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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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Point Of View: How So Many Rooted For 'Breaking Bad's' Walter White

Sep 27, 2013
Originally published on September 29, 2013 10:13 am

If you were still cheering for Walter White at the start of the sixth season (or, as AMC contracts call it, the second half of the fifth season), a mustard stain on a doctor's jacket might be one reason why.

Just last month, the show's creator, Vince Gilligan, marveled at the fact that, 56 episodes into Breaking Bad, fans were still rooting for the meth-cooking drug lord. "I would have guessed at this point that he would have lacked sympathizability," he told The New York Times.

So why did at least some fans stick by Walt's side despite his involvement in nearly two dozen murders and a drug empire that spans two continents?

It wasn't just luck. Gilligan and his team used a whole bag of tricks to get viewers in Walt's corner — and stay there — says psychologist Joseph Magliano, of Northern Illinois University.

Magliano is one of a handful of researchers who are trying to figure out how movies and television manipulate our thoughts and emotions. For Breaking Bad, he says, the creators quickly build up sympathy for the nerdy chemistry teacher by letting us see a world full of obstacles through Walt's eyes.

"For starters, the writers packed the pilot with reasons to feel sorry for Walt," Magliano says. He's struggling financially. He has a son with cerebral palsy, a baby on the way and now, he is dying of cancer. "Then we can explain his decision to sell drugs," Magliano says. "It's for a noble reason: to protect his family."

But for viewers to sympathize with Walt through all the murders, lies and immoral choices, Magliano says, they also needed to identify with him. To do that, the producers of Breaking Bad pulled out one of the oldest tricks in the film business: the point-of-view sequence.

Back in the 1920s, Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov pioneered the editing technique, which helps viewers get inside a character's mind.

"You show a close-up shot of an actor's face," Magliano says. "Then you show a shot of what he's looking at — say for instance, a candy bar. Then the camera cuts back to the actor's face."

The audience immediately has an idea of what the character is thinking, even when he is silent, Magliano says. "We just know, 'Oh, he's hungry.' " (Alfred Hitchcock was the master of point-of-view shot sequence and gives a lovely explanation.)

"Depending on how the actor is emoting and his facial expressions, we can begin to make inferences about a person's internal state," Magliano says.

Gilligan and his team sprinkled the Breaking Bad pilot with these point-of-view shot sequences from Walt's perspective. They used one during one of the most critical moments of the series: when Walt first finds out he's dying of lung cancer.

The camera first shows Walt's face. Then it turns to a very close-up shot of the doctor's mouth and eventually focuses on a mustard stain on the doctor's shirt. Finally, the camera returns back to Walt.

By showing us what Walt is staring at, the creators put us in Walt's shoes, Magliano says. "He looks extremely confused. He's clearly in a state of confusion." The surreal shots of the doctors mouth and mustard stain magnify that confusion, and juxtaposed with Walt's expression, trigger a similar feeling in the audience.

"We're able to recognize a large variety of emotions from subtle facial expressions. It's automatic," Magliano says. "But there's also evidence that we feel some of these emotions, too. If we see somebody sad, it activate parts of our brain that regulates emotion, that gives us a sense of sadness."

Another key example of the point-of-view shot sequence in the pilot is when Walt is caught cleaning the tire of his student's car. In this case, we see the embarrassment on Walt's face while experiencing first hand the shame of having the student snap a picture.

All of these sequences help us to sympathize with Walt and to understands his motivations, Magliano says. Then as the series unfolds — and Walt becomes darker and darker — those first impressions stick our minds and we make excuses for this immoral behavior, just like we might do for a close friend or relative.

Point-of-view work is ubiquitous in movies and TV, but Magliano thinks it's particularly powerful in Breaking Bad because of Bryan Cranston's acting chops.

"He is a master at controlling his facial expressions and showing a complexity of emotions," Magliano says. "We saw it in Malcolm in Middle, and now we see it here. All that emotion gives us a greater understanding of Walt's situation, what he's thinking," he says.

Gilligan even admits that Cranston's face helped to stack the deck in Walt's favor. "I also knew that he had this basic underlying humanity that just comes through. That kind of just beams out of his eyes or his expression," Gilligan told The New York Times. "I don't know where it comes from, but you just root for this guy."

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