NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

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!":


Scary Parents Both Fertile And Feral In 'Breed'

Sep 12, 2012
Originally published on June 14, 2013 2:23 pm

In his satirical horror novel Breed, Chase Novak has hit upon the perfect blend of terrifying real-life topics: genetic engineering and the mating habits of New York's wealthy 1 percent. The story of two rich but barren Manhattanites, the novel begins as a snarky tour of fertility treatment chic among the city's moneyed classes. But it quickly gets a lot weirder.

On the recommendation of another couple, blue-blood attorney Alex Twisden and his editor wife, Leslie, have one last go at baby making in the bizarre clinic of a creepy Slovenian doctor. The treatment works. They become incredibly fertile — but unfortunately they become feral, too.

Novak is the pen name of Scott Spencer, author of the 1970s classic Endless Love, and here he has repurposed his literary flair for observation into grisly narrative schadenfreude. Every disgusting detail ends with a sarcastic barb, a nasty little stinger aimed at the well-toned bodies of our high-toned protagonists. One of the immediate side effects of the mad doctor's treatment is that Alex and Leslie get incredibly hairy and lose their inhibitions about things like hygiene and chewing on the furniture. They devote most of their time to rutting, eating increasingly grotesque slabs of meat and (in Leslie's case) seeking out people willing to do all-over body waxing once a day.

The bulk of Breed is told from the perspective of the Twisden twins, Alice and Adam, who at the age of 10 have realized there is something deeply wrong with their parents. Through the children's eyes, we see that Alex's family manse has fallen into ruin. There is a clever fable about class here, as the Twisdens' tumble down the evolutionary tree mirrors their fall down the economic ladder. No longer able to work, they've sold off their antique furniture to pay for the twins' expensive schooling. They are the monstrous embodiment of downward mobility, struggling to keep up appearances with their rich neighbors.

Fearing that they're about to become their parents' next meal, Alice and Adam flee their home one night — Adam running to his saintly, gay teacher's house, and Alice into the clutches of a group of feral children like herself who live in Central Park. Novak imagines that the homeless kids who haunt the park are all the spawn of rich New Yorkers who were patients of the mad Slovenian fertility doctor. Again, it's an interesting metaphor for downward mobility and gives us a glimpse of a genetic-engineering nightmare future. In other words, it's scientifically implausible but symbolically rich.

The main problem with Breed is Novak's clumsy effort to offer us a kind of civilized antidote to the Twisdens in Adam's gay teacher, whose main attributes are kindness, selflessness and about-to-be-lunchmeat-ness. Novak also struggles to depict Adam and Alice vividly; they come across as automatons or placeholders, rather than real children who are discovering that they aren't like any other humans they know.

Still, the book is a delightfully nauseating read. And it's the perfect dark fairy tale for these times, when more than a few readers might secretly find themselves wishing that the world's elites would be brought so low as to start pooping in their own posh living rooms.

Annalee Newitz writes about the intersection of science and culture. She's the editor-in-chief of and the author of a forthcoming book about how humans will survive a mass extinction.

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