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LETTERS: Fine music that evokes memories of simpler times

I enjoyed reading the Viewpoint by Patrick Reardon in the Sunday Sun-Times about McDonald’s in Chicago being a microcosm of America. Here’s something about a McDonald’s in a Chicago suburb that is also part of “Americana” from not that long ago.

A few years ago I stopped at the McDonald’s in Countryside (near La Grange) for coffee during a thunderstorm. I felt cozy sitting there sipping my coffee when all of a sudden I felt like I was in a movie or even another reality in time and space. I heard gorgeous-sounding “100 violins” and recognized the old song “Laura” from the movie of the same name.

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Then I heard a trumpet playing and realized it was Jackie Gleason conducting a huge orchestra with the jazz legend Bobby Hackett playing his cornet. It was a “magical moment.”

At almost every restaurant in the country,  you hear mindless “pop” music that often doesn’t resemble what musicians and much of the general public call music. But I was hearing the finest musicians and musical arrangers in America. When the song ended, I next heard a tinkling piano and recognized the song was “As Time Goes By” from the movie Casablanca. Now I really felt suspended in time and space, another “magical music moment.”

You still hear the finest music at that McDonald’s that can evoke memories of a simpler time when musical quality was at its peak.

Steven Cooper, La Grange Park

Deceit and hypocrisy

There has always been a degree of deceit and hypocrisy in politics. It seems, however, that Gov. Bruce Rauner and his cohorts appear to be taking this to higher degrees almost daily. Earlier this week Rauner attacked his prospective opponent come next November about his shielding money in an effort to avoid taxes. Pritzger fired back that Rauner makes his money by putting people out of work. And that is where the hypocrisy comes in. Rauner has said he knows how to bring thousands of jobs to Illinois, yet this action again shows what he thinks of workers rights to earn a livable wage. Unions may not always do what’s right, but one has to ask where many workers in this country would be without them.

This latest example of Rauner’s anti-union agenda would greatly affect unions abilities to earn decent salaries and working conditions for its members and put them at the mercy of businesses to pay whatever they deemed appropriate to them. Along with his anti-union stance, Rauner has shown how he feels about the citizenry of this state. During the budget stalemate he refused to pay tuition grants to eligible recipients in the state, cut funding to charitable organizations serving the poor and needy, and others similar to them. The idea that he would want to weaken, if not kill unions is just another step in that direction. And therein lies the hypocrisy of Rauner, Trump and all the other millionaires/billionaires who seek only to increase their personal wealth.

This is once again shown by Rauner who has endorsed the Trump tax legislation that favors those like him and penalizes virtually everyone else. Governor,, it’s time for the lying,, deceit and hypocrisy to end. So far you have done virtually nothing to better the lives of people in this state.

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park

Bringing back memories

I wanted to thank you on behalf of my late father, Harry Schaudt, on your thoughtful editorial titled “Times Change, but not the Mission of the Sun-Times” on Dec, 14.

My dad worked for over 30 years at the Chicago Daily News (until it ceased operations) and then the Chicago Sun-Times from the late 1950s until 1990. He was a reporter, copy writer and copy editor and he loved his job and he loved working for those two papers. My brothers and I loved accompanying our dad to work. The section of your editorial that mentioned the roaring of the presses at the Wabash building brought back those memories.

We were all proud of our dad and his work. He instilled a love for the press and writing in each of us. I am still a subscriber to your paper and wish you well in the future. My father would be proud and happy to hear of your continuing commitment to independent journalism.

Jim Schaudt Woodridge

Less obvious changes

Thankfully, the Sun-Times and other papers are writing about proposed changes to America’s tax code being rushed through Congress. Unfortunately, there are some less obvious changes buried in the detail of the almost 600-page bill which also rush in an extreme agenda that would not be supported by most Americans if they were aware of their existence:

1.) Repeal of the Johnson Amendment (adopted in 1954) that assured separation of church and state by preventing churches from participating in political campaigns and political fundraising under the threat of losing their tax-exempt status.

2.) First steps to undermining Roe v. Wade by allowing parents to claim tax exemptions for unborn children and establishing Congress’s recognition of the legal status of the unborn.

3.) Eliminating the deduction for state, local and property taxes undermining the value of family homes and permitting a $10,000 deduction for private school tuition. The risk to funding for public education is conspicuous.

4.) Continuing the downward trend of taxes on beer and wine. In 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (29%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

5.) Destabilization of health insurance markets and Obama care by eliminating the health insurance mandate.

6.) Undermining access to higher education for traditional-age undergraduates, nontraditional older students, folks who need to go back for retraining, and graduate students at a time when we need skilled workers more than ever. As the deal making continues to progress among Republicans trying to deliver one piece of legislation in 2017, the need for reporting that goes beyond the obvious and into the weeds has never been more important.

Katharine Nathan, West Rogers Park