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

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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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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How A Tax On Medical Devices United Political Rivals

Sep 30, 2013
Originally published on October 1, 2013 5:26 pm

As the federal government lurches toward a shutdown, there's one thing a lot of people in Congress actually agree on.

A 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices that took effect at the beginning of 2013 should be undone, they say. House Republicans included a provision to do that in a funding bill passed over the weekend that also sought a one-year delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said in a statement last week that "there is strong bipartisan support for repealing the medical device tax, with Democrats and Republicans uniting behind our effort. I will continue to work to get rid of this harmful tax so Minnesota's medical device businesses can continue to create good jobs in our state and improve patients' lives."

Minnesota is home to Medtronic, St. Jude Medical and lots of smaller device companies.

What's the big deal? About $29 billion in funding for the expansion of health coverage under the Affordable Care Act is expected to come from the device tax. Hip implants, MRI scanners and catheters to unclog heart arteries are all affected. Toothbrushes, contact lenses, hearing aids and other consumer products are exempt.

As you might expect, AdvaMed, a big trade group for makers of medical devices, has been adamant about wiping the tax from the IRS' books. "AdvaMed has consistently and strongly opposed the $30 billion medical device tax because it will harm job creation, deter medical innovation and increase the cost of health care," the group's website says. "Congress should repeal it before it can do more damage to American Innovation."

Others say it's the device industry's consistent opposition to concessions related to the health law that got the tax slapped on in the first place.

Back in the early horse-trading days over the legislation that became the Affordable Care Act, lobbyists for the device industry made what looks more and more like a "strategic error," as The Wall Street Journal reported in 2009.

While the legislation was taking shape, the White House looked to health-related industries to cut deals that would help pay for the law. The Journal reported that the administration went so far as to ask for pledges.

When it came time for the device makers to pony up, they demurred, suggesting instead that the government get money elsewhere, such as from the groups that buy in bulk for hospitals. It didn't work.

"You either come to the table early, or you end up part of the dinner," a person close to the negotiations told the Journal.

In contrast, drugmakers agreed to save the federal government about $80 billion over a decade in exchange for protection from provisions they didn't like, such as legalized drug imports. There's no excise tax on pharmaceuticals.

The $80 billion was a compromise, the head of the drugmaker trade group PhRMA told NPR in 2009. The president wanted more, and the drugmakers were looking to pitch in less.

Even if many people agree that the device tax should go, some important ones don't.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the repeal idea "stupid," through a spokesman, The Associated Press reported. "The Senate will reject any (funding bill) that includes a repeal of the medical device tax." And, in fact, that's just what happened shortly after the Senate convened Monday afternoon.

White House spokesman Jay Carney's response to a question about whether the president would support a repeal: "Absolutely not."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.