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!":


'Bernie Madoff Of The Midwest' To Plead Guilty

Sep 17, 2012
Originally published on September 18, 2012 9:52 am



Another massive financial fraud case is going to federal court on this Monday. In Iowa, the founder and CEO of Peregrine Financial Group, or PFG, is expected to plead guilty to charges that he swindled customers out of at least $100 million. NPR's David Schaper reports.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Some are calling him the Bernie Madoff of the Midwest. Russ Wasendorf, Sr., founder and CEO of the PFG brokerage firm in Cedar Falls, Iowa, admits that he stole tens of millions of dollars from his customers over the past 20 years. According to his plea agreement, Wasendorf secretly withdrew funds from customer accounts, and pumped some of the money back into the company.

He also admits investing some of the stolen money in outside businesses and taking some of it for personal use. In the plea, he says he covered his tracks by creating phony bank documents, which he used to fool auditors and regulators. He generated monthly reports that showed his company with at least $200 million more in customer funds than it actually had. The elaborate ruse was discovered when Wasendorf tried to kill himself in July.

Prosecutors say Wasendorf was found in his car in the parking lot behind his company's headquarters along with a suicide note that detailed how he defrauded thousands of his customers.

DOUG MCCLELLAN: Oh, yeah. I was shocked.

SCHAPER: Doug McClellan runs his own brokerage firm in Lincoln, Nebraska, and had about $500,000 in customer funds invested in Wasendorf's company.

MCCLELLAN: I mean, I can't believe that the guy was able to pull it off.

SCHAPER: McClellan says he also can't believe regulators and auditors couldn't unravel the scheme sooner, and he's stunned that following today's plea hearing, the federal judge overseeing the case will release Wasendorf from jail to await sentencing.

MCCLELLAN: Get him a stall next to Bernie. Let him go ahead and do his sentence, serve his time. Don't let him off the hook.

SCHAPER: Wasendorf faces up to 50 years in prison. David Schaper, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.