E-Cigarettes, Wet Lung, and the US vs the UK

Yet again, the US news media over-hypes a story and uses it to peddle a narrative about e-cigarettes being “just as bad” as analog cigarettes. They are evil, dangerous, and should be banned. And this obsession in the US with e-cigarettes being somehow terrible is very strange to me, seeing as how other countries (such as the UK), are actually quite happy with e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices.

E-cigarettes are in the news again because of a Pennsylvania woman with a history of mild asthma going to the hospital after having developed a cough, chest pains, and difficulty breathing. After attempts to control these symptoms, all of which failed, she went into respiratory failure, needing a machine to help her breathe and tubes inserted into her chest to drain fluids from her lungs. She was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

According to Cleveland Clinic, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (also known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis) is “a complex condition of varying intensity, clinical presentation, and natural history. It is the result of an immunologically induced inflammation of the lung parenchyma in response to inhalation exposure to a large variety of antigens. These are primarily organic antigens to which patients have been previously sensitized and are hyperresponsive.”

Wikipedia gives a less technical definition, calling it “an inflammation of the alveoli within the lung caused by hypersensitivity to inhaled organic dusts. Sufferers are commonly exposed to the dust by their occupation or hobbies.”

What does this have to do with vaping?

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The State of the Vaping Union

I don’t think I’ve mentioned much that I vape. I started vaping to give up cigarettes, and I’m extremely close to giving up nicotine entirely. I did do a post on my old blog a few years back talking about a study claiming to have found formaldehyde production in vapes, but I think that’s the last time I talked about it on either blog.

What I want to do in this post is give y’all a surface-level breakdown of the state of the vaping union as it is right now. I’m going to go over some of the science, a little bit of the misinformation, where the laws in the US stand, and also what’s going on with vaping communities (there will be discussion of things going on with Reddit right now).

The summary is that, for people who vape or are interested in vaping, the whole thing sits in a pretty hellish limbo right now. There is a lot of misinformation out there in large part because bad science is getting more publicity than good science, the tobacco industry is pushing regulations that could destroy the industry, and communities like Reddit, separate from regulations, are basically destroying vaping subreddits. This post may, in some instances, come across as rather libertarian and anti-FDA because I really hate the regulations currently in place. But if you know me, you know that I am very much a fan of regulation and I support the FDA usually. But the way this is all being handled is pretty horrible right now, so keep that context in mind.

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#WhoAgainstGuns – Doctor Who Fans Unite for Gun Control

I’m late to this. The deadline is March 12th.

I want to bring attention to this… it’s important.

We’ve all been moved by recent events. The survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are using their voices to speak for those who cannot, to say “never again,” and demand change.

We are asking the Doctor Who community to follow their example and to shine a light on this urgent issue.

This March, representatives of all your favourite Doctor Who podcasts and some special guests will be coming together to do a podcast commentary of the 1969 Patrick Troughton story The War Games.

But here’s the thing: we’re not putting out this podcast on any one show’s feed. We’re only releasing it to listeners who provide a donation to an organization committed to ending gun violence.

Click the link to find the organizations they want you to donate to, and follow the instructions to get the special commentary podcast from there.

Even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of Doctor Who, it’s important to fight for gun control. Really, we should have done this years ago. But better late than never, right?

It’s time. It’s time to regulate an industry that has blood on its hands. It’s time to reject the NRA. It’s time to regulate guns.

Join Doctor Who. Join the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Speak out FOR gun control.

ETA: Since they announced, they’ve raised well over $10000, so back on March 6th, they added raffle giveaway opportunities. So please… donate and send them your receipt. It really is worth it.

Maybe #MeToo Has Gone too Far, But That’s a *Good* Thing

Trigger Warning: Discussion of accusations of sexual harassment, assault, rape, #MeToo, #TimesUp, #TheEmptyChair, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Larry Nassar, and the social consequences of all of this.

There’s a lot of talk lately about whether the #MeToo movement has gone too far, especially after the accusations about Aziz Ansari came out. And honestly? It’s a good question to ask. Society is experiencing a massive shift, and people who once got away with horrid behavior are now, finally, being held accountable for it. Often, that means being held accountable for mis-judged comments or creepy behavior. Many times, it means getting in trouble for violating consent. And it also means being held accountable for assault and/or rape.

