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.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.


Enmity And Ennui: Va. Governor's Race Inspiring Both

Jan 13, 2013
Originally published on January 13, 2013 7:15 pm

Most Virginians say they approve of the job that first-term GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell is doing, suggesting he'd have a good shot at re-election when his term expires at the end of this year.

But it's one-and-out for governors in Virginia, the only state that doesn't allow its chief executive to serve consecutive terms.

That's left the state with a governor's race that has many voters shaking their heads and asking, "How did we end up with these two?"

"These two" are Democrat Terry McAuliffe, 55, a Clinton-era fundraiser extraordinaire and former Democratic National Committee chairman who got walloped in a party primary for governor in 2009; and Republican Ken Cuccinelli, 44, the state attorney general whose conservatism far outflanks most on the right of the political spectrum.

"We've got Bill Clinton's big-money man versus a social issues extremist," says the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato. The frank assessment may offend true believers, but resonates with a wide swath of Virginia voters.

There may be a third candidate. McDonnell's pick as his successor, Republican Lt. Gov. Bob Bolling, 55, suspended his campaign after the party decided to choose its candidate at a convention instead of holding a primary. The move favored Cuccinelli.

But Bolling has kept everyone guessing about whether he'll run as an independent.

This all in a state that President Obama has won twice, where changing demographics have created a true swing state, but where voters in recent history have picked a governor of the opposite party of the president.

"There's a history that the party that loses the White House wins the governor's race," says Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "And the electorate this year will be older and whiter than it was last year."

"That's why Cuccinelli has a shot," Brown says.

Disenchanted Voters

The results of two polls released this week reflected Virginia voters' current ennui, if not enmity.

Both early surveys found a close race — and something else: Voters don't much like Cuccinelli, and they don't know McAuliffe.

A Quinnipiac University poll had the two candidates essentially tied; a Public Policy Polling survey had McAuliffe up by 5 percentage points, but with 13 percent undecided.

Here's Cuccinelli's problem: Forty-five percent of those surveyed by PPP, a Democratic firm, said they had an unfavorable opinion of Cuccinelli.

As for McAuliffe, just over a quarter of those surveyed told PPP that they had an unfavorable opinion of him, but half said they weren't even sure what they thought of the guy, though this is his second run for governor.

The Quinnipiac poll found that 61 percent of those surveyed hadn't heard enough about McAuliffe to form an opinion.

McAuliffe Remains Mystery

"Nobody knows who he is," says Brown, the Quinnipiac pollster. "Activists might know McAuliffe, but Joe and Jill Sixpack don't."

Says Tom Jensen of PPP: "He has no long record of involvement in Virginia politics, he hasn't been in the trenches, and we have empirical evidence: He didn't do well in 2009."

What McAuliffe has managed this time around, Jensen says, is to clear the field. In 2009, he lost to Creigh Deeds by 23 points in the Democratic primary, finishing second in a three-way race.

The Virginia Public Access Project reported that, based on candidate spending reports, Deeds spent $14.49 per vote; McAuliffe spent $68.25 for each of his votes.

McAuliffe, who chaired Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, faces the renewed task of casting himself as of and for the state of Virginia, and with something to offer voters outside of corridors-of-Washington influence and a reputation as, to quote former Vice President Al Gore, "the greatest fundraiser in the history of the universe."

Cuccinelli's Challenge

Cuccinelli this past week, during an appearance on a conservative radio program, suggested that going to jail may be an effective way to protest the contraceptives coverage requirements in the new health care law.

That surprised no one familiar with the former state senator.

As attorney general, he filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care law. He signed on as a supporter of Arizona's stringent new immigration laws. He wrote an opinion asserting that sexual orientation should not be a protected class under anti-discrimination policies at state colleges and universities.

His challenges to climate science — and scientists — prompted The Washington Post to suggest that he's on an "anti-climate science crusade."

Cuccinelli, who opposes legalized abortion, once ordered official lapel pins that altered the state seal to cover the exposed left breast of a Roman goddess. He has supported efforts to revoke the 14th Amendment that gives citizenship to children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants, and has characterized homosexual "acts" as wrong.

Those positions "don't necessarily make him out of step with the people of Virginia," says Brown, of Quinnipiac, particularly the older, whiter electorate expected to show up at the polls in this off-year.

"Elections are based on the electorate, and they change every year," Brown says. The electorate this year will not be the one that elected Obama in 2012, or in 2008.

"It is true that Virginia demographics have changed to help Democrats, but mostly the changes have helped President Obama," he says.

Voting in off-year elections — not a presidential year, and not a midterm election year — is historically lower, and more dependent on party base turnout.

Virginia holds one of only two gubernatorial elections this year (New Jersey holds the other). Without Obama at the top of the ticket, the pollsters say turnout for McAuliffe among African-Americans and young voters will likely be markedly less than for Obama in 2012, and that the Republican electorate will likely be dominated by its most socially conservative voters.

Can Democrats motivate their voters to get out, even if they don't know much about — or care much about — their candidate?

"Democrats aren't necessarily in love with Terry McAuliffe," says PPP's Jensen. "But they might be motivated to vote against Cuccinelli."

"I anticipate it being an extremely close race, with early money on someone winning it by two points or less," he says. "Given that it's an off-year, and there's a Democrat in the White House, Republicans would have a clear advantage if they had a moderate running."

And, who knows, says Sabato, who else might get in the race — be it Bolling, or some deep-pocketed aspirant.

"I'm surprised that somebody else wouldn't run," he said, "it's a made-for-wealthy opportunity."

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