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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!":


One Way To Avoid Political Ads: Watch 'Dancing With The Stars'?

Sep 26, 2012
Originally published on September 26, 2012 5:41 pm

It's no secret that TV watchers in swing states are getting flooded, bombarded, practically drowned in political ads.

According to data from Kantar Media, as of a week ago, nearly 700,000 political ads had aired throughout the country during the general election campaign. The estimated spending on those ads: $395 million.

In the past few weeks, It's All Politics has been getting periodic updates on the political state of play in five of the biggest battleground states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire and Ohio — from reporters participating in our Message Machine project.

We wanted to see just how inundated their televisions were, so we decided to do an (unscientific) case study: All five reporters would watch one hour of prime-time TV and track all the ads they saw in their markets (Denver, Tampa, Des Moines, Manchester and Columbus, respectively). And in the swing state of Virginia, I would track the ads I saw in Alexandria, just outside of Washington, D.C.

All of the reporters gamely agreed to sit through an hour of ABC's Dancing With the Stars for our watch party. I figured a reality show watched by millions in prime time could give us a good indication of the ad downpour.

I was in for a surprise.

Among the six of us, we saw 12 total political ads out of the more than 200 spots we tracked Tuesday night. Sarah McCammon of Iowa Public Radio actually managed to see zero political ads in the hour we picked. That's in a market that saw 15,518 ads between April 25 and Sept. 8 related to the presidential race, according to the ad-analyzing Wesleyan Media Project.

As it turns out, watching a hugely popular national TV show might be a good way to avoid a deluge of political ads. Why?

"I think there's a pretty simple answer," Travis Ridout, a Washington State University professor who co-directs the Wesleyan Media Project, explained by email, "which is that most of the ad time during Dancing With the Stars is reserved for national advertisers (Pepsi, Honda, Wal-Mart) as opposed to local advertisers. Because they are targeting specific voters in specific states, the campaigns buy most of their ads from local TV stations."

So you're more likely to see political ads on syndicated programs like Wheel of Fortune than during network shows, he says.

That helps to explain our final tally: Josh Rogers in New Hampshire saw four political ads (two presidential; two congressional); Kirk Siegler in Colorado saw three (two presidential; one congressional); Scott Finn in Florida and Karen Kasler in Ohio both saw two (all presidential); and I saw a whopping one presidential ad in Virginia.

As Karen put it: "This was supposed to be an 'ad watch party'? It wasn't much of a party here." In contrast, while watching the top-rated local newscast later in the evening, she saw nine political ads in about half an hour.

And that wouldn't surprise Ridout: "Political advertisers especially like airing ads during local news, because people who watch local news tend to be more informed and interested in politics — the same type of people who are likely voters."

So maybe we should try watching then. No matter what, we won't be going another round with Dancing With the Stars.

Scott put his foot down: "I will never, ever watch this show again."

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