I think that, in a way, it has gone too far. But the twist?

I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, I’m glad it’s going too far, and I think it can go further.

And here’s why…

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Breakdowns of Agent Orange’s Budget Proposals

Angry Peter Capaldi

Angry Peter Capaldi

I’m genuinely getting sick of talking about the Thin Skin in the White House. I had to take a break. But here I am, again, because details of his nasty budget are out, and it isn’t pretty. Dude wants to cut a whole lot of important stuff.

We’ve already seen a bit of this. The blueprint of this was released back in March. And it’s even worse than that…

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Agent Orange Launches a Voter Fraud Commission

From the Washington Post

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that sets up a commission to review his controversial allegations of widespread voter fraud, along with reports of voter suppression.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity will be led by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), who has aggressively pursued allegations of voter fraud in his state.

About a dozen other election officials representing both parties will fill out the commission, which will deliver a report to the president next year, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday.

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Jeff Sessions is Racist

Of course we all knew that, but this is just more evidence

In a recent op-ed in USA Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated that his Department of Justice will move away from federal oversight of local police departments plagued by abuses and officer-involved killings. In doing so, Sessions will undermine a key policy stemming from the beating of black motorist Rodney King in March 1991 by Los Angeles police officers. The subsequent LA riots, sparked by acquittals of the officers accused in King’s beating, began 25 years ago this Saturday.

After those riots ripped through LA, Congress went on to pass legislation granting federal oversight authority for police departments. Since then, the Justice Department has launched 70 investigations into state and local law enforcement agencies and has negotiated 40 reform agreements, half of which are court-enforced consent decrees. The Obama administration was particularly active with this policy, enforcing 14 consent decrees for troubled police agencies, from Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore. Sessions now threatens to undo that work, downplaying any systematic problems with American policing.

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Agent Orange Proposes Cutting The Drug Control Office’s Funding by 95%

From the New York Times

When he was running for office, Donald J. Trump promised to rid America of the scourge of drugs, vowing to crack down on dealers and invest heavily in programs to get heroin and other opioids off the streets.

But on Friday, President Trump’s administration revealed plans to gut the 2018 budget of his Office of National Drug Control Policy. According to an Office of Management and Budget document obtained by The New York Times, the White House is proposing to slash the drug policy office budget by about 95 percent, to just $24 million from $388 million.

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Orange Pope-Wannabe Chips Away at Separation of Church and State

HEY ATHEISTS! SKEPTICS! ARE YOU OUT THERE? IS THIS AN ISSUE YOU’RE WILLING TO CARE ABOUT?

Fucking Asshole-in-Chief fucker has now given churches the freedom to be openly political without losing their tax-exempt status.

Declaring he was giving churches their “voices back,” President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aimed at easing an IRS rule limiting political activity for religious organizations — a move that fell far short of a more sweeping order some supporters had expected.

As he marked the National Day of Prayer at the White House on Thursday, Trump signed the order on religious freedom, which directs the Treasury Department to not take “adverse action” over churches or religious organizations for political speech. The rule has rarely been enforced. Still, opponents said the restrictions have a chilling effect on free speech.

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I. Hate. Republicans. With Every. Fiber. Of. My. Being. (Health Care)

(Content warning: rape, rape survivors… and also a lot of strong, angry, ranting language)

So the fucking Rethuglicans in the fucking House voted to replace sections of the ACA, including doing away with the stipulation that health insurance companies can’t deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions… and one of those fucking conditions was fucking rape.

When House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday, many Americans likely thought of their family and friends living with cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. These diseases are commonly referred to as “pre-existing conditions” – conditions which, under the Republican health care bill, could result in them being denied health insurance.

But another, less publicised group of people were also concerned by the bill’s passage: rape survivors.

Before Obamacare, some insurance companies considered rape and domestic abuse pre-existing conditions. One woman, Jody Neal-Post, says she was turned away after telling a potential insurance that she was a domestic violence victim – despite otherwise being perfectly healthy.

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