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.

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

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Pitching Like It's 1860, Teams Play Ball With Vintage Flair

Oct 19, 2013
Originally published on October 20, 2013 3:54 am

The Red Sox square off against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park on Saturday in Game Six of the American League Championship Series. Forty miles north, another league is putting the finishing touches on its season.

This particular brand of baseball comes with a curious twist.

On the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newburyport, Mass., mud-speckled pigs forage for food in their pen, and feather-tousled chickens peck at each other in their coop.

There's also a ball game. The Lynn Live Oaks battle the Lowell Base Ball Nine in the final regular season game of the Essex Base Ball Organization.

Note "base ball" — the way they spelled it back in the 1860s. That's the way they play it here, too: This is a four-team league for enthusiasts of vintage baseball.

While the game is played to the 1865 rule book, this is no reenactment, says Brian Sheehy, who founded the league 12 years ago.

"We have guys who played in high school, college, even a couple guys who played in the minors," says Sheehy, a history teacher who plays for Lowell. "It's a lot different than modern baseball. You have to adjust the way you think."

The way you play is different, too. Gloves didn't enter the game until the 1870s, so that means players are fielding with their bare hands. Mercifully, the "lemon peel" baseball is softer, but Sheehy says you "can still definitely break some fingers."

The pitcher tosses underhand; there's no mound, no rubber. And home plate is an actual iron plate.

The biggest difference? Catching the ball on one bounce is the same as catching it on the fly. When that happens, the batter is "out on the bound."

Keeping the competition on the straight and narrow in a smart, mid-century suit and a top hat is Jeff "Gray Beard" Peart. He's the league's umpire, promoter and emcee — all rolled into one.

"We all love baseball, and we all appreciate the history of the times, so we want to get it right and show people good, quality baseball," he says.

And boy do they get it right — from the loose-fitting vintage uniforms to the silver cups and pewter mugs that take the place of modern water bottles. To top it off, they use plenty of old-time terminology.

"Today's batter would be called a striker back then, and the pitcher was called a hurler," Peart says.

But nothing does more to evoke the spirit of the game's pastoral early years than their field of dreams, tucked into a corner of this still-working, 230-acre farm. It's a history-lover's dream, complete with a cornfield fence and a 17th-century farmhouse that is open for tours while the game goes on.

The atmosphere is tailor-made for families, with grandparents cheering from lawn chairs and an eager teenager manning the weathered old scoreboard.

Then there's the Newburyport Clammdiggers' dynamic duo: Player-manager Drew Murphy and his dad, second baseman Kevin Murphy.

"It's a time we get together on weekends, what it used to be like on a Sunday ... when stores were not open and all the families would get together," Kevin Murphy says. "It's just very comforting and it's a great time."

While friendly atmosphere has its appeal, the real draw — for the players and the fans — is the game itself.

"We're pretty gentlemanly, and that was kind of the theme back then," league founder Sheehy says. "But everybody still wants to win, and when there's close play and it's a tight game, people kind of get fired up."

That is until the last out — today a big win for Lowell — when the players line up along the foul lines for a rousing "thank you" to the opposing team.

A bit of old time gentility that still looks pretty stylish, even in the modern age.

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