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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!":


The Odd Couple: What Clinton Adds For Obama

Sep 5, 2012
Originally published on September 5, 2012 7:45 pm

In public, at least, they're the best of friends. And no one will have a more public role extolling President Obama than his Democratic predecessor, former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton, who has already been featured in an Obama campaign ad, is speaking tonight at the Democratic National Convention in what is traditionally the prime spot reserved for the vice presidential nominee.

"He's clearly the best asset the Democrats have," says GOP consultant David Carney. "Clinton is their best surrogate."

If even a Republican like Carney is willing to extol Clinton's political virtues, it still comes as a bit of a surprise that Obama would deploy Clinton as his top spokesman.

Clinton, naturally, was rooting for his wife when Hillary went head to head with Obama in the Democratic primaries four years ago. He derided Obama's candidacy at the time as "the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen" and reportedly dismissed Obama by saying, "A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee" (or "carrying our bags," depending on the source.)

But that was, well, a few years ago. Obama and Clinton's evolution from feuding to friends has been the subject of intense media interest, including the cover story of Newsweek.

"The fact that President Clinton and President Obama had been in conflict makes his support even stronger now," says Michael Waldman, chief speechwriter in the Clinton White House.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why Clinton is being showcased at the convention. Clinton exemplifies perhaps the most crucial political gift that Obama seems to lack — put simply, the human touch. That's an area in which Obama has been accused of lacking deftness, whether it comes to the congressional powers that be or major campaign donors.

And, as Carney suggests, Clinton offers Obama something else he desperately wants — a reminder of better days under Democratic leadership.

Clinton has remained unusually active for an ex-president in certain policy areas, such as AIDS and climate change. But it's mainly nostalgia for his presidency of the 1990s that Democrats hope to trade on. Clinton presided over the longest unbroken economic expansion in U.S. history and left the federal budget in surplus.

"His mere persona up there harkens in many Democratic minds back to better times," says Henry Cisneros, who served as Clinton's housing secretary. "He can articulate the economic arguments in a way that few people can."

Clinton will certainly speak to the economy — and doubtless will deride Republicans for invoking his name in their attacks against Obama's welfare policies.

His primary role might be acting as character witness for Obama before the demographic group most reluctant to embrace Obama: the white working class.

"It's not that Obama's going to win the white working class, but he needs not to lose 61 percent of their vote, like House Democrats [in 2010]," says Henry Olsen, vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

Clinton may offer a link back to days when Democrats were more competitive among white working-class voters — as well as a reminder that Democrats once could speak with a Southern accent and win.

But even in the Democratic primaries in 2008, many white working-class voters preferred Hillary Clinton over Obama. And tonight, millions of white working-class Americans will be tuned in not to convention proceedings but to the NFL season opener.

"Bill Clinton spent a lot of his political career thinking about the economic issues that affect working-class voters and crafted a message for the party that the party still uses," says Waldman, who is now president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

Still, he adds, "I don't think it's like a gift certificate that one politician can hand over to another."

There also may be some irony in the fact that one of the leading speakers at a convention designed largely to appeal to female voters was himself nearly driven from office by a sex scandal involving a young female intern.

That aside, as Waldman points out, Clinton offers Democrats something they hadn't had for a very long time: a popular ex-president. Clinton was the first Democrat to serve two full terms as president since Franklin Roosevelt, who died in 1945.

Clinton, in fact, is playing a bigger political part than any ex-president in living memory. It has long been the norm that former presidents have appeared at their parties' conventions, but most have stayed out of the spotlight the rest of the time.

Most have been either too old upon leaving office or too unpopular to do their parties much good.

"Clinton has essentially defined a post-presidential role as party leader in a way that virtually no previous president since Teddy Roosevelt has aspired to do," says Hal Bass, a political scientist at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark.

"Clinton enjoys the rehabilitation that he has found in the political arena," Bass says.

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