Gianandrea Noseda is the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra. He is also one of the best interviewees in all of music (as Jay knows from experience). Noseda was in New York, to guest-conduct the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Jay sat down with him — to talk about orchestras, Mozart, Mahler, YouTube, and more. At the end, Jay says, “Can you possibly put into words why you like music?” A conversation with Noseda is equal parts deep and fun.

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In 2000, when he was running for president, George W. Bush said he wanted to encourage “a culture of responsibility.” He wanted to be “the responsibility president.” Then came 9/11 and the thrust of his presidency changed. At any rate, Jay recalls Bush in this conversation with David L. Bahnsen, the author of “Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It.” This has to do with money, drugs, immigration, and a lot more. Bahnsen is a foe of bogeymen and scapegoats. Jay says that Bahnsen’s words are music to his ears, and they may be to yours, too. In any case, Bahnsen is a man worth listening to, for he goes to the heart of America’s problems.

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At the Ricochet Podcast Summit, Jay’s guest was Nury A. Turkel, who had a grim and horrifying topic to discuss: a new gulag in China, which contains up to a million Uyghurs (a Turkic minority). Turkel himself is a Uyghur American. This issue is personal, national, and international, all three. Something to know about, in a world pregnant with horrors.

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Manfred Honeck is one of the leading conductors in the world. A member of a prominent Austrian musical family, he is the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and this week he is guest-conducting the New York Philharmonic. Jay sits down with him for a wide-ranging discussion: about music and the musical life. An excellent opportunity to hear the thoughts of a true and deep musician. 

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This “Q&A” begins with Jeb Bush talking about his late mother, Barbara Bush. Also, what’s it like to be part of a family so well-known? Then he and Jay get down to public policy: guns, immigration, the opioid epidemic, education, entitlement reform, trade. They talk about populism and nationalism and politics at large. Jeb Bush is at his knowledgeable and wide-ranging best. 

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It is a wonderful time of the year, with the NBA playoffs underway. What makes the NBA great? This is one of the questions that Jay takes up with three friends who are eminently qualified to say: David French, Theodore Kupfer, and Vivek Dave. How does the college game differ from the pro game? Are “super-teams” a problem? What about “tanking”? Who are the best players? Is LeBron the GOAT (the Greatest of All Time)? And more. A delightful episode, with three experts and enthusiasts. It’s catchable, that enthusiasm. 

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Free of columny, as William Safire called it, Thomas Sowell is writing books — as he always has, to be sure. His latest is “Discrimination and Disparities.” It does what Sowell books, and columns, always do. It teaches you important things.

With Jay, Sowell talks about human diversity. He talks about equality of opportunity and equality of results. (Two very different things.) He talks about the manipulation of statistics, a sore point.

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On Saturday, the Final Four will be played. And on Monday, the championship game will be played. What are we talking about? College basketball, the NCAA Tournament, March Madness. Jay’s guest is his young National Review colleague Theodore Kupfer (“Teddy K.”), who is a philosophy grad, steeped in sports. Jay and Teddy talk about the current tournament and also about larger issues: How corrupt is college basketball? Should athletes be paid? Are announcers any good? Can something be done about the often-interminable last few minutes of a game?

Enjoy the analysis of a whiz kid, Theodore Kupfer. 

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Michael Breen is one of our best Korea-watchers — one of our best Korea analysts, one of our best authorities. He is a journalist, consultant, and book-author. With Jay, he talks about the Olympics just past. He talks about the North Korean charm offensive, if charm it was. He talks about upcoming summits. And the Kim family, that dictatorial dynasty. And the politics of reunification. And more. The Korean Peninsula is once more a flashpoint. We need expertise on it, and have it.

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Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. Discussing them with Jay is Alberto Mingardi, one of Italy’s leading classical liberals, the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute. They also talk about Trump, Silvio, demography (have Italians stopped having babies?), migration, the EU, books, music, and, crucially, food. You can understand Italy through its food, Mingardi explains.

Anyway, a stimulating “Q&A” for you, all’italiana. 

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In New York, the Human Rights Foundation hosted “PutinCon” – a conference dedicated to telling the truth about Putin and his Russia. Jay caught up with Bill Browder and Vladimir Kara-Murza. The former is the financier who has spearheaded “Magnitsky acts”; the latter is the Russian democracy leader who, twice, has survived poison attacks. Jay talks with them about the latest poison attacks in Britain, the sham of a Russian election on Sunday, and more. 

