What’s it like to be the kid of a dictator? This is the subject of Jay Nordlinger’s new book, Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Nordlinger describes a rogue’s gallery of bad men — and how their kids turned out. He describes sons and daughters who became monsters themselves as well as sons and daughters who led admirable lives. There seems to be no rule of thumb. But there are stories, lots of them, and Jay shares a few good ones.

Before getting to the martinis, Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review discuss the tragic death of Jake Brewer, husband of conservative commentator and author Mary Katherine Ham.  Later, they applaud House Republicans for advancing legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and impose criminal penalties on medical personnel who refuse to help babies who survive attempted abortions.  They also unload on the U.S. military for ordering service members not to report or intervene as Afghan police officials regularly rape boys – and severely punish those who do.  And we discuss the stunning collapse of support for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s 2016 campaign.

Debate number two is in the history books now, and to help us parse all the performances we call on two experts: Michael Barone and Rick Wilson. Who won, who lost, who scored and who fumbled? All questions answered within. Also, whither Scott Walker? And, We’re Number 1!

Music from this week’s episode:

The second GOP debate is in the books. Carly Fiorina is, by most accounts, the big winner, with Donald Trump still standing tall.

We turned to several members of the Political A-Team, namely Richard Baehr of the American Thinker, Dr. Charles Lipson of the Political Science Department at the University of Chicago, and Joseph Morris, former Assistant Attorney General under President Reagan.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review love that Hillary Clinton struggles mightily to name a single accomplishment as secretary of state.  They also shake their heads as the Obama Administration says the failure to train moderate Syrians isn’t Obama’s fault because he never liked the plan in the first place. And they laugh as a key figure on the Nobel committee says giving the 2009 peace prize to Obama was a mistake.

Gilbert Gaul is a two time Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist who has now turned his eye toward the business of college football. Now that the new season is underway, we thought it time to bring him on to discuss his fantastic new work, Billion Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football. It is a truly eye-opening account–some say indictment–of the strange intersection of academics, athletics, money, and amateur sports.

Rick Telander is a legend in his own right. A former college football player at Northwestern University, he is also an acclaimed sportswriter and senior sports columnist at the Chicago Sun Times. He, too, wrote a fine book about the business of college football in The Hundred Yard Lie.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review shake their heads at CNN holding a three-hour debate and barely using two of the questioners.  They also rip John Kasich for being critical of Planned Parenthood funding and the Iran deal but making it clear he wouldn’t do much to stop it.  And they applaud several candidates for making strong conservative points.

Well, you don’t have to drink tea, or anything else, to enjoy this podcast with Toby Young. He is well familiar to Ricochet readers and listeners: the British journalist who was a judge on Top Chef and who is an important education reformer and whose father, a prominent sociologist and politician, coined the term “meritocracy” (which he did not mean in a positive way – far from it).

Jay asks Toby about Labour’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn. And the Conservative PM, David Cameron. And Boris Johnson. And restaurants. And other things. If you haven’t met him already, you’ll meet one of the most interesting people on either side of the Atlantic. If you HAVE met him, you know what you’re in for, and will relish the conversation.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are glad to see another debate and are hopeful some actual issues can be discussed.  They also discuss whether the fierce disagreement among GOP voters can heal once the nominee is decided.  And they debate whether a “dislike” button would be good or bad for political discourse.

This week, Tim Pawlenty and Larry Kudlow wrangle over whether or not the GOP should “go to the mattresses” to stop the Iran deal, give a preview of the GOP debate tomorrow night, parse the price of Bernie Sanders plan to socialize America — $18 trillion.  #FeelTheBern indeed. Also, should there be a special prosecutor appointed to investigate Hillary’s emails? And finally, there’s a Fed meeting on Thursday — should the Fed raise rates? The answer is in your earbuds.

Buy low, sell high: Money and Politics with Kudlow & Pawlenty is now available on iTunes here and on Stitcher here. Get it!

Every child has heroes. The firefighter, the police officer, the soldier. History is rife with tales of the heroic warrior or the quiet and stoic figure who stood tall in the face of oppression. What is a hero? Can anyone be a hero? Must a hero engage in battle against tremendous odds and to emerge victorious?

Tod Lindberg is a political expert, writer, thinker, and professor and has written on the topic of heroes in his latest book. He answers many of these questions, visiting great heroes of history to show how the ancient and modern model of a hero has changed, and what qualities of those heroes persist throughout history.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review applaud Liberty University students and leaders for being respectful hosts to Sen. Bernie Sanders and showing how people can disagree maturely.  They also shake their heads as Pres. Obama invites pro-abortion and pro-LGBT activists to greet Pope Francis next week.  And they sigh as New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone targets the scourge of fantasy football.

A good politician knows how to deliver a speech that pulls at the heartstrings. An effective politician knows how to work in a joke or some clever wordplay to put the people at ease. And then there’s the political gaffe, which can sink a campaign or make a mockery of one’s rule.

Rich Rubino is a fine political reporter, pundit, and author who has given us a great collection of odd and obscure political facts in a previous work. He has just published a collection of humorous political quotations that is great fun. He joined Milt to share some of his favorite.

