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

Don't Expect States To Cooperate

Jan 23, 2013
Originally published on January 23, 2013 3:01 pm

Blue states and red states are moving further apart.

That's one of the clear lessons from the annual "State of the States" report, which the Pew Center on the States is rolling out in a string of assessments this week.

States are now governed pretty much by one party or the other. Nearly as often as not, one party holds not just power but supermajority status in legislatures.

That means states will be moving in entirely different directions on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, drug policy and health care, according to the report. There have already been clear contrasts this year in the approaches taken by blue states such as New York and red states like Tennessee when it comes to guns.

Last week, Gov. Deval Patrick, a Massachusetts Democrat, proposed a $2 billion tax increase — the first income tax hike in the commonwealth in 20 years. By contrast, Republicans Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Dave Heineman of Nebraska both hope to abolish the income tax in their states.

Republicans may not hold the reins in Washington, but they hold the bulk of power in states. The GOP holds 30 of the 50 state governorships and, as Pew notes, last November's elections ratified most of the gains Republicans made in legislatures during a historic sweep two years earlier.

Now, Republicans control both the legislature and the governorship in seven of the nation's 10 largest states: Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan and North Carolina.

All told, half the nation's population (166 million people) lives in the 25 states under total GOP dominance, compared with 93 million people in 13 Democratic-dominated states, according to Josh Goodman, a staff writer with Pew's Stateline news service.

Democrats did register some gains last November, Goodman points out. The fact that the two parties between them enjoy near-total control of the majority of states, though, means both can experiment with bold ideas — whether it's abolishing the income tax or legalizing marijuana.

Pew suggests that the state budget situation, which has been miserable for the past several years, remains fragile. But states now do have a bit more money to play with. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, total revenues are expected to surpass pre-recession levels this year for the first time.

State spending overall is expected to go up by 2.2 percent this year, the association says. That's modest by historical standards. Some states, including Washington and Kansas, are still facing big budget shortfalls.

And states in general are nervous about the continuing budget uncertainty out of the nation's capital. Automatic spending cuts — currently set to kick in March 1 — would have a big impact on states' bottom lines, as would potential changes in federal tax policy. (Many state tax codes are linked to the federal one.)

"All this uncertainty really puts a crimp on the potential for companies, individuals and states to embark on serious planning for the future," Sujit CanagaRetna, a senior fiscal analyst at the Council of State Governments, told Stateline. "We're lurching from one crisis to another and not having any set plan."

As Pew notes, states can be expected to have a sometimes combative relationship with Washington over the next couple of years. Some are still sorting out whether they'll participate in expanding Medicaid and creating health insurance exchanges, as called for under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Many Republican governors, although not all, have been skeptical.

Texas Republican Greg Abbott was among a group of attorneys general who sued to block the federal health law, and he has also taken legal action against a host of other federal laws.

"I go to the office. I sue the federal government. And then I go home," Abbott said in a speech last year, according to The New York Times.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.