John Yoo takes command of host duties this week, as Steve was on the road at an academic conference at City University of New York, where a knowledgeable faculty member remarked that he was surprised Steve didn’t need an armed guard. The conference was largely devoted to the intellectual history of the liberal tradition, and was designed perfectly to induce a scornful snort from Lucretia who disdains all such flim-flummery. The bonus was that Steve apparenlty brought an earthquake with him, and we’re not referring to his conference paper!

Aside from these unexpected things, there were fresh tremors for Trump’s legal problems, Biden’s long-expected turn against Israel that was designed to appear to a constituency of one (hint: the person insists on being called DOKTOR), fresh encomiums for Mitch McConnell (okay—it was not unanimous), and finally into some tremors for the income tax.

This week’s episode has it all, starting with the lamentable fact that when you hear “porn is everywhere these days,” it included even the Powerline website this week, and then proceeding to the obscenity of the John Eastman disbarment, the disappointment with the 5th Circuit’s decision preventing Texas from securing its territorial integrity, on how best to squash squatters, and a vigorous argument about the legacy of the recently deceased Joe Lieberman. (Steve and John give Lieberman a thumbs-up, while Lucretia. . .)

All three of us independently chose the same article for our picks for Article of the Week—Walter Russell Mead’s Tablet magazine piece entitled “Twilight of the Wonks.” It has some magnificently harsh language about the leaders of our elite educational institutions, such as “moral jellyfish,” and leaders who are “careerist mediocrities who specialize in uttering the approved platitudes of the moment.” We’re less sure about Mead’s diagnosis about the role of narrow specialization in the decay of our universities.

This episode could be mistaken for the Three Martini Happy Hour, because this week’s episode comes with a tangy twist. John Yoo is away this week, so we brought in a ringer to take his place: Prof. Hadley Arkes! Thus this episode become a Positivism-Free Zone, in which we review the deepest ground of the natural law unencumbered by John’s usual alarums, excursions, and errors.

The episode comes in three parts: Hadley made some news yesterday, celebrating the retirement of the noted Notre Dame Law professor Gerard V. Bradley, who will be joining Hadley at the James Wilson Institute on Natural Law and the American Founding.

Move over “Republicans pounce” as the favorite media deflection. We now know that when an old man yells at clouds—or members of Congress—the media fall in line and declare it “fiery.”

Well the 3WHH is authentically fiery! Four habanero spicy! This week more than ever.

Lucretia hosts this week’s episode, which we recorded in the morning over coffee instead of whisky because travel schedules prevented the normal and proper Friday evening happy hour, and guess what? We’re even worse without whisky!

Among the news and issues treated this week: Why Biden isn’t FDR (he’s not even Harry Truman); why this was the worst SOTU (Lucretia offers a different acronym) speech ever; whether there are signs of life for the GOP in California after all; how immigration and abortion are playing out in the campaign cycle so far; how to think about the Supreme Court decision in the Colorado case dealing with Trump’s eligibility for the ballot (hint—it ain’t over till it’s over); and finally, can Harvard be serious in asking for a government bailout? The unifying theme here is galloping dishonesty, which is being normalized more and more every day.

This episode has everything: a how-to guerilla guide to improving your McDonald’s hamburger experience; a spirited discussion of the Alabama Supreme Court decision that defines frozen embryos as persons (Steve thinks the media is willfully misreporting the decision—John is not so sure); those crazy new presidential rankings from political scientists—and even some soft-core porn!

Say what?

We’re up a day early with this week’s episode because of schedule problems, but mostly to get a drop on the streaming services with our new (un)reality TV show, “The Real Prosecutors of Atlanta,” starring Big Fani Willis. OMG, is this not the best television since last week’s Super Bowl?

Steve with his renegade and unauthorized martini.

The Twenty-Fifth Hour is the 1950 novel by the Romanian writer C. Virgil Gheorghiu that weaves a tangled, early post-modern tale of central Europe and the Balkans in World War II. It is justly forgotten today, but the title is back in a manner of speaking because it highlights the great irony of the Left’s Ahab-like pursuit of the Great Orange Whale (to mix literary references).

