The leader of the United Auto Workers union has rejected a new level of lower wages for members who make auto parts ahead of contract talks with automakers that start in the summer.

There have been reports that General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. may propose a new pay level that is lower than the two existing groups.

Apple CEO Tim Cook pledges to leave his fortune to charities and non-profits

Written by The Associated Press Saturday, 28 March 2015 19:06

Apple CEO Tim Cook. -PHOTO: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook, 54, is joining a long list of magnates who plan on leaving their money to charities and non-profits when they die.

Utah lawmakers: Legalizing death by firing squad is pragmatic approach

Written by lisa neff Friday, 27 March 2015 12:15

Utah lawmakers say they took a pragmatic approach in approving the firing squad as a form of execution if lethal-injection drugs aren't available.

Their thinking: Develop a backup plan in case a nationwide lethal-drug shortage persists.

North Carolina University suspends fraternity over racist, sexist entries in notebook

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 26 March 2015 06:17

North Carolina State University has disbanded a fraternity chapter over a notebook filled with sexist and racially offensive entries.

The punishment comes amid recent cases of bad behavior at the University of Oklahoma, Penn State and other schools put fraternities in the national spotlight.

Tennessee attorneys: Sterilizations of women were part of plea deal talks

Written by SHEILA BURKE,
Associated Press writer
Monday, 30 March 2015 07:35

Nashville, Tennessee, prosecutors have made sterilization of women part of plea negotiations at least four times in the past five years, and the district attorney has banned his staff from using the invasive surgery as a bargaining chip after the latest case.

In the most recent case, first reported by The Tennessean, a woman with a 20-year history of mental illness had been charged with neglect after her 5-day-old baby mysteriously died. Her defense attorney says the prosecutor assigned to the case wouldn’t go forward with a plea deal to keep the woman out of prison unless she had the surgery.

California attorney general seeks to end 'sodomite suppression' ballot initiative

Written by Lisa Leff,
AP writer
Friday, 27 March 2015 12:22

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has asked a state court for permission to reject a proposed ballot initiative stipulating that anyone who engages in same-sex sexual activity be killed.

Harris issued a statement saying she was making the unusual request to stop the measure filed by a Southern California lawyer late last month. The initiative seeks to amend the California penal code to make sex with a person of the same gender an offense punishable by "bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.'' The distribution of gay "propaganda" would be punishable by a $1 million fine or banishment from the state.

Indiana governor Mike Pence

Faced with a growing HIV outbreak tied to intravenous drug use, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence overrode state law and his own anti-drug policies to authorize a needle-exchange program to help contain new infections in a rural county.

Anti-gay governor set to sign anti-gay bill in Indiana

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 26 March 2015 06:05

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was expected to sign into law on March 26 a religious objections bill that sanctions discrimination against LGBT people.

The signing would make Indiana the first state to enact such a change this year among about a dozen where such proposals have been introduced. The measure would prohibit state and local laws that "substantially burden" the ability of people — including businesses and associations — to follow their religious beliefs.

Fire Island blaze ruins landmarks at historic gay resort

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 30 March 2015 06:49

An early morning blaze on Fire Island destroyed several structures, including two well-known landmarks in a historic gay resort, and required dozens of firefighters to respond by ferry from the mainland of Long Island, fire and police officials said over the weekend.

The fire, which was reported at about 1:30 a.m. on March 27, ruined an apartment complex known as Holly House, as well as the Grove Hotel, and left three firefighters with minor injuries, said Craig Williams, Cherry Grove assistant fire chief. A nightclub attached to the hotel called the Ice Palace avoided serious damage, Williams said.

U.S. bill would deal with bullying on college campuses

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Friday, 27 March 2015 12:17

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., recently reintroduced legislation to address bullying and harassment, which affects one in five students at colleges and universities across the country.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2015 would require institutions of higher education to establish policies prohibiting harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. The bill also would establish a grant program to support campus anti-harassment activities.

Bills targeting unions multiply in states

Written by From AP
and WiG reports
Thursday, 26 March 2015 08:08

UPDATED: It’s not just Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Taking their cue from conservative, corporate-backed anti-labor groups, Republican lawmakers in statehouses across the country are working to weaken organized labor, sometimes with efforts that directly shrink union membership.

The Republican wave in the November 2014 elections left many unions  vulnerable.

Counting concealed-carry gun deaths

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 24 March 2015 14:23

The Violence Policy Center today launched a new version of "Concealed Carry Killers," an online resource tracking fatal non-self defense gun deaths.

The website is and it contains state-by-state information on mass shootings, murder-suicides, homicides, suicides, unintentional deaths and the killing of law enforcement personnel by private citizens with permits to carry concealed handguns.