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.


Why The Economy Won't Help Obama — Or Romney

Oct 26, 2012
Originally published on October 26, 2012 4:37 pm

The U.S. economy remains in a gray area, so it's no wonder that the presidential race is essentially tied.

Gross domestic product grew at a 2 percent annual rate between June and September, according to figures out Friday. The White House says this means the economy has been growing for 13 straight quarters.

"This report provides further evidence that the economy is moving in the right direction," Alan Krueger, head of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement.

But the economy isn't performing nearly well enough, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in a speech in Ames, Iowa, after the report came out.

"President Obama frequently reminds us that he inherited a troubled economy. But a troubled economy is not all that he inherited. He also inherited the greatest nation in the history of the Earth," Romney said. "What he did with what he inherited made the problem worse."

The final jobs report before the election will be released next Friday. The September report saw the unemployment rate fall below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years — but just barely, to 7.8 percent.

That's how most of the economic data are looking now. Things are improving, but are nowhere near where an incumbent president would like them to be.

"I think the data are consistent with expectations," says Phillip Swagel, a public policy professor at the University of Maryland, who worked in the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush.

"The economy is growing, but at a modest pace, with only modest job creation and stagnant incomes for American families," Swagel says. "Not recession, but not satisfactory."

On the other hand, sustained if not tremendous growth makes it more difficult for a challenger like Romney to convince the voting public that a change in course is required.

Recent polling shows Romney beating Obama in terms of whom voters would prefer to see managing the U.S. economy. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Thursday, 53 percent of likely voters said they trusted Romney more on the economy, compared with 43 percent who favored Obama.

But an Associated Press-GfK poll out Friday showed a much narrower advantage for Romney on economic issues: 47 percent, compared with 45 percent for Obama.

That poll also pointed to some economic optimism among voters, with nearly 60 percent saying they expect to see things get better over the coming year.

"Maybe it's direction that matters," says Thomas Hyclak, an economist at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

"If things are bad and getting better, it doesn't hurt the incumbent as much," he says. "If things are bad and getting worse, it really does affect the chances for the incumbent."

There's also some evidence to suggest that people's perceptions of the state of the economy is skewed by their partisan inclinations. That is, voters who support Obama are more likely to see the economy as improving than Republicans are. "There's a huge partisan component to views about the economy," says Shanto Iyengar, a political scientist at Stanford University.

A recent Purple Strategies poll found that 37 percent of voters in 12 swing states believe the economy is getting better. Ninety-four percent of those voters say they support Obama, compared with just 5 percent of those who believe the economy is getting worse.

The economy is about where most economists would expect it to be at this point, Hyclak says. History suggests that a recession triggered by a collapse in the housing market and a financial crisis is bound to lead to a sluggish recovery with slow job growth.

Yet the nation's economic growth remains at risk. The looming fiscal cliff has shaved 0.6 percent off of GDP growth this year and cost a million jobs, according to a report from the National Association of Manufacturers. And the mixed corporate earnings season has caused the stock market to zig and zag.

Economists are predicting that the nation's financial picture will brighten over the next couple of years. The research firm Moody's Analytics predicts GDP growth will approach 4 percent in 2014, with unemployment coming down. And the latest forecast from the International Monetary Fund predicts annual growth of about 3 percent in the U.S. economy over the next four years, which would be much better than in other rich nations.

Happy days might not be here again, but consumers are opening their wallets. Back-to-school spending was up this year, while holiday spending is expected to grow modestly. Recent GDP growth was driven by consumer spending and improvements in the housing market.

A survey released Friday showed the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index at its most optimistic reading since September 2007.

It's possible that people who do have jobs are starting to feel a little less uncertain than they were a couple of years back, suggests Hyclak, the Lehigh economist.

Timing matters. The last one-term president, George H.W. Bush, lost his re-election bid in 1992 — the "it's the economy, stupid," election — even though the economy was growing at a much faster clip than it is today.

GDP grew by 3.8 percent in the summer of 1992 and was growing even faster by the time the election was held. "Yet Americans did not feel as if the economy was recovering," Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz writes in his book The Age of Reagan. "Rather, they thought Bush was out of touch with the suffering and anxieties of middle- and working-class citizens."

Obama doesn't face those same image problems. Polls have consistently shown that Americans believe the president has a good feel for the hard times they're going through.

Still, they're not convinced he's done enough to make things better. At least, a firm majority isn't convinced. And it may be too late at this point to change many minds.

"It will take a large dose of very good news or very bad news to affect the election at this late date," says John Sides, a political scientist at George Washington University. "To me, the [new] GDP numbers are neither."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit