Category Archives: PND News

Biggest near-Earth asteroid recorded by NASA will make a pass in September

Source: Sacramento Bee

"If Monday's approaching solar eclipse has you excited about astronomy, there's some good news: Not even two weeks later, another rare feat will pass us by. And miss us, thankfully. An asteroid called Florence will pass within 4.5 million miles of Earth on Sept. 1, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced in a Thursday press release. That's 18 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. If that doesn't sound impressive, consider its size: At 2.7 miles, Florence is the largest asteroid to pass Earth since NASA began tracking near-Earth asteroids. And this particular asteroid won't come this close again until 2500, NASA says." (08/18/17)

Brooklyn pastor resigns from Trump's evangelical advisory board

Source: Religion News Service

"The Rev. A.R. Bernard has resigned from the White House's evangelical advisory council, the first departure from that board in the wake of President Trump's widely-condemned comments on a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Bernard owed his departure to a 'deepening conflict of values' with the administration. The lead pastor at the Christian Cultural Center, the largest evangelical church in New York City, Bernard tweeted out his letter of resignation from the high-profile board on Friday (Aug. 18). Its members endured criticism this week for standing by Trump after he appeared to many on Tuesday to draw a moral equivalence between protestors and counter-protestors in Charlottesville." (08/19/17)

Lawsuit: Poland Spring Water is committing "colossal fraud"

Source: USA Today

"A lawsuit claims that Poland Spring Water is deceiving consumers with evergreen labels that say their bottle contains '100 percent natural spring water' that hails from Maine. The legal complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Connecticut claims that parent company Nestle Waters North America is bottling common groundwater that doesn't meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's definition of spring water. … A Nestle Waters representative says the water meets all relevant federal and state regulations for spring water. Nestle Waters settled a 2003 Connecticut lawsuit claiming Poland Spring’s water was not sourced deep in the Maine woods. The lawsuit comes as the Stamford, Connecticut-based company embarks on an expansion in Maine, as well as during rising U.S. demand for bottled water." (08/18/17)

CIA torture architects settle lawsuit (you get to pay)

Source: Daily Mail [UK]

"Two CIA torture psychologists, who were paid $80 miliion by the government to develop interrogation techniques, made a secret settlement to avoid going to trial. James Mitchell and John 'Bruce' Jessen were contracted by the agency to design the department's harsh interrogation program used in the war on terror following the September 11 attacks. The two psychologists were sued by two living ex-detainees and one who died of hypothermia after brutal questioning in US custody, alleging they were illegally tortured using the men's methods." [editor's note: Unfortunately, the US government had an indemnification agreement with the evildoers, guaranteeing that taxpayers would cover any civil legal liabilities for their work – TLK] (08/18/17)

ACLU announces it won't be defending civil liberties anymore

Source: Vice News

"If you want to bring guns to a protest, don’t expect the American Civil Liberties Union to represent you. The 97-year-old civil rights organization, which has been the Trump administration's No. 1 adversary in the courts, announced the policy late Thursday, in the wake of last weekend's violence in Charlottesville. The ACLU team in Virginia had worked with the white supremacist organizers of the 'Unite the Right' protest to secure the permit necessary for a legal gathering. Many of the attendees were carrying guns, there were violent clashes with counterprotesters, and one person was killed when an alleged white-supremacist attendee plowed his car into the crowd. 'If a protest group insists, 'No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,' well, we don't have to represent them. They can find someone else,' ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero told the Wall Street Journal." (08/18/17)

Trump lifts Cyber Command status

Source: New York Daily News

"President Donald Trump said on Friday he was elevating the status of the Pentagon's U.S. Cyber Command to help spur development of cyber weapons to deter attacks and punish intruders. In a statement, Trump said the unit would be ranked at the level of Unified Combatant Command focused on cyberspace operations. … Cyber Command had been subordinate to the U.S. Strategic Command, which is also responsible for military space operations, nuclear weapons and missile defense. Once elevated, Cyber Command would have the same status as U.S. Strategic Command and eight other unified commands that control U.s. military forces and are composed of personnel from multiple branches of the armed services. … Trump also said the defense secretary was also considering separating the U.S. Cyber Command from the National Security Agency (NSA)." [editor's note: Not sure of the full implications yet, but I'm betting they're not good – TLK] (08/18/17)

Bannon: "I'm leaving the White House and going to war"

Source: Fox News

"Steve Bannon is on his way out at the White House — but the fiery, anti-establishment [sic] conservative [sic] who helped Donald Trump win the presidency says he getting ready to wage his populist [sic] campaign from the outside. 'If there's any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I'm leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,' Bannon told Bloomberg on Friday. … 'White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day,' White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. 'We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.' Breitbart announced Friday that Bannon returned as executive chairman of the populist [sic] news site he once ran that rails against the political establishment in both parties." (08/18/17)

Google suspends Gab from app store

Source: The Hill

"Google has removed Gab, a social media service favored by right-wing circles, from its app store for violating the service's policy on hate speech. Gab made the announcement in a tweet on Thursday night. Gab was founded as an alternative to Twitter for those who 'believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online.' The site has attracted right-wing internet celebrities who have been banned by Twitter, like former Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos, and those who believe mainstream social media sites are suppressing conservative viewpoints. 'In order to be on the Play Store, social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people,' a Google spokesperson said in a statement." [editor's note: Presumably the real reason is that it's embarrassing for a startup like Gab to be so much more usable than the lame "Google Plus;" watch for them and other big players to continue invoking Charlottesville as cover for doing stuff that would normally get their asses in an anti-trust sling – TLK] (08/18/17)

CA: Idiot pol wants FBI to investigate Rohrabacher for meeting with world-renowned hero Assange

Source: Washington Post

"Harley Rouda, a Democrat running against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) in 2018, has asked the FBI to probe the Republican congressman's 'political and financial ties to Russia' after Rohrabacher met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. … Rohrabacher, whose office did not respond to a question about Rouda's letter, has characterized the meeting with Assange as productive and convincing. In a statement released on Thursday, Rohrabacher said that he met with Assange for three hours, during which he 'emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure' of emails from Clinton's campaign and various Democratic campaign groups." (08/18/17)

MO: Top Democrats call on state senator to resign for publicly saying what they're all secretly thinking

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"With five written words Thursday morning, one of Missouri's most controversial state lawmakers spawned a U.S. Secret Service investigation, potentially endangered her own political career — and flung St. Louis squarely into the middle of America's raging racial-political debate in the wake of the unrest in Charlottesville, Va. 'I hope Trump is assassinated!' Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, wrote during a morning Facebook exchange, referring to Republican President Donald Trump. She quickly deleted her post, but not quickly enough. By midafternoon, the political verdicts of her own party were rolling in: U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.: 'I condemn it. It's outrageous. And she should resign.' U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis: '(C)alling for the assassination of the President is a federal crime. … (She is) an embarrassment to our state. She should resign immediately.' Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber: 'The … Party will absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the President. I believe she should resign.'" (08/18/17)