A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Monthly Archives: July 2005

Poor Kalamazoo

Poor Kalamazoo: It looks like Pfizer is moving some 500 research jobs out of the area (most of these are actually in Portage, the city just to our south). They’re leaving most of the manuafacturing jobs, and animal research in the area, as well as a small research group. Kalamazoo was the world headquarters of the Upjohn Company, which merged with Pharmacia and then swallowed by Pfizer. This doesn’t bode well for Kalamazoo’s long term future. A local hobby shop, Rider’s, recently announced they are going out of business: the manager said:

We survived the close of the General Motors plant, but the layoffs and job transfers at Pfizer really hurt us.

and this was the earlier round of layoffs at Pfizer.

Governor Granholm is trying to negotiate the creation of a 3 billion dollar R&D fund with the Republican dominated legislature; she’s also traveling to Japan to woo Toyota to build plants in Michigan (here’s an article on the trip and the fund). Michigan is tied with Mississippi for the highest unemployment: it’s just possible that these efforts will help.


Caller id announcement

My phone speaks aloud the caller id when someone calls. Today a friend called from Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, which caller id shortened, so the phone announced: “Call from Immanuel Christ.”

The Race That Shall Not Be Named

Good essay on Harry Potter And The Imbalance of Race by Keith Woods— one of the things that have always bothered me about the Harry Potter books, and a good suggestion for what to do (hint: it’s not calling Rowlings racist).

Palindrome audio

Listen to the “my girlfriend has a freaking wierd name…” palindrome.

Ursula K Le Guin on Roald Dahl & her children

Letters to the Editor – April 1973

That Mr. Dahl’s books have a very powerful effect on children is evident. Kids between 8 and 11 seem to be truly fascinated by them; one of mine used to finish Charlie and then start it right over from the beginning (she was subject to these fits for about two months at age 11). She was like one possessed while reading it, and for a while after reading she was, for a usually amiable child, quite nasty. Apparently the books, with their wish-fulfillment, their slam-bang action, and their ethical crassness, provide a genuine escape experience, a tiny psychological fugue, very like that provided
by comic books.

Part of an on-line exhibit by The Horn Book.

(We went to see the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie tonight. I didn’t like it all that much–slow paced, and Depp really doesn’t do justice to Wonka. The others with whom I saw it had generally favorable reviews, though.)

Potter covers

Daughter Jand and I have have finished the new Harry Potter book. I think it’s better written than the last book–tauter, more showing, less telling. Jane thought Rowling made several mistakes, including killing off a major character. It does get fairly dark near the end, as others have noted. This will be a harder book to film, I think. Rowling has a lot to do in the last book to bring out a reasonably happy ending.

UK ‘Adult edition’:

All images from various Amazon.com websites. Apparently, the German and French editions are not due until Ocotober or so.

Good Palidrome

Ethnologue article

CJR on reporters and Rove

CJR Daily: Archives

Incidents like this remind us that reporters really do want to do what reporters should do — hammer hypocrisy, discover the facts, and write stories that level with readers. But cowed by bias charges and handcuffed by conventions that keep reporters from calling a lie a lie, all too often they shy away from writing stories that cut through the bull—-.

Scott McClellan not commenting

It looks like the press is finally putting a little fire on the Whitehouse: read this press briefing by Scott McClellan.

Q Scott, can I ask you this; did Karl Rove commit a crime?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, this is a question relating to an ongoing investigation, and you have my response related to the investigation. And I don’t think you should read anything into it other than we’re going to continue not to comment on it while it’s ongoing.

Q Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003 when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliott Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, “I’ve gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this” — do you stand by that statement?

MR. McCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation we’re not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time, as well.

Q Scott, I mean, just — I mean, this is ridiculous. The notion that you’re going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell people watching this that somehow you decided not to talk. You’ve got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, I’m well aware, like you, of what was previously said, and I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation —

Q Why are you choosing when it’s appropriate and when it’s inappropriate?

MR. McCLELLAN: If you’ll let me finish —

Q No, you’re not finishing — you’re not saying anything. You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke out about Joseph Wilson’s wife. So don’t you owe the American public a fuller explanation? Was he involved, or was he not? Because, contrary to what you told the American people, he did, indeed, talk about his wife, didn’t he?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, there will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

Q Do you think people will accept that, what you’re saying today?