I've covered 9/11 since, well, 9/11. Along the way I got to see how even a group of Americans as manifestly deserving of congressional attention as first responders gets ignored in favor of monied interests -- unless such a group can compel Congress' attention. Why should ailing 9/11 responders have to force Congress to act on their behalf? That's a story for a whole book. But I wrote dozens of stories over the years that had noticeable impact on the debate, showing the need and revealing lawmakers' inertia. People are probably more familiar with my work through Jon Stewart, who amplified the situation in his unique and powerful way.
When the bill granting responders permanent treatment finally passed after more than a decade, Stewart and some of the responders were glad to talk to me to shine some light on the dysfunction.
“It looked to me like everybody we met down there was some version of the Terminator where, as they looked at you, there were calculations going on just beneath the surface of the cornea,” said Stewart. “They are mini election computers. And everything that they do, all the input that is going in, is calculating something’s effect.”