September 11, 2006

Black Lung

I've just seen on Keith Olbermann's Countdown and read on the N&O that many/most of the people that worked on the pile after 9/11 have developed lung problems.

The Mount Sinai study indicates that workers, many of whom were volunteers, inhaled a caustic, pulverized dust that reached deep into their lungs and sinuses. The dust contained "trillions upon trillions of microscopic shards of glass," asbestos and other carcinogens, the co-author of the study told the Los Angeles Times. Among the ailments encountered are asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease, according to guidelines released by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

I watched my granny die from a similar malady. She had worked her whole life in a shirt factory and the years of breathing linen fibers clogged her lungs like asbestos or coal. The doctors of Central PA were amazed at how similar it was to Black Lung. These men deserve our immediate attention, their health needs deserve our every effort. These were the men and women who fought to claw bodies, living and dead, from the mass that had been the center of commerce in America. So soon we forget. There is no GI Bill for these citizens. There is no VA for their care. There is nothing, but platitudes.

Whitman said in a "60 Minutes" interview to be aired this weekend that the EPA did not have authority over the Ground Zero site, and claimed she provided an accurate assessment of the air quality following the attacks. She distinguished between the air in lower Manhattan, which was considered safe, and the air at Ground Zero, which was not. "The readings [in lower Manhattan] were showing us that there was nothing that gave us any concern about long-term health implications," she said. "That was different from on the pile itself, at ground zero. There, we always said consistently, 'You've got to wear protective gear.'" (AP, Sept. 8)

But this a bogus defense, given that she failed to make this rather critical distinction at the time. New York Newsday saves this Sept. 18, 2001 Whitman quote from the Memory Hole:

"We are very encouraged that the results frpm our monitoring of air quality and drinking water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances. I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington DC that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink."

Yet she has the chutzpah to tell "60 Minutes": "We never lied." Ommission is a form of lying, Christine. Ask any lawyer.

Now, the President sits in a tie that is too tight, that makes him look like a bobble, and spouts off about WMDs. He is so full of shit that it makes my head itch.

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