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.


'The Paperboy': A Crime Drama Lacking Conviction

Oct 4, 2012

The words "florid" and "inert" are not quite antonyms, but it would nonetheless seem impossible for those two adjectives to apply to the same thing. And yet here comes The Paperboy, a swamp noir so spectacularly incompetent that even the ripest pulp attractions are left to rot in the sun, flies buzzing lazily around them.

Among the eyebrow-raisers: a scene between a prisoner and his would-be girlfriend that turns into an open-air, autoerotic conjugal visit; a rape sequence featuring random cutaways to dead swamp animals; and, most notoriously, Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron because he's been stung by a jellyfish. All three are far more shocking in description.

Based on a 1995 novel by Pete Dexter (Paris Trout), who also co-scripted, The Paperboy is co-written and directed by Lee Daniels, whose equally risible Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire) revealed the same tendency to marry rank exploitation with moral high-handedness. Where Precious was partially redeemed by its galvanizing performances — namely, the then-unknown, now-beloved Gabourey Sidibe and Oscar-winner Mo'Nique — the marquee names in Daniels' new film are as misdirected as the rest of it, pressed into sweaty caricatures of Deep South types. It's as if they're all competing for a "Most Actor" Oscar.

Set in the summer of '69 — and needlessly freighted with the social significance of the times — The Paperboy follows an investigation into the murder of a racist small-town Florida sheriff. Matthew McConaughey, the cast member who looks most at home in this setting, stars as Ward Jansen, a Miami reporter who wants to do a piece on Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), the nasty swamp-dwelling creature convicted of the crime. Dragging along his brother Jack (Efron) and an African-American colleague (David Oyelowo), Ward comes to believe that Hillary, foul as he undoubtedly is, may be an innocent man.

Enter Kidman as Charlotte Bless, a half-sweet, half-deranged Southern sexpot who's pegged as the tacky femme fatale of this sordid fiction. Donning a blond wig, hot-pink lipstick and an assortment of brazenly immodest skirts, Charlotte has taken to exchanging letters with Hillary, and she commissions Ward and his smitten brother to take up the convict's cause. None appear familiar with the expression, "Be careful what you wish for."

Daniels shows fatally little interest in getting to the bottom of the case, to the point where he leans on voiceover narration by the Jansens' maid (Macy Gray) to sketch in the missing information. Instead, The Paperboy goes heavy on hothouse atmosphere, shooting scenes in the blown-out colors of '70s grindhouse fare and fetishizing physical details like Charlotte's flamboyant white-trash accessories or Efron in his tighty whities.

It also throws extra emphasis on issues of race, as in a scene that serves no other purpose than to show Gray's maid get humiliated by the Jansens' parents, who have employed her for years. But converting a piece of noir sleaze like The Paperboy into earnest social drama does the opposite of elevating the material.

Some of The Paperboy's missteps would be forgivable if Daniels delivered them with any conviction, but he doesn't seem capable of it. Given a simple scene of a few characters chatting in an office, Daniels compiles a dozen different camera angles — some with actors half in and half out of the frame — into a hodgepodge of unmotivated cuts. That level of ineptitude isn't common — certainly not in films with big stars like Kidman and Cusack — and it gives The Paperboy an awkward rhythm that could be mistaken for outsider art. But don't be fooled: It's Daniels doing the tango with two left feet.

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