A new documentary follows Jon Stewart's relentless, decade-long fight to help 9/11 first responders
via Reddit

After the attacks on 9/11, the U.S government has had little problem spending over $6.4 trillion on the War on Terror. For some perspective, the U.S. government's total expenditures last year was $4.4 trillion.

Direct combat has killed over 800,000 people, including 350,000 civilians, and displaced over 37 million people.

The U.S, government has unflinchingly wasted all of this blood and treasure but has dragged its feet repeatedly to pay the healthcare bills for first-responders to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


Tens of thousands of police, firemen, and rescue workers who sifted through the smoldering rubble on 9/11, while breathing in a toxic cloud of debris, have since come down with a host of health issues, including rhinosinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), asthma, sleep apnea, cancer, posttraumatic stress disorder, respiratory disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, and anxiety disorder.

"We will never know the composition of that cloud, because the wind carried it away, but people were breathing and eating it," Dr. Michael Crane, at the World Trade Center Health Program, told Newsweek in 2016. "What we do know is that it had all kinds of god-awful things in it. Burning jet fuel. Plastics, metal, fiberglass, asbestos. It was thick, terrible stuff."

In America, even with insurance, chronic disease can leave a family in financial ruins.

Recent analysis has found that close to 10,000 first responders have been diagnosed with cancer and over 2,000 deaths have been attributed to illnesses caused by the attacks. It's estimated that more people have died from toxic exposure than were killed in the actual attack.

Former "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart has been a tireless advocate for the 9/11 first responders. Last year, when funds for the most recently-authorized bill to help pay for first responders' healthcare, became depleted, Stewart gave a passionate speech to an empty Congress.

"It's an embarrassment to the country," Mr. Stewart said, criticizing members of Congress for skipping the hearing.

"And you should be ashamed of yourselves," he scolded.

After Stewart's rebuke, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to send the bill to the House floor for consideration. The Victim Compensation Fund was then been extended through 2092, funding health care for first responders for life.

Now Stewart, 9/11 activist John Feal, and FDNY hero, Ray Pfeifer, are the subject of a new documentary on their collective fight to ensure healthcare and compensation for the thousands of ailing first responders.

The film is called "No Responders Left Behind" and has yet to have a release date.

No Responders Left Behind Official Trailer www.youtube.com

"John Feal and all the first responders have done so much for me, for the community, for the city, for the country. To be able to repay some of that debt that I feel I owe them personally, that we all owe them, is the best feeling," Stewart said, according to Variety.

"Being a small part of this journey is the one thing I'm most proud of. I will follow John anywhere he wants to lead me next," he added.

"For many, the last 18.5 years has been about passing legislation and fighting for justice for those affected by the aftermath of 9/11. I cannot say the same for me," said Feal.

"It has never been about passing legislation, donating money or the accolades," he continued. "It has always been about the journey from where we started to not knowing when it will end. It has been about the friendships and all the people I love and now call my family."

The news of the documentary comes as reports show the Trump administration has siphoned off $4 million from the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program. The program treats FDNY firefighters and medics suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.

"Here we have sick World Trade Center-exposed firefighters and EMS workers, at a time when the city is having difficult financial circumstances due to COVID-19, and we're not getting the money we need to be able to treat these heroes," David Prezant, the FDNY's Chief Medical Officer, said according to New York Daily News.

After years of complaining about the mysterious funding depletion, Prezant consulted Long Island Republican Representative Pete King and it was discovered it was due to a Medicare dispute with the state of New York.

King intends to confront Vice President Mike Pence over the issue.

"I gotta tell him," King said. "Forget the politics. I don't want to sound naive, but this is terrible, absolutely inexcusable."

Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the annoucnement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

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When an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 most people who lived in the area fled. Some left without their pets, who then had to fend for themselves in a radioactive nuclear zone.

Sakae Kato stayed behind to rescue the cats abandoned by his neighbors and has spent the last decade taking care of them. He has converted his home, which is in a contaminated quarantine area, to a shelter for 41 cats, whom he refers to as "kids." He has buried 23 other cats in his garden over the past 10 years.

The government has asked the 57-year-old to evacuate the area many times, but he says he figured he was going to die anyway. "And if I had to die, I decided that I would like to die with these guys," he said.

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