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EDITORIAL: Tears flow freely after party's over

Reading the story of Andrew Speaker, one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. Laughter may seem appropriate when looking at some of the crazy ironies associated with his drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. After rebuked by health officials fo...

Reading the story of Andrew Speaker, one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Laughter may seem appropriate when looking at some of the crazy ironies associated with his drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. After rebuked by health officials for traveling on transatlantic flights, thus endangering the public, he's been placed in hospital quarantine to ensure his illness won't spread. But in preparation for Friday television interviews, he was surrounded by make-up artists. After all, one can't go on national television looking pale and sickly.

But tears also might be appropriate when one discovers that Speaker was so easily able to ignore health specialists and later duck under their radar by sneaking back home via Canada -- right past a fully-informed U.S. border guard. Would-be terrorists must be celebrating this exhibit of border insecurity, which occurred near the same spot 9-11 terrorists entered the United States.

Although Speaker now expresses sympathy for those with whom he traveled and exposed to his illness, he earlier exhibited a "me, me, me" belief that flying to Europe for his wedding and honeymoon trumped all concern about others. And when contacted in Italy of the seriousness of his condition, he totally ignored advice by Center for Disease Control officials, who urged him to stay put. Instead, Speaker fled, fearing he had been "abandoned" by the CDC and might die in Europe.

The poor thing. It would be terrible to die in an exotic land that most Americans can't even afford to visit once in a lifetime. Apparently, he forgot earlier advice to refrain from travel.

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Meanwhile, it turns out his wedding didn't even take place, because the couple lacked appropriate papers -- just a minor twist in the lives of the rich and famous.

Speaker said it's likely some people will never forgive him. Gosh. Hard to imagine anybody would hold a grudge against a cash-heavy self-serving globetrotter who's just trying to have a good time at the public's expense. Maybe a dozen more televised interviews will iron things out and give his conscience a rest.

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