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.

Pages

No Contest: Everything Is Better With 'Butter'

Oct 4, 2012
Originally published on October 4, 2012 6:20 pm

Unless you've attended a Midwestern state fair — or perhaps a Renaissance-era banquet — you might be unfamiliar with the ephemeral but much beloved art of butter sculpture.

Yes, the creamy dairy spread, when chilled to between 32 and 60 degrees, achieves a consistency ripe for carving, and artisans working with hundreds of pounds of the stuff can fashion almost anything: cows, the Liberty Bell, cows being milked, Mount Rushmore, cows jumping over moons, Yoda, Newt Gingrich on a horse.

For real-life builders of butter and their fans, the craft is more than a novelty — and in Butter, a politically charged satirical comedy, excellence in butter may as well be a matter of life and death.

Or at least it is to Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the ambitious wife of Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell), who's won the Iowa state competition for butter carving for the past 15 years. Laura is a savvy if entitled social climber, and, as she explains in a voice-over that seems to be channeling Michele Bachmann, being the First Couple of butter sculpture comes with a certain level of prestige, which she and Bob may just parlay into a political career.

Burrell, playing an even more spineless riff on his doofus-dad Modern Family character, and Garner, displaying all of the grace but none of the warmth she displayed as an adoptive mom in Juno, exude a down-to-earth but practiced wholesomeness that almost immediately assures that they have something to hide.

When Bob reveals over dinner that he's been asked to retire from competitive butter carving to let others have a shot, things boil over. Laura, refusing to accept that outcome, practically invades the home of the head butter-commission judge, so determined is she to prevent Bob's ouster. Ultimately unable to wedge Bob back into the competition, she decides to enter it herself.

The challenger for the butter crown, and the welcome antagonist to Laura's aspirations, is Destiny (Yara Shahidi), a young girl with an innate gift for butter-carving. Meanwhile Bob's daughter, Kaitlen (Ashley Greene), plays foil for her parents' eccentricities, which include Bob's regular visits to the strip club where Brooke (Olivia Wilde), a self-aware caricature of a stripper, is making a significant dent in the family pocketbook.

Butter adopts several strategies similar to those in Election, including narration by multiple characters: Telling her own story, Destiny describes being inspired by seeing the sanitized story of the Picklers on TV — a memory that kept her hopeful as she was shuffled through the Iowa foster care system in home after comically unsafe home.

She finds some stability with Julie and Ethan (Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone), a pair of suburban yuppies far removed from the red-state world of Laura Pickler. (Their fridge is stocked with the likes of soy margarine and almond milk.) They're generally supportive and encourage Destiny's interest in butter, but after living with religious fanatics and drug users, it's not hard to see why Destiny concludes that "white people are weird."

Taking aim at populism, small-town politics, the American family and the hypocrisies of the foster-care system, Butter casts its satirical net wide, and that breadth of focus sometimes blunts its biting message. Thankfully, this is a movie centrally about a competition, and there Butter finds its comedic footing. When Brooke, out for vengeance against Laura, enters the competition, the stakes escalate and the back-stabbing begins.

The film benefits from strong performances by its ensemble cast, with Wilde's nastiness balanced by her oddly maternal hopes for Destiny's success; a sweet appearance from Kristen Schaal as a carving runner-up and Pickler devotee; and a strong against-type performance from Hugh Jackman as a beefcake car salesman and high-school boyfriend of Laura's.

Butter thrives on skewering characters whose self-importance isolates them completely from the consequences of their actions. And while the film's perspective is distinctly liberal, providing several thinly veiled criticisms of conservative politicians, nearly everyone (except Destiny) is guilty of something.

It's a minor disappointment, then, in an otherwise well-executed farce, that Butter rushes through its final minutes and wastes some of its momentum on a left turn toward the heartwarming rather than the jugular. In the cutthroat world of butter, comeuppance is best served (and carved) cold.

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