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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Sen. Murray: Replacing Sequestration A 'Top Priority'

Sep 26, 2013
Originally published on September 26, 2013 7:19 pm



From talk of the House Republicans, now to a top Senate Democrat. Senator Patty Murray of Washington state is chair of the Senate Budget Committee and secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference. Welcome to the program, Senator Murray.

SENATOR PATTY MURRAY: Well, very nice to talk to you.

SIEGEL: And we'll get to the debt ceiling in a second, but first, the continuing resolution. And a point where it seems Democrats and Republicans are in at least provisional agreement, is it fair these days to say that the sequestration that's taken effect, the across-the-board cuts to federal spending are the new normal and we should assume that they'll be the starting point for future spending talks just as they're reflected in the Senate Democratic continuing resolution?

MURRAY: I absolutely disagree with that. Replacing sequestration is one of my top priorities. I replaced sequestration with responsible spending cuts and new revenue in the Senate budget that we passed. That will be the vehicle that we go to conference with the House bill, which is dramatically different. But the cuts from sequestration, across the board, have hurt everything from medical research to people's salaries who are really critical parts of our government, whether they're civilian employees or they work for one of our agencies.

And we are seeing the jobs and economic loss as a result of this very bad law going into place across the board. So replacing sequestration is a top priority of ours as we go into the broader budget negotiations.

SIEGEL: Broader but not immediate for the time being. Whatever continuing resolution will continue the sequester cuts, right?

MURRAY: Here's where we are. We're not passing a budget agreement right now. We're just saying that because we have been delayed to a crisis point, we are going to keep the government open for a short amount of time to allow us to get to that larger budget deal.

SIEGEL: Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton said that a government shutdown - this is a quote - "wouldn't be the worst thing for Democrats," meaning that it would make Republicans look terrible. The latest Pew poll shows that 39 percent of Americans would blame a shutdown on the GOP, and 36 percent would blame it on the Democrats.

Are you concerned that in this confrontation, and perhaps the one just down the road over the debt limit, that Democrats may be seen as being engaged in their brinksmanship that's just as reckless as Republican brinkmanship?

MURRAY: Well, I don't think anybody wins in a government shutdown. That is not where we want to get. But we're not going to be held hostage to some new idea that they have at the last minute in the Tea Party to allow our country to move forward. And we don't have to do that. This is so easy. Pass a clean resolution. This is a small issue: keeping the government running. The big issues, the big challenge is to put together a budget resolution that allows our country to know what our priorities are, how we're going to fund them and how we're going to move forward and what we want to be as a country.

SIEGEL: Republicans sound adamant about attaching to the debt ceiling bill. If not the outright defunding of Obamacare, then some changes to it. Why not revisit, say, the medical device tax if that - if altering that is the price of peace on Capitol Hill?

MURRAY: Anything like that should be decided in the larger budget agreement. We're not going to one-off little pet projects here and there on a small bill to just keep the government running for a few short weeks.

SIEGEL: Let me ask you, though, a bigger question. Americans have now experienced some benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Kids can't be excluded from insurance because of pre-existing conditions. Young adults can stay on their parents' policies until they're 26. And the bill, according to the polls, remains essentially unpopular. And I want to ask you: As a supporter of this bill, if people still disapprove of it a year from now, would it then be time to revisit the law and say maybe there's something wrong here?

MURRAY: Well, I think the answer to that question is that a lot of people who are asked about Obamacare don't know that they may have already benefited or have the ability to benefit or they already have insurance and don't see any changes. What we do know is that there are a lot of people who don't have access to health insurance before Obamacare passed. They may have had a pre-existing condition and were denied. They may have somebody - been somebody who didn't even know how to access it or their job didn't apply for it. They were denied health care...

SIEGEL: But it's a rare program.


SIEGEL: It's a rare program if you don't know that they're benefitting from it. People know if they are getting Medicaid or Medicare or food stamps.

MURRAY: Well, you know, actually, the bill is based on a Republican idea, which is to put in place an exchange, which allows you to go on and the insurance companies to compete for your business. And that means that people can have access to that and choose to have access to a competitive marketplace. Much of the provisions of the law such as allowing your kids to stay on until they're 26 or taking away the lifetime caps that have hurt so many people, those kinds of things you may not know until it actually applies to you.

What I heard from a lot of people before we passed health care reform is they didn't know that they would be denied coverage for something until they were diagnosed with it. We're trying to make the market more fair.

SIEGEL: Senator Murray, thanks a lot for talking with us.

MURRAY: Thank you.

SIEGEL: That's Senator Patty Murray of Washington state. She is the chair of the Senate Budget Committee and also secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.