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.

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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

5 hours ago
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Thursday Morning Political Mix: Healthcare Techs In Hot Seat

Oct 24, 2013

Good morning.

This is Washington, so there will be hearings.

Today's centerpiece of congressional inquiry bears the title, "Affordable Care Act Implementation Failures: Didn't Know or Didn't Disclose?" See where this is going?

The morning gathering will be the first in a promised series of GOP-led House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings into the implementation of Obamacare and its well-documented challenges.

The witness list is stocked with contractors in charge of the administration's snake-bit health care insurance sign-up website. Here's the lineup: Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president, CGI Federal; Andrew Slavitt, group executive vice president, Optum/Quality Software Services, Inc.; Lynn Spellecy, corporate counsel, Equifax Workforce Solutions; and John Lau, program director, Serco.

We anticipate finger-pointing.

The Associated Press reports that the contractors in testimony prepared for the committee will attempt to shift blame for problems to the administration. Late changes and lack of coordination, they say, bollixed up the system.

Slavitt in his prepared testimony, according to the AP, "blamed the administration, saying that a late decision to require consumers to create accounts before they could browse health plans contributed to the overload. 'This may have driven higher simultaneous usage of the registration system that wouldn't have occurred if consumers could window-shop anonymously,' he said."

You can read submitted testimony for yourself here.

Meanwhile, a handful of Senate Democrats, including two — Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — who face difficult reelection races in 2014, have called on the administration to lengthen the Obamacare enrollment period.

At The Hill, Cameron Joseph writes that "Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, have signed onto Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's , D-N.H., push to extend the time in which uninsured people can buy insurance. Pryor also expressed concerns with the law's individual mandate — set to take effect next year — if the exchange website isn't fixed soon." Says Pryor:

"I believe, given the technical issues, it makes sense to extend the time for people to sign up. In addition, the administration should state clearly how the enforcement mechanism will work if people can't sign up in time. We all want to see the law work, and I hope the administration will take a hard look at this reasonable suggestion."

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has overseen the health care act's rollout, is expected to testify next week.

Immigration

Also this morning, President Obama will attempt to reintroduce immigration into the Capitol Hill conversation, after weeks dominated by government shutdown, default, and health care battles.

The political bottom line, succinctly put by Marc Caputo in the Miami Herald, is this: "Obama jumps into immigration reform Thursday. Does this mean it's dead or alive?"

Here's his analysis:

1) The president wants to make good on his campaign promise to get it done, and this is a chance to work with the House.

2) The president knows the House won't pass it. So he wants the proverbial cat to die on their doorstep. And he wants Hispanics to know where the body lies.

The fact that GOP House Speaker John Boehner this week declared an immigration overhaul "important," did little to change anyone's perception of the political reality in the House.

In his morning speech, the president is expected to deliver what his aides characterize as a call for Congress to pass "common sense immigration reform."

Ted Cruz's Better? Other? Half

With Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's recent elevation to the national stage, it was only a matter of time before his wife, Heidi, 41, began sharing the spotlight. Here's today's New York Times profile of the "vegetarian with a Harvard M.B.A." who's a managing director at Goldman Sachs.

Writes Ashley Parker: "She works for Goldman in Houston, where she lives with the couple's two young children, and as her husband's fame has increased — depending on the audience, he is among the most pilloried or revered members of the Senate — she has maintained a low profile."

And, finally, here's what we've also been reading about:

-Name change voter ID law confusion in Texas, reported by the Texas Tribune.

-Maryland Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler's supremely ill-advised teen drinking party attendance, reported by the Baltimore Sun.

-Debate in Illinois over minimum sentencing laws, reported by NPR's Cheryl Corley.

Oh, and we don't care about the rooms in Mitt Romney's new house, hidden or otherwise. Leave the man alone.

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