Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison dies aged 84

RIP – Dangerous Visions

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Prolific writer and critic, whose credits include a Star Trek episode and the short story A Boy and His Dog, died in his sleep

The award-winning writer Harlan Ellison has died at the age of 84.

In his career, Ellison wrote over 1,800 short stories, screenplays, novellas, essays, critiques and teleplays, winning eight Hugo awards. His wife Susan confirmed the news via her friend Christina Valada on Twitter.

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Senior Ice lawyer sentenced to prison for stealing immigrants’ identities

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Raphael Sanchez racked up nearly $200,000 in debt using identities of immigrants facing deportation

A senior lawyer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing the identities of immigrants facing deportation and using them to to take out credit cards and run up more than $190,300 in debt.

Raphael Sanchez, formerly the lead attorney for the Seattle Ice office, also used the photograph of a murdered woman on some of the fake identities he created and claimed several deported immigrants as dependents to dodge tax collectors.

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Fascist rhetoric has consequences

via Sophia, NOT Loren!

Phil Davis, a crime and courts reporter at the Capital Gazette newspaper, just tweeted that he is safe and out the newspaper building.

Earlier today, Davis tweeted details about a shooting and said “there is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

“Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” he said.

***

At least five people were killed in the Capital Gazette shooting, Acting Police Chief of Anne Arundel County Bill Krampf said in a press conference.

“There are five fatalities that is we know of,” he said, adding that there were several other people who were “gravely injured.”

***

Milo Yiannopoulos has started issuing reporters threatening messages when asked to comment for stories.

“I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” the right-wing nationalist told Observer over text message, in response to a longer feature in development about an Upper East Side restaurant he is said to frequent.

***

Hours after returning from a trip where he lavished praise on one of the world’s worst dictators, President Trump declared that America’s biggest enemy is… “fake news.”

He singled out NBC and CNN in his angry tweet on Wednesday.

Trump frequently portrays the news media as one of his enemies, but rarely has he been this blunt about it. Wednesday’s tweet harkens back to February 2017, when he called several news outlets “the enemy of the American People!”

The suspect is reportedly a white man, so thoughts and prayers rather than travel bans and mass deportations would appear to be in order.

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ASIA/ISRAEL – Israeli Parliament cancels the vote on the Armenian Genocide

I.R.O.N.I.C? or TOXIC?

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Jerusalem – An Israeli parliamentary vote on Tuesday 26 June for recognising the killings of Armenians as genocide was cancelled because of government opposition. Last month the Knesset had approved a motion penned by Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing opposition Meretz party to hold a plenary debate and vote on recognising the Armenian genocide. Turkey had expressed its opposition and to try to ensure the support of the governing coalition for her motion, Zandberg agreed to postpone the vote until after Sunday’s Turkish elections. It became clear that the coalition was still opposed to Zandberg’s initiative, even after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s re-election on Sunday 24 June. It was Tamar Zandberg, the leader of Meretz, who withdrew the bill, after the government coalition and the Foreign Ministry had asked to remove the expression “Genocide” from the text under discussion to replace it with the words ” tragedy” or “horrors”. It was the President of the Knesset himself, Yuli Yoel Edelstein, who proposed the adjustments to the text under discussion, after the government parties had received the signal that the expression “Armenian Genocide” would not be approved.
The postponement of the discussion and of the Genocide vote is interpreted by the Turkish media as a signal of relaxation sent by the Israeli government to the Turkish leadership.
At the beginning of June, as reported by Fides , the President of Parliament, Edelstein had rejected criticism for postponing the discussion on the bill for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Edelstein, on that occasion, had claimed the intention to promote the recognition of the Genocide by responding to Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Patriarch of Jerusalem, who in a letter had expressed his bitterness for the news about a possible stop of the process initiated by Israeli institutions to discuss and eventually approve the recognition as “genocide” of the anti-Armenian massacres perpetrated in Turkish territory between 1915 and 1916. In previous days, Israeli media had reported the input which came from the Israeli government to postpone the debate on the issue of the Armenian Genocide until after the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June. According to Israeli observers and analysts, the opening of this discussion in such a sensitive moment could have politically favored President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, becoming a topic of his electoral campaign.
After the harsh diplomatic clash between Israel and the Turkish government following the last massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, the proposal for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide had been presented to the competent offices of the Knesset by MP Itzik Shmuli, a member of the “Zionist Union”. The proposal was supported by at least 50 parliamentarians belonging to both the governing Parties – including Likud – and those of the opposition. This bill also provided for the establishment of an annual commemoration day for the Armenian Genocide in Israel. Three months earlier, on February 14th, the Israeli Parliament itself had in fact rejected a bill presented by Yair Lapid, representative of the center party and layman Yesh Atid, who would have made the recognition by Israel of the “Armenian Genocide” official. The Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, had declared that Israel would not have officially taken a position regarding the issue of the Armenian Genocide, “taking into account its complexity and its diplomatic implications”.
On April 26, 2015, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted a commemorative event at the Presidential residence in Jerusalem to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the planned extermination of Armenians that had occurred a century earlier in Anatolia. During that ceremony, President Rivlin recalled that the Armenian people were “the first victims of modern mass exterminations”, but had avoided using the word “Genocide” to indicate the massacres in which more than one million and 500 thousand people died .