Thomas Mallon may be our generation’s Allen Drury — the top fictional chronicler of political life in Washington, D.C. His new book is Finale, a Novel of the Reagan Years.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Mallon describes what fiction can do that nonfiction can’t, how he handles the famous problem of Reagan’s personal unknowability, and what he thinks of Dutch, the controversial book by Edmund Morris that blends fiction and nonfiction in its coverage of Reagan.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review marvel at Bernie Sanders opening up huge leads over Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire.  They groan as Russia gets more involved in the Syrian civil war – and the Iranians.  And they laugh as British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn unveils his shadow cabinet.

When they recorded this podcast, Mona had just returned from Texas and Jay had just arrived there. They sing a hymn of praise to Texas – a duet.

Then Mona tells us about the organization Wounded Warriors Family Support, on whose board she serves.

One of the great humanitarian crises of this still young century is the mass of refugees seeking asylum in Europe. They have blazed trails from various war-torn nations and are knocking on the doors of Germany, France, Hungary and others in the hopes of finding new lives in the new world.

To help us understand how we got here and where we should go next is a fine panel of analysts, historians, and scholars. Marina Henke, a German by birth and international relations professor at Northwestern, Erik Tillman, also a political scientist from DePaul, joined Milt in studio. Via phone, our old friend Richard Friedman and fellow DePaul professor, history, Tom Mockiatis.

He’s been gone for a while now (some details about that in the podcast), but thankfully James Delingpole has returned to the digital airwaves with Toby Young (read his stellar piece “The Fall of The Meritocracy” here) to discuss the immigration crisis in Europe, inside dope on British politics, the current TV landscape, and their mutual hero Benjamin Netanyahu.


Dick Ciccone is one of the members of Milt’s Political A-Team. He’s also a decorated war veteran, a college professor, a fantastic author, journalist and newsman, and a helluva golfer. He spent decades in the business, including as managing editor of the Chicago Tribune. He’s one of the most fascinating people to ever have appeared on the program, with a sublime understanding of Chicago, words, and the political landscape of America.

We realized that we hadn’t yet delved into the mind of Dick Ciccone, and it was high time that we did it. What emerged was a truly remarkable look into the evolution of the newspaper business, journalism, and American politics.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review welcome the news that Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will not seek re-election.  They also cringe as the Pentagon admits mishandling plague samples.  And they decipher Al Qaeda’s declaration of war against ISIS, leading into reflections on the anniversaries of the 9/11 attacks and Benghazi.

The entire Power Line gang gathered for the latest episode of the Power Line Show. They talked about Rathergate and the absurd new movie mis-titled Truth, which just opened in Toronto. Harry MacDougald, the famous “Buckhead” of the Rathergate story, joined the group and related his part in one of the biggest journalism stories of modern times.

From Rathergate, the gang moved on to Iran and the tortured history of Corker-Cardin, which was abandoned today in the House and filibustered in the Senate. Paul offered his thoughts on the legal ramifications of the fizzling out of Corker-Cardin. And finally, a story that combines Iran and media scandal: the New York Times’sJew tracker,” which deserves to live in infamy. It was a spirited session, to say the least!

This week, our old friend and proto-podcaster Mark Steyn returns to the fold to discuss his terrific new book Disgrace to the Profession.

In the addition to the book, we also cover Trump (of course), Mark’s neighbor, Bernie Sanders; the dissing of President McKinley, water levels in Alaska, and an update on Steyn vs. Mann. Yep, we got the band back together.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review discuss the emerging details of the embezzlement investigation against Huma Abedin and laugh as she throws husband Anthony Weiner under the bus.  They also fume over reports that senior government officials are doctoring intelligence reports to make the fight against ISIS seem like it’s going better than it is.  And they slam Donald Trump for taking boorish cheap shots over Carly Fiorina’s face and Ben Carson’s medical careers.

With Labor Day come and gone, the faculty lounge reopens for the autumn session. On this episode: Professors Epstein and Yoo debate whether the Fourteenth Amendment mandates birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens; Discuss whether Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis can cite conscience protections to keep from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples; explain what Congress can do to stop the seemingly inevitable Iran deal; and deliver legal analysis on the finer points of Deflategate.

Also, the boys make their Super Bowl picks, Richard defends an unlikely Supreme Court case, and John reveals a secret from Ann Coulter’s days as a Capitol Hill staffer.yoohoochampions

Joseph Califano is a politician, educator and public servant with decades of experience. He was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, he was with the Defense Department, and he was–and still is–one of the champions of the anti-drug crusade.

But he may be known most for his time working alongside President Lyndon B. Johnson as his top domestic aide. He wrote a magnificent account of his time with LBJ in his acclaimed book, The Triumph & Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years. This insider’s account goes a long way to dispelling many of the myths about Johnson, and casts light upon this giant of the American presidency. Johnson was a remarkable man in many ways. Much of the landscape of the federal government came from his presidency. This account with Milt was remarkable for its historical value and the portrait of the man Johnson at work.