As many of you probably know, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was involved in another ‘merger’. This time it’s most current owner group, Gannett (which also owned USA Today) merged with New Media Investment Group. And of course as is the nature of these mergers the new company will be sleeker and more efficient my reducing cost redundancies (i.e. employees), $300 – 400 million worth.

And Bruce Murphy over at UrbanMilwaukee reports on some of the earliest local casualties:

The departures at the Journal Sentinel include some big names, which were first reported at the Business Journal. They include columnist Jim Stingl, food editor and writer Nancy Stohs, business reporters Rick Romell and Paul Gores, general assignment reporter Jesse Garza, environmental reporter Lee Bergquist and night news editor Bob Friday.

full disclosure: Bob Friday is a personal friend.

So already, MJS is a leaner machine but a lean that will be readily apparent on the frontlines and the print edition of the paper almost immediately. Since the main news section is already down to 14 pages (and four of them are full page ads for hearing aids), I don’t know who’s left to write content for them.

There will be more cuts coming…but this isn’t the only reason I fear for the paper’s continued good health.

There’s this little cherry hidden in one of the articles about the merger:

Gannett’s current CEO, Bascobert, will retain that title as head of the new company’s operating subsidiary, also to be called Gannett. He has said he’s confident of hitting the savings target.

It’s crucial because, at an interest rate of 11.5%, the Apollo loan could become onerous if not paid off quickly, said Tim Hynes, head of North American research for debt analysis service Debtwire.

emphasis mine

11.5% interest…in an era of some of the lowest interest rates in my lifetime…when an average home buyer can get a 30 year mortgage at under 4%…these high flyer investors can’t do better?

I don’t hold out much hope for a company fighting the downward trend in advertising revenues and even faster declines in paid subscriptions that they will reduce costs to pay 11.5% usury without gutting their actual product to the range of uselessness.

My only thought is how much time do they have left?

Trump calls FBI ‘scum’ at rally in Pennsylvania. Treason.

Video here: MSNBC

At a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump called the FBI ‘scum’ amid the release of an IG report on the FBI’s investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign. The IG report debunked the president’s claim that the investigation into his campaign was launched by biased individuals within the intelligence community looking to undermine his presidency.

Will they be asked to clean out their desks during the holiday season? Can the president get away with firing two FBI directors in one term? Who gets to fire Horowitz? Barr or Trump?

Just thinking out loud.

from the Twitterverse:

Really? The Bidens have nothing to do with this…it’s the ask that’s the crime. It really is that simple…but apparently not simple enough for our simpleton ex-governor!

Let’s make sure that Scott Walker is never elected to anything ever again!

No…really…even as the police were active and schools in lockdown, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted:

When are we finally going to demand effective solutions to gun violence?

Six people were killed – including a police officer – in a raging gunbattle Tuesday at a cemetery and corner store, forcing the city’s schools to lock down and rattling nearby residents.

One officer was pronounced dead at a hospital, and three civilians and two gunmen died at a kosher supermarket, police chief Mike Kelly said at a press conference.

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This came from an Associated Press source so I suppose it’s real…but it seems incredibly Onionesque.

So GOP leadership has even given up the pretense of respecting the office…

P.S. anyone know who Roger Roth is? Except for signing this letter, he seems pretty much lost in action.

covers the gist in just around a minute:

it’s 10 minutes long…but Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said out loud what many of us have been thinking:

Chief blasts the NRA, U.S. Senators after Houston officer’s murder

Editor’s Note: 12/10/2019: the TV station from the link above removed the longer 10 minute press conference with Chief Acevedo. But here is a short excerpt with the gist of his thoughts:

 

Was there even a thoughts and prayers tweet this time or just the conveyance of the Saudi’s distress over the shooting?

When a Saudi Air Force officer opened fire on his classmates at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., on Friday, he killed three, wounded eight and exposed anew the strange dynamic between President Trump and the Saudi leadership: The president’s first instinct was to tamp down any suggestion that the Saudi government needed to be held to account.

Hours later, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had received a condolence call from King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who clearly sought to ensure that the episode did not further fracture their relationship. On Saturday, leaving the White House for a trip here (Fort Lauderdale) for a Republican fund-raiser and a speech on Israeli-American relations, Mr. Trump told reporters that “they are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” noting that “the king will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.” He never used the word “terrorism.”

What was missing was any assurance that the Saudis would aid in the investigation, help identify the suspect’s motives, or answer the many questions about the vetting process for a coveted slot at one of the country’s premier schools for training allied officers. Or, more broadly, why the United States continues to train members of the Saudi military even as that same military faces credible accusations of repeated human rights abuses in Yemen, including the dropping of munitions that maximize civilian casualties.

One time that the situation demanded that the president put America first, he failed miserably. He has failed to defend the United States. He has failed to defend Americans. He has failed to defend the United States Military. He has committed an act of treason.

“Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not if you put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don’t expect Carter or Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself” John Lennon

John Lennon died on this day in 1980…

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