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!":


Time And Crime, Thoroughly Crossed Up In 'Looper'

Sep 27, 2012

The main problem with time-travel movies is the many black holes that the plot can stumble into; for a certain kind of viewer, they can be more than a little distracting. While the story presses forward, we're stuck wondering, for instance, how a character can safely hang out with his future self in the same time period — an anomaly that, despite Spock's shenanigans in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, aficionados of Doctor Who know is a Very Bad Thing.

Looper, a cocky sci-fi tale with more brass than substance, is rife with these "Say what?" moments. And though writer-director Rian Johnson smartly tries to eclipse the technical with the personal, that strategy only works if you have a lead who earns our sympathy. It takes time — and Joseph Gordon-Levitt turning into Bruce Willis — for that to happen, but it's all the encouragement we need to forgive the film's irrationalities and enjoy its offbeat performances and stylized nihilism.

Narrating his own story, Joe (Gordon-Levitt) informs us that it's 2044, and time travel is 30 years away. It will, however, be criminalized, so of course only criminals will have access to it. In the unimaginative way of big-screen bad guys, they use it mostly to give their victims a one-way ticket to the past, where a "looper" like Joe is lurking, ready to kill them. Why the mob of the future can't just fit its marks with the time-tested cement footwear is unclear.

Weirdly, loopers approaching pensionable age are also dispatched to the past for termination, often by their younger incarnations. (See "Say what?" moments, above.) Should a young assassin balk at popping his elderly self, a controller (a shaggy Jeff Daniels) is waiting to punish him, usually with a hammer and a deeply pained expression. Well-behaved young loopers, on the other hand, enjoy a privileged life of drugs and dames, and Joe is studying French and stashing silver bars under his floorboards in hopes of escaping to a less stressful retirement.

Then, predictably, he discovers that his next victim is Future Joe (Bruce Willis), a wily type who tries to persuade Present Joe to help him terminate a kid who will grow up to become the crime-world equivalent of the Antichrist. What follows is an extended cat-and-mouse caper as the Joes hide from each other — and, in the case of Present Joe, from the boss and his hammer — until everyone convenes at an isolated farmhouse. There, Emily Blunt awaits with a shotgun, a simmering libido, and a son who goes all Damien from The Omen whenever he gets irritated. Which is a lot.

Set mainly in a grimy urban landscape cribbed from Children of Men and its like, Looper is a self-consciously good-looking, profoundly silly movie that nevertheless comes off as high-minded. That's quite a trick, and it's helped by Gordon-Levitt's transformation from the geeky charmer of his earlier films to morally confused dead-eyed hard case. At times he has an odd, effects-enhanced look that resembles an avatar in a video game, but at no time does he look like he could grow up to become Bruce Willis. And that's a pity — because as we all know, there are much worse fates.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit