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.

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.

Pages

Why Abortion Has Become Such A Prominent Campaign Issue

Nov 5, 2012
Originally published on November 5, 2012 10:25 am

Abortion isn't usually a major issue in presidential campaigns.

But this year is different.

Both President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are putting the issue front and center, including official campaign-produced ads.

That's a big change from many of the previous presidential races, where the campaigns normally let surrogates do the talking about one of the most contentious issues in politics.

That's because in both cases candidates wanted to secure their base voters — those who support abortion rights in the case of Democrats and those who oppose them for Republicans — without antagonizing the minorities in each party who hold the other view.

This fall, however, GOP challenger Romney has been walking an interesting tightrope — appearing to moderate his position on the one hand, while maintaining a strict anti-abortion stance on the other.

Perhaps even more curious is the fact that those very ardent anti-abortion Republicans — some of the same ones who worried that Romney might be too moderate on abortion during the primaries — don't seem to be that worried right now.

"I'm confident that the Romney administration is going to stand for the principles of protecting life, of protecting conscience that have been the mainstay of what their campaign has been saying all along," said Anna Franzonello, staff counsel for Americans United for Life.

Yet they seem to have been ignoring the fact that some of his surrogates have been trying to convince more moderate voters that Romney really wouldn't be such a threat to abortion rights.

During the Republican National Convention in September, Romney's sister Jane told a reporter that a ban on abortion is "never going to happen" with her brother in the White House. And just last week, former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., told a group of Jewish voters in Ohio that they should not fear an overturn of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision, should Romney become president.

"President Bush ... had two Supreme Court picks, [and] Roe v. Wade wasn't reversed," Coleman said.

So what explains all this? Ed Kilgore thinks he knows. Kilgore is a senior fellow at the Democratic centrist think tank the Progressive Policy Institute and author of the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog. He says that, Coleman's claim notwithstanding, anti-abortion forces know they are now within striking distance of achieving that ultimate goal — overturning Roe.

"According to just about every court watcher, thanks to two appointments to the court by George W. Bush, there are almost certainly four justices on the court right now that are prepared to either reverse or significantly modify Roe," Kilgore said.

And with four justices older than 70, it's considered highly likely that the next president will have at least one chance to appoint that pivotal fifth vote.

But Kilgore says there's another reason reproductive rights are so front and center this year. Republicans actually brought up the issue first.

"Republicans decided near the end of the primary season, actually, that they had a big opening to go after the Catholic vote based on the administration's contraception coverage mandate — which Republicans and some cultural conservatives treated as an invitation to mandatory coverage of abortion pills," he said.

Republicans also went strongly after funding for Planned Parenthood, something Franzonello of Americans United for Life defends.

"They're trying to paint Mitt Romney as being the one who's so extreme when he says, 'We're going to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood,' " she said. "What we've seen from the Obama administration is the extreme on the other end, too — that where states have wanted to cut their ties with the abortion industry, the Obama administration has injected itself and said, 'No, you can't do that.' "

The administration has, in fact, moved to block both Texas and Indiana from cutting off funds to Planned Parenthood, citing federal law that requires that women be allowed to choose their own providers of family planning and other federally covered services.

But Kilgore says that while in previous campaigns Republicans may have had the upper hand by focusing on the least popular and most controversial abortions, Republicans take on more popular issues like contraception at their peril.

"It's reminded people that these aren't folks that just want to maybe ban a tiny percentage of outrageous-sounding abortions — late-term or abortions for reasons that people don't acknowledge as legitimate — but rather a full-scale assault on all legalized abortion and on forms of contraception," he said. "The dirty little secret of the right-to-life movement is that an awful lot of them think that practices that nearly all Americans consider contraception — everything from Plan B to intrauterine devices to the pill — they regard those as abortion devices, not as contraceptives. And anything that draws attention to the radicalism of conservatives on contraceptives is really bad news for Republicans."

Franzonello, however, says it's President Obama who's been the radical. "It really has been an extreme four years," she said, citing White House action on issues like embryonic stem cell research and conscience protections for health care workers.

