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Los Alamos nuke lab blew up building with cannon: report

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‘I have no idea why they have a gun like this,’ watchdog investigator says

Researchers at the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory in New Mexico accidentally blew up a building with a “Civil-war-like” cannon earlier this month, raising further fears about the safety of the facility that has seen more than its share of security breaches in recent years.

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According to an “occurrence report” (PDF) filed by the lab and obtained by the Project on Government Oversight, the accident took place on December 16 as researchers tested a gun that “acts like a Civil War cannon,” according to a POGO press release. Though no one was injured in the incident, it did cause $3 million in damage.

The watchdog group reported:

The explosion blew the doors off the building — which is described in the report as, “two doors were propelled off the facility.”

The Facility Operations Director “declared a management concern due to the significant facility structural damage incurred resultant of the shot.” Parts of the cannon were found outside the building.

“I must say that this is a new twist in the long history of screw-ups by Los Alamos,” said POGO’s Senior Investigator, Peter Stockton, in a statement. “I have no idea in the world why they have a gun like this, let alone [are] testing it.”

As Rachel Morris notes at Mother Jones, “This is not the first time that Los Alamos has fallen short when it comes to safety and security matter.” POGO’s “long history of screw-ups” at Los Alamos is documented here. One recent case of note involved the theft of three computers from the laboratory where nuclear technologies are developed and tested.

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A recent Inspector-General’s report says that the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which oversees Los Alamos, has been delinquent in enhancing its cyber-security.

Despite the various security concerns, the private contracting team managing the facility recently had its contract extended by the government for another year. Among the companies managing Los Alamos is Bechtel, the engineering firm that landed lucrative contracts in Iraq following the US invasion.

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‘Stop lying’: Experts and observers discredit Trump attorney’s impeachment defense with readily available facts

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After three days of House impeachment managers’ brilliant prosecution of President Donald Trump – and “prebuttal” of the arguments the president’s team was expected to make – White House attorneys Saturday morning began their defense of President Trump.

It’s not going well.

Deputy White House Counsel Mike Purpura (photo) has been making the majority of today’s arguments – they have decided that not enough people will be watching on TV so Saturday’s defense will last not eight but just two hours.

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How Mike Pompeo is a ‘master’ of ‘messaging’ that panders to ‘End Times evangelicals’

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The Christian Right loves President Donald Trump for a variety of reasons, from his racist rhetoric and anti-immigrant views to all the far-right judges he has added to the federal courts. But journalist Stephanie Mencimer, this week in an article for Mother Jones, focuses on one of their most disturbing reasons for being so pro-Trump: an obsession with the End Times.

In Protestant Christianity, one finds both fundamentalists and non-fundamentalists. Mainline Protestants (Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, the African Methodist Episcopal or AME Church) study the Bible intensely, but they don't have the obsession with the End Times and the New Testament's Book of Revelation that the fundamentalist Christian Right has. And even though Trump himself is not a fundamentalist (he was raised Presbyterian), he is more than happy to pander to far-right white evangelicals — who, as Mencimer explains in her article, believe that Trump is important to the end of the world. The Christian Right welcomes the End Times because as they see it, Jesus Christ will return to Earth in the last days.

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