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.


Once Boxed-In, Boehner May Finally Be Master Of The House

Dec 8, 2012
Originally published on December 10, 2012 12:42 pm

Not long ago, it seemed to many observers that the House of Representatives was a case of the tail wagging the dog, with Speaker John Boehner unable to keep in line many of his fellow Republicans, especially freshmen who came to Congress riding the 2010 Tea Party wave.

Now, however, the big dog seems back in control.

Some of the signs are subtle, some not. But as he faces off with President Obama during fiscal cliff negotiations, Boehner enjoys a stronger position with House Republicans than he had during earlier showdowns with the White House.

In a paradoxical way, Obama's re-election victory coupled with congressional Democrats adding to their numbers may have helped Boehner. Some of those wins came at the expense of the Tea Party, the conservative movement whose affiliated House members have been very willing to stand up to Boehner.

In recent weeks, Boehner has seen his preferred candidate for a House Republican leadership position win and has gotten his entire leadership team to sign his tax-raising, fiscal-cliff counteroffer.

Less subtle was his crackdown on several GOP lawmakers viewed as unreliable: He approved their loss of committee assignments.

And reports of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia breathing down Boehner's neck, once common, are now scarce.

'Somewhat Unprecedented' Reversal

History suggests that speakers start with high inventories of power only to see them diminish, says Matt Green, a Catholic University political scientist who wrote an examination of speakers titled The Speaker of the House: A Study of Leadership.

In contrast, Boehner's power as speaker started at a relative low point in January 2011 and has risen from there.

"It's not unusual for speakers to have divisions within their party they have to manage," Green said in an interview. "And it's not unusual for speakers to have rivals to the throne. It is somewhat unprecedented, though, to see speakers starting off their tenure at a severe disadvantage and then cementing their power later, which appears to be happening right now with Boehner.

"Usually the pattern in recent decades is the opposite, where a new speaker has strong support, a broad base of good will and then, later, they start to see problems within their party and their power starts to dissipate. [Newt] Gingrich is a classic example of that. Going back further, folks like Carl Albert [in the 1970s] and John McCormack [in the 1960s] became less influential."

Though Boehner has appeared to consolidate support within the House Republican Conference, he has antagonized conservative activists away from Capitol Hill with some of his latest moves. His fiscal-cliff offer containing tax increases on the wealthy that would come from closing loopholes and capping deductions — and the punishment of House members viewed as wayward — drew criticism, as NPR's Tamara Keith recently reported.

Reading The Tea Leaves

Despite complaints from conservative activists and bloggers, however, Boehner remains the most powerful Republican in Washington with his control of one half of the legislative branch. And at least within his House Republican Conference, things are now going his way.

Case in point: In a secret ballot last month, his preferred candidate, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state beat Rep. Tom Price of Georgia for a top post within the House Republican hierarchy. And Price had the support of some of the bigger names in the House GOP conference, including Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Rep. Mike Pence, the governor-elect of Indiana.

John Feehery, a Washington political consultant who once served as press secretary for Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, described that victory as important for Boehner in internal politics.

"That was a message that the [Republican] conference as a whole has read the tea leaves," Feehery wrote in a blog post in which he also ticked off other indicators of Boehner's strength.

And Boehner's ousting of several lawmakers from positions on popular committees like the Budget and Financial Services panels sent the kind of message that Speaker Joe Cannon in the early 20th century was known to send.

"Cannon did the same thing. Stick a few dissidents on a bad committee like the Acoustics Committee and the message is read loud and clear." Members of that ancient House committee actually had the thankless job of checking the sound quality in the House chamber. Fortunately for those present-day House GOP dissidents, that committee is long defunct.

Up Next: Dueling With Obama

"It's vindictive," complained Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, talking to reporters after a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference on Wednesday. House GOP leaders booted the congressman from the House Agriculture Committee, an assignment important to his district and state.

"It's not a message to me. It punishes my constituents and I still represent them," Huelskamp said. "It's meant as a message to the Republican conference in general, especially the comment today [that Boehner reportedly made at the meeting] that there may be more punishment coming if you don't vote the right way."

But Boehner, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, has little time to appreciate his improved circumstances. The Republicans' absolutist stance against increasing tax rates on the wealthiest as part of a fiscal-cliff agreement has placed Boehner on a collision course with Obama, who is an absolutist in favoring such an increase.

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