Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 1, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TB MANIA....You know, when CNN goes into one of its periodic feeding frenzies over a missing white girl, I understand it. I don't like it, but at least I understand it.

But a feeding frenzy over some guy with TB who went to Greece when he wasn't supposed to? This is round-the-clock material?

Kevin Drum 6:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (70)

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Pavlov's salivating dogs from the psychology 101 classes come to mind.

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

The story doesn't add up for me. If this guy was deadly contagious, why did the CDC allow him to go about his daily business here in the U.S.? Are we supposed to be immune to what he has? Also, his father-in-law, someone with apparent expertise in the communicability of this disease, as much as told him not to sweat it, and indeed let the guy marry his daughter.

Is there a way to quantify the actual risk this guy posed on his trip? Or is everyone just putting on their stupid hats and going to Defcon One over a nominal risk?

Posted by: jimBOB on June 1, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why doesn't HIPAA apply to this story? Anytime I am near a hospital for business people freak out about making sure patient confidentiality isn't compromised yet this guys is all over the news.

This needs to go away.

Jesse

Posted by: JRub on June 1, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, although the media has exaggerated a few points relating to this case already, I believe this is an important story. As a TB researcher, there is great concern in the research community about XDR TB, and epidemics, particularly in South Africa, are truly worrying. In addition, the story raises thorny issues about public health versus private rights, border security, and, perhaps most importantly, the general cluelessness of the general public and government officials about science (I've already heard TB referred to as a "virus" twice by reporters, and the border security guy who let Speaker back in the country could really use a crash course on infectious disease. Throw in the fact that Speaker is a personal injury lawyer and that is father-in-law is a respected TB researcher at the CDC and the story takes on someone truly interesting overtones. In comparison to Paris or Anna Nicole, this is Watergate.

Posted by: Chuck Darwin on June 1, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, but a photogenic white woman is in peril! The bride is a terrific blonde. She could get XDR-TB. Next best thing to being missing or abducted or bludgeoned. The CNN and Fox criteria for a round-the-clock story are met.

Posted by: Ed on June 1, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

This is round-the-clock material?

Only if you watch TV around the clock.

Posted by: Toob Junkie on June 1, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Look at this, don't look at THAT.

Posted by: slanted tom on June 1, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Just think of the round-the-clock bulletins and crawlers and chryons (huh? what?) as trailers for a horror flick, and judge them by the same standards.

Film at Eleven.

Posted by: Mooser on June 1, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

If this guy was deadly contagious, why did the CDC allow him to go about his daily business here in the U.S.?

Normal TB, even drug resistant TB, is of concern but not crisis. What sent them into critical mode was finding out, after he was already in europe, that he had XDR-TB, which is TB that is basically resistant to *everything*. It's a death sentence for immunosuppressed people (51 out of 52 AIDS patients that got it died so far), and even for the previously healthy, they basically wait for you to shake it off (30 percent do) or die. Or so said the two doctors I was discussing this with the day it came out.

So not very infectious, but still transmittable (17 percent of TB infections come from people that are negative for sputum bacteria) and if you get it, you are 70 percent likely to die. This means the CDC takes it *seriously*.

Posted by: tavella on June 1, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

In the first hallf of the Nineteenth Century, a person with TB who went to Greece for marriage and a honeymoon would inspire a gothic short story, combining romance with horror.

In the first half of the Twentieth Century, a person with TB who went to Greece for marriage and a honeymoon would inspire a heart warming short story.

Today, a person with TB who went to Greece for marriage and a honeymoon inspires mass media to trade fearful eyeballs for advertising revenue.

Posted by: Brojo on June 1, 2007 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

HAVE YOU SEEN HIS BRIDE???
This story is all over the place because she is HOT.

And it fits the agenda of the patriot act crowd in wanting to pass laws enlarging the executive branch's authority to declare an emergency and curtail an individual's civil liberties.

At the end of the day, we will find out that nobody was hurt or infected. But if the media can focus on the panic of what might have happened, they will get their ratings and new laws will get enacted.

I know, I know. get out the tin foil hats...

