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.

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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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

Pages

If The Government Closes, 'Essential' Employees Would Work

Sep 26, 2013
Originally published on September 26, 2013 5:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Congress has until Tuesday to agree on funding for federal agencies in order to avoid a partial government shutdown. So let's look this morning at exactly what that shutdown would mean.

INSKEEP: Lawmakers are coming near the wire because of Republican efforts to include a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. Now, if a shutdown were to occur, a big question is which federal employees would stay home and which ones would be deemed essential.

NPR's Brian Naylor has more.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: So let's say you were planning on a weekend getaway to Acadia National Park next month or an anniversary trip to Italy and you need a passport. Well, if the government shuts down, you're going to need another plan. Acadia and all of the nation's 401 National Parks will be closed, and passport offices will be shuttered. They're part of the government that relies on annual appropriations bills, none of which Congress has approved to fund their services. The IRS, Department of Education and various regulatory agencies would all be closed.

On the other hand, if you're counting on a Social Security check, food stamps or unemployment insurance, you'll be OK. That's because those programs are more or less on auto-pilot and don't rely on annual appropriations bills to keep operating. And there are other programs exempt from a shutdown. Active duty military, Border Patrol, meat inspectors and air traffic controllers - those jobs are considered essential.

Colleen Kelley, who heads the National Treasury Employees Union, says there is a pretty clear line between those agencies protected from a shutdown and those that are not.

COLLEEN KELLEY: So in an agency like Homeland Security, an awful lot of the employees would continue to work because they protect every port of entry into our country. But in most agencies that are not involved with national security, like the IRS, my expectation is that the majority of them will not be working.

NAYLOR: And that includes thousands of civilian Defense Department employees who, the Pentagon says, would be temporarily furloughed.

All told, more than 800,000 federal employees will be idled by a shutdown, not counting the large number of contractors who won't be paid. After the last big government shutdown in 1995 and '96, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the cost at $1.4 billion.

But political science professor Roy Meyers of the University of Maryland says it's hard to estimate the true cost of a shutdown.

ROY MEYERS: For example, what does it cost the American people when you tell somebody who leads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to plan for a shutdown rather than try to reduce or eliminate public health threats? To me the cost there is the increased risk associated with not paying as much attention to public health.

NAYLOR: Members of Congress themselves, despite what some might think, are considered essential and will be on the job, though most of their staff members are likely to be told to stay home. Meyers says the time lawmakers spend bickering over the shutdown is time they're not spending on other issues.

MEYERS: Think, for example, about immigration. After the last presidential election, most people in Washington say, well, this is the year to have an immigration law. Where is it? Well, there are still big issues out there to resolve. And one reason why they're not resolved is that Congress is spending far too much time fighting over this stupid little shutdown idea.

NAYLOR: The most affected by the shutdown will be the federal workers who are deemed non-essential. Kelley, of the Treasury Employees Union, says the threat of a shutdown has federal employees fearful and anxious.

KELLEY: Federal employees are in their third year of a pay freeze. And many have served unpaid furlough days in the last six months or so. So the idea that they would suffer additional economic impact by a government shutdown, it's very disheartening for them.

NAYLOR: And it's unclear if federal workers will get paid for the time they miss if there's a shutdown. They were the last time, but it takes an act of Congress. And it's far from certain whether lawmakers this time around will be sympathetic to the employees' plight.

Brian Naylor, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.