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.

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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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

Pages

Conservative Lobbyist Derails Bipartisan 'Science Laureate' Bill

Sep 19, 2013
Originally published on September 19, 2013 11:24 am

No one who's been paying attention for, say, the past few decades, needs to be reminded of how extremely polarized Washington is.

So it's usually good news when Democrats and Republicans can come together on an issue, as they did recently to support the idea of creating the new honorary position of "Science Laureate of the United States."

We have had poet laureates, and they seem to have worked out well to promote poetry to the masses, haven't they? (Though I bet you can't name the current one. Me, either. Google says it's Natasha Trethewey.)

So why not a science laureate to sing the praises of scientific discovery, a science ambassador who could get more young people considering science careers?

Legislation was drafted, and it gained bipartisan sponsors. The proposal was seen as so self-evidently noncontroversial that House leadership planned to have members vote on it through the same expedited "suspension" process used for naming post offices.

If this were a movie, right about now you'd hear a loud skidding car sound, like someone had suddenly slammed the brakes. That someone would be Larry Hart, legislative director of the American Conservative Union, who happened to notice the science laureate bill on the House legislative calendar.

Hart, who back in the day was an aide on the House Science Committee, saw plenty wrong with the bill. He was troubled by how the bill "never saw the light of day" until 24 hours before it was scheduled to be speedily approved (although the bill was introduced four months ago).

And, he told me in an interview, "I found the bill to be very oddly written."

According to the bill's language, the laureate would be appointed by the president, unlike the poet laureate, who is appointed by the Librarian of Congress. The bill would also allow for the naming of as many as three laureates, whose terms could be constantly renewed, another difference from the poet laureate.

"What I couldn't understand," Hart told me, "was why [Republican] folks who constantly give speeches saying that they're upset with President Obama's appointments would give him the power for new appointments, particularly in the area of science, which he has a particular view of — in my opinion — a very politicized view of science. And his appointments in that area, on the regulatory side, have been very political."

Hart said that the administration's stance on global warming and climate science is part of what he sees as Obama's "very politicized view."

"I couldn't understand why the Republican House would take this bill up without any discussion," said Hart.

Neither could the House leadership after Hart made his objections known. The bill was pulled from the calendar and sent to committee for debate and revision.

ScienceMag.org's "Science Insider" blog quotes an unnamed aide for a House Republican co-sponsor of the bill, who says Hart is wrong in his suspicions that the bill would let Obama push a certain agenda.

But the House Republican leadership already has enough fights with its conservative base. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that House GOP leaders are trying to keep one more issue from spinning out of control.

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