Jakob Lazzaro, Maggie Harden and David Deloso Can't Let Go of Rod Blagojevich and flight simulation, Amy Klobuchar and shower drains, and 21 Savage and taco bars. Stories featured in this episode hail from WBEZ Chicago, CNN and BuzzFeed News. Transcript below.

[Music: Little Lily Swing]

Jakob Lazzaro: Hello, welcome back to Can't Let Go, the NBN podcast where we discuss the news stories and the personal stories from the past week or two weeks or three weeks or amount of weeks that varies based on how busy I am that we can just not get out of our heads. I'm your host, Jakob Lazzaro, and today I’ve got two guests with me, one of whom has a lot of power right now – Maggie Harden, the current EIC of NBN.

Maggie Harden: Hello.

Jakob: Yes, hello. And one is a new guest, David Deloso, who is doing a lot of great audio work with the podcast Second Generasian. David, do you want to introduce yourself?

David Deloso: Hi, I’m David. I’m the Assistant Entertainment Editor for NBN, and I’m on the social media team. I’m a freshman.

Jakob: So, I can just jump into it. My news story for the week is once again like last episode more of a news event, because I am talking once again about an entire podcast series.

Maggie: Woah.

Jakob: WBEZ Chicago, the NPR station here in Chicago, is fantastic. They’ve done a few one-off podcasts that delve into a special topic, but they recently started one a few weeks ago called Public Official A. And that one is all about former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his rise and fall. We’re still on the rise part right now, because I think it’s episode three or four so far, but I am just, like floored because I did not know this Blago story at all. And I can tell you, it is freakin’ wild. One of the main characters, quote unquote, is actually Patti Blagojevich, Rod Blagojevich’s wife because one, she’s not in prison and two she did a lot of interviews with him. So he spends a lot of time at her house, just interviewing her and getting her side of things while also talking to other people. But it’s wild, because did you know? In the past six months to a year, she’s been going on Fox News shows as part of a strategy to get Donald Trump to pardon Blagojevich, who's currently in federal prison.

Maggie: That would be crazy.

David: Little known fact about me, I actually grew up in Illinois. So I was there when this whole thing happened, and obviously I was a lot younger, but I just remember people like my parents talking about it. It just sounded like some bad stuff — I’m not entirely familiar, not too familiar with it.

Maggie: He tried to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat, right?

Jakob: Yeah!

David: Yeah!

Jakob: That was the thing. So we haven’t gotten to the actual Senate seat selling in the podcast yet, but basically, yeah. Blago was… he was governor of Illinois for two terms, had presidential ambitions, one of the threads in the podcast three or four episodes in is that he felt that Obama, for lack of a better term, was like bad for his presidential ambitions. They interviewed someone who was like an old aide or political consultant to Blago, and he was like — the aide was like — yeah, he’d always refer to Obama as Barry. Like Barry O, in a derisive manner. He was so annoyed that there was this new guy from Chicago who was more of a rising star than he was.

Maggie: That’s so funny.

Jakob: Yeah. He was governor for two terms, there was an FBI corruption scandal into some of the people involved in his administration. And then eventually, somehow somehow, through the investigation they caught him saying he wanted to sell Obama’s Senate seat. Yeah, and then he got arrested and all that!

Maggie: So, my news story of the week also kind of has to deal with political corruption. It’s about the stories that have surfaced recently about Amy Klobuchar, who’s running for president on the Democratic side. And a lot of her former staffers have come out and accused her of harassment, saying she’s an awful boss to work for. And the story I read in particular was a BuzzFeed piece that detailed incidents of when she had thrown binders at her staff when she was mad at them, and she’d send emails at like three in the morning and copy a bunch of people who weren’t related, so it was kind of like public shaming. She’d say things like this is the worst press release I’ve ever seen, things like that. So, a lot of people are saying this is going to damage her reputation as she’s moving forward in the campaign, because she’s kind of built her reputation as being a kind of down-home, Minnesota person.

Jakob: Yeah, that was my impression of her before all this stuff came out.

Maggie: Yeah, she has a reputation for being super pragmatic and working across the aisle and stuff like that, so. The reason this has kind of stuck with me a lot is because I can’t decide how I feel about the stories. Because on one hand, I’m like yeah, that’s terrible. She shouldn’t be doing that. But on the other hand, a lot of people have come out and said that it’s just kind of sexism that’s making people react to this so strongly, because if a male boss was this hard on his staff they wouldn’t think anything of it. And so, you know. I’m not really sure if it’s true or how much it will effect her, but there’s crazy stuff out there.

Jakob: Well, I want to say two things. Number one, sexism probably is a part of it, but I feel like any sort of abuse from a boss is not okay, if they’re a man or a woman obviously.

