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

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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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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On Budget Issues, Pentagon's Rhetoric Is Challenged

Sep 18, 2013
Originally published on September 18, 2013 6:06 pm

The budget battles in Washington have inspired the need for some verbal gymnastics that have challenged even the most adept doublespeakers at the Pentagon. As one member of the House pointed out today, some Pentagonians have insisted that Congress cannot cut a single additional dollar from defense, without endangering the national defense strategy.

But then, when the military is tasked with planning an attack on Syria, officials insist they are ready when the White House gives the order. Perhaps that is because it is not part of the military mentality to decline a mission. Or perhaps it is because the military's budget is so gargantuan, even the military's top brass do not know how rich they are.

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing today, Marine Commandant James Amos told lawmakers, "Your Marines remain a constant hedge against the unexpected," the standard semper fi promise of outstanding performance with whatever equipment they are given.

But at the same time Amos said "tiered readiness is not an option." That means he can't have some Marines trained and ready to fight, and others only half-ready to fight.

Last year the Pentagon said, that automatic budget cuts would seriously undercut defense. But then warfighters went out and found billions in cuts, and were able to reduce civilian furloughs from 22 days down to 6 days. Now, the military faces another year of sequestration, and probably many more years after that. So military chiefs need to somehow pump up the volume, when it's already at 10.

Larry Abramson is a national security correspondent for NPR.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.