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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NTK FeatureThe theme that never ends in America – race, racism, false charges of racism, possible racist motives and so on, ad infinitum world without end, amen is back this week. Two officers were shot in Ferguson. Jay and Mona consider the evidence, and reflect on the deeply dishonest and profoundly dangerous lies spread about Michael Brown’s death. Still, there are aspects of the Ferguson police department’s behavior that are troubling.

While on the (never ending) subject of race, Jay and Mona note that Harry Reid has been accused of racism for endorsing a white senatorial hopeful when a more correctly hued candidate was available. How do you like them apples, Harry?

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NTK FeatureMona and Jay begin their latest episode with Netanyahu’s speech and the fate of the earth. Then they get down to less apocalyptic subjects: such as the Clintons’ ongoing venality. If America keeps rewarding this couple, what can you do?

The Oscars presented several political moments. One of them was the claim that American women lack equal pay and equal rights. Mona swats this one, for the thousandth time. Also, Harry Belafonte was hailed at the Oscars as a humanitarian. Cuba’s political prisoners would beg to differ.

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N2K_001bWhen you think of Need to Know, pulp fiction, especially of the sexual variety, is probably not the first thing that hymowitz__hirespops into your mind. But Jay and Mona welcome The Manhattan Institute’s Kay Hymowitz to talk about the national (actually international) phenomenon that is 50 Shades of Grey. There’s some sociological gold to be mined here, and we take a stab at it, as it were. We then consider whether, on balance, the “full Bulworth” phase of the Obama presidency will be the ruin of us all or perhaps lay the groundwork for a new conservative era of reform. Jay and Mona ponder Clinton Inc., Khameini’s movie criticism, the Bush dynasty question, and many other matters. Do join us!

Music from this week’s episode:  I’m Just Wild About Harry by Peggy Lee

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NTK FeatureIn this week’s episode, Mona and Jay are by turns appalled, flummoxed, irritated, amazed, and repelled by President Obama. The emotions are the same from episode to episode, but the particular occasions for those emotions change. Mona and Jay talk about the “Crusade” remarks, the selfies, and more. (The entire Obama presidency might be described as a selfie.)

Mona and Jay discuss a variety of other subjects as well, including the late Arnaud de Borchgrave, journalist and personality extraordinaire.

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N2K_001bSome people binge drink. Others binge on television. Jay and Mona binged on listener questions. This third installment covers a number of musical issues: Is modern music worthwhile even if you want to cover your ears? Where does Brahms rank among the greats? Was Mark Twain’s quip about Wagner funny? What are some great movie scores?

They discuss the universities, how to inoculate kids against prevailing intellectual fashions, abortion, some grammar matters, beautiful buildings, and more. Mona gives a surprising hat tip to Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus.

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NTK FeatureIn this podcast, Mona and Jay do Round Two of questions from listeners (and answers from them, the hosts). They discuss Reaganism—what is it? The jihad—how to combat it? James Taylor, the MSM, and more.

Someone has asked them to describe blunders in their careers—they answer. Someone else wonders how this podcast came to be in the first place. The episode ends with “Uptown Girl,” the Billy Joel hit, which comes up in the ’cast, positively.

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If Ricochetti don’t like the questions on this week’s Need to Know, they have only themselves to blame: The questions all come from listeners. They will like the questions, though, because there’s not a lemon in the bunch. Readers ask Mona and Jay about the fate of the West, the fate of the world, music, football, and much else. After the ’cast was recorded, Blue Yeti expressed astonishment that Jay quoted The Simpsons – to which Jay said, “Hey, you have to get up pretty early to out-Simpsons me” (or words to that effect).

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NTK FeatureHow to account for President Obama’s decision regarding the great rally in Paris last Sunday? Not just to absent himself, but not even to send a high ranking American? Jay and Mona note that Obama has long been keen to declare an end to the war on terror. The Islamists have not played their part though, as the corpses testify. Jay offers a biting rebuke to those (including, alas, Pope Francis) who chose this moment to make a point about freedom and responsibility.

Conversation turns naturally to immigration and assimilation. Are Americans really better at assimilating new arrivals or does it matter that Europe is flooded by Muslim immigrants, a significant minority of whom are unwilling to adapt to the norms of pluralistic democracies?

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NTK FeatureMona and Jay range widely in this episode – even more widely than usual. They talk about Congressman Steve Scalise and his current trial. The talk about Bob McDonnell, the ex-governor of Virginia, and his literal trial. They talk about Obama and NPR – a match made in heaven (or somewhere).

They talk about Cuba, Mario Cuomo, and Jonathan Gruber. Is there more to say about Gruber? Oh, yes, considerably more. They talk about the head ayatollah in Iran – who tweeted “Black Lives Matter.” Too bad no lives matter in Iran.

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NTK FeatureThe liberated President Obama, liberated from the voters that is, has done something morally shameful in the name of realism – restoring diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. Jay and Mona make short work of the claims that this will liberalize the vicious regime of the Castro brothers. This is a betrayal of the Cuban people.

