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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Jay and Mona consider Paul Ryan’s career and what it says about where we are. They talk Zuckerberg, Trump, Syria, Putin, Comey, Gingrich, and golf.

Note: Apologies in advance for the occasional audio issues on this show.

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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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Powerline’s Steve Hayward joins Mona for the first half of this week’s special NTK. They talk about the conservative crack-up and Mona’s book (coming June 26!). Jay later joins Mona for a look at “Rexit,” boobish campaigning, Putin’s “election,” and the McCabe exit.

Music: Henry Litolff, Scherzo Concerto Symphonique #4

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In New York, the Human Rights Foundation hosted “PutinCon” – a conference dedicated to telling the truth about Putin and his Russia. Jay caught up with Bill Browder and Vladimir Kara-Murza. The former is the financier who has spearheaded “Magnitsky acts”; the latter is the Russian democracy leader who, twice, has survived poison attacks. Jay talks with them about the latest poison attacks in Britain, the sham of a Russian election on Sunday, and more. 

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It’s the eternal cry of children, but does it apply to international trade? Scott Lincicome joins to explain why not. Jay and Mona then consider the Trump/Kim summit, the nationalists vs. globalists theme that’s making the rounds, and the pace of news in the Trump era.

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Hendrik Meijer is the author of a new biography of Arthur Vandenberg, the Michigan senator who led the isolationist wing before World War II and became a key internationalist thereafter. Meijer, too, is a Michigan man. In addition to being a biographer and writer, he is the executive chairman of Meijer, Inc., the chain of stores founded by his grandfather, also named Hendrik Meijer.

Jay (a Michigan man himself) talks to Meijer about Vandenberg, of course, and about issues today that are very much like those confronted by Vandenberg and his peers. He also asks Meijer about another Michigan man: Gerald Ford. Ford was a Grand Rapidian, and so was Vandenberg, and so is Meijer. (Jay is from Ann Arbor.)

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Poland has adopted a controversial new law, making it a crime to say some things about Poland and World War II. Radek Sikorski is well positioned to talk about this: He is a veteran writer and politician. He has served as both foreign minister and defense minister of Poland. Jay also asks him about Europe in general: Are authoritarian winds blowing? What does Anglo-American conservatism have in common with Continental rightism? If “mainstream” parties won’t tackle immigration and other combustible issues, someone will, true?

Pressing questions, addressed by one of the best, Radek Sikorski.

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Mona reports the behind the scenes details of her appearance at CPAC last weekend and the fallout since. The conservative movement is up for grabs — no telling how this story will turn out. 

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Alston Ramsay is an old National Review hand, and an old Bill Buckley hand. He went on to work for Secretary Robert Gates, General David Petraeus, and others. Now he is in Hollywood, writing movies. Just coming out is “Midnighters,” directed by Julius Ramsay, Alston’s older brother. With Jay, Alston talks about the movie and many other subjects — including basketball, about which Alston is passionate. He is a UNC Tar Heel, but Jay pretends to think he is a Duke Blue Devil, because, for those outside North Carolina, it’s all the same.

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