Daily Archives: May 11, 2010

Has the revolution begun?

Another old fashioned pol, 14-term Democrat Congressman Alan Mollohan ( I wrote about him yesterday) has lost his primary to a conservative. The man was a crook, a cheat and nasty piece of business. Naturally, the establishment supported him, but the voters finally tossed him out. He will no doubt reappear as a lobbyist, make ten times his congressional salary (though he made millions through graft) so I’m sure, once he has time to reflect, he’ll be glad for the disruption.

But lobbyists are useless if Congress can’t dictate to business and individuals and step by step, inch by inch, we draw closer to tossing all these worthless people over the falls.


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Brilliant – unemployment at a record high? Raise the cost of employing workers

NYC planning to impose nine-day paid sick leave policy on small employers. The good news is that this law will mean thousands of would-be workers won’t ever be hired, so they can stay home full time to care for their sick kids, and the last remaining New York City taxpayers can pay for them to sit on their fat asses. It is, as they say, a “win win” proposition.

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Uh huh – Senate Democrats vote to “study” Fannie Mae

Instead of shutting it down and unwinding our multi-trillion dollar liability for this loser.

The Senate voted 56 to 43 to reject the Republican amendment to phase out the mortgage-finance companies in two years and eliminate their government support.

“Don’t tear down what you have unless you know what you’re going to replace it with,” Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd said during the debate. He called the Republican plan “the height of irresponsibility.”

Dodd, you may recall, along with Barney Frank, drove the sub-prime mortgage market to collapse by insisting that Fannie Mae lend to ever-more irresponsible borrowers.

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Well d’uh

Eeek, a peanut!

Food allergies a crock, report finds. We have an epidemic of hysterical mommies, not allergies.

A new report, commissioned by the federal government, finds the field is rife with poorly done studies, misdiagnoses and tests that can give misleading results.

While there is no doubt that people can be allergic to certain foods, with reproducible responses ranging from a rash to a severe life-threatening reaction, the true incidence of food allergies is only about 8 percent for children and less than 5 percent for adults, said Dr. Marc Riedl, an author of the new paper and an allergist and immunologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Yet about 30 percent of the population believe they have food allergies. And, Dr. Riedl said, about half the patients coming to his clinic because they had been told they had a food allergy did not really have one.

Dr. Riedl does not dismiss the seriousness of some peoples’ responses to foods. But, he says, “That accounts for a small percentage of what people term ‘food allergies.’ ”

Even people who had food allergies as children may not have them as adults. People often shed allergies, though no one knows why. And sometimes people develop food allergies as adults, again for unknown reasons.

For their report, Dr. Riedl and his colleagues reviewed all the papers they could find on food allergies published between January 1988 and September 2009 — more than 12,000 articles. In the end, only 72 met their criteria, which included having sufficient data for analysis and using more rigorous tests for allergic responses.

“Everyone has a different definition” of a food allergy, said Dr. Jennifer J. Schneider Chafen of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Palo Alto Health Care System in California and Stanford’s Center for Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, who is lead author of the new report. People who receive a diagnosis after one of the two tests most often used — pricking the skin and injecting a tiny amount of the suspect food and looking in blood for IgE antibodies, the type associated with allergies — have less than a 50 percent chance actually having a food allergy, the investigators found.

One way to see such a reaction is with what is called a food challenge, giving people a suspect food disguised so they do not know if they are eating it or a placebo food. If the disguised food causes a reaction, the person has an allergy.

But in practice, most doctors are reluctant to use food challenges, Dr. Riedl said. The test is time-consuming, and doctors worry about asking people to consume a food, like peanuts, that can elicit a frightening response.

Authors of the new report — and experts on the guidelines panel — say even accepted dogma, like the idea that breast-fed babies have fewer allergies or that babies should not eat certain foods like eggs for the first year of life, have little evidence behind them.

Part of the confusion is over what is a food allergy and what is a food intolerance, Dr. Fenton said. Allergies involve the immune system, while intolerances generally do not. For example, a headache from sulfites in wine is not a food allergy. It is an intolerance. The same is true for lactose intolerance, caused by the lack of an enzyme needed to digest sugar in milk.

The chairman of the guidelines project, Dr. Joshua Boyce, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard and an allergist and pediatric pulmonologist, said one of the biggest misconceptions some doctors and patients have is that a positive test for IgE antibodies to a food means a person is allergic to that food. It is not necessarily so, he said.

During development, he said, the immune system tends to react to certain food proteins, producing IgE antibodies. But, Dr. Boyce said, “these antibodies can be transient and even inconsequential.”

“There are plenty of individuals with IgE antibodies to various foods who don’t react to those foods at all,” Dr. Boyce said.

The higher the levels of IgE antibodies to a particular food, the greater the likelihood the person will react in an allergic way. But even then, the antibodies do not necessarily portend a severe reaction, Dr. Boyce said. Antibodies to some foods, like peanuts, are much more likely to produce a reaction than ones to other foods, like wheat or corn or rice. No one understands why.

IgE blood tests are widely available. That makes it easy for doctors to test patients who think they are allergic to foods. Then, when the tests come back positive, often for several foods, patients and their doctors may think they have proof of an allergy, Dr. Boyce said.

The guidelines panel hopes its report will lead to new research as well as clarify the definition and testing for food allergies.

But for now, Dr. Fenton said, doctors should not use either the skin-prick test or the antibody test as the sole reason for thinking their patients have a food allergy.


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Here’s how overpricing works to thwart bids

I saw a great house today, one that I think a client of mine would love and would bid serious money for. But by my reckoning, it’s 20% overpriced, and I told him it was pointless to bid today because that only encourages sellers – “gosh, first day on and already an offer, I’ll just stick to my guns!” They get more stubborn, rather than recognize that often, the first bid is the best.

So we won’t bid. And, six months or a year from now, if the house hasn’t sold, it will probably be down to where my client would have bought it today but by that time, we’ll have found something else. It’s also possible, of course, that someone will pay the asked-for price, which is fine – that person will have bought a house he loved and my client won’t have wasted his money.

The odds are, though, that this seller will still be sitting in his house next May.


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Obama and Democrats abandon their black candidate in Florida to support Crist. Best of the Web:

Crist the Redeemer?
From the Washington Examiner:

A group of Florida Democrats have been urging the White House to abandon their own Senate candidate, Rep. Kendrick Meek, in all but name. And they appear to have succeeded.

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Obama is seriously considering offering only half-hearted support to his party’s nominee, the only serious black candidate for Senate in the United States this year, so as to help Republican-turned-Independent candidate Gov. Charlie Crist win the seat.

You’ve got to love this. Here we have a black Democrat running against a Hispanic Republican, Marco Rubio–and Charlie Crist, a guy who’s so Caucasian even his hair is white, is the hero of the liberal media and may even become the de facto Democrat in the race. Oh, and his failure to win the Republican nomination is supposed to prove that the GOP isn’t inclusive enough!

UPDATE: Can’t get the video link but for the funniest two minutes of any political movie, click here.

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An expensive house goes to contract, but no surprise

I wrote previously about 33 Baldwin Farms S., priced at $3.995, below its $4.1 assessment and in impeccable condition, with a great yard, beautiful view over the pond, and so forth. I predicted then it would sell quickly and it has.

Which just shows that, if priced right, there’s a buyer for almost any price range.

On the other hand, 5 Dialstone Lane in Riverside is back. This was new construction last summer and readers may recall that when I laughed at its asking price of $3.995 and suggested that it would eventually sell for $2.4, the builder chased me from the house.

He ended up renting it but now he’s placed it back up for sale, used, of course, asking $3.1. Getting there.


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