It’s your last chance to take me up on my offer to produce a podcast on finding potential romantic prospects! You have until noon on June 1st — just 24 hours — to pledge. That’s when I’ll make my decision about whether to produce the podcast or not. If I do, it will be posted by June 10th.

Here’s the form for you to make a pledge:

[Form removed because the deadline for pledging has passed.]

A few points to remember:

  • If you pledge nothing, you get nothing! I might release the podcast in a few months, likely for a fee. However, I make no promises to people who make no pledges. You must pledge by noon on June 1st, Mountain Time.
  • You might recall that I promised to answer the questions of the top five pledgers in the podcast. I will do that, provided that I produce the podcast. Right now, that would require pledging at least $50, but I suspect that a bit more will be required by tomorrow at noon. If you have a burning question but you’ve pledged less than $50, you’re welcome to add another pledge on top of your original pledge.
  • You take no risks whatsoever in pledging money for this podcast. If I don’t produce the podcast, you owe me nothing. And if you’re unsatisfied with the podcast, you owe me nothing, provided that you explain your reasons.

If you have questions, check the FAQ on my original post.

I’m so excited by this experiment and so pleased by the pledges so far! Now’s the time for you to get in on the fun, before it’s too late!

May 312010

The May 31, 2010 PajamasMedia has just published my latest OpEd, “Beware Dr. Galbraith’s Snake Oil“.

My theme is that even in the face of the Greek situation, some economists continue to argue that deficits don’t matter. Here is the introduction:

As the Greek welfare state collapses, citizens there have been rioting over cutbacks in social spending necessitated by mounting government debt. The rioters apparently fail to recognize that whenever a government routinely promises to spend more money than it has, then eventually it will be unable to fulfill those promises. Many Americans worry that we will soon be facing similar troubles at either the state (e.g., California) or national levels.

Yet some renowned economists, such as Professor James Galbraith of the University of Texas, are trying to convince us that the U.S. government should ignore our massive federal budget deficit and instead spend even more. Galbraith argues that calls for fiscal responsibility are “misguided” and that greater deficit spending will create greater prosperity.

Galbraith’s proposals are dangerous because they are based on the notion that you can get something for nothing. Unless we want to see a Greek-style collapse here in America, we must reject those ideas as economic “snake oil” and instead demand an end to our government’s fiscally irresponsible deficit spending.

James Galbraith is no street corner crank. Instead, he has a BA from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Yale, both in economics. He is a professor of economics at the University of Texas, Austin, and son of famous Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith. Because of his impressive academic and intellectual pedigree, many Washington politicians and pundits take his ideas seriously. Hence, so must we…

(Read the full text of “Beware Dr. Galbraith’s Snake Oil“.)

As always, please feel free to leave supportive comments, blog about it, e-mail to friends, promote via Twitter/Facebook, etc.!

Reading Update

 Posted by on 30 May 2010 at 6:00 pm  Reviews
May 302010

I didn’t read a ton while Paul and I were in New York City this past week. It was just too busy busy fun busy fun busy fun. Nonetheless, I made some headway, and here’s the latest installment of my Reading Update.

Completed Reads

  • The E-Myth Revisitedby Michael Gerber. Now I just need to implement the advice in this book, not just for my business projects but also for my activism projects too.
  • Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo, on audiobook. Wow, what an ending! It desperately needed to be cut by about a third, however.

Ongoing Reads

Upcoming Reads

  • The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. I wasn’t able to start this yet, but I hope to do so this week.

Activism Recap

 Posted by on 30 May 2010 at 5:00 pm  Activism Recap
May 302010

This week on We Stand FIRM, the blog of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine):

This week on Politics without God, the blog of The Coalition for Secular Government:

This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo:

Open Thread #168

 Posted by on 30 May 2010 at 11:00 am  Open Thread
May 302010

Here’s yet another Open Thread for your thoughts:

For anyone in the fiery grip of a random question, comment, joke, or link they’d like to share with NoodleFood readers, I hereby open up the comments on this post to any respectable topic. (Please refrain from posting personal attacks, pornographic material, and commercial solicitations.)

Curry Country Pork Ribs

 Posted by on 29 May 2010 at 2:00 pm  Food
May 292010

A few weeks ago, I made some excellent curried country pork ribs. The recipe wasn’t intentional. I just used what I had in the fridge and pantry. (I was disappointed, for example, to discover just one can of coconut milk. Oh, the horror!) Happily, the result was utterly delicious!

Diana’s Experimental Curried Country Pork Ribs

Sauté in a dutch oven over medium-high heat for a while:

1 tbsp bacon grease
3 medium onions

Then add:

5-6 lbs country pork ribs
1 small can diced tomatoes, with liquid (14.5 oz)
1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)
1-2 tsp red curry paste

Add enough water to cover, perhaps about 4 cups. Simmer, covered, for a few hours, until the meat is falling-apart tender. Strain the meat, returning the liquid to the pan. Allow the liquid to cool somewhat, skim off the top layer of fat, then simmer it uncovered to reduce it. Meanwhile, after the meat has cooled sufficiently to handle it without excruciating pain, strip the meat from the bones and other refuse. Return the meat to the pot. Continue to cook the meat and liquid until reduced to the desired amount, if needed. (I like it just a bit wet.) Beware the possibility of burning as the liquid reduces: it’s far safer to reduce the liquid fully before you add back the meat.

Serve and enjoy!

My total cooking time was about 6 hours.

A few notes: (1) I’m not sure that you need to sauté the onions beforehand; I just did that as I was preparing the other ingredients. (2) I’m sure that you could make the recipe in a slow-cooker. (3) It’s a great dish to freeze for later eating. (That’s where the meat in the picture is headed.) And (4) when you eat, beware the little bones that sometimes linger in the meat.