Anyone else recall back in 2017 how a concerted mob of concerned citizens suggested the presidential disability clause of the 25th Amendment be invoked to remove President Trump from office? Think of it as a 25th Hour moment. This week ended with the 25th Hour being invoked to remove Joe Biden from office because of his obvious and rapidly advancing senility. Yet one more example of how a strategy to get Trump, like the Me Too movement, has circled around like a rogue torpedo to explode in the face of the Left.

John Yoo is where?? Mexico!?!? So after all that talk the last couple weeks saying the situation at the southern border did not constitute an “invasion,” now he’s in Mexico on some undisclosed clandestine mission. Which makes no sense: they don’t even have McRibb there.

Taking John’s place this week is Inez Stepman of the Independent Women’s Forum, frequent contributor to the New York Post, First Things, The Federalist, and other premier outlets, co-host of the High Noon podcast on the Ricochet network—and American bourbon drinker. She was more than game to join Lucretia in beating up on Steve about Laphroaig and other crucial questions.

This special ad-free edition, posted a day ahead of the usual schedule because of the urgency of events at the southern border, finds the 3WHH hosts engaging in their own civil war over the question of whether states have any remedy when the federal government abdicates is responsibility to protect the border. Steve and Lucretia were in rare accord—well maybe not quite complete accord*—against John’s positivist position of federal supremacy uber alles.

Our normally genteel whisky-sipping salon became more of a bourbon-swilling barroom brawl, and indeed we were tempted to call this episode “Showdown at the Positive Law Corral.” Steve thinks the crisis over Texas’s assertion of its right to defend the border, and the demand of the Biden Administration that Texas back down by tomorrow, represents the kind of “right of revolution” moment contemplated in the Declaration of Independence, especially since the governors of 25 other states have signaled their agreement with Texas.

John lounges while Steve and Lucretia prepare to lunge.

This week’s episode covers more ground more quickly than a Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes passing attack. Which the Philadephia Eagles won’t get to experience because they flopped in the first round of the playoffs last weekend, falsifying one of John Yoo’s predictions for 2024 that the Eagles would make the Super Bowl. We’re hoping his brief to the Supreme Court in the case of Trump’s place on the Colorado ballot is more on the mark.

On the eve of the Iowa caucuses Monday, we got to wondering just who or what lives up to the description of “Iowa Stubborn” in Meredith Wilson’s “Music Man”:

And we’re so by God stubborn
We can stand touching noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye to eye!

Ronald Reagan used to joke that for Republicans, every day is the 4th of July, while for Democrats every day is April 15. Today we need to update that contrast by noting that the favorite new holiday for Democrats is January 6—”Insurrection Day.”

We’ll get to Joe Biden in due course, but the real insurrection this week took place at Harvard, where, as John Yoo predicted last week (we have receipts!) Claudine Gay was ousted in a right-wing putsch, a vertiable academic insurrection against all that is true and good (if you believe the left and Gay’s causal explanation). A harbinger of things to come? Our panel weighs the chances, but the key clue to real change will be whether Harvard starts by reforming its governing board, currently dominated by political hacks. And who will be the next president of Harvard? We offer some guesses. . .

Who needs a rockin’ new year’s party when you have the Three Whisky Happy Hour in peak form, dishing out on the top stories of 2023, and, in the spirit of the late financial analyst Byron Wein, offering a range of potential low-probability surprises (rather than firm predictions) for 2024.

What’s the difference between a prediction and a surprise? Well think about it this way: who would have predicted, at year end 2022, that right now our favorite Democratic Senator would be . . . John Fetterman? Black swans everywhere are saying, “I did NOT see that coming!”

But before getting started with your 2024 Bingo card we take note of the dumbest controversy of the week, which is seeing some conservatives upset at the “Conservative Dad’s Real Women of America” 2024 calendar, which features fetching photos of leading conservative heroines such as Riley Gaines in fashionable attire. Like bikinis.

