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.


Was Boehner's Fiscal Cliff End Run Past GOP The New Normal?

Jan 3, 2013

By letting the House take up the Senate's fiscal cliff-dodging legislation that raises income tax rates on the wealthiest earners, Speaker John Boehner answered affirmatively a question that had been on many minds: Would he allow an up-or-down floor vote on a bill opposed by most fellow House Republicans?

Until the New Year's Day vote, Boehner had generally operated the House under what was known as the Hastert Rule. Named for former Speaker Dennis Hastert, it required a "majority of the majority" to support legislation before the speaker approved a floor vote.

But in the case of the fiscal cliff legislation passed by the House in a 257-167 vote, the majority of the majority opposed the bill, in large part because it lacked the significant spending cuts they desired.

Its 151 House GOP opponents even included members of Boehner's leadership team — Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.

That Boehner, from Ohio, allowed the House to vote on the Senate bill arguably sets a precedent for his speakership, and perhaps gives a preview of what could be the shape of things to come. Or maybe it just sets a precedent for the most contentious legislation, whose passage is deemed crucial to keep the economic recovery alive and otherwise keep at bay a parade of horribles.

Sarah Binder, a George Washington University political scientist, wrote on The Monkey Cage blog that there appears to be a new House rule book.

"On one of the most important House votes of the year, the minority ruled. The Hastert Rule (go forward only with the support of a majority of the majority party) has been displaced (at least for now) by the Boehner Rule (sometimes a majority of the majority has to be rolled for the sake of the party's reputation)."

Of course, this assumes that Boehner gets to retain his speakership in the new 113th Congress, which is sworn in Thursday.

There is plenty of conservative outrage — including accusations that Boehner doesn't represent them — and renewed calls for his ouster as speaker.

But you can find plenty of people, including Republican House members, who think Boehner will keep the speaker's gavel in the new Congress.

Speaking on C-SPAN Wednesday morning, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a conservative Republican from South Carolina, said:

"I don't think you'll see a change in the speakership. The real question is: Are the next two years under the Boehner speakership ... will the next two years of leadership be like the previous two years of leadership? The conservatives in the party really feel like we're losing the spending battle.

"We have not cut spending. In fact, the one place we were supposed to cut spending was on the sequester [or spending cuts that were supposed to start with the new year's arrival]. But that got delayed [because of the deal]. So our question as conservatives is, when are we going to start this battle over spending? We've waited two years now. We're not going to wait much longer."

While conservatives like Mulvaney are clearly restive, it appears there isn't a large-scale mutiny brewing within the House Republican conference to oust Boehner in the way Newt Gingrich was forced out in January 1999.

But Boehner's power could be tested soon if he needs to again rely on House Democrats to deliver votes needed to pass other controversial legislation in coming weeks — like the postponed spending cuts of the fiscal cliff sequester, or raising the nation's debt ceiling.

It's not universally accepted that the divisions within the House Republican conference will again require Boehner to get Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's help in getting crucial fiscal legislation across the finish line.

Speaking Wednesday with All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said he didn't see what happened with the New Year's Day vote as foreshadowing what's likely to happen in coming weeks and months.

"I would expect the deals going forward to be majority Republican and minority Democrat as opposed to the other way around," Cole said. The lawmaker explained that legislation with tax hikes for the rich and a lack of spending cuts was terrain favoring Democrats, as he saw it. By contrast, bills that push spending cuts and entitlement reforms will be more Republican-friendly battleground, Cole said.

Cole said he expects Boehner will be re-elected speaker, in part because of the lack of a plausible alternative.

It's worth noting that Boehner never vowed that he would only bring legislation to a floor vote if he had a majority of a majority.

Weeks before he assumed the speakership in 2011, a reporter asked him at a news conference if he would abide by the Hastert Rule. Boehner said:

"I'm — I'm going to run the House my way, work with members on both sides of the aisle to decide what should come to the floor and what shouldn't come to the floor. I don't think we need to just set up hard rules and hard walls that just get in the way of doing the will of the American people. If we're open with — to each other and we're willing to listen to the American people, we'll have — we'll have good debate every day, and we'll have a healthy outcome."

And even Hastert or his successor, Pelosi, diverged from that rule at times. As the Associated Press' Charles Babington wrote:

"Pelosi, as House speaker in 2006, violated the 'majority of the majority' rule by letting Republicans provide most of the votes for an Iraq war funding measure she disliked.

"Hastert, the Republican speaker from 1999 to 2007, overrode the rule at least twice. In one case, he let Democratic votes carry the load on a stem cell research bill everyone knew President George W. Bush would veto. Hastert also yielded to pressure to let the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill pass even though most House Republicans opposed it."

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