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

4 hours ago
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For Shy Girl, Poe's Rapping And Tapping Inspired More Than Fear

Sep 21, 2013
Originally published on September 21, 2013 4:16 pm

Koren Zailckas' latest book is the novel Mother, Mother.

The fourth grade blessed me with "the cool teacher." I've long since forgotten his name, but I haven't forgotten the sound of him tearing into the teacher's parking lot every day on his Harley Davidson. In memory, Mr. Cool towered over me at six-foot-something, his death-metal hair offset by a wiry goatee, his Air Jordans a bright counterpoint to his spider web tie.

How can I put this gently? I was a shy child, and Mr. Cool scared the bejesus out of me. ("Shy," in the late 80s, seemed like a psychological catch-all for everything from healthy introversion to full-blown anxiety disorders and PTSD, and I fell somewhere in the middle.) If I'd been allowed to pick my teacher, I would have opted for Mrs. Vaguely Maternal, who would have filled a void where affection was missing. Mrs. Maternal wore her hair in a marm-ish up-do and called her students "sweetheart." Mrs. Maternal smelled of Toll House cookies.

Mr. Cool smelled of something else: mutiny and, if memory serves, tobacco. He seemed — at least in my limited experience — like the kind of person who questioned authority — the same authority that put me in a cold sweat.

My strict mother, for example, disapproved of Mr. C on principle, and anytime she read my homework over my shoulder, my stomach started to ache the way it did before a dental exam. I didn't want to get Mr. C into trouble at the next parent-teacher conference or PTA meeting, and I couldn't stand the thought of him making my home life any harder.

And so I initially greeted Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Tales & Poems with a sense of prudish horror. How inappropriate! I thought, as Mr. C planted a copy on my desk. There was a high buzzing sound in my ears as he introduced it with words like "murder" and "torture."

Are you crazy? I wanted to gasp. Mom won't let me watch the Simpsons on moral grounds! And you're telling me to read a story about a dude who hacks off an old man's head and hides his dismembered body beneath the bedroom floorboards?

But it was even worse than that. Mr. Cool didn't just want us to read Poe's tales, he also wanted us to act them out in little five-minute plays. The theatrics were a shy girl's worst nightmare. Worse than public speaking, this was public shrieking. We were supposed to stand before our peers, shuddering with terror and muttering like mad people, pretending to be burned or buried alive.

I watched in horror as Mr. C blue-tacked a poster of the author to the wall. Was I the only one who noticed Poe wore the exact same overcoat as Dracula? His scarf sat high and bandage-tight on his neck, almost as though it concealed a wound. But most disturbing of all were the bags under Poe's eyes. They reminded me of the rings on a tree — if you added them up you'd get the sum total of all the years he'd been too scared to sleep.

But the second I cracked the spine, I was transformed. I became — at least inwardly — a 9-year-old goth. Reading Poe was like a near-death experience, the kind that makes you feel fragile and free in its wake. I felt almost as though I'd scared myself alive.

It was the poetic language that hooked me at first. The rhythm of the Raven — suddenly there came a tapping / As of some one gently rapping — sounded like a scared kid trying to rock herself to sleep. Such sing-song meter was the stuff of nursery rhymes, but where Mother Goose only highlighted the painful contrast between my childhood and the cheerful illustrations on the page, Poe spoke to the fear and stress that never left me. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing. ... It sounded like the kind of incantation you could repeat at night to ward off evil spirits.

Twisted as it sounds, Poe's stories were even more reassuring. For the first time, as a reader, I felt understood. At home, after school, my heart pumped ten-speed. I collected phobias. I had fainting spells and recurring nightmares. Within the confines of my family, I felt as claustrophobic and smothered as the buried-alive narrator in The Premature Burial. The reality I woke to every day was a lesser version of The Pit and the Pendulum: condemnation, isolation, punishment for an offense I couldn't quite figure out (I could only assume, with a child's logic, that my crime was merely being alive).

Poe was scary, for sure, but puberty was just around the corner and I was already a cowering mess. Poe's world offered no more reassurances than mine did. And oddly, that felt way more comforting than anything I could think of — more encouraging, even, than the thought of Mrs. Maternal patting my shoulder and telling me everything would be okay.

For the rest of middle school and much of high school, I returned to Poe over and over again — the same way his cataleptic narrator returns to his medical books — because traumatizing myself helped me feel a little less helpless.

I'd been numb for so long, so out of touch with my emotions. Poe made me realize my fuzzy senses, dry mouth, and shallow breathing were fear. Naming the feeling somehow lessened it. And after that, I was free, in the words of Poe's buried narrator, to read things other than "bugaboo tales" and to love books "on other subjects than Death."

By the time I became a teenager, I could finally hear, beneath the base chaos, the low, distant sounds of my own feelings, my own identity, my own voice. And thanks to Mr. Cool — thanks to Poe — I was ready to rip up the floorboards to find them.

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