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

5 hours ago
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Smug Life: Why Is 'Catfish' So Dumb When It Doesn't Have To Be?

Oct 15, 2013

If you're not in the habit of watching MTV's Catfish, which ends its second season Tuesday night with a new episode and a reunion special, you might be surprised by how many interesting questions it raises.

Of course, you might be even more surprised by how blithely it ignores them.

Catfish as a television show is spun off from Catfish the 2010 documentary, in which handsome smoothie Nev Schulman (the kind of handsome smoothie who's very into how handsome and smooth he is) fell for a gorgeous woman online and then found out that it was a ruse by a substantially older, sadder, plainer woman impersonating a version of her own daughter. A lot of people questioned the veracity of some or all of the events in Catfish, but that didn't prevent it from sparking a lot of conversation.

So MTV, of course, made it into a TV show where Nev and his friend Max — and Max's utterly unnecessary little point-and-shoot camera, which he carries around constantly but could be fired into the sun without affecting the show at all — go around and visit other people who are in online relationships to, the show claims, help them learn the truth about whether the object of their affection is what he or she claims to be.

The structure of any given episode is that Nev and Max meet the Fished Person, who is earnest and hopeful and in love. Fished Person mentions a few obvious red flags — they've never video chatted with the Beloved, the Beloved has canceled three different phone numbers, the Beloved asks for money, whatever. Nev and Max look meaningfully at each other, because they've concluded that This Sounds Fishy (pun intended).

And then Nev and Max do some sleuthing, which literally consists essentially of using Google and Facebook to poke around, much like you might if you undertook such a project yourself and had a fourth-grade knowledge of the internet. They track down the Beloved and take the Fished Person to meet him or her. Usually, one or more of the following things happens:

1. The Beloved is much larger than the photos suggested. (This is the case for probably at least half, if not three-quarters, of episodes, to the point where Lovable Or Size 24? would make a decent alternate title if they ever need one.)

2. The Beloved is actually male [or female] when The Beloved was believed to be female [or male].

3. The Beloved is socially awkward.

4. The Beloved is in some other way not at all what was advertised.

Max and Nev and the Fished Person spend a lot of time saying HOW DARE YOU! to the Beloved, and the Beloved weakly apologizes and pleads insecurity or fear or tragedy. Max and Nev cart off the Fished Person, who vows not to give up on love but, in most cases, is through with the Beloved.

The moral is always the same: Lying is terrible, and liars are a menace, and it's easy to be taken advantage on the internet, so make sure you use Google at least as well as a fourth-grader.

The focus is consistently — perhaps not unerringly, but consistently — on the Fished Person as victim and the Beloved as betrayer. Over and over, the same sadness comes over Max and Nev as they realize they must break it to yet another completely innocent victim that they are just too good and pure for this earth.

Here are the kinds of questions that are almost never asked:

Why were you so eager to believe that a person who had only what looked like modeling photos on her Facebook page was exactly who she said she was?

Why did you ignore every sign that this wasn't on the up and up, and do you think it's possible that you have an unrealistic set of expectations?

If this person had told you the truth about who he really was, and had shown you a real photo, would you have given him the time of day? If not, does that provoke any remotely interesting thoughts in you about how you process first impressions?

Would you have told this girl that your affection for her was contingent on her appearance if she had asked you? If you would not, were you not leading her on as well?

And this question is not put to the audience: This person believed her real self would be rejected out of hand, so she presented a false self. What do you think about the fact that she was exactly right that her real self would be rejected out of hand? If we all agree that this is in no way an excuse for lying, can we still sit with it and understand that it probably hurts to live that way, and that perhaps the desire to be loved overwhelmed the desire to be ethical, which is perhaps not as open-and-shut as Nev and Max suggest?

Maybe it's not surprising that Nev, whose entire bio is based around feeling victimized because his hot internet girlfriend didn't turn out to be as advertised, isn't much interested in turning things around on the Fished Person to investigate how their expectations and wants and small dishonesties allowed the entire situation to continue.

It's sad, though, that so often, the show has it right in the palm of its hand, the fact that Everybody Hurts, Everybody Cries, and so forth, and while it often allows the Beloved to make a sincere apology followed by a sort of repenting dignity (he's decided to stop lying forever, hooray!), it rarely takes any interest in interrogating how, exactly, a Fished Person winds up falling in love with someone who never was. Instead, it retains the smug sense that every heartbreak has a victim and a perpetrator, and while the perpetrator may apologize and make good, she'll be the perpetrator forever.

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