Jay wanted to turn to Lincoln Diaz-Balart, to get his thoughts on the death of Fidel Castro. Diaz-Balart is a veteran Miami lawyer and politician. He served in Congress for nearly 20 years. His family has been prominent in politics, both in pre-Castro Cuba and in the United States. His father, Rafael, was a friend of Castro’s; his aunt, Rafael’s sister, married Castro. But soon, Rafael and Castro had a sharp parting of the ways.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s reflections come from deep experience and knowledge. You will want to cock an ear to them.

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Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center joins to analyze the election results (Olsen was one of the few to predict the outcome within a point or two) and consider the big takeaways from 2016 about ethnic and working class voters. What matters more: identity or issues?

Jay and Mona then read the tea leaves emerging from Trump tower and Bedminster, NJ and offer some praise, some relief, and some alarm.

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Jay ditches a traditional “Q&A” – a proper “Q&A” – to do a music program: a program of music related to Thanksgiving, or at least to thanksgiving: expressions of gratitude. You have some Baroque, including Bach, and some Beethoven, and some Strauss (Richard Strauss), and some Barber, and, finally, a cherished familiar hymn. Happy, happy Thanksgiving.

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David Clarke is one of the most famous lawmen in America. He is the sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He is a commanding personality who has much experience and much to say. And he says it very well.

Sheriff Clarke is a guest on National Review’s current cruise. Jay sat down with him for a “Q&A” in front of an audience.

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America and the world after the election of Trump: This is the general topic of Jay’s “Q&A” with John Hillen – who is, as Jay says, a soldier, scholar, businessman, athlete, and, in a word, hombre. Their specific topics are Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Europe, NATO, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. military, NAFTA, freedom, and so on.

As Hillen pointed out to Jay, after the podcast, Churchill had a word to America when our nation was on the ascendant, internationally: “The price of greatness is responsibility.” Clearly a theme of our time.

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The Catholics say hope is a theological virtue, and while none of the four participants in a special Need to Know is Catholic, all are upholding it this week.

Peter Wehner joined first, Wednesday morning, for reflections on the challenge to conservatives of a Trump presidency. On Thursday, Jay and Mona welcomed David French. They talk Supreme Court, Obamacare, and then, inevitably, foreign policy and character. It’s a bizarre stew, cooked up by history.

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Jay and Mona wonder what the next four years will look like now that the Republican Party has taken on so many of the features of the Democratic Party. Is demography destiny? Does anyone still uphold good character and deplore the “coarsening of the culture”? They close with light and dark: A note of fortitude about our task, and dark foreboding from Shostakovich.

Music from this week’s show: End of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

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Dana Perino is a leading personality on Fox News. She is also a former White House press secretary (for George W. Bush). She is just out with a book, “Let Me Tell You about Jasper …: How My Best Friend Became America’s Dog.”

Jay talks with Ms. Perino in her home, along with Jasper himself. They talk about him, of course, and about dogs. But also about broader issues in life, which a discussion of dogs can prompt. As far as Jay is concerned, the new book is essentially about love. The author does not disagree.

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Anne Applebaum is one of the foremost writers on Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet Union. She is a columnist for the Washington Post, and has written several books: including “Gulag,” which won a Pulitzer prize.

She is Jay’s guest on “Q&A.” They talk about Russia and Putin. And Ukraine and Putin. And Europe and Putin. And America and Putin.

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Did Citizens United hand the US electoral system to nefarious corporate interests and “dark money”? We ask former FEC chairman and free speech advocate Bradley Smith. His lucid explication makes even this murky realm of the law very clear.

Jay and Mona then consider emotionalism, tribalism, and extremism in American politics. Also, is it just the women angle that makes Trump unacceptable? Bob Dylan gets a shout out that he might not like.

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Jay takes advantage of “Q&A” to do away with “Q&A” and record a music program instead – this one related to Halloween. So there is a variety of spooky and devilish music – by Tartini, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and others. From a violin sonata to an aria to a horse ride into hell to a sorcerer (or rather, his apprentice). Enjoy, and don’t be too scared.

The track list for this show is here.

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Presidential historian Tevi Troy drops by to talk about crises. He’s written a book titled Shall We Wake the President? Wilson was a flop at responding to the 1918 flu, but Reagan responded well to the Tylenol poisoning case. This much is certain: Every president will have to respond to a crisis, so . . .

After Tevi departs Jay and Mona consider the crisis of the election and the hypocrisy of the right. How did we get here? Will we all come back together after November 8? 

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October is a big month for the baseball world. And Jay would like nothing better than to talk baseball with George Will — which he does.

Will wrote a blockbuster baseball book, Men at Work. It keeps selling and selling. He himself is an encyclopedia of baseball. He has opinions, as everyone does, and they are all undergirt by facts.

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Note: This podcast was recorded before the Trump video story broke. 

Mona and Jay talk about him and her – you know, the major-party presidential nominees. They also talk about some other things: including the Nobel Peace Prize, Captive Nations Week, Bill Cosby, and music.

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Grant Starrett is a lawyer and politician in Tennessee. Kind of a model, if you’re a conservative Republican – a blue-chipper. He ran for Congress this year, against the Republican incumbent, and lost. Still in his twenties, he will probably run again, with a different result.

Jay is a friend of Starrett’s, and they talk about running for office: the fundraising, the handshaking, the issues, and so on. They also talk about conservatism. How did Starrett become one, by the way?

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The match of the century? Hardly. Jay and Mona speculate on which Republican could have done what Trump failed to do in the first debate – really take it to Hillary Clinton. They talk trade, Lewinsky, taxes (did Trump admit he doesn’t pay them?), “trickle down” economics, demeanor, and more. The closing music is emblematic of the Republican Party this year.

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Thomas Sowell has revised and enlarged his important book Wealth, Poverty and Politics. With Jay, he talks about – well, wealth, poverty, and politics.

How about Adam Smith and those boys? What about the role of geography? George Washington referred to America’s “blessed location.” What about the Korean Peninsula? The two halves of it are terribly different, aren’t they?

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Jay has a little therapy session with Noah Rothman of Commentary magazine, one of his favorite analysts and writers. They talk about Trump and Hillary, of course – especially the former. And Russia, NATO, and Saddam. And the alt-Right. And the media.

In other words, issues of the hour (and some past hours, and some future ones). After the conversation, Jay said, in so many words, “Thanks, I needed that.” You may like it too.

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It’s a Need to Know two-fer. First Mary Kissel of the Wall Street Journal editorial board joins Mona to talk trade, economics, Trump outsmarting the press, birtherism, and Venezuela. Then Jay joins to talk Baltic Nations, Mike Pence, “Chelsea” Manning, Colin Powell, a little baseball, and who’s deplorable.

Music from this week’s episode: Õnnis on Inimene – Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

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Mona and Jay talk about Hillary and Trump – and Putin and some other unsavory folks. Conservatives are strong on freedom and strong against dictators, right? The hosts also talk about the outcome of the election: Big Hillary win? Little Hillary win? Little Trump win? Big Trump win? Who knows?

Near the end of the podcast, they talk about two movies, one concerning the First Couple, the other concerning a pilot hero. And they close with comments on two figures out of the musical-entertainment past: Victor Borge and Peter Schickele.

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