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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Town Hall Format Could Make Things Tough On Obama

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

It was Bill Clinton who made the town hall-style debate famous, and looking back to his performance in the first such fall faceoff in 1992, it's easy to see why.

Clinton commanded the stage and used the format — in which voters, not journalists, ask the questions — to "feel the pain" of the audience. Now, President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney get a shot at the same format.

However, it's the president who comes at it from a distinct disadvantage, says Chris Arterton, a professor of political management at George Washington University.

Democratic partisans are going to want to see more passion — perhaps not like last week's vice presidential debate, but more than Obama displayed in the first presidential debate. The problem: The town hall may be a poor format for evening the score.

"Unfortunately, Obama, given his performance in the first debate, has to do two things simultaneously — take on Romney in a more confrontational way and at the same time, be responsive to the person asking the question," Arterton says. "That's not easy."

Alan Schroeder, a journalism professor at Northeastern University, agrees that it's going to be a balancing act for the president.

The town hall format "is more conversational. There's more of a dialogue with people asking the questions," says Schroeder, the author of Presidential Debates: 40 Years of High-Risk TV.

Candidates at debates are famous for dodging questions and breaking off into rehearsed political soliloquies. It's one thing to brush aside a journalist-moderator's question, but quite another to ignore a working mother of two from Red Hook.

"In a town hall, I think one of the measurements is whether the candidate is responsive to the question," Schroeder says.

"There are also some physical things. Being able to maneuver the space, understanding that it's a different-looking debate than the ones where you either sit at a table or stand at lecterns," he says.

Cue Bill Clinton. "He got off his chair; he engaged more than President Bush did. He walked around more freely, was more responsive, more natural," GWU's Arterton says.

That's what Romney and Obama need to do, he says. The two need to "directly engage the citizen who's asking the question and be responsive to that in a way that showcases that they do have a personal connection and understand what's going on at the base of American politics, at the grass roots," he says.

But don't expect Tuesday night's debate to be as freewheeling as it was in 1992. Since the days of Bush-Clinton, the campaigns have placed more restrictions on the format. First and foremost: no more random questions.

"Now, you have to get there early, write up your question on a piece of paper, the moderator chooses the question, the questioner is not allowed to depart from what they have written, they are not allowed to follow up," Schroeder says.

The result? Four years ago, the town hall debate between Obama and GOP nominee Sen. John McCain was "one of the dullest presidential debates in history," he says.

"The campaigns don't like spontaneity," Schroeder says. They want to be able to predict the questions, and if they are vetted by the moderate first, there have a better chance of doing so.

The tussle over control of the format is ongoing. CNN anchor Candy Crowley, who will moderate the debate, has raised hackles on both sides for suggesting that she may take a more active role in the questioning.

As strange as it sounds after his lackluster performance in Denver, one last hurdle for President Obama might be changing his tactics while still giving off an aura of consistency.

In 2000, Vice President Al Gore changed his style from debate to debate, says Arterton.

"First he was Attila the Hun, then Mr. Nice Guy and in the last debate, he was the geeky policy wonk," he says. "People just couldn't get a fix on who he was."

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