Jay, but not Mona, would have gone to see “The Interview” before the North Korean tantrum and cyber attack, but in the wake of it, both would consider it a patriotic duty to go now – if it were showing anywhere. They are not impressed with Obama’s limp response and ponder what a real president would have done.

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NTK FeatureMona and Jay are a hundred years old today—or rather, they have just recorded their hundredth podcast. They had lengthy discussions about how to mark their “centenary.” In the end, Mona asked Jay questions about music. And the podcast is replete with musical examples, or clips.

Sample question: “What is the most comforting music you can think of?” Another sample: “What is the most rousing?”

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headshot1Linda Chavez, survivor of a thousand insults and worse (mostly, but not alas exclusively, from the left) joins Jay and Mona to talk about Ferguson, the New York asphyxiation case, and our never ending race NTK Featurepreoccupations in America. Linda Chavez is widely believed to be either a first or second generation American. She can, in fact, trace her family back hundreds of years here. She’s been a brave champion of the battle against quotas and for equal opportunity and delivers her views about Hispanics. Hint: They’re assimilating very well.

Jay and Mona then offer further thoughts about the race cases in the news, the hatred that characterizes one of our political parties, the great Rob Portman, the not great Clintons, taking to the streets, the British royal family, and Hollywood music. We close with a bit of Erich Korngold’s violin concerto. He wrote many things for the movies – though not this.

 

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LedeenNTK FeatureMona and Jay have a guest this week: Michael Ledeen, that scholar and champion of freedom. He talks about Iran, primarily. The Khomeinist regime has been a curse on humanity—especially the Iranian people—for 35 years. Its downfall will be a great day. The hosts join Ledeen in his trademark refrain, “Faster, please.”

Mona and Jay then discuss President Obama’s abuse of power, his “climate” pact with China, and several other matters. Jay is exceptionally shouty and worked up; Mona is naturally more levelheaded but still impassioned. The podcast goes out with a stretch of the Shostakovich Eighth, written in the dead of the war.

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NTK FeatureWarning: This podcast may induce feelings of elation, giddiness, and possible trouble sleeping. Jay and Mona, gloomy to the point of depression in 2012, revel in Tuesday’s results. There are so many things to celebrate: the failure of the war on women; the rising number of Hispanics and Asians voting R; the sound defeat of turncoat Charlie Crist. Each race is savored, turned this way and that to catch the light, and enjoyed.

Mona condemns those who vote only in presidential years, but praises the essential stability of American politics.

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NTK FeatureMona and Jay’s guest is Jason Riley, author of the new book Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed (use the coupon code RICOCHET for 15% off). There is enough in this subject for 100 podcasts, but Jason, Mona, and Jay make do with approximately half a one. Then the hosts traverse other subjects: including the Obama administration’s unremitting hostility to Israel, or at least to its prime minister. They also talk about children and politics, and of course next Tuesday’s elections. Jay is excited for victory, and overexcited. Even Mona, the cool-as-a-cucumber intellectual, is rather looking forward.

The ending music, in honor of Halloween, is Camille Saint-Saëns’s ghoulish little masterpiece Danse macabre.

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NTK FeatureJay reports from his annual trip to the Oslo Freedom Forum this week, where he met, among other extraordinarily brave and inspiring figures, 21- year-old Yeonmi Park, an escapee from North Korea. Her story – of starvation, and rape, and terror — is the kind that makes you feel guilty for the ample meal you just consumed and the comfortable life you enjoy.

But we do live in the comfortable west, and as Jay and Mona next discuss, it may be about to become a little more palatable – at least politically. The absurd “war on women” trope that succeeded in 2012 and 2013 is falling flat this year – along with the gender gap among women. They analyze and relish the demise of this most insulting of appeals.

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N2K_001bMona and Jay have a guest this week, Greg Lukianoff, who discusses free speech on campus—more like the suppression of. Examples will curl your hair, if your hair is still curlable, after all these years of free-speech erosion.

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Then the hosts range widely, as is their wont, discussing issues both political and cultural. Political issues include Ebola, or the politicization of (and racialization of). Cultural issues include this curious question: Shouldn’t it be possible to buy a pair of sneakers or a shirt without attending what amounts to a rock concert? (Jay fears he is turning into Andy Rooney, the paradigmatic curmudgeon.)

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N2K_001bRepublican candidates are giving us many reasons for pride this year, and Democrats are offering a few chuckles. Cheers for Ed Gillespie, Mike McFadden, Bobby Jindal, and Chris Christie. Mona and Jay note with wry amusement the inability of Democratic senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes (she does have a musical name, Jay observes) to say whether she voted for Barack Obama. They laugh at her – and him.

Grimes is one of the Democratic candidates who thought the “War on Women” farce could be reprised in 2014, but that is looking increasingly unlikely. Grimes has been hit with one of those secret tapings that make Jay and Mona a little queasy, but which reveal the truth nonetheless.

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