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The Polls Are In

Re "Colonel McCormick, Get Ready to Roll Over: Is this the year the Tribune will endorse its first Democrat for president?" by Michael Miner, September 25

Prediction: Under pressure from higher-ups, Dold and staff endorse Obama. Disdainful of it all, they offer a weak argument and barely explain the "seismic shift," because they know it's all about making money. —DAS

All bets are off. I've worked at the Tribune and I can honestly say that they used to be proud of their "union-busting" and Republican position. But frankly, regardless of Zell's political leanings (anyone care to guess what they are?), it's evident that what Tribune Co. values above all is money. Therefore, whatever position will get them the most money will be the one they endorse. Or maybe they will simply waffle away, as McCain has done, and hope no one notices. —ATB

Maybe the Trib will endorse ... no one. —The_Little_Pig

Little Pig—the Trib declined to endorse when Braun ran against Williamson for the U.S. Senate in '92. The editorial, as I recall, was disdainful of both candidates. I can't see it being similarly disdainful of both McCain and Obama. Even if it were, it'd still pick McCain. See, for example, its endorsement of Reagan in '84. —Flyby Reader

The content of the paper has been mainstream milquetoast moderate-liberal for decades. The GOP endorsement policy was just to fool the old-timers who made up the bulk of the subscriber base. But, as everyone knows, by now newspaper endorsements have reached the point of complete unimportance, so it doesn't matter what they do. —san jose

Rage Against Red-Line Distortion

Re "The Loud Album" by Miles Raymer, September 25

The revolt against the "loudness war" is hardly surprising. As in real war, those who usually suffer the most are the innocents—in this case the listeners. Uber-loud records are fatiguing to listen to and studies have shown that they may even be harmful to your ears. Meanwhile war profiteers—like Clear Channel programmers, major label CEOs, and advertising execs—cash in on the masses' misery. At some point, the public will no longer endure being sacrificed for the benefit of an elite few, and they will turn on the powers that be, as evident during the Vietnam War.

So as a recording engineer who works on the front lines of the loudness war, and who has witnessed firsthand the lemming mentality of self-destructive mastering, let me (presumptuously) be the first one to declare a "loudness peace." Let us all acknowledge that no one wins the loudness war except for a few slimy suits who have no real respect for or attachment to the art of music. Let us all acknowledge that music sounds best when it contains loudness and softness, and let us dispel the myth that equates "louder" with "better." And let us all resolve to never purposefully create ear-grating red-line distortion in the mastering process in order to squeeze out that one more half decibel of music. Let us declare a truce, so that we may bring ourselves back from the precipice of mutually assured aural destruction.

As proven by loss of market share by major labels and the burgeoning success of independent and niche markets, we no longer need the majors' exploitative and outdated business model to produce great music. So why are we still fighting their wars for them? —Mark Berlin, Wicker Park

Why Back the Olympics If No One's Backing Us?

Re "A City Off Track: Amid the Olympics fervor, local athletes are still getting shortchanged" by Ben Joravsky, April 17

My five siblings and I are graduates of the CPS system. We all ran in those "horrible hallways" for four years while attending Steinmetz HS, and my brother and I went on to become scholarship athletes at UIC and Lewis University as a result. These men have a valid argument in that training in such inadequate facilities is harsh on your mind, body, and spirit. The point that [community activist] Conrad [Worrill] and [developer Elzie] Higginbottom are stressing here is that the money to implement such an event as the "Olympics" is controversial due to the lack of interest among "Olympic" supporters to invest a small portion of the money raised to prepare the inner-city children (our future) to take part in it. Issues of self-esteem, inferiority, and even self-worth come into play here. I know from experience, possibly like some of you, the negative feelings associated with being given the shorter end of the stick. Yes, one could say "get over it," which is exactly what God helped my siblings and I do as we succeeded in cross-country and track in both high school and in college (thank God for such success). But, the greatest question that these two are posing is, How can a city (Chicago) say to the inner-city children "Become successful" but then not invest money in ways to mentor and facilitate that success in the schools? —Monieka Thompson

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