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 Montgomery-ed.org

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sandy, Election Could Skew Future Jobs Reports

Nov 2, 2012
Originally published on November 2, 2012 7:20 pm

Each month, the Labor Department issues an employment report. On Friday, that report showed job creation rose in October — and it revealed something more.

With its latest unemployment assessment, the government in effect took a BEFORE snapshot of the U.S. economy. It collected all of the data before Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast and before the election outcome could be known. Each of those two events has the potential to change the AFTER outlook.

The October report showed employers added 171,000 jobs — more than the 125,000 that most economists had been predicting. And both August and September had upward revisions, suggesting job growth has been stronger lately than previously thought.

The October jobless rate did increase a 10th of a point to 7.9 percent. But the uptick generally was interpreted as good news because it reflected a surge of applicants entering the labor market. Having 578,000 more people in the hunt for a job suggests optimism is rising.

Still, last month's report had plenty of bad news, too. Some 12.3 million people are still looking for paychecks, and wages remain essentially flat. The economy would have to be generating roughly 350,000 jobs a month to get the unemployment rate back down under 6 percent within three years.

A Mixed Snapshot

So, most economists saw this BEFORE snapshot as mixed. It revealed a still-cloudy job market, but one with some bright rays, especially in the retail, construction, hospitality and health care industries.

After studying the statistics, "one can have very different readings of the temperature of the recovery," Sharon Poczter, an economics professor at Cornell University, concluded in a written analysis.

Those who believe the job market is heating up had no trouble finding evidence to support their optimism. Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm, saw "a brighter picture" in the numbers.

"There was good news in both construction and retail employment, consistent with the better news coming in from the housing market and with an improving consumer mood," Gault said in his analysis.

But former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is challenging President Obama for the White House, said the job market, filled with part-time workers and millions of long-term unemployed, remains much too weak.

At a rally in Wisconsin, Romney said "unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office." Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009. The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent that January, but it shot to 8.3 percent in February — the first full month following the Bush administration.

What About November?

Whatever the job market reality was this past month, it may well be different in November, both because of Superstorm Sandy and because of the election results.

First, Sandy is having a huge impact on the East Coast, where physical damage is extensive and business-activity losses are mounting. Millions of people who work in restaurants, factories and offices are sitting at home, unable to work because of power outages and transportation breakdowns. Financial losses for their employers might lead to layoffs in coming weeks.

Economists generally are putting the total losses at somewhere around $50 billion.

But on the other hand, those losses likely will lead to job creation in November and December in the construction industry and elsewhere. Builders may go on a hiring binge to help families scrambling to fix and rebuild homes before Christmas. Companies that make building materials, such as roofing and lumber, may have to add employees.

Tuesday's election results also could have an impact on jobs. Economists are unanimous in saying job growth is being slowed by the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" — an elaborate cluster of tax-and-spending changes coming at year's end.

"Uncertainty harms the economy by reducing consumers' level of spending on goods and services and lowering levels of investment and hiring by firms," says John Makin, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute.

If Congress and the White House were to make progress in November and December toward removing that uncertainty, job creation could accelerate in coming months.

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