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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

5 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Obamacare Contractors Head To Capitol Hill For House Hearing

Oct 24, 2013
Originally published on October 24, 2013 6:25 pm



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.


And I'm Melissa Block.

On Capitol Hill, it was a day of tough questions and finger-pointing. Lawmakers got their first chance to grill government contractors over the botched rollout of the new government health insurance website. It was the first in a series of hearings. And as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle directed their anger at the contractors and at each other.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: If you took each of the contractors' word for it, what doomed the launch of the federal health care exchanges wasn't any of them individually. Each was feverishly prepping and testing its own portion of the project, but in near isolation until the last moment. And that was the problem. After more than three weeks of watching delays and crashes on the website, Republican Mike Burgess of Texas asked if there might be someone higher up to blame.

REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL BURGESS: It seems like we've got several fingers but no palm here. Was there anyone involved in sort of overseeing the entire - the entirety of this to make sure it worked from A to Z?

CHANG: The answer he got over and over? The federal government - or to be exact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, otherwise known as CMS. On the hot seat today were four companies that contracted with CMS. CGI Federal was the main contractor. And Democrat Anna Eshoo told its representative, Cheryl Campbell, don't even try to escape blame for the website's logjams. Eshoo said, in Silicon Valley where she's from, that's usually not a problem.

REPRESENTATIVE ANNA ESHOO: There are thousands of websites that carry far more traffic, so I think that's really kind of a lame excuse. Amazon and eBay don't crash the week before Christmas, and ProFlowers doesn't crash on Valentines Day.

CHANG: But lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee weren't singularly focused on the quality of the technology. At one point, Republican Joe Barton of Texas wanted to talk about privacy. He interrogated Campbell about a warning on the website that visitors might have to disclose more information than they were used to on other medical forms. At that moment, Democrat Frank Pallone of New Jersey jumped in.

So once again, here we have my Republican colleagues trying to scare everybody, hoping...

REPRESENTATIVE JOE BARTON: Will the gentleman yield...

REPRESENTATIVE: No, I will not yield to this monkey court or whatever this thing is.

BARTON: This is not a monkey court.

, DEMOCRAT, NEW JERSEY: Do whatever you want. I'm not yielding.

CHANG: Monkey court or not, this panel wanted to get to the bottom of why a massive government project spread out over 55 contractors and five government agencies didn't start testing the fully integrated product until two weeks before the October 1st launch date, even though the companies said they should have gotten months.

REPRESENTATIVE FRED UPTON: Did any of you come forth to the administration and said, this thing may not be ready on October 1st, we might want a delay until we can get it right? Any hands up? No.

CHANG: Republican Fred Upton, who chairs the committee, asked CGI's Campbell, did you know about any problems and just decided not to tell the government?

CHERYL CAMPBELL: It was not our decision to go live.

UPTON: It was not your decision to go live?

CAMPBELL: It was not our - it was CMS' decision. It was not our decision one way or the other.

UPTON: Did you ever recommend to CMS that perhaps they weren't ready and they might want to delay the date?

CAMPBELL: It was not our position to do so.

CHANG: Other contractors, like Optum, said they did try to say something to the government about needing more time to test the product. Committee members asked Optum's Andrew Slavitt if administration officials responded with any concern.

ANDREW SLAVITT: We never - I never got a depiction from them. But we did fully talk about the risks that we saw and we passed those along, all along the way.

CHANG: And Slavitt noted another reason the website jammed up in the beginning was because the government made too many last-minute changes.

Ailsa Chang, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.