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.

Pages

Obama Team Works To Keep Grass Roots From Drying Up In Second Term

Nov 27, 2012
Originally published on November 27, 2012 5:55 pm

On Wednesday, President Obama will meet with middle-class Americans who will be affected by a tax increase if the country goes over the fiscal cliff. The White House put out a call for their stories last week.

That dialogue with the American people is part of a broader White House effort to keep campaign supporters engaged during Obama's second term. It's a big change from the first term — and it's not an easy undertaking.

Four years ago, Obama took office with an email database of 11 million supporters.

Nancy Taylor of St. Louis was one of those supporters. And as the Obama administration waged its first-term battles on the stimulus, health care and the debt ceiling, what she heard from the president was basically ... crickets.

"All I really got from the White House were Christmas cards," she says. If Obama had asked for something, Taylor says, she "definitely" would have been interested.

"I just felt like everything was up to the politicians in Washington at that point," she says.

Andrea Lee of Chicago was in the voter database, too. She had knocked on doors and worked the phones for the campaign. After the election, she did nothing.

"I was a person with hands ready to do something, and, you know, I did want to continue the momentum," she says. "It just wasn't clear what to do."

At the start of Obama's first term, Kombiz Lavasany handled online communications for the Democratic Party. He says the Obama team knew how to organize for a campaign. But it had no idea how to use those tools to govern.

"We were watching a Democratic administration come in for the first time since 1992," he says. "And most of us hadn't lived in an age where the Internet really existed as a mobilizing tool. So we were getting to see how this played out really for the first time ever."

The White House was consumed with a tanking economy. Mobilizing the base could have seemed like a partisan act when the president had been elected on a promise to work across party lines. So with nobody watering the grass roots, they kind of shriveled up.

The first time that really changed was just over a year ago, when Obama presented a job creation plan to Congress.

"I ask every American who agrees to lift your voice. Tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now," the president said in the Sept. 8, 2011, speech to a joint session of Congress. And people responded: The phone system in the Capitol crashed with the flood of phone calls.

This coincided with the start of the 2012 campaign — a new opportunity for the president to re-energize the base that had been sitting around waiting for an assignment.

Now, after millions more door knocks and phone calls, Obama is back for another four years.

White House press secretary Jay Carney says the administration won't make the same mistake it made last time.

"Some of the lessons that we learned over the last four years," he says, are about how "engaging the public on these sometimes chewy policy debates is important because they care and they have a deep stake in the outcome of the debates."

Engaging the public is not as easy as it sounds.

After this year's election, Lee, the Chicago volunteer, hopped on a conference call with tens of thousands of other volunteers. Obama thanked people, and then a campaign organizer pointed everyone to a website to stay involved.

"So then I thought, 'Great, there's a way to be connected,' " she says. "But then when I went to that website, the tool kit is really just like images that you would put on your Facebook background or like a desktop background."

The campaign also sent volunteers a long survey after the election. And last week the White House urged people to use Twitter and Facebook to promote Obama's plan for dealing with the fiscal cliff.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina admitted last week that this is still a work in progress.

"One thing I know is that people want to be involved in supporting the president's agenda in the next four years," he said at a breakfast event hosted by Politico. "How that looks is a discussion we need to have with our grass roots."

In a way, this is Obama's bread and butter — not so different from the community-organizing work that launched his career in Chicago.

But figuring out how to do it on a national scale with a big, messy issue is a challenge nobody has tackled before.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Tomorrow at the White House, President Obama is scheduled to meet with middle-class Americans who would be affected by that fiscal cliff tax increase. This dialogue with the American people is part of a broader effort to keep campaign supporters engaged in the president's second term. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports this is a big change from the first term, and it isn't easy.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Four years ago, President Obama took office with an email database of 11 million supporters. Nancy Taylor of St. Louis, Missouri, was one of those supporters and as the Obama administration waged its first-term battles on the stimulus, health care and the debt ceiling, what she heard from the president was basically crickets.

NANCY TAYLOR: All I really got from the White House were Christmas cards.

(LAUGHTER)

SHAPIRO: If he had asked you to do something, would you have been interested in doing it?

TAYLOR: Oh, I think definitely. But I don't know. I just felt like everything was up to the politicians in Washington at that point.

SHAPIRO: Andrea Lee was in the voter database too. She had done door-knocking and phone-banking, and after the election, she did nothing.

ANDREA LEE: You know, I was a person with hands, ready to do something, and I, you know, I did want to continue the momentum, and it just wasn't clear what to do.

SHAPIRO: At the start of President Obama's first term, Kombiz Lavasany handled online communications for the Democratic Party. He says the Obama team knew how to organize for a campaign, but they had no idea how to use those tools to govern.

KOMBIZ LAVASANY: We were watching a Democratic administration come in for the first time since 1992, and most of us hadn't lived in an age where the Internet really existed as a mobilizing tool. So we were getting to see how this played out really for the first time ever.

SHAPIRO: The White House was consumed with a tanking economy, and mobilizing the base could have seemed like a partisan act when the president had been elected on a promise to work across party lines. So with nobody watering the grass roots, they kind of shriveled up. The first time that really changed was just a year ago, when President Obama presented a job creation plan to Congress.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED SPEECH)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I ask every American who agrees to lift your voice. Tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now.

SHAPIRO: When he said call your member of Congress the phone system in the Capitol crashed with the flood of phone calls. This coincided with the start of the 2012 campaign - a new opportunity for the president to re-energize the base that had been sitting around waiting for an assignment.

And now, after millions more door knocks and phone calls, President Obama is back for another four years. White House press secretary Jay Carney says the administration won't make the same mistake they made last time.

JAMES CARNEY: Some of the lessons that we learned over the last four years have to do with engaging the public on these sometimes chewy policy debates is important because they care and they have a deep stake in the outcome of the debates.

SHAPIRO: Engaging the public is not as easy as it sounds. After this year's election, Andrea Lee of Chicago hopped on a conference call with tens of thousands of volunteers. President Obama thanked people and then a campaign organizer pointed everyone to a website to stay involved.

LEE: So then I thought, great, there is a way to be connected. But then when I went to that website, the toolkit is really just like images that you would put on your Facebook background or like a desktop background.

SHAPIRO: The campaign also sent volunteers a long survey after the election. And last week, the White House urged people to tweet and Facebook President Obama's plan for dealing with the fiscal cliff. Obama campaign manager Jim Messina admitted last week at a playbook breakfast that this is a still a work in progress.

JIM MESSINA: The one thing I know is that people want to be involved in supporting the president's agenda in the next four years. How that looks is a discussion we need to have with our grass roots.

SHAPIRO: In a way, this is President Obama's bread and butter, not so different from the community organizing work that launched his career in Chicago. But figuring out how to do it on a national scale with a big, messy issue is a challenge nobody has tackled before. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.