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.

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!":

Pages

Lawsuit Claims Pork Producers Council Scammed $60 Million From Farmers

Sep 24, 2012
Originally published on September 24, 2012 5:18 pm

You know that ad campaign for pork, the one that called it "the other white meat?" There's a fascinating behind-the-scenes story about that slogan, revealed in a new lawsuit that was just filed this morning by the Humane Society of the United States.

The complaint claims that the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), which ran that ad campaign from 1986 to 2001, has been financing its lobbying efforts in part through the sale of that slogan, at the wildly inflated price of $60 million, back in 2006. (According to the lawsuit, an economist at the time thought that use of the slogan was worth no more than $375,000 a year. And there's an argument that the NPPC didn't have the right to claim that it owned that slogan in the first place.)

So who paid $60 million for the slogan?

You could say it was pork producers. The money came out of their pockets. But it was collected from them by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a so-called "checkoff" program. Under these programs, which also exist for beef, soybeans, and milk, the USDA collects mandatory fees from farmers and uses the money to promote those products. (Many farmers resent these tax-like fees and have mounted legal challenges to them, but the USDA argues that they're good for business.)

On the other hand, the USDA didn't decide that this slogan was worth $60 million. It just turns checkoff money over to industry groups. In this case, it was the National Pork Board, a collection of people from the pork industry, who agreed that $60 million was a fair price — according to the lawsuit, as a way to keep their good friends at the National Pork Producers Council in business.

I won't go into all the juicy details of the story. Read the lawsuit for yourself. And remember, this all comes from the Humane Society, which would love nothing better than to bankrupt the National Pork Producers Council.

In its response, the NPPC accused the HSUS of "bullying tactics" and asserted that "there is no legal merit to this claim."

But the lawsuit does shed a little spotlight on what makes the so-called "checkoff" programs so odd and controversial. They mix up public and private priorities so thoroughly that at the end of the day you have the distinct impression that somebody is getting scammed, but you can't quite tell who it is. Is it the farmers? The government? The Pork Board?

Parke Wilde, a specialist on U.S. food policy at Tufts University, thinks that the checkoff programs are doing their worst damage to the credibility of the government's own policies on nutrition. He writes on his blog that the U.S. government, by sponsoring "contradictory messages for different commodities — while approving each message as "government speech" — serves consumers poorly." For example, through the soybean program, the government sponsors ads promoting soy milk; through the milk program, it casts scorn on the same product.

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