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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!":


Stunt Driving, Real Romance In 'Hit And Run'

Aug 23, 2012
Originally published on August 23, 2012 8:31 pm

The backbone of a good comedy is always, supposedly, the script. But in the case of Dax Shepard and David Palmer's marvelous road-trip comedy Hit and Run, maybe not. The key to the picture isn't so much the what as the how: Instead of handing over every joke right on the beat, Hit and Run lures you in with its jackalope rhythms. There's nothing else like it on the current landscape.

Shepard plays Charlie Bronson, a regular dude — or so it seems — who's somehow landed himself in witness protection. The one saving grace in his small-town exile — aside from the chance to give himself a name cooler than the one he was given at birth — is his girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell), who teaches at a local two-bit community college. Her dream is to someday use her doctorate in conflict resolution, pretty hard to do in a tiny town.

Miraculously, she gets her chance. (To give you an idea of the movie's gloriously whacked-out worldview, Kristin Chenoweth plays the fairy godmother who makes it so.) The catch is that she'll have to move to Los Angeles, and Charlie — who needs to remain under the cockeyed protection of the U.S. marshal who's been assigned to him, played by a shambling and very funny Tom Arnold — can't follow her there.

But after a bitter argument, he decides Annie's love is worth the risk. And so he tosses everything she'll need for her L.A. sojourn — in a silly-wonderful blast of movie logic, it all fits in a duffel bag and a little train case — into the trunk of a souped-up '67 Lincoln, and the two take off for a new life. This is a romance, after all, and Charlie figures he'll deal with any complications that arise.

As it turns out, the biggest one is played by Bradley Cooper in yellow-tinted aviators and deeply unflattering dirty-blond dreadlocks — and giving his best performance, ever, as a bank robber whom Charlie sold down the river years before.

Shepard wrote Hit and Run himself, possibly as a way of giving Bell (his partner in real life) a role worthy of the quicksilver gifts she brought to television's Veronica Mars. He pulls it off. Bell and Shepard are lovely together, whether their characters are squaring off or turtledoving.

As Annie, Bell is luminous and just a little loopy in a '30s-comedy way. Shepard's Charlie looks and talks like a dumb lug, but it's simply that he's got the kind of intelligence that needs to be teased out of him, and Shepard plays that deftly.

Charlie keeps Annie calm when she heads into a tailspin, and she helps smooth over some of his rougher edges, lecturing him on the reasons he shouldn't use the anti-gay f-word as a synonym for "lame." (She's right, and he knows it.)

As a bonus, Hit and Run — which shows clear affection for '70s exploitation pictures like Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Eat My Dust — features more and better stunt driving than even the great (though perhaps not accurately named) Drive did. Some of it doesn't exactly qualify as driving: Arnold's character loses control of the minivan he's driving not once, not twice, but more than three times. Why should this become funnier each time it happens? You comedy theorists may know the answer, but please keep it to yourselves.

Arguably, these days it's easier to make a successful comedy than it is to make a romance. Miraculously, Hit and Run works as both. The picture's finest and perhaps most delicate moment arrives late in the game, after Charlie and Annie have survived many small arguments and some pretty big ones. Strapped into their car with those race-car driver harnesses, they lean in for a kiss, only to realize that the tightly buckled contraptions prevent them from reaching each other.

No matter — they drive off, putting the kiss on hold. Just because we don't see it doesn't mean it's not inevitable. True love demands a strong constitution, and an even stronger seat belt.

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