In 2000, when he was running for president, George W. Bush said he wanted to encourage “a culture of responsibility.” He wanted to be “the responsibility president.” Then came 9/11 and the thrust of his presidency changed. At any rate, Jay recalls Bush in this conversation with David L. Bahnsen, the author of “Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It.” This has to do with money, drugs, immigration, and a lot more. Bahnsen is a foe of bogeymen and scapegoats. Jay says that Bahnsen’s words are music to his ears, and they may be to yours, too. In any case, Bahnsen is a man worth listening to, for he goes to the heart of America’s problems.

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Jay and Mona catch up on the Gaza attempted invasion, the latest awful school shooting, Mattis and McCain, and the death of 3 giants.

Music from this week’s episode:  Largo from Xerxes. George Frideric Handel.

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Jay does a kind of tour, touching on some burning issues and some less burning ones. He talks about the Nobel Peace Prize, a movie about Stalin, and “realism.” Personalities include Marco Rubio, Bill Cosby, and J. D. McClatchy. The podcast is not without music — from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shostakovich, and Beethoven. Come take the tour.

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At the Ricochet Podcast Summit, Jay’s guest was Nury A. Turkel, who had a grim and horrifying topic to discuss: a new gulag in China, which contains up to a million Uyghurs (a Turkic minority). Turkel himself is a Uyghur American. This issue is personal, national, and international, all three. Something to know about, in a world pregnant with horrors.

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Though neither mountain climbers nor heads of state, Mona and Jay got a chance to do a summit – the Ricochet Podcast Summit in Washington, D.C. Before an audience, they ran through a slew of issues, including the Koreas, the Nobel Peace Prize, Rudy Giuliani, movies, and books. And music. Both of them had the temerity to suggest what was the greatest pop song ever written. This podcast ends with one of the selections (a Jackson 5 number).

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Manfred Honeck is one of the leading conductors in the world. A member of a prominent Austrian musical family, he is the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and this week he is guest-conducting the New York Philharmonic. Jay sits down with him for a wide-ranging discussion: about music and the musical life. An excellent opportunity to hear the thoughts of a true and deep musician. 

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There being no shortage of news to discuss, Mona and Jay wade in: the Korean Peninsula, Trump, Macron, Mulvaney, Pruitt, Cohen, Cosby, etc. There is also talk about books and movies and TV shows. And music – the podcast goes out with a snippet from one of the mightiest works ever written, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9.

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This “Q&A” begins with Jeb Bush talking about his late mother, Barbara Bush. Also, what’s it like to be part of a family so well-known? Then he and Jay get down to public policy: guns, immigration, the opioid epidemic, education, entitlement reform, trade. They talk about populism and nationalism and politics at large. Jeb Bush is at his knowledgeable and wide-ranging best. 

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Something Mitt Romney said reminded Jay of what Hillary Clinton once said — to him (Jay). H. R. McMaster delivered an important message. Eliot A. Cohen unearthed an extraordinary (early) American. A man learned a painful lesson in Alaska.

Jay talks about all this and more, including sports and a deodorant commercial (yes). The podcast ends with his dad singing a fight song. A brief podcast positively bursting with eclecticism.

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It is a wonderful time of the year, with the NBA playoffs underway. What makes the NBA great? This is one of the questions that Jay takes up with three friends who are eminently qualified to say: David French, Theodore Kupfer, and Vivek Dave. How does the college game differ from the pro game? Are “super-teams” a problem? What about “tanking”? Who are the best players? Is LeBron the GOAT (the Greatest of All Time)? And more. A delightful episode, with three experts and enthusiasts. It’s catchable, that enthusiasm. 

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Eli Lake of Bloomberg View evaluates the Syria situation. Why not just “leave it others”? Jay and Mona then talk Comey, Cohen, Haley, Bush (Barbara), Stone, and Hannity. Plus: a special invitation to a live event.

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Mona and Jay welcome Kristen Soltis Anderson, a top pollster and analyst with a beautiful name. She talks about Trump’s standing, the GOP’s standing, and related important issues. Then Mona and Jay discuss tweeting, Amazon, Kevin Williamson, abortion, etc. They are takin’ care of business, and so is America, and so is the song the podcast goes out on.

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Free of columny, as William Safire called it, Thomas Sowell is writing books — as he always has, to be sure. His latest is “Discrimination and Disparities.” It does what Sowell books, and columns, always do. It teaches you important things.

With Jay, Sowell talks about human diversity. He talks about equality of opportunity and equality of results. (Two very different things.) He talks about the manipulation of statistics, a sore point.

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The appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser puts Jay in mind of mustaches — and he plays a little Stephen Foster. He also has coined a term that he hopes will catch on. Whether it does or not, he likes it. He talks about language, political and non-, and he tells a couple of stories — presidential ones. He ends with material related to Saint Patrick’s Day, late or not. “Danny Boy” is for every day, right?

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There’s lots to debate about guns, but not the way America is currently doing it. Jay and Mona look at David Hogg, Marco Rubio, and the tone of contempt. They pay tribute to Kevin Williamson, and the late Pete Peterson and Zell Miller. Happy Passover and Happy Easter.

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On Saturday, the Final Four will be played. And on Monday, the championship game will be played. What are we talking about? College basketball, the NCAA Tournament, March Madness. Jay’s guest is his young National Review colleague Theodore Kupfer (“Teddy K.”), who is a philosophy grad, steeped in sports. Jay and Teddy talk about the current tournament and also about larger issues: How corrupt is college basketball? Should athletes be paid? Are announcers any good? Can something be done about the often-interminable last few minutes of a game?

Enjoy the analysis of a whiz kid, Theodore Kupfer. 

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