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.

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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Obama's Problem: The Path Forward In Syria Is No Clearer

Sep 11, 2013
Originally published on September 11, 2013 6:08 pm

With the highly anticipated Syria speech behind him, the path ahead for President Obama's effort to get congressional authorization of military strikes in Syria is no easier than before. In fact, post-speech, it seems more obstacle-strewn and steeper than ever.

The speech put Congress no closer to voting to authorize strikes. Even the timing of when Congress will hold votes is now an open question. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., postponed a planned Wednesday test vote and set no new date. House GOP leaders never announced a date for a vote and perhaps now won't have to.

The problem for the president is that whatever uncertain impetus there was for Congress to approve military strikes, it was slowed by Russia's proposal that the Assad regime place its chemical weapons under international supervision and that the U.N. be involved.

The paradox is that it was the big stick of threatened U.S. military strikes that apparently led Syria to officially acknowledge, for the first time, its possession of chemical weapons.

Now Obama wants the even bigger stick of a congressional authorization to keep pressure on Syria.

But that would mean a congressional vote. And many lawmakers are absolutely thrilled that there's an alternative to casting politically risky Syria votes that could come back to haunt them. (Another paradox is that the Russians gave both the Syrians and Congress an escape route.)

So, the congressional thinking goes, why not wait until the diplomacy string plays out, especially since every major poll shows sizable majorities of Americans oppose military strikes against Syria. (Give diplomacy a chance was the recurring theme in much of the congressional reactions after the speech.)

That means Obama and his national security team face days, perhaps weeks, of the challenge of countering this attitude that Congress need not act on an authorization until diplomacy has run its course.

What Obama needs now as much as anything else is more lawmakers like the bipartisan group of congressional leaders — including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who have supported his request. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the House Minority Whip, represents that view. He told a group of journalists Tuesday before the president's speech:

"I think it's important that we give the president credibility as the leader of our country, as the principal person for making foreign policy as well as the commander-in-chief. ... I don't think there's any doubt that the failure to do so will weaken our country, create a more dangerous international environment, and to some degree undermine the president of the United States."

But Obama's problem is that there aren't at least 217 more lawmakers in the House who would vote with Hoyer. And there likely aren't enough votes in the Senate, either.

It's worth noting that with the limited number of legislative days Congress has left to deal with huge fiscal policies like funding the government past September and increasing the debt ceiling, Congress doesn't have a lot of bandwidth to devote to a lengthy and complicated continuing debate over Syria.

If, and it's still a big if, Obama's threats eventually lead Syria to place its chemical weapons under international supervision and those stockpiles are destroyed, it would be a major achievement for the president. There would still be many questions, however, about the road, with its red line, that he took to get there.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.