Money is tight at Springfield’s daily newspaper as reckoning day approaches for GateHouse Media, corporate parent of the State Journal-Register that went on a drunken-sailor spending spree with borrowed money a few years back and paid way too much for a whole bunch of publications, including the SJ-R in 2007. More than $1 billion in debt comes due in 2014, so it’s a good thing that circulation and ad revenue have been skyrocketing. Ahem. We’re told that notebooks for reporters are in short supply and police scanners for the photo staff need fixing as even the tiniest expenditure, save for six-figure bonuses for GateHouse executives, goes under the do-we-really-need-it microscope. But nothing screams desperation like a shredded flag, and that’s what’s flying in front of a paper that claims to love America and our fair city. Old Glory’s bottom corner has a bad tear, but that’s nothing compared to the City of Springfield flag, which is torn, frayed and pocked by a hole near the center. It’s in worse shape than the city’s streets and sewers. So, if you care about the SJ-R and the Land of the Free, send a check to the Really, We Do Care About Appearances Fund at the newspaper’s address. We made that last part up, but appearances really do matter.