David: Yeah.

Jakob: I would need to see more of the details of the stuff she’s accused of doing to make a judgement on weather or not it’s sexism or whatever or if there’s actually stuff there, but if it’s a lot of… From what I’ve seen, I haven’t read many articles on this, but from what I’ve seen just kind of in the buzz about it, it seems like a lot of people, just a wide base of people say she’s not a good boss. So in that case, I’m more inclined to believe it.

Maggie: Yeah. And she has one of the highest turnover rates in the Senate.

Jakob: Yeah, that was the other thing I’ve heard, yeah. So that makes me more inclined to believe it. Also, I feel like the Democratic primary is just going to have so many people in it that I feel like anything could disqualify you.

Maggie: Yeah.

Jakob: I mean, how many candidates are there now? Like ten?

Maggie: Like, a million.

Jakob: Yeah, and there’s probably gonna be more.

Maggie: And so far, they’ve all kind of have their own scandal or baggage attached to them, so I don’t know necessarily how bad this will be.

Jakob: I mean, don’t we all have baggage?


Maggie: Ahh, yeah.

David: 21 Savage, the man known for making pretty good rap music...

Jakob: And also for like being from Atlanta, like he’s very from Atlanta.

David: Yeah, from Atlanta.

Jakob: Extremely Atlanta. So Atlanta.

David: He was arrested recently. And when I saw the headline, I was like okay. It’s just another rapper getting arrested. But then I read the headline closer, and he was arrested by the ICE, or detained by the ICE, for being a citizen of the United Kingdom here illegally. Which is just crazy to me. I mean, of all the things he could have gotten arrested for, and things he has been arrested for in the past, this was what did it. And he doesn’t qualify for DACA either, because he has felony charges in his past

Jakob: Also, did he come here as a child?

David: Apparently, he did.

Jakob: Huh.

David: Yeah. Like that’s something no one knew. And also, he never performed outside the US in his entire career and no one noticed. So it was all just like, it’s been planned. I don’t remember when he actually moved to the US, I think he was pretty young.

Jakob: Yeah.

David: So I think for all intents and purposes he is from Atlanta, and he reps Atlanta. But just, no one saw this coming and no one could have seen this coming and it’s just the weirdest thing. He just got released, but they’re saying he could still get deported.

Jakob: Yeah, I mean I think ICE let him out on bail, right?

David: Yeah.

Jakob: And his bail was pretty high, because he’s a rapper.

David: He’s got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight M’s in his bank account, so yeah. He can afford it!


[Music: “Bank Account” by 21 Savage]

Jakob: Alright, so now it’s time for our personal stories. And David said he wanted to go first. So David, what is your personal story for this episode of Can’t Let Go?

David: Alright, so last quarter I was the biggest supporter of Hinman dining hall, because I live just across the street in CRC. And they consistently provided quality food. They mixed it up. It was nice to go there for lunch and dinner every night. But then I come back in winter quarter, and they’ve changed it. It’s so bad. Every night, there’s a taco bar.

Maggie: That’s so awful.

David: There’s a taco bar. There’s a build your own pizza bar that takes like ten years to get a pizza. There’s a pasta bar where you have to wait for the same person that’s making your pizzas to eventually make their way over and get you some pasta. And, inexplicably, there’s a breakfast bar where you can get scrambled eggs, pancakes – and this is for dinner. Scrambled eggs, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, every night. And it’s just the most repetitive thing in the world. Five nights a week, I have some variant of a taco.


David: And it’s depressing

Jakob: I don’t know why y’all complaining. I don’t know why y’all complaining, though. Because my dining hall experience, back when I was a young freshman like you, I would go to Hinman. And it would be not that great. And some nights they’d have the taco bar, and it would be amazing. And this is true at every dining hall because most — not most. A fair amount of the dining hall food service workers are Hispanic, which means whenever they would make Hispanic food, usually Mexican food in this case, it would be really good. And this was true for the Hinman taco bar, so I don’t know why you are over here complaining like oh man, I have to have the best dining hall food five nights a week! Oh God, what a shame! Like, wow. Your life is so hard, David Deloso.


David: It’s not a bad taco bar. It’s good! But five nights a week? It’s depressing. It’s so repetitive, it’s so soul crushing.


David: To go to that dining hall! But then, Chinese Lunar New Year started last week. And I got into Hinman for dinner, and they had decorations. There were all sorts of Asian wall hangings and stuff, and I thought tonight is the night that they have something other than the taco bar. And I go up to the bar, to the counter, and it’s another taco bar!


David: It just makes me sad!

Maggie: My personal story this week is actually building on a story that Justin started last week or either two weeks ago.

Jakob: Oh no, oh no.

Maggie: So.

