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

59 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.

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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Meet Brandon Darby, Grass-Roots Activist (And FBI Rat)

Sep 12, 2013
Originally published on September 13, 2013 10:13 am

For a while in Jamie Meltzer's mesmerizing documentary Informant, I wondered whether subject Brandon Darby, the lefty activist turned FBI informer, was being played by an actor.

But no: It's Darby, and he's a handsome fellow, with haunted eyes blazing out of a bone structure to die for, and with a Montgomery Clift dimple in his chin. Staring straight into the camera, he testifies with the intense calm of a messiah or a madman, which all too often comes to the same thing. Among other things, this powerfully confused man is a study in American extremity.

Like almost everyone else in the crowd of fellow travelers and detractors who come out for and against him — sometimes both — Darby is more unreliable narrator than cynic. Certainly he comes across as a grandiose believer in his own propaganda, whether as the founder of the militant grass-roots aid movement Common Ground, created as a response to support survivors of Hurricane Katrina, or as the disillusioned turncoat and FBI plant who egged on, then turned in a group of young hotheads plotting to disrupt the 2008 Republican Convention in Minneapolis.

How Darby got from A to B is a both a shorter journey than you might imagine and a longer one. Meltzer, a filmmaker with an inquisitive nose for complexity and contradiction, spends just enough time on Darby's Texas childhood and distant-but-domineering dad to conclude that they pretty much programmed him for the role of rescuer — and for the crippling 50-50 ambivalence toward authority that made him first a dissident leader and then a slavish follower of FBI orders.

According to a former associate, it was Darby's savior complex that moved him to rush south to aid a Katrina-imperiled friend, then stay in New Orleans to help out other survivors and found the Common Ground relief collective. And perhaps his difficulty with father figures caused him to tell a police officer who asked what he was doing in the area that "I'm trying to foment social change" — then later bond so deeply with an FBI handler that he readily sold out an amateur cell of would-be terrorists trying to rig up Molotov cocktails using tampons.

Perhaps, too, it was Darby's insatiable hunger for attention and recognition that allowed him to participate in Meltzer's reenactment of that very betrayal — an Errol Morris-style dramatize-it gambit that made me squirm a bit, and one which pretty much convicts Darby of entrapment.

In part, his conversion plays out not just as the tale of a tragically vulnerable lost soul, but as black comedy. One former colleague splutters with rage as he describes Darby's efforts to get him to man up by ordering him to stop eating tofu. And as the Minnesota journalist who outed Darby as an FBI stooge gleefully observes, a bunch of incompetents browsing Wal-Mart for bomb parts smacks more of farce than of thriller.

Yet it was precisely that hamfistedness that made that batch of would-be bombers dangerous. And as Darby not unreasonably tells it, he had grown genuinely alarmed by the violent rhetoric of the people he ran with in New Orleans — white racists and former Black Panthers who were arming up amid the post-Katrina chaos.

To his mostly embittered associates on the left, Darby is variously a fallen hero, an attention-seeking egomaniac and a full-on Judas. Absolutist that he is, Darby now excoriates the FBI for insufficient vigor in prosecuting child prostitution. Today he's a Tea Party darling and a passionate columnist for the website Breitbart.com.

Meltzer isn't out to pass any overt judgment; he wants to show Darby as a man of many parts — and, in his way, an all-American. Without a doubt, his subject is given to hurtling between extremes.

Yet the same gifts for paranoia, conspiracy theory and Messianic fervor that launched him on the margins also drew him to the mainstream, where he found allies, enablers and exploiters — among them the New Orleans police chief who fingered him as dangerously anti-government, then brokered his introduction to the FBI.

Where, for a while, he fit right in. (Recommended)

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