Another Round of Thyroid Labs

 Posted by on 29 May 2010 at 7:00 am  Health, Personal, Thyroid
May 292010

On May 11th, I had another round of thyroid blood tests. For reference, here were my prior labs on February 26th, after taking one grain of desiccated thyroid per day for two months:

  • TSH = 3.24 (normal range: .4 to 2.5)
  • FreeT3 = 2.6 (normal range: 2.0 to 4.4)
  • FreeT4 = 1.0 (normal range: .82 to 1.77)

After that, my doctor bumped me up to one and a half grains of dessicated thyroid per day for two months. Here were my new labs results on that dosage, taken on May 11th:

  • TSH = 0.115 (normal range: .4 to 2.5)
  • FreeT3 = 2.8 (normal range: 2.0 to 4.4)
  • FreeT4 = 1.14 (normal range: .82 to 1.77)

I’m surprised that my TSH suddenly plummeted because I feel basically the same as I did on one grain per day. In general though, I’ve seen almost zero correlation between my lab values and my sense of well-being. Perhaps my iodine intake — still about 25 mg per day — is having some beneficial effects. I don’t know.

Although my Free T3 is slightly higher than before, it’s not much changed. And it’s still in the low-normal range. I’ve read that it should be in the high-normal range from hypothyroid advocates, but I’ve also read that perhaps somewhat lower is better. Again, I don’t know. I just want to feel and be well.

Due to the low TSH, my doctor wanted me to back off my thyroid meds a bit, so she’s asked me to skip a half to one grain per week. I’ve been doing that for a few weeks now. She thinks that might help with my lingering symptoms, given that the symptoms of mild hypothyroidism are often the same as the symptoms of mild hyperthyroidism. (Nice, eh?)

I know that Janie Bowthorpe (of Stop the Thyroid Madness) advocates dosing with desiccated thyroid to alleviate all symptoms, even if that pushes the TSH down to zero. I’m hoping that I won’t need to do that. I’d rather take as little thyroid medication as I need. And given that I’m fully functional right now — unlike this winter, when I was a brain-dead corpse — I’m willing to play around with a more conservative approach for a while.

As for my lingering symptoms… I’ve had bouts of unbearable cold during the middle of my monthly cycle when body temperature drops naturally. I’m fine now, but I’ll find out over the next few weeks whether that happens again. (Right now, my morning temperature is about 97.3.) My skin had been terribly dry, but that’s improved in the past few weeks. My energy levels aren’t quite as high as I would like, but CrossFit seems to be helping with that. That’s it… otherwise I’m great. I’ll be interested to see what happens to my cholesterol with my annual exam this fall. My numbers improved on paleo for a while, then went to hell as I developed hypothyroidism, then improved slightly as of late February.

Oh wait… I have one more update! (I’ll be vague about this matter; you’d thank me if you knew!)

After a year of utterly perfect digestion on paleo, my hypothyroidism caused major blood sugar regulation and digestive problems. Most of that came and went with my other major hypothyroid symptoms, but some problems lingered. Despite months of tracking and testing what I ate, I just couldn’t figure out the root of the problem.

Happily, thanks to a strict elimination diet for a few weeks, I realized that the recent digestive problems were due to magnesium. Most people can take 400 mg of magnesium without a problem, but I found that even the 250 mg in my multivitamin had most unwelcome effects. So I’ve cut out any and all supplements with magnesium. Cruciferous vegetables seemed to magnify the nasty effects, so I’m taking care not to eat too much of them. Even chocolate can be a problem. Basically, I’m just exquisitely sensitive to magnesium. Now that I know that, my digestion has returned to utterly perfect. Hooray!

In other thyroid news, Mary Shomon reports on a new study showing clear benefit to some people with the addition of T3 to the standard T4-only regimen. Good!

May 282010

I want to remind you of my offer to produce a podcast on finding potential romantic prospects! You have until noon on June 1st to pledge. That’s when I’ll make my decision about whether to produce the podcast or not. If I do, it will be posted on June 10th.

Remember: If you pledge nothing, you get nothing! I might release the podcast in a few months, likely for a fee. However, I make no promises to people who make no pledges. You must pledge by noon on June 1st, Mountain Time.

Paul Hsieh LTE in NYT on Cass Sunstein

 Posted by on 28 May 2010 at 7:00 am  Activism, Government
May 282010

The New York Times has published my LTE on former University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, a leading advocate of so-called “libertarian paternalism”.

My LTE was in response to their May 16, 2010 article in the Sunday Magazine section, “Cass Sunstein Wants to Nudge Us” praising his work as President Obama’s director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to use his philosophy to push people into behaviours the government deems desirable.

The LTE will also be appearing this weekend in the May 30, 2010 print edition of the NYT in the Sunday Magazine section (as opposed to the main letters section of the newspaper). It’s the second one down:

Cass Sunstein explicitly compares Americans to Homer Simpsons requiring government guidance to live. In my view, the proper function of government is to protect individual rights and freedoms. Unless we violate others’ rights by force or fraud, the government should leave us alone to live according to our best judgment.

Of course, individuals may voluntarily “nudge” themselves to achieve long-term goals, like having your bank automatically deposit a portion of each paycheck into a child’s college fund. But each person must make these decisions for himself based on his goals and circumstances. These choices are his responsibility and his right — not the government’s.

Libertarian paternalism in essence says, “Don’t worry — we’ll do your thinking for you.” If Americans start surrendering their minds thus to the government, they will become easy prey for demagogues and dictators.

Sedalia, Colo.

Objectivist Roundup

 Posted by on 27 May 2010 at 1:00 pm  Objectivist Roundup
May 272010

Secular Foxhole hosted this week’s Objectivist Roundup. Check it out!

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha