It is NBA Finals time, so that means another episode with Jay’s gurus from the last NBA podcast: Vivek Dave, Theodore Kupfer, and David French. They talk Warriors vs. Cavs and more. Something has happened since the last podcast: David has declared, in an “historic” essay, as Jay says, LeBron James the GOAT — the Greatest of All Time. What does the panel think about that? And other major questions.

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Emmanuel Jal has had an extraordinary life – probably not one you would wish on anyone. He was born in Sudan, sometime in the early 1980s (he’s not sure when). As a child, he was forced to be a soldier. His mother was killed. So were many, many other members of his family. He spent several years – the heart of his childhood – in combat. Eventually, he was adopted by a British aid worker named Emma McCune. She took him to the safety of Nairobi, where she died in a road accident a few months later. Through trial and tribulation, Jal became an entrepreneur, a hip-hop artist, a clinician, and more. He has a great deal to share, a great deal to say. Listen to him talk to Jay. 

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Gianandrea Noseda is the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra. He is also one of the best interviewees in all of music (as Jay knows from experience). Noseda was in New York, to guest-conduct the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Jay sat down with him — to talk about orchestras, Mozart, Mahler, YouTube, and more. At the end, Jay says, “Can you possibly put into words why you like music?” A conversation with Noseda is equal parts deep and fun.

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Two Megans are featured this week: the great Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle, and the newest member of the Windsor clan, Meghan Markle. The trio of McArdle, Nordlinger, and Charen tackle the welfare state, the NFL, the abortive Korea Summit, and graduation season.

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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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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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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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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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Michael Breen is one of our best Korea-watchers — one of our best Korea analysts, one of our best authorities. He is a journalist, consultant, and book-author. With Jay, he talks about the Olympics just past. He talks about the North Korean charm offensive, if charm it was. He talks about upcoming summits. And the Kim family, that dictatorial dynasty. And the politics of reunification. And more. The Korean Peninsula is once more a flashpoint. We need expertise on it, and have it.

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Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. Discussing them with Jay is Alberto Mingardi, one of Italy’s leading classical liberals, the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute. They also talk about Trump, Silvio, demography (have Italians stopped having babies?), migration, the EU, books, music, and, crucially, food. You can understand Italy through its food, Mingardi explains.

Anyway, a stimulating “Q&A” for you, all’italiana. 

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