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

4 hours ago
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Fox's 'Dads': If It Weren't Giving Offense, It Wouldn't Be Giving Anything At All

Sep 17, 2013

In January 2012, Dave Itzkoff profiled Ricky Gervais for The New York Times and made a point that has stuck in my head ever since. Of Gervais' penchant for oh-so-naughty and yet somehow weirdly pedestrian awards-show shtick (my evaluation, by the way, not his), Itzkoff said that Gervais' "current comedic formula" was to rely on things that "will reliably offend some portion of its viewership, or at least titillate them with the idea that somewhere else, someone is being offended."

That's the reasoning behind the Fox ads promoting Dads, which premieres Tuesday night. (Short version: Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green as two guys who run a videogame company and deal with their embarrassing dads, played by Martin Mull and Peter Riegert.)

The Fox promo crows about the reviews that point out that the show is kinda racist (it's also kinda sexist, though that's gotten considerably less play). And the reason Fox is pushing that angle is that that's all there is. There's genuinely no reason to watch this show other than to be titillated with the idea that you're watching something naughty that offends other people. The seductive pitch here is that other people are stodgy and lame, but that you, however, are so cool, so modern, so down, so unsafe, so bad-ass, so beyond political correctness that you will look at two white dudes making their Asian employee do a "sexy Asian schoolgirl" routine and think, "See, I can take it. Why? Because I'm pretty edgy. I'm pretty alternative."

Honestly, if you don't think of it as controversial, Dads is just recycled from a gazillion other shows about how funny it is when old people walk around naked, use the bathroom, or otherwise act embarrassing. If it weren't attached to Seth MacFarlane's name as executive producer and it didn't have jokes about Asians and Jews and Latinas and you saw it out of context, you'd assume it was a tentative foray into comedy by some obscure, underfunded basic cable channel that's never made scripted television before. Or maybe a basic cable channel run by a sturdy consumer brand without an actual creative arm.

The non-racist version of Dads, relying on the actual quality of the jokes, would be what you'd expect to see from, say, the first comedy produced in-house by Frito-Lay, where the sons and the dads solve their problems over a big bag of Tostitos.

So if you don't want to fret over the idea that Dads is offensive, then don't. But do me a favor: don't give it extra points for the fact that other people think it's offensive. Don't tee-hee over putting one over on people who don't like racist jokes. If you don't want to avoid it because of how it treats Asians, Latinas, Jews, or Puerto Ricans, then don't watch it for that reason. Walk up to it with no preconceived notions, don't assume watching it is a rebellious act, and see whether the jokes are of the quality you expect from the things on which you spend your time.

(Spoiler alert: they are not.)

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