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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!":


A Few Convention Oddities, Pre-Clint Eastwood

Aug 31, 2012
Originally published on August 31, 2012 1:51 pm

From one angle, Clint Eastwood's dialogue with an imaginary President Obama — using a tall chair as a prop — at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday night was sharp-pointed and youthful and edgy and film-schoolish.

From another angle, it could be construed as the meanderings of an older man who is disenchanted by a shaky economy, an ongoing war and the perception of broken promises, but somehow can't put his disgruntlement into words.

In any case, it was for many observers a very odd occurrence. Eastwood's speech, says Stan M. Haynes, a Baltimore attorney who has written about the history of political conventions, "certainly had its strange moments and will likely strengthen the policy of the parties that all appearances from the podium must be tightly scripted, regardless of the status of the speaker."

But it was far from alone among odd moments at political conventions. A few recent examples spring to mind:

-- At the Republican convention in 2008, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, only eight years removed from being the Democratic candidate for vice president, rallied the party in Minneapolis. "What, after all, is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this?" he asked. "I'm here to support John McCain because country matters more than party." Things got even weirder when Lieberman praised former President Bill Clinton. "Surreal is the best word," NPR's Ken Rudin observed at the time. "Given the fact that everybody in that hall were members of the vast right-wing conspiracy, and here they are cheering Bill Clinton's name and Bill Clinton's accomplishments."

— At the Democratic convention in 2008, Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, addressed the crowd in Denver and endorsed Barack Obama, whom she said "has the energy, but more importantly, the temperament, to run this country and provide the leadership we need."

-- At the Republican convention in 2004, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., attacked people who were pessimistic about the economy as "girlie men" — a reference to a popular Saturday Night Live skit that parodied his bodybuilding past.

The Philadelphia Inquirer noted the oddness: First, Schwarzenegger "used a satire on his own muscle-bound inanity to mock others. Second, how many GOP delegates even got this reference to a late-night show that drips with New York hipness, sexual innuendo, and scorn for family values?"

Not A New Phenomenon

Haynes, author of The First American Political Conventions, Transforming Presidential Nominations, 1832-1872, notes there have been awkward moments in conventions throughout American history — not just in the television era.

He reaches deep into the history books for one memorable and very weird occasion. At the 1868 Democratic convention in New York, Haynes says, the convention was deadlocked ballot after ballot, and there was no obvious front-runner. Convention President Horatio Seymour, a former governor of New York, had vehemently told his party that he was not a candidate and would not accept the nomination. To break the deadlock, however, Seymour's name was introduced — much to his chagrin.

Seymour "took to the podium and pleaded to the delegates, 'God bless you for your kindness to me, but your candidate I cannot be,' " Haynes says.

The delegates ignored his pleas and spirited him out of the convention hall. "Some say he was, in effect, kidnapped," Haynes says, "and was kept away while the voting took place."

Seymour was unanimously nominated.

Known from then on as "The Great Decliner," Haynes adds, "Seymour was persuaded to accept the nomination. ... He ended up losing the 1868 election, to Ulysses Grant."

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