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.

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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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For Richer And For Poorer, But What Of That Vanishing Middle?

Sep 26, 2013

The U.S. financial sector's 2007-2008 swoon hurt a lot of people, but it's been a bonanza for documentary filmmakers with an interest in economics. The last five years have seen dozens of movies about the dismal science, most of them pegged to the Great Recession.

The latest is Inequality for All, a showcase for former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich. (He served under Bill Clinton, who borrowed much of his fellow Rhodes scholar's rhetoric, if fewer of his prescriptions.)

Jacob Kornbluth's movie was inspired by Reich's book Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future, and uses as its narrative framework a class called "Wealth and Poverty" that the economist teaches at Berkeley. So the movie is essentially an illustrated lecture in the mode of An Inconvenient Truth: animated charts and graphs, on-the-road interludes and humorous asides designed to show that the speaker isn't too dislikably severe about the crisis that threatens Life As We Know It.

Intercut with scenes of Reich's class are biographical recollections — a few of them pungent — and interviews with hard-hit former members of the middle class, including a Reich student who went back to school after losing his job. Also included is that bane of recent public-policy docs: footage from TV shows that profess to seriously discuss politics and economics, but rarely do.

Reich has a good sense of humor, as is virtually required of an adult who's less than 5 feet tall — he has Fairbanks disease, the same condition that accounts for Danny DeVito's stature — so he's pretty much guaranteed a laugh when he hops to his feet and asks if he looks like an advocate of "big government."

But the size of the federal bureaucracy isn't a major issue in Inequality for All. Reich's principal concern is the decline of the middle class, which he attributes to globalization and technology, but also to weaker unions and the rise of an ideology that insists the superrich be hailed and privileged as "job creators."

Prosperous Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer volunteers to rebut this argument, noting that rich people by themselves just can't spend enough to fuel the U.S. economy. "It's actually our customers that are the job creators," he contends.

Reich agrees, of course. He attributes everything from a sputtering economic recovery to harshly polarized national politics to an income disparity that's as dramatic as that in 1929. But he doesn't analyze one key difference: The Depression narrowed the gap between the wealthy and everyone else, and the Great Recession hasn't.

Still, the professor's lectures feature some nifty statistics: The richest 400 Americans have more wealth than the poorest 50 percent of the population, and the top national beneficiary of the iPhone, taking in 34 percent of the proceeds, is Japan. (The U.S., where it was designed, doesn't make much more than China, where the devices are assembled by low-paid workers.)

Interestingly, Inequality for All comes to much the same conclusion as Money for Nothing, a recent documentary about the Federal Reserve. Both decide that increased U.S. wealth is just a transfer to the rich from everyone else, not evidence of a growing economy.

But if Reich has a solution, it's missing from Inequality for All. In a closing benediction from his final spring 2012 class, the professor cheerfully leaves it up to his students to fix everything. Then he packs up his graphs and heads for his Mini Cooper, as Dolly Parton begins "9 to 5" — a song that's about as relevant to today's increasingly part-time American labor force as "Working in the Coal Mine."

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