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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For Democrats, Obamacare Web Woes Create 2014 Headache

Oct 22, 2013
Originally published on October 22, 2013 8:11 pm

President Obama radiated confidence when he took to the Rose Garden earlier this week to convince Americans that the flaws in the Affordable Care Act website would be fixed.

It's understandable that the president himself might be upbeat about the prospects of resolving the problems currently plaguing the technology behind the law.

But for anyone not named Obama, the apparent scale of the problems seems daunting. And it doesn't fuel a lot of optimism that the websites will be up and running by Dec. 15, the deadline for open enrollment under the new law. And that's despite the president's promised "tech surge" featuring "some of the best IT talent in the entire country," as Obama put it.

The Washington Post reported that experts say the problems need to be fixed by Thanksgiving to keep the program on track. But there are already murmurings the repair project could go past Dec. 15, reports The New York Times. The same story mentioned that potentially 5 million lines of computer code could need rewriting. If that's true, it sounds like it could be the code-writing equivalent of the D-Day invasion — massive, complex and arduous.

Which is not exactly what nervous Democrats want to hear. But they're sure to ask about it at an Obama administration briefing for House Democrats on the health law's travails scheduled for Wednesday morning. (House Republicans are requesting a similar briefing as well.)

For the congressional Democrats whose votes made the Affordable Care Act a reality and who will have to defend their support for the law in the 2014 midterm elections, the problems with the federal website are a political nightmare.

Not only do the website's problems embolden the Republican opposition to the law; they place Democrats on the defensive at a time when the party appears to have the advantage coming out of the shutdown/debt default crises.

Several recent polls suggest that Republicans greatly damaged themselves by forcing the crisis, a self-inflicted wound Democrats are eager to exploit. Some of the more ebullient Democrats even claimed that their chances for retaking the House had improved significantly.

But now there's a chance 2014 could find Democrats conducting their own version of damage control, as a result of the disastrous digital rollout.

They'll be looking for any assurances the White House can provide that the problems with the federal website will be ironed out so that the Obamacare timeline can continue as planned. The critical dates as of now are Dec. 15, when the open enrollment period ends; Jan. 1, when new policies sold by the December deadline are to take effect; and Feb. 15, the last day by which premiums must be paid for those hoping to avoid the individual mandate penalty.

But congressional Democrats may not receive assurances from the White House that those dates will be met. And based on how things have gone so far, they'd probably be skeptical if the White House gave them.

The mood within the Health and Human Services Department, as described in one recent report, probably wouldn't give Democrats reason for optimism. Yuval Levin, who worked on bioethics issues in the George W. Bush White House, talked with officials inside HHS and wrote about it for the conservative National Review last week:

"No one wants to say how long it might take, and no one would share with me what estimates they might be getting from their contractors (whom they no longer trust anyway), but there has so far been relatively little progress and it seems like everyone involved is preparing for a process that will take months, not weeks."

Levin goes on to say that HHS officials seem to be expecting that the enrollment period will be extended to March.

That, of course, could force the administration to do something Republican opponents of the law have asked it to do: delay the individual mandate provision. The mandate requires everyone to be insured by Feb. 15 or pay a penalty.

In short, the people who have some idea of what it takes to fix problems of the scale the Obama administration has ahead of it think it's a mission impossible to get all the needed work done in time to delay a central part of the law.

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