leesmith1This week, Mona and Jay begin with a guest, Lee Smith, who is an expert on Iran and other matters Middle Eastern. He fills us in. One thing he says is: Debate about the Iran deal is not over. Opponents of the deal need not shut up and acquiesce.

Mona and Jay then talk about a slew of issues. These include the refugee crisis in Europe, unemployment in the United States, and Dr. Ben Carson. Jay insists on talking about what he considers one of the finest and most important pieces of journalism published this year: Mona’s “What the Left and the Right Don’t Get about Campus Rape.” Mona gives a summary, in the podcast, but listeners will want to read the piece.

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After a long hiatus during which Jay did music in gorgeous Salzburg (salt town), Austria and Mona traveled to exotic, um, Canada, the hosts are reunited to discuss, what else –Trump.

As Jay noted about halfway through: “We have the most outstanding field of Republican candidates in memory and yet we’ve just spent a full half hour talking of nothing but Trump.” How can you not? Is he the suicide of the Republican Party or is this the silly season? Does character matter? How should we judge the other candidates’ reactions to Trump? Should Jindal drop the faux populist pose?

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ntk-logoLike America at large, Mona and Jay have a lot to chew over. There’s last night’s presidential debate, of course (or debates). Mona and Jay pay particular attention to the Trumpster — to whom they have different reactions (though probably the same fundamental one).

They then discuss the Iran deal, and opposition to, and the American president’s continued disgusting accusations against his critics. Are you with the “Death to America” crowd? If you oppose the deal, Obama says you are.

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ntk-logoThe multi-faceted Michael Oren (member of the Knesset) joins Need to Know this week to discuss the Iran deal. Oren has written two great histories, and now a memoir of his time as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ally. Mona and Jay are fans – with one caveat – that Jay raises. Still, an important man on a deadly serious subject.

Jay and Mona then welcome another historian, Ron Radosh, of PJ Media, who provides a teeth-grinding account of PBS’s decision to air an approving documentary about the Black Panthers. What can be done? Is there, perhaps, a Republican congress that can hold hearings or bring pressure to bear on taxpayer-funded PBS? Not saying they should pull the documentary – but there are other options. Do join us.

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ntk-logoWhile Jay Nordlinger is dodging walruses in Alaska on the NR cruise, Mona welcomes the wise and wonderful Larry Kudlow as guest host. Radio host John Batchelor starts things off with insights about Iran – ancient and modern. He knows these things not just because he’s a polymath, but because his mother’s family hails from Persia. He shares that story.

Larry and Mona then consider Hillary Clinton’s proposal to increase the capital gains tax, which leads to a broader discussion about whether the Democratic Party believes in capitalism at all anymore. And what about the rest of the country? Is there an opening for a Republican who can talk knowledgeably about simplifying the tax code and making other common sense reforms to promote growth? At the national level, there are a number of candidates who might. At the local level, in the Connecticut senate race, the person to make that case just might be this week’s co-host!

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N2K_001bMona and Jay begin this episode with Arthur Brooks, the scholar who heads the American Enterprise Institute. He has just written “The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America.” Every word he says sings to Mona and Jay, and other listeners will feel the same way.

The hosts then talk about ghastly news out of Planned Parenthood, and the issue of abortion generally. This is both a fascinating and a frustrating topic. They also discuss something a little lighter and less momentous – the entry of Governor Scott Walker into the presidential race.

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ntk-logoIs Hillary socialist enough? That’s one of the questions Jay and Mona ponder this week. Bernie Sanders is the pure essence of leftism, untainted by money – or facts – and that seems appealing to some segments of the Democratic Party.

Discussion then moves on to conservative victories. There have been many over the past quarter century, particularly in tackling crime. But now those successes are taken for granted, and we may be slipping back. And what should we think about the huge numbers of African American males behind bars?

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N2K_001bNot since Roe v. Wade has the Supreme Court committed such a brazen act of judicial jujitsu. Stealing the powers granted to the states and, thereby, to the people, five lawyers decreed that their policy preferences will be the law of the land.

Jay and Mona discuss process, and why it matters, and ask whether we might as well just accept reality – judges are legislators. Since they clearly cannot resist abusing their power, let’s amend the Constitution and elect justices of the Supreme Court.

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ntk-logoIn this episode, “Need to Know” provides a special treat: a Unknownlittle immigration debate between Ann Coulter and Clint Bolick. Ann is the author of “¡Adios, America!” Her view of immigration is that it’s wrecking America. Clint is the author, with Jeb Bush, of “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution.” The two of them are excellent representatives of the immigration split on the right.

After the debate, Mona and Jay do a little jawing, about Twitter mobs, tourism to Cuba, the late Allen Weinstein, and other things. The podcast closes with warm memories of Priscilla Buckley. Actually, the ’cast closes with a bit of “El Salón Mexico,” a Copland hit.

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ntk-logoThe word crazy leaps to the lips this week as Jay and Mona consider the elite’s celebration of Bruce Jenner’s dysphoria. His unhappiness is sad, but the culture’s rush to celebrate and endorse his delusion that he is, in fact, a woman, is the crazy part. Also, do we never simply avert our gaze from these things?

While Jay and Mona are often gloomy – and with good reason – there are flashes of blue sky duly noted this week. The abortion rate is down, as are Hillary Clinton’s approval ratings.

