Yes, it would be ironic that smokers would be the ones to benefit from a Universal Health Care system. The Canadian tax system is intrigueing.
And one could in fact avoid places where cigarettes are commonly smoked instead of banning it altogether.
Thinking that there are bigger priorities doesn't mean that every one has to accept smoking everywhere. I don't see the point of banning smoking in bars, though, which is where most of the smoking areas left in Washington are. Smoking and Drinking are like two twin brothers separated at birth, they go together well.
As said before, it's hard for me to gauge where people's comments are coming from if they aren't responding to something fairly recent.
So, in responding to Marc Sommes, I think that there's a difference between experiencing racism and exploitation and having a real understanding of what exactly are the bases of that. Therefore, people's reactions to racism and poverty are varied, all over the place, going from being extremely bitter and striking out at the perceived enemy to seeking refuge in religion, either, say, the Nation of Islam or in conventional Christianity, or in getting a radical perspective, with the last probably being the least numerically.
As an aside, one of the figments of people's imagination is that people who experience racism and oppression are therefore automatically experts in knowing the basis of it and how it functions. Which is why there have been so many stories, of people like Malcolm X, Huey Newton, and others, about people finding an analysis and waking up to who exactly benefits from their oppression, how this oppression works, etc... which is not to say diluting ones' experience with oppression or excusing people.
Marc brought up the disparity between reporting about black on white crime and white on black crime. I agree that there's an element of political correctness to it, but I don't believe, for the reasons mentioned above, that black on white crime therefore invalidates the notion that these people have been victimized.
I believe that people need to pay the price for whatever crime they commit, and that simply being of a particular group isn't enough to get someone off, or even being political.
I think that people are victimized but that they choose better and worse ways to deal with their victimization.