Lost town blues, Harley cuts back, homilies for Americans, more

Lost Town Blues
—The New York Times

People who live in small towns that have been passed over don’t need to be told that they’re bitter, or heroic. They’re stuck, is what they are. The honest ones say they would follow their kids out of town, if only they had the means. A few years ago, a University of Nebraska survey of 3,087 people in rural counties asked people how they felt about their lives. Only 11 percent of them said they were satisfied with where they lived. Optimism, as much a part of the landscape as winter wheat, was disappearing.

Harley to cut 730 jobs, idle plants
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Harley will temporarily idle plants and change daily production rates, Ziemer said. These changes will result in the permanent loss of about 370 unionized employees over the next several months, he said. In addition, Harley said it will cut about 360 non-production jobs….Harley-Davidson has about 5,600 production workers and 3,560 non-production workers….About 80% of the unionized work force job cuts will take place at Harley’s plant in York, Pa., the largest plant in the Harley system. Another 14% of the plant-worker cuts will come from Harley’s plants in Wisconsin, according to Ziemer.

Democratic debate dwells on Barack Obama’s past
—Los Angeles Times

Obama, the Illinois senator, was thrown on the defensive for the first half of the nearly two-hour debate. The moderators, ABC News anchors Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, pressed him on his recent comments about “bitter” small-town Pennsylvanians; his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.; his acquaintance with a long-ago member of the Weather Underground group; and the absence of an American flag in his lapel — though no one else on stage wore one.

Clinton’s narrow victory over Obama in the Philly debate
—Slate

Good thing, too, because the first 40 minutes of the debate at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia were all about politics. The ABC News mailbox has probably already melted from angry e-mails about the questions’ tit-for-tat focus. They concerned the gaffes and track-backs that we political elites obsess over but that inflame people who have ready access to e-mail and demand the candidates talk about substance

In Homily, Pope Describes Hope for Healing After Clergy Scandal
—Washington Post

“Dear Friends, my visit to the United States is meant to be a witness to Christ, our hope. Americans have always been a people of hope: your ancestors came to this country with the expectation of finding new freedom and opportunity, a new nation on new foundations,” he said. “To be sure, this promise was not experienced by all the inhabitants of this land; one thinks of the injustices endured by the native American peoples and by those brought here forcibly from Africa as slaves. Yet hope, hope for the future, is very much a part of the American character.”

Tags: jobswashington, d.c.2008 presidential election