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Connecting the dots

Everyone is up in arms over Andrew Speaker, the Atlanta man who went globe-trotting for his wedding and honeymoon while carrying a very potent form of tuberculosis. (The best evisceration of this asshat I've seen so far is by one of my favorite commenters, "-S-", on her own blog.)

As is my wont, though, I can't just link to something without saying something on my own about the matter. And in this case, I find myself thinking about how this guy is a very successful personal-injury lawyer, one of the more loathed subcategories of an already-despised profession, and wondering just why one of his peers -- a guy who couldn't even get elected to a second term in the United States Senate -- is doing so well in the run for the presidency?

Comments (31)

yep jay..connect the dots..... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

yep jay..connect the dots..after all..your link is to a candidate who has issued specific plans...
Is it much more comfortable to support someone who just talks about solutions rather then say what they propose? Also...I am assuming you place Reagan who could not even get his Party nomination in 1976 as a failure?
As for defense lawyers...
yep they are all scum..and no one posting here has never or would ever have need for one...
After all everybody injured asked for it..and if you can't trust employers/corporations to place saftey ahead of profits...who can we trust?

Back in the early 1980s, I ... (Below threshold)

Back in the early 1980s, I was exposed to tuberculosis, and my skin test showed positive. No symptoms, nothing in my x-rays. I was in the military (USAF), and they treated me (which consisted of giving me isoniazid, the standard drug for TB at the time). I never showed symptoms.

Since I was asymptomatic, there was supposedly no threat to others, as long as I took the pills. However, they made a big deal about getting me on the drug regimen immediately (I took my first dose in the hospital), and I had to go in for monthly blood tests (to see if the INH was damaging my liver) and take B12 (to minimize neurological damage).

If this guy was truly not showing symptoms, then it was still imperative that he get on some sort of treatment, right away. Going on an overseas trip would be stupid, especially for something that needed such specific treatment. You don't have to be coughing up blood to be contagious, and you can start showing internal signs (on x-rays) well before you notice them externally.

Of course, other questions do come up. If he was truly asymptomatic, why was he tested, and how did they figure out that it was XDR tuberculosis? That's usually something that's only found out when you get treated for "regular" active TB, but none of the drugs work. The full diagnosis usually takes six weeks or more (they have to culture the bacteria, then test various drugs on them). The alternate drugs he should have been taking (for the TB strains that are resistant to INH and the other front-line drugs) are not easy on the body, and would have really cramped his style on an overseas trip. You have to wonder if he was even taking the other drugs...

At the very least, this guy was "under treatment" for a couple of months. And he wants us to believe that, at no time in that treatment, they told him he might want to stay out of confined spaces with a bunch of people?

I'm also pretty stunned that his doctors didn't tell him, forcefully, that he needed to get to that special hospital and start getting treated, NOW.

You're confusing defense at... (Below threshold)

You're confusing defense attorneys with plaintiffs attorneys, ngp.

You are not confused, cirby. S brings up a good point, does he have neuro involvement? May be a defense to his otherwise outrageous actions. How was he exposed? Is he immunocompetent? Many interesting questions, not being answered, by anybody, even those who could.

This is the collateral damage from a superfluity of Personal Injury lawyers; everyone is so afraid to talk that the truth doesn't come out to the public.

I believe this Speaker scum... (Below threshold)

I believe this Speaker scum is trying to get a head of the PR curve. He is definitely the responsible party here and of course he should be sued by everyone who is now fearing they might have his disease. If you go to the hospital with SUSPECTED TB, they put you in a negative pressure room. This guy surely was told to not travel in public places, at the very least. This self indulgent fool put a lot of people in jeopardy and fear for nothing.

NOGO- as usual, your rant is stupid. ww

Nogo you dumbass, this guy ... (Below threshold)

Nogo you dumbass, this guy was a PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER....like your pal Edwards. The only thing he defends is his pocketbook and narcissistic (sp)lifestyle.

I wonder if Speaker has ever channeled the dead?

