Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Obama touts Chrysler return

A week after General Motors made a showy return to Wall Street, President Obama highlighted the revival of the other bailed-out auto company during a trip to an Indiana transmission factory.

The campaign-style visit to a Chrysler plant here, a city battered by plant closures, was meant to underscore the message that the stimulus, the auto-company bailouts and other federal measures had prevented even worse economic devastation.

The unemployment rate in Kokomo has dropped from 20 percent last year to 12 percent, thanks in part to $400 million in stimulus money and the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, administration officials said.

"No, we aren't out of the woods yet," Obama said at the plant. "It took a lot of years to get us into this mess. It will take longer than anybody would like to get us out. But I want everybody to be absolutely clear, we are moving in the right direction."

The appearance highlighted the administration's efforts to revive Chrysler, which has four plants in the city, employing nearly 4,500. The smaller of the two bailed-out automakers, Chrysler faced far graver challenges than did General Motors during the downturn.

Although both companies had been staggered by financial burdens, Chrysler also suffered from a nearly empty pipeline of products. Many analysts and some within the administration argued that the company should not be saved.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bush Recollection Puts Spotlight on Miscarriage

But the scene, described by former President George W. Bush in his interview with Matt Lauer of NBC News on Monday night, has started a national conversation — both about his mother, Barbara Bush, and about the complex psychological fallout from miscarriage.

Mr. Bush called his mother’s action “straightforward,” and added that it illustrated “how my mom and I developed a relationship.” Some opponents of abortion reacted approvingly. Other commentators called Mrs. Bush’s behavior the action of a depressed and angry person.

But experts say the incident is hard to interpret half a century after the fact. Indeed, it was extraordinary in at least one respect, they add: Mrs. Bush made a point of directly confronting the loss at a time when the subject was largely taboo.

When a middle-class woman miscarried in postwar America, doctors often whisked the fetus away as if there were no loss of life at all, only embarrassment; women whispered about it between themselves but hardly ever discussed it openly.

“It wasn’t thought of as losing a life; it was more like a medical mishap,” said Dr. Randi Hutter Epstein, a physician and the author of “Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth” (Norton, 2010). “And although women felt it privately, they didn’t feel it was worthy of going to see someone, or seeking help.”