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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!":


Ryan's Speech Revives The Spirit Of Jack Kemp, War Over Reaganomics

Aug 30, 2012
Originally published on August 30, 2012 8:47 am

The second night of the Republican convention was an orchestrated buildup for Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan.

Ryan emerged at the evening's end to deliver the payoff speech and introduce himself to a national audience. He did a rousing job of it, delivering the session's most memorable material with stark intensity.

Outlining his many differences with President Obama on economics, the role of government and Medicare, Ryan was most believable as he declared: "Our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate."

That brought the convention crowd to its feet, as did any number of anti-Obama zingers. But Romney didn't choose Ryan just for his speaking skills. Ryan provides him with an eloquent advocate, to be sure, but other criteria were even more important.

Ryan adds excitement to the GOP's presidential ticket. He is only 42, but the excitement is about something more than youthful vigor. Ryan turns on conservatives with his incandescent devotion to a set of ideas. He is steeped in his world view, and the electricity he exudes comes from his deep-seated sense of certainty.

Ryan is a true believer, much like two previous politicians he has sought to emulate: Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. Ryan admired both while growing up, and when he graduated from college in 1992, he became a speech writer for Kemp.

He saluted that influence early in his convention speech: "I learned a good deal about economics, and about America, from the author of the Reagan tax reforms — the great Jack Kemp. What gave Jack that incredible enthusiasm was his belief in the possibilities of free people, in the power of free enterprise and strong communities to overcome poverty and despair. We need that same optimism right now."

Ryan might as well have added that we need that same kind of economics right now. He clearly believes that we do. But not everyone thinks so, even among conservatives. Kemp was a walking controversy 30 years ago, when still a rising star in Congress.

When Kemp was first peddling his magic "supply side" formula in the 1970s, he drew audiences primarily because he had been a star quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. Orthodox conservatives asked him how his tax cuts would affect the budget deficit (then measured in tens of billions of dollars per year) or the national debt (then approaching $1 trillion). Kemp said the tax cuts would promote so much economic growth that the deficit would shrink. Reagan bought into the theory and got Congress to enact a 25-point reduction in the income tax rates over three years.

What followed was a decade in which the federal debt tripled to nearly $3 trillion, its largest peacetime expansion ever in percentage terms. Reagan would explain that he had not gotten the kind of spending cuts he wanted to go with the revenue reductions. But the deficit also grew because defense spending was expanded at a rate never seen before in peacetime.

Kemp saw all this and never lost faith. Publicly, he still thought the booming economy justified the tax cuts. Privately, he went further, telling other legislators that deficits did not matter and that the GOP needed to "stop being the party of root canal."

Other Republicans and conservatives objected at the time, and many still do. Kemp often crossed swords with Reagan's first budget director, David Stockman, who hated deficits and debt enough to urge much tougher decisions on the White House, Congress and the voters themselves. Stockman fought his fight, lost and left the administration.

Stockman has spent the past quarter-century in the private sector but still comments on the public side. He recently weighed in on the subject of Ryan's budget, an evolving set of proposals for lowering taxes on income and investment.

Writing in The New York Times, Stockman called the Ryan plan "an empty conservative sermon ... devoid of credible math or hard policy choices."

Among other things, Stockman objected to Ryan giving a pass to defense spending, the same bugaboo that drove the deficit debate three decades ago. Beyond that, he writes: "The Ryan plan boils down to a fetish for cutting the top marginal income-tax rate for 'job creators' — i.e. the superwealthy — to 25 percent, and paying for it with an as-yet-undisclosed plan to broaden the tax base."

In the end, even Ryan himself does not say his plan will balance the budget anytime soon. Although the tax cuts would be immediate, the notional point of balance wouldn't come even in theory until 2040. That statement alone is enough to shock most of his supporters. But eliminating the deficit or reducing the existing debt is simply not the ultimate goal of the Ryan plan. Reducing it to a smaller percentage of the economy is considered important, but shrinking the size of nondefense government and reducing taxes are far more important.

That's the same set of priorities Jack Kemp pursued in the Reagan era. Kemp died in 2009, five years after Reagan's death. But this week in Tampa, those priorities are alive again in the elevation of their acolyte from Wisconsin.

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