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.

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.

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Campaigns Strive To Project Confidence, But Not Hubris, In Final Days

Nov 3, 2012
Originally published on November 3, 2012 7:04 pm

There are political races all over the country that aren't even close, but you wouldn't know it from listening to the candidates.

It seems that every behind-the-curve challenger is scrapping his or her way to victory and every ensconced incumbent is fighting an unexpectedly tight contest.

A few examples: Ted Cruz, the Tea Party-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate in Texas has an 18-point lead on his Democratic rival Paul Sadler. But, judging by Cruz's Facebook page, with its numerous get-out-the-vote pleas, you might think it was a lot tighter. Likewise, Missouri's Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who enjoys a comfortable lead over Republican Dave Spence, was still calling for campaign volunteers just days ago on his Facebook page.

It's all about crafting a Goldilocks message — not too confident or too desperate — that gets voters to the polls, says Janice Fine, a political science professor at Rutgers who spent two decades working in Democratic campaigns at the national, state and local levels.

"It's been my experience that you always want voters to feel that the race is tight because otherwise you risk them staying home," she says.

Anything can have an impact on turnout, Fine says. First and foremost is the weather. The least committed voters can easily opt to stay warm and dry on Election Day rather than brave the elements to stand in a line at a polling station.

That's especially true if they think their vote isn't crucial, Fine says. And of course nobody wants to back a loser.

"So, you want them to feel like you need their vote, that their vote won't be wasted, but at the same time, that they are voting for a winner," Fine says. For a campaign, she says, "that's a really complicated dynamic."

"You don't want to sound like your candidate is so far ahead that it doesn't matter and you don't want to sound like they are so far behind that it doesn't matter," she says.

And it's not all about the voters. Fine says that as a campaign manager she was always aware that her message was reaching three different audiences — the voters, the volunteers and the donors.

"You could end up embracing a strategy that's useful for your volunteers but could backfire with the voters or donors. Those are the tough judgment calls you make as a campaign manager," she says.

For instance, Fine says if internal polling showed her candidate with a comfortable lead in the closing days of a campaign, she would be careful about how she used that information.

"I might use it to raise last-minute money, I might use it to get the top-tier volunteers excited, to motivate them to put in that final push, not to sleep through the last 48 hours," she says.

"But I would be really careful about communicating that to the voters," Fine says.

Don Beachler, a political science professor at Ithaca College, agrees that selling a campaign as a close race even when it isn't such a tight contest is just good insurance.

"Polls aren't perfect. You don't want to play things so close to the mark that you make a mistake," he says.

Peri Arnold, a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., says when it comes to candidates who are trailing far behind, he thinks there's something besides campaign tactics involved.

"I think candidates are often self-delusional," he says. "You put so much into this and there's so much ego at stake. I think they just lose track of reality."

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