Posted by: yep on June 1, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Chuck Darwin

Is there any way to quantify the risk Speaker posed, both here in the U.S. before he left, and during his trip? For example, did he raise the likelihood of transmission to individuals around him, or on the plane, by an amount we can put a number to? (Even a ballpark, vague number.) What I'm trying to get a handle on, is are we talking about his causing a minor, increased risk to strangers who might be near him, or is it something where we are likely to see a trail of new infections following him around? Or do we not know?

Posted by: jimBOB on June 1, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

This is the only meaningful, one-step-forward reporting I have seen or heard on the issue:

"...In a report submitted to the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year, CDC Director Julie Gerberding warned that a TB outbreak could result from the administration’s proposed (budget)cuts. She noted that “emerging plagues such as drug-resistant tuberculosis represent ‘urgent threats that have become more prominent in the dawn of the 21st century.’”

"Additionally, Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, points out that the full scale of the “erosion of [CDC’s] traditional disease control activities has been ‘masked’ by infusions of cash earmarked for spending on bioterrorism and pandemic activities.”

"But even Bush’s myopic focus on terrorism does not appear to have paid off. The Department of Homeland Security has been unable to explain how the TB-infected man was able to simply drive into the United States on his return trip from Canada when “all border crossings had been given his name and told to hold him if he appeared."
from Nico over at think progress

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Priceless...today's "chyron Hall of Fame" entry from FOXNEWS:

"If the CDC botched up the TB case, why are the Democrats pushing for government healthcare?"

What to say, what to say!

Posted by: barrisj on June 1, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, tavella, that was what I was looking for.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 1, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you think this guy was incredibly irresponsible?What about "homeland security"?

Posted by: rose on June 1, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK
But a feeding frenzy over some guy with TB who went to Greece when he wasn't supposed to?

I've been following the story, but not CNN, it seems to me that this is stuck on the news because of:
1) The possibility people were exposed to an extremely drug resistant form of TB, and
2) The fact that someone on a no-entry list was allowed entry not because the list failed to get to the border crossing, or because it failed to match, but because the border crossing agent just decided he felt like ignoring it, and
3) The first federally-imposed quarantine of its type since 1963.

Any one of which is, IMO, of greater public impact than the usual "missing blonde girl" feeding frenzies, so I don't really understand your suggestion that those kind of media circuses are somehow more understandable.


Posted by: cmdicely on June 1, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Round the clock coverage? Of course! It's a "you're-all-going-to-die" story.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on June 1, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

>>And it fits the agenda of the patriot act crowd in wanting to pass laws enlarging the executive branch's authority to declare an emergency and curtail an individual's civil liberties.

At the end of the day, we will find out that nobody was hurt or infected. But if the media can focus on the panic of what might have happened, they will get their ratings and new laws will get enacted.

Are you intentionally trying to show your ignorance or does it come naturally? Although the likelihood that Speaker transmitted mycobacteria to someone he came in contact with is small, it is far from negligible. As Tavella stated, XDR TB is gravely serious, and treatment in the best of circumstances is uncertain. From your line of thinking, the HIV+ man who has sex with uninformed partners is also just embracing his liberties and the day he's condemned by a government official is the day the slippery slope of fascism has arrived. Brilliant.

Posted by: Chuck Darwin on June 1, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Homeland insecurity?

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

It's about fear kevin. Fear generates ratings. Worrying about pedophiles in the park, little girls falling down wells, get a deadly disease on a plane, having too many brown people cross the border, having a suicide bomber attack the mall, having some guy take down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch...

It's all about making people afraid. They watch stuff that makes them afraid.

Posted by: jayackroyd on June 1, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

This morning, the story after this one (on CNN?) was about someone with the measles that got on a plane.

Soooo, if you've got a headcold, don't get on a plane for the next two weeks unless you want to be on the news.

The inmates are truly running the asylum, aren't they.

Posted by: Common Knowledge on June 1, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Three words: Bird flu rehearsal.

Posted by: Kip Manley on June 1, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Hey jimBOB,

Unfortunately, the complexity of biology doesn't lend itself too well to precise measures in cases like this. The fact that Speaker was not demonstrating any tangible symptoms at the time of his trip makes it unlikely that he would have been very contagious, even to someone who sat next to him for a long flight. The key word is "unlikely", though. A change in his condition due to a cold, a chemical he was unused to, etc. could change the balance within hours and make him a more dangerous carrier. The important point here, I think, is that he exposed innocent bystanders to a truly life-threatening pathogen and knew full-well the whole time. Even a 0.1% chance of transmitting XDR TB is of vastly greater import than a 10% chance of transmitting a cold virus.

