About once a year, we get a visit from the master himself, the great Thomas Sowell. This year’s session is on the occasion of the publication of his new book, Charter Schools And Their Enemies  and more importantly, his 90th(!) birthday on June 30th. We talk about the success of charter schools despite the teacher’s union and America’s worst mayor doing everything they can to undermine them. Then Ricochet’s Senior Supreme Court and Legal Analyst John Yoo joins to break down last week’s curious DACA and Bostock decisions. Finally, some thoughts on statues.

We’re off next week for the holiday. Stay safe everyone!

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Another action packed show: Is the lockdown over or is this just intermission? Hey, did John Bolton write a book? Did the Supreme Court hand down some decisions?

Leading off our guest spots this week is Coleman Hughes who has been on our radar for a while. In this moment, we thought it was high time he was on your’s, too. Be sure and read his essay Stories and Data: Reflections on race, riots, and police at City Journal as we discuss on the show. His other essays are also well worth your time.

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Milestones — they seem so important when they’re far away and then you arrive at them and then it suddenly doesn’t seem such a big deal. At the start of the year, we had some big plans to mark this achievement (if that’s what you can call it), but then the lockdown happened, and well, the rest is…But, don’t fear — we actually put together a great show with a great guest: Roland Fryer, Professor of Economics at Harvard –making his Ricochet Podcast debut. His studies on changing the behavior of cops and racial differences in police use of deadly force are the gold standard and are used by police departments all over the world to write policies on training and engagement with civilians. It’s a fascinating conversation. We also do some reminiscing, some teasing, and some looking ahead to the next 500 (!) shows. Thanks for listening, sticking with us, and for all the thousands of great comments. We’ll do this again in 2030.

Music from this week’s show: The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

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Now, that was a week. We try to put it all in some perspective — the protests, the riots, the looting, and the politics and we do so with the help of our guests, Andrew C. McCarthy and Victor Davis Hanson. And yes, the Lileks Post of The Week is back to blow the lid off knitting clubs. And, Rob outs himself as a super hero, Peter deals with civil unrest induced anxiety by reading biographies, and James, well, we’re not sure what James does.

Music from this week’s show: The Dream Police by David Byrne

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We don’t tend to do location work on this show, but when a major news event happens in the city where one of our hosts live, we get a up-close and personal view. And when that host is James Lileks and Minneapolis, the amount of detail, insight, and thoughtfulness could fill a dozen podcasts. James describes what the last few days have been like, and where he thinks his city is heading. But that’s not all we’ve got for you. We’ve got the NYT’s Bari Weiss on Joe Rogan, podcasting, and why our medium in now a major media platform (it’s very meta conversation). Then, obscure law professor and fast food aficionado John Yoo stops by to school us on platforms versus publishers (guess what Ricochet is?), that pesky section 230, and why Twitter probably should not be fact checking the President.

Music from this week’s show: My City of Ruins by Bruce Springsteen

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What matters? Well, New York City for one. We get to that topic towards the end of this show, but prior to that we visit first with economist Kevin Warsh of the Hoover Institution. He has a lot to say about humongous stimulus packages, Congress, the role of China in this thing, and what the Fed should and shouldn’t be doing. Then, newly minted Ricochet podcaster and chip the old block Spencer Klavan stops by to explain why he’s a heretic and we’re not (at least not yet). Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway), Young Heretics, his new podcast is a must listen. Finally, as promised — a meditation on New York City, the lockdown, why it needs to end, and why what happens there matters for the rest of the country and yes, even the world. Yes, it really is up to you, New York, New York.

Music from this week’s show: New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down by LCD Soundsystem

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We’re about 9 weeks into the Great American Shut Down and maybe, just maybe we’re starting to see a light at the end of this tunnel? To help us parse this, call on an actual scientist, our good friend from Stanford Medicine, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya who helped write the Santa Clara Study and the just released MLB study. We discuss where we are now, where we might be going, the strategies different states are employing, and yes, at bit of the politics around all of this. And will we see the return of college and pro sports any time soon? You’ll have to tune in for the answer to that one. Also, a Ricochet first time poster gets the highly-coveted, much sought after Lileks Post of The Week badge, and we pay tribute to the great Reverend Richard Penniman. He was built for speed and good golly, we’ll miss him.

Music from this week’s podcast: Long Tall Sally by Little Richard

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We know, we know — we’re 6 or 7 hours late with this. We had some technical difficulties during the recording of this show (we broke with tradition and training and left a bit of it in) which forced us to record this show in two sessions today, apologies for that. But that does not mean you, our faithful listeners are getting shortchanged. Far from it — this is one of the longest shows we’ve ever done — over 90 minutes of clever and civil conversation, featuring our guests, Andrew McCarthy, the WSJ’s Kim Strassel, and Ricochet’s own editor and senior citizen killer, Bethany Mandel, who joins to discuss her latest adventures on Twitter, which resulted in all of the right people getting mad at her.