Why is Edwards doing so wel... (Below threshold)

Why is Edwards doing so well?


a) people like what he's saying
b) he has spent his life and career working for the underdog
c) all lawyers are not automatically evil scum.

Just as Fred Thompson is not automatically scum, just because he's a lawyer and a lobbyist.

I believe you hit the nail ... (Below threshold)

I believe you hit the nail on the head WW. Poor Andrew's no doubt been counciled by daddy and daddy's PR boys on how to minimize the damage as they see a tidal wave of lawsuits emerging from this.

Daddy was quoted two days ago saying this has been "blown way out of proportion". Of course the plane passengers all agree.

When they let him travel th... (Below threshold)

When they let him travel they thought the meds he was on covered it; they discovered while he was in Europe that his strain was multiply resistant. He made the error to travel, his doctors may not have urged him strongly enough to travel, and certainly did not suggest a plan he was persuaded to follow. The Denver bit is probably bullshit, he's claiming he fled here to get to Denver; he was just a scared and stupid American out of his fishpond, and wanted to get home.

But how did he get this? The virulence part of this bug is part mythic; it's the drug resistance that is the problem, it is not likely much more virulent than ordinary Tb. So how, and why, did he get it? It would take highly unusual exposure, and somewhat unusual immune response in him.

There is a hell of a lot more to this story than is meeting the eye.

Also, pet peeve. Our highly educated media is reporting some of the fellow passengers as relieved that their Tb tests are coming out negative. Did the journalists not really talk to them, or did those passengers doctors not tell them that a negative test so soon after exposure is meaningless except to establish a baseline? Who's at fault here, journalism or medicine? Or, more likely, both?

Also big because of his fat... (Below threshold)

Also big because of his father-in-law. It should be determinable if this strain is from the CDC. If it is, whew.

At one time during the Cold War, after the eradication of smallpox and before the rise of genocide to take its ecological place, there were three repositories of the smallpox virus. The CDC had some for us, The Russians had some, and the British kept some in a lab. The last human so far to die from smallpox worked in the floor below the British lab where the virus was kept. The lab director, horror struck at what sloppiness under his command had caused, committed suicide. I expect no similar gesture from anyone associated with this mess, but I have lots of candidates at whom to gesticulate.

Why is Edwards doing so ... (Below threshold)

Why is Edwards doing so well?

Because he's pretty, and speaks well.

That's all it really takes for a lot of people.

Then, they can make up short lists that claim certain good qualities, and ignore the fact that almost all of his supporters would vote for him even if he was found with dead cheerleaders in the trunk of his car ("he's far too nice to have done that!").

Yes Kim...great point..we l... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Yes Kim...great point..we live in an era where most media is too lazy to pursue anything on their own..

kim:TB is pretty h... (Below threshold)


TB is pretty hard to catch, overall. This means he was either supremely unlucky, was intentionally exposed, or spent some time in a small room with someone who already has the disease.

I'm betting he has an "on spec" client he's representing, who has the strain in question.

On smallpox: I once met one of the last people on the planet to catch the disease (this was at a conference about leprosy - talk about two-for-one). He was quite certain that smallpox was going to surface again, either from the Russian bio warfare program (they had, literally, TONS of the stuff), or from a "lost" population. If that critter gets back out in the regular population, international travel will come to a screeching halt - and untold millions of people in third-world countries will die.

Hell, if a "strong" XDR TB strain gets out among the poor people of the world (resistant, easy to catch, and lethal), you're looking at hundreds of millions dead over the next couple of decades.

Oh, look! "The Andromeda S... (Below threshold)

Oh, look! "The Andromeda Strain" is showing on The Sundance Channel!

(noon-2:15 EST)

"a guy who couldn't even... (Below threshold)

"a guy who couldn't even get elected to a second term in the United States Senate"

Isn't this like saying that Lance Armstrong couldn't have won an 8th Tour de France? Edwards ran for Senate exactly once and he won exactly once. This characterization is only accurate in the "you can't win if you don't play" sense.

Perhaps you're confusing Edwards with Lauch Faircloth, who actually failed in an attempt to win that same Senatorial seat the second time.

Joe Yangtree, liberals live... (Below threshold)

Joe Yangtree, liberals live by polls and the polls showed that Silky Hair couldn't be elected dog catcher in the smallest town in Carolina, so he decided against making a fool of himself and bacame the running mate of another loser and made fools of both of them. Democrats no longer have anything to prove to me. They proved they are all stupid when they picked a known (without a doubt) traitor to his country and one of the biggest liars that ever lived to head the ticket, (Christmas in Cambodia) and he picked the fairy land, 'I can channel the unborn to a jury', boy as a running mate. We now know the Silky haired pony is a phony but I still worry about the people that served on his juries. They are still walking the street (empty brains and all) and should be classified as dangerous as he**.

What is really scary is all... (Below threshold)

What is really scary is all the illegals coming into this country. No health checks preformed on them, Lord only knows if/what disease they may/may not have.

Neither party will do anything to stop the flow on illegals coming into our country. Too much money involved for our elected critters to follow their oaths of office, such as upholding our laws, and protecting our country.

I do think Mr. Edwards and ... (Below threshold)

I do think Mr. Edwards and Mr. Speaker show some of the same judgment.

"It's about me; me, me, me!!"

Asshats, both.

Scappy, kim, cirby as usual... (Below threshold)

Scappy, kim, cirby as usual are correct.

There is speculation that TB Boy may have picked up this bug on his numerous 6 years of previous trip-making abroad. We don't know where he went, but it would be interesting to know.

Mr. Father in Law will never live this down, tho. The delightful irony of the story is we have a CDC f-in-law and a father trial lawyer, and neither of them had enough sense to see the risks they confront every day in their own jobs.

The myopia of narcissism.

I just don't understand thi... (Below threshold)

I just don't understand this man, Speaker. Why would a man who is reportedly intelligent, well educated and world traveled want to leave a continent that is rife with nearly universal health care? Further, If he really wanted to do what is best for himself, Why didn't he go to Cuba where he could really get first class treatment?

If this fellow had a cultur... (Below threshold)

If this fellow had a culture turn up positive, he does not have latent TB, which is what cirby mentioned. He had active TB.

Latent TB means the skin test is positive, (meaning you show an immune reaction to the bug) but have no active infection. he body's immune system has isolated the bug, but has a hard time killing it off. Eventually a significant portion of folks with latent TB develop active TB, especially if their immune system becomes impaired due to other illness or age or malnutrition.

Active TB is presumably what this fellow had. He was being treated with the usually effective drugs. The cultures to determine drug resistance take 6-8 weeks at times, so there is often a delay from the onset of treatment until one sees if the drugs are correct. Standard recommendations are not to consider yourself non-infectious until serial cultures are negative.

MDR TB is most likely caught from exposure to another person infected, not from Daddy's lab. If these folks are as rich as it sounds, I'd suspect the undocumented maid or gardner. Prostitutes form third world countries are also a possible source. Can you all guess why "the infectious source" has been so hard to identify up to now? Wanna bet that this fellow, if he has knowledge of such contacts, might be less than willing to divulge such important information (especially given his display of lack of ethics thus far)?

Sorry, besides the typo abo... (Below threshold)

Sorry, besides the typo above, forgot to mention:

Latent TB IS NOT infectious - by definition. Active TB is.

It's active alright. He ha... (Below threshold)

It's active alright. He has a tennis ball sized pulmonary mass they are considering removing surgically.

"liberals live by polls ... (Below threshold)

"liberals live by polls and the polls showed that Silky Hair couldn't be elected dog catcher in the smallest town in Carolina"

Since there seem to be a number of polls that you're basing this conclusion on, how about at least naming one, who took it, its date, and its results by percentage. I'll also accept any statement by Edwards or his staff that they took internal polls and this was the result. Otherwise, this seems like just idle speculation on your part with no actual basis.

