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.


October Surmise: Predicting The Next President

Oct 17, 2012
Originally published on October 17, 2012 4:07 pm

Predicting a presidential winner is one of America's favorite pastimes in an election year.

Pundits and bloggers rely on introspection and retrospection for their predictions. The politerati prognosticate at Aspen Institute round tables and in the Cambridge Journal. Pollsters crunch survey data to divine a victor. Everybody gets in on the act.

One of the more historically successful seers is Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University and primogenitor of the 13 Keys to the Presidency. It's a checklist of a baker's dozen conditions that favor the continuing residency of the White House by the political party already in power. The incumbent president is judged on each of the checklist items, such as the strength of the economy, the state of social unrest, absence of a serious third-party candidate and the lack of a major scandal.

Lichtman's system — a sort of geophysical model, similar to one that might predict earthquakes — has correctly precogged presidential elections since 1984.

And this time around? "The keys have predicted an Obama win since January 2010," Lichtman says today.

Could that change before Election Day?

"The keys are the big picture and will not change," he says.

Lichtman is not the only prophesier who is sticking his neck out. People are using all kinds of portentous — and pretentious — indexes to augur the future, including Halloween mask sales and 7-Eleven coffee cups. Other forecasters are coming out of the woodwork — from the most unlikely places.

Folding Obama's Laundry

The renter-centric website surveyed its visitors and discovered that 70 percent of those who responded predict that President Obama will be re-elected. (In 2008, more than half of the renters surveyed preferred Obama to Republican John McCain.) In the 2012 contest between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, more than 70 percent of respondents would prefer to have Obama as a neighbor or a landlord. And more than 70 percent said that if both candidates left their clean clothes in the apartment complex's laundry room, they would fold Obama's laundry.

At the Occidental Grill & Seafood in Washington — just a stone crab's throw from the White House — political observers are not only reading tea leaves, but chocolate chip cookie choices. Diners select from a pair of dessert delicacies — one with mint is made from a recipe by Michelle Obama; the one with M&M's comes from Ann Romney.

And American Chia is giving customers freedom of choice between Chia Obama and Chia Romney — statuettes that grow grass on their heads. "Just spread the seeds, water and watch them grow," the website says. Roughly speaking, the site reports, Chia Obama sales are at 63 percent, and Chia Romney sales are at 37 percent.

Football Or Baseball?

Meanwhile, analysts at the ticket-resale behemoth StubHub have found that sports fans in Republican-favoring states buy a lot more football tickets, while fans in Democratic-leaning states buy more baseball tickets. Is it possible that flipping that information around may help us know which candidate will win which state?

In September 2008, both New York and Massachusetts — strong Obama states — had very high "BFRs" (baseball-to-football ratios). Massachusetts had the second highest ratio out of all the states in the nation, according to StubHub data, and New York had the seventh highest. Now, in 2012, the BFRs continue to be high in both states: Massachusetts was ranked fifth in September and New York was eighth.

On the other hand, Texas — a strong Romney state — has one of the lowest BFRs in the nation: More folks are buying football tickets and, presumably, voting Republican. In September 2008, Texas had the 39th highest BFR, and in September 2012, it was 38th.

According to Andy Sevastopoulos of StubHub, back in 2008, the states that bought baseball tickets over football tickets by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio — including Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and New York — all went for Obama. And the states that purchased football tickets in a vast majority over baseball — including Alabama, Louisiana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Idaho — favored McCain by at least a 10-point advantage.

This time around, sports fans in the swing states of Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina have been buying more football tickets on StubHub than they did in 2008, and those in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia are buying more baseball tickets.

What does all of this mean? When all is said and done, of course, the only thing that surveys by attention-seeking companies such as StubHub, or Chia actually prove is that all kinds of companies are getting into the prophesy game.

But you could have predicted that.

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