Posted by: Chuck Darwin on June 1, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

January 2006
Do frequent flyers catch more colds?

by Forrest M. Mims III

Is it true that you’re more likely to catch a cold if you take a flight on a commercial airplane?

The short answer is yes. People who fly catch more colds than those who stay at home.

This question concerns everyone who flies, especially frequent flyers ands those who fly during winter when fellow passengers are more likely to be infected with colds and even influenza.

Martin Hocking and Harold Foster of Canada's University of Victoria have studied the problem of increased colds among airline passengers. In an article for the Journal of Environmental Health Research ("Common cold transmission in commercial aircraft: Industry and passenger implications," 2004) , they reported that 20 percent of passengers who flew on a 2.5 hour flight developed colds within a week.

Depending on three different flight scenarios, Hocking and Foster found that airline passengers in three different scenarios were 5, 23, or 113 times more likely to catch a cold than if they had not flown at all!

The scientists also found that the threat of catching tuberculosis is substantially higher if an infected passenger is aboard a flight.

The most logical reason for infections would seem to be the limited amount of cabin air shared by the passengers. But Hocking, Foster and other scientists have found this is only one factor. The very low humidity in an airplane seems to be much more important.

Commercial jet airplanes fly typically fly at altitudes ranging from 27,000 to 39,000 feet. The air is extremely dry at these high altitudes. Therefore, when fresh air is brought into the plane to supply the passengers and crew, it is very dry air.

Very dry air dries up the mucous system that captures and expels bacteria and viruses from our noses. This may be a key reason why airplane passengers catch more colds.

Experiments to add humidity to airplane air have not been very successful, at least so far. The passengers themselves add some humidity simply by breathing. But it’s common for the relative humidity on an airplane to be ten percent or less.

Some passengers have devised clever ways to keep their personal air humidified. A few wear face masks, which adds humidity to the air being inhaled. But face masks can disturb fellow passengers. (This bias will change if a flu pandemic occurs.)

Others use various nasal sprays and ointments to keep their mucous membranes moist. If you are planning a trip, you might want to ask your physician for advice. You can also find travel advice and information from various web site.

Forrest M. Mims III and his science are featured online at www.forrestmims.org.

This feature was originally published in Forrest Mims's weekly science column in the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise, Seguin, Texas. The column is written for a general audience.








Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

There is a tremendous disconnect here.

Ok, so was his TB a credible threat to the public?

Well, which is it... Yes or No?

If the answer is really Yes, shouldn't he have been under some form of serious quarantine immediately?

Was it ok to ride in a bus with other people? A taxicab? Jammed in a subway car?

Ok, so if the answer is not really 'Yes' to the above, then what does leaving or re-entering the country have to do with anything? What were you going to do with him? Put him on another airplane and send him to Syria?

Methinks in case 2, it's a tempest in a teapot and the sh(& is probably being stirred for political reasons. Bad news coming this weekend?

Posted by: Buford on June 1, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

It plays because it brings into play mystery, international travel, romance, a beautiful woman, gothic disease forms, stupid lawyers, incompetent government employees, a whiff of danger to the nation, etc.

The guy is a "matrimonial" (divorce) and personal injury attorney. Like I posted elsewhere, what if someone recklessly and knowingly exposed their spouse to a deadly disease? Wouldn't a divorce and personal injury attorney know that there is a basis for a divorce and personal injury suit arising out of that reckless behavior?

Posted by: Neal on June 1, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Enough is enough! I have had it with this mother******' Extensive Drug Resistant Tuberculosis on this mother******' plane!

Posted by: S.L. Jackson on June 1, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Buford, before you start spouting off conspiracy theories, you might want to actually read about the case. Speaker's bacteria weren't identified as XDR until he'd already been in Europe for days. The CDC then tracked him down in Italy and told him to immediately go into isolation and begin treatment in Italy. It was the return trip Speaker made to Canada that was truly inexcusable. The CDC did a pretty good job in this case as far as I can tell.

