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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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."

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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.

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In Sandy's Wake, Romney Struggles To Regain Attention

Oct 31, 2012
Originally published on October 31, 2012 3:53 pm

It's not yet time to change the subject. That might pose a problem for Mitt Romney.

Media coverage of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath has been intense in recent days, dominating regular news shows and prompting prime-time specials. With just a few days left before the election, the presidential contest has become an afterthought.

"It interrupted the news cycle at a time when there were favorable horse race stories for Mitt," says Tom Rath, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign. "In a campaign, you don't get to design the racetrack; you play the cards you're dealt."

Romney has been sensitive to the ravages caused by the superstorm, collecting donated food in Ohio on Tuesday, calling for donations to the American Red Cross and sending out messages of sympathy.

Still, he has not commanded the same amount of attention that President Obama naturally attracts, given his role heading up the federal government's response to the storm and cleanup efforts.

Obama was touring New Jersey Wednesday with Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who has praised Obama for his handling of the disaster. Romney was campaigning in Florida.

"The attention is all on the president," says William Schneider, a senior fellow at Third Way, a centrist think tank. "It's going to be a little harder for [Romney] to argue that this is a failed presidency, because the president appears to have performed well in this crisis."

Sandy may not pay any direct political dividends for Obama. People expect their leaders to step up at times of crisis. "I don't see a rallying-around-the-president effect," says David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

The storm is also unlikely to reshape the electoral map, given that the worst of the destruction occurred in northeastern states that were considered certain to vote for Obama.

But the more days that pass without much media attention paid to the campaign, the harder it will be for Romney to erase Obama's thin polling leads in the battleground states that matter most.

For all the talk over the years about "October surprises" — late-breaking news stories that were thought to sway voters or divert attention from the presidential race — Yepsen says there's never been an event as dominant as Sandy in the closing weeks of any campaign.

"This is a seismic national tragedy," he says. "I don't think there's anything that Romney or the president can do. This is a story in which the narrative has to play out for a few days."

Speaking strictly in terms of media attention, though, all hot stories eventually cool off. With any major news event, there's a point at which most media outlets decide they've reached a saturation point and begin dialing back the coverage — at least outside the affected areas.

Certainly, the presidential election will take precedence in terms of media coverage at some point between now and next Tuesday.

It's hard to know exactly when that might happen, though. Schneider, who is also a public policy professor at George Mason University, suggests that Friday's jobs report might change the subject — particularly if unemployment numbers are looking worse than they were in September.

"Romney has to broaden the issue to the last four years, not the last few days," Schneider says.

Even if Romney isn't able to get much attention for final rallies and appeals — and Obama doesn't turn his attention to campaigning, either — it may not matter much, suggests David Carney, a Republican consultant.

Voters have already heard just about enough of this campaign. The vast majority of Americans seem to have made up their minds early in the process. And, especially with millions having voted early, it's not clear that a strong closing argument from a candidate or a bit more coverage from the media would change the eventual outcome.

"Traditionally, in the last week of the campaign, the messages have all been sent and it's really about turning out your voters," Carney says. "If the 65 trillion TV ads haven't affected you yet, there isn't a week of TV or some new slogan that can move you one way or another."

Rath, the Romney adviser, suggests that voters are sufficiently invested in the presidential race to want to make their choices known, regardless of the shape and coverage of any final campaign sprint, or lack thereof.

"Everybody is overwhelmed and moved by the pictures, which are compelling beyond measure, but at the end of the day, they'll think, 'We've got to vote,' " Rath says. "The American people are going to say, after putting up with this race for 18 months, 'It's time for me to make my decision.' "

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