Complicating the debate this year has been a series of missteps by Republican House and Senate candidates, starting with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's now infamous claim last summer that women who are the subject of "legitimate rape" can somehow prevent pregnancy. Indiana Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock is now trailing in the polls after he said that pregnancy following rape "is something God intended to happen." And, before walking the statement back, Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh said that abortion is never needed to save a woman's life, thanks to "modern technology and science."

"As long as you have Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock and Joe Walsh and others reminding people that this is an argument within a coalition that wants to ban abortions generally, over whether to exempt a handful or an even tinier handful, it doesn't work very well for Republicans," Kilgore said.

In the end, though, as always, it depends on which side is able to turn out its voters. And that won't be known until the votes are counted.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Abortion is usually one of those issues that comes up in presidential campaigns, but plays a minor role. Not this year - both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are putting the issue front and center. Both campaigns have aired ads on the subject. NPR's Julie Rovner set out to see what makes this year so different.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: Abortion tends to be one of those issues that appeals to a small but fervent core, in both the Democratic and Republican parties. So candidates tend to refer to it in code. Republicans talk about respecting life, while Democrats use the word "choice" a lot. But not this year. Here's part of an ad President Obama's been running in key swing states, attacking Mitt Romney for his strict anti-abortion position.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)

MITT ROMNEY: Hopefully reverse Roe v. Wade...overturn Roe v. Wade ... Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that... I'll cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: No matter what Mitt Romney's ads say, we know what he'll do.

ROVNER: And here's a Romney ad, trying to suggest that Romney isn't all that extreme.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: You know, those ads saying Mitt Romney would ban all abortions and contraception seemed a bit extreme, so I looked into it. Turns out, Romney doesn't oppose contraception at all. In fact, he thinks abortions should be an option in cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother's life.

ROVNER: Perhaps even more curious is the fact that those very ardent anti-abortion Republicans, the same ones who worried that Romney might be too moderate on abortion during the primaries, don't seem to be that worried right now. Anna Franzonello is with the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life.

ANNA FRANZONELLO: I'm confident that the Romney administration is going to stand for the principles of protecting life and protecting conscience; that have been the mainstay of what their campaign has been saying all along.

ROVNER: So what explains all this? Ed Kilgore thinks he knows. Kilgore's a senior fellow at the Democratic centrist think tank the Progressive Policy Institute. He says that anti-abortion forces know they are this close to achieving their ultimate goal - overturning the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision.

ED KILGORE: According to just about every court-watcher, thanks to two appointments to the court by George W. Bush, there are almost certainly four justices on the court right now, that are prepared to either reverse or significantly modify Roe.

ROVNER: And with four justices over the age of 70, it's considered highly likely that the next president will have at least one chance to appoint that pivotal fifth vote, he says. But Kilgore says there's another reason reproductive issues are so front and center this year. Republicans actually brought them up first.

KILGORE: Republicans decided - near the end of the primary season, actually - that they had a big opening to go after the Catholic vote, based on the administration's contraception coverage mandate; which Republicans, and some cultural conservatives, treated as an invitation to mandatory coverage of abortion pills.

ROVNER: They also went after Planned Parenthood, something Franzonello - of Americans United for Life - defends.

FRANZONELLO: They're trying to paint Mitt Romney as being the one who's so extreme when he says, you know, we're going to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood. What we've seen, from the Obama administration, is the extreme on the other end, too; that where states have wanted to cut their ties with the abortion industry, the Obama administration has injected itself and said no, you can't do that.

ROVNER: But Kilgore says that while in previous campaigns, Republicans may have had the upper hand by focusing on the least popular and most controversial abortions; Republicans take on more popular issues, like contraception, at their peril.

KILGORE: It's reminded people that these aren't folks that just want to maybe ban a tiny percentage of outrageous-sounding abortions but rather, a full-scale assault on all legalized abortion, and on forms of contraception.

ROVNER: Kilgore says Democrats have also been helped this year by GOP Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana, making controversial statements about abortion and rape.

Julie Rovner, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.