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.

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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.


How The Rich Feel About Paying More Taxes

Dec 13, 2012
Originally published on December 13, 2012 11:30 am

Stephen Prince has plenty of money, and he doesn't mind sending more of it to the federal government.

"There's nothing in history that supports the view that if you give the wealthy their money back, they'll invest it," says Prince, who owns a company based in Nolensville, Tenn., that makes gift cards. "We invest anyway — that's what the wealthy do."

President Obama has made it clear he will demand that taxes go up for the top 2 percent of earners as part of any new budget deal. Presidential statements, congressional debate and protests on Wall Street and around the country have all made the case that the rich must pay more in order to help both the budget and the economy.

But how do the top earners themselves feel about that idea?

Some, like Prince, say they can readily afford to pay more. Others think it's wrong to call on them to pay higher rates — even as top earners account for a huge percentage of personal income tax receipts. Mainly, they say they are tired of being singled out and accused of not paying their fair share.

"I worked hard and I had some success, and I think that's how it's supposed to be in this country," says Edward Kfoury, a 74-year-old former IBM director who now owns "a couple of businesses" in Maine. "I don't like being called a name and being called a bastard and all these other things."

'A Dark Path'

Prince, who is 61, lives in a gated golf community near Nashville, Tenn., and owns a condo in New York. Not only can he afford to pay more, he says, but he also believes people in his bracket need to pony up to support essential programs such as education and roads.

"Almost all of my friends don't have one mansion, they have two," he says. "Many of them have three."

He recently joined a group of 225 self-styled "Patriotic Millionaires," which advocates that high-income individuals pay higher taxes.

"Without willingness to support our central government, we're going down a dark path," Prince says. The conditions that create wealth — including an educated workforce and a broad customer base — are at risk if the rich are too "greedy" to pay more in taxes, he argues.

How Much Is Enough?

Not everyone whose taxes would go up under President Obama's "fiscal cliff" proposal lives in a mansion, however. Particularly in expensive parts of the country such as New York City and San Francisco, $250,000 doesn't go as far as it once did.

"My wife and I collectively make over that," says Bernie Grimm, an attorney in Washington, D.C., "but with three kids and two in college, that's not a lot of money."

As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg once pointed out, life in such places is itself a "luxury product." Grimm, who is 57, readily concedes that his family is able to live comfortably.

People who aren't able to make ends meet on a medium six-figure income are arguably just not being smart with their money.

"There are a lot of people in my income category who are living paycheck to paycheck," says Mark Anderson, a 29-year-old mortgage broker in St. Louis. "It's just a different level of credit card debt."

Anderson says he and his wife, a pathologist, fall into the 2 percent category but not by much. He indulges himself in "the latest and greatest that Apple has to offer" and lives in a sizable house in a good neighborhood. Beyond that, he says, he and his wife aren't extravagant — they drive Subarus rather than Jaguars.

Singling Out Success

Anderson recognizes that the kind of tax increases Obama proposes aren't going to impinge on his life materially, and he supports them philosophically. But he adds that he thinks Obama and other Democrats make being rich "sound like a bad thing," which he says is a mistake.

The top 2 percent of earners already pay 35 percent of all federal taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center. In terms of personal income taxes, the top 1 percent alone pay 37.4 percent of total receipts, according to the Tax Foundation — double the share they paid back in 1979. Kfoury, who is president of a land trust in Maine, points out that there are years when his personal tax bill has run into seven figures.

"What would make me feel a lot better is if I heard the president say, 'I want to thank the rich people who, because of our progressive tax system, pay the most — but we don't have enough money, so we're asking the wealthy people to help the country out by paying more than their fair share,' " says Martin Krall, a 71-year-old "semi-retired" attorney and media executive who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

"Instead, you're made to feel like you're a bad guy," Krall says. "People resent the notion that somehow they've done something wrong by becoming successful."

Get Your Fiscal House In Order

Even Prince, the Tennessee millionaire, says the president "has done a horrible job of telling the story or recrafting the message."

But for some of the well-to-do, it's not just a question of being asked nicely. Some argue that the federal government itself should get its books in better order before it comes asking them for more.

"If you have tax increases and parallel cost-cutting, that's fine with me," says Grimm, the D.C. lawyer.

Grimm says he has always endorsed social programs, worked in a public defender's office and once set up a reading program at a local jail. But he believes there's plenty of waste in government — including domestic programs he worries are leaving some individuals dependent on government largesse.

Jeff Fisher, another 57-year-old lawyer, agrees that any increase in taxes for people in his income category must be accompanied by cuts to government programs. "It's got to be the two together," he says.

But if he has to pay higher taxes in order to help bring the federal budget closer to balance, Fisher recognizes that he can afford it.

"Yeah, it's going to cost me a bunch of money each year, but it's not going to make a material change in my life," Fisher says. "I'm a divorce lawyer in Palm Beach, Fla., so I do very well."

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