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

2 hours 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

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

5 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


When 'Fixed Income' Means Getting By On Social Security

Oct 31, 2013
Originally published on October 31, 2013 1:23 pm

Social Security has long been thought of as just part of a retirement plan — along with pensions and savings — but it turns out a lot of people depend on it for most of their income.

According to the Social Security Administration, nearly a quarter of older married couples and almost half of single retirees count on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income.

Gilroy Hain proves that's not an easy life.

Payday comes on the third Wednesday of the month, and Hain, 64, has certain rituals. He gets $1,500 from Social Security. That's actually more than the average monthly benefit of $1,269. Hain takes care of the necessities, then splurges just a little on luxuries — though to look at his rented bedroom, the word "luxury" doesn't come to mind.

There's no bed. He has what he calls his "sleeping couch" and his "sitting couch." There's a desk and some drawers. All the furniture came from the ramshackle home of his landlady, Myrna Anderson Allen.

Taking in lodgers is relatively new for her. "I'm losing my jobs because of my age," says Allen, who's 78. "I needed an additional source of income."

Hain has been renting a bedroom in her home for about a year. His rent is $500 a month, less than half of what an average one-bedroom apartment goes for in Los Angeles. He kicks in another $50 for utilities. That leaves him with $950 for everything else. But since he doesn't have health insurance or own a car, the money goes a long way.

"No problem," says Hain. "I'm actually living below my means."

That's why renting a car is one of his payday rituals. He can afford the $60 for the car, insurance and gas. The rental place is near the University of Southern California, which happens to be his alma mater. It's about 3 1/2 miles away. He walks.

It's a walk he loves. Though the neighborhood has seen better days, it's filled with beautiful old Craftsman-style homes. And Hain comments on the architecture as he walks, noting a faithful renovation here, a bad one there.

Hain is familiar with the finer things. He made pretty good money most of his life working in the aerospace industry. He never finished his degree at USC, but back in the day, you could get a job and work your way up.

"Just the fact that I could distinguish a molecule from an atom was enough to get me in the door," he says.

Hain worked for various aerospace and engineering companies around the country. The longest he was ever with any one employer was seven years. He went from job to job to job until all of a sudden, when he was in his 50s, there weren't any more jobs for him. He drained his meager 401(k) account waiting for his job search to pan out. It never did.

Darker Days

As he drives the rental car, Hain explains that it's part necessity, part payday indulgence. He uses it for errands and grocery shopping, but also for what he calls "nostalgia trips." Those are monthly excursions to places he used to live in better times. Recently, he also took a trip to one place he ordinarily wouldn't go. It's a busy boulevard next to the Century City shopping mall in West LA. He points to a row of trees. That's where he slept after he emptied his 401(k). The trees used to be thicker, he explains, which provided more privacy.

"It was actually almost like little rooms, vegetable rooms," Hain says. "There was a branch where I could hang clothes if I needed to let them dewrinkle. But I had a regular little setup, very neat."

From there he would walk up the street a couple of blocks to his part-time job at Starbucks. He says no one there realized he was homeless.

"I just make a point of crossing the street when I was sure nobody was watching. I kind of liked the stealthy thing," says Hain. "And I did it for two years."

And then he lost that job and went on general relief. That's just a little more than $200 a month. It was a dark time. "I think I was aware that I was a little bit out of my mind," Hain says.

But Social Security saved him. "If Social Security hadn't been here, it would've been quite a different story," he says.

Hain is now even able to save money. It's for emergencies — like when he had to replace his eyeglasses — or for a trip to Ikea someday, if he gets a place of his own.

The final payday stop is the grocery store. It's too far from where he lives for him to carry all he needs, so he uses the car to stock up. He says he doesn't make a fixed budget for food. "I don't actually need to," he says. "I stay within one without writing anything down."

As he pays, the checkout guy smiles and wishes him a great day. And though Hain may not be having "great" days right now, just getting by is his success story.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit