"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.

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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 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.

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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.

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When Lobbyists Pay To Meet With Congressmen

Apr 20, 2012
Originally published on April 23, 2012 5:49 pm

Yesterday, we reported on the fundraisers that lobbyists hold for Congressmen every day in Washington. Today, we hear what happens inside those events. The stories are part of our series on money in politics.

At a typical event, there's a member of Congress and a member of his or her staff who is in charge of collecting the checks. This person is known as the fundraiser.

"The fundraiser is standing in the room, and the fundraiser has 35,000 bucks in checks sitting in her pocket right now," says Jimmy Williams, a former lobbyist for the real estate industry. "And we're going to talk about public policy while we take the checks."

How much influence do those checks have over public policy?

Most of the time, checks don't by votes, Williams says. But they buy access. They buy an opportunity to make your case.

The rules are clear: Lobbyists use money from their political action committees to get access to lawmakers.

One time, Williams says, he took a couple clients to meet a Congressman when his PAC had fallen behind in its donations.

"I've put in two calls to your PAC director, and I haven't received any return phone calls," the Congressman said, according to Williams. "Now why am I taking this meeting?"

The minute he left the office, Williams called his PAC director, and she cut those checks.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



With the general election campaign gearing up, so too, is the fundraising needed to pay for it. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said yesterday it has just had its biggest fundraising quarter ever; raising almost $18 million since January.


The Democrats say that overall, they have about a $30 million fundraising edge over the Senate Republicans. They'll need the money. The Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate but also have many more Senate seats that are up for election this year.

NEARY: This week, we've been talking about the places here in D.C. where that fundraising takes place. Ten or 20 people, mostly lobbyists, meet a lawmaker in a small conference room or private dining room somewhere in the capital.

NPR's Andrea Seabrook and Alex Blumberg, from our Planet Money Team, got the lobbyist perspective on how the fundraiser works and what the money buys.

ALEX BLUMBERG, BYLINE: Typically at these events, there's a person who works for the congressman there, who's collecting the checks. That person is called a fundraiser.

ANDREA SEABROOK, BYLINE: The event is also a fundraiser. Jimmy Williams lobbied for many years for the real estate industry, and he explains what happens after you drop off your check.

JIMMY WILLIAMS: You sit around and you have a conversation with a member who's sitting at the head of the table or in the center of table, and everyone goes around as says I'm Jimmy Williams and I'm the lobbyist for the National Association of Realtors, or whatever it is.

And then you go and you say we care about keeping big, bad, evil banks out of real estate, and we care about the flood insurance program, which is great for coastal communities. But, you know, everybody does that. So the insurance guy - the lobbyist for the insurance industry, he does that. And the lobbyist for the accounting industry, she does that.

And by the way, the fundraiser is standing in the room, and the fundraiser has $35,000 bucks in checks sitting in her pocket right now, in her pocketbook. Oh and, we're going to talk about public policy while we take the checks.

BLUMBERG: And this is the question. How much influence over public policy are those checks having? Jimmy says that most of the time, the check will not buy a vote or an amendment. But, he says, to make your case, to get in front of the lawmaker, you need that check.

SEABROOK: People we talk to in this system said everyone understands these rules, you're going to cut checks from your PAC, you're political action committee, to get access to the lawmakers. But they tell us, the rules are rarely explicit. Although there are times, says Jimmy Williams. Like when he took a couple clients to one congressman's office.

WILLIAMS: They open up the door and the chief of staff said, can we talk to just you for one second, and then we can bring in the two constituents. And I said, sure, absolutely, not a problem. Walk in, they shut the door. The congressman is sitting behind his desk. He stands up, he shakes my hand, and says hey, Jimmy it's great to see you. And I said congressman, it's good to see you too.

He said, I've put in two calls to your PAC director, and I haven't received any return phone calls. Now why am I taking this meeting? And I thought to myself, this is great, because I've got two of my guys out here that are constituents of this congressman, who are now going to come in here, and they're going to make an ask of him to support a specific piece of legislation.

And what he has done, is he has warned me that if I don't take care of what my PAC director isn't doing, which is contributing to his campaign, then he's not going to help my guys.

SEABROOK: Jimmy said, the minute he left the office, he called his PAC director, and she cut those checks.

BLUMBERG: Without those checks, Jimmy Williams says, it's a lot harder to get the right people to hear your argument. And how can you influence policy, if no one listens to what you have to say?

I'm Alex Blumberg.

SEABROOK: And I'm Andrea Seabrook, NPR News.


NEARY: Andrea and Alex worked on their money and politics project with This American Life from member station WBEZ.


NEARY: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.