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.

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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.


In Midwest Union Fights, Michigan Shows 2010 Election Still Trumps 2012

Dec 12, 2012
Originally published on December 26, 2012 12:54 pm

No one can argue the setback to organized labor served up by Michigan's new law, which bars unions from requiring workers to pay dues even if they don't join their workplace bargaining unit.

Tuesday's passage of "right to work" legislation in a state dominated by the auto industry and the historically powerful United Auto Workers was a surprising "smack in the face" to unions, says labor expert Lee Adler, especially given President Obama's nearly 10-point win in the state last month.

The action by the GOP-controlled Legislature in a post-election lame-duck session is the surest sign yet, Adler says, of how losses suffered by more union-friendly Democrats two years ago in key statehouse races continue to reverberate.

"The November election did not solve the losses suffered in 2010," says Adler, of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the author of books on organized labor's history and future.

Those losses, he says, mean that the GOP still has the ability in key states — especially above the Mason-Dixon Line — to hobble unions.

The Future Of Unions?

We turned to Adler for some perspective on where unions go now, given the political realities in Michigan — which on Tuesday became the 24th state to enact right-to-work rules — and where less than 20 percent of the workforce now belongs to unions.

Some quick background: After Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican elected in 2010, signed the bill into law Tuesday, he characterized it not as anti-union but "about more and better jobs for Michiganders."

The measure will go into effect 90 days after the state ends its current legislative session. Prohibition of mandatory union dues will be phased in as union contracts expire and new deals are struck.

Snyder, who insisted that he believes in collective bargaining, arguing that the new law will simply force unions to present a stronger case to attract and keep dues-paying members, says he foresees challenges to the law. "I would expect litigation," he told reporters.

In the meantime, Adler has some advice — and caution — for future union efforts.

Union responses need to be confrontational to be effective, he says, but that doesn't mean staging daily protests at the statehouse like those organized by the unions in Wisconsin after GOP Gov. Scott Walker pushed through legislation early in 2011 that largely stripped that state's public unions of collective bargaining rights.

"They can do the traditional thing, and have public protests about it," Adler says, "but that doesn't mean anything, as we saw in Wisconsin."

"They have to think of some more creative approaches, to explain why it matters to people beyond those who are in trade unions," he said. "This is a major frontal attack on the labor unions in Michigan, and there has to be a continuing vigilance, pressure, and a strategy of constructive obstruction."

Comparing Wisconsin, Ohio And Michigan

The most effective strategy for unions, he argues? "Make the case along class lines," he says, though without setting up the Koch brothers, for example, as specific target.

The wealthy Kochs have helped bankroll right-to-work efforts nationally, as well as other anti-union measures in Wisconsin and beyond.

"It's more important to develop a strategy where unions can talk to other working people who aren't in unions — women, minorities, immigrants — and show that they're in this together," he said. "Unions' success will come from that, and not from a boogeyman."

The examples of Wisconsin, where efforts to recall Walker failed in June, and of Ohio, where voters statewide in 2011 turned back a GOP effort to limit public union collective bargaining, may provide little in the way of a road map.

Union efforts in Wisconsin were unsuccessful. And, unlike in Ohio, voters in Michigan will not get to weigh in on the right-to-work legislation because it is attached to a spending bill.

"I think the electorate in Wisconsin just got tired of undoing elections," Adler says, referring to the doctrine of permanent revolution and its wearying effect. "In Ohio, they targeted a law, and organized around that law, which was much more effective."

Big Loss For The Democratic Party

A number of factors diminish the meaning of the Wisconsin and Ohio experiences, in the context of Michigan, he says.

What happened in Michigan, given the movement of the electorate, is a "recognizable political contradiction," Adler says.

Contradiction or not, Michigan this week provided more shock treatment for organized labor and, by extension, the Democratic Party.

Some perspective: The United Auto Workers, described by the Center for Responsive Politics as "a strong financial supporter of Democrats," in the 2012 election cycle contributed more than $11 million to political action committees, parties, outside spending groups and candidates. That included more than $138,000 directly to Obama's campaign.

The UAW ranks 14th out of 20,484 campaign contributors traced by the center, qualifying it for "heavy hitter" status.

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