We even crammed in a Lileks Post of The Week, and plenty of the banter that America’s Most Beloved Podcast has become so famous for. So strap yourself in or take a long, long (as in Rob) walk with the dog, cut a large lawn, do a lot of dishes, or whatever your podcast listening activity of choice is and consume this one from start to finish.

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This week on The Big Show, we inch our way back to normal with our first show in weeks without a COVID-19 specific guest. That’s not to say we don’t talk about it — we do, and then some. But the new cycle means that we have to address those icky charges against Joe Biden and to do that we call on the Ricochet Podcast’s Senior Sex and Gender Correspondent, the great Mollie Hemingway (yes, she’s also a Fox News contributor and a Senior Editor at The Federalist, but we had her first). We go deep on Tara Reade’s accusations, and how the media is (or isn’t) covering this story. Then, our old friend (and WSJ columnist) Bill McGurn stops by to discuss his recent column Communists in Brooks Brothers, in which he describes the struggles of Martin Lee. Also, some news on other dissidents in Hong Kong, and a bit of politics. We’ve got a Lileks Post of The Week about ratting on your neighbors and some closing thoughts on what the heck may be going on in The Hermit Kingdom. 

Music from this week’s show: Me and Bobby McGee by Kris Kristofferson

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The Question of the Week, maybe the month, perhaps the year, oh, heck — likely of the century is “when is the economy re-opening?” Sure, we could round up a bunch of egg-head economists to ponder and scratch their chins, but instead we went directly to the West Wing, to the room where it happens (to coin a phrase) and got our old friend and former podcaster Larry Kudlow on the Skype machine. He gives us the actual figures on the economy, the strategy, the mood, and most importantly, how we get out of this. Also, is sunlight a disinfectant? Can you inject Lysol? (Did you really think we weren’t going to talk about that?). We’ve got a Lileks Post of The Week from Southern Pessimist on cooking at home and Chef Long describes how you can cook like the stars.

Music from this week’s show: Hats Off To Larry by Del Shannon

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We’re a full month into full lockdown and quite frankly. we’re just about fully filled with aggravation about it. We vent to each other and then we bring in a couple of really smart guys (and coincidentally, Ricochet podcasters): Avik Roy and Lanhee Chen. They (along with Bob Kocher and others) have published A New Strategy for Bringing People Back to Work During COVID-19 a manual for safely re-starting the economy. We delve into detail about how to get people of all ages and backgrounds back into the workforce while putting into place safeguards to prevent another round of infections and another shutdown. Also, should we be buying goods from China? Changing My Mind on “Country of Origin” Labeling Thanks to China, This week’s Lileks Post of The Week by BucknellDad tackles that topic. Finally, what are the podcasts the podcasters listen to? Well, you’ll have to listen t this podcast to find out.

Music from this week’s show: Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man by Travis Tritt

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No, we did not book Rand Paul on this supersized edition of The Big Show (90 minutes of clever and civil conversation!), we booked Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to discuss the stimulus packages (speaking of super-sized), the federal government’s response to the crisis, and a boots-on-ground report from Ohio. And our good friend and go to authority on all things medical, Dr. George Savage checks up on us and gives an update on the models (no, not those kind of models), the research, and whether sheltering at home and shutting down the economy is actually working. This week’s Lileks Post of The Week (we’ll get that jingle timed correctly one of these days — promise) asks us not to mock Joe Biden (eh, maybe…), and Rob Long saunters around a deserted Manhattan and has some thoughts.

Music from this week’s show: Taking A Walk by John Prine

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This week on The Big Show, we attempt to return to some sense of normalcy (while of course maintaining social distancing by at least 1,000 miles). Yes, we talk about that thing we’re all doing and what our new lives are like now. But then, we shift gears to visit with our good friend Ross Douthat, NYT columnist and podcaster (The Argument, which Ross co-hosts is one of our favorites) on the occasion of his new book., The Decadent Society. It’s a meditation on what happens when a rich and powerful society stops advancing and how the combination of wealth, technology, economic stagnation, political stalemates, and demographic decline (among other things) creates a “sustainable decadence” that could stick around for a long time. Needless to say, it’s a provocative conversation that we’d like to get your take on in the comments. Finally, we do round of What Are You Watching,  and do a deep dive on toilet paper, courtesy of the Lileks Post of The Week.

