In his appearance at Chrysler’s auto plant in Toledo, President Barack Obama repeated the standard
themes of his campaign stump speech while downplaying today’s bad economic news. Standing in his shirtsleeves before an audience of union workers, he declared that he was “bettin’ on American workers.”Obama promoted “investments” in education and technology, and touted his management of the auto industry, which he said saved millions of jobs. The industry is back, he said, saying it has hired 113,0000 workers since the 2008, and has scheduled extra shifts at two factories.The president also called for spending cuts and hinted at tax increases. “We’ve got to live within our means, everybody’s got to do their part,” he said. ”Middle-class workers like you, though, shouldn’t be bearing all the burden. You work too hard for someone to ask you to pay more so that somebody who’s making millions or billions of dollars can pay less.”Obama evoked national pride: “[W]e are people who will forge a better future because that is what we do… when we come together, no-one can stop us” – then reprised his ‘Win the Future’ slogan and declared that “we can live out the American dream again… that’s what drives me every day I step into the Oval office.”The president’s speech followed the narrative urged by former Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg. Greenberg argues that Obama and other Democrats can win majority support from the public if they hit the right notes – investment, solidarity, America, the Middle Class – while avoiding blame for the current stalled economy.But Obama did suggest that Republican policies were to blame for the economic downturn. “In the year before I took office, this industry lost more than 400,000 jobs… we could have done what a lot of folks in Washington thought we should do, and that is nothing… just let US automakers go into an uncontrolled free-fall… we refused to let that happen,” he said before praising his own policies.“We’re still feeling the sting of the recession… even though the economy is growing, even though it has created more than 2 million jobs in the last 15 months,” Obama said. This was his main reference to May’s disappointing jobs numbers, which showed the economy generated only 54,000 new jobs last month, including roughly 20,000 jobs at McDonalds outlets. The job creation total would have been higher except for the loss of 5,000 manufacturing jobs and 29,000 government jobs. The May numbers were just one-third the 150,000 forecast by economists, and nudged the unemployment rate back up to 9.1 percent.Republicans derided Obama’s speech and economic record. The speech was “political response to an economic question… [and] an attempt to distract our attention from the looming financial crisis that we’re capable of handling,” former GOP Rep. Fred Grandy told Fox News.Obama declined to mention his audience’s new employer, Fiat, which inked a deal last night to buy the last 6 percent of Chrysler’s shares for $500 million. “Soon Chrysler will be 100 percent in private hands, early, faster than anybody believed,” he said.Fiat is based in Turin, Italy, and earns its money by selling small autos and trucks into the European market. It has had, up to now, very little presence in the US market.Despite Fiat’s payments, the federal government has not recouped the last $1.4 billion of its Chrysler bailout package.The president also neglected to mention the three pending free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. He has repeatedly promised industry leaders that he will push the deal through Congress, but White House officials said last month they would not push the deals until the GOP agrees to fund programs that aid workers who lose jobs because of international trade. The trade deals are especially unpopular among the unions, whose extensive get-out-the-vote networks are critical to this 2012 reelection chances.Obama’s ratings among working-class whites are already well below 50 percent, and the factor workers greeted him “respectfully rather than enthusiastically,” according to the pool reporter who accompanied the president on his tour of the assembly floor.Read more stories from The Daily Caller
Man-Size Meteor From Comet Lights Up Georgia Sky By Mike Wall , SPACE.com Senior
A brilliant meteor blazed through the sky above Georgia recently, and two NASA fireball-monitoring cameras caught the dramatic display on video.The meteor was caused by a human-size chunk of an unknown comet. It was the brightest meteor yet recorded by NASA’s fireball-observing network — based at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. — in its nearly three years of operation, officials said.The 6-foot-wide (1.8-meter) space rock barrelled into Earth’s atmosphere at 10:47 p.m. EDT on May 20 (0247 GMT on May 21), about 66 miles (106 kilometers) above the city of Macon, Ga. [Video of the bright Macon meteor]Cameras ready and waitingTwo NASA all-sky cameras, both located in northwest Georgia, tracked the resulting meteor and captured it on video. Analysis of the videos allowed scientists to calculate the basics of the object’s speed, trajectory, mass and orbit.When it entered the atmosphere, the comet chunk was traveling northwest at about 86,000 mph (138,404 kph), researchers said. At this velocity, the boulder-size „dirty snowball” possessed an energy or striking power somewhere between 500 and 1,000 tons of TNT.But that striking power was never realized on the ground. The Macon meteoroid was too small, and made of the wrong kind of stuff, to survive the trip through Earth’s atmosphere, researchers said. Indeed, the video shows four distinct flares emanating from the comet chunk as it broke apart multiple times.After a last burst of light, the meteor burned up completely 38 miles (61 km) above the town of Villa Rica, Ga., officials said.The Macon meteor qualifies as a fireball, which is officially defined as a meteor that shines brighter than Venus in the sky.Fireballs like the May 20 event are impressive but not terribly unusual. Objects as big as washing machines typically fall into Earth’s atmosphere on a monthly basis, but most of them burn up before reaching the ground. Many of the resulting fireballs are not seen because they occur over remote areas or over oceans (which cover more than two-thirds of Earth’s surface).A robotic fireball-monitoring networkNASA’s meteor-watching network, run by the Meteoroid Environment Office at Marshall, currently consists of four robotic cameras: the two in Georgia, one in Huntsville, and one in southern Tennessee. These „smart” cameras are linked into a computer system that automatically analyzes their video, then calculates relevant information about incoming space rocks’ trajectories and orbits.Researchers hope to place a total of 15 such cameras in various locations throughout the eastern United States, which has few such systems, NASA officials said.The overall goal of the camera system is to learn much more about the pieces of space rock that strike Earth and our atmosphere — how big they are, what they’re made of and where they come from, researchers have said.You can follow SPACE.com senior writer Mike Wall on Twitter: @michaeldwall. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on
Obama says no to embassy move in Israel, follows practice of Clinton and Bush
By Associated Press, The Washington Post WASHINGTON — Following the practice of his predecessors, President Barack Obama has invoked U.S. national security interests to notify Congress he will not move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.The notification is necessary under a 1995 law that authorized the embassy’s relocation but left the decision to presidents. Bill Clinton and George Bush submitted similar notifications to Congress. Under the law, such declarations must be made every six months. Obama also issued them during the first two years of his administration.The location of the embassy is sensitive in Mideast peace negotiations because both Israel and Palestinians claim it as their capitalWhile Clinton and Bush had indicated a commitment to moving the embassy at some point, Obama’s notification does not contain that language.Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.