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.


Pete Stark, Health Policy Warrior, Leaves A Long Legacy

Jan 2, 2013
Originally published on January 2, 2013 11:25 am

The 113th Congress will be the first one in 40 years to convene without California Rep. Pete Stark as a member.

Stark was defeated in November by a fellow Democrat under new California voting rules. Stark may not be a household name, but he leaves a long-lasting mark on the nation's health care system.

So just how influential has Pete Stark been on health policy in his four decades on Capitol Hill? Very, says John Rother, head of the National Coalition on Health Care.

Stark has "been part of almost every piece of health legislation that's been enacted, including the Affordable Care Act," Rother says. "And many of the changes and improvements in Medicare trace to him as well."

Stark singles out two pieces of legislation of which he's particularly proud.

"I guess in terms of results, COBRA — 40 million people probably have used it. That, and EMTALA. Those two are major changes in the health delivery system," he says.

COBRA is the 1986 law that allows people to remain on their employer's health insurance plan after they leave their job, as long as they pay the full premium. EMTALA is the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. It requires hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid to see and stabilize anyone who shows up in their emergency rooms, regardless of their insurance status.

Fellow California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, who has worked with Stark for 38 of the past 40 years, says EMTALA is a much bigger deal than many people realize.

"Imagine what it would be like in this country if somebody was brought into an emergency room and because they didn't have insurance they were just turned away to bleed to death in the streets," said Waxman, who chaired the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health for many of the same years Stark chaired the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.

So what exactly made Stark such an effective legislator? It certainly wasn't his public manner. In fact, Stark's mouth has landed him in plenty of trouble.

"Pete's a combination of a person who speaks his mind, sometimes before thinking things through, but who actually does the work," says Rother, "and has got the legislative record to prove it. So while he gets people exasperated with occasional off-the-cuff remarks, when you look at the work that's been produced under his name, it's truly impressive."

Some of the things Stark has had to apologize for include calling former GOP Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, who was black, a "disgrace to his race," and suggesting that former Connecticut Republican Rep. Nancy Johnson learned about health via "pillow talk" because her husband was a doctor.

But for all of his partisan jabs, Stark had an almost legendary working relationship with Ohio Rep. Bill Gradison, who was the ranking Republican on the Ways and Means health subcommittee for most of the time Stark was chairman.

"Never once did we report a bill out of that subcommittee that he and I did not both co-sponsor and end up supporting on the floor," said Stark.

Gradison, now teaching at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, says Stark went out of his way to be cooperative.

"At the beginning of every year, he and I and our senior staffs would sit down and talk about the issues that we anticipated would be coming up in that next year and talk about potential subjects for hearings and potential witnesses, and there was a lot of give and take," says Gradison. "Yes, he had the gavel, and he had the control over what happened, but he was certainly open to suggestions."

But first and foremost, Stark spent most of his career fighting for the Medicare program his subcommittee oversaw.

"He devoted his career to Medicare, making sure it worked, that beneficiaries were protected," Waxman said. "We got the best we could for the money we were spending, and avoiding spending money that wasn't going to directly help people who are in the Medicare program."

And what will Stark miss most when he leaves Congress?

"It's one of the areas in which you get up ... in the morning and look at the mirror ... and say, 'Hey, I'm going to do something today that's going to make life better for somebody.' And that's pretty neat," Stark says. "When I was a banker I'd get up and say, 'Whose car am I going to repossess?' or 'Whose house am I going to foreclose?' and that didn't start you out on a very nice approach for the rest of the day."

Stark says he hasn't decided what he'll do next, but it will likely involve children. "Children with learning disadvantages need a lot of help today, and it's important to get it early on so they learn to read and calculate," he says.

Whatever it is Stark does, expect him to do it with a lot of gusto.

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