edwardses, Enlows (Enloes), Hargroves, and Horners; and Abraham Rencher who became Minister of Portugal and Territorial Governor of New Mexico.

John Chavis' influence was far reaching. A dedicated opponent of slavery, John Chavis was an influential abolitionist leader in the South. The circumstances surrounding his death in 1838 remain unclear, although many suspect that he was murdered because of his work to better the lives of Blacks.

African Americans/Voices of Triumph
by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Copyright 1993, TimeLife Inc.

Founder's Day Lecture Washington & Lee University

The Negro in the American Revolution.
by Benjamin Quarles
University of North Carolina Press for
the Institute of Early American History and Culture,
Williamsburg, Va., 1961.
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