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.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Proposed Minimum Sentencing Law In Illinois Faces Scrutiny

Oct 24, 2013
Originally published on October 24, 2013 12:45 pm

In Illinois, you can face a prison term of one to three years if you use a weapon unlawfully. But you might serve only half that time, or you could get probation or even boot camp.

Chicago alone saw more than 500 murders last year, most by gunfire. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the current law is not what's needed to fight gun violence in the city.

"In fact, I would like to ... note that the same minimum penalty we have for a gun law is what we have for shoplifting," Emanuel has said.

A bill backed by the mayor would raise the sentence for unlawful use of a firearm to a three-year mandatory minimum, and require anyone found guilty to serve 85 percent of that time. It's a proposal that Cleopatra Pendleton supports.

"In my community, carrying an illegal gun is not a big deal, but it needs to be a big deal," Pendleton says.

The death of her 15-year-old daughter, Hadiya, made national headlines when she was killed in a park not far from President Obama's Chicago home shortly after her high school band performed in inaugural festivities. Pendleton says when she learned the man charged with her daughter's murder had served time for another gun crime, it felt like salt being poured in a wound.

"I wonder if a larger, mandatory minimum had been in place, if the person who allegedly shot and killed my daughter would have been in jail and Hadiya would still be alive," she says.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says there are at least 108 examples of shootings or murders in 2013 alone that would not have occurred if this bill was already in law.

The University of Chicago Crime Lab analyzed the bill. It says people on parole arrested for illegally carrying a firearm are four times more likely than other convicted felons on parole to be arrested for murder, and nine times more likely for a nonlethal shooting. The Crime Lab also says a growing body of research suggests the threat of swift sanctions can deter crime and therefore could hold true for gun violence.

Not everyone buys that analysis. John Maki, the head of the nonpartisan John Howard Association, a prison watchdog group, says it is the same old story.

"This is how the United States has gone from a prison population of around 250,000 people in the early 1970s to about 2.3 million right now," Maki says. "It's always on the back of these really horrible tragedies."

Maki says he thinks people and legislators feel that they have to do something, so prison is held out as some magical solution to the problem.

The Illinois Department of Corrections also has a warning. It says the cost of the proposal would be $1 billion over 10 years, with nearly 4,000 inmates added to a prison system already bursting at the seams. But the University of Chicago crime lab says the deterrent effect of the sentencing proposal could actually mean substantially less cost with fewer people going to prison.

Daniel Nagin, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University, thinks otherwise. He says people often engaged in gun crimes are not thinking about the length of a prison sentence as they act in the heat of the moment. The real deterrent, he says, is the certainty of getting caught, which has a lot to do with a much more tangible and visible police presence.

"Nothing can be done to bring back the people who have died because of gun violence," Nagin says. "What needs to be done is to look to the future to try to identify the most effective and proven strategies which might reduce their numbers. It's clear that the evidence suggest there are alternatives that are better [and] that will be more effective in that regard than mandatory minimums."

As sponsors of the legislation push for a vote, negotiations with gun rights advocates like the NRA continue. They argue that under the proposed legislation, law-abiding citizens who make one mistake could face prison time.

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