"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 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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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 made disparaging comments about him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb" comments about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Uneven Economy Evens The Field For Obama, Romney

May 14, 2012
Originally published on May 14, 2012 1:51 pm

As the election year began, conventional wisdom was pretty well set about the outcome of the presidential race. If the economy improved, President Obama would win. If not, he'd be a one-termer.

So what does it mean that many big economic indicators are moving sideways?

"Obama seems to be in that gray area," says Paul Pierson, a political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. "The numbers are neither so good nor so bad that they give you a definitive answer."

The economy as a whole is growing, but at a tepid pace. Jobs are being added every month, but not terribly many. The unemployment rate has ticked down, but largely because many people have grown discouraged and given up the hunt for work. Then there's the cost of gasoline, which shot up this spring but has fallen recently.

All of this translates into a sense among average voters that while the economy is stronger than it was, it's not improving fast enough for their liking. Economic confidence, as measured by Gallup polls, has improved since taking a dive with all the congressional squabbling over the debt ceiling last August. It's still under water, though.

"More people are negative than positive about the economy," says Frank Newport, Gallup's editor in chief. "It's precarious. Everything points to this kind of teeter-totter race that could go either way."

Lessons From Europe

It couldn't have been encouraging for the White House to see French President Nicolas Sarkozy lose his re-election bid May 6.

He wasn't the first European Union leader deposed due to voter anger over the economy. Over the past year or so, six other heads of state or ruling parties also have been forced out of power, largely over austerity measures imposed when the eurozone's economy imploded in 2008 — around the same time the U.S. was having its own financial meltdown.

There's also a sense in Europe that things are still getting worse. "The problem with the European austerity regime is that there haven't been any positive results that people can see," says Bill Galston, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Brookings Institution who served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton. "Right now, it's all pain for no gain."

In other words, says Henry Olsen, vice president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Europe has been demonstrating what the state of the economy can mean for presidential politics in the U.S. – but not necessarily what will happen.

"If people aren't seeing an appreciable gain, if there's not a general sense that the economy is getting better, it's not a good sign for Obama," Olsen says.

Ancient History Won't Matter

Obama has the option of blaming his predecessor for some of the country's continuing economic problems, and can point out the ways things have gotten better on his watch. But it won't matter whether things look better in November than they did when he took office in January 2009, suggests Pierson, the Berkeley political scientist. What matters is the trend: whether things look better on Election Day than they did a few months earlier.

"It's key to look at the direction and the rate of change," says Ruy Teixeira, a Democratic political analyst at the liberal Center for American Progress. "In the U.S., things are getting better, even though the situation is not great."

Obama also has to demonstrate that he has a plan for moving the economy forward, says Phillip Swagel, an economic policy professor at the University of Maryland who served as an adviser to President George W. Bush. With his jobs package stalled in Congress and the chance of further stimulus next to nil, Obama needs to put forward a coherent and convincing plan of how he'll make things better in a second term.

"Obama can say he did the stimulus and took action on financial reform," Swagel says. "But as to 'here are the things we're going to do going forward,' he hasn't said it yet."

The Romney Alternative

Swagel notes that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, also needs to boil down his economic message. His multi-item agenda hasn't been distilled into a coherent vision that the average voter can connect with.

"Romney has to establish nontechnical credibility," says the AEI's Olsen. "It's one thing to know that someone has technical expertise, but emotional intelligence matters, too."

In a Gallup poll last week, Romney got higher marks than Obama when it comes to the economy, but the president came out on top in terms of likability.

"Romney is seen as a colder technocrat, but he does have an advantage in handling the economy," says Gallup's Newport.

Echoing attacks from Romney's GOP rivals, Obama on Monday launched a TV and Web campaign criticizing Romney's record on job creation while at the private equity firm Bain Capital.

All of which brings the president's prospects back to where they've been for nearly his entire term: If the economy gets better, he'll likely win, but if things get much worse, he may well be congratulating President Romney next January.

Galston, the veteran of the Clinton administration, recalls one of the most often-cited quotes about contemporary presidential politics: "It's the economy, stupid."

"The economy will be even more central this year than in 1992, when James Carville made up his famous slogan," he says.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.