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.

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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.


Meet The Virginian Shaping The House GOP's Immigration Plan

Feb 21, 2013
Originally published on February 21, 2013 8:24 am

Comprehensive immigration reform seems to top everyone's legislative wish list this year, and bills are already taking shape in the White House and the Democratic-led Senate.

A bipartisan group of senators recently laid out a path to citizenship for millions living in the country unlawfully. Less clear is where the Republican-led House is headed on immigration.

The man charged with drafting the House immigration bill is Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia.

Goodlatte's district is home to Roanoke, Va., a tidy city of nearly 100,000 between the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountains. In recent years, immigrants from more than 70 nations have settled there and elsewhere in the Shenandoah Valley — some working in apple orchards, many others in poultry-processing plants and still others in construction or the restaurant business.

Diverging Views

At a gathering this week in downtown Roanoke, local business people offer varied views when asked what should happen with the millions of immigrants who are in the country unlawfully.

"We use Mexicans in our work," says building contractor Ed Toomey, "and, you know, they're fine people. But there has to be a law. They have to abide by the rules, like everybody else."

Realtor Cindy Sanchez says it's not for her "to judge them."

"The people that I come across, I know they're here because they want a better life for their family," she says.

Mike Sutton, a real estate agent who favors some form of amnesty, calls it "a tough issue."

"But I would like to see ways that we could figure out how to get them — go through some steps to make them legal," he says.

During the gathering, the business people are joined by another local — Goodlatte, who is well-known, having represented this district for more than two decades.

Closing The Door On A Path To Citizenship

When the Republican conservative and former immigration lawyer sits down for an interview to discuss the bill he aims to produce, he makes one thing clear: He is against a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

"This is a broken immigration system; it's had problems for a long time," he says. "And work needs to be done, both in terms of reforming legal immigration programs and in terms of enforcing our immigration laws and addressing what happens to the 10 million or more people who are not lawfully in the United States."

Goodlatte says this is a nation of immigrants, but it is also a nation of laws.

"People have a pathway to citizenship right now: It's to abide by the immigration laws, and if they have a family relationship, if they have a job skill that allows them to do that, they can obtain citizenship," Goodlatte says. "But simply someone who broke the law, came here, [to] say, 'I'll give you citizenship now,' that I don't think is going to happen."

It annoys Goodlatte that President Obama has been weighing in on the immigration debate.

"I think the president should calm down, back off and let the Congress do its work," he says.

What's really required to get an immigration bill, he says, is bipartisan cooperation.

"If people start prescribing or prejudging how we're going to find that common ground in the middle, he's going to simply not have a bill," Goodlatte says.

One Priority: Guest Workers

A top objective for Goodlatte is to expand a guest-worker program for immigrant-labor-dependent U.S. agriculture, should millions already here illegally be allowed to stay.

"You're going to have to have a program that assures those farms and those processing plants that there will be workers," he says. "Because if you give them legal status, they can work anywhere in the United States — they're not going to necessarily work at the hardest, toughest, dirtiest jobs."

Those who have watched Goodlatte over the years say he should have considerable political leeway at home for drafting an immigration bill.

"I don't think immigration is a real core issue in this district," says Harry Wilson, a political scientist at Roanoke College, "so I don't think it's a do-or-die issue for him. [It] may be one of some importance, but it's not one where he's likely to lose the next election based on what he does."

But it would appear that even in Goodlatte's mostly rural, mountain-bound district, people do want him to do something about an immigration system that all agree is broken.

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