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 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!":


Baseball's Small Market Teams Win Big

Sep 3, 2012
Originally published on September 3, 2012 9:29 pm



The Oakland A's, with one of the smallest payrolls in Major League Baseball, faced the big-spending Boston Red Sox on Sunday with hopes of capturing their ninth straight victory. And as you can hear from KGMZ radio in San Francisco, the A's won 6-2.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Lavarnway way strikes out. And the A's have swept the Red Sox at the Coliseum for the second time this year.

GREENE: OK. So, a small market team doing pretty well late in the season. And they are not alone. So does that mean all the big spending teams are totally wasting their money this year? I'm talking to you, Philadelphia Phillies.

Sports correspondent Mike Pesca is on the line.

Mike, the Phillies opening day payroll, $174 million, second only to the Yankees. They're now fighting for last place in their division. Are they wasting a ton of cash?

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: When they said the Fighting Phils, that's not what they meant. Well, sure. Yeah. This year, obviously, things didn't go well for the Phillies. Things didn't go well for the Red Sox. So, yeah, the big spending teams still have an advantage.

But, you know, it hasn't really been the case that in baseball the small market teams have no chance. That's been said for a long time. But if you look at, for instance, the teams that make the World Series, there's a greater diversity in baseball than in the other sports. Sports which have, you know, more rigid rules to ensure parity.

So I think the reason why people think small market teams just have no shot - one, the Yankees have so much money and they're always in the post-season, and they're probably going to make the post season this year. And the other thing is there have been a couple of textbook small market teams - the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates - who have been awful for so long. But even the Pirates, as you know, David - are doing really well this year.

GREENE: They're doing really well. They are my team. But I do want to dig a little deeper into exactly why the small market team can do well. The Oakland A's, $55 million in payroll - second lowest in baseball - they're in the playoff hunt this year. And there was a movie, that I'm sure you saw as a sports nut, "Moneyball" that captured the A's trying to defy the odds back in 2002.


BRAD PITT: (As Billy Beane) There are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there's 50 feet of crap, and then there's us.

GREENE: So the A's were using some high tech method called Sabermetrics in 2002 to try and get the right mix of players together with not a lot of money. Is that what you generally see when small market teams do well?

PESCA: Well, they do have to play a little smarter. And it's not the A's that epitomize "Moneyball" thinking these days. It's the Tampa Bay Rays, which actually have less money than everyone. And they really are the smartest team in baseball.

And the insights that the A's were using a couple of years ago, kind of everyone's caught up with that, for instance, on base percentage being more important than batting average. But the thing the Rays are doing - and the things and the defensive shifts and how they evaluate players - that really does make a difference.

But I do have to say, in all of this, luck plays a tremendous part. There are instances where, you know, good insights will get you good players. I don't know how many teams - let's take one player on the Tampa Bay Rays. Their closer, Fernando Rodney, he's going to have a record setting season this year in terms of ERA.

Everyone thought that Fernando Rodney was just a washed-up player. And I don't know that the Rays thought he was a very good player, but they said, eh, let's take a chance. He's not worth that much, the kind of guy who pays huge dividends if you get lucky with a lottery ticket.

GREENE: All right. So, I mean, Mike, we're almost to the playoffs. Is one of the big spending teams like the Yankees just going to win or could we see a surprise?

PESCA: Well, when you get to the playoffs all bets are off. And we have seen surprises so far. I mean, just the fact that Baltimore is in a position to get a wildcard spot. If you go by some advanced statistics - Bill James, the baseball genius who was in the center of "Moneyball" invented a formula to predict how many wins a team should have. The Orioles are outperforming that prediction like no other team ever has.

So Baltimore is in the lower half of payroll. So are the A's. So are the Rays. So are the Pittsburgh Pirates. But, you know, the Dodgers might make the playoffs and they're not. And the Yankees probably are going to make the playoffs. And they, of course, have about a $200 million payroll.

GREENE: All right. NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca, a man who's worth every cent. Thanks as always.

PESCA: Thank you.

GREENE: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.