Holiday Leftovers: Updates to Recent Stories
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
This is DAY TO DAY. From NPR News, I'm Madeleine Brand.
ALEX COHEN, host:
And I'm Alex Cohen.
Today you may be noshing on food left over from a Fourth of July barbecue. On DAY TO DAY it's our post-holiday tradition to provide you with some leftovers too. Our leftovers are really kind of an update of some of the stories we've reported over the past few months.
NPR's Karen Grigsby-Bates is here with us in the studio now to give us a couple of updates. So Karen, what's first?
KAREN GRIGSBY-BATES: Well, Alex, you've probably heard a lot about Andrew Speaker in the last month.
COHEN: Ah, yes. Mr. Tuberculosis, right?
GRIGSBY-BATES: Yeah, that's right. Mr. Speaker is the Atlanta lawyer who made headlines about a month ago because he has a particularly hard-to-treat strain of tuberculosis.
COHEN: And then he flew back from his European wedding and honeymoon on crowded commercial flights causing quite a bit of panic.
GRIGSBY-BATES: That's the guy. The Centers for Disease Control had good news for Mr. Speaker when it announced on Tuesday this...
Dr. CHARLES DALEY (Centers for Disease Control): Based on extensive testing of multiple isolates of the organisms that we have culture from Mr. Speaker, we have been able to demonstrate that he does not have XDR TB or extensively drug-resistant TB.
GRIGSBY-BATES: It turns out he does have multiple drug resistant TB. It's still very serious, but it's not deadly. Speaker insists that he never would have flown on multiple planes to get to and from Europe if the CDC had specifically told him not to. He feels he's been portrayed in the press as a kind of modern Typhoid Mary, and he's hinting there may be legal action in his future.
COHEN: Hmm. DAY TO DAY also aired the story of another TB patient. That was back in April.
GRIGSBY-BATES: That would be Robert Daniels. He does have XDR TB. It stands for extremely drug-resistant TB. When DAY TO DAY talked with him, he was in the hospital ward at the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona.
Mr. ROBERT DANIELS (27-year-old Resident, Arizona): They're telling me that I'm an inmate. They gave me a booking number, which is for what? For having TB booking number? This is just being all ridiculous.
COHEN: Remind us why Robert Daniels is in jail.
GRIGSBY-BATES: Well, in the past Daniels has been what doctors call non-compliant. He hasn't always taken his medicine and he's gone out in public, which he should do very rarely, if at all, without a mask. So they're thinking that this is the only way to make sure that this really virulent strain of TB remains where it should be and not out amongst the populace.
COHEN: Why don't they just transfer Daniels to the same hospital that took in Andrew Speaker? Surely they're equipped to handle these kind of disease.
GRIGSBY-BATES: That's the National Jewish Hospital and Medical Center in Denver. And they can't take patients under armed guard. And apparently the CDC feels armed security is the only thing keeping Robert Daniels from wandering out amongst us. Again, the ACLU is challenging his lockup situation as a violation of his civil rights. So we're continuing to follow this case.
COHEN: Quite a story. Okay, Karen, what's next?
GRIGSBY-BATES: A little quiz for you, Alex. Who's this?
Governor BILL RICHARDSON (Democrat, New Mexico): It means so much to me to announce my candidacy in California, the state that I was born and where I'm going to win this primary here in the state.
COHEN: Born in California but left quickly after that, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
GRIGSBY-BATES: Oh, you win a gold star. This week he journeyed to Marlow, New Hampshire and he told NPR's Robert Siegel why.
Gov. RICHARDSON: This little town has never had a presidential candidate come. It's a town of about a couple of hundred people. And they made a big thing out of it, which caused my people to say, well, this is an opportunity, so I'm going to go to Marlow and hopefully in the primary I'll be the candidate that wins Marlow because I'm the only one that's been there.
GRIGSBY-BATES: We had a story about a month ago about Marlow getting no visitors, and now the town's finally getting its turn.
COHEN: Congratulations, Marlow. Okay, Karen, what's next?
GRIGSBY-BATES: Carlos Slim Helu. We did a story on him in April. Last week, Slim - as everybody calls him - edged out Bill Gates to become the world's richest man. Forbes Magazine says Gates is worth about 59 billion. As of the end of June, Forbes says Slim's fortune is around $67.8 billion.
COHEN: Got to go for the bad pun. That's certainly no slim fortune. Remind us how he made all that money.
GRIGSBY-BATES: Ouch. Telecommunications. For the most part, Slim owns about 90 percent of all the land-based phone lines in Mexico and about 75 percent of the wireless. And he's diverse. He's got a lot of holdings in restaurants, cafes and retail businesses.
Here's how reporter Jordana Gustafson put it.
JORDANA GUSTAFSON: Slim's holdings are so vast he's created a sort of self-perpetuating wealth machine. One observer noted that diners at one of Slim's hundreds of chain restaurants can use a Slim wireless service to connect to Slim's Internet provider to do online banking at Slim's bank.
GRIGSBY-BATES: And interestingly enough, Alex, for all this money, a couple of years ago the man was reported to be wearing a plastic watch.
COHEN: NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates. Thanks so much for catching us up.
GRIGSBY-BATES: My pleasure.