Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Ready Or Not, 'Obamacare' Rolls Out As Planned

Oct 4, 2013
Originally published on October 4, 2013 10:36 am



And all of that happened yesterday in what has been a charged week at the Capitol. Republicans in the House stuck to their demands to defund the Affordable Care Act and parts of the government remain shut down.


Still, Obamacare rolled out as planned. Millions of people have shopped for insurance on the new marketplaces called exchanges since opening day, Tuesday. Officials said it was evidence of high interest, but others criticized the fumbling start which involved computer glitches and slowdowns, saying Obamacare was just not ready for prime time.

MONTAGNE: We want to talk about how, now that the new health care law is real, how that is affecting the politics of it. We're joined in our studio by NPR's Mara Liasson and Molly Ball, who writes about politics for The Atlantic. And good morning to both of you.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MOLLY BALL: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: Mara, let's begin with you. How did all of this play out in national politics this week?

LIASSON: Well, of course, Obamacare is at the heart of the current crisis in national politics - the standoff over the shutdown and the debt ceiling and where Republicans have been demanding a series of changes in the law in return for reopening the government or for raising the debt ceiling. So all of the political attention is over that fight, over the deep divisions within the Republican Party, over the drama of how House Speaker John Boehner will or won't get himself out of the political straitjacket he's put himself in.

And I think that's really overwhelmed the politics of the Obamacare launch. And that is politically a net negative for the Republican opponents of the law, because the glitches probably got less attention than they otherwise would have.

MONTAGNE: And Molly Ball, give this a sense of how this is playing out on the state level because you have written about Republican governors and apparently increasing numbers of them are finding that it's in their political interest to get behind one part of the Affordable Care Act involving money.

BALL: That's right. The federal government, at least in the initial stages, pays 100 percent of the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare and initially, most Republican governors resisted that and said that that was too much of a federal encroachment. They wouldn't accept it. What we're finding now is those Republican governors who are up for re-election this year and are in states that voted for Obama are almost all choosing to take that Medicaid expansion, take what's essentially free money for the federal government to help cover more of the poor, uninsured in their states.

So, for example, governors like Chris Christie in New Jersey, who's actually up for re-election this year, Rick Snyder in Michigan sort of muscled this through a Republican legislature. You have John Kasich in Ohio, who is trying, who is actually campaigning very hard to get his Republican legislature in Ohio to accept this Medicaid expansion. And these governors' approval ratings have largely increased since they have embraced this one aspect of Obamacare.

MONTAGNE: Well, is that a sign that the Republicans, if not, you know, on Capitol Hill, but at the state level and elsewhere are beginning to acknowledge that they are not going to remove or get rid of Obamacare?

BALL: Something that Democrats have consistently had angst about with this law is that many individual parts of it are popular. Not all, the individual mandate is not popular, but things like the Medicaid expansion, even in a deep red state like Georgia, you have - it polls pretty well. Sixty percent say that they approve of the Medicaid expansion as an individual part.

So it's harder when you are talking about the politics of individual parts of the law than when you're just talking Obamacare overall, which remains unpopular.

MONTAGNE: Well, and of course, the popular part does have to do with funding, so Mara, what are the long-term prospects of funding this new healthcare law?

LIASSON: Well, for the short term, funding is intact. It doesn't come from annual appropriations. In the long term, I think there are two big questions about Obamacare. One is, will enough young, healthy people sign up for the system? And like any insurance system, that will only work if they do, otherwise it'll go into a death spiral and fail.

But the second question about the long term fate of Obamacare is more important politically and I think that has to do with how people with health insurance now react to the law. If they lose their coverage, are forced to go on the exchanges or their coverage gets less generous or more expensive, do they blame that on Obamacare?

And one of the president's biggest promises was that nothing would change for you if you had insurance. It's going to take awhile to know that answer, but that could make what is the net negative views about the overall law more negative or not.

MONTAGNE: Let me just ask both of you; I'll start with you, Molly. Is there any precedent for a major program going into effect at the same time the U.S. government is in the sort of churning, chaotic state that is because of protests against that program?

BALL: I'm not aware of any direct precedent for that, but I think, to what Mara was saying, the reason we've come to this point, the reason this showdown has become so intense and has shut down the government is because Obamacare is going into effect and the opponents of the law see this as their last opportunity to derail it.

There is a feeling that once it gets into the system, especially if it's successful and we don't know that yet, but especially if it's successful, it will be very, very hard to get rid of.

LIASSON: And that's also, I think, why you see, on Capitol Hill, more and more Republicans realizing that a government shutdown, a possible debt default is not going to get them where they want.

MONTAGNE: Well, thank you very much. That's NPR's Mara Liasson and Molly Ball, who covers politics for The Atlantic. It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.