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.


Obama And Romney, Metaphorically Speaking

Oct 20, 2012
Originally published on October 20, 2012 5:46 pm

Sometimes it feels like everything that should be said about President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney has already been said.

But maybe there is a way to talk about politicians in a fresher, cleaner way — without talking about politics. Like — or as — poets do it. Speaking metaphorically.

Sometimes you can say more about someone by not really talking about the person, but talking about something else. My love is like a red red rose, Robert Burns wrote. He is a feather in the wind, Led Zeppelin sang.

Politicians occasionally mix in similes with smiles. Onetime presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty said Obama "is like a manure spreader in a windstorm." And Romney has been called a pinata, a metronome and the Trojan Horse.

Media people do it, too. Remember when Barbara Walters asked actress Katharine Hepburn: "If you were a tree, what kind would you be?" That was back in 1981. At the time it seemed like a postmodern interview question.

Now, decades later, we are post-postmodern, and the fresher, cleaner question is: What type of tree do you think Obama and Romney would be? Or building? Or pastry, wine, comic-strip character?

To get answers, we consulted an arborist, an architect, a pastry chef, an oenophile and a comic-strip writer. Here's what they said:

Branches Of Government

If Mitt Romney were a tree, says certified arborist Peter Jenkins, he would be a honey locust — ferocious and spiky. The honey locust is considered by many ranchers and farmers to be an invasive tree, "because it takes over grasses where horses and cattle graze."

Obama, on the other hand, would be a tulip poplar — "the tallest hardwood species on the east side of the Mississippi River; it has a long life span and its trunk is strong."

Jenkins, who runs a tree-care service in Atlanta, says he has a 125-foot-tall tulip poplar in his yard. He calls it "Obama the Tree" because it was once covered in English ivy, "which made me think of the mess that Obama was facing when he first took office. The ivy had to be carefully removed or you'd kill the tree," Jenkins says. "True story."

Presidential Sweets

Mitt Romney is a croissant, says pastry chef Jenni Field of Garner, N.C. "When you make it, you fold it, roll it and turn it repeatedly, keeping all the edges nice and square, like paper. That could fit in a binder."

Obama, says Field, who blogs about desserts at Pastry Chef Online, is a red velvet cake. "While people have very set opinions about what makes an 'authentic' red velvet cake," she says, "even folks that don't like it can't deny that it's a quintessentially American cake with a very loyal following."

Edifice Rex

If the president were a building, according to architect Bill Hutchins of Takoma Park, Md., Obama would most likely be the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Like the unusual structure of stone, glass and titanium, Hutchins says, the president "is full of promise. But does his interior life have the fortitude to allow him to live up to his potential?"

And Romney? "Fort Knox," says Hutchins, principal architect in the collaborative Helicon Works. "He stands for money."

Grape Americans

Romney "is, without question, an oaky, special-reserve-bottled California cabernet sauvignon," says wine lover Peter Ward, creator of the Boston-based blog Corkshrewd. "He has a high pedigree and is backed by bold promises. He works well with a nice steak but might overpower a more common dinner."

The president "is an Argentine Malbec," Ward says. Four years ago, the Malbec was very popular and "a mainstay" with its fans. But today the Malbec is often skipped over in favor of other choices on the wine list.

Political Cartoonery

When it comes to comparing the candidates to comic-strip characters, Romney is the Bad Boss in Dilbert. "That captures the cluelessness," says Gene Weingarten, a Washington Post humor columnist, Pulitzer Prize-winning feature writer and a creator of the daily comic strip Barney & Clyde. "But you have to add in some Sherman the shark of Sherman's Lagoon. Utterly entitled: Wants to eat everyone; too out of it to understand that others find this cold and heartless."

And Obama, Weingarten says, is Jughead Jones from Archie comics — "cool, unflappable; existentially disconnected from the passions of ordinary men."

Now. We invite you to play along as well; add your own candidate metaphors in the comments section below.

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