Posted by: Chuck Darwin on June 1, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Because it is a tale of a guy that risked it all to marry a blonde bombshell?
The picture they showed of her on "Morning Joe" on msnbc was not flattering--way too tight dress, sideways posing, but the accompanying huge chest and blondeness...well,that makes a story,
I guess. (Rolling eyes)
I felt a bit bad for her because there was another story and a news photo of another guy with a stripper on his arm, and someone on the show remarked that the man with TB's wife looked about the same...ouch.

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Why hasn't there been (more) coverage, now, of the guy in Arizona locked up for ~ 1 yr for XDR TB?

Posted by: Daniel on June 1, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): In Phoenix, Arizona, Robert Daniels is in custody, in solitary confinement in a hospital prison ward. Not because he's committed a crime, but because he's sick. Very sick.

ROBERT DANIELS, QUARANTINED TB PATIENT: I never thought that this could happen. I'm telling you, I'm sometimes sitting on the bed and I'm just crying because of all the quietness.

GUTIERREZ: We can't see Robert Daniels. We can't meet him. Daniels has tuberculosis. A deadly, drug resistant strain. And he's been quarantined by the state.

DANIELS: I'm not being isolated, I'm being incarcerated.

GUTIERREZ: For the past eight months, the 27-year-old has been confined to his room, equipped with a special ventilation system. His only contact with the outside world is the medical staff who feed and treat him and a telephone.

DANIELS: I don't have nobody to talk to. I have -- my mental health is going down. I'm just slowly dying.

GUTIERREZ: Daniel says he contracted TB while living with his wife and children in Moscow. He returned to the United States for medical treatment. Arizona health officials told Daniels that he was infectious and repeatedly warned him to wear a mask in public. He didn't.

BOB ENGLAND, MARICOPA COUNTY HEALTH DIRECTOR: I hate locking people up.

GUTIERREZ: Maricopa County health director says, when the public is at risk, he has no choice.

ENGLAND: It is a very rare individual for whom we need to pursue legal remedies and legally isolate somebody so that they don't expose others.

GUTIERREZ: But some say Daniels' civil rights are being violated because he has not been charged with any crimes.

DANIEL POCHOOA, ARIZONA ACLU: He gets no TV, no phone. He has a light on in his cell 24 hours a day, seven days a week. His phone calls are monitored.

GUTIERREZ: The Maricopa Sheriff's Department says Daniels created his own problem.

JOHN MACINTYRE, MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: I personally would have been perfectly if Mr. Daniels had shown the sense that God gave a goat and kept his mask on.

GUTIERREZ: For Robert Daniels, there's no end in sight. Doctors say treatment for the type of TB he has could take years.
(End videotape)

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Buford, before you start spouting off conspiracy theories... The CDC did a pretty good job in this case as far as I can tell"

If those are the facts, then I stand corrected.

Posted by: Buford on June 1, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

What I don't get is;
Every day, hundreds of people DIE in car accidents. They already have news choppers out there - they could plaster every screen in this country with "beautiful people dying in horrible car accident deaths" 24x7, non-stop, for the next 50 years, not even scratch the surface.

Yet, they look for this stupid crap like TB, or Avian Flu that killed like what, 10 people world-wide last year? WTF? If you want to scare people, scare them with something realistic.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 1, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Why isn't Daniels at that hospital in Colorado, the Jewish Hospital, that specializes in treating drug-resistant TB? That's where Speaker was taken.

Posted by: Swift Loris on June 1, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

It is a good thing in a way, for it helps the public, government and media get ready for a real emergency. It's practice.

Posted by: Bob M on June 1, 2007 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

osama_been_forgotten: they look for this stupid crap like TB, or Avian Flu that killed like what, 10 people world-wide last year?

While this story gets overplayed for the melodrama, it, and Avian Flu are still important stories.

While the number of people killed in car accidents is high, it's known and not subject to sudden enormous increases.

The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 killed 25 to 100 million people worldwide, including at least 500,000 in the US. WWI's carnage was minor by comparison, but the pandemic barely rates an historical footnote.

