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.


A Life And A Plane, In Free Fall From 20,000 Feet

Nov 1, 2012
Originally published on November 1, 2012 7:21 pm

For Whip Whitaker, the commercial airline pilot played by Denzel Washington in Flight, daily life is about achieving a practiced but tenuous equilibrium between the professional he's required to be and the wreck he really is. As the opening scene reveals, it involves keeping his poisons in harmony: Peeling himself off a hotel bed after a wild night, Whip guzzles the stale swill from a quarter-full beer bottle, does a couple of lines of cocaine as a pick-me-up and strides confidently out the door in his uniform. This is the morning routine.

Only today's brief flight from Orlando to Atlanta will be anything but routine. In a sequence of agonizing intensity — especially for anyone given to pondering their mortality during patches of turbulence — the plane suffers total mechanical failure at 20,000 feet and enters into a fatal nosedive.

An oasis of calm in utter chaos — due perhaps in part to the two mini-vodkas he pilfered mid-flight — Whip skillfully maneuvers the plane into a crash landing with only a few fatalities, a miraculous result by all accounts. To the press and the public, he's a new Sully Sullenberger. Privately, he's in serious trouble.

Returning to live-action filmmaking after a decade lost in the uncanny valley of motion-capture animation — The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol were a mixed trifecta at best — director Robert Zemeckis follows this gut-wrenching suspense set-piece with a slow-motion crash of another kind. Working from a fine script by John Gatins, Zemeckis cuts through the haze of his hero's addiction with a clear-eyed look at its source, its contours and the soul-corroding lies Whip tells himself and everyone around him just to get through the day. And once the inevitable legal consequences begin to surface, it brings more enablers than help, and his addiction metastasizes in kind.

Zemeckis and Gatins contrast the trajectory of Whip's life after the crash with that of Nicole (Kelly Reilly), a drug addict who isn't nearly as skilled at hiding her problems. After meeting in the hospital, they quickly develop a codependent friendship with romantic overtones, but Flight wisely resists the temptation to turn Nicole into Whip's unlikely savior. If anything, her character exists a bit too neatly to underline just how far gone Whip really is — how unserious he is about acknowledging his problem, much less taking that first step on the road to recovery.

Though the impeccable Hollywood craftsman behind Back to the Future, Forrest Gump and Castaway is very much in evidence, Flight bumps along a turbulent course as Whip tries and fails to sober up and draws Nicole, his flight crew and various airline officials into his unsavory orbit. Though Washington's charisma — to say nothing of the fact that Whip did save his passengers where other pilots would have failed — does much to secure the audience's sympathy, the film commits to circling the drain with him, and it gets ugly, especially when Whip and his handlers lobby for a plan to bury a damning toxicology report.

But there are no villains in Flight, even those who act in craven self-interest. Where most Hollywood dramas would hiss at the union rep (Bruce Greenwood) and high-powered attorney (Don Cheadle) who scramble to cover up the truth, Zemeckis and Gatins are fair in assessing the roles they have to play — roles that sicken them just as thoroughly as they sicken the audience.

One of the big reasons Flight is so satisfying is that it moves with the no-frills, meat-and-potatoes conventions of a first-rate procedural while being awash in ambiguity. Here's a film that starts with a drunk pilot landing a plane that a sober pilot likely couldn't have — and takes up permanent residence in the gray area of that contradiction. (Recommended)

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