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.


¡No Más! 'Back To Blood' Is Much Too Much

Oct 24, 2012

It took cojones for Tom Wolfe to write about Miami for his latest novel, Back to Blood. In the "Republic of Fluba" where Florida, Cuba and the rest of Latin America are shaken and mezclado, truth trumps fiction each day of every year. This is the city where, a few months ago, a man ate another man's face on a downtown causeway in broad daylight. Police shot and killed the wannabe zombie. (For the record, the walking dead are about the only character types that don't appear in Wolfe's novel.)

Nestor Camacho, a Cuban-American cop, kick-starts the action in Back to Blood when he's ordered to bring down a Cuban refugee from the top of a schooner's 75-foot foremast. The ship is in easy sight of a nearby bridge, where Cuban-Americans have gathered to demand the refugee be allowed on land and granted political asylum. (Any Cuban who steps on American soil and requests asylum is granted residence. Cubans stopped before stepping on shore almost always get returned to Communist Cuba.) By climbing to the top of the mast and hauling down the man, who claims to be a dissident, Camacho becomes a traitor to the Cuban-American community and is shunned by his family. It didn't matter that it was a spectacular and daring physical feat that likely saved the refugee's life.

The question of immigration and how it reshapes American cities present and future is what motivates Back to Blood. But in addressing that issue, the book preaches and plods. "I mean we can't mix them together, but we can forge a secure place for each nationality, each ethnic group, each race," the Cuban-American mayor tells the African-American police chief, "and make sure they're all on the same level plane." Yawn.

The book is at its best when Wolfe paints an urban still life: "Industrial lamps high up on stanchions created a dim electro-twilight and turned the palm tree fronds pus-color yellow." He's great when it comes to describing places and things in Miami, but stumbles badly when he writes about actual human beings and their voluble interior monologues. Too often, the characters end up sounding like the author himself. The book is at its very worst when Wolfe writes about Latin women: "Magdalena Otero, corseted into a bustier shoving her all-but-bare breasts into their faces like two big servings of flan!" Exclamation points and sexual descriptions abound in Back to Blood. Both annoy. "He could feel the tumescence men live for welling up inside his Jockey tightey-whiteys! Oh, ineffable dirty girls!"

There are not enough punctuation marks or words in the English language to adequately describe life in Miami. You also need Haitian Creole. Of late, Portuguese helps, too. And there is Spanish, por supuesto. Unlike in other major U.S. cities, Spanish is the language of influence and power in Miami — in business and politics. All of this explains why Wolfe uses Spanish early and often in Back to Blood. What does not make sense is how and why the Spanish language has been manhandled. Jesus Christ gets misspelled two different ways; "Cuban coffee" just once. The list of additional mangled Spanish-language verbs and phrases is long, but not as long as the number of excess pages in the novel.

The book is a 700-page, headlong and disorienting rush of events and characters: the publicity-hungry psychiatrist who treats wealthy porn addicts, a near-orgy at a Columbus Day regatta and a reality show for Masters of the Universe gone bust, among a torrent of other plot points.

It is much too much.

The combined effect is not some panoramic view of Miami's present or a vision of the future of American cities. Instead, it feels like Wolfe pummels readers with image after insight after interior monologue to pound them into submission.

No más, already. Tom Wolfe deserves a better editor. And Miami deserves a better novel.

NPR senior editor Luis Clemens grew up in Miami and loves his hometown.

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