BuzzFlash: In researching your book, what jumped out at you as the most appalling example of Bush's failed administration?
Eric Alterman: Everybody asks me that. I'll tell you what jumps out at me: three days after 9/11, I took my 3-year-old kid down to Ground Zero because I was told by my government that it was safe to do so -- that the air quality was not dangerous to a 3-year-old child's lungs. And I found out a year later that they literally lied to us, but we didn't know that. The Bush administration said that they couldn't test the air quality in New York or at Ground Zero. But we know the White House made the EPA change their position from "we can and will test the air quality" to "we can't test the air quality at Ground Zero" because the White House was worried about a panic, and they wanted to get Wall Street back up and running.
He's rightfully pissed off, not only because of the lie on principle, but because he actually has, you know, family values. He cares for his daughter and values her health.
Well, now we find this out:
Dust and smoke from the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, caused the lungs of rescue workers to age by an average of 12 years and may put them at risk of developing chronic breathing problems, a study said.
Tests done on 11,766 New York City firefighters and paramedics who responded to the terrorist attacks indicated that many suffered a loss of lung function in the next year that was equivalent on average to about 12 years of age-related decline. Firefighters who arrived first had more frequent and severe bouts of wheezing and chest pain than those who came more than 48 hours later.
Bastards! And not only do they (you know who) lie to us, they refuse to help first responders:
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will consider legislation next week to reauthorize a public health program that provides funding to state and local governments for bioterrorism and public health preparedness. AFSCME has been working with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in an effort to include a provision in the bill requiring that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issue an emergency temporary standard to protect health care workers and first responders from pandemic flu. A standard would set out the steps that employers would be required to take to reduce the transmission of pandemic influenza to workers who will be treating and transporting flu victims. Despite the fact that health care workers and first responders will be at high risk of becoming infected, committee Republicans refused to include any language in the bill that would impose such requirements on employers. (Emphasis mine)
Because unless business benefits, no one does. It's the Republican vision of a free market.