Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 10, 2007
WAR/POLITICS: The September 10 Party

Nancy Pelosi is visiting Ground Zero today to promote...a health care bill. No, you couldn't make this up if you tried:

The speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, will meet with Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Spitzer today and tour the World Trade Center site on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The trip coincides with a new proposal, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a bill to be introduced tomorrow in Congress that would provide comprehensive medical coverage and financial compensation to those who became ill after being exposed to dust at ground zero.

Now, I'm not necessarily opposed to compensating people, especially those who worked (formally or informally) for the government in clearing the site and got sick as a result. Although of course with any such bill creating a new spending entitlement there will be issues of how exactly the government will decide what sort of proof is required to tie illnesses or claimed illnesses to the site.

But it's so typical of the Democrats that they are most comfortable dealing with soldiers, cops, firemen, etc. when they can get away from endorsing anything they actually do and treat them solely as passive victims to be nursed by the federal government.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:30 AM | Politics 2007 • | War 2007-12 | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Crank, when you consider that the government seems to have lied about the conditions they were voluntarily working under, it doesn't sound unfair at all.

Many people paid a price when they were shipbuilding during WWII, working with asbestos. Consequently, many died as a result. But asbestos hazards weren't known. This time around, they lied. They were not ignorant. They flat out knew people were going into danger, and did nothing. Post reasons why people should have used respirators, and supply them--BTW, respirators are not comfortable to use all day--I have various kinds. But you use the right one in the proper way, it keeps you safe. So yes, there is culpability here. But then, isn't this typical of an administration that sends soldiers off on a dubious war, while shredding veterans benefits once they come back?

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 10, 2007 9:12 AM

Like I said, I'm not complaining about compensation, although I'm generally skeptical about how programs like this get administered and what proportion of people who are compensated are actually injured as a result of exposure.

Posted by: The Crank at September 10, 2007 9:19 AM

But it's so typical of the Democrats that they are most comfortable dealing with soldiers, cops, firemen, etc. when they can get away from endorsing anything they actually do and treat them solely as passive victims to be nursed by the federal government.

Unlike what is so typical of Republicans, comfortable using soldiers, cops and fireman as props, while behind the scenes sending them into battle or disasters ill-equipped with bad radios and no armor, slashing their benefits and treating them solely as expendible commodities to be used as pawns in massive political games...

Posted by: Mr. Furious at September 10, 2007 9:46 AM

...I'm generally skeptical about how programs like this get administered and what proportion of people who are compensated are actually injured as a result of exposure.

Yeah, better to do nothing. Or let the market sort it out. The invisible hand will take care of these people.

Posted by: Mr. Furious at September 10, 2007 9:47 AM

I think this is a great opportunity. Of course we should take care of these people. Why is there even a question? As for determining if teh issue is related to 9/11, we are talking about a limited class of persons, just take care of them. It would be different if there were millions at risk, but we are talking about 2 or 3 thousand people, certainly less 5 thousand. Just take care of them.

Posted by: maddirishman at September 10, 2007 9:53 AM

Would Rudy qualify for the full benefits package?

Posted by: jim at September 10, 2007 11:16 AM

Feh. The whole issue only arises because some firemen, policemen and hardhats were trying to out-macho each other by not wearing their respirators. It's absolute bullshit that they were never told to wear respirators and masks.

Ask yourself who knows more about operating in dangerous working conditions--you know, where the air might not be perfect--some bureaucrat or firemen?

What's more, the priority immediately following the collapse was to recover survivors. Then, when it was determined there would be none, the priority was to find bodies. This was all part of a rescue effort. Are you guys telling me we should have thrown anybody off the pile who didn't wear a respirator?

Here's the facts. There were signs everywhere instructing workers to protect themselves. They were ignored by 4/5 of the workers. Any attempt to force them to cover up was countered by physical threats! To remove unprotected wrokers from the pile would have involved firing 80% of a workforce experienced on that pile and replacing them with virtual trainees.

Maybe if we had a system like Israel, where workers who die in terrorist attacks get a set compensation, then I could countenance settlements for these guys. But I was there, I remember what happened and what was discussed about this problem with the air. And these guys have no one to blame but Osama and themselves.

Sorry, but thats the facts.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 10, 2007 11:53 AM

"Here's the facts. There were signs everywhere instructing workers to protect themselves. They were ignored by 4/5 of the workers. Any attempt to force them to cover up was countered by physical threats! To remove unprotected wrokers from the pile would have involved firing 80% of a workforce experienced on that pile and replacing them with virtual trainees."

Yeah, pretty much true. Only option would have been to surround the site with National Guard and boot PD/FD offsite. How would that have gone over?

jim hits another point. This program will be abused beyond belief.

Posted by: abe at September 10, 2007 2:45 PM

Wasn't that one of Rudi's moments: when he ripped off his face mask to talk to the media? And what about when Bush was on the pile shouting through a megaphone?

Look, let's just compensate them and move on. Crank's larger point is overstated; but there are people on the fringes of Pelosi's party who refuse to honor the accomplishments of the military and the security forces.

Posted by: jimbo at September 10, 2007 3:50 PM

Nancy Pelosi is visiting Ground Zero today to promote...a health care bill.

Uhhhh, hasn't a certain fella visited the site a few times to promote . . . well, his administration?

Posted by: Mike at September 11, 2007 6:49 AM

The point isn't the politics. The point is that Bush has gone there to talk about the war.

Posted by: The Crank at September 11, 2007 8:38 AM

Crank, this thread is about the health care of the workers at Ground Zero; it is very much a part of this war. So is any discussion about veterans, and how this administration is shafting them. And any discussion of Bush (which would include any member of his family, and the Clintons too for that matter) is about their lifeblood: politics.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 11, 2007 8:58 AM

The point is that Bush has gone there to talk about the war.

Yeah. And that had nothing to do with politics...

Posted by: Mr. Furious at September 11, 2007 11:58 AM

In fact, to expand on that, the only connection between Ground Zero and "The War" (the Iraq part) is drawn by Bush and his politics.

Pelosi's appearance is actually more closely related.

Posted by: Mr. Furious at September 11, 2007 12:00 PM

Please, no facts. They are unwanted here.

Posted by: jim at September 11, 2007 12:44 PM

I see we are having another festival of point-missing. My objection is not to using Ground Zero as a backdrop to promote policy goals, whether it's the President or the Speaker doing it. Nor am I suggesting the policy at issue is unrelated or necessarily even bad. All I am saying is that it's altogether typical of Pelosi that when she does so, her primary emphasis is on a new health care entitlement rather than on taking on the enemy.

Her choice of priorities is telling.

Posted by: The Crank at September 11, 2007 12:53 PM

"... emphasis is on a new health care entitlement rather than on taking on the enemy.

Her choice of priorities is telling."

Why is this a zero-sum policy choice? Is it possible people and parties can actually work on more than one thing at a time?

Are the Ground Zero workers or returning soldiers or anybody else supposed to wait until we are done winning the never-ending war?

Posted by: Mr. Furious at September 11, 2007 1:57 PM
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