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.


Down-Ballot Races Feel The Draft And Drag Of The Presidential Race

Oct 25, 2012
Originally published on October 25, 2012 11:56 am

President Obama has been turning up in a lot of debates lately. Not just in his encounters with Mitt Romney, but as a talking point for Republican Senate candidates.

In an Indiana Senate debate Tuesday — the same one in which he made a controversial comment about pregnancy resulting from rape — Republican Richard Mourdock castigated Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly for supporting Obama even though "60 percent" of Hoosiers oppose the president.

In an Ohio Senate debate last week, Republican Josh Mandel sought to score points against Sen. Sherrod Brown by saying the Democrat backed Obama "95 percent" of the time. That same night, Missouri GOP Rep. Todd Akin said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill supports Obama "98 percent" of the time.

"I don't even agree with my mother 98 percent of the time, much less the president of the United States," McCaskill countered.

It has become entirely common this year for Republicans to try to tar their opponents by association with Obama. "In those battleground states that have a Senate race, the numbers in the Senate race, like a draft in a bike race, have followed Romney's numbers," says GOP pollster Ed Goeas.

It's happening all the way down the ballot. In Missouri, the Republican candidate for attorney general, Ed Martin, commonly refers to Democratic incumbent Chris Koster as "Obama's lawyer." The back of Martin's yard signs, in fact, say, "Fire Obama's Lawyer."

Conversely, Romney is turning out to be a drag on certain GOP candidates — notably Republican Sen. Scott Brown in Romney's political home state of Massachusetts.

Brown, who has been hurt by Obama's big polling lead in the state, has sought at times to distance himself from Romney and other national Republicans, saying for instance that Romney's comments about the "47 percent" of Americans who depend on government are not the way he views the world.

Linda McMahon, the Republican Senate nominee in heavily Democratic Connecticut, began airing an ad this past weekend showcasing voters who were going to split their ticket, supporting both her and Obama.

But it's not the navy blue and scarlet red states where coattails will have the most effect, Goeas says.

It's in states and districts that are most competitive where the presidential campaigns matter most down ballot. That's because of the partisan interest they generate and the effort and resources they marshal to turn out voters.

"The reason is simple: There are fewer and fewer split-ticket voters in this highly partisan age," says Whit Ayres, a Republican consultant. "There are simply not that many people who are going to vote for Romney and a Democrat for Senate."

Democrats in swing states such as Colorado, Nevada and Iowa are looking to Obama's turnout machine to help them maintain control of contested legislative chambers. "We need to win the top of the ticket to win the bottom of the ticket," says Matt McCoy, a Democratic state senator in Iowa. "We're totally tied together. That's why we're embracing the president."

Plenty of candidates for Congress or state legislature will say the effect of coattails is ultimately minimal, that they're running their own races and establishing their own identities and messages.

But most will admit that a strong partisan wave threatens to wipe them away. That's why candidates are making calls or knocking on doors seven nights a week — or six, in parts of the country where campaigning on Sundays is still frowned upon.

"When it comes to getting your message out, it comes down to having the resources and also making the effort," says Ben Lange, a GOP candidate for Congress in Iowa.

Candidates like Lange believe they can run just a bit ahead of their ticket by showing up at parades, knocking on doors and making a personal impression.

"You always get drowned out down ticket, with the amount of money Obama and Romney are spending hammering at each other," says Matt Reisetter, a Republican candidate for state Senate in Iowa. "You're out here working your butt off because you're trying to get over that 3 to 4 percent hump."

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