Legislation Introduced to Allow Farm Workers Overtime Pay

YES!

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Photo / Holger Hubbs

Earlier this week, democratic leaders introduced a bill that would strengthen labor protections for farm workers by amending a previous law that excluded this group from overtime pay.

The Fairness for Farm Workers Act would grant overtime protections to individuals who work more than 40 hours a week and eliminate “most” exemptions to minimum wage.

The new requirements would be phased in over four years beginning in 2019 – allowing smaller farms to comply – according to the legislation language.

Led by Sen. Kamala Harris, the bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which originally excluded farm workers from overtime pay protections.

Harris said the bill addresses a “long standing inequity” in terms of who we are protecting as workers in America.

“One it’s about fairness and equality for all workers. Two it’s about the fact that farmworkers do some of the most difficult work. They work long hours, they face exposure to the sun and they risk injury,” Harris said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100 farm workers suffer injury each day and face the possibility of missing work due to injuries. They are not guaranteed pay for days lost.

Harris introduced the bill Monday, June 25, with democratic leaders like Dianne Feinstein, Cory Booker, Jeff Merkley, Richard Blumenthal, Mazie Hirono, Elizabeth Warren, and Chris Van Hollen.

“America’s farm workers deserve to be paid for the work they do – often under physically demanding, dangerous conditions that contribute to exploitation,” Sen. Hirono said in a statement. “By ending the discriminatory denial of overtime pay, this bill would help ensure farm workers can earn a living wage.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established overtime pay for most American workers, excluded agricultural workers who were mainly African American.

By 1966, many farm workers were given minimum wage protections, however, overtime protections were not included.

California adopted a 2016 overtime pay law, however, farm workers nationwide did not have those protections.

Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers, worte in a statement following the introduction of the bill that 80 years of discriminatory exclusion from overtime pay is long enough.

“It’s easy to understand why farm workers were written out of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, but it is hard to believe overtime wage exclusions still persist 80 years later,” Rodriguez said in the statement. “It was wrong then and it is wrong now.”

Harris said that in 1938, southern democrats left out farm workers because they did not want their black field workers to receive those protections.

She said the bill highlights the discrimination that African Americans, Mexican, and immigrant workers face and the need to band together to fight that discrimination.

“I’m proud to be a daughter of California and do this not only in honor of Cesar Chavez but do it in the way I think he would want it done, which is it’s not only the farm workers we know it’s about farm workers around the country that’s what the movement that he created was all about,” Harris said.

The legislation would also remove overtime exemptions for individuals employed in irrigation projects, livestock auctions accompanying farm work, small country grain elevators, certain sugar processing, certain types of intra-state transportation and preparation for transportation of fruits, vegetables, cotton ginning and cotton compression, according to language in the legislation.

U.S. charges hundreds in major healthcare fraud, opioid crackdown

Bet that the manufacturers got a free pass go card for millions they spent on promoting the drugs to doctors! (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday announced charges against 601 people including doctors for taking part in healthcare frauds that resulted in over $2 billion in losses and contributed to the nation’s opioid epidemic in some cases.

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