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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In Emergencies, Politicians Are Expected To Master Disaster

Sep 17, 2013
Originally published on September 17, 2013 6:19 pm

On Saturday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was surveying scenes of destruction caused by massive flooding in the Boulder area. He found a dramatic way to help.

His helicopter stopped to pick up two groups of people who had been stranded by the storms.

The Democrat was quick to applaud GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, who was riding with him, for spotting the residents, as well as his pilot for having the skill to make pinpoint landings.

But Hickenlooper was still the one who got the credit in the headlines.

It's always this way with disasters. People don't expect governors to personally lead rescue missions, but they do expect them to take charge and rise rhetorically to the occasion.

"It's sort of like a leadership pop quiz," says Andrew Reeves, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis who has studied disaster relief politics.

When political executives — governors, mayors, presidents — rise to the occasion, they're heroes. If they don't, it can imperil both their re-election chances and their broader agenda.

Christie Comes Through

In 2010, Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was lambasted for staying at Disney World for a family holiday trip after the state had been hit by a massive snowstorm.

That's all forgotten now. Christie has won plaudits not only for his response to Superstorm Sandy last year, but for a boardwalk fire last week.

To deal with the latter, he canceled another Florida trip scheduled to celebrate his wife's 50th birthday. On Tuesday, the Newark Star-Ledger called him the "master of disaster," saying he "thrived amid chaos."

"One of the things Christie has been masterful at is having it appear that everything is being done by him," says John Weingart, a political scientist at Rutgers University. "He pulls it off and seems to be knowledgeable and in charge."

Governors TCB

People know that politicians aren't responsible for fires and floods, Reeves says, but when disaster strikes there's a natural tendency to punish the incumbent for things going wrong.

Governors can erase those bad feelings through their performance — offering words of comfort and resilience, directing personnel and equipment where they're most needed, securing federal funds.

Hickenlooper has been doing all these things in Colorado, saying that while roads and bridges may be broken, "our spirits aren't broken," and insisting that $5 million in federal funds is just a down payment.

A stalwart response can burnish a politician's image for the rest of his tenure. That certainly was the case in Florida, where former GOP Gov. Jeb Bush's hurricane preparation and response efforts enhanced his image and popularity. And that has been true for Christie, who has not shied from using imagery of Sandy's aftermath in his re-election campaign this fall.

His Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono, in fact, complains that the state's recovery ad campaign — "Stronger Than the Storm" — has provided an unfair boost to Christie's re-election effort.

Some Have Blown It

Most governors didn't run for office thinking about how they would handle a natural disaster. They may have been more concerned about education or tax cuts or their own career advancement.

Once in office, it's easy to forget about the possibility of an emergency when day-to-day burdens are so time-consuming. But they have to be ready to step up to the challenges presented by a crisis, or forever be seen as having missed the moment.

"I've thought long and hard about Katrina — you know, could I have done something differently," George W. Bush said during his last press conference as president, referring to his administration's much-criticized hurricane response in New Orleans in 2005.

A number of mayors have been bedeviled politically when their cities were snarled by snowstorms. During his congressional re-election campaign last fall, Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island was still being criticized by his opponent for his handling of a snowstorm as mayor of Providence five years earlier.

Other mayors have lost their re-election campaigns largely due to their handling of snowstorms, perhaps still most famously Michael Bilandic of Chicago, back in 1979.

"Bilandic was the ultimate example of a very fine man, a very bright man, who was overwhelmed by the job and got hit by the snow and was unprepared," says Paul Green, a longtime observer of Chicago politics at Roosevelt University. "When someone gets to executive office, you've got to step up, and you can't hide."

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