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.

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."

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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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Conspiracy Theory Experts: Skepticism Is Part Of Our National Identity

Oct 28, 2012

From birthers to jobbers to those who believe pollsters are in cahoots with President Obama, some on the right have been gaining a reputation as particularly prone to conspiracy theories.

But the last time a Republican was in the White House, the party of conspiracy was often reversed. And there are still some who maintain that President Bush stole the 2000 election and planned the Sept. 11 attacks.

Conspiracy theory experts say that the tendency toward distrust of power is neither uniquely partisan nor entirely detrimental. In fact, they say, it's par for the course for minority political parties.

And Mark Fenster, a professor at the University of Florida and author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power In American Culture, says that not all conspiracy theories are created equal. He notes that some recent claims didn't start out sounding all that far-fetched — but that they suffered by being looped in with truly fringe theories, like "birtherism."

"The claims about Libya and about the job numbers begin at a place that seems legitimate," Fenster says. "When they continually get trumpeted even after they have been disproven and when they are then tied to things that are illegitimate, it's at that point they can become illegitimate."

James Broderick, an assistant professor at New Jersey City University and co-author of Web Conspiracy: A Guide to Conspiracy Theory Sites on the Internet, says it's far too easy today to dismiss the impulse toward suspecting conspiracy as merely rooted in kookiness or ignorance. Generally, he says, a healthy distrust of power is useful — and necessary — in a democracy.

In the past half century there have been conspiracy theories — the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair, for example — that have turned out to be true, Broderick points out.

"A generation of citizens raised in such an environment obviously have cause to be suspicious of what the government tells them, and rightly so," he says.

And skepticism is part of our national identity, says Fenster.

"Populism and populist distrust of government is a core value in American politics and has been since the Revolution. Conspiracy theories are a particularly heightened version of that," Fenster says.

Broderick says while today's right-leaning conspiracy theories may mostly be attributed to the fact that there is a Democrat in the White House, technology, too, is a player.

"Before, if you were at a party ranting about some pet theory of yours ... people might be amused listening to you or there may perhaps be some interest, but it would end right at the punch bowl," Broderick says. "Now you spout out at the communal punch bowl, which is the Internet, and others who might not have had access to your opinion, tens of thousands, can read what you think."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.