This is a rush transcript, excuse all errors!
Today is Wednesday. It’s August 31 2022 and it’s 2:39 in the afternoon. Hi, this is John Williams. Thanks for finding the Mincing Rascals podcast. Portions of this are going to be broadcast Saturday night on WGN radio. Get your friends to listen to the radio and get them to download the Mincing Rascals podcast. You can also hear me weekdays from 10 to 2 on WGN.
I’m John Hansen. I’m on WGN radio and on WCIU-TV and Block Club Chicago.
Mark Guarino 00:34
I’m Mark Guarino, Chicago freelancer for The Washington Post and producer with ABC News.
Eric Zorn 00:40
I’m Eric Zorn, the optimistic proprietor of the Picayune Sentinel weekly newsletter.
John Williams 00:45
That’s promising. Last week you were weary. I can’t believe I remember that. Why are you optimistic this week Eric?
I’m optimistic because because of what the Justice Department is saying about what they found at Mar-a Lago. And it really looks like former President Trump is in some serious legal trouble. I know that’s not on our list of topics today. But it looks like this is going to be a particularly difficult situation to wriggle out of; his lawyers and his people were telling, telling the federal government that they had nothing there and they turned it all over. And it turned out that that was just a lie, and provable in many different dimensions. And I love to see it.
It will eventually be adjudicated, but it sure looks like those boxes contained top secret documents, because we’ve seen pictures of one of the boxes with top secret documents, and also a gold-framed Time magazine cover that featured Donald Trump’s detractors looking through a window in the cartoon in the cover . Honestly, Eric, I don’t think they should have included that in the photograph. Although I’ve read an analysis that says that that proves that this is in Donald Trump’s personal effects. It doesn’t prove it. But it suggests that he knew those documents were there, he can’t claim that he had no knowledge of them
As a marketing tool, that photo really works, because they realize they have to do some marketing because this is so unprecedented. There are some lives at stake. There are FBI agents all over the country who are now targets. And so you’re seeing the Justice Department really get more aggressive in how it’s presenting these legal documents. They’re not putting out press releases. But within those legal documents, if you read them, they are more explicit than they would be, typically. And I think that photo was thrown in there as an image that news organizations can use to spread far and wide their case, because they’re backed in the corner, they kind of have to answer because they know the Trump playbook, The Trump playbook is to deny and attack. And so because I think that because there are lives at stake on their end, that they have to make a strong case, not just to the courts, but to the public.
It’s interesting that the only reason we’re seeing any of this stuff is because the Trump team wants a special master. Right? And his is where we’ve seen a lot of the evidence come forward is not obviously, as you were saying through press releases, or what Merrick Garland had to say, it’s in response to things that either the Trump team wanted or the news organizations wanted when they wanted the affidavit unsealed. And I think the fascinating thing is just to look at what is said by the Trump team on the news versus what Trump’s lawyers are saying in court, and for example, not even posting an objection to releasing the affidavit, So it’s interesting the way we’re getting this information, and how much the Justice Department is detailing when they have that opportunity to put it out there, or at least to file this, they’re taking that opportunity to show that evidence
Mark Guarino 03:54
I think, is there’s two fronts going on. I mean, I think Trump is working out public relations war, because he’s still weighing whether he wants to be president and he wants to see whether he still has influence over this party. And then there’s the court battle going on. And sometimes they have different, they have different responses,
John Williams 04:12
It strikes me as being snarky. The criminal offense will not be having a framed cover of Time Magazine. It’ll be having documents classified or otherwise. But that they threw that in there to me was just a jab in the ribs. An ear flick, I understand the dots that they’re trying to connect there. But it struck me as the sort of thing they knew would get a lot of clicks and a lot of chatter. If you’re in a defensive position. Maybe you play that game. That sort of thing is not important here.
Eric Zorn 04:43
I just thought it was really interesting. Another thing that adds to my optimism is the fact that Ann Coulter has declared that the Trump era in the Republican Party is done. And she thinks that the party is going to be moving on from his reign and that it’s safe again to be a Republican who’s against Trump. I’m not sure that that’s true. But the fact that Ann Coulter is saying it means that there is some possibility that it will become true
Jon Hansen 05:13
I don’t know. she’s been she’s been off the Trump train for a while though, and I think it’ll be more meaningful when Ron DeSantis says that or someone that’s actually trying to beat him in 2024
Eric Zorn 05:23
But she wrote the book “In Trump We Trust” She was was solidly behind him and she is a fairly major commenter still .
John Williams 05:38
Is she? She’s not a Fox News regular is she? I don’t know what platform she’s on or how people are consuming her. I haven’t heard from and lately
Mark Guarino 05:46
I think she has her own followers and she writes books and she guests on people like Bill Maher’s show,
Jon Hansen 05:53
Add her to the Picayune Sentinel, Eric,
Eric Zorn 05:55
I’ll give her her own column if she keeps it up!
John Williams 05:59
What about this, guys? different subject now the Downers Grove Public Library is going to host a bingo night for teens and tweens, seventh graders through 12th graders, the host will be a drag queen that goes by the name of Aurora Divine. So here we go. Again, the mayor of Orland Park, Keith Pekau, is the Republican candidate for Congress in the sixth congressional district. And while he has never been to a drag, show, or Drag Bingo, he says he knows what they are. They’re inappropriate and tax dollars should not be so used. So now at an event that should be welcoming and inclusive, this Bingo Night for teenagers, police are going to provide security and it’s almost certainly going to attract protesters. So I’m pushing back at the push back out of the gate. I don’t think that the library should have done this. Is this the business of a library? I believe in their intentions, however, and the Bs being peddled around? This has made me a supporter of the event. But what did the library think was going to happen?