This special holiday week bonus episode features a conversation between Steve and Will Inboden, author of a fabulous recent book based on the very latest declassified files of the Reagan presidency entitled Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and the World on the Brink. (Steve reviewed the book favorably in the Free Beacon.)

In his distinguished career Inboden has worked on Captiol Hill and at the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. He was professor and director of the Willian Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin, but is now the brand new director of the Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education at the University of Florida, which is one of the brand new initiatives several states have set in motion at their public universities to generate some actual intellectual diversity on campus.

This week’s special, ad-free edition of the 3WHH was recorded in live webinar format with about 80 of our most loyal listeners tuning in and heckling us MST3K style (IYKYK) in the chat room, but for a holiday episode it partook more of Judgment Day at times, we as reckoned with some lingering issues from our Cage Match about J6 and the Ukraine War two weeks ago, along with a thoroughly judgmental detour into “Lookism.” Steve, in particular, recalls Taki’s old case from the 1980s that Jane Fonda was the ugliest woman in America, while we reveal Lucretia’s guilty secret that she in fact once owned the Jane Fonda Workout video from that glorious era.

But if the judgment of our three bartenders remains divided, we are unanimous in scorn for the Colorado Supreme Court, who somehow think that safeguarding us from “threat to democracy” requires preventing political parties from choosing their nominees, and since when did Orwell don judicial robes?

The cleaning crew is still scrubbing the blood off the floor from last week’s cage match about Ukraine and January 6, and already Ali and Frazier (that is, Lucretia and John) want to go for a sequel—maybe “Rumble in the Faculty Club Food Court” or something. (And yes, since we recorded in the morning instead of evening happy hour like we are supposed to, talk turned to McDonald’s and breakfast meats. Steve blames John for McDonald’s stock slumping this week while the broad market had a monster rally.)

While we await Don King’s promotion for Cage Match 2 next, we devote this episode to catching up on the other news of the moment, especially the rot in higher education as fully revealed by last week’s ignonimious appearance of the presidents of three Poison Ivy League universities (boy did we call it or what).

We finally get around to our promised but delayed cage match about Ukraine and unanswered questions about January 6, and alas, all of Steve’s attempts to cheer up Lucretia with the week’s great news—the Hunter Biden indictment, the embarrassment of Ivy League presidents, Kevin McCarthy resigning, Trump winning Tom Friedman’s vote—proved unavailing. Futile, even. Why Lucretia even trashed McDonald’s, which is really fightin’ words for John.

But then we get down to business, with the bruising cage match. Steve did his best to play a “neutral” Sean Hannity, posing challenges to both John and Lucretia about both topics, but occasionally donning a Hershey’s Kiss-sized tin foil hat on a couple of points. Score the jabs about roundhouse blows at home, and send in your point total in the comment threads.

So we had promised last week that this episode would feature a cage match between Lucretia and John about realism versus idealism as applied to the Ukraine War (especially since John baited Lucretia by calling her a neocon, which is fighting words not just in the desert west), as well as the problem of January 6, but the passing of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Henry Kissinger diverted us, along with the DeSantis-Newsom debate.

Along the way we were treated to an extraordinary tale—John Yoo, as a young Supreme Court clerk, going one-on-one with the visiting Charles Barkley at the Supreme Court’s own basketball court, which is known as the highest court in the land because it is located on the upper story of the Supreme Court building. Can you guess how it went? (Barkley was still playing in the NBA for the Phoenix Suns at the time.) It was the surprise revelation of this episode.

While most other podcasts are taking the Thanksgiving holiday off, your three bartenders behind the Three Whisky Happy Hour remain on the job, because no one wants leftover podcasts for the long weekend. Steve and Lucretia had traditional home-cooked feasts, while John, naturally, dined Thursday at a yacht club, sweater knotted properly around his neck.

In the middle of this episode that ranges from the metaphysics of free speech to Nikki Haley’s chances to the Argentinian and Dutch election results along with the Israel-Hamas deal, Steve recalls hearing Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in person in Washington several years back explaining that the reality of the Middle East is that often the choice is between bad and worse, and this becomes the unifying theme for several of our disparate topic today.