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Hendrik Meijer is the author of a new biography of Arthur Vandenberg, the Michigan senator who led the isolationist wing before World War II and became a key internationalist thereafter. Meijer, too, is a Michigan man. In addition to being a biographer and writer, he is the executive chairman of Meijer, Inc., the chain of stores founded by his grandfather, also named Hendrik Meijer.

Jay (a Michigan man himself) talks to Meijer about Vandenberg, of course, and about issues today that are very much like those confronted by Vandenberg and his peers. He also asks Meijer about another Michigan man: Gerald Ford. Ford was a Grand Rapidian, and so was Vandenberg, and so is Meijer. (Jay is from Ann Arbor.)

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Poland has adopted a controversial new law, making it a crime to say some things about Poland and World War II. Radek Sikorski is well positioned to talk about this: He is a veteran writer and politician. He has served as both foreign minister and defense minister of Poland. Jay also asks him about Europe in general: Are authoritarian winds blowing? What does Anglo-American conservatism have in common with Continental rightism? If “mainstream” parties won’t tackle immigration and other combustible issues, someone will, true?

Pressing questions, addressed by one of the best, Radek Sikorski.

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Alston Ramsay is an old National Review hand, and an old Bill Buckley hand. He went on to work for Secretary Robert Gates, General David Petraeus, and others. Now he is in Hollywood, writing movies. Just coming out is “Midnighters,” directed by Julius Ramsay, Alston’s older brother. With Jay, Alston talks about the movie and many other subjects — including basketball, about which Alston is passionate. He is a UNC Tar Heel, but Jay pretends to think he is a Duke Blue Devil, because, for those outside North Carolina, it’s all the same.

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Nicholas Burns is one of the leading U.S. diplomats of our time. For nearly 30 years, he served in the government, in a variety of posts: ambassador to NATO, for example. He had major responsibility for the Arab world, Iran, Russia, etc. Today, he teaches at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, which is where Jay sat down with him. They talk over the world: North Korea and South Korea; Iran and its nuclear program; the Israel-Palestine question; Putin’s Kremlin; NATO and defense spending; and more. It’s an hour-long tutorial with one of the best. And, as Jay remarks at the end, free of charge.

 

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Riccardo Muti has arrived in New York for two concerts with his Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Taking advantage, Jay has recorded a “Q&A” with him on a variety of subjects: musical, personal, and social. Muti is one of the leading conductors of our day, having studied with Antonino Votto, a lieutenant of Toscanini. He was also nurtured by Nino Rota, known to many of us as the composer of the “Godfather” music.

Among the topics Jay discusses with Muti is his famous, enviable hair (the latter’s, that is). Muti sums it up as “la forza del destino” – a matter of destiny. So, this “Q&A” closes with Maestro Muti conducting the overture to Verdi’s opera “La forza del destino.”

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Lawrence Brownlee is one of the leading tenors of our time. He has sung on opera and recital stages all over the world. Tomorrow night, he will sing in Chicago, wearing the same boots that Pavarotti once wore (in Bellini’s “Puritani”).

A kid from northeastern Ohio, Brownlee is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He has sung the national anthem at Pittsburgh and other NFL games. And, yes, he interpolates the high note at the end of “the land of the free.”

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Ioan Grillo is a British journalist long resident in Mexico. He gets into the nitty-gritty – and the bloody. He is the author, most recently, of Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America. Jay talks with him in a Mexico City park (with birds chirping all about, and at least one helicopter overhead). They talk about Mexico, the rule of law, bad guys, good guys, the USA, Trump, and more. Jay gets Grillo to describe at least one narrow escape. He is a gutsy journalist, and an excellent talker.

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Jerome A. Cohen is a law professor, a China scholar, and a friend to Chinese democrats and freedom-seekers. For many years, he has been at New York University, and before that he was at Harvard. He clerked on the Supreme Court for Warren and Frankfurter. With Jay, he talks about the Chinese Communist Party, the Christian church in China, Falun Gong, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and many other issues.

How did he get bitten by the China bug? Well, it really started with Dean Rusk.

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David Frum believes there is something deeply wrong with the American system — the American political system — and he sums up the problem in the word “Trumpocracy.” His new book is “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic.” As Frum says, the book is more about the “ocracy” than about the man. Jay talks with the author about many aspects of the current era, including how we got here and where we go. An exceptionally stimulating conversation.

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