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May 27th, 2017

Dept. of Union Stuff

Day Two of Vacation: A Request

After my brief, but heartfelt, snarl about one of the awful people with whom I'm forced to negotiate, I realized I haven't told anyone about the miserable news we folks at my immediate company heard concerning Chicago news. Michael Ferro, who bought the Chicago Sun-Times several years ago, drove it even further into the ground than Conrad Black had left it; who gave the Sun-Times holding company the ridiculous name Wrapports;who sold all the Sun-Times suburban publications to the Chicago Tribune Publishing Company, thereby freeing the suburban properties - we thought - from his bizarre, self-aggrandizing, and supremely anti-journalistic ass;  who then jumped ship so that he could become majority shareholder at Chicago Tribune Publishing, ensuring that we couldn't be free of the bastard; who proceeded to rename the Tribune after the sound a flatulent goose makes when trod upon (and even the Trib didn't deserve "tronc") - has now turned around and plans to buy the Chicago Sun-Times, which he ensured would be barely breathing by the time he did so.

We believe he plans to kill the Sun-Times, somewhere between 18 and 24 months from the time he gets his claws on it. He's a mean, vicious creature, and we believe that -  not content with having used the Sun-Times as the platform from which he could reach his real goal, the Trib and it's network (the L.A. Times, Hartford Courant and others) not content with having sucked the lifeblood out of the Sun-Times in his quest - he actually wants to kill it, so that Chicago become a one-paper town, like too many major markets in the United States. As I said; mean and vicious.

Thus far the Department of Justice's antitrust division appears to be paving the way for Ferro to do this; here are a couple of stories about the proposed sale. You be the judge when it comes to how carefully the antitrust boys are looking at this.

The NewsGuild is trying to stop this, or at least slow it down so that other potential buyers could be found to save the Sun-Times. Part of our strategy is this petition.
Consider signing it; no matter where you live, the continuing health of news outlets should be a concern. If you decide to sign, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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Dept. of Passages

One More Gone

I grew up with the Allman Brothers Band. I didn't know dick about rock and roll until I was a young adult, but I loved the sound of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts urging each other on on their guitars; I loved the non-stop double set of drummers; I loved Gregg Allman's raw-throated vocals. I didn't know their names at the time I fell in love with their music, but I went out and found their albums, and then I learned their names.

I find it weird that just a few nights ago I got the unstoppable urge to listen to "Layla," in which Duane and Eric Clapton and the rest of the band tear the world apart for love. And tonight, I'm mourning the little brother who idolized big brother Duane.

Here are possibly my two favorite Allman Brothers' Band songs. Midnight Rider, because of the controlled desperation of the lyrics, which Gregg's voice carried; Whipping Post because it made me feel every lash of the whip, and filled my head with its thunderous bass line and Gregg's howl. (The live version at the Fillmore is amazing - go watch it here - but I include the album version here because that's the one that hit me in the gut first.)

RIP, Gregg Allman; you finally made it to angel.












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