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Friends Without Benefits – 9/11 Responders
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The entire opening segment of Tuesday night’s Daily Show was devoted to the madness in the Zadroga Bill which requires 9/11 first responders who are suffering health problems due to their work at the Ground Zero site to first be checked against the terrorist watch list before they are eligible for federal assistance with their health bills. As Stewart points out in the initial set-up, this requirement is placed on exactly zero other sets of people before they receive federal funds, even to the point that the Libyan rebels likely aren’t being screened against the list before we fund them. The set-up can be viewed here.

The video above picks up where Stewart begins to wonder just who would propose such a ridiculous requirement. Sadly, that journey winds up with my Congressman, Cliff Stearns, who “represents” the district where I live. Stearns is quite a piece of work, having first burst onto the world scene in 2002 as one of five Republican Congressmen attacking PBS because the South African version of Sesame dared to introduce an HIV-positive character. Stearns also receives a significant portion of his funding from the telecommunications industry, so he was intimately involved in Congressional smoothing over of Bush’s illegal wiretapping and is at the front ranks of those wanting to kill net neutrality. It should come as no surprise, then, that Stearns also is a big fan of torture, even going so far as to dress up for his trip to Guantanamo and give his best Abu Ghraib “thumbs up” for the trip:

Torture fan Cliff Stearns, R-FL, dressed up for his trip to Guantanamo in May 2008.