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!":


Mickey Edwards On Democracy's 'Cancer'

Sep 4, 2012
Originally published on September 4, 2012 2:48 pm

In his 16 years in Congress, Republican Mickey Edwards came to a strong conclusion: Political parties are the "cancer at the heart of our democracy," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

In his new book, The Parties Versus the People, the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma details how party leaders have too much control over who runs for office, what bills make it to the floor and how lawmakers vote.

"The problem is that when you come down to casting a vote, you're unable to reach a compromise — to sit down and talk it through and find out where there are areas of common ground so that you can build bridges and you can fund the military and you can do the things that a government has to do," he says. "When you're making those decisions based on your party membership, based on what you have decided is going to help your club win the next election, then you're really doing a disservice to your country and you're really being dishonest to your oath of office."

Edwards cites the selection of committee chairmanships as a way to enforce partisanship rather than good governance. He says he has been in the room and watched discussions about "whether or not A or B ought to be on Ways and Means or Appropriations or the Labor Committee, and somebody will say, 'No, we are not going to put that person on that committee because' — whatever his or her constituency or personal views or expertise — 'that person is not going to stick to the party line on the issues that are part of our platform, that are part of our agenda.' "

Edwards says party primaries are a major reason why Congress consists of politicians who are committed to sticking with a particular ideology and are unwilling to compromise. The most ideological and partisan candidates tend to succeed in party primaries, Edwards says.

"We're allowing the clubs — narrow subsets of population — to dictate to the general public when they go to the polls in November about who their choices can be," he says.

Edwards served as chairman of the House Republican leadership's policy committee. He currently teaches at George Washington University and is co-founder of the group No Labels.

Interview Highlights

On the negative influence of parties on American politics

"The parties have become so dominant in determining how individual members of Congress vote that it doesn't really matter what the issue is. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about a stimulus plan, a budget, a confirmation of a Supreme Court justice — on almost every major issue now, all the Democrats are on one side; all the Republicans are on the other side. And it's obvious that they're not really analyzing the issue in terms of what information they've been able to get, what their own analysis is — but, 'Where does my party stand? Because my goal here is to be true to my party, to defeat the other party.' And there is no way that you can actually manage a government of 300 million people with people in Congress, or in state legislatures as well, who are unable and unwilling to really look at the issues in front of them, figure out what needs to be done and take the oath of office seriously."

On his experience with redistricting

"I'm from Oklahoma City — pretty good-sized city — and I'm very much an urban guy. I was the first Republican elected from my Congressional district since 1928, and my district was three-quarters Democrats. And so, when I won as a Republican, it drove the Democrats crazy. And, by the way, when I say this, Republicans are just as bad about this as Democrats are. So ... because they couldn't beat me, the Legislature decided to redraw my Congressional district from Oklahoma City instead, all the way up to the Kansas border, halfway across to the Arkansas border, a big upside-down L. And Mickey Edwards, the 'city guy,' was now representing wee farmers, cattle ranchers, small-town merchants. And I tried really hard, but I could not be an articulate advocate of their concerns."

On Newt Gingrich and his impact on partisan politics

"Newt Gingrich actually did a lot to change the nature of Congress in making it more — there'd always been partisanship, but nonstop partisanship, partisan on every issue, bringing issues to the floor that had no chance of passage, but only to embarrass members or to put them at odds either with their party leadership or the folks back home . [It started] the process of requiring individual members to raise what's now $300,000 a year besides their own election campaigns just to knock off the opponent. So Newt began this process of, 'You look at somebody on the other side not as a fellow member of Congress, but as an enemy to be vanquished.' "

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