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

59 minutes 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

4 hours ago
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Death And The Aging Hipster: A Tale Of Intolerable Men

Sep 13, 2013

What happens when hipsters grow up? Do they become less insufferable with age? Do they learn to contribute something useful to the society they've long scorned, and in turn were scorned by? Maybe they, like Norman Rush's deceased character Douglas, leave New York City and go live in a castle somewhere, work on secret projects for the Israeli government, get a trophy wife and raise a child who opts to worship Odin and live wild in the surrounding forest.

Subtle Bodies begins with a 48-year-old man named Ned dropping everything to attend the funeral of Douglas, the de facto leader of Ned's small group of college friends. Ned hasn't seen Douglas in many years. Douglas — the fact that he went by Douglas and not simply Doug is illuminating — was a wit, a man who casually tossed around too-clever-by-half bon mots and regularly quoted Boswell's Life of Johnson. (In other words, a complete jerk.) Douglas had charisma in life, though, and exerts a powerful gravitational pull on his acolytes from beyond the grave.

Not to speak ill of the recently fictionally dead, but the more the reader learns about Douglas, the less apt they will be to mourn his passing. Ned's quirky wife Nina — one of the books' two main protagonists and far and away the book's most endearing character — is the only one who knows Douglas for what he was. "She had quit referring to [Ned's] beloved clique of college friends as clowns," Rush writes. "He hadn't asked her to, but the term had stung him, a little. And this despite the fact that they had been clowns manqué, a troupe, goofing on the world under the baton of their maestro Douglas." Before he died, Douglas, in an interview with Der Spiegel, referred to this collegiate proto-hipsterdom as "Abstract Comedy."

Reunited for the first time in many years, sans Douglas, the group dynamic returns. There is no battle for the vacated leadership position. Rather, there is a low-level conflict between the friends and Douglas's widow over his legacy. Douglas, it seems, has become something of an intellectual celebrity in Europe, something to do with exposing prominent forgeries. Before he died, Douglas was busy working on a top-secret cryptography project for the Israeli government. Like most tightly-kept secrets, this is one everyone seems to know about. The European media descends on the funeral, but it's never quite clear why Douglas's death garners so much press.

Subtle Bodies is geographically a departure for the author (his books and stories are typically set in Botswana), but it is recognizably Rushian. Mating, his justly praised 1991 National Book Award-winning novel, explores the relationship between his sharp female narrator and a seemingly perfect man who disrupts her feminist identity. Subtle Bodies feels structurally and stylistically familiar. Nina's portions of the book, particularly — with her amusingly poignant reflections on sex, pregnancy, motherhood and marriage — contain much of the obscure wordplay and non sequitur-heavy banter for which the author is known.

Rush's considerable talent for inhabiting fascinating female voices, though, isn't enough to wash out the bad taste left by his men — a sad drunk, a whoremonger, an impotent stockbroker, and — if you count Douglas's feral son — a peeping tom. Even Ned, the most likeable of the group, is rendered slightly pathetic in his frantic efforts to get signatures on his anti-war petition meant to prevent the invasion of Iraq.

Abstract comedy, it turns out, just isn't that funny, and Rush's plot never really congeals. That's not a fatal shortcoming in itself, but unfortunately all the reader is left with is these sad, petulant clowns talking past one another in a series of awkward encounters. This may have been exactly the send-off Douglas would have wanted, but it's considerably less amusing for those of us left behind.

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