Jon Hansen 07:06
I think there’s a lot right and I have to admit my personal connection in that I grew up in Downers Grove, and and moving back to Downers Grove in a month, and I grew up as a gay teenager, as well in the closet. And so I admit my bias, and I respect everyone’s opinion. And look, I listen to your show today, John, and there was a lot of really good, like thoughtful opinions, people that have been to drag shows that were still against it. And I just want to get that out there just that I do understand where people are. And there’s a few things that we have to establish. First and foremost, a drag queen is not necessarily someone who is transgender, not all transgender people are drag queens, not all drag queens are transgender, those are two completely different things. Drag queens are performers. They, it’s an art form. They cater their performance to the audience. It’s similar to stand up comedy, of course, a stand up comedian, in front of a bunch of adults is going to be raucous. There may be sexual jokes in there, a drag queen in front of a bunch of adults will do the same thing. So the thought that that same performance that an adult would see at a bar where they ID you at 21 and older, and a gay bar and on the north side of Chicago, that that would somehow be the show that’s going to be presented at the Downers Grove library to tweens is ridiculous. They’re performers, they’re artists, and this is part of the gay community. It’s a huge part of the LGBTQ community. Now we don’t all go to drag shows every night and every weekend, but it’s a big part of our community. And I’ve just got to say that if I had grown up in Downers Grove in an age when the Downers Grove Public Library said, we’re going to have Drag Bingo, I wouldn’t have even had to go to the show to know that that meant that my town– the town I live in, — recognizes who I am and I’m not some social outcast. And that would have done a lot to not drive myself perhaps further into the closet. And I grew up in a very lucky situation. I know people that have tried to kill themselves because of their identity — teens and tweens — because they don’t feel accepted with where they live in their home, or in the community that they live in. And so I say, it’s well worth the effort to do that. And it’s well worth the trouble.
Eric Zorn 09:26
Jon, what you just described, though, would be a feature. Not a bug for people who don’t want the library to express acceptance of gay teenagers and of different gender expressions and so on. That that’s not something that people who are opposed to that consider to be an advantage. They consider that to be a disadvantage. They don’t they don’t want that message going out.
Jon Hansen 09:55
Mark Guarino 09:58
They’re also spreading conspiracy theories that there’s grooming of young children. I think it’s actually more insidious ,the backlash., It’s not that it’s just anti gay, but also it seems like it’s it’s skipping five steps ahead and they’re talking about all this insidious stuff
John Williams 10:18
He used the word “targeting” on our show today, the mayor, the congressional candidate, targeting these kids,
Mark Guarino 10:24
Well, isn’t isn’t all marketing targetiong? Oh, my God, I get stuff targeted to me all the time because of my interest. And so that’s just again an insidious word to scare people.
Eric Zorn 10:39
And I’ve got to say, I don’t think that this is the kind of thing that kids should be forced to go to, or forced to, to witness. The fact that it’s at a library means that it’s a voluntary event is a very different question than whether these things should be taking place, say in public schools. I don’t know if Jon Hansen agrees with that or not.
Jon Hansen 10:57
I do I think it’s up for parents to decide with their kids, but it also, anytime I hear parents say, Well, how do I explain this to kids? I mean, don’t you have to explain everything to kids? I mean, I’m not a parent. But is it that hard to say that sometimes entertainers dress as the other gender for a performance? Like what is so hard about thinking that?
Mark Guarino 11:17
Also if the same parents, I’m assuming they all have televisions, and I’m assuming they all have, at some point, exposed their kids to things like “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” I’m assuming they’ve seen, you know, the Rolling Stones in the early 70s, footage of that, you know, Mick Jagger’s wearing a lot of makeup. I mean, this is kind of like the idea that all this, these images are completely new. This is all very mainstream. It’s not just on the north side of Chicago. Gender bending has been around for a long time. I know that’s not exactly what this is. But it’s this idea of like, clutching their pearls, that this is going to destroy the fabric of the family home in Downers Grove is a bit absurd in 2022.
John Williams 12:03
Well, the criticism of that was that, fine, but let’s just not confuse kids. Let’s not promote by including some of these less than mainstream lifestyle choices, when kids are vulnerable. This is the sort of rhetoric I heard on the radio today,
Mark Guarino 12:22
I think there’s a separate issue going on, besides the one we’re talking about,and that is what is the role of the public library and these communities? Snd Libraries definitely have gotten if you notice, if you drive to the suburbs of Chicago, over the last 10 years, you’re seeing that a lot of these library systems have gotten a lot of grant money the librarirs are very big, they’re very modern, they have a lot of facilities, and now they’re serving a little bit more than just the traditional roles of the library, their community centers, and they have programs that have nothing to do with books or, you know, the traditional role of a library. And I think that that might possibly more of a legitimate question, whether that’s appropriate or not, whether a library should be doing all this, incredible programming, and they have these giant staffs. Is that serving the original mission of library or not? I’m not saying I have a stance on that , but I I think that is , clouding a lot of what’s going on here.
