Translating the Terrible Transition

Richard Longworth's new book - Caught in the Middle - has sat on the desk here for several weeks. Right on top of Lincoln's Sword and Me Talk Pretty One Day, one of those rare laugh-out-loud reads.

I'm sure Mr. Longworth's book, subtitled America's Heartland in the Age of Globalism, is really smart, and full of common sense revelation. That's why I bought it.

But with chapter titles like 'From Rust to Bust,' 'Left Behind,' and 'Flunking Out,' I'm content reading Jack and the Beanstalk to my one-year-old daughter. We're planting seeds for bigger and better things.

Here's what Mr. Longworth, a decorated journalist and senior fellow at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, told the Grand Rapids Press yesterday in advance of a visit to that city tonight...

"You are in a terrible period of transition. The Industrial Age created the Midwest, and that age is over. It's time we started talking together, planning together and working together. Michigan is not in competition with Indiana or Ohio. It is in competition with China."