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.

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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Shutdown Diary: Paul Ryan's Plan Gets Tea Party Pushback

Oct 9, 2013
Originally published on October 9, 2013 7:13 pm

Are House Republicans still seeking Democratic concessions on the Affordable Care Act? Or have they switched their sights to even bigger targets: federal spending on entitlements like Medicare and Social Security?

The answer on Wednesday depended on which Republican you asked.

Paul Ryan's Pitch

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., last year's Republican vice presidential nominee and one of the party's big policy thinkers, tried to shift the debate to entitlements in a Wall Street Journal op-ed post. In the piece, Ryan didn't mention Obamacare once.

Arguing that Democrats and Republicans should negotiate to simultaneously end the government shutdown, raise the debt ceiling and make changes that would lower the trajectory of entitlement spending, Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, wrote:

"We need to open the federal government. We need to pay our bills today — and make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow. So let's negotiate an agreement to make modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code."

Tea Party Balks

But Tea Party-affiliated Republicans couldn't get past Ryan's failure to mention Obamacare. Amanda Carpenter, a communications adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted: "There is one big word missing from this op-ed. It's start(s) with an O and ends with BAMACARE ..." Hers wasn't an isolated opinion.

Hard-liners' concerns that House Republican leaders might be shifting the fight that led to the government shutdown — which was in its ninth day — might explain why Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took to the House floor Wednesday:

"Our message in the House has been pretty clear. We want to reopen our government and provide fairness to all Americans under the president's health care law. You know, the law had a big rollout last week, but it's been called, and I'll quote: 'an inexcusable mess,' 'a rolling calamity' ... What a train wreck. How can we tax people for not buying something from a website that doesn't work? How can you give big businesses a tax break and leave hard-working families out in the cold? This is why we need to sit down and have a conversation about the big challenges that face our country."

One way of interpreting the seemingly differing messages from Boehner and Ryan was that it reflected the continued House Republican search for an exit strategy from the current fiscal nightmare. It also seemed to reflect the persistent pressure on Boehner to hew to the hard-liners' preferred strategy.

Military Death Benefits Draw Focus

Both Congress and the White House moved to address one result of the government shutdown that has outraged virtually everyone: It has halted the payment of $100,000 death benefits to the survivors of military service members killed in Afghanistan.

The House passed a bill Wednesday to get the payments to the dead troops' families. On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House announced that it will allow a charity to pick up the cost of the payments during the shutdown, the Associated Press reported.

Meetings

Obama met with House Democrats on Wednesday at the White House, and in a separate meeting of House leaders hosted Boehner; Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. In a statement, Pelosi reported no real progress from the meeting.

And More Meetings

In an interesting twist, House Republicans responded to Obama's invitation to meet with all 232 of them at the White House on Thursday by saying that they would instead send a negotiating party of House GOP leadership and committee chairs.

"President Obama is disappointed that Speaker Boehner is preventing his members from coming to the White House," Carney said in a statement. "The President thought it was important to talk directly with the members who forced this economic crisis on the country about how the shutdown and a failure to pay the country's bills could devastate the economy."

Poll: GOP Hits New Lows

A Gallup poll found just 28 percent of Americans with a favorable view of the Republican Party. Not only was that a 10-percentage point drop from last month, it was the lowest favorability rating Gallup has recorded for either major party since the pollster began asking the question in 1992. A record-high 62 percent of respondents said they viewed the Republican Party unfavorably.

The last time the GOP's favorability rating came close to this level was in 1999, around the time Republicans impeached President Bill Clinton. At that point, Gallup found that only 31 percent of Americans viewed the party favorably.

But Democrats didn't come out of Gallup's most recent poll untarnished either. Forty-three percent of those surveyed viewed the Democratic Party favorably, down 4 points from September, while 49 percent viewed it unfavorably.

The survey was conducted from Oct. 3-6, shortly after the federal government partially shut down for the first time since 1996.

The results also come after a series of polls released earlier in the week showed Americans placing much of the blame for the shutdown on congressional Republicans.

(Adam Wollner contributed to this post.)

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