Riccardo Muti is one of the most renowned musicians before the public today. Born in 1941, he has conducted in Milan, Vienna, London, Philadelphia—many places. Since 2010, he has been the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is leaving that position at the end of this season, which is nearing. After a recent concert, Jay sat with the maestro in his studio to talk about music, and life. A rich, interesting, frank, amusing, and sometimes poignant conversation. Lend an ear.

Bob McElroy is a powerful individual. He thinks, speaks, and acts powerfully. He has devoted his life to helping the homeless. He has been through all the problems they have. McElroy is the president and CEO of the Alpha Project, in San Diego. He is a “point of light”—so designated by Bush 41’s foundation. Jay wrote about McElroy in a piece on San Diego and homelessness. Homelessness is a problem—a scourge—throughout the country. Bob McElroy knows the why and wherefores. And he speaks with refreshing frankness. You will enjoy hearing him.

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Natan Sharansky has been a world hero since the 1970s. He was a prisoner in the Soviet gulag for nine years. Afterward, he wrote one of the great prison memoirs: “Fear No Evil.” On May 8, he published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post: “Why Putin’s repression is worse than what I endured under the Soviets.” With Jay, he talks about the Kremlin’s current political prisoners, and the war on Ukraine, and related subjects. To listen to Sharansky is a bracing and instructive experience.

In journalism, Cathy Young is “an MVP of this era,” says Jay: “the era of the Ukraine war, and associated convulsions in the world.” Cathy Young is a writer at The Bulwark, in addition to contributing to Newsday, Reason, etc. She has been a columnist for many years. Born in Moscow, she grew up in the Soviet Union, coming to America at 17. With Jay, she talks about Russia, Ukraine, and America—and a bit more, including literature, music, and animals.

Daniel Johnson is a British writer and editor, now at The Article, of which he is the founding editor. With Jay, he talks about his father, Paul, the great journalist and historian. (For Jay’s appreciation of Paul Johnson, go here.) What a great subject Paul Johnson is. And Daniel knows that subject exceptionally well.

John Engler was the governor of Michigan (Jay’s home state) for three terms: from 1991 to 2003. So, on this program, you have two Michiganders, talking about things Michigan and things national. The Republican Party, past and present. The Democrats, past and present. The media, presidents, abortion, American culture—Engler has a wealth of information, and a wealth of highly informed opinions. At the end, there is some talk of Detroit sports, which is not a happy subject of any Michigander, but about which there is always hope.

When something big happens in Israel, or to Israel, Jay and his listeners want to hear from Haviv Rettig Gur, the senior analyst of the Times of Israel. He knows the ins and outs, the views of the various parties and factions. He is an Israel-explainer par excellence. At the moment, Israeli society is being torn apart. A (rare) domestic crisis is upon the country. What must its external enemies think? In any event, the crisis needs explaining—and HRG is the man to do it.

Of course, Jay has George F. Will talk baseball in this episode. The season is upon us. Significant rule changes are in place. Does GFW approve? (Yes, heartily.) Before there is baseball, however, there is a host of other subjects—among them the Ukraine war; higher ed and wokism; the political parties and their dysfunction; President Biden and age; Fox News and opinion journalism; and even football. A typically meaty, frank, Willian session. 

Matthew Continetti is a journalist and book-author, a top expert on the American Right. He is the author of “The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism.” These days, the Right is undergoing some serious changes when it comes to U.S. foreign policy and America’s place in the world. With Jay, Continetti discusses this and more. Enlightening. 


Hannah Dreier is an investigative reporter, one of the best in America. In past years, she was a correspondent in Venezuela. Jay podcasted with her as that country was spinning out of control. Now, for the New York Times, Ms. Dreier has written a blockbuster report: “Alone and Exploited, Migrant Children Work Brutal Jobs Across the U.S.” She and Jay discuss this important piece of work, which is already occasioning changes across the country. 

Félix Maradiaga is a Nicaraguan democracy leader. From June 2021 until this month—611 days; about a year and eight months—he was a political prisoner. He and his fellow prisoners suffered terrible things in El Chipote, the notorious prison in Managua. Félix is well-known to listeners of this program. Jay podcasted with him in February 2019 (here); he podcasted with Félix’s wife, Berta Valle, last October (here). Now he has been able to talk with Félix himself again. You will want to hear all about it. What things, this man has to say. 

In recent days, Kevin D. Williamson and Jay Nordlinger—among others—have been writing about our old friends, our old enemies, the federal budget deficit and the federal debt. (KDW, here; JN, here.) Something’s gotta give, right? We Americans have to act at some point, right? Jay and Kevin jaw it out. 

Sol Stern is a veteran writer and policy analyst. He was born in Israel—actually, Mandatory Palestine—in 1935. The Sterns moved to New York when Sol was three and a half. As a young journalist, he was part of the New Left. Disillusionment set in. For more than 20 years, he worked at the Manhattan Institute, becoming best-known for education policy. These days, he says he belongs to what Robert Conquest referred to as the “United Front Against Bullsh**.” With Jay, Sol Stern talks about Israel, New York, and more. 

Russell D. Moore is an evangelical thinker and leader, the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today. His world, in recent years, has been rocked by politics. With Jay, Moore discusses this, and much more—including his love of country music. Moore lives a minute from Dolly Parton. And his dog’s name is “Waylon.” 

“Our guest today,” says Jay Nordlinger, “is a writer, a journalist—an unusual one, a distinctive one: her own woman. She is Stephanie Slade, a senior editor at Reason…” She is a libertarian who is religious and pro-life. With Jay, she discusses a number of issues, all of them at the heart of our politics today: the political wars, liberalism, conservatism, economic policy, drugs, marriage, public accommodation, and so on. A candid and thoughtful conversation.

In what has become almost a tradition, Jay does a sportscast in advance of the College Football Playoff, and he does it with his regular gurus, David French and Vivek Dave. In addition to college football, the guys talk NFL, and NBA, and World Cup—and Tiger and Charlie Woods. 

In the 1990s, there was a documentary called “Arguing the World,” about Daniel Bell, Irving Kristol, et al. In this episode of “Q&A,” Kevin D. Williamson and Jay talk the world, or at least a bit of it: Kanye, swastikas, abortion, the media, elitism, anti-elitism, etc. At the end, they talk about books and thinkers—and stars to be struck by. 

Across China, brave people are staging protests. Talking with Jay about this is Jianli Yang, a veteran Chinese democracy activist. He was at Tiananmen Square, in 1989. He was a political prisoner. He is a scholar, a poet—many things. Jay has admired him since they first met in 2001, and Jianli Yang has important, and informed, things to say, always. 

Betsy DeVos has been an education reformer—and philanthropist—for some 35 years. In the Trump administration, she was education secretary. She has written a book that is part personal memoir, part policy book: “Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child.” From Jay, she fields some questions general and specific: “What is ‘education freedom’?” “Should there be public schools?” “Should there be a federal education department?” “What about your resignation after January 6?” “Why did you choose education as a cause? Or did the cause choose you?” Betsy DeVos is a formidable woman and public-policy thinker, and doer. Know her better, perhaps, through this conversation.  

Jamie Fly is the president of RFE/RL, that combination of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. RFE/RL is especially critical these days, when the Kremlin is waging its war on Ukraine, and its usual disinformation war. Questioned by Jay, Jamie Fly goes through some of the basics. A very important arena, we’re talking about.