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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Is The Fed Chair Succession Too Politicized?

Sep 27, 2013
Originally published on September 27, 2013 5:17 pm



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. There was once a time when naming a new Federal Reserve chairman was a non-event. Well, not this time. The competition between supporters for former Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the current vice chairman of the Fed, Janet Yellen has been a highly public affair.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there's concern that the high profile discussion could politicize the Fed succession in a way that could ultimately hurt the economy.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: This week, the president of the Dallas Federal Reserve, Richard Fisher, told a group of Texas bankers that the White House has mishandled the process of choosing a successor to Ben Bernanke. Fisher said picking a new Fed chairman should not become a public debate. Alan Blinder, himself a former vice chairman of the Fed, agrees that the White House stumbled.

ALAN BLINDER: Now was that all the White House's fault? No, of course not. Lots of other people were involved in the fray. But I think the whole thing could've been handled a lot more artfully.

YDSTIE: Blinder says President Obama's apparent desire to nominate Larry Summers got leaked probably as a trial balloon to measure opposition and support.

BLINDER: And that trial balloon attracted a lot of fire. It made the process into a public spectacle of the way that it's never been before.

YDSTIE: Blinder, who's now a professor at Princeton, was himself drawn in. He wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece in support of Yellen. And a large group of Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the White House supporting her. There was also public criticism of Summers for, among other things, his role in deregulating the financial system.

Then, at a news conference back in August, President Obama felt the need to defend Summers, his former top economic advisor from what he called...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: A bunch of attacks that I was hearing on Mr. Summers preemptively which is sort of a standard Washington exercise that I don't like.

YDSTIE: Ultimately, Summers withdrew his name from consideration, citing a desire to avoid an acrimonious confirmation fight. And the president has yet to make a nomination. While the contentious process is unusual, it also follows Ben Bernanke's second confirmation which came in the wake of the financial crisis. Thirty members of the Senate voted against him.

Blinder says he's concerned this might be the start of the Bork-ing of Fed nominations, a reference to the brutal political battle over President Reagan's nomination of Robert Bork for a seat on the Supreme Court.

BLINDER: Congress' rejection of Bork changed the nomination process for Supreme Court justices forever.

YDSTIE: Blinder does take some comfort from the fact that the fight over Summers and Yellen was largely an interparty Democratic fight, not a partisan one. But he says the rising political stakes are not surprising, given the Feds extraordinary role in fighting the financial crisis.

Former Fed Governor Randy Kroszner agrees.

RANDY KROSZNER: The Fed went from being something that was on the front page of the business section to being on the front page of the newspaper.

YDSTIE: Kroszner, who is now a professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, warns that politicizing the process could be dangerous. He and Blinder agree the Fed needs to be free to make the best economic policy, even if it's politically unpopular in the short term.

KROSZNER: Generally, the outcomes of central bank policy are better when there's more of a distance between the central bank and the political actors. So historically, more dependent central banks have generally been more effective at avoiding high inflation.

YDSTIE: So imagine what might happen if Janet Yellen became the chairman and felt beholden to supporters who wanted her to worry less about inflation. Kroszner also worries that a bruising confirmation process could discourage well qualified nominees.

KROSZNER: That would be extremely unfortunate to lose good candidates because the process is not a good one.

YDSTIE: But Blinder is not too concerned about that. He says those who are qualified know it's the most powerful economic policy job in the world.

BLINDER: So I doubt that many people are going to look at that and say I don't want to go there just because the confirmation might be tough.

YDSTIE: Blinder says he only hopes that years from now, when it's time to nominate another Fed chairman, the central bank will again have a much lower political profile. John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.