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.


Does The Hallmark Channel Have Basic Cable's Most Efficiently Defined Brand?

Oct 19, 2012
Originally published on October 19, 2012 4:50 pm

You know Hallmark cards, of course. "When you care enough to send the very best." They made themselves The Company That Makes Greeting Cards, Whether You Like It Or Not, and that brand is made of iron.

They also have a couple of cable channels: The Hallmark Channel and The Hallmark Movie Channel, which have put down the vast majority of their chips down on two things: love and Christmas. Christmas movies will start in the next few weeks, but for now, we're still in regular romance season.

In your typical Hallmark romance, one person is a little too buttoned-up and doesn't believe in love (usually, but not always, the woman) and one person is a little too freewheeling and can't settle down (usually, but not always, the man). They are often set against each other at the beginning – they compete in business, or, in the Environmental Variation, one of them wants to destroy the environment and the other one wants to save it. The Environmental Variation is present, for example, in Honeymoon For One, which this blog (believe it or not) reviewed a little over a year ago.

[Note: There's actually one where the Environmental Variation is subject to the Whimsical Subvariation, which is that instead of the man threatening to destroy the environment, he was threatening to kill all the local leprechauns that it was her sacred duty as the leprechaun inspector to protect. It's called Chasing Leprechauns. I know this because I have watched it. I was not under the influence of anesthesia, although when I think back on it, it seems like I was.]

It's very common for one of the leads to have a child – usually a girl. If it's the woman, she may be widowed or divorced from the father, but either way, she's generally so protective of the child that she can barely let herself fall in love. If it's the man, the mother is usually dead, and he's a great dad even though he seems gruff in person. Often in a Woman Meets Dad movie (as opposed to a Man Meets Mom movie), the woman meets the child first, and then she meets the man and realizes that he's a parent, which makes him a better person than she thought.

Hallmark Channel movies place enormous value on a few things. One is living your dream. Perhaps you want to own a restaurant. Perhaps you want to be an artist. Perhaps you want to decorate store windows, open a boutique, or own a cupcake truck. (One or the other person having a job or hobby related to food is disproportionately likely, by the way.) Whatever your dream may be, the movie will end by giving you the opportunity to pursue it, even if it means that you have to merge your French restaurant with your boyfriend's burger place. (That one is called A Taste Of Romance. Teri Polo is in it!)

Another important currency of Hallmarkiana is apologizing extravagantly in public. It may be that the Hallmark audience is primarily made up of women who feel particularly aggrieved, but for some reason, these movies are incredibly likely to include one party or the other apologizing profusely for being unfair, probably in front of lots of people. (In A Taste Of Romance, it happens on television when the boyfriend interrupts a restaurant review segment.) (You know how there's always extra time in the local TV news' restaurant review segment!)

These movies are also big on breaking one or the other of the leads away from a relationship that seemed happy but actually wasn't. This is known as the Pullman Maneuver, after the way Meg Ryan breaks up with Bill Pullman at the end of Sleepless In Seattle. The Pullman Maneuver usually doesn't involve a terrible person, just a person who isn't quite right as much as the other lead of the movie is. Often, the poor sucker who gets the Pullman pulled on him or her spends most of the movie gently prying his or her partner to be more conventional. He or she will say things like, "You're not being practical, honey!" or "We don't have time for you to chase your crazy dreams; we have bills to pay." If you are in a Hallmark movie and you find yourself saying these words, the Pullman Maneuver is coming.

This weekend, Kellie Martin (one of the biggest names in made-for-TV movies) stars in I Married Who? (...yup), a new Hallmark offering in which she plays a woman who gets drunk and marries an actor in Vegas, even though she has a perfectly dull fiancé waiting back at home. This particular movie distinguishes itself with a very naïve, old-fashioned view of drinking, in which you can go from dead sober to blacked out drunk without noticing that you didn't get the virgin cocktail you ordered, and in which the fact that you're drunk is so difficult to discern that someone could marry you while you're in this condition without being kind of a terrible person. [SPOILER ALERT: There's kissing at the end.]

You can't really judge this kind of product as good or bad; what impresses about it is its consistency. Hallmark manufactures these like McDonald's stamps out McNuggets: they're decent, they're satisfying in a superficial way, they're bad for you in excess, and they're reliably the same every single time. It may not be fancy, but boy, they've got it down to a science.

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