I usually like to see Jon Stewart pop back up on TV for something funny and light, but Tuesday he was in no joking mood at all, and I don’t blame him.
Stewart has long been a major supporter/advocate of 9/11 first responders, helping fight to get health care and long-term benefits for the brave EMS, firefighters, police officers and other personnel who bravely rushed to the scene on 9/11 to help with the Twin Towers tragedy, and now continue to suffer major health problems as a result of their heroism.
The reason for the hearing Tuesday was that the Victims Compensation Fund was up for re-authorization, and it’s running out of money, according to the Dept. of Justice.
In nine minutes of searing, emotional testimony, Stewart excoriated Congress for half of the members of the subcommittee not being there at the hearing, and pleaded with our nation’s lawmakers to compensate and help the thousands who are affected.
It is ridiculous that we have to go through this every few years; this is not a partisan issue, and that so many first responders are sick and dying should be proof enough that there needs to be compensation given to help them.
Stewart was fantastic here; I highly recommend watching the whole thing. Here’s how he closed:
“Thank God for all of these people who will not let it happen again. They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs, with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours!”
**Next up today, you know, it’s graduation season here in America, and there are only so many platitudes a commencement speaker can offer up.
You can say “your future is bright,” and “make changes in the world for the better,” only so many times, right?
So part of me has sympathy for this principal I heard about this week, a Mr. Kenny DeMoss of Parkersburg High School in Parkersburg, West Va.
Seems a few weeks ago at graduation Principal DeMoss told the kids about hard work, seizing opportunities, and all that good stuff, and about how “opportunity looks like hard work.”
Well, it turns out Mr. DeMoss had taken entire portions of the speech from that noted brillant thinker of our time… Ashton Kutcher.
Yes, Ashton Kutcher, the former Mr. Demi Moore, the man who’s made more bad movies than any Hollywood star ever has, it seems. Mr. Kutcher gave a speech at the 2013 Kids Choice Awards, and Mr. DeMoss apparently loved it so much he lifted it.
“It was never my intent to take credit for what I said or give a specific credit because of how I prefaced my speech,” his statement said. “I did not get all my ideas from Ashton. Format yes, thoughts and ideas were from my heart.”
Oh Mr. DeMoss, it’s OK to admit it: You love you some Ashton, you think he’s got all the answers, and you wanted to sound cool to your students. We understand.
Above is a video a Parkersburg student made showing how similar the two speeches were.
Man oh man. Plagiarizing Ashton Kutcher, the world truly has gone mad.
**And finally today, the NBA Finals are still going on, with major drama happening in Sunday’s Game 5, with Warriors star (and future Brooklyn Net, I hope!) Kevin Durant returning from a 5-week absence from a calf injury, only to horribly tear his right Achilles tendon, meaning he’s likely going to miss next season.
The game itself was great, the Raptors still look like the better team but man it’s going to be tough to finish of the Warriors.
Anyway, I wanted to highlight what I thought was a fantastic press conference answer to a kid’s question from Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.
“Mr. Lowry,” the youngster asked, “how does it feel to be an icon all over Canada, for kids?”
Listen to this and tell me Lowry doesn’t have it exactly right.