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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 veggies 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.

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After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":


The 7 Coolest Presidents In American History

Sep 7, 2012
Originally published on September 7, 2012 3:34 pm

When former President Bill Clinton referred to present President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention as "cool on the outside," Clinton was underscoring the notion that Obama is, well, cool.

Since Obama was elected, much has been made of his coolitude. He listens to an iPod. He slow jams the news with late-night comic Jimmy Fallon. He wears shades, drinks beer, taps into social media and sings Al Green now and then. The New Yorker referred to Obama as Mr. Cool.

Which got us to thinking — and asking historians — who are the seven coolest presidents in American history?

1) Bill Clinton. After all, it takes a cool guy to know a cool guy. "Obviously Bill Clinton," says Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University. During the 1992 election, Clinton explored new ways to reach voters, like appearing on MTV and playing the saxophone on a late night talk show. Clinton's popularity, Zelizer says, "even in the middle of impeachment, demonstrated a kind of admiration many had for his personal style."

2) John F. Kennedy. The smoothie from Massachusetts "was certainly cool in terms of charisma and demeanor," Zelizer says. The stark contrast between Kennedy and Richard Nixon in the 1960 debates "might have set the standard for what it meant to be cool."

3) Theodore Roosevelt. Though Teddy was "not cool by modern standards," Zelizer says, "clearly the curiosity many Americans had for him as a person — famously with the Teddy bear — signaled that TR was a man of his times."

4) Ronald Reagan. The actor-turned-politician "attracted scads of young voters in the 1980 and 1984 elections," says Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. Reagan "was a rock star when he went to Moscow at the end of his presidency. Young Russians definitely thought him cool." So did many Americans.

5) Thomas Jefferson. The polymath from Virginia "was cool in the early days of the new republic," Whitney says. "He broke with the aristocratic formalities of his predecessors, George Washington and John Adams, and introduced the revolutionary republican greeting from France — the hand shake — to welcome guests to Monticello and the White House. Quite hip in his day, he was a renowned musician and elegant dancer with whom women fell in love."

Cool, of course, can have more than one definition, according to Julia Azari, an assistant political science professor at Marquette University. On one hand, presidential cool can refer to a president's ability to charm others, defy convention and appear hip — exemplified by Clinton's saxophone playing and Kennedy's movie-grade glamour. But it also can refer to a president's unflappable and seemingly detached manner.

In presidential politics, Azari says, the two definitions are often at odds. The first definition "sets the president up as a celebrity, but also speaks to the intimacy of his connection with not only the people but also popular, 'low' culture."

The second definition, she says, "positions the president as above the fray, impervious to petty political criticism. This is a key quality to cultivate during times when presidents have to make difficult political decisions."

6) Franklin D. Roosevelt. Using the second definition, Azari says, "I would add FDR to the list. He told critics he 'welcomed their hatred.' " He was "unflappable and in control, calm in a crisis."

7) George W. Bush. Using the first definition, "I'd add George W. Bush," Azari says. "Everyone wanted to have a beer with him. Too bad he doesn't drink." That likability quality seemed to serve Bush well politically, she adds, "at least in the short term."

On a closing note, Azari says, "I think a few presidents have suffered from a seeming lack of cool — in the sense of both hipness and unflappability: Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter."

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