Eric Zorn 13:29
And I think a lot of things going on with the libraries have to do with the availability of media that’s online that you’re not going to be going to the library probably to look up magazine articles many people have books on their on their devices that they carry around that they’re that they’re not being used for sort of the traditional library type features but they’re used for — you can get streaming video you can get ebooks it’s a f resource center for all kinds of information that you would otherwise have to buy.
Mark Guarino 13:59
Alot of libraries now you can go there and play video games. I think some of thepeople are very upset asking why is the library doing a drag queen bingo night?
Jon Hansen 14:16
I agree with you in principle with that idea. But we all know that if it was a guy with a guitar doing Bingo Night would never have made the news right. So like obviously that is the reason why we’re talking about this But your point is valid Right? Like what role is a library or our tax dollars paying for like I’ve seen laser light shows that libraries advertise so yeah, there’s a broader conversation here but let’s not mistake –and I’m not suggesting that you are —the reason why we’re talking about this. We all have taxpayer dollars that we spend that go to things that we don’t like, it’s like part of what this is this American existence, right like that’s what it is. And I don’t know what people are so afraid of it. And I admit that this is partly because I’m part of a world where I’ve been to drag shows. And, you know, maybe it kind of made even my eyes open up wide the first time. And I thought, What the heck’s going on here? And I said that as a gay adult. So I I understand why people have a little apprehension about what it is, but I think they’ve been fed lies about what they are.
Eric Zorn 15:20
Thiss is not a show, like you would have seen at Baton. Right? I mean, this is this is not, I presume it’s not going to be particularly or even slightly sexualized show ,that it just campy. I mean, that’s what you’d expect.
Mark Guarino 15:33
And camp humor is everywhere today. you can’t escape it , that’s just mainstream America , camp humor.
John Williams 15:40
But you can understand why people would blush or, or pause when they said, “Guess what they’re doing it the Downers Grove Public Library. They’re having a drag queen host bingo for seventh graders.” That’s an unforced error if you ask me.
Mark Guarino 15:58
And that’ my point. These public library systems now have so much money that they’re expanding beyond what their traditional mission is, they’re setting themselves up . they’re going to make tons of mistakes, or they’re going to not hit the wrong tone. And like, why are libraries now suddenly programmers? And this is just like, yeah, if it was a guy with a guitar, no, we won’t care. But I think that calling it drag queen bingo nights ws like serving red meat up for national attention,
John Williams 16:28
Well, what did they think? What did they think was gonna happen? I mean, we just had this thing at the Uprise Bakery in Long Grove.
Jon Hansen 16:33
Well they thought that people in their community who identify as LGBTQ+, would feel that they were in a welcome town that was okay with it. Like it wasn’t even a big deal. Of course, it’s now becoming an even bigger deal. I know, they knew what they were getting into. But sometimes that’s an important stance to take. Yeah, ruffle some feathers, John?
John Williams 16:52
Yeah, that’s, I like that point. Jon, I appreciate that. Here’s a quote from the library director, “We understand this topic will be controversial to some however, we must recognize that not including them also causes harm. We want everyone in our community to see the library and know they are represented and cared for here.” So this is a way for the library to be proactive and inclusive. You know, maybe the the whiplash I’m expressing here, my description of it as an unforced errors, just proof that the tide is changing a little bit that this is the world that we are living in, that is evolving –for the better, perhaps, right,? — but, but that you can understand why people would have a reaction to it.
Mark Guarino 17:39
Thr nature of the suburbs has completely changed from when we were younger, obviously. And it goes, it’s gone along with society. And so the idea that this is groundbreaking or something actually is sort of weird, because you know, the suburbs have are very diverse in many, in many ways. I don’t know Downers Grove, but I’m assuming it’s not the Downers Grove of the 1970s.
John Williams 18:03
This is maybe evidence of that, I just want to read you guys one of the quote from the director of the library: “Based on research we have available to us, children are aware of gender as a concept by the age of two, and by age three are beginning to understand and form their own identity. Teens, grade 7 through 12 have established their own sense of self or are exploring what their sense of self is, through providing opportunities for teens to see their own identities and identities of others. And the library is providing opportunities for teens to recognize that difference is okay and celebrated. And to see it by example.” You know, what I don’t understand is, I think that’s a great point. And a good idea, too. I think that we should teach kids at the earliest age to be as accepting of people who dye their hair purple, or are gay, or identify not in the traditional means that we’ve asked people to identify. . So maybe it’s not even so much and LGBTQ acceptance issue, as it is for all of us to just recognize that it’s a colorful world out there. Maybe that’s where this thing lands?
Jon Hansen 19:13
Right. I think that’s a great point. Right? I think that the drag community, obviously very intertwined with the LGBTQ community. So I think it’s an obvious head nod to the community, but you’re right. It’s a performer. It’s an art piece. It’s an art form. And, you know, not to get too personal, but I mean, I I grew up in Downers Grove, I knew I was gay when I was 10 years old, and there was no Drag Bingo, i Downers. So it’s not gonna make anybody gay. Trust me.
Eric Zorn 19:42
Can I kind of just want to amplify what you were just saying about the symbolism behind this and why it why it is important. And that is that that when the library is sending out this message, that is what people are upset about, Tthey’re not upset about the their children, they don’t have to send their children to this Show, children who go to the show are going to be going willingly, their parents are going to probably improve, they’re probably going to drive them there if they’re seventh graders, and they’re going to be be receiving this message that it’s okay to tolerate people of different gender expressions. That’s what this protest is about. They don’t want the library to make that statement. That’s what this is about. Like I say, if people were being forced to go to this, if this was an unwilling audience, that would be a whole different question. But this is a voluntary event in a in a community building. And I think you’re right, John, that it was it was putting a controversial issue, right down in front of everybody. But that’s what the controversy is about. Let’s be clear about that.
