The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Pages

Confirmation Hearing Was A Rough Ride For Hagel

Feb 1, 2013
Originally published on February 3, 2013 12:54 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama's nominee for defense secretary is a former senator. He is also a Republican.

MONTAGNE: But neither his party affiliation nor his former membership in the Senate club spared Chuck Hagel from almost eight hours of hard questions yesterday.

INSKEEP: At a Senate hearing, Democrats had many of those questions, and Republicans went on the attack. NPR's David Welna reports.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Chuck Hagel showed up before the armed services panel in good company. Two former Republican chairmen of that committee - retired senators John Warner of Virginia, and Sam Nunn of Georgia - had come along to introduce him. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Nunn is a Democrat.] Nunn assured the senators sitting in judgment of Hagel, that he knew of no one who came closer to having those values a secretary of defense should possess.

(SOUNDBITE OF CONFIRMATION HEARING)

SAM NUNN: I know that Chuck Hagel has a clear worldview, and that it aligns with the mainstream of U.S. foreign and defense policy, and also with President Obama.

WELNA: In an opening statement, Hagel sought to rebut accusations from conservatives that he was soft on Iran. He declared his full commitment to President Obama's goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

CHUCK HAGEL: And as I've said in the past, many times, all options must be on the table to achieve that goal. My policy has always been the same as the president's - one of prevention, not of containment.

WELNA: But an hour and a half later, Hagel had a correction to make.

HAGEL: I've just been handed a note that I misspoke and said I supported the president's position on containment. If I said that, it meant to say that I, obviously, his position on containment - we don't have a position on containment.

WELNA: That did not sit well with Carl Levin, the committee's Democratic chairman.

SEN. CARL LEVIN: Just to make sure your correction is clear, we do have a position on containment - which is that we do not favor containment.

WELNA: Hagel got far harsher treatment from his fellow Republicans. South Carolina's Lindsey Graham went after Hagel, saying: You said the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Name one person, in your opinion, who's intimidated by the Israeli lobby in the United States Senate.

HAGEL: Well, first, I...

GRAHAM: Name one.

HAGEL: I don't know.

GRAHAM: Well, why would you say it?

HAGEL: I didn't have in mind, a specific person.

GRAHAM: Do you agree it's a provocative statement?

WELNA: Hagel allowed that "influence" would have been a better choice of words than "intimidated." He backtracked further when Texas freshman Ted Cruz quoted him at a 1998 Senate hearing, saying the U.S. has tilted too far towards Israel in the Middle East process.

SEN. TED CRUZ: Do you continue to agree with this position, or is that no longer your position today?

HAGEL: I don't remember that - the context of the hearing, or the speech, or all the things I said in it. No, I don't think the United States is tilted too far to Israel. I support the president's position on Israel.

WELNA: Perhaps no senator showed greater hostility towards Hagel than his onetime friend and fellow Vietnam combat veteran, Arizona Republican John McCain. He asked whether Hagel still thought the 2006 troop surge in Iraq was the most dangerous foreign policy blunder since Vietnam.

HAGEL: If you would like me to explain why I...

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: No, I actually would like an answer. Yes or no?

HAGEL: Well, I'm not going to give you a yes or no. I think it's...

MCCAIN: OK.

HAGEL: ...far more complicated than that. As I've already said, my answer is, I'll defer that judgment to history.

WELNA: McCain clearly was not satisfied.

MCCAIN: I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you're on wrong side of it. And your refusal to answer whether you were right or wrong about it, is going to have an impact on my judgment as to whether to vote for your confirmation or not.

WELNA: The Armed Services Committee's top Republican, Oklahoma's James Inhofe, declared he'd already made up his mind about Hagel.

SEN. JAMES INHOFE: I believe that he's the wrong person to lead the Pentagon at this perilous and consequential time.

WELNA: The day proved a rough ride for Hagel, one raising even more uncertainty about President Obama's choice for defense secretary.

David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.