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NTK FeatureThis week, Mona and Jay talk about human rights, and those who suffer and fight for those rights. They further talk about the current “draw Muhammad” fashion, or practice. Okay, but outside mosques?

They then get to a couple of presidential candidates: Rand Paul, who has some curious views about ISIS, and Hillary Clinton, who is corrupt and dishonest up to her eyeballs. Is the Democratic party really going to stick with this piece of work? Maybe Republicans should hope.

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ntk-logo2013-0104-EPPC-Portraits-Ed-Whelan-0131-300x300-150x150Ed Whelan, sage of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and creator of Bench Memos, joins us to talk gay marriage, Justice Ginsburg’s ethics, and constitutional interpretation.

Jay and Mona then chew over the whole “if you knew then what we know now” way of evaluating public policy. They go on to consider the question of racial and ethnic quotas in university admissions. A consortium of Asian American groups is suing Harvard and other schools for discrimination. Also, are kids from Harvard et al really noticeably smarter?

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ntk-logoThose were some of Jay’s thoughts as he trooped around Istanbul. Need to Know doesn’t go for small-fry issues. So this week, it’s the rise and fall of empires! Do Americans appreciate and understand their past? Should we teach American history “virtues and all”? Certainly the left seems to have abandoned one of the key tenets of the founding – a belief in the near sanctity of free speech. Jay and Mona have a good deal to say about the left’s hypocrisy and cowardice on this score. They also discuss the British elections, the NHS, America’s duty to brave Iraqis who put their lives on the line for us, and much more. We close with one of Tchaikovsky’s most memorable melodies – the opening of his Piano Concerto #1. It got panned by critics when it debuted (the subject of a Great Courses lecture), but listeners can decide who has the last laugh.

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ntk-logoThe sagacious Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum drops by to discuss foreign policy, the daniel-pipesnature of Islam, and other matters. Jay is surprised that Pipes is not more gloomy. As one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet about the Middle East, he is well worth sitting up and paying attention to. He’s even worth ending a sentence with a preposition for.

Jay and Mona then consider the, ahem, appearance of impropriety wafting from the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton juggernaut. It all rests on one thing, they agree – the press.

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ntk-logoNo guest this week but Jay and Mona have no shortage of matters to discuss. It ranges from Hillary’s odd invention of immigrant grandparents (Rubio envy?) to Jeb Bush’s integrity. Plus, is there a time to defy the right?

If there’s an Iranian fatwa against building nuclear weapons, why can’t anyone find it? And if it doesn’t exist, shouldn’t someone demand to know from President Obama why he keeps referring to it?

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NTK FeatureThis episode begins with Peter Wallison, who talks to Mona and Jay about the crash of 2008 and how to prevent another crash. A lot of people consider Wallison a guru. You’ll see why.

UnknownThen Mona and Jay take up some other concerns: Rand Paul and his presidential candidacy; the University of Michigan and “American Sniper”; Mitt Romney and the NCAA basketball tournament; conservative affection for the late Senator Moynihan.

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ntk-logoMona and Jay talk about the issue of the hour, the issue before which all else pales: Iran’s imminent acquisition of the Bomb. They talk about other issues as well: such as the Arizona-ization of Indiana. How quickly Indiana has been made a pariah state. Another issue is Senator Menendez: who has been indicted while Lois Lerner has not. This smells like politics, and not of the upright kind.

The hosts engage in some wild speculation about Harry Reid, who has just announced his retirement from the Senate. Does his face look like the face of a man who has lost a bout with a piece of exercise equipment? In any case, the podcast goes out with some playing by a young Chinese piano sensation who comes up in the conversation – no, not Lang Lang, but Yuja Wang. (We have her playing the arrangement of Mozart’s Rondo alla turca by her brilliant Russian colleague Arcadi Volodos.)

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UnknownNeed to Know welcomes the incomparable George F. Will to talk politics, history, baseball (ya think?), and more. The focus is on threats to free speech, which are multiplying in American life, and poisoning the universities. Despite it all, Will remains basically sunny about America’s prospects, and explains why.

Jay and Mona then consider, among other topics, the Obama administration’s increasingly naked ntk-logoattacks on Israel – at the UN human rights commission, at the Pentagon (which declassified a report about Israel’s nuclear program), and elsewhere. They analyze the Iran negotiations – a slow motion
nightmare — and consider that France is now more hardline than the US. Jay recounts a particularly ugly moment of mob hatred at the New York Philharmonic.

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ntk-logoMona and Jay welcome Shannen Coffin, the crack lawyer, who explains what Hillary and her team 1774have been up to. (Coffin has nothing to do with cocaine, or the funeral business. He is merely a top-notch lawyer.) Then the hosts talk about the Israeli election, which the Obama administration is less than thrilled about. The discussion turns to the Iranian dictatorship, which the hosts aren’t so thrilled about.

They further discuss President Obama’s rhetoric: wherein Gov. Scott Walker is a foe of “working Americans.” Sometimes Obama sounds like a street-corner Marxist. How come? Additional topics include the musical-plagiarism case pitting Marvin Gaye’s family against Robin Thicke and his co-composer, Pharrell Williams. In Jay’s view, the Gaye family’s new riches are ill-gotten.

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