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.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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It's City Vs. Creditors In Detroit Bankruptcy Trial

Oct 23, 2013
Originally published on October 23, 2013 12:46 pm

In Detroit on Wednesday, a federal trial begins that will determine whether that city is eligible for the nation's largest-ever municipal bankruptcy.

Hundreds of the city's creditors are lining up to oppose the bankruptcy, arguing that Detroit is violating Michigan's Constitution and that if officials tried harder they could find enough savings to pay the city's bills.

Officials here say a declining population, decades of mismanagement and, at times, corrupt city government have cost Detroit a lot of tax revenue, leaving it drowning in red ink — so much so that in March, the governor appointed Kevyn Orr to be an emergency manager and take control of the city's finances. He spent months crafting payment arrangements with some creditors, but hundreds of others rejected offers that amounted to accepting pennies for every dollar they were owed by Detroit.

Orr says that leaves Detroit with roughly $18 billion in long-term debt and no other option but bankruptcy.

"There's no way out," Orr says. "The mountain of debt we have to climb over simply is insurmountable without some kind of process to resolve it. We simply cannot pay it. That's it."

Where Business Stands

Detroit's business community overwhelmingly agrees with Orr.

Dan Gilbert owns Quicken Loans and the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. In recent months, he has bought more than $1 billion worth of buildings in Detroit's downtown. He's betting that Chapter 9 protection will allow Detroit to get out from under its crushing debt load and pour money back into city services, which would help make his investments pay off.

"As hard as that is to sort of suspend democracy, for a short period of time if you will, my view is, let's get it over with," Gilbert says. "Let's get it done. Let's stop talking about it [and] go through the pain and then move forward, and I think it will fade into the background."

But some of Detroit's longest-standing creditors are fighting a bankruptcy declaration, arguing that it would create big problems for them.

At the headquarters of AFSCME Council 25, the union representing the majority of city workers here, a half-dozen retirees are making phone calls. Juanita Scott says Detroit's potential bankruptcy puts her pension, her health care and her future on the chopping block.

"Because they're going to cut my medical, that's going to really hurt me bad," says the 86-year-old Scott. "Right now I'm under three different doctors' care and trying to stay in my neighborhood."

Scott says she has to have a burglar alarm because all the houses around her are going vacant. "This whole thing of bankruptcy, it's just bad," she says.

The union leadership argues that Detroit's bankruptcy filing itself violates state prohibitions against cutting public pensions. Union attorney Herb Sanders even questions whether Detroit is truly insolvent, because the state forbade city officials to approve tentative labor agreements that he says could have saved millions annually.

"When you think that the purpose of bankruptcy is to restructure debt, is to save the city money, and if that is your true intent, then why wouldn't you sign the collective bargaining agreement with the unions that would indeed do that?" Sanders says.

The Possibility Of Lawsuits

The union will argue in court Wednesday that Detroit did not bargain in good faith. But bankruptcy attorney Douglas Bernstein says the judge may see things differently.

"There's no bright line which says what constitutes good faith and what isn't good faith," Bernstein says. "There's isn't an awful lot of precedent in Chapter 9."

Bernstein's firm worked with several of Detroit's creditors who decided not to fight the city's bankruptcy filing. He says those creditors and the city will be thrown into financial turmoil if the court finds Detroit is not eligible for Chapter 9 protection. The likely result would be a flood of lawsuits, he says.

"So they'll be fending off all the creditors in a variety of courtrooms where everybody in the creditor body is trying to get the best deal for themselves rather than in an organized, unified setting in the bankruptcy court," he says. "So you would have chaos."

And chaos is the last thing Detroiters need in a city that has seen more than its share of it in recent years. Former officials sent to prison for corruption, high unemployment and crime rates, faltering city services — and now a fight over what's left in the city's coffers.

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