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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.

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!":

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Presidential Debates: The One Area Where Campaigns Pitch Their Weakness

Sep 28, 2012
Originally published on September 28, 2012 3:19 pm

An oddity of U.S. presidential politics is that candidates and their campaigns spend nearly all their time telling voters how superior they are to their rivals in virtually every area: the wisdom of their policy proposals; the soundness of their characters and judgments — everything, really.

Except for debating.

It's the old game of setting the bar high for your opponent and lower for your candidate, of course. That way, anything short of a disastrous debate performance can be claimed as a knockout victory.

Still, it's curious, given that presidential campaigns usually aren't in the business of acknowledging that the other side could be more competent in something. Indeed, they spend millions of dollars trying to establish just the opposite.

The 2012 election cycle's example of this practice is a memo to "interested parties" from the Romney campaign first reported by CNN. The memo from Beth Myers, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney, sings President Obama's praises as a debater. An excerpt:

"President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history. This will be the eighth one-on-one presidential debate of his political career. For Mitt Romney, it will be his first."

"Four years ago, Barack Obama faced John McCain on the debate stage. According to Gallup, voters judged him the winner of each debate by double-digit margins, and their polling showed he won one debate by an astounding 33-point margin. In the 2008 primary, he faced Hillary Clinton, another formidable opponent — debating her one-on-one numerous times and coming out ahead. The takeaway? Not only has President Obama gained valuable experience in these debates, he also won them comfortably."

But the 2008 race was a long time ago. The president obviously hasn't had many opportunities to keep his debating chops in performance shape.

Indeed, it's more plausible that, far from being well-primed by his 2008 experiences for Wednesday's debate, the first of three, he'll be rusty.

Then there's Romney's participation in 23 debates during the Republican primaries, which served the role of warm-up bouts to the championship fights to occur in October.

That's not exactly the rationale White House and campaign officials are leaning on to explain why Romney has the alleged edge. Instead, they have focused on how busy the president has been doing his day job, leaving less time than they had hoped for debate rehearsals.

Jen Psaki, the Obama campaign's traveling press secretary, made the point on Thursday as the president traveled to Ohio to campaign, that not only has Romney spent more time preparing for the debate than the current president, but probably more time in preparations than any other president.

"The president will have some time to prepare, and he's been doing some studying, but it is certainly less than we have anticipated because of events in the Middle East, because of his busy travel schedule — because of just the constraints of governing. So it is less than we originally planned.

"Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has been preparing earlier and with more focus than any presidential candidate in modern history. Not John F. Kennedy. Not President Bill Clinton. Not President George Bush. Not Ronald Reagan has prepared as much as he has. So there's no question that he will have a lead on how prepared he is."

Psaki was asked what the worst-case debate scenario could be for the president:

"Well, he could fall off the stage."

In the annals of expectations-setting for a presidential candidate, that may take the prize.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.