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

56 minutes 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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Maybe 'Muddling Through' Isn't That Bad For The Economy

Sep 11, 2013
Originally published on September 11, 2013 5:15 pm

When the global financial system started to collapse five years ago, leaders from the Treasury Department, Congress and the Federal Reserve jumped up and started running.

Like men on a burning wooden bridge, they raced along, making crazy-fast decisions. They seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailed out big banks, saved automakers, slashed interest rates and funded a massive infrastructure-building project to stimulate growth.

But that was then.

Now, whenever a gridlocked Washington faces a money-related crisis, solutions involve small sideways moves, such as nudging up the debt ceiling or standing aside while the autopilot "sequestration" process imposes sweeping spending cuts.

Next week, House Republican leaders may push for a vote on yet another stopgap spending bill to keep the government operating beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. (Previously, the leaders had planned a vote for this week.) Congress hasn't passed a regular budget since 2009.

In Europe, the leaders often refer to this sort of minimal, temporary action as "muddling through." In fact, European Union officials are famous for it. When faced with a collapsing Greek economy, EU leaders did just enough to preserve their union. Ditto for crises involving Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

And in China, leaders have been facing a real estate bubble and other potential crises. But they too have been avoiding radical reforms.

Here's the weird thing: Muddling may be working.

The global economy, while far from robust, is growing. The United States, Europe and China are navigating dangerous waters and — so far, at least — have kept their economies from sinking.

"A relatively quiet Congress is not necessarily a bad thing," says John Makin, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group.

Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform legislation in the wake of the financial crisis three years ago. Now many businesses wish Congress had been gridlocked then, Makin says. "The Dodd-Frank legislation was passed very rapidly — and now it's probably a net negative" for the economy, he argues.

He notes too that while Congress has been in its muddling-through period, the annual deficit has been shrinking dramatically.

Just this week, the Congressional Budget Office said that for the first 11 months of this fiscal year, the federal government ran a budget deficit of roughly $750 billion — a reduction of more than $400 billion from the deficit during the same period last year.

"We've made a lot of progress" simply because Congress never could agree on how to stop automatic cuts under the sequestration process, Makin says.

In fact, the whole economy has continued to improve. Auto sales are strong, and new homes sales are at a five-year high.

Meanwhile, even Europe is growing again, and China is picking up steam. IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm, predicts global growth will come in at a fairly healthy 3.4 percent next year.

So is "muddling through" really a brilliant strategy?

IHS Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh says it would be a mistake to think that indefinite inaction is the path to good economic health. All over the world, leaders have "done what they have to do to avert meltdowns, but they haven't dealt with underlying problems," he says.

For example, Congress has not taken action to solve long-term problems involving crumbling infrastructure, immigration and education, he says. And in Europe, "they still have huge issues with their labor laws, lack of competition and lack of a fiscal union," he adds.

In China, "they'll probably get through this soft patch, but they have big long-term problems, like an aging population and huge income disparities," Behravesh says.

David Shulman, a senior economist at UCLA Anderson Forecast, says that although the U.S. economy has been growing so slowly for so long that the situation is starting to look "normal," it really isn't. "The economy is hugely underperforming," he says. The labor market is still short by at least 10 million jobs, he says.

"We aren't back yet" from the financial crisis, and having leaders in Washington doing so little has not been a plus, he says.

Even Makin agrees, saying that while doing nothing may be better than taking ill-advised steps in the short term, "there are still so many things we need to fix for 10 years out."

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