Jon Hansen 20:47
Thank you all for letting me talk about this.
Eric Zorn 20:51
Moving day in month, eh?
Jon Hansen 20:52
Yeah, yeah. Less than that.
Eric Zorn 20:56
We will look for our invitations to the housewarming,
Jon Hansen 20:59
Just in time for bingo.
John Williams 21:02
We’ll get an invitation to his housewarming. If we help him move his sofa. That’s the way that works, Eric,
Jon Hansen 21:11
We’re right by the Tivoli. So I’d love to have a Mincing Rascals get together,
John Williams 21:15
Good to know. . You’re gonna be living near the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove?
Jon Hansen 21:20
A four-minute drive from the Tivoli.
John Williams 21:23
I will get you tickets to our Teddy Roosevelt show, sir. Jon Hansen, tapping out, by the way by reference to tthat I’m not sure when you are going to hear this. But as of today, the last day of August there’s a few hundred seats left in about a 900 seat auditorium the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove for our Teddy Roosevelt show Clay Jenkinson is a guy who acts as Roosevelt and Jefferson on stage, it’s at one person show. He’s going to do this time Teddy Roosevelt, but I’ll interview him on stage and then the audience asks questions. And it’s been selling like hotcakes, we’ve moved about over 600 tickets in a few days here. $33 a ticket. But you really do get a sense of what a president could be like. This is a guy who comes on in costume is Teddy Roosevelt. And very quickly, you believe that that’s Teddy Roosevelt. The show is very funny. But it’s also very true. You know, he talks about charging up San Juan Hill, he talks about losing his son in battle and World War One and crying. We get emotional at times hearing these tales. But you know, it’s the truth of Teddy Roosevelt. And then you say, Okay, how would that play today? And it’s fascinating. It’s very fun.
Eric Zorn 22:40
I’d like to second that. John, I saw the Jefferson show a year ago that the same presenter did ,and it was terrific. It was it was like a play. And you were great, too, John. I mean, really, you performed a wonderful interview with the guy but it was it was funny. It was interesting. It was it was well worth the drive to Downers Grove.
John Williams 22:59
He doesn’t know the questions I’m going to ask him we sure don’t know what the audience is going to ask. So it’s certainly got a very spontaneous feel about it. Somebody asked me today, in fact, on the radio, I wonder what Roosevelt would share, say about that Bingo Night in Downers Grove. And who knows? Maybe we’ll ask him, he was very, he was a cowboy, but he was also very progressive on issues. And I know we’re going to ask him about this: Darren Bailey says that the University of Illinois at Urbana students should be from the state of Illinois 90%. He said the freshman class by 2026. He’s going to graduated in from the about 75% are at now. But he says 90% of the freshman class by 2026 would have to be residents of the state of Illinois. I think this would sell. The U of I says that no student who gets accepted — t we asked them about this and they sent out a statement they didn’t come on the radio — they said that the University of Illinois says that no student who gets accepted with a family income of under $67,000 has to pay. I didn’t realize that. Still, the school says, the biggest challenge they have in including in state residents is that many say they can’t afford it. The kids who pay from out of state and out of country pay two and three times what in-state residents pay. Kids from China pay closer to $50,000 in tuition and books. One last thing, they also say they are trying to create a diverse community. And that 90% of the kids being from in state would not be that. Still I think what Darren Bailey says will play.
Mark Guarino 24:45
That’s why he said it. It sounds good. It sounds like what it sounds in a way kind of if he was running for president, it sounds kind of a nationalist sort of thing. He wants everyone to stay and support the University of Illinois. But I think like with a lot of ideas with Darren Bailey, they’re necessarily thought through very well. Ifi that were actually to happen, University of Illinois budget would be falling because of they get a ton of money from out of state students. And from foreign exchange students. I know someone who teaches ESL at the University of Illinois, but in Chicago, he has informed me, of the sizable population from outside of the US, I have
Eric Zorn 25:23
no doubt that they would have to hike in state tuition. Significantly, if they were to take what 15% of the population that is now paying full freight. Yeah, and then offering that print off with them in state tuition that these schools have budgets they have to meet. It’s not inherently a terrible idea. But I don’t really buy the diversity argument, you could still have 10% of your student body coming from overseas and other states, and you would still have a fairly diverse environment, especially if you wanted to prioritize diversity in admissions from within Illinois. Illinois is a big long state with lots of different ethnicities, a lot of different income levels, you could have a very, very diverse student body at U of I. But if you’re giving free tuition to families that make under $67,000, you’re going to have the people who are sort of in that middle-income area, are going to be asked to pay a significantly higher amount of money, if you’re going to continue to have the services and have the quality of the institution that you want to have. So I think it may play well politically. But if people think it through ,like our friend Mark Guarino, just did, they’re going to say like, No, maybe not not such a great idea
John Williams 26:39
Maybe they’re not going to think it through because I know a lot of families in the suburbs of Chicago. And this resonates there. Their kids worked hard, it good schools, and they got B pluses, and they got a decent score on their AC T and they didn’t get into the U of I.. And that’s this marquee public university. I know we got the U of C and Northwestern. But those are private schools, and they’re crazy, expensive and selective. You’d like to think that the University of Illinois would be there for all of the kids in Downers Grove. And yet a lot of them don’t get in. But a kid from Kansas would, or a kid from China would with a similar resume. It breaks their hearts, some of them that now they’re gonna go to Indiana, I don’t know what their fallback schools are– Illinois State, wherever– they want to go to the U of I. They have the feeling they’ve helped to pay for it, even though not that much state revenue goes to the University of Illinois now, but I understand why this would be a very popular thing for him to say,
Mark Guarino 27:33
So if you have been dreaming all your life to go to the Big Ten school in Illinois, gotta get better grades to get into your you know, better scores again, other I couldn’t have done it in Illinois as high school student. So I didn’t even apply because I didn’t have great grades in high school. And so I just went somewhere else. It’s in a way what Eric had mentioned , it’s actually if his plan, let’s say magically gets into place, it’s actually going to hurt students in Illinois and hurt families in Illinois, because the tuition is gonna go up.
