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 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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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After Election, Congress Turns To 'Fiscal Cliff,' Other Money Issues

Nov 7, 2012
Originally published on November 7, 2012 10:40 pm

For months, Americans have been watching the presidential political drama play out nightly on the news. Now, with President Obama's victory, that story is ending.

But for the economy, an action thriller is just beginning.

Congress has just weeks to jump to the rescue of an economy moving closer and closer to the so-called fiscal cliff. That phrase refers to a $600 billion cluster of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes — all coming together at year's end.

Private economists, along with the Congressional Budget Office, warn that unless the lame-duck Congress takes action within weeks, the coming budget changes could push the economy over a metaphorical cliff and down into another recession.

After Tuesday's election results became clear, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement that lawmakers "have big challenges facing us in the months ahead." He added that "Democrats and Republicans must come together, and show that we are up to the challenge. This is no time for excuses. This is no time for putting things off until later."

The consequences of inaction would be so grave that most economists believe lawmakers will find the hero in themselves and come together now that the election is over.

"Our mantra is: 'They really can't be that stupid,' " Chris Varvares, president of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, said on a conference call organized by the National Association for Business Economics.

But Tuesday's election, with all of its harsh words and bitter feelings, may make it difficult for Congress to return for a few weeks of chummy compromise. The lame-duck session will have many members who are on the way out, having lost their re-election bids. Their bruising campaigns may have left them feeling ungenerous toward the opposing party.

Still, they must try to get something done. The soon-to-expire Congress is set to convene Nov. 13. Very likely, comprehensive solutions to fiscal-cliff problems will have to wait for the new Congress in January. But because so many deadlines will be hit before then, the lawmakers will need to pass measures to cope with a number of other crises, and then stall for time on the edge of the cliff.

For example, Superstorm Sandy may force lawmakers to take quick action to shore up the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA. The agency could get overwhelmed by the cost of helping people whose homes have been destroyed by flooding. And then there's the cost of rebuilding public transit systems.

A large, bipartisan group of congressmen signed a letter this week, asking House leaders to prepare to spend more money for cleaning up after the storm. They wrote that "as the full brunt of Hurricane Sandy is quantified, Congress must stand ready to provide the aid and assistance to the people and communities most devastated by this storm."

And then there's the debt ceiling. Last week, the Treasury Department warned that the country probably will hit its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit by the end of the year. If the U.S. were to hit the ceiling and risk default on its debts, it could trigger a second downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating and another rattling of global financial markets.

Aside from FEMA and the debt ceiling, Congress must find ways to delay the fiscal-cliff cluster of changes. Take just this one: the alternative minimum tax — the AMT, an obscure tax rule — is about to sharply increase taxes for about 27 million households, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Any couple with children and an annual income of more than $75,000 could be facing a federal tax bill that is thousands of dollars higher this year. Yes. Their taxes would shoot up for the 2012 tax year. Once the filing season begins in January, retroactive fixes to the AMT become much more difficult to implement, so Congress must act before New Year's Eve.

When first created in 1969, the AMT was intended to ensure that wealthy people could not use deductions to escape paying all taxes. But the tax was not adjusted for inflation, and Congress has had to regularly apply a "patch" to ensure that the AMT didn't apply to average families. But because of political gridlock, Congress didn't pass a patch this year — and now the deadline is looming.

So, you've got FEMA, the debt ceiling and the AMT patch all demanding immediate action, even before turning to all of the other fiscal-cliff elements.

Those include:

-- the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts;

-- the end of extended emergency unemployment benefits;

-- the expiration of the Social Security payroll tax reduction; and

-- the start of automatic "sequestration" — spending cuts that hit hard at the Pentagon budget.

Addressing all of the fiscal-cliff issues will be daunting. But at least for now, some business groups are trying to sound a hopeful note.

"There is much work ahead of us," Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said after Obama had won re-election. "After all, it is time for our nation to heal and for Americans to come together."

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