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.


Pumps And Polls: Why Americans Wait In Lines

Oct 29, 2012
Originally published on October 29, 2012 3:55 pm

Please line up for this multiple choice quiz:

Days before the deluge descended and the chaos commenced, Americans along the Eastern Seaboard waited patiently in single-file lines to try to influence their destiny. Were they ...

A) Waiting to buy gasoline at a station before Hurricane Sandy hit?

B) Showing up to participate in early voting for the 2012 election?

C) All of the above

For all of the talk about the disappearance of manners and the coarsening of society, Americans don't seem to mind lining up in orderly fashion – for a good reason. We line up to: congratulate newlyweds, pick up event tickets, audition for reality TV shows, buy the newest iPhone, get autographs.

In lines we dance the Electric Slide and the Boot-Scootin' Boogie. In lines we dine in cafeterias, pay our respects at a funeral and play football in offensive and defensive formations. Even our national flag mixes stars with straight lines — we call them stripes.

In many cases, Americans don't mind standing in lines. There is a sense of collective purpose and we're-all-in-this-togetherness.

And because there is in the idea of "the line" an understood premise – and promise. It's an inherently American notion that some day, at some point, if you are polite and patient and play by the rules, you will move to the front of the line. And at last it will be your turn. And you will finally get your chance to do what you want to do.

Of Volts And Votes

As the threat of the hurricane hung over the weekend, John Lottes, 52, of Washington Grove, Md., eased his blue Dodge Dakota pickup into a line at the W Express gas station in Gaithersburg. Every pump at the station had a line of four or five vehicles waiting to get gas while the getting — and the weather — was still good.

The last megamonster storm in the Mid-Atlantic region was the devastating derecho back in June. Lottes remembers it well. His power was out for nearly a week. "It cost me a dog and a 22-year-old cat," he said angrily.

This time around he's more prepared: He's got a backup generator, a 14-gallon portable gas tank and an order in for two more tanks. While he waited for an open pump, he shifted things around in the bed of his truck. Then he adjusted his cap, climbed into the driver's seat and pulled forward. It was his turn.

As the pre-hurricanic breezes coaxed leaves from the trees, folks in Maryland also stood in line on Saturday to cast their votes in the 2012 election as part of an early-balloting initiative.

At some polling sites, according to reports, lines wrapped around buildings as people assembled to begin voting more than a week before Election Day. Because of Hurricane Sandy, early voting in Maryland was canceled on Monday. But if the polls reopen, lengthy lines could form again.

Integrity Of The Line

David R. Gibson, a lecturer in sociology at Princeton University, points out that waiting in line to buy something you want or need is an act of self-preservation, but lining up to vote is quite different.

The fact that people vote at all, Gibson says, "continues to confound political scientists, since one's likelihood of affecting the outcome is so small. Voting can only be explained as an opportunity to give expression to one's convictions, however inconsequential that expression, or, if you will, as a moral act."

There is, says Gibson — a scholar of social interaction who studies waiting lines, among other things — "an immediate difference in mindset: queuing as a self-serving act or queuing as a moral, civic-minded act." Americans do both in abundance.

That people assemble in single-file fashion, regardless of the motivation, "suggests that there's a script, or template, which people are capable of applying in radically different contexts," Gibson says.

But lines do sometimes fail, and a me-first free-for-all ensues. Gibson says that "in general, we would expect that lines are most likely to collapse when there's good reason to break with the first-come, first-serve norm."

He suggests that a shortage of desired goods — gasoline or fresh water or concert tickets, for example — might compromise the integrity of the line and the personality of the crowd. The mien could turn mean; the demeanor, meaner.

Queuing Theories

Lining up peacefully to vote probably works well because "there's little at stake — it's not like they're going to run out of ballots — and, possibly, because voting puts people in a moral mindset and that may lead them to act more morally in other ways as well," says Gibson.

But, he adds, the quality of a line can be affected by other factors. The neatness is more tenuous when people line up too quickly or when people show up in large groups instead of one at a time. Lines might break down "when it's not clear who arrived before whom."

In such cases, queuing theory guru Dick Larson, an engineering systems professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Neal Conan of NPR in 2009, "queue rage can happen, particularly when it's a violation of first-come, first-serve or what people think is fairness."

At their best, Gibson says, "waiting lines are surely the embodiment of procedural egalitarianism, inasmuch as people follow the first-come, first-serve rule, such that order of service recapitulates order of arrival. That's because everyone is treated the same; no distinctions are made based on ascribed characteristics such as race or sex."

Perhaps that is why Americans usually don't mind standing in lines — there is in a line a certain sense of equality. You felt that fleeting feeling of fairness seeing the long lines over the weekend at the pumps and at the polls, before the clouds opened up and the bluster busted through — scattering everyone.

For a brief storm's-eye moment, there was concordance and confluence. A coming natural challenge flowing into a ritual civic responsibility provided us all with common connections and experiences — in profound ways that we don't always stop to recognize. Or acknowledge.

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