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

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Why Democratic Rep. Israel Voted For Debt Bill

Oct 17, 2013
Originally published on October 17, 2013 10:23 am



Let's turn now to a House Democrat for reaction on the deal. Democratic Representative Steve Israel of New York is on the line. Good morning, Congressman.

REPRESENTATIVE STEVE ISRAEL: Good morning. How are you?

MONTAGNE: Fine. Thank you very much. Now, let's just move forward in time. Democrats said they would negotiate once the government reopened and the debt ceiling was raised. Both of those done. Are you ready for serious budget negotiations?

ISRAEL: Oh, absolutely. We always have been. We've already demonstrated our willingness and ability to pass balanced budgets that includes essential spending reductions but also put revenues on the table. When we get down to Budget Control Act and we're ready to do that again. We are welcoming this debate that we will now have over the next several months on how you pass responsible budgets that reduce spending smartly, that generate revenues fairly, that help the middle-class and create jobs. And every time we contrast our priorities with the Republican priorities, voters side with our priorities.

MONTAGNE: Well, though some of your language you share with Republicans: sensible budget considerations, sensible changes. Those are Republican words as well. Now, there's a conference committee coming up. The president has offered to give some ground on entitlements. Some liberals have been unhappy about that. What about you? Are you ready to sign on?

ISRAEL: Oh absolutely, as long as the changes are fair. Let me give an example. You know, the Republicans talk about the need to make changes in Medicare. We'll take a look at that. We're open to reason and willing to meet in the middle ground. However, while they're looking at Medicare, maybe they should look at $40 billion in subsidies that taxpayers give to big oil companies every 10 years.

Maybe they ought to take a look at the entitlement programs where members of Congress actually receive checks from the federal government in the former farm subsidies. Maybe they should look at why big pharmaceutical companies aren't required to negotiate volume discounts with Medicare.

So as long as we take a broad comprehensive and fair look at both sides of the budget - spending, which I believe we need to continue to reduce - but also revenues and fairness, then maybe these negotiations can be productive.

MONTAGNE: Well, hopefully so, though when you talk about broad, that brings in so elements that in some ways that is the problem. Are we going to see a repeat of the same stalemate of recent years?

ISRAEL: Well, look. Since 2010 we have had a group of people who like to manufacture crisis, they bring us from cliff to cliff. There was just an analysis by macro-analytic advisors that said that these stalemates, these crises, these cliffs have actually cost the economy $700 billion. And so on this recent crisis, while I would've preferred a much longer extension of keeping government open and longer terms not to default, I came to the conclusion that it may be better to kick the can than to crush the can.

These people wanted to crush the can. They wanted to keep the government closed. They were willing to default. We did get ourselves some time. And now I hope that Republicans - that this is a teachable moment for Republicans, that they've learned that recklessness and irresponsibility and inflicting harm on the economy in order to advance partisan gain didn't work out for them and it's time to truly meet in the middle.

MONTAGNE: Well, you are the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And as you've suggested, the Republicans have been hurt more than the Democrats in polls over this shutdown. Now, your job is to get Democrats elected in 2014. Do you think voters will remember the shutdown in a year's time?

ISRAEL: I think they're going to remember this. And I think they're going to remember two years ago when they tried to shut down the government over a woman's right to go to Planned Parenthood. And they're going to remember last January when the Republicans were willing to shut down the government and hurl us off a cliff rather than reforming the Bush tax cuts. They're going to remember this because this has inflicted real harm on the economy and hurt people's pocketbooks.

You know, federal workers who are out of a job and their families, they're going to remember this. Seniors, who are concerned about their pensions and retirements, they will remember. This shutdown cost our economy $24 billion, and so this is not some kind ephemeral, you know, one off. These Republicans, because of their irresponsibility and recklessness, have inflicted real harm on real people. And those real people will remember that harm.

MONTAGNE: Representative Steve Israel of New York, thanks very much for joining us.

ISRAEL: Thank you, Renee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.