Even as recently as 1968, the Hong Kong flu killed 500,000 people, including 33,000 in the US. And the reason for the lower mortality has more to do with a less virulent strain than with improvements in medical care.

Posted by: alex on June 1, 2007 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Yep. Now if only he'd had typhoid, then, well, the news wouldn't pay attention and we could get on with more important things.

Posted by: parrot on June 1, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Two reasons why this story is important:

1)
He is white.
He is rich.
He is a republican.
Ergo, the rule of law don't apply to him.
He can do as he pleases.

2)
Because of (1), the terrorist attack of the future will be someone who looks just like Speaker. This person will be deliberately infected with a killer bug. He will be instructed to fly to America and cough on as many people as he can until he dies......

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on June 1, 2007 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly as ROTFLMLiberalAO said. If this guy were brown-skinned, he'd be in Guantanamo by now.
The story is interesting as an example of how America really works.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 1, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

I say we forgive the guy, provided he demonstrate the sincerity of his remorse by french-kissing Dick Cheney.

Posted by: chance on June 1, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Speaker seems to have disobeyed the establishment as much as Daniels was purported to, and appears to be getting preferential treatment comparatively. Maybe this will help Daniel's sad plight.

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Hey -- where do I turn in that lady in seat 16B on my Hawaiian Airlines flight to Kahului this afternoon, who had the temerity to travel with a bad cold?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, hanging out on Maui this weekend. Life's tough ... on June 1, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Donald - I am hanging out in the timber, a hundred and twenty miles from the city. Life sucks, or so I hear...:)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 1, 2007 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

If only W. Somerset Maugham were alive, he could write a short story about the TB incident - Have the setting in Scotland - Then Michael Rennie could play the lead, with Jean Simmons wanting to marry him. Oops, he and they already have done that.

BGRS, watch out for the Copperheads and the rattlers.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 1, 2007 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

As soon as I heard the quote from this guy expressing his distress at the nature of his quarantine, because he is a "successful professional", I guessed that he was an attorney.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 1, 2007 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Life is good but the stories are wierd. The TB saga is making me nuts. And one more Lindsey Lohan or P Hilton story will send me to the vomitorium.

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

When I go out hiking the ridges, I wear sturdy, mid-calf boots and carry a .410 snakecharmer. I also stick to deer trails and don't tromp through the brush. I am not an outdoorswoman - that is for damned sure.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 1, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Better off hiking than flying, seemingly!

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Hi CWA - how goes it? I think I am going to get a thunderstorm later. That would be totally awesome - the house is built into the side of a high hill, so no flooding worries. Let the sky rage! My electrics are buried.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 1, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect I might have difficulty boarding my next flight, after my activities of the last week.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 1, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Doing well, thanks--working too much lately. Are you on vacation?

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

I am - at least temporarily - retired.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 1, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

I have become a professional troublemaker.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 1, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds wonderful to me! You are living the life I only imagine!

Posted by: consider wisely on June 1, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect I might have difficulty boarding my next flight, after my activities of the last week.

Just ask for pre-boarding assistance!

Then a little hair of the dog that bit you, and...

OH, you mean the Libby thing. Yeah, better get used to the bus.... ;)

Posted by: trex on June 1, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I have done plenty of traveling and don't mind staying put for the time being.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 1, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure there are many TB stories. Ayn Rand wrote a sad one. Unfortunately, more may be written.

Posted by: Brojo on June 2, 2007 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

There are parallels between this and the hoof-and-mouth outbreak in England several years ago. There was the law. There were quarantines imposed. And there was widespread "discretion" which rendered plans useless and guaranteed that the disease would spread. (In England, money and class essentially made the law a nullity.)

XDR TB is no laughing matter. TB was the AIDS of the 19th Century, but because of antibiotics we no longer worry about it. Well, XDR-TB laughs at antibiotics. And it's easier to transmit than HIV.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on June 2, 2007 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Twelve Monkeys comes to mind.

Posted by: Never Happen on June 2, 2007 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

A bit off-thread here, but I just read that they're tracking down every passenger on Speaker's various flights to test them for exposure to the TB bug.

Let's say one or more test positive to the precise flavor of TB that Speaker has, a rather exotic one that's not yet in the CDC catalog of TB bugs.

Meaning that as far as scientists and doctors are concerned, the other passengers got their TB from Speaker.

Is Speaker's exposing them legally actionable? Is his negligence a tort for which he can be sued? Given that he's a personal injury lawyer, his callous disregard for the well-being of others is kind fo shocking.

Posted by: Auto on June 2, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

I find this story fairly interesting for several reasons.

1. Where did Speaker contract the TB? Sources say he was in Vietnam and Peru.

2. Speaker's father-in-law-to-be just happens to be a scientist who specializes in this form of TB. What if HE wasn't real fond of the groom-to-be and, somehow, infected him?

3. IF this TB was so terrible and the family knew this in advance, why did the pretty-white-Christian bride-to-be agree to go along with a marriage ceremony. And, indeed, plan to live with Speaker?

Something's just not right with this whole thing on a personal level. Should be interesting to see what the real story is.

Posted by: phoebes on June 2, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

watch out for the Copperheads and the rattlers.

worry more about the ticks.

Posted by: Disputo on June 2, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

One factor no one has noted is that CNN and the CDC are both located in Atlanta, so this story is a perfect fit for CNN's lazy reporting style. They can roll out of bed, shoot a few externals at the CDC campus, and head down to Buckhead for mojitos.

Posted by: AJL on June 2, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Something's just not right with this whole thing on a personal level. Should be interesting to see what the real story is."

Yes, I think there is more to the story than the surface of it indicates.
Phoebes, what about this conspiracy theory?
1) Speaker *doesn't* have XDR TB, perhaps a benign version of it instead.
2) The CDC (his father-in-law) and the NSA have cooked this up to scare the shit out of everybody about illegal immigrants generally, and deliberately infected terrorist immigrants specifically.
3) The rationale behind (2) is based on a recent clandestine disruption of a terrorist cell with plans to do something quite similar.
4) They (the NSA) will whip the public into a frenzy to pass super restrictive immigration regulations. Repubs and Dems will sign on to it because of the extent of public paranoia over the issue. This will help nip in the bud any further heinous attempts.

BTW, I don't really believe this, but it might make a good Creighton novel, or a "24" episode.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 2, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

The real story here isn't about some selfish ass who jeopordizes others. The real story here is the downright unhealthy environment that one must endure on any given flight.

The inside of all commerical airliners are petri dishes teaming with bacteria, viruses and all manner of germy things. Go ahead, ask the airlines for info on the air quality of their planes. Ask them how often planes are sterilized. Ask them any kind of related question and you'll find yourself on the No Fly list.

Posted by: Jerry Manning on June 2, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Its because the guy is such a self-absorbed, clueless moron. He's completely unapologetic. I find it quite fascinating.

Posted by: marky on June 3, 2007 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

osama_been_forgotten: they look for this stupid crap like TB, or Avian Flu that killed like what, 10 people world-wide last year?

"Stupid crap like TB"?

Look, the press may not be doing a very good job of explaining this, but some of y'all are trying extra hard to know nothing.

TB doesn't kill a lot of people now - in wealthy countries at least - because of antibiotics. That's the only reason. Before we invented antibiotics, there was a lot of it around and if you caught it, you were in for either a slow or a rapid decline followed by death, or at best an endless series of relapses as a miserable invalid.

TB is not the easiest bug to catch, but we'd still have a hell of a lot of it if we weren't able to treat recently exposed people and suppress the infection before they become contagious. With XDR-TB, there's nothing to treat them with, so if we let it start spreading over here there's nothing to stop it spreading.

Posted by: Hob on June 3, 2007 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

Here is the scary part of this story. My husband was on the Paris flight, 3 rows away from Speaker. As of Friday (june 1) no one had contacted us. I called the CDC to ask why. Dr Wrisma told me "We just got the passenger manifest yesterday afternoon"! This, after they kept saying they were contacting passengers.

Posted by: susan on June 3, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I am sure I had heard on Friday that they had already contacted and tested persons sitting within 15 seats of Mr. Speaker.
What a bunch of crap if they had not yet obtained the passenger list.
CNN and MSNBC must be total b.s.

Posted by: consider wisely on June 3, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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