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.


Meet The New GOP, Same As The Old GOP?

Nov 15, 2012
Originally published on November 15, 2012 4:16 pm

There has been no dearth of post-election Republican self-flagellation.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, on the eve of heading out to a meeting of Republican governors in Las Vegas, warned the GOP to "stop being the stupid party." At the gathering Wednesday night, he leveled more harsh criticism at party presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Ronald Reagan biographer and conservative adviser Craig Shirley derided his party's message as incoherent "at best."

Others, including analyst Charlie Cook in a post-election briefing, have suggested that the party's dismal performance with Hispanic and younger voters suggests it may be well-served by replacing Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus with a higher-profile leader in the mode of Democratic chairman Bob Strauss in the 1970s, or GOP chairman Haley Barbour in the 1990s.

Shirley, in an interview Wednesday, agreed: "The Republican Party suffered reversals across the board. The party needs a new approach."

But the party is still sorting out solutions, wrangling over whether its problems lie in its positions on issues ranging from immigration to women's reproductive health, or simply in its sales job with the voting public.

In the meantime, Priebus, the Wisconsin lawyer elected party chairman in early 2011 when he successfully challenged Michael Steele, will likely seek a second term in January — and is being urged to do so by influential party members.

Priebus is expected to announce his intentions soon.

"He inherited a total, unmitigated disaster from Michael Steele," the former Maryland lieutenant governor who ran the RNC for two years, says Jack Oliver, who was national finance vice chairman for the 2004 George W. Bush-Dick Cheney campaign, was finance director for Bush's 2000 campaign, and served as deputy chairman of the RNC during the 2002 midterm elections.

"He straightened the ship," says Oliver, a senior adviser for Bryan Cave and Barclays Capital.

Oliver and others, including Bill Greener, a former communications director and political operations staffer at the RNC, say people within the party recognize the skill Priebus brought to putting the committee on competitive financial footing after inheriting $20 million in debt, and his tactical skills will be needed to improve the party's get-out-the-vote effort, which was swamped by President Obama's operation.

"I think Reince did a very, very strong job as chairman," says Greener, a strategist who advises politicians and corporations.

"I don't believe in saying, 'Let's hang them,' " he said of Priebus, as well as GOP House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "I don't think you can negate the multitude of good things those three individuals have done."

"In terms of where the party goes next, we need to be smart, we need to look into all sorts of things, and we need to not overreact," Greener says.

Steele, the party's first African-American chairman, who was criticized for the debt he left Priebus, says his his own legacy included something more important than raising money: "winning." The party during his tenure delivered unto Democrats a 2010 midterm "shellacking," to use Obama's word. Republicans won control of the House, picking up 63 seats, along with five Senate seats.

Same Bosses, New Message?

One theme that has emerged from within the GOP since the election is the argument that the party was hobbled more by its language and organization than by its core conservative beliefs.

At the Republican meeting of its 30 governors, the message from former Mississippi Gov. Barbour was that everything is pretty darn fine, and the party must avoid becoming something akin to Democratic "lite."

But others, like Shirley, see a need for much more fundamental reconsiderations, given what he sees as the historic nature of Obama's re-election, and the GOP's failure to capitalize on a prime opportunity to make gains in the Senate.

"Sometimes it takes a second election to understand the first election," he said. "We didn't know the meaning of the 2008 election until now."

Shirley's suggestion for his party? Embrace federalism, and build up the state Republican parties by shifting power from Washington-based "consultants, media and lobbyists" to the state organizations.

"You're not going to do that by bringing in Karl Rove and running millions of dollars of attack ads," he says. And you're not going to do it, he says, by engaging in "college Republican-ish behavior," like calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat" party.

"Insulting Democratic voters is not a way to get them to look at the Republican Party," he said.

It wasn't demographics that caused the GOP to lose, Shirley argues, but the underlying problem with the "party of the past" message it was projecting — beginning with Romney's slogan, "Take Back America."

Greener says that if Republicans continue to look and sound like they did in this past election, they are destined to become a modern-day Whig Party, weak and factionalized.

"The important lesson in this for me is that Republicans have believed for a long time that the things we want are best for all Americans, that we're not practitioners of identity politics," he says. "The problem with that is that there's now an abundance of evidence that suggests no matter what we believe, or how well-intentioned, the reality is that nonwhites don't see themselves as being part of what Republicans care about."

And it goes beyond immigration policy, Greener says.

But that's part of it, and implementing immigration reform, Oliver says, is "going to require pushing back" on some of the more conservative elements of the GOP.

It can, he says, "be a beginning of a conversation with a community that shares our values."

The Big Fix

Many have referred to the election as one of "status quo" because the essential balance of power remained the same. A Democrat in the White House, a Senate controlled by Democrats and a House led by Republicans. And, perhaps, Priebus still chairing a flailing party.

That, however, understates what happened on Nov. 6.

Greener says the big challenges faced by the party have now been "verified and corroborated by the data."

The shift from the party of omission to one of inclusion looms larger than any mechanical fix Priebus and other tacticians have to tackle.

"That's a partywide issue," Oliver says. "It takes Bobby Jindal and other great governors across the country. It takes [Florida's] Marco Rubio and [Ohio's] Rob Portman and others in the Senate. It takes Speaker Boehner driving his caucus to see the demographics are changing."

"We don't have to change our party, but we have to move forward and be inclusive," he says.

But that is a type of change and would make Republicans fundamentally different from the party that just lost the White House, and lost ground in the Senate — a party struggling to define conservatism going forward and with a restive base bitterly divided on just how that should play out.

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