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.

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

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.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.


Ad Watch Rematch: 6 Swing States, 1 Half-Hour, 87 Political Ads

Oct 25, 2012
Originally published on October 26, 2012 11:12 am

In recent days, we've been reading about some unusual ways people are trying to get their political messages across in the feverish lead-up to Election Day: Political blimps. Conspiracy-laden DVDs. Talking greeting card-style mailers that play gaffes.

But the political messaging that may seem most inescapable is the tried-and-true TV ad. You probably don't need a reminder that swing states especially are being flooded with them. Since June, more than 915,000 presidential ads alone have aired on broadcast and cable TV — up more than 44 percent from 2008, according to the Wesleyan Media Project.

Add to that ads for House, Senate and local races and you're looking at quite a barrage. So what's it like to watch TV in swing states right now?

We decided to ask the team of public media reporters who have been contributing to our Message Machine project to weigh in — giving us a window into six tossup states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.

In a similar experiment last month, I (cruelly, perhaps) made us all sit through ABC's Dancing With the Stars to track how many ads we saw in an hour of prime time. Turns out, it wasn't many.

As campaign ad expert Travis Ridout of Washington State University explained, a lot of the advertising time in popular national shows like Dancing With the Stars is bought up by the big guns — Pepsi, Honda, Wal-Mart, etc. Political campaigns like to be a bit more targeted. He said campaign advertisers particularly like the local news.

He wasn't kidding.

On Wednesday, the Message Machine reporters and I all watched a top-rated news broadcast in each of our markets at 11 p.m. Eastern, or 10 p.m. Central and Mountain. And in roughly a half-hour of late night news, we saw 87 political ads, compared to just 12 total in an hour last month. Here's how it broke down:

Colorado (Denver's KUSA): 15 political ads out of 25 ads tracked
7 presidential ads
7 House ads
1 state issue ad (marijuana legalization)

KUNC's Kirk Siegler took the prize for tracking presidential ads, seeing four ads from President Obama's campaign, two Mitt Romney ads and an anti-Obama American Crossroads ad. According to the Wesleyan Media Project, Denver has been the top market for presidential ads this month, with 9,950 ads.

Florida (WTSP in Tampa): 6 political ads out of 21 ads tracked
4 presidential ads
1 Senate ad
1 state issue ad (abortion funds)

Ad tracker Scott Finn of WUSF, who saw three pro-Romney ads and one Obama ad, says: "My takeaway: Romney is trying to cement his small lead in Florida. He MUST win Florida to have a chance. Obama appears to be pulling back on his Florida investment — just staying in enough to force Romney and his allies to spend here."

Iowa (KCCI in Des Moines): 13 political ads out of 23 ads tracked
3 presidential ads
7 House ads
3 state Legislature ads

Iowa Public Radio's Sarah McCammon, who tracked ads in Des Moines, said it was a fast-paced effort: "The ads ... were heavily political; I could barely keep up entering data into a very short form." She was treated to a heavy helping of ads in the race for Iowa's 3rd Congressional District — "a rare race pitting two incumbents against each other because of redistricting (Democrat Leonard Boswell and Republican Tom Latham)."

New Hampshire (Manchester's WMUR): 17 political ads out of 19 ads tracked
4 presidential ads
8 House ads
5 governor's race ads

Josh Rogers of New Hampshire Public Radio had the pleasure of tracking the fewest nonpolitical ads — only two during the entire news broadcast. "All the major races had ads by candidates and by political action committees. Most of the ads were negative, but pretty much all the candidates also ran one positive spot," he reports. A good chunk of the ads focused on the state's competitive race for governor.

Ohio (WBNS in Columbus): 20 political ads out of 27 ads tracked
5 presidential ads
7 Senate ads
2 House ads
6 local race ads

Unsurprisingly, Karen Kasler in the uber-swing state of Ohio won the bragging rights (er, complaining rights?), seeing the most political ads. Kasler, the chief of the Statehouse News Bureau for Ohio Public Radio and Television, pointed out an NBC analysis showing more money being spent on political ads in Ohio than anywhere else: $181 million so far, about one-fifth of the national total of $883 million. In Columbus, that translates into 6,647 ads this month — or 333 a day. On top of that, Karen even saw an ad for the local sheriff's race!

Virginia (WRC in Washington, D.C.): 16 political ads out of 26 ads tracked
4 presidential ads
7 Senate ads
5 Maryland issue ads (same-sex marriage and gambling)

Living in a Northern Virginia suburb of D.C., I kind of cheated, in the sense that five of the ads I tracked pertained to campaigns in neighboring Maryland — ballot questions I have no ability to even vote on. But the presidential ads were squarely aimed at swing-state Virginia voters, and the heat was really on in the close race for U.S. Senate between two former Virginia governors.

One big takeaway for the evening's ad tracking came from Sarah: "At least when we did our Dancing With the Stars ad watch party, we got a little break from politics! (Although we had to watch celebrities dance; I'm not sure which is worse, honestly). But not so tonight. Not surprisingly this close to the election in a swing state, politics dominated not just the ads, but also the programming."

Or, as Scott put it: "I never thought I'd say this: rather watch Dancing With the Stars."

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