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.


Gridlock: Will The Election Break The 'Lousy Status Quo'?

Nov 5, 2012
Originally published on November 5, 2012 1:33 pm

In the end, the election may not settle anything.

If the polls are correct — and there's been heated debate about that — President Obama will be re-elected Tuesday. Even if he is, he'll have to face a Republican House that appears to be no warmer to his agenda than it's been for the past two gridlocked years.

But the polls are still so close that Republican Mitt Romney might be elected. If that's the case, it appears he'll have to contend with a Senate that remains under Democratic control.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada released a pointed statement Friday saying the idea that Senate Democrats will cooperate with Romney is "laughable."

The potential scenarios for continuing divided and divisive government have created anxiety in some political observers that the next two years in Washington will be no more productive than the past two, during which control of Congress has been divided.

Neither candidate nor party appears likely to win the kind of decisive victory that would allow them to set the course for the months and years ahead. "It would mean that the partisan divide in Washington is going to be, if it's possible to imagine, even more stark than it is now," says Gary Bauer, founder of Campaign for Working Families, a conservative political action committee.

A nearly tied election — with a jump ball for president and razor-thin majorities in both houses of Congress — would reset American politics back where they were a dozen years ago, suggests Lara Brown, a political scientist at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.

In 2000, George W. Bush was elected president while losing the popular vote, making that the third presidential election in a row in which no candidate received a majority of the vote. In 2000, the Senate came out exactly tied.

Since that time, one party or the other has been able to gain strength either from external events or the mistakes of the other party, but has not been able to hold onto power for long.

Bush and congressional Republicans gained strength, politically, from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but squandered that advantage with missteps in Iraq and the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006, and Obama won a big victory two years later in the wake of a financial crisis. But after passing major bills addressing health care, banking regulation and economic stimulus, Obama and his party were repudiated in the GOP sweep of 2010.

"This country has for the most part been swinging on a pendulum in reaction to events," Brown says. "We are just in a place where there is no consensus yet."

The lack of consensus is not only in Washington, but among the electorate. Voters call for common-sense bipartisanship, but the country itself is divided along partisan lines — and an election that results in a tie will not alter that dynamic.

"It's a seemingly schizophrenic public," says Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz. "They keep going back and forth, and it's close."

Of course, not everyone is wholly pessimistic about the chances for more cooperation ahead. The prospect of the so-called fiscal cliff — the need for Congress and the president to resolve questions about expiring tax rates and automatic spending cuts — may force a deal that both parties sign off on.

"Potentially, good things can happen," says Jared Bernstein, who served as an economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. "[The election] is a pretty expensive investment to get back to the lousy old status quo."

Still, it's difficult for any minority party that believes it could take power two or four years hence to make deals it believes benefit the incumbent party. Instead, the losing party — whichever one it is — may pursue the same strategy as congressional Republicans in recent years, blocking legislation they don't like and denying the president's party further victories.

But breaking the partisan fever may require the party that loses the White House this time to decide it must moderate its message, in order to appeal not just to core supporters, but to a greater share of the electorate.

In recent years, the parties have taken turns mistaking their victories for mandates from the people and then pushing policies that, it turns out, most Americans didn't support. Power will continue to shift back and forth in this way until one of the parties comes up with an agenda that voters will back over the long haul, Brown suggests.

"It's going to continue this way until both parties learn to hold the center," Wilentz says.

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