"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 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 made disparaging comments about him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb" comments about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Pages

GOP Group Abandons Racially Tinged Attack Ad

May 18, 2012
Originally published on May 18, 2012 4:49 pm

Mitt Romney is disavowing a plan by some wealthy Republicans to attack President Obama for ties to his controversial former pastor. Even the people behind that proposal said they are abandoning it after their idea was plastered on the front page of The New York Times.

The proposal centered on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who was a mentor to Obama before the two parted ways during the last presidential campaign.

Republicans unaffiliated with Romney were considering spending $10 million on a racially tinged advertising campaign tying Wright to the president.

In Florida on Thursday, Romney disapproved of the plan: "I hope that our campaigns can respectively be about the future and about issues and about a vision for America."

By the time Romney said that, even the people funding the advertising plan had abandoned the idea. And Democrats were pointing out that Romney had already brought Wright into the campaign.

Romney was asked whether he stands by his comments about Wright made in February.

"I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was," Romney answered.

This is what he said on Sean Hannity's radio show: "I'm not sure which is worse, him [Obama] listening to Rev. Wright or him saying that we must be a less Christian nation."

Strategists in both parties doubt that even a huge advertising campaign focused on Wright could redefine Obama at this point in his presidency.

"There's always something else to know, but usually in the minds of the electorate, they have a fixed idea about the president by this time," says David Woodard, a political scientist at Clemson University who also advises Republican candidates.

Even if the content of this proposal is dead for now, the concept illuminates something new in 2012.

Since the Supreme Court opened the doors to unlimited spending by outside parties, any billionaire with an idea can try to tilt the scales. And they may do things the campaigns disapprove of.

Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak warns that edgy attacks bordering on the personal can always backfire.

"I don't think professional operatives who have a reputation, who've been in politics for a long time, would engage in anything that would do themselves reputational damage," Mackowiak says. "The Jeremiah Wright thing, particularly in light of the, I think, of the response that the effort's gotten, would lead me to think that they might want to think twice about it."

To Democrat Bill Burton, going personal is just not worth the risk. Like all independent groups, his superPAC Priorities USA is banned from coordinating with the campaign, but he does not plan to stray far from the Obama playbook.

"You hear a lot of this: 'Don't you have to fight fire with fire?' Actually you fight fire with water. And we think if we can tell the truth, if we can be factual about Mitt Romney's record and Mitt Romney's catastrophic vision for this country, then President Obama will be re-elected."

There are, however, free agents who are not nearly as close to the campaign as Burton is to the White House.

Neera Tanden of the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund says billionaires with a cause are already influencing this presidential race.

"They're literally flooding the airwaves with negative information that is really determining who is winning primaries, at least in the Republican side," Tanden says.

But are there as many Democratic billionaires willing to dump that kind of money into attack ads as there are Republican billionaires?

"Not at all," Tanden says. "Many progressives are worried that they'll be unarmed on the Democratic side."

It's a furious arms race, with the weapons already being fired.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Mitt Romney is disavowing a plan by some wealthy Republicans to attack President Obama for ties to his controversial former pastor. Even the people behind that proposal now say they're abandoning it after their idea was plastered on the front page of The New York Times.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports that even if this plan is dead, it highlights how anyone with money can launch an independent attack ad campaign.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: The proposal centered around the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. That controversial pastor was a mentor to President Obama before the two parted ways during the last presidential campaign.

Republicans unaffiliated with Mitt Romney were considering spending $10 million on a racially tinged advertising campaign tying Wright to the president. In Florida yesterday, Romney said he disapproves.

MITT ROMNEY: I hope that our campaigns can respectively be about the future and about issues and about a vision for America.

SHAPIRO: By the time Romney said that, even the people funding the advertising plan had abandoned the idea. And Democrats were pointing out that Romney himself had already brought Wright into the campaign. Yesterday, Romney was asked whether he stands by his comments about Wright from February.

ROMNEY: I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was.

SHAPIRO: This is what it was, on Sean Hannity's radio show.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW")

ROMNEY: I'm not sure which is worse, him listening to Reverend Wright, or him saying that we must be a less-Christian nation.

SHAPIRO: Strategists in both parties doubt that even a huge advertising campaign focused on Reverend Wright could redefine Mr. Obama at this point in his presidency. David Woodard is a political scientist at Clemson University, who also advises Republican candidates.

DAVID WOODARD: There's always something else to know, but usually in the minds of the electorate, they have a pretty fixed idea about the president by this time.

SHAPIRO: Yet if the content of this proposal is dead for now, the concept illuminates something new in 2012. Since the Supreme Court opened the doors to unlimited spending by outside parties, any billionaire with an idea can try to tilt the scales. And they may do things the campaigns disapprove of. Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak warns that edgy attacks bordering on the personal can always backfire.

MATT MACKOWIAK: I don't think professional operatives who have a reputation, who've been working in politics for a long time, would engage in anything that would do themselves reputational damage. And the Jeremiah Wright thing, particularly in light of the, I think, of the response that the effort's gotten, would lead me to think that they might want to think twice about it.

SHAPIRO: To Democrat Bill Burton, going personal is just not worth the risk. Like all independent groups, his superPAC Priorities USA is banned from coordinating with the campaign, yet he does not plan to stray far from the Obama playbook.

BILL BURTON: You hear a lot of this: Don't you have to fight fire with fire? Actually, you fight fire with water. And we think that if we can tell the truth, if we can be factual about Mitt Romney's record and Mitt Romney's catastrophic vision for this country, then President Obama will be re-elected.

SHAPIRO: Yet there are also free agents who are not nearly as close to the campaign as Burton is to the White House. Neera Tanden of the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund says billionaires with a cause are already influencing this presidential race.

NEERA TANDEN: Now they're literally flooding the airwaves with negative information that is really determining who's winning primaries, at least on the Republican side.

SHAPIRO: Are there as many Democratic billionaires willing to dump that kind of money into attack ads as there are Republican billionaires?

TANDEN: Not at all. Many progressives are worried that they'll be unarmed on the Democratic side.

SHAPIRO: It's a furious arms race, with the weapons already being fired. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.