John Williams 28:01
THe University of Texas at Austin, they do this. this University of North Carolina, I’m trying remember which campus Chapel Hill
Eric Zorn 28:10
90% You’re saying?
John Williams 28:12
One of them has an 82%-28% ratio. One has a 90%-10% ratio. But we would not be the only or state in the Union that’s doing something to protect in-state students to go to the school. I think the average GPA– I think the prestige of the school would go down. –I don’t know if that matters to anybody.
Mark Guarino 28:29
I think it matters to the people who are applying to that school. I mean, why would you apply to the U of if it has the same standards as Western Illinois University? There’s a reason U of I is U of I, it is because the prestige and the research and the money that’s there.
Eric Zorn 28:44
And is that why we don’t have a reciprocal agreement with other states? Because there are some states in this region that I think you said like Minnesota, Wisconsin, across the state border and still get in-state tuition. Illinois does not have that.
John Williams 28:56
We do not we don’t need it, because everybody wants to go to the University of Illinois. I don’t know what they have at Michigan — your alma mater, Eric — but it seems to me like they could pick and choose all they want. And so if you are an Illinois student, and you get accepted at Minnesota, you’re going to pay out of state tuition, but a Wisconsin t kid, this is my understanding. Forgive me if I have the state’s wrong, going to Minnesota would pay in state tuition because Minnesota and Wisconsin are going to treat each other like in state kids at those big 10 schools. But Illinois ins don’t get that break because we get to be so damn selective here. And you do know there’s a lot of foreign and out of state kids at the UVI they say that they liked the diversity that they’re getting. That was their statement to us.
Eric Zorn 29:41
I would be very interested in finding out what the research shows about what happened at these universities. When they implemented their their What 18 We’ve saved an ad to 18 or 9010 programs, what the difference was in tuition what the difference was in the standing of the school because the reputation of the school was very important. I think both University of Texas and University of North Carolina are well regarded. But I don’t know if their stature slipped when they did that. I don’t know, I have no way of knowing. But that would be an interesting thing to throw into the conversation for sure.
John Williams 30:14
You’re an independent journalist. Now, Eric, why don’t you look into that report back to us next week,
Eric Zorn 30:19
I will go to the my local library.
John Williams 30:23
You know, with all of this in mind, we do know more now about student loan forgiveness. This is what I’ve discovered in the last week, Parent Plus loans are included, loans disbursed by June 30 of this year are eligible. So if you got a loan July 1, you would not be eligible, the cutoff date is June 30, the government is going to set up some sort of website, it’s not there yet where you can register, I’m anxious for that, to open up and crash, you will not pay federal income taxes on the amount you receive and forgiveness. But in at least 13 states, you may owe state income taxes on the amount that you get in forgiveness. So if it’s 10k, Illinois might include that as $10,000 of income and then you’d have to pay a couple grand and state income taxes or whatever it is. I don’t know that Illinois is one of those states that would tax it. Just one more weekend to digesting the fallout from that. You know,
Eric Zorn 31:18
I mean, I think when we spoke about this last week, I was a little bit hesitant about the income thresholds. And I think that we were I was expressing some support for, say, limiting the interest rates that can be charged Yeah, that you want to make sure that you don’t just keep putting people into a deeper and deeper hole. And you want to make sure that the that the relief is going to people who really need it. And and it seems like this has not been exactly what a calibrated finally enough to do this, like I would rather than give more money to people who are earning less than to have I mean, you can have your household can make up to $250,000. And you can get this relief, I think for all your all your children if you took out loans, which I can understand why some people would consider that to be unfair. On the other hand, there’s a we have a long tradition in our country of reaching a hand down and helping people out who have who have fallen or who are enduring financial distress or in other digit stress, especially for unforeseen reasons. So I think I like the concept and a little dubious about the execution. At the same time, I don’t think it’s going to be a really major factor in how people vote, I don’t think you’re going to have people who are inclined to vote Democratic saying, you know, no, I just can’t forgive. I can’t forgive the Democrats for forgiving $10,000 in student loans to people, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Mark Guarino 32:37
I agree with everything you said. But I also think that it will be political for people, I think that Bayou scored a lot of points for this. So I think people you know, who may especially young people who are apathetic about Biden are looking at, you know, his point is ratings are going up. The one thing I worked on a story for the wall, actually two stories for The Washington Post on this. And so I talked with a lot of people who are very this was they considered it a game changer for them. And I really gave me a really deeper look into the situation for many young people who are struggling with that. They’re happy for people who are going to benefit from this. And so they feel strange, being critical of it. But the same people who are providing loan forgiveness now are the same people who ignored this, or even helped banks, you know, 1020 30 years ago. And so it’s a little too, too little too late.
