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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Several weeks ago, Jay sat down with Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University – and a former governor of Indiana. Daniels is a Reagan conservative. They were talking about free speech on campus. And Daniels hailed Professor Geoffrey R. Stone at the University of Chicago – a “lion of the Left,” he said, who had been chiefly responsible for the Chicago Principles, which address this issue of free speech. Purdue, along with approximately 70 other institutions, has adopted the principles for itself.

Jay has now gone to see Professor Stone in Chicago. They talk about life – especially Stone’s, but some of Jay’s, too – and the momentous issue of free speech. Conservatives will not like everything Stone says; he does not like everything conservatives say. But he and Jay have little time for snowflakes and safe spaces. America has become all too “triggerable,” they agree. 

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Marina Nemat is one of Jay’s favorite guests and people. She is an Iranian dissident, a former political prisoner, and a human-rights activist. Her memoir is Prisoner of Tehran. In this “Q&A,” she talks about the past and the present, linking the two. Recent events include the killing of General Suleimani and the downing of the Ukrainian airliner. Iranians are massing in the streets. They have been crushed before – will they be crushed again? Marina Nemat’s analysis is based on long, hard experience. It is subtle and often moving. Jay calls her “a beautiful person, inside and out.” She is also very, very brave. 

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Here at the beginning of the year – with the college football championship and the NFL playoffs gearing up – Jay does a sportscast. He does it with three of his favorite gurus and people: Sally Jenkins, of the Washington Post; David French, of The Dispatch; and Vivek Dave, “the corporate high-flyer from Chicago,” as Jay calls him. They impart great wisdom with much warmth: on college and pro football, yes, but also on basketball (college and pro), figure skating, the factor of China, and more. These gurus are really wonderful company.

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Mitch Daniels is the president of Purdue University. Before his current job, he had many others. He was governor of Indiana, for instance. And White House budget director. Before those two jobs, he was chief political adviser to President Reagan. In his office at Purdue, Daniels talks with Jay about higher ed, the federal government, and more. At the end, Jay pumps Daniels for a Reagan story or two – and Daniels comes through with flying colors.

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Alon Ben-Meir is an extraordinary figure, born in Baghdad in 1937. He is a professor of international relations at New York University. He has long been involved in international negotiations. He knows the Middle East intimately. In this conversation, he and Jay cover a good part of the waterfront (not that there’s much water in the Middle East): Turkey, Syria, the Yazidis, the Arab-Israeli conflict, etc. The conversation is also personal, about Ben-Meir’s life. He has lived in many places and speaks several languages. Does he feel at home everywhere – or nowhere? No one will agree with every word he says, but all can learn from this immensely learned, thoughtful, and experienced man.

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That is the title of Becky Powell’s new book. She got the title from a country song, written by Darryl Worley and Harley Allen, and recorded by the former. Becky is a friend of Jay’s. Her book is a memoir. One day, she learned that her husband – and the father of their three children – had killed himself. Then she learned that he was $21 million in debt. He had borrowed the money from 90 people. Becky did not have to pay it back. She was not responsible for the debt. But she felt she had to, for her own dignity, and to set an example for the children. How did she get through it all? That is the topic of her book, and you will enjoy hearing her talk with Jay.

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Jay’s guest is Fred Hiatt, the editorial-page editor of the Washington Post. In addition to being an editor, he is a columnist. He writes a great deal about human rights, and pays particular attention to China. He and Jay begin by talking about the Uyghur people. The Chinese government is doing catastrophic, Nazi-like things to them. (Yes, sometimes the N-word applies.) What can the world at large do to help the Uyghurs? Anything? Jay and his guest also talk about the newspaper business in general. An informative conversation, with a mixture of dark and light.

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Jay’s guest is Alexandra DeSanctis, or Xan (pronounced “Zan”), his colleague at National Review. She is in Washington, Jay in New York. They talk about a range of issues: abortion, impeachment, 2020 politics, baseball, cooking, and more. This conversation is like a busy train line: If you don’t like one issue, another one will be along in just a moment.

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That was the title of a column long ago, and for many years – first written by Drew Pearson, then by Jack Anderson: “The Washington Merry-Go-Round.” Robert Costa is a national political reporter for the Washington Post. He is also the moderator of “Washington Week,” a political analyst for NBC News, etc. He and Jay worked together at National Review. Jay asks him what it’s like to have a front-row reporting seat in these exciting political times (exciting for better or worse). They talk about Tuesday night’s elections; President Trump’s relations with the press; the canniness of Mitch McConnell; the canniness of Nancy Pelosi; the flexible nature of Lindsey Graham; the trajectory of Rudy Giuliani; the consistency of John Bolton; the return of Jeff Sessions; the 2020 Democratic presidential field; and more. Jay enjoyed this discussion with a real reportorial pro, and so will you. 

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Peter Pomerantsev has written a couple of books with very interesting titles. Their subjects are important, too. A few years ago, Pomerantsev published “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible,” about the “surreal heart” of Putin’s Russia. Now he has published “This Is Not Propaganda,” about … well, propaganda, or fake news, or disinformation. It is a worldwide epidemic. Pomerantsev is a Soviet-born British journalist. His parents were well-known dissidents, booted out of the Soviet Union. With Jay, Pomerantsev discusses the “post-truth age,” as some call it. A disturbing subject, but one that must be understood. 

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Denise Ho is a star in Hong Kong and in the broader Asian world. She is a singer and actress. She is also a democracy leader. She has been in the throes of the protests in her home city. What has her activism done to her artistic career? What are the prospects for the democracy movement in Hong Kong? What do protesters expect of the outside world, if anything? Denise Ho is a wonderful interviewee, in addition to a remarkable person.

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