A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

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.

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.


At College, A 'Pitch Perfect' Musical Comedy

Oct 5, 2012
Originally published on October 16, 2012 5:23 pm



Actress Anna Kendrick was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in "Up in the Air." Now she stars in the film musical, "Pitch Perfect," in which she plays a college freshman who reluctantly joins the school's illustrious all-female a cappella group. Director Jason Moore is best known for his work on the satirical Broadway musical, "Avenue Q." Film critic David Edelstein has this review of "Pitch Perfect."

DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: I wasn't looking forward - no, in truth, I was dreading the a cappella college musical comedy "Pitch Perfect." Mostly, I'm suffering from an overdose of "Glee," which has a similar setting, and I also dreaded the music. I hear enough overproduced, auto-tuned, generally vacuous mainstream pop thanks to my two daughters' penchant for New York's Clear Channel flagship station, Z100.

"Pitch Perfect" features mixes of those pop hits new and old, and the actresses playing college kids are pushing 30. About a minute in, though, I started getting a beautiful buzz. At a regional final competition, an all-male group called the Treblemakers perform "Don't Stop the Music," and director Jason Moore and musical directors Ed Boyer and Deke Sharon get the tone just right.

It's borderline camp, but the harmonies are beautiful. There's love in this parody. Then, an all-female group from the same fictional college, The Bellas, come on doing a mix of Ace of Base's "The Sign" that starts low energy and ends in calamity. Two ill-matched TV commentators do a running play-by-play, a device swiped from Christopher Guest's "Best in Show," but it's a hoot in its own right with Guest regular John Michael Higgins' boorish, misogynistic remarks met with acid rejoinders by Elizabeth Banks, who coproduced the movie.

We're off and running and dancing and singing before the heroine even enters. She's a freshman, Beca, played by that specialist and ever-prickly, ever-needy character's the ever-delightful Anna Kendrick. Beca wants to produce records instead of wasting time in college, and she's used to working alone, mixing songs on her computer, but she can sing. And she ends up in the once-dominant, now-desperate The Bellas alongside the Australian actress, Rebel Wilson, as, quote, "Fat Amy," which is what Amy calls herself, so that, she explains, people won't do it behind her back. That's a great joke, a layer of humor over a world of hurt.

The Bellas are run by the neurotically, over-controlled Aubrey, played by Anna Camp and her sidekick, Brittany Snow's Chloe, who explains to Aubrey, Beca, Fat Amy and other young women the problem with her voice.


ANNA CAMP: (as Aubrey) I hope you all remember the way you feel right now, so you will never want to feel this way again. Chloe, your voice didn't sound Aguilar-ian at all. Chloe, for serious, what is wrong with you?

BRITTANY SNOW: (as Chloe) I have nodes.

CAMP: (as Aubrey) Oh. Oh, my God.

SNOW: (as Chloe) I found out this morning.


CAMP: (as Aubrey) Vocal nodules, the rubbing together of your vocal chords at above average rates without proper lubrication. They sit on your windpipe and they crush your veins.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Isn't that painful? Why would you keep performing?

SNOW: (as Chloe) Because I love to sing.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yeah. It's like when my lady doctor told me not to have sex for six weeks, and I did it, anyway.

REBEL WILSON: (as Amy) You should really listen to your doctor.

SNOW: (as Chloe) The key is early diagnosis. I am living with nodes, but I am a survivor. I just have to pull back, because I am limited, because I have nodes.

CAMP: (as Aubrey) Chloe, this is horrible.

WILSON: (as Amy) Well, at least it's not herpes. I do, I have that, as well.

EDELSTEIN: That dialog is on the campy side, but it also has a core of pathos. "Pitch Perfect" screenwriter Kay Cannon is an improv comedian who writes for "30 Rock" and "The New Girl," and my guess is she's so used to trying to top her colleagues in the writers' room that, left alone, she keeps topping herself. She doesn't go in for convoluted hipster repartee in the vein of "Juno's" Diablo Cody. She pares down jokes to their hilarious essence.

The storyline? It's a bit of fluff about our untraditional heroine Beca's attempt to bring new life to The Bellas' moribund style and repertoire. But this is the sort of comedy where you love the bad guys, like Anna Camp's Aubrey and Adam DeVine as the preening, overgrown infant who leads the Treblemakers.

Director Moore is a Broadway hand who can stage a number without assaulting the audience, and the soundtrack - which includes cast member Ester Dean doing a piece of Rihanna's "S&M," which Dean actually co-wrote - is a bit of heaven.

"Pitch Perfect" isn't perfect. I thought the so-called riff-off, in which the colleges' rival a cappella groups attempt to out-sing one another, should have been longer. But that's a heck of a nice problem for a movie to have. This is the year's most exhilarating pick-me-up.

DAVIES: David Edelstein is film critic for New York magazine. You can download podcasts of our show at FreshAir.npr.org and follow us on Twitter at @NPRFreshAir and on Tumblr at NPRFreshAir.Tumblr.com. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.