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.


The GOP Has Its Eyes On Another Election Day Prize: Arkansas

Nov 1, 2012
Originally published on November 1, 2012 11:17 am

Arkansas voters are about to make history, one way or another.

Democrats have selected as their incoming House leader Darrin Williams, who would serve as the state's first African-American speaker.

But Williams might never get to hold the gavel. Republicans believe they have a good shot at taking control of the Arkansas House — and Senate — for the first time since 1874.

"It is going to be the equivalent of plates shifting in an earthquake," says Tim Griffin, a Republican congressman from Arkansas. "It's going to be unlike anything this state has ever seen politically."

The two chambers in Arkansas are among roughly a dozen nationwide that Republicans believe they have a chance of winning on Nov. 6. Democrats believe they have a shot at an equal number of chambers, making it quite possible there will be little net change in state legislative control next week.

Even so, there's likely to be unusually high turnover among individual legislators.

Already, 1,400 legislators won't be coming back for another term owing to retirements and primary losses, while an additional 300 incumbents will lose their seats in the 6,000 legislative elections being held Tuesday, according to Tim Storey, an elections expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"This year may be as unpredictable a year as we have seen in over a decade," Storey says.

A small net gain by either party would represent a big change from recent election cycles. Democrats scored big at the state level in both 2006 and 2008; however, those gains were more than wiped out by a historic GOP sweep in 2010.

Republicans took control of 20 chambers two years ago and won more state legislative seats than at any time since 1928. Currently, they have majorities in 59 chambers, compared with 37 for Democrats. (Nebraska's unicameral is technically nonpartisan but in effect run by Republicans.)

It's going to be difficult for Democrats to win back much of the territory they lost two years ago, because Republican lawmakers were able to draw favorable maps in the most recent round of redistricting, which followed the 2010 census.

Still, even if the overall numbers aren't likely to shift much, considerable fighting is taking place within individual states. Democrats are fighting hard to keep control of the senates in a number of presidential battleground states: Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

They also hope to keep their hard-won, 17-16 majority in the Wisconsin Senate. Although Democrats failed in their attempt to oust GOP Gov. Scott Walker, they managed over the course of nine expensive recall elections in 2011 and 2012 to oust three Republican state senators, taking narrow control of the chamber.

Republicans want that chamber back. But even as they go on offense in Wisconsin, they'll have to play defense in elections in states such as Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New York.

There may be no state that Republicans are eyeing as eagerly as Arkansas. Twenty years ago, Republicans didn't control a single chamber in the South. Now, Arkansas is the lone Democratic holdout in the Deep South. (Democrats also control both chambers in West Virginia and the Kentucky House.)

In fact, Arkansas is the only state whose Legislature has never changed partisan control in either the 20th or 21st centuries, says Storey, of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Arkansas Republicans fell short two years ago, in part because Democratic legislators were aided by the popularity of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. He carried every single county in the state in his re-election bid then.

This time around, however, Democrats are being hurt by the top of the ticket. Barack Obama lost Arkansas in 2008 by 19 points. Local observers believe he'll lose again Tuesday — and that even keeping his margin of defeat around the same level would be a considerable accomplishment.

"Republicans have done a pretty good job of tying control of the Arkansas Legislature to Obama," says Jay Barth, chairman of the department of politics and international relations at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark.

Local GOP efforts to tie Arkansas Democrats to the president have been aided by outside groups — notably Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that has spent roughly $1 million in the state attacking the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act and holding state Democrats complicit in its passage.

"It's the ultimate trickling down of partisan politics," says Hal Bass, a political scientist at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. "It's harder in today's media environment for the relatively moderate or conservative Arkansas Democrats to make a credible claim that they're different from the national Democrats."

By contrast, Democrats haven't been able to pin blame on the Republican Party as a whole for embarrassing statements by individual GOP candidates, who have contended that slavery "may actually have been a blessing in disguise," decried Abraham Lincoln as a "war criminal" and advocated the death penalty for "rebellious children."

"It's an issue in those particular races, but the Democrats tried to attach them to the rest of the ticket and it just didn't seem to take," says Barth, who ran unsuccessfully in a Democratic Senate primary two years ago.

Aside from such attention magnets, Bass says, Republicans are attracting more candidates than they ever have before for legislative posts, and most of them are of higher quality.

Throughout much of the state's history, bright, young political types ran under the Democratic banner regardless of their ideology, Bass says. That's changed. Now, ambitious conservatives believe they not only have a home but perhaps greater opportunity within the Republican Party.

That's one reason why people in Arkansas, as they do in other parts of the South, believe once their state goes Republican, it will be a long time before it ever shifts back.

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