Music from this week’s show: I.G.Y by Donald Fagen

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Strange times call for improvisation and trying new things. So this week The Ricochet Podcast isn’t just a podcast, it’s also a Zoom webinar (sorry, the video is only for Ricochet members — not a member? Join today!). See James Lileks’ secret TV studio designed by a dyslexic! Rob Long owns and prominently displays Communist propaganda! Peter Robinson is wearing a sweater! Wait, that’s not a surprise. OK, he’s floating above San Francisco bay! But enough about the video, more importantly, we’ve got a great guest this week: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at the Stanford Medical School, Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He explains why the numbers we’re seeing may not tell the entire story of this pandemic. Also, a new Lileks Post of The Week, My Life as a Google End User, some thoughts about life as we now know it, and some cameo appearances from some actual Ricochet members!

Music From This Week’s Show: Sitting In My Room by The Ramones

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Settle in, shelter-in-placers, we’ve got another super-sized (and shall we say, impassioned) edition of the Ricochet Podcast. In addition to the robust debaters, we’ve got Deb Saunders (self-quarantined from an undisclosed location) and Arthur Brooks who provides some much needed optimism in these dark days.

Music from this week’s show: Life During Wartime by Talking Heads

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With the country on virtual lockdown and many, many unanswered questions about the Corona Virus, we thought it was a good idea to do a stand alone podcast with our good friend and the most knowledgeable medical person we know (and full disclosure: Ricochet Board Member), Dr. George Savage. Rob Long, and later, Peter Robinson ask the questions on this show, but later in the week, we’ll open to the floor up to you and let you ask Dr. Savage. Stay tuned for a post soliciting questions. In the meantime, listen to this show and stay safe.

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This week on the pioneering social distanced produced podcast (we are all at least several hundred miles apart), we of course talk about the virus that went viral. And fair warning: there is some criticism of the President in this show. We also call on our old friend, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, who in an alternate universe, is probably enjoying his second term as President of the United States. P.S. you should read Andy Ferguson’s terrific profile of him in The Atlantic.We talk to him about the virus (natch), how he’s keeping tuition at Purdue under $10K, and the challenges of running a large community in this day and age. Then, the 4th Ricochet Podcaster (as he’s now known), John Yoo stops by to talk about the legalities of governments taking over hotels and medical facilities to treat coronavirus patients. Finally, more talk about life in the Age of Corona and James gives some tips on buying toilet paper.

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Rob Long is off this week, Law Talk’s John Yoo is sitting in. We’ve got Henry Olsen (he of The Horse Race podcast right here on this network) to chat about Super Duper Tuesday, Joementum!,  and whether we’ve seen the last of the Socialist. Then, our friend and advisor Dr. George Savage stops by the tell us all about the Corona Virus — who’s got it, who doesn’t, what we can do about it and what we can’t. Yes, we’re sick of this topic too. Also, Chuck Schumer says something dumb, why are so many old white guys running for higher office, are some people are too damn sensitive, and another edition of What Are You Watching?

Music from this week’s show: My Sharona by The Knack

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The main topic? What else? The Coronavirus, which is roiling everything from the markets to the political arena and beyond. The Vice President is the new point man.

Then we get down to the nitty gritty of the race for the Democratic nomination with Luke Thompson and talk to a sensible Democrat about the environment as we’re joined by the President of Environmental Progress, Michael Shellenberger, on why nuclear power is the way to go and his new book, Apocalypse Never.

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Yeah, it another really busy week in the Ricochet Podcast Extended Universe (or as we like to call it, RIPEU, or repoo): we had a primary, some candidates drop out the race, we had a former Trump campaign advisor sentencing blow up into a fight between the President and his Attorney General. But we decided to ignore all of that (for at least about 70% of the show) and focus on other matters. First we have a discussion about why things are actually pretty great right now, premised on Ross Douthat’s upcoming book The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success (Ross will be on the show in March to defend himself).

Then, we continue ignoring current events as the great Yuval Levin stops by to discuss institutions and why we need them (you’ll want to buy his book, A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream). It’s a fascinating conversation, completely devoid of any controversy involving a Tweet. Ahhhh, take me away Calgon. But, all of that bliss comes to a crashing halt when Ricochet Podcast Senior Justice Department and Legal Pundit John Yoo calls in from the tub in his hotel room (not kidding!) to discuss the Barr/Trump/Stone controversy of the moment. Guess we had to do that? Also, Rob Long moonlights on yet another podcast to discuss his hobbies. We recommend it. Finally, mazel tov to @bucknelldad, he’s the winner of the highly coveted Lileks Post of The Week, for his French Court Scrambles the Debate Over What is “GMO” in Foods post. Magnifiqué, mon ami.

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