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.

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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.

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It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

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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.

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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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Shutdown-Delayed Jobs Report Is Released

Oct 22, 2013
Originally published on October 23, 2013 10:42 am



This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's talk about the latest employment numbers and what they mean. The economy, we're told by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, gained 148,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.2 percent. We're getting these numbers a couple of weeks late because of the government shutdown. NPR's Chris Arnold has been following the economy and the shutdown. He's on the line. Hi, Chris.


INSKEEP: So what do the numbers mean?

ARNOLD: Well, we gained jobs and unemployment fell, so that's better than the other way around. We saw a nice little bump in construction jobs (technical difficulty) showed a slight gain. But this is still weak job growth, and it's actually below what economists were expecting. The consensus was a gain of 180,000 jobs. We got 148,000. So that's disappointing.

And basically all this means that the economy is just stuck in this ongoing, painfully slow recovery mode, and it's just taking a long time to get the millions of Americans back to work who want jobs. If you look at the long-term unemployed, there are still upwards of four million Americans who've been out of work for more than six months. And of course there are still a lot of Americans who aren't even looking for work, and they don't even get counted in the numbers.

INSKEEP: OK. Let's talk about stewards of the economy and what they make of this. There's the federal government. We could talk about that. There's also the Federal Reserve. How might they - how might they use these numbers?

ARNOLD: Well, you've probably heard there's a lot of talk about when is the Fed going to taper. That's the word that most Americans might have heard flying around on television or the radio. What that means - at some point the Fed is going to cut back on its stimulus efforts, taper back those stimulus efforts, and the stock market is not going to like that probably when it happens. So there's a lot of focus.

Most analysts have been thinking, though, that with the recent headwinds facing the economy, it's unlikely the Fed is going to back away anytime soon. And this disappointing job growth in this report probably clinches the deal there. And that probably means that, look, OK, this is going to happen sometime in 2014. It'll be on Janet Yellen's watch if she's confirmed. So no concerns of a taper anytime soon.

INSKEEP: Chris, when you talk about headwinds, are you including political chaos in that, the government shutdown, the fight over the debt ceiling?

ARNOLD: That is definitely not helping. We're likely to see more of a hit in terms of job growth numbers in the next report just because of the timing of when the data was collected. But it's more than just the shutdown and this one standoff. There's just this overall sense of uncertainty out there in the economy and among business owners.

I was at a manufacturer's convention this past week, and the CEOs of several companies came up to me and told me, look, I've scaled back hiring, or I've put hiring on hold. This is before we knew what was happening with the debt ceiling standoff. There's just too much uncertainty. They don't know what's going to happen. And this was Republicans and Democrats alike. But both are very frustrated.

INSKEEP: Weren't you telling us earlier this morning about a report that tried to put a number on how many jobs have been lost because of budget battles over the last two or three years?

ARNOLD: Right. Different economic groups are trying to quantify this now. And one study came out last week - it was from macroeconomic advisors - and it found that this crisis-driven fiscal policy, is what they termed it, over the past three years has already cost the country nearly a million jobs. I think they found 900,000 jobs. And these are jobs that otherwise would have been created. And much of that, again, is because lawmakers are just not charting a long-term course for the country. Instead, we're getting these short-term policy patches.

But, you know, we have a budget issue we have to resolve in this country: Medicare, Social Security, what military programs are going to survive, what's going to happen with taxes. Companies need to see the future enough to be able to know should I be hiring, should I buy equipment. They don't have enough information, and when Washington gets that dysfunctional, it hurts the economy and it hurts job growth.

INSKEEP: Chris, thanks very much.

ARNOLD: Thanks, Steve.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Chris Arnold with the latest on employment. Jobs grew in September. The unemployment rate fell very slightly to 7.2 percent. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.