John Williams 33:40
Well, this idea, and this came up in the podcast last week and on the radio, or some people say when I was signing, I didn’t realize what I was signing what I was getting myself into. I struggle with that a little bit. I mean, I see how 18 year olds are vulnerable, and parents want anything for their kids. So they get themselves into this debt. But it’s a pretty fundamental thing. You borrow money, you have to pay money back, you borrow $20,000, you have to pay back 25 or $30,000. With interest. That’s not a real complicated concept. And I think people are very good at just sort of ignoring painful realities. They choose to and then they say I didn’t, I wasn’t I didn’t know I didn’t think I didn’t appreciate the significance of this. A child appreciates. If you take something, you have to give it back. So while I’m unhappy to have this happen for people, because I’m just a very generous guy, especially with other people’s money, especially when it’s not going to impact my life. So I’m I’m happy to do this. But I don’t know that I entirely accept that notion that people didn’t appreciate what they were getting themselves into. I saw stories today too, though, listeners to this radio station who are still texting in about having bar Out 30,000 and paid 30,000 back plus another 30,000 and interest. And I still owe 30,000 that screwed up. I mean, that’s, that’s an institutional problem that maybe we could not have anticipated down the road.
Mark Guarino 35:13
But well, I mean, I think that side issue is like meet the need for media literacy, there needs to be financial literacy, I guess two things, I think are really needed, especially at a young age.
John Williams 35:25
But look, if I give you a candy bar, are you supposed to give me $1, or whatever the candy bar costs? if I give you something, then you have to give me money in return, right? And if you don’t have the money for the candy bar, but I give you the candy bar, you at some point er going to have to give me some money for the candy bar, maybe even a little more than the dollar that I was going to charge you up front, a child would understand that.
Mark Guarino 35:47
I think I see that point for sure. But I talked with this one young woman who graduated from Marquette and she grew up in Waukesha. She was the first person in her family to go to college. And she told me that like going to college who do anything she could get into college that this was a really big deal, not just for her but her family. And I think there’s a lot of people out there who are they’re willing to like sign the letter to make this work, because this was a fundamental step for their future. Sometimes desperate people do desperate things in situations and they sign sign things and figure it’ll sort itself out later and and they’re in they’re kind of caught holding the bag. I think that the I would I would love to see is some discussion about college tuition, why it’s so expensive.
Eric Zorn 36:39
Yeah, I think it’s important to talk about the cost of the bureaucratic layers, and a lot of colleges, there’s a lot of extra administrators and just about every institution like that, that have been added on over the years for various reasons. And they need to think about that carefully. When you are giving this sort of loan forgiveness, you are running the risk that colleges will bake that into their equation when they’re setting tuition rates. I think it’s also important, though, to say that $10,000 is not all of everyone, you’re not forgiving everybody’s loan and the entirety of the loan. I mean, when John talks about a candy bar, maybe you’re talking about, you know, one, one square of the of the one little part of the Twix bar instead of the whole thing. So we’re not just like wiping it all clean it there are people who wanted that to be done like all of it to be just erased. This is, like I say, it’s a hand up, it’s going to help people who are struggling, it’s going to help the economy, probably it’s going to allow people to buy cars to buy homes, to send their own kids to college, or this is it’s not like this is money just being shuffled down the sewer. This is something gets that’s important. I do however, also understand the the blue collar worker who says like, Hey, I borrowed I borrowed $10,000 To, to buy my truck so that I could have my, my plumbing business. Where’s my where’s my loan forgiveness? I understand that if someone who says like, Hey, I had to borrow $10,000 to pay my medical bills, and that was totally unforeseen. That wasn’t something I planned for. Where’s my loan forgiveness? And I And again, I understand that too. I understand why people are feeling that way. But also, you have to keep in mind, as Mark points out ,that we bailed out banks, financial institutions with billions of dollars, and the people who are complaining now were complaining then as far as I remember,
John Williams 38:28
That’s another thing that’s come up in this week is that all the instances where we have all paid for somebody else’s misdeeds, bankruptcies for billionaires, or payroll Protection Plan loans that did not have to be paid back. Of course, they were designed to not be paid back. But still plenty people got a lot of free money that all of us are now paying for. There’s a whole host of examples historically, where people were paying for something they did not or could not avail themselves of. And sort of tangential example of that is black Americans who for years, pay taxes to support pools they couldn’t swim in and libraries they couldn’t go to and buses, they had to sit on the backhoe so this is not an unprecedented hand up, as you say, Eric, I see all of that. That’s why ultimately, I land on. Yeah, let’s let’s go ahead and do that for these people, for all of us. But we do seem to sort of have a fundamental shift in this country these days, getting away from responsibility for your own actions, then if you do something, sometimes there are consequences. It’s just so unfortunate that it’s a consequence that follows you for the rest of your earning life.
Mark Guarino 39:43
I think it’s only going to be successful if those conversations follow those.
