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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!":


Republicans Or Democrats: The Choice Comes Down To Competing Myths

Sep 7, 2012
Originally published on September 7, 2012 9:15 am

Early in his acceptance speech last night, President Obama laid out the voters' task in these words:

"On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice ... between two fundamentally different visions for the future."

It's a thought that emerges often in the Obama campaign, the idea of 2012 as a watershed election — "a hinge of history," as Vice President Biden called it at the convention in Charlotte, N.C. Some might see this as a device to drive Democratic turnout in the midst of a tepid economic recovery. But a similar idea was a theme of the Republican convention the previous week in Tampa, Fla.

"So here we stand," said GOP nominee Mitt Romney. "Americans have a choice. A decision. Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, 'I'm an American. I make my destiny.' "

To some degree, all president elections might claim such historical significance. Yet the choice in 2012 is unusually stark. While some candidates in the past have tried to find middle ground between the parties so as to appeal to swing voters, this year's contest features an emphasis on philosophical differences — a chasm promoted by the candidates in both parties.

The incumbent speaks of vision, his challenger of destiny. But both are invoking the same phenomenon: the competing myths of the American consciousness. It is anything but new, and it is unlikely to be resolved in this election year or any other.

On offer in Tampa was a depiction of America as an entrepreneurial paradise, a place where hard work, innovation and prudence are all that matters. In this imagined America, there is nothing to discourage a motivated man or woman from building a business or expanding an inherited investment. Respect for private enterprise is the coin of the realm.

This week in Charlotte, we have seen a dream of America as a communitarian paradise, a place where racial, national and religious differences are subsumed in a surge of generalized opportunity and shared success.

There is validity in both of these depictions, to be sure, and each glows with that roseate certainty that signals a lack of realism. The truth in each is not a courtroom document truth, but a mythic one.

We're not using the term myth here in the way that fact-checkers do, but rather in the sense popularized by the late scholar Joseph Campbell a generation ago. Myths are not lies or conceits. They are shared narratives from our cultural past that matter more than we know, narratives that become touchstones and guidelines for our lives and thoughts.

The choice before us as voters this year might be called a choice between the core truths that are expressed within these seemingly contradictory myths.

We are at once a nation that reveres "rugged individualism" and one that fancies itself an extended family, a community. It was the latter image Hillary Clinton had in mind when she cited the proverb "it takes a village to raise a child."

As Americans, we congenitally insist on standing on our own two feet, but we also want to draw on the strength of our neighbors and peers. If we are the land of e pluribus unum, we want both The Many and The One.

It's obvious that our two major parties long ago chose sides in this duality. It would be better to say the competition between these myths spawned our parties in their current form.

Republicans lionize the individual and the concept of liberty, defining the latter largely in economic terms. Here's Romney in Tampa a week ago: "Freedom. Freedom of religion. Freedom to speak their mind. Freedom to build a life. And, yes, freedom to build a business. With their own hands. This is the essence of the American experience."

Of course, Republicans do offer a nod to community, as well, especially as honored by tradition, from Pilgrim colonies to wagon trains and bucket brigades. But it is the innovating, organizing, building individual that animates their world and the unleashing of that individual that dominates their rhetoric.

Democrats tilt the angle the other way, saluting the individual achiever but stressing the importance of larger social frameworks — the interaction and cooperation of people and institutions, including governments.

"Democrats say: 'We're all in this together,' " former President Bill Clinton told the convention this week. "With the Republicans, you're on your own."

All formulations of this contest during an election season tend to be overdrawn and misleading. Candidates tend to speak with reverence for their own myth (the individual or the community) and its contributions to our lives. Unfortunately, such reverence is too often accompanied by contempt for the mirror-image myth of the other side. We embrace our own preferred myth on faith (and call that a virtue) while assessing another's myth with skepticism and derision.

This fall, it would be good for us all to examine our political myths, whichever ones we prefer, and assess the sources of our facts and attitudes. That would be a useful process, especially for that shrinking slice of the electorate described as "undecided" or "reachable" in this election.

One way to decide our votes might be to decide what we most believe and why.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit