Jay is joined by an old colleague and one of the best political reporters in America: Tim Alberta, of Politico. He is the author of the bestselling book “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump.” He and Jay talk lockdown politics, the John Bolton book, Campaign 2020, and so on. Whom will Biden pick as his running mate? Will Trump dump Pence? Are “law-and-order Republicans” cooked? Etc. The discussion ends with a little sports.

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The absence of a baseball season has hit many people hard, and it’s hit George Will very hard: The game is a big part of his life, and he is an authority on it. (See “Men at Work.”) Will has two teams, the Cubs and the Nationals. He and Jay talk about baseball this year, or the absence of it. They also talk about the Astros cheating scandal: the meaning of it.

Further subjects are police brutality; racism; the New York Times; Donald Trump; the GOP; and conservatism. (Will’s most recent book is “The Conservative Sensibility,” and he and Jay discussed it here.)

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Elaina Plott is a national political reporter for the New York Times. Before that, she worked for National Review, Washingtonian magazine, and The Atlantic. She and Jay are old friends. Elaina grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and is currently working on a story about Jeff Sessions, the ex-senator from Alabama (who wants to be a senator again). Elaina went to Yale. With Jay, she talks about reading, writing, college, race, politics, the pandemic, and more. She is a journalist and writer of particular sensitivity and grace.

In the podcast, Jay singles out two pieces by Elaina Plott, which are favorites of his: this one, “The Bullet in My Arm,” which is autobiographical; and this one, which is about a Facebook group in Louisiana at the beginning of the pandemic.

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Jim Harbaugh is the coach of the University of Michigan football team. For 14 seasons, he was a quarterback in the NFL. He has coached both at the college level and in the pros. Last month, he and Jay had a leisurely conversation about many things. (They are old friends.) Now they have done Round 2. Today’s subjects include: a recent RV trip; dreaming about playing; the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s; William “The Refrigerator” Perry; Tiger Woods; getting sacked; sneaking it in; rules of eligibility; soccer (a game of interest?); and baseball (too slow?). Some fun stuff.

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The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education, for her department’s new Title IX regulations on campus. These have to do with the rights of accusers and accused. Nadine Strossen was president of the ACLU from 1991 to 2008. On this issue, she disagrees with the ACLU and agrees with DeVos. With Jay, she talks about this and much else: including her warm friendship with William F. Buckley Jr. 

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Jeb Bush knows a thing or two about being a governor – including in bad situations. That’s when you really have to “suit up,” as he says. With Jay, he talks about governors in a time of pandemic. The politics of lockdown. And so on.

Other subjects include China; Bush 43; the coming campaign (will there be conventions?); balloting (is mailing in okay?); and the beauty of George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara.

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As regular listeners know, Robert Costa is one of Jay’s favorite journalists and people. Costa is a national political reporter at the Washington Post. He is the moderator of “Washington Week” on PBS. And he is a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. With Jay, he walks about reporting in a time of pandemic. The White House press operation. The nature of Donald Trump. The weirdness of the upcoming campaign. Vice-presidential picks, on either side. The candidacy of Justin Amash. Lockdown politics. And more. A refreshing, informed conversation with a real pro.

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As Jay points out at the beginning of the show, Mark Helprin has been thinking about pandemics longer than most of us have. Here is a piece he published in 2006. “We face a danger that approaches steadily from the far distance like a tsunami in slow motion. It will almost certainly strike in one form or another, it could strike tomorrow . . .” Helprin, as you know, is the novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and national-security analyst. In this episode of “Q&A,” he talks exclusively about the plague now upon us, including the politics of it. A blunt, informed, bracing presentation.

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Jay’s guest is his erstwhile podcast partner and always friend, Mona Charen. They talk about this period of home confinement. And when to “reopen” the economy. And the question of the World Health Organization and China. And a lot more. Mona has been baking lately, as many people have, which has led to a shortage of yeast. Mona has always baked when at home for extended periods. It is her “comfort activity.” Now everyone’s gotten in on the act. Among Mona’s recent products are bagels. Jay remembers being at H & H Bagels on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, many years ago. A woman stepped up to the counter, stretched her arms out, and said, “What’s hot?” In other words, “What’s freshly out of the oven?” Hence the title of this “Q&A.”

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Jim Harbaugh is the coach of the University of Michigan football team. He quarterbacked that team, too, in college. Then he went to the NFL, for 14 seasons. After his pro career, he turned to coaching, at both the pro and college levels. (University of San Diego; Stanford; San Francisco 49ers; Michigan.)