John Williams 39:48
What about one of the things off you guys before we wrap up this edition of the mincing rascals and that’s something that’s been very hot in the newspapers and on radio this week and that is the drifting the business of Doing spinouts for a crowd in the streets of Chicago last weekend was a banner weekend for that. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to go away. And the city is seemingly unable to do anything about it. Eric, I know you had thoughts about that in your Picayune Sentinel, but are you thinking?
Eric Zorn 40:18
Well, it’s not a particularly serious crime as compared to murders and shootings and sexual assaults and even burglaries and robberies and so on. But it is one of those kind of corrosive, chaotic things that brought dragged down the civic life these these guys are drifting, to basically give the finger to the cops and to people who live in those areas who value their peace and quiet. You could open up a parking lot at Soldier Field and say, Hey, go ahead and drift out there, they wouldn’t want to do that. You could set up bleachers for them. That’s not the point of this. The point of this is exactly the response that I’m sure your listeners have given. And some of my readers have given to me too, which is like this is this is outrageous and the police need to get a hold on it. And it symbolizes an inability that the police have to get hold of all kinds of other crimes like catalytic converter, fests carjackings and other things so that so that I think it is important, even though it’s say it’s on the scale of things, it’s not a huge crime, I think it’s important for the the symbolism, if nothing else for the city to get getting control of it. And I’ve noticed that the police have come out in the last few days and said they are really planning to crack down and have strike forces and task forces and and make sure this doesn’t doesn’t continue.
John Williams 41:37
And just talking about it doesn’t do a justice without the video. But if you’ve seen the videos, it really is lawless looking, isn’t it? I mean, where are the police? How is this? How are they getting away with this, you might ask yourself when a busy intersection, even though it might be off hours, the one in front of our radio station still has black skid marks where people were doing these doughnuts in front of our radio station on Wacker Drive. And when you see it if it really looks remarkable. And then when the police have arrived of late 12 squad cars were damaged last weekend in Chicago, 12 Chicago Police Department vehicles were damaged. Because the crowd then turns on the cops, I would completely agree with you, Eric, if you said prioritize the problems in Chicago, this would be weighed down and nobody’s really injured in these things. Except for some kids that get in the way the cars and I don’t feel bad for him. But it looks so bad.
Mark Guarino 42:36
I think that actually is a public safety major public safety issue. You know, people have the right to drive through the streets of Chicago and not encounter this, you know, safety vehicles need to be able to get through intersections. I think it’s a really it is a public safety thing. And it does remind me I mean, I think it’s obvious that what you’re describing with the 12 police cars being damaged, and he can’t control it. Police are stand as an example the police standing down, at least to this point. It reminds me of two summers ago going downtown at two in the morning, when there was mass looting going down North Michigan Avenue. There was a massive police presence at the same time, the police were lined up about Michigan Avenue. At the same time while you could turn your head and see people looting in stores and the police were doing nothing. Because they’re just you can’t control a mob like that without getting your hands dirty a little bit bringing in water cannons, and all sorts of things. We don’t want to have image images. And so the police told me they were there to make sure the buildings don’t catch on fire. That was their priority not to stop the looting. And I think this is this is similar. This is in that bucket of the police just you know to stop a massive group of people it’s going to turn into a riot and it’s all going to be under video and that’s the Chicago Police Department doesn’t want to have because they’re going to you know, there’s there’s only one party here it’s gonna look really bad out of that. And it’s not the looters are not the Drifters. i If you ever told me that people would be looting in downtown Chicago, I never would have believed you. But now of course I believe you. And I think it’s just sort of like it’s a continual thing that the police has just police, you know, just seems powerless to handle to handle and so now it’s just mounting
Eric Zorn 44:24
it is the symbolism of it very much. I don’t think anyone’s been hurt yet. And I don’t know how that’s happened because you see these cars are spinning through these intersections and doing these sort of controlled skids and spins and coming very close to spectators and and sooner or later someone’s going to get hit someone’s going to be killed. And and marks correct that if you were to try some sort of a great surge of police through one of these things you would end up with a lot of violence and a lot of injuries. Probably they arrested nine people and see seven vehicles. i My guess is the answer is going to be figuring out a way to maybe use the assault trucks and things like that to block off certain intersections and then impound the vehicles. Yeah. And then once the people are cleared out, yeah, but they can’t but they can’t let it keep going. And of course, Lynn for the winter right but but it’s may come back next summer bigger than ever and if they don’t figure it out, that’s the kind of thing that that does, at some point get people say like, I don’t want to live in the city anymore. That’s, that’s a problem. That is a problem when you when you can’t control and I lumped in the catalytic converter thefts and the carjackings, these things are happening and the street robberies are happening in neighborhoods where they didn’t used to happen so much anymore. I know maybe that sounds that sounds elitist or privileged or something like that, but that those have political ramifications, and they have ramifications for people who are deciding where to live, where to move. And so it is extremely important for the police and the mayor to get control things like this.
Mark Guarino 45:56
Yeah, I mean, the image is what sells cities, they send strong signals to people outside the city. And I’m just would love to see a prioritization of, of all that, and it’s just sort of the city doesn’t seem to know what wanted what it wants to do. You were talking to someone who had an a catalytic converter stolen a couple of weeks ago, and let me tell you, you don’t want that to happen to you. And it was on a street that I parked in on for four or five years and, and, but it’s been happening all throughout my neighborhood, I had my neighbor, one of my neighbors have had a gun pulled on them while while he or her husband caught somebody stealing the converter out of their car. And so it’s stuff that again, I the word is unprecedented. And I think that that’s this is stuff that it’s not the long term viability of the city really kind of hinges on it.
