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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Obamacare Drops Off The Shutdown Script

Oct 12, 2013
Originally published on October 12, 2013 8:05 am



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Both the Senate and the House are meeting today for the second Saturday in a row. It's Day 12 of the government shutdown and Republican lawmakers are so far getting much of the blame for the lapse in federal funding that caused the shutdown. But they appear to have dropped their central demand of the budget standoff, a dismantling or delay of the Affordable Care Act. NPR's David Welna reports.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: In the days leading up to the shutdown, House Republicans settled on a strategy that even then their leaders and many others did not consider well advised. They would condition funding for the federal government on crippling all or part of the new health law known as Obamacare. Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner acknowledged the obvious, that using the threat of a shutdown to alter Obamacare had not worked out.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER: The House has passed four bills, four bills to fund our government and provide fairness to the American people under Obamacare. Each of those four bills was rejected by the United States Senate.

REP. STEVE ISRAEL: The problem with the Republicans is not that they keep shooting themselves in the foot, it's that they reload so fast.

WELNA: That's New York House Democrat Steve Israel. He says while it's clear the drive to derail Obamacare has failed, he's not sure Republicans are ready to stop making other demands.

ISRAEL: The Republican position is so partisan and so political that they keep forgetting what they want.

WELNA: Yesterday House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan sent a recorded video to a gathering of conservatives called the Values Voters Summit, and not once did he even mention Obamacare as he laid out a plan Republican leaders are rallying around to get past this latest crisis.

REP. PAUL RYAN: A budget agreement with this president in this Senate, it won't solve all of our problems, but I hope it's a start. I hope we can get a down payment on our debt.

WELNA: For some House Republicans, like Virginia's Scott Rigell, his leader's apparent capitulation on Obamacare comes as a relief.

REP. SCOTT RIGELL: It seems to me that we were entering into the land of diminishing returns with each and every day that went by.

WELNA: Indeed, according to one of the 20 House Republicans who went to the White House to discuss the standoff with the president on Thursday, the subject of Obamacare never even came up. Still, many House Republicans with Tea Party ties are convinced their leaders have not given up on trying to force changes in the health care law in order for the government to reopen. One of them is Minnesota's Michele Bachmann.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN: I think that it's definitely still on the table because there's a preponderance of people within the Republican conference for whom they're hearing from their constituents that they want fundamental changes to Obamacare. They don't want to be stuck with this.

WELNA: That was the same message that Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican senator who's led the charge against Obamacare conveyed yesterday at the Values Voters Summit.

SEN. TED CRUZ: Listen. None of us know what's going to happen on this Obamacare fight right now. In my view, the House of Representatives needs to keep doing what it's been doing, which is standing strong.

WELNA: Asked on MSNBC about Cruz's exhortation, New York House Republican Peter King scornfully dismissed the Texas senator as President Obama's biggest ally.

REP. PETER KING: No one has done more to strengthen Obamacare than Ted Cruz because since he started this maniacal crusade of his, the fact is over the last 10 days support for Obamacare has gone up 7 percent in the country.

WELNA: And Oklahoma House Republican Tom Cole says the stand his party took linking Obamacare to federal funding has been a costly distraction.

REP. TOM COLE: I think we have missed a big issue. I don't think there's any question that, you know, this whole shutdown, you know, episode has covered for the bad rollout of Obamacare.

WELNA: Cole says the biggest challenge now is getting House Republicans to reopen the government and avoid a debt default without admitting defeat. David Welna, NPR News, the Capital. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.