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.


In The Second Debate, It's All About The Counter-Punch

Oct 16, 2012
Originally published on October 16, 2012 2:46 pm

Tonight's presidential debate in New York is shaping up like an episode of the old game show To Tell the Truth: Will the real Barack Obama/Mitt Romney please stand up?

There are a lot of questions about what personas and strategies the two candidates will choose to adopt. Partisans on both sides argue that their man's opponent is a shape-shifter.

Democrats are convinced that part of the reason Romney won their first debate earlier this month is that he shamelessly lied about his own positions in tacking to the center.

"Mitt Romney seems to change who he is more than he changes his socks," says R.T. Rybak, the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis. "We don't know who Mitt Romney is, and I imagine he'll change himself one more time this week."

On the flip side, Republicans fully expect to see a different President Obama than the rather listless candidate who appeared on stage during the first debate.

"I expect the president to behave completely differently," says GOP Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas.

Like many Democrats, Griffin predicts Obama will be more aggressive on the Hofstra University stage and at the same time try to be more respectful than his grinning, giggling running mate, Joe Biden, was during the vice presidential debate last week.

Changing The Subject Back

Romney won the first debate not just because of his aggressive posture, but by using detailed answers to present himself as a challenger well-prepared to assume the mantle of presidency. He managed in one night to undo much of the work the Obama campaign had done to try to make him seem out of touch.

"In the first debate, the minute Obama stepped out on that stage, he lost — without opening his mouth — because suddenly voters realized that this is a referendum on Obama," says William Schneider, a professor at George Mason University's School of Public Policy in Virginia. "People realized we have to decide whether to rehire this guy or fire him."

Obama's task in this debate is to change the subject back to Romney, touching up his campaign's portrait of the Republican as someone who is looking out for the interest of the wealthy elites at the expense of most Americans.

"I guarantee you that the president's team and the president have looked for every possible way to interrupt and take control of the conversation in their practice sessions," Griffin says. "I expect him to come out fast and hard."

An Invigorated Obama

Obama neglected in the first debate to hector Romney about such matters as his career as a venture capitalist or his videotaped remarks about the "47 percent" of Americans who are "dependent upon government."

He won't neglect such topics this time around.

"He is the president, but he needs to show the American people that he is that fighter for them, that he still has a lot of work to do and that his policies are going to work better than those of Mitt Romney," says Leticia Van de Putte, a Democratic state senator in Texas.

Obama may want to touch on issues that had been polling well for him prior to the first debate, such as reproductive rights for women. On those matters, as well as on economic and foreign policy, Obama's task will be to suggest that Romney's views — the ones he talked about throughout most of the campaign year, if not over the past two weeks — are unacceptable.

Given the still-shaky economy and the president's approval ratings, which are hovering just around 50 percent, that's the only way for Obama to win, says Henry Olsen, a vice president at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

"You've got to dance with the girl that brung you," Olsen says.

The Audience Matters

But neither Obama nor Romney has control of tonight's agenda. Although both candidates will want to spend the evening firing up their base of supporters, they'll have to do so in a room where naked partisanship may be frowned upon.

The questions in this town hall-style debate will be asked by members of an audience made up of undecided, registered voters.

"If President Obama wants to go into this debate like Joe Biden last week, that won't go over with an audience of undecided voters," says Schneider, who is also a senior fellow and resident scholar at Third Way, a centrist think tank. "They want problem-solving, and their most deeply held belief is that politics is the enemy of problem-solving."

Aside from style, audience members may throw out questions that the candidates aren't prepared for. And their concerns could be quite different from those of journalistic debate moderators.

They might bring up important issues that have gone without much mention in this campaign season, such as gay marriage or immigration.

The town hall-style format frames questions the way undecided voters do, says Andrew Romanoff, a former Democratic speaker of the Colorado House — questions like, "Tell me how my life will get better if I put you in charge, instead of the other guy.

"What happens to my bank account? What happens if someone in my family gets sick? Tell me if my kid is going to get a job when he gets out of school," Romanoff says. "Sometimes those bread-and-butter concerns get lost in a blizzard of statistics and studies."

Romney's Chance

Romney has sometimes stumbled when asked unexpected questions by members of the public. He could face a "YouTube moment" if asked something that puts him on the spot, says Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College in California.

Pitney imagines a woman asking, "Gov. Romney, I just had an abortion. Do you think I belong in jail?"

But AEI scholar Olsen says the format also gives Romney the chance "to address his most damaging weakness" by convincing the public that he's up to the job of president not just on a managerial level but also on an emotional level.

"If he, in a relatively unscripted setting, can demonstrate the type of sincerity and kindness and articulateness that he had in the first debate, then it almost doesn't matter what he says," Olsen says.

Although much media speculation leading up to tonight has turned on the question of whether Obama can stage a comeback from the first debate, the Romney camp is hopeful that the second encounter will give their man the chance to continue, if not complete, a successful wooing of a majority of the American electorate.

"What happened in the first debate was, with everybody paying attention, Romney demonstrated he sure enough was an acceptable alternative," says Republican consultant John Hancock. "That probably dealt as big a blow to the Obama campaign apparatus as anything else."

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