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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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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!":

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The Conventions' Version Of Reality TV

Sep 5, 2012
Originally published on September 5, 2012 3:41 pm

They've been all over the political conventions this year — not just politicians, but "real people."

Both Republicans and Democrats have featured lots of average, non-office-seeking Americans who have offered up stories about how their children are serving in the U.S. military, or how they built up their own businesses through personal grit.

Politicians have long shared stories about individual Americans who have struggled and/or triumphed. Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts closed out his 1980 convention speech with tales he'd heard along the campaign trail from grandmothers and young workers and farm families.

"I have listened to Kenny Dubois, a glass blower in Charleston, W.Va., who has 10 children to support but has lost his job after 35 years, just three years short of qualifying for his pension," Kennedy said.

"But using live real people? That's new," says Robert Lehrman, a former chief speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore.

Using real people helps "validate" political claims, Lehrman says. And, thanks to YouTube and Twitter, stories from average people that are moving can have a resonance far away from the convention hall.

"If Ted Kennedy had all those tools, he would have brought Kenny Dubois onstage, too," says Lehrman, author of The Political Speechwriter's Companion.

Because speeches delivered by ordinary people tend to be about uplift, they're necessarily less negative than much of what passes out of the mouths of politicians, says Chriss Winston, who was a speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush.

"Certainly the most moving to me at the Republican convention were the two families who were members of Gov. [Mitt] Romney's church, who talked about his caring and concern and the time he spent with them," Winston says. "They countered the image the other side has tried to create, that he's an uncaring, job-destroying, greedy monster."

And yesterday in Charlotte, N.C., an Arizona woman named Stacey Lihn stood onstage with members of her family and told of how her daughter, who was born with a congenital heart defect, received treatment thanks to Obama's health care law.

Testimonials from satisfied customers are nothing new, adds Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley. He points to an ad, printed all the way back in 1710, quoting one Hannah Pawlyn rhapsodizing about how a certain elixir brought "immediate Relief" to her daughter, who had been suffering from "a Complication of Distempers, and such a Giddiness in her Head."

"What's different now," Nunberg says, "is partly the increasing importance of having a 'personal' sense of the candidates, a feeling that can't be adequately conveyed by a politician's speech."

Of course, politicians do strive mightily to convey an authentic sense of their own selves. Convention season, in particular, seems to bring out in politicians a need to pay tribute to the struggles of their parents and grandparents — that is, if they don't have any hard-luck stories of their own to draw on.

This tendency was skewered in a tweet Tuesday from James Pethokoukis, money and politics blogger for the American Enterprise Institute.

He wrote: "I have student loans, my mom cleaned floors, my grandparents were foreign born — do I get to be president now?"

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