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 veggies 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.


A Fighter To The End, Arlen Specter Seemed To Thrive On Controversy

Oct 15, 2012
Originally published on October 15, 2012 8:39 am

Imagine a lawyer's lawyer, a fighter's fighter and a pol's pol. Now imagine one person as all three. That was Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who died Sunday at age 82.

Over the course of three decades in the U.S. Senate (1981-2011), Specter came to personify the pragmatic, independent operator who sized up the substance and politics of every issue for himself. His vote could be one of the hardest to get, and often the one that made the difference.

"I believe that my duty is to follow my conscience and vote what I think is in the best interest of the country," he said in 2009, "and the political risks will have to abide."

Switching Teams

He began his legal career as a Democrat but switched to the Republican Party when he began running for office. Yet in 2009, anticipating a tough primary re-election ahead in 2010, he supported the $787 billion fiscal stimulus plan of President Obama and then switched parties.

As a Democrat in 2010, he also supported the health care law that became known as Obamacare. The president responded by backing Specter in the Democratic primary that year, but Specter lost the nomination to Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak.

At many junctures in Specter's Senate career, his party loyalty was called into question, including the moment when he was ascending to the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2005. But Specter managed to reassure his GOP colleagues that his unorthodox brand of conservatism — including his support for abortion rights — would not interfere with the party's plans for the federal judiciary. Indeed, Specter was able to shepherd President George W. Bush's nominees — John Roberts and Samuel Alito — to Senate confirmation later that year.

Always Close To Controversy

Specter was most widely known for his interrogation of Anita Hill in the 1991 hearings on Clarence Thomas' appointment to the Supreme Court. Specter's relentless examination of Hill's charges of sexual harassment helped turn the tide against Hill and secure Thomas' eventual confirmation.

But long before that, he was known as a dogged prosecutor and legal combatant. In an earlier Supreme Court confirmation battle over the 1987 nomination of Robert H. Bork, Specter's close questioning and negative vote were major factors in Bork's defeat.

Specter often seemed to thrive on controversy. When still a young attorney in Philadelphia, he took a staff job with the Warren Commission investigating the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy. In 1964 he was tasked with presenting and defending the commission's "single-bullet theory" that held assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone.

'I Intend To Win'

From childhood to his final years, Specter was known for his hard work and indomitable ambition. He was born in Wichita, Kan., a birthplace he shared with his Senate contemporary Daniel Patrick Moynihan (although neither lived there long). Specter won a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, graduated and served two years in the Air Force during the Korean War.

He graduated from Yale Law School in 1956 and was elected district attorney in Philadelphia in 1965. While holding that job, he ran for mayor and lost. In 1973 he lost his bid for renomination as district attorney. Thereafter, he twice sought the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, losing in the primary in 1976 and 1978. On his third try, in 1980, Specter was nominated and elected.

In his first Senate years, he was something of an anomaly, a moderate Republican from the northeast in the midst of the "Sagebrush Rebellion" dominated by Westerners and acolytes of the newly inaugurated President Ronald Reagan. But this allowed Specter to maneuver in the interstices between the two parties and their several regional and ideological factions.

Specter was neither an easy man to work for nor a congenial adversary. He was sometimes called "Snarlin' Arlen," a persona he did not seem to mind. He did not ingratiate himself with other senators and was not a logical candidate for the chamber's in-house leadership ladder. But he did see himself as a factor in presidential politics and declared his candidacy for the White House in 1995. That campaign did not attract much media attention or financial backing, and Specter dropped out before the primaries began in 1996.

Specter also proved himself dauntless in yet another dimension. In the 1990s, he was treated twice for a brain tumor and underwent heart bypass surgery. He was treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2002 and 2008, still maintaining his full Senate schedule and routine of squash games. His office announced the disease had returned in August. Specter, at 82, called it "another fight I intend to win."

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