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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Wednesday Morning Political Mix

Oct 16, 2013

Good morning.

Can you say lost day?

Can you say 24 hours closer to joining the pantheon of deadbeat nations?

Can you say turning on the default spigot of poison gas? (Warren Buffet can.)

That's where the nation is left this morning after the frantic, feckless and failed efforts Tuesday by House Republicans to agree on a path to avoid our nation's default and end our government's shutdown.

After the GOP House leadership waved the white flag, unable to appease factions that included the hard-line defund Obamacare crowd, the issue moved back to the Democratic-controlled Senate.

By late night, there were strong signs that a deal would emerge today to reopen the government until Jan. 15, and lift the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.

But not before Fitch Ratings put the U.S. government's AAA credit on "ratings watch negative." That signals a potential credit downgrade, directly related to the politics of the default/debt ceiling mess.

While Wall Street retreated Tuesday, early international market reports today suggested they were edging lower, but nothing precipitous as of this writing.

Neither the House nor the Senate, which adjourned at 10 p.m. Tuesday, has a set agenda today, but will be in session.

Here's how the stage has been set for today's efforts to avoid default:

  • A scathing lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal advises the Republicans to "wrap up this comedy of political errors." The business bible accused the party of blundering by choosing an unachievable goal – trying to defund Obamacare – and picking the politically unsustainable tactic of using government shutdown and threats to "blow through the debt limit" to get there.

Bottom line from the WSJ: "Republicans can best help their cause now by getting this over with and moving on to fight more intelligently another day."

  • Speculation continues over what tactics Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the leader of the GOP's anti-Obamacare caucus, may use to derail Senate efforts to craft a last-minute deal to avoid default. Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss told NPR's Morning Edition today that he doubts Cruz and his loyal lieutenant, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, will act to delay. "They're probably looking at the next round," Chambliss predicted.

  • And Republicans are facing down one of the most damaging periods in recent memory, one that analysts including Josh Barro at Business Insider say raises the natural question of the party's competence and ability to take care of the nation's best interests. "There is not serious argument for Republican governance right now, even if you prefer conservative policies over liberal ones," Barro writes. "A party that is this bad at tactics can't be expected to be any good at policy-making."

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina put it more succinctly: "We screwed up."

Outside of Washington, here are some other stories we've been following:

  • Former Secretary of State Senator/First Lady/prospective 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a closed-door appearance before a trade group reportedly took pains to note that Vice President Joe Biden opposed the administration's raid that ended up in the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Biden has not ruled out a presidential run in 2016.

  • The Federal Reserve today releases its periodic "Beige Book" report that tracks economic conditions, including home sales, consumer spending, lending activity and employment. The anecdotal data is the Reserve's 12 regional banks. In September, the report found "modest to moderate" growth nationally.

  • Voters in New Jersey go to the polls today to elect a new U.S. senator. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, is expected to prevail over Republican Steve Lonegan.
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