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

51 minutes 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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Tennis Trivia: The Game With An Egg For A Zero?

Sep 7, 2013
Originally published on September 7, 2013 1:01 pm



We're going to turn to tennis now. The U.S. Open is in its final weekend, and to find out a bit more about that sport, we turn to a man who both works and plays without a net: Esquire magazine's editor-at-large, AJ Jacobs, who joins us from New York. AJ, thanks for being with us.

AJ JACOBS: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: So, how did this game begin maybe?

JACOBS: Well, maybe - a lot of people think it was invented most likely in medieval France. And it wasn't quite the tennis that we know. It was a game using hands or gloves. But some of the early adopters were monks who played it monastery courtyards. And these ball games were forbidden because they might lead to ungodly language by some medieval John McEnroe.


SIMON: Yes, I could - like, they had an order called the McEnronians, if I'm not mistaken, that express themselves vehemently.

JACOBS: And tennis actually went through a lot of different versions. So, there were versions with six players on the side, tennis balls stuff with dog hair. But thankfully, now we play tennis as God and Nike intended.

SIMON: And, if we might invoke religion once more, I gather there was a version in which - boy, we're going to get emails - the infant Jesus got the tennis ball.

JACOBS: Yes. One of the first mentions of tennis in literature is a medieval religious play called "The Second Shepherds" play. And in this play, the shepherds give three gifts to the newborn Jesus, and one of them is a tennis ball, which I always thought was an odd gift. Because it's well known the Bethlehem country club was restricted. So, where was a Jewish guy going to play tennis?


SIMON: Frankincense, myrrh and a tennis ball. And we must note: tennis was not always good for the health of French monarchs.

JACOBS: No. If you are a French king, you want to stay far away from tennis courts. Louis X died of a severe chill after an exhausting tennis match, and Charles VIII died after hitting his head on a doorframe while on the way to a match. And that's not to mention the French Revolution, which arguably began on a tennis court with a tennis court oath, where they pledged to create a constitution for France. And that did not end well for Louis XVI, as you might remember.

SIMON: I don't remember but I saw the movie. And we should note the French were also responsible for that wonderfully lucid scoring system in tennis, aren't they?

JACOBS: There are many theories of where the 15-30-40 scores come from. But one is that it represents the minutes in an hour. And there's also the theory that the word love for zero may come from the French word oeuf, which is an egg, which is the same shape as a zero.

SIMON: There was a time when tennis was considered just for guys, right?

JACOBS: Right. For a long time - centuries - it was a man's game. But in the 1800s, women started to play tennis.

SIMON: And while we're on the subject, the integrity of that famous 1973 match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King has recently been called into question.

JACOBS: This was the famous battle of the sexes. And it was promoted like a pro-wrestling match. Billie Jean King was carried in on a chariot by shirtless men, and Bobby Riggs arrived surrounded by gorgeous women. But ESPN magazine just published an article about the battle of the sexes, and they have found some truthers who allege that Riggs threw the game to help pay off gambling debts. Now, I personally don't buy this thesis. But, regardless, the story did have a happy ending. Riggs and King became friends, so there is hope for inter-gender peace.

SIMON: AJ Jacobs, author most recently of "Drop Dead Healthy," one man's humble quest for bodily perfection, speaking with us from New York. I guess contractually I'm obliged to say: AJ, what a pleasure. Talk to you soon.

JACOBS: Talk to you soon. Thanks, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.