…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Associated Press reports that Wisconsin-based retail chain Shopko Stores has announced that “it plans to close an additional 139 Shopko and Shopko Hometown stores.,” a move that “brings the list of closings to 251 stores, about two-thirds of the company's retail locations.”

The company said in a statement that “it believes the closings will help make Shopko more attractive to potential buyers.”


Axios reports the formation of the National Cannabis Roundtable, described as “an industry-funded group to lobby for cannabis reform, including changes affecting medical research, banking and taxes.”

The announcement of the group will be made today by John Boehner, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is on the board of Acreage Holdings, which is one of the seven founding members of the new trade association.


• Woody Allen has sued Amazon in federal court for at least $68 million, accusing the company of breach of contract. Allen says, according to the New York Times, “that the company’s streaming service had improperly backed out of a four-movie deal because of a renewed focus on allegations of sexual abuse on Allen’s part.”

The allegations are that Allen sexually abused his daughter in 1992, when she was seven years old. Allen has denied the allegations, and has never been charged with or convicted of any crime.

Amazon made a deal in 2017 to release Allen’s next four films, but as the allegations have gotten greater traction in the media - especially because of similar charges made against powerful show business men including Harvey vWeinstein, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. - it has declined to do so.

Amazon, according to the suit, “said that the deal had become ‘impracticable’ because of ‘supervening events, including renewed allegations against Mr. Allen, his own controversial comments, and the increasing refusal of top talent to work with or be associated with him in any way, all of which have frustrated the purpose of the agreement’.”

Out of curiosity, I checked, and it looks to me like Woody Allen’s last five movies didn’t together generate a total of $68 million in box office receipts. On that basis alone, I’d question why Amazon even made the deal … especially because it knew Allen’s reputation.

I always was a Woody Allen fan, but I cannot even watch his films anymore. It is all just too distasteful, and just feels wrong. I’m not sure what Amazon’s legal culpability is, but I don’t blame it for walking away from this arrangement.