From Steve Kerr to Bart Giamatti to class snobbery – NTK meanders this week. What the hosts are reading, watching, and thinking about on these long summer days.

Music: Suite No. 5 in E Major, HWV 430: IV. Air con Variazioni “The Harmonious Blacksmith”

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Prayers for Rep. Steve Scalise. Jay and Mona speak of the divisions in the country and whether this moment may lead to healing.

Mona reports from her home state’s primary, and Jay considers what U.S. policy in Egypt means for human rights.

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Jay is away this week. Charlie Sykes and Peter Wehner join Mona to evaluate the impact of the Comey hearings and discuss the broader questions facing conservatives in the age of Trump.

Music: Brahms. Variations on a theme by Paganini

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Well, the emergency was averted. Mona and Jay managed to record their discussion without the guiding hand of their producer. Kathy Griffin, Oslo Freedom Forum, Trump relatives, Russia, violence, campuses, pronouns. Not to be missed.

Music is from Dmitri Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite, waltz number 2.

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It’s been a terrible week for Trump – which means a terrible week for those who love this country. Jay and Mona consider the implications of the Russia probe, Flynn’s conduct, the Comey business, and the president’s leaked comments to the Russians about Comey. What a world. The podcast ends with some happy musings about music, and a note of hope, if not exactly optimism, from Jay.

Music is Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Third movement.

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Daniel Krauthammer joins Need to Know to talk of the divide on the right over nationalism versus patriotism. Is nationalism a good impulse or not? He also offers views on the Comey firing.

Jay and Mona then speak of the French elections, immigration, the unfilled jobs in the Trump Administration, how to boost the economy, Prince Phillip’s retirement, uniforms (school and otherwise), and the great Kate O’Beirne – RIP.

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The Atlantic’s David Frum joins NTK to evaluate Trump’s first nearly 100 days. Mona plays Devil’s advocate with Frum, a Trump critic – at least for a while. Jay engages David about the French elections, and then conversation turns to the March for Science, O’Reilly, FoxNews, the Detroit Tigers, and David Selznick.

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Jay and Mona speak of normality (which they like in President Trump), the role of in-laws, how much religion is too much in an Indiana school, Steve Bannon, and a tribute to two of Mona’s current favorite shows.

Music is the theme from Doc Martin. 

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Stranger things may have happened, but not lately. Jay and Mona welcome Bloomberg’s Eli Lake to talk national security, Syria, Susan Rice, chemical weapons, Russia, and more. Jay and Mona then find themselves defending our president against some of his disappointed fan boys.

Closing music is from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Op.24.

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The sage George F. Will joins Jay and Mona to discuss the progress of Trumpcare, the condition of our political parties, and what daily lying does to our civic culture.

Jay and Mona then turn to the violence that Putin critics keep encountering, the hate crime hoaxes, Manafort, a rape in Maryland, Bannon, Nowruz, and dogs.

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A rare in person Need to Know this week as Jay and Mona participated in the National Review Institute’s Ideas Summit. One of the sharpest writers on Earth, Kevin Williamson, drops in to talk about the changing complexions of the Democratic and Republican parties, what it’s like to write for an Indian newspaper, and other things. There is even a dose of pop culture. Good cheer all around.

Music is the Washington Post March by John Phillip Sousa

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Health care is kind of the ball game in American politics. Screw this up, and voters will punish you. Jay and Mona chew over the American Health Care Act and spit out the pieces. Conversation then ranges to a special rapper, Silicon Valley parents, the thug/students at Middlebury College, and more.

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The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens joins to pay tribute to his late colleague Daniel Pearl and consider the state of truth – and dedication to it – in our time. Pearl gave his life for it.

Jay and Mona then consider the Attorney General’s predicament, the state of nationalism around the globe, tribalism and Balkanization at home, President Trump’s much-lauded joint session speech, the “Blacksonian,” and “opera in the outfield.”

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No, not the president. Betsy Hart of the Heritage Foundation joins to report on parents pushing back against a public high school’s progressive indoctrination plans.

Jay and Mona then move on to things they love (Jay loves Emma Stone, Mona loves the series “The People v. O.J. Simpson”) and some of the things they hate. There’s some CPAC, Milo, “repeal and replace,” and consideration of the life and meaning of John C. Calhoun. Was Yale right to remove his name?

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Conservatives are united in praise of Neil Gorsuch, but what do those terms – originalism, textualism, and so forth – really mean? Ed Whelan, former Scalia clerk and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, joins to explain all.

Jay and Mona then chew over President Trump’s week. Flynn, Conway, nuclear holocaust, anti-Semitism, Electoral College tallies, truth, lies, and the rock ’em sock ’em press conference. Other topics include Down syndrome, and the courage and love of parents.

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Jay and Mona are very enthusiastic Betsy DeVos fans, but they are skeptical, to say the least, about the federal department she will now head.

They also cover the president’s immigration order (pro and con), Garry Kasparov and the right, France’s election and Wikileaks, conservative versus liberal isolationism, Roberta McCain, Ben Sasse, and a hummingbird egg.

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Mona is absent this week, so Jay grabs the mic and welcomes a guest co-host: David French. They proceed to take a tour of the news.

Our relations with Australia. Our relations with Russia. Justice-to-Be Neil Gorsuch. The National Prayer Breakfast. The Wall. The refugee “ban,” or whatever the agreed-on word is. Betsy DeVos. Holocaust Remembrance Day. Steve Bannon. Three to five million illegal votes (?). The American flag (especially on lapels). Victimology versus personal responsibility. Etc.

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Daniel Ikenson of CATO and Steve Moore of Heritage (who has advised Donald Trump) drop by to talk about trade and the Trump Administration. 

Jay and Mona then move on to discuss populism left and right, the “women’s march” against Trump, and other matters. They appraise Nigel Farage, praise George Will, and remember the great Mary Tyler Moore. RIP.

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To mark this historical day, we’ve assembled a panel that we think reflects all sides of the new Trump administration — a mashup of the Ricochet Podcast and Need To Know with Charen and Nordlinger with a dash of Victor Davis Hanson thrown in for flavoring. It’s a bracing conversation that really gets into the weeds on the election and what may lie ahead.

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To mark this historical day, we’ve assembled a panel that we think reflects all sides of the new Trump administration — a mashup of the Ricochet Podcast and Need To Know with Charen and Nordlinger with a dash of Victor Davis Hanson thrown in for flavoring. It’s a bracing conversation that really gets into the weeds on the election and what may lie ahead.

Public service announcement: if you’re not a member of Ricochet and enjoy this podcast, be one of the 1,500 and join today.

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National Review’s Ian Tuttle joins Jay and Mona to talk about BuzzFeed and the press, among many other things. They consider whether, on balance, the past few weeks have been good for conservatism. There were one and a half cheers for Rex Tillerson, and some full-throated enthusiasm for others. Does the cabinet matter, when DT is in the Oval? Jay and Mona differ.

The podcast closes with thoughts about the “real America.” 

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That’s what an Obama staffer asked when he/she saw the term “the least of these” in a memo about the proper policies on poverty. What a chasm separates the two parties! Which brings up Kerry, Putin, the UN anti-Israel vote, changes on the right (is it protectionist now?), and much more. We close with a special contribution from two much-appreciated listeners.

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Who doesn’t love Christmas music? Mona and Jay share some favorite tracks in a special holiday edition of the podcast.From Bach to Berlin, it’s a great journey.

The track list from this podcast may be viewed here.

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Steve Hayes, newly-appointed editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard, joins Jay and Mona to talk about foreign policy (he was a terrific Benghazi reporter), what is detectable about the Trump approach, and the polarization of news and information.

Jay and Mona then mull over the CIA. Can they be political? Are they being political right now?

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So many issues seem to come down to that. Jay outs himself as a Trumpster (!). Mona talks climate and Al Gore. Who wants to eliminate the Electoral College? Depends. The duo also do a little music. Mona wants to know how not to hate modernism. Jay explains.

Music from this week’s episode: Lorin Maazel conducts Franck’s Symphony in D minor, M 48- III

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