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.


'Flight Behavior' Weds Issues To A Butterfly Narrative

Nov 6, 2012

Barbara Kingsolver's commitment to literature promoting social justice runs so deep that in 1998 she established the Bellwether Prize (now the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction) to encourage it.

In the wrong hands, fiction written to convey urgent social messages is as tedious as a political harangue. But done well, it can be both eye-opening and moving: think Charles Dickens on children and poverty in Oliver Twist; Upton Sinclair on the meat-processing industry in The Jungle; Toni Morrison on the tolls of slavery in Beloved; E.L. Doctorow on the collateral damage of war in The March.

While Kingsolver's seventh novel, Flight Behavior, does not quite achieve the resonance of Morrison's and Doctorow's masterpieces, this is partly due to its inherently less dramatic material. What it shares with these books is an integration of important issues with engaging narrative that feels organic: A colony of butterflies and a young woman have both deviated from their optimal flight paths, a story Kingsolver uses to take on global warming and the high costs to society of grossly inadequate public school education, especially in the sciences.

But, as readers of The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna are well aware, Kingsolver is no mere propagandist. She is a storyteller first and foremost, as sensitive to human interactions and family dynamics as she is to ecological ones.

The word "rapture" appears on the very first page of Flight Behavior. This is appropriate, for the novel extols the ecstasy of passionate engagement — with people, ideas and the environment. We meet sharply disappointed 28-year-old Dellarobia Turnbow as she's weighing the rapturous potential of an adulterous assignation against the almost-sure ruination of her good name as wife and mother.

Eleven years after the shotgun marriage that derailed Dellarobia's dreams of education and a better life, her respect for her husband, Cub — a sweet, slow-moving lummox — is at an all-time low. "With occasional exceptions in the bedroom, Cub did every single thing in his life in first gear," Dellarobia reflects ruefully. But she feels contrite when she's tough on him because he is already browbeaten by his parents, struggling sheep farmers for whom they both work.

Dellarobia's life is changed by a magical, incomprehensible sight: boughs glowing with "an orange glaze," which she interprets as "a vision of glory" that "looked like the inside of joy." Her vision turns out to be some 15 million monarch butterflies that have come to roost on the Turnbow property in Feathertown, Tenn. — woods soon to be clear-cut by loggers in order to meet a looming balloon payment, if shortsighted Papa "Bear" Turnbow has his way.

The butterflies have gone off course from their normal wintering site in Mexico because of pollution and climate change, and it's questionable whether they can survive the cold this far north. Freakish, ruinous rains, flooding and unexpected snowstorms provide a sinister backdrop to Kingsolver's absorbing tale.

When Ovid Byron, an elegant entomologist from the island of St. Thomas who has devoted his life's work to the monarchs, comes to study the alarming phenomenon, he hires Dellarobia as a lab assistant, opening up her world exponentially. (The characters' unusual names are all mashups from Kingsolver's genealogical tree.) He teaches her the difference between correlation and cause, and that "terrible things can have beauty."

Kingsolver takes us deep inside her smart, appealing protagonist's underprivileged world of free school lunches and soul-sapping secondhand stores. Despite her lack of worldly experience, Dellarobia is acutely aware of her family's Appalachian hillbilly status. Kingsolver highlights social stratifications in often comic scenes, skewering with particular gusto a slick television reporter out to feed the public the most palatable version of the news. She also ribs a conservationist who cluelessly advises Dellarobia to reduce her carbon footprint by flying less and buying new energy-efficient appliances.

Earnest conversations between Dellarobia and Ovid about the direness of environmental conditions sometimes make us feel as if we've wandered into a sophomore seminar, but it's impressive that Kingsolver doesn't sugarcoat the sobering facts of climate change or the heartbreak of a marriage between two good people who are wrong for each other. With a scientist's attention to detail and a writer's compassion for a diverse array of people, Flight Behavior tracks a young woman whose life morphs and takes flight just as she learns about the very real problems of the world in which she's spread her new wings.

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