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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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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GOP Eyes Gains As Voters In 11 States Pick Governors

Nov 6, 2012
Originally published on November 6, 2012 9:03 pm

Voters in 11 states will pick their governors tonight, and Republicans appear on track to increase their numbers by at least one, with the potential to extend their hold to more than two-thirds of the nation's top state offices.

Eight of the gubernatorial seats up for grabs are now held by Democrats; three are in Republican hands. Republicans currently hold 29 governorships, Democrats have 20, and Rhode Island's Gov. Lincoln Chafee is an Independent.

Polls and race analysts suggest that only three of tonight's contests are considered competitive, all in states where incumbent Democratic governors aren't running again: Montana, New Hampshire and Washington.

While those state races remain too close to call, Republicans are expected to wrest the North Carolina governorship from Democratic control, and to easily win GOP-held seats in Utah, North Dakota and Indiana.

Democrats are likely to hold on to their seats in West Virginia and Missouri, and are expected to notch safe wins in races for seats they hold in Vermont and Delaware.

Holding Sway On Health Care

While the occupant of the governor's office is historically far less important than the party that controls the state legislature, top state officials in coming years are expected to wield significant influence in at least one major area.

And that's health care, says political scientist Thad Kousser, co-author of The Power of American Governors.

"No matter who wins the presidency, national politics is going to be stalemated on the Affordable Care Act," says Kousser, of the University of California, San Diego.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision giving states the ability to opt out of the law's expansion of Medicaid, the federal insurance program for poor, disabled and elderly Americans, confers "incredible power" on the states and their governors, Kousser says.

Just look at what happened when the Obama administration in 2010 offered federal stimulus money to states to begin building a high-speed rail network. Three Republican governors, including Rick Scott of Florida and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, rejected a share of the money citing debt and deficit concerns.

"A [Mitt] Romney victory would dramatically empower Republican governors," Kousser says.

State-By-State View

North Carolina: One-term incumbent Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue, the first woman to hold the state's top office, announced in January that she would not seek re-election after polls showed her with high disapproval ratings and trailing Republican candidate Pat McCrory.

The seat is expected to be won by McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, who is facing Perdue's lieutenant governor, Walter Dalton. McCrory lost a close race to Perdue in 2008, when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama became the first Democrat to win North Carolina in more than three decades. The Real Clear Politics average for the race has McCrory maintaining a 14.3 percentage point lead.

Montana: Popular Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer — he won his last election with 65 percent of the vote — has reached his two-term limit. The state's Democratic Attorney General Steve Bullock is trying to keep the seat in his party's column by associating himself with Schweitzer's legacy. He's in a tough race with former two-term GOP Rep. Rick Hill.

New Hampshire: Former Democratic state Sen. Maggie Hassan has also promised a continuation of the policies of her predecessor, retiring Democratic Gov. John Lynch. Her opponent is lawyer Ovide Lamontagne, a Tea Party conservative who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1996 and for the U.S. Senate in 2010. The national parties have invested in the campaigns, which have focused on fiscal and women's health care issues.

Washington: The state's governorship has been in Democratic hands for 32 years, and former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee is in a dead-heat battle to keep it that way. His opponent is the state's Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna. McKenna has a proven ability to win statewide, but working in Inslee's favor are Obama's poll numbers. The Real Clear Politics average shows Obama with an average 13.6 percentage point lead over Romney; Inslee is leading McKenna by an average of 1 percentage point.

Pretty Much Sure Things

Republican Govs. Jack Dalrymple in North Dakota and Gary Herbert in Utah, and GOP Rep. Mike Pence in Indiana are expected to win. So are Democratic Govs. Peter Shumlin in Vermont and Jack Markell in Delaware.

Democrats are also hoping to hold on to the governorship in Missouri, where Jay Nixon is running for a second term against Republican Dave Spence; and in West Virginia, where Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, former state senate president, is running for his first full term after winning a special election in 2011. GOP businessman Bill Maloney is his opponent, as he was last year.

Nixon has been consistently outpolling Spence by an average of about 7 points in Missouri. Tomblin is seen as likely to retain his seat, even in a state where Romney is leading Obama by double digits.

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