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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The Masters At His Fingertips, Art Hodes Pays Tribute To Bessie Smith

Sep 16, 2013
Originally published on September 16, 2013 1:38 pm

Jazz pianist Art Hodes, born in Russia in 1904, grew up near Chicago. His recording career really took off in the 1940s in New York, where he also hosted a radio show and wrote for the magazine The Jazz Record. Later, he moved back to Chicago and the atmosphere that nurtured him.

Hodes' generation of jazz musicians, the ones born around 1900, held tight to the music that first inspired them. Louis Armstrong, listening to some of his early Chicago classics 25 years later, kept flashing back to even earlier New Orleans days. White Midwesterners like Eddie Condon and Hoagy Carmichael never stopped talking about the effect of hearing Bix Beiderbecke's rapturous cornet. These memories helped fuel whole careers.

For Art Hodes, one formative experience was seeing singer Bessie Smith headline a Chicago theater show. Writing about it for The Jazz Record decades later, he remembered the atmosphere before she came on: "Now comes the big hush. Just the piano goin'. It's the blues. Something tightens up in me."

We think of Bessie Smith as a roof-raising powerhouse who worked without a microphone. But Hodes was struck by the stillness when she performed.

"As she sings, she walks slowly around the stage," Hodes wrote. "On and on, number after number, the same hush, the great performance, the deafening applause."

A half century later, in 1976, Hodes waxed a set of blues and pop tunes Smith had recorded, including "Back Water Blues," "Cake Walking Babies From Home" and "Alexander's Ragtime Band." I Remember Bessie has just been reissued on Delmark Records with a few extra tracks, and it's a gem.

Most of the time, Hodes doesn't try to match Bessie Smith's shouting power; he evokes that reverential hush that got to him way back when. And he has her way of bringing out the blues even in non-blues material like "Baby Won't You Please Come Home."

Art Hodes relished playing the role of the old piano professor. By the 1970s, he was an anachronism, pulling off techniques lost to many younger pianists — like playing those ripples up and down the keyboard in the midst of everything else going on. The effect is like a passing wave while you're standing in water.

Listening to Hodes play Bessie Smith with so much feeling, you can hear that the power of the great masters was still accessible to him. But you also feel his sense of loss, a recognition that giants like Smith won't be coming back. That made it imperative for a conservator of old ways like Hodes to do some roof-raising of his own, while he still could. Art Hodes died in 1993, 17 years and a few dozen recordings later.

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