Look, Joe, dogs smell phony... (Below threshold)

Look, Joe, dogs smell phony even better than people. To be a successful dogcatcher, you've got to be able to get the dogs' trust, and he don't smell right to 'em. Hence, John is unqualified to be a dogcatcher, and the smaller the town, the more obvious it is to the denizens who the fakes and unqualified are among them and they wouldn't vote for him, so there: actual basis for the contention that he couldn't be elected dogcatcher in the smallest town in North Carolina.

Pooh on you.

Or any Carolina in any know... (Below threshold)

Or any Carolina in any known or conceivable universe.

OK, the 'conceivable' part ... (Below threshold)

OK, the 'conceivable' part is speculative.

I think.====... (Below threshold)

I think.

Ah, so you're saying that t... (Below threshold)

Ah, so you're saying that the polls that Scrapiron is referring to were of the dogs in North Carolina. Was it done by "Dog Fancier", "Dog News Today", or "Dogcatcher Weekly"?

My point here, if it wasn't... (Below threshold)

My point here, if it wasn't already obvious, is that the original characterization of Edwards was entirely based on speculation. All I did was point that out. I've seen this speculation a number of times before, in 2004 and this year, but only with Scrapiron have I seen the addition of the idea that this was actually based on polling. Given how early Edwards started his presidential run for 2004, it seems very unlikely that the "polling" idea is true, but if it is I'd like to know. Given Scrapiron's posting history he's probably just making that part up.

Anyone, such as Scrapiron, who prays for millions of deaths so the president will appear to be justified has a tenuous grip on reality, anyway.

A bit late to thank you for... (Below threshold)

A bit late to thank you for the link referral and compliment, Jay Tea, but here I am saying 'thanks.'

I was just looking over my website stats -- usually I keep a closer (daily) eye on them but have been preoccupied in the last four days and didn't look things over until this morning -- I found a huge number of site visits for June 02 (date o' your thread publish here) and then followed the (other) dots to find your link.

So, thanks, especially for your kind words about my blog, BIRD. You are one of my favorite bloggers, too, as is WIZBANG! among favorite blogs.

About TB-Guy, I wrote the thread I did on my blog before the TB-Guy's identity was made public, so I had no idea what his defining characteristics were (especially no knowledge that he was an attorney, nor that his father/fatherinlaw worked with the CDC).

But, about TB-Guy, my instincts tend to run astutely and certainly did as to his story from the very start. I realize he's captured in some grim health circumstances, but, his utter recklessness with and utter lack of empathy with humanity around him truly disgusts me. Certainly, immediately alarmed me, regardless of who he was/is or what his situation was/is (and thus, I wrote that thread at that time before knowing anything about TB-Guy's identity, only as to his behavior).

Although I was not as direct as epador was here, earlier in these comments here (^^), my best guesses, too, as to where he contracted this form of TB was from activities he isn't reporting, nor is his family reporting. Specifically, either from a client he won't/hasn't identified (and is discouraging being identified) or from prostitution or similar associations he won't make public (nor will his family).

Which, AGAIN, indicates very.bad.character when the issue is an acute public health threat such as he has -- AND that it is very important to identify where TB-Guy contracted this infection, yet that's been nearly a silent issue in the media (I've only read one news article that devoted about one sentence among dozens of paragraphs of text to the statement that there was any activity in investigating where the strain came from).

I can underSTAND why a segment among our population would want to keep these issues as silent as possible, BUT, all that aside, the silence about TB-Guy and from him is deafening.

I do suspect neurological impairment, in his case but that doesn't explain the suspicious behavior of his family and doctors (not specific doctors, don't know who they are, but there's been little to no public comment from anyone that I know of in relationship with this man's condition AND behavior).

About John Edwards, he's no... (Below threshold)

About John Edwards, he's not looking too well supported by the polls, not that I'm a keen believer in public polling.

I venture to guess that Edwards has been the Fall Guy for the Clinton/Obama ticket. Just as Biden is but with more splash.

But his strange and venemous malignment of national security is a completely losing position and worse, more losing as to Edwards as candidate is that he does not appear to understand that.






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