Jakob: Oh no.


Maggie: In short, I live in an apartment with five other people. Justin Curto is one of them. And he has complained in the past that we always leave our bathroom light on. And we’ve also had another problem in our bathroom lately where our shower hasn’t been draining, so you just step in the shower and two minutes in, the bathtub is completely full..

Jakob: Oh god.

Maggie: Oh god! I’m not done showering, so what am I supposed to do? So it’s been really stressful.

Jakob: That’s very unpleasant.

Maggie: There’s six of us living there, so it takes at least three hours for us…

Jakob: Also, they only have one bathroom – I just want to stress this point. I think we talked about this last episode, but I want to stress six people and one bathroom is not a good ratio.

Maggie: It’s usually not awful, but when the shower doesn't drain, it sucks. So anyway, the positive part of the story is that this past weekend, we finally had a plumber come in and fix it. He spent like two hours in the shower, he was like power drilling the drain. I don’t know what he was doing.

Jakob: Wow. That’s a lot of work.


Maggie: Yeah. And our shower was also really disgusting because, like, when someone would shower all their dirt would just collect and sit there.

Jakob and David: Oh nooo.

Maggie: And we hadn’t cleaned it cause, like, that’s really gross. And he cleaned our shower for us.

Jakob: That was very nice.

Maggie: Yes, it was.

Jakob: What a good plumber.

Maggie: We have a functioning shower, and a clean shower. Which is great.

Jakob: So, my personal story is a bit unconventional in that it’s kind of boring, but also I’m revealing something about myself that has never been revealed to the podcast world and also a lot of people don’t know. So, did y’all know — you probably didn’t — that I am actually a pretty big fan of aviation in general? Just as a concept, it’s great.

Maggie: I will throw it out there, I did know that.

Jakob: Okay, I did mention this to you recently.


Jakob: So, you did know. Most people do not know, cause it’s just not a thing you bring up like oh, by the way. I’m a fan of aviation. Yeah, no.


Jakob: So, this goes back to when I was like a child and I loved flying like most children do. And I was like, I want to be a pilot. And then I became a Type One Diabetic, and did you know that Type One Diabetics cannot be pilots?

Maggie: Oh, wow.

David: Huh.

Jakob: Yeah. So that crushed that dream, and then I drifted for a while and finally became a journalist and that’s where I am now. And I’m happy with it, love my life. Anyway. The point of this long buildup is that ever since I was like 14-15, I also became interested in flight simulators. So on my laptop for the past five years, I’ve had a commercial level flight simulator called X-Plane 10. X-Plane 11, which is much better because it’s newer, has been out as a product since like 2017, so for a few years. But then the other day, I was just like perusing the internet and I stumbled across this thing which was like X-Plane 11, by the way, it’s on sale on Steam right now for the Lunar New Year Sale.

David: Oh, yeah!

Jakob: And so I wonder how much it’s on sale, so I go to Steam. It was like, it’s normally 60 dollars, I think. It was 40 dollars, and I was like that’s a pretty good deal.

Maggie: Very.

Jakob: And when I put it in my cart, I got a popup from Steam which was like as part of our Lunar New Year sale since this is your first purchase, we’re giving you a five dollar coupon. And I was like, oh! So I got my new X-Plane 11 for 35 dollars, which is a steal.

Maggie: Wait, I have a clarifying question.

Jakob: Yes.

Maggie: Is this your stealth hobby because you don’t want people to know about it, or just because you don’t talk about it.

Jakob: Oh, no. I don’t care if people know about it. I mean, I’m talking about it on the podcast.


Jakob: If I was ashamed of it wouldn’t be my personal story! No, it’s my stealth hobby because there’s never a good way to just bring that up in passing. The thing with flight simulation as a hobby is that some people are into it, and then some people are INTO it.


Jakob: Sometimes, I’ll see on flight simulation forums people will be like my home cockpit setup!

David: Yeah!

Jakob: And they’ve built a fully functioning 737 cockpit with actual buttons pulled out of old planes in their office. I feel like that’s when you know, okay. Maybe I’m taking it a bit too far!


Jakob: That’s going to wrap things up for this week. This and all other NBN podcasts can be found on iTunes and in the Google Play store, and we’re also now apparently on Spotify, which is cool. Spotify has podcasts, that’s also interesting, cool I guess. Go subscribe, et cetera, et cetera. Our show’s theme — “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon, that’s under a Creative Commons Attribution License. I'm Jakob Lazzaro, your host.

David: I'm David Deloso.

Maggie: I’m Maggie Harden.

Jakob: And this is NBN Audio.

[Music: Little Lily Swing]

Jakob: That’s my experience with Sargent, just some guy walking by with a plate of ten meats!