Eric Zorn 46:51
There’s a video that I’m going to post in tomorrow’s Picayune Sentinel from the CW be Chicago blog, and it’s show it’s a it’s a pic, it’s a doorbell camera video, and it shows a car pulling up and these guys getting out, two of them are clearly carrying guns. And the third guy slips out into the car and saws off a catalytic converter, by the time from the time they get out of the car to the time they’re back into the car is 40 seconds. And so the idea that you’re going to police that they’re stopping people as they’re doing this is absurd. They’re way too quick for that.
Mark Guarino 47:22
That’s absurd. But one thing what the police can do what does not see an officer is that these are being sold somewhere. And I think that it’s like chop shops. i You can’t tell me that it’s not there can’t be a strategy to go find out where there’s they’re being sold. There’s obviously a black market going on. Where’s the
John Williams 47:41
reporting been on that?
Eric Zorn 47:43
There’s a front page story in the Tribune today about it
John Williams 47:46
about where they’re being sold?
Eric Zorn 47:48
No, but it’s about the entire problem and how and the scope of it?
John Williams 47:51
Well, they want to paint them pink wasn’t that part of the idea is that if you put a stamp on them and painted them pink, it’d be less attractive to the people that are buying them? Clearly. This is stolen merchandise.
Eric Zorn 48:01
They’re what they’re buying, they’re buying them to cut them apart and take out the precious metals that are in there.
Mark Guarino 48:06
The poeple who are buying them and know that they’re stolen. It’s not that you’re going to target and trying to return it
John Williams 48:12
What neighborhood was your catalytic converter stolen from
Mark Guarino 48:16
Lincoln Square. The police told my neighbor that there’s a gang going around and targeting –I own a Prius– and they are targeting Toyota Priuses. Yeah, that’s been a popular one. And when I went to the dealer, they told me it’d be six months before they could get a Toyota part to do it. And so I had to take it to another mechanic and get an aftermarket converter put in there,. I had to go to Amazon and buy a shield, and now I’m actually getting a garage and getting my car off the street. And so this has cost me roughly, maybe $3,000 just off the bat. It’s also a silent crisis too because what are you gonna do? I call it the criminal tax, because this is just another tax. And you can’t do anything about it. It’s like, it’s like the red lights. It’s just the criminal tax.
Eric Zorn 49:12
Our mutual friend Mary Schmich lives in Old Town and she had her a Prius catalytic converter stolen, there were two Priuses on our street here in the Independence Park area, and they’re both ripped off within about 30 seconds of each other one evening recently. So it’s it is happening all over the city. As Mark says, it’s like it’s this crime tax, and this feeling of helplessness, like what, what are you going to do? In the Tribune article today, someone said that they sleep near their window so they can hear if someone’s going to come out, and this woman had been victimized twice already, so she can hear when the people come and try to take it . That’s a terrible idea. Because these people are armed, they’ll pull a gun on you, they’ll shoot you. You’re gonna have to just accept that they may pick your car or they may take your catalytic converter and You can be as awake as you want, you can be sitting on your, on your front porch with a gun across your lap and you’re gonna lose your catalytic converter. And that’s a frightening thought for people. And, and again, it’s the kind of thing that drives people away.
John Williams 50:13
it’s happening in other cities too. I want to insert this because Oh, yeah, I don’t like some times that this mincing rascals podcast and talking about the news of the city seems to be so negative about the city of Chicago because
Mark Guarino 50:28
the suburbs too.
John Williams 50:32
Good, I’m gonna get a yurt and I’m gonna go live on the lake. All right, I’m out of time, guys. Any last words of wisdom from any of you smart fellas?
Mark Guarino 50:44
Get a garage if you’re parking on the street.
John Williams 50:47
Well, and then you got to find a place to put your garage evidently, you’ve got a little real estate huh, is that what you’re gonna do? Go? Yeah,
Eric Zorn 50:54
Go Sky! . But I’m saying I’m fully on the Sky bandwagon– since the baseball teams really stink and it looks like the Bears aren’t going to be that good. So I’m all in for the Sky unless they lose Wednesday night, in which case, I’m off
Mark Guarino 51:06
Go to the Jazz Festival this weekend. They’ve got a great lineup.
John Williams 51:10
All right fellas, Mark, thanks for joining us again. It’s nice to have you as part of the Mincing Rascals podcast. Mark Guarino and Eric Zorn. Jon Hansen tapped out a little while ago. We were produced by Ben Anderson and Pete Zimmerman. I’m John Williams. And we’ll drop another pod on you next week.
Eric Zorn 51:27
Hey, thanks, Mark. Good to see you again.
John Williams 51:29
Mark, you buried buried the lede. I didn’t know all that. I’m sorry to hear it, man.
Mark Guarino 51:33
Yeah, it was of course, just out of nowhere, and I had to rent a car– which of course the rental cars are crazy priced — and it was a week before we were going on a vacation up to Wisconsin. So ,yeah, I mean, my insurance covered the actual converter, but the rental car cost equalled the cost of the converter,
John Williams 51:55
And they didn’t pay for that?.
Mark Guarino 51:57
Eric Zorn 52:02
Good talking to you.
Mark Guarino 52:07
Thanks John. Okay. Thanks. Bye.
Elif Geris 52:15
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