He and Jay are old friends, having grown up together. They talk about sports – everything from how to throw a spiral to playing golf with Lee Trevino. They also talk about life and even a little politics.

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Alberto Mingardi is a writer and political scientist who heads the Bruno Leoni Institute in Milan. This is Italy’s free-market think tank. He is an old friend of Jay’s, and a familiar guest on “Q&A.” Italy has been very hard hit by the coronavirus, and Milan and its environs have been particularly hard hit. Jay asks Mingardi to talk about this, in personal, social, and political ways. Is liberal democracy itself vulnerable in this time of pandemic? An interesting discussion, and one that does not exclude music – as in, What has Alberto been listening to lately?

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Katie Harris is an expert on languages and a YouTube star. You will find her in “Easy Italian” videos. You will also find her at joyoflanguages.com. Jay talks about one of his favorite subjects – languages – with a master, and a delightful one at that.

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Ben Hubbard, the Beirut bureau chief of the New York Times, has written a new book: “MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman.” Jay talks to him about this consequential young ruler. Is he a liberal reformer? What about the “guests” at the Ritz-Carlton? How about the kidnapping of the Lebanese PM? What about Trump and Jared? And the murder of Khashoggi? And the bugging of Bezos’s phone? What about women’s rights? Women are allowed to drive now – but why are women’s-rights campaigners in prison? MBS is a very interesting subject, and Ben Hubbard knows this subject inside out.

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One of the China experts Jay most admires is Sarah Cook, of Freedom House. He has read her, consulted her, and relied on her for many years. In this episode of “Q&A,” he talks to her about the coronavirus, of course. And about Hong Kong, Xinjiang Province, and other matters. Ms. Cook is informed to the gills and clear as a bell. Not to be missed.

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One of Jay’s favorite guests – and favorite people – is Arthur C. Brooks, of Harvard. For ten years, he was president of the American Enterprise Institute. Today, he is a professor at the Kennedy School of Government and a faculty fellow at the Business School. Brooks was the star of the recent National Prayer Breakfast – or the co-star, with President Trump. He and Jay talk about that, with some wonderment. They also talk about “free-market fundamentalism,” populism, conservatism, Harvard, presidential politics, the question of character, music (Beethoven in particular), and other subjects dear to their hearts. Their conversation and tastes are not for everyone – what is? But many will enjoy tuning in . . .

P.S. The closing music is the Sanctus movement from Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, in a famous recording (1966) conducted by Otto Klemperer.

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Jan-Albert Hootsen is a Dutch journalist who has long worked in Mexico City. Jay first met him when he went to Mexico City, two years ago, to write about the murder of journalists in Mexico. Mexico is the murder capital of the world for journalists. Hootsen is the Mexico representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists. He is also a whale of a guy. You will enjoy getting to know him, and hearing about his life and work.

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Returning to “Q&A” is David Luhnow, one of Jay’s favorite guests. Luhnow is the Latin America bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal. The conversation took place in Mexico City, where Luhnow is based – and where he did much of his growing up. The two discuss Mexico, of course: its new populist president; its horrendous murder rate; its prospects. They also talk about Venezuela, Cuba, and other key countries – not excluding the United States. Further, they talk about the news: How do people get it? How has the news business changed? As Jay says in his introduction, David Luhnow is “one of the sanest individuals you’ll ever meet, along with one of the most pleasant.” 

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Recently, Jay sat down with Nina Khrushcheva in her office at New School University, in New York. Part I of their conversation is here. In this second and final part, they touch on Vladimir Nabokov, William F. Buckley Jr., and other interesting matters – including this one: What’s it like, actually, to be Khrushchev’s granddaughter, especially back in Russia?

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Jay sat down with Nina Khrushcheva in her office. She is a professor of international affairs at New School University, in New York. Their conversation is expansive and wide-ranging – touching on Russia, Putin, America, books, William F. Buckley Jr., and a lot more. The “lot more” includes the question, What’s it like to be Khrushchev’s granddaughter? Especially back home in Russia? The conversation is split into two parts. The second will follow shortly.

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Jay welcomes one of his favorite guests, and favorite people, Kevin D. Williamson – whose latest book is The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in the Age of Mob Politics. They talk about the book, and being a writer, and conservatism, and more. A conversation between two friends and colleagues about some issues of importance to them.

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