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!":


'The Words': Serious Questions, Meet Sappy Romance

Sep 6, 2012
Originally published on September 6, 2012 5:33 pm

Bradley Cooper has the wolfish grin and raffish charm of a cardsharp — or a baby hedge-fund manager. So at first you may find him a tough sell as a writer of prose so sensitive and "interior" that even an admiring old-school editor tells him it's unpublishable.

Hold on, though. The writer has moral flaws, and a name, Rory Jansen, that's better suited to a designer of racy swimwear than a crafter of lambent sentences about the inner workings of the psyche.

Rory's wise old dad (J.K. Simmons), who writes the checks that keep Rory at his desk, cautions him to know his limitations. But The Words is an all-American story made in Hollywood — the earnest Big Ideas debut of screenwriters Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, who earlier worked on Tron: Legacy. They're fans of Ernest Hemingway and John Fante, tragic titans of literature who, directly and indirectly, push their way into the action. So it's not limitations that are on the table so much as the recognition of genius, and that's where Rory's troubles begin.

Rory and his wife, Dora (Zoe Saldana, struggling to breathe life into a character who's little more than a full-service cheerleader), are convinced that greatness seethes within him. In a battered old briefcase picked up by his wife in Paris, Rory finds the manuscript of an enthralling tale penned long ago by a young writer about his sacrifice of the woman he loved for his art.

Frustrated by his own failure to publish, Rory passes off this story as his own. A glitzy new-school editor (Zeljko Ivanek) pounces on it; success follows, along with the literary high life Rory has dreamed of (Amazon, Charlie Rose, black-tie award dinners, the works). The glory is tempered only by the occasional quick twinge of existential unease.

So it's a while before Rory notices the Old Man (get the reference?) who's been hovering around the margins of his sleek new life, and who confronts him in Central Park, where Rory is enjoying a quiet moment resting on his laurels and a park bench. Jeremy Irons has been aging into a more alluring ruin with every passing year, but his grumpy old man is a bit much, not least because, in an overeager costume designer's idea of a Real Writer, he looks in his rags like a bag person freshly risen from his cardboard box.

The Old Man isn't looking for justice, or a cut of the royalties, or even for a public apology. He wants Rory to understand that he has stolen another man's life and work. Fair enough, but here the movie veers off into extended flashbacks to a World War II Paris full of cobbled streets and sepia tones, where a peculiarly bloodless drama plays out in which the Young Old Man (Ben Barnes) neglects his grieving wife — they've lost a child — to work on a short story that just pours out of him.

The things we do for art. And lest this theme is lost on you, it's repeated twice more in a blaring, triple-layered structure in which another writer (Dennis Quaid in excellent devious form) folds the Old Man's story into Rory's, only to have his own unsavory past laid bare under pressure from a lovely, skeptical graduate student (Olivia Wilde).

Overworking its heavily romanticized tragedy — last time I looked, most writers reconcile marriage and work with no more trouble than the rest of us — The Words founders on a spurious dichotomy between love and art. Which is a pity, because the movie is smart and persuasive on the casually incremental way in which plagiarism becomes an option for people like Rory — and perhaps for anyone. He's just copying good writing to start with, then quietly, only slightly furtively, the stolen property is gradually rationalized in his conscious mind, until he can't see the train wreck for the tracks.

At its best, The Words asks, "How shall we live?" — a good, honest question about ethics rather than love, and well worth asking in an era whose cultural conversation is dominated by "How can I win?" At its silly worst, it's all about these guys who undervalued the missus.

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