On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and journalist David Axe discuss the controversy over David’s recent story about US Special Forces operating in North Korea. David describes his harrowing experience in the policy journalism grinder, faced with skeptics and official denials. Rob and David then talk about what Special Forces would do in North Korea. They also address the role South Korean forces might play, and the response in Seoul to David’s story. Rob wonders whether the growing power of the Special Forces is beginning to affect heretofore conventional defense debates. Finally, David talks about some lessons that he’s drawn from the experience.
On The Glenn Show, Harold makes the case for the Affordable Care Act, but Glenn wonders why Obama isn’t defending the law on the stump. In the wake of the controversy over Obamacare, Harold fears a “legislative Vietnam syndrome.” How should proponents of same-sex marriage treat those who use religion to argue against gay rights? Glenn and Harold discuss the problems with using religious arguments in the public sphere, and Harold defends the decidedly uncivil rhetoric of the writer and gay rights advocate Dan Savage. Turning to the presidential campaign, Glenn derides Obama’s attacks on Romney’s tenure in private equity. Should we be leery of a resurgent economic populism?
Conor interviews Jim Manzi, author of the new book Uncontrolled. Jim explains how his background in business consulting shaped his view of what’s wrong with government. The two debate whether localities should be permitted to experiment with policies that reduce the freedom of their residents. Conor cites professional licensing as an area where localities experimenting with different approaches don’t seem to learn anything useful. Jim considers whether value-added teacher evaluation is worthwhile. Finally, Jim explains why he thinks there are no silver bullets for complex policy problems.
Shadi details how the US should aid the Syrian rebels, and Bob asks if he’s really ready for all-out war. Bob asks whether intervening wouldn’t mean being on Al Qaeda’s side. Bob and Shadi disagree about the lessons of Libya. They close by discussing which is more naïve—believing that sanctions will topple Assad or believing that military intervention would bring stable peace.
On this week’s Foreign Entanglements, Robert of House Farley and Matthew of House Duss report on the Game of Thrones taking place in the world of Westeros. Matthew scoffs at the notion that that the situation in King’s Landing is out of King Joffrey’s control, while Rob wonders how the Imp, Tyrion Lannister, could have come to power despite the wishes of his sister Cersei, the Queen Regent. Rob reports on the situation in Dragonstone, and Matt accuses Rob of betraying the Crown by revering the traitorous Robb Stark. Rob and Matt attempt to debunk rumors about threats beyond the Wall, dragons, and the parentage of Joffrey Baratheon. (Warning: Spoilers for the first two books/seasons abound!)
On Fireside Chats, Mike talks to David Frum about his new novel, Patriots. They discuss how American political culture has changed since the 1990s, and how immigration in particular has changed America. Would a Mitt Romney presidency incorporate Paul Ryan’s conservative budget? They question whether the Tea Party has been successful, as well as why Democrats have an easier time governing during economic expansion. Why have conservative economic policies moved so far to the right? Mike and David conclude by talking about David’s first book, Dead Right, and how his conservatism has changed since the book was published almost two decades ago.
On a very special episode of The DMZ, Matt explains why he’s happy that he’s making fewer TV appearances, and offers some practical advice for young writers. Responding to a commenter’s question, Bill and Matt discuss whether they would have the same politics if they lived in a different historical era—would Matt have voted for JFK? Matt weighs the tension between his epistemological modesty and his impulse to seek the good. Bill explains why his temperament leads him toward practical liberalism—and made him a college conservative. They close by discussing Cory Booker, Chris Matthews, and what it means to be a political surrogate.
On The Glenn Show, John explains to Glenn why he objects to the recent firing of Naomi Schaefer Riley from The Chronicle of Higher Education after she wrote a piece attacking black studies. Glenn argues that Riley’s piece was offensive and wrong. John recalls his own critical assessment of the field, and he and Glenn discuss what black studies should be. They disagree about the state of Harvard’s influential black studies department. Glenn worries that black academics are held to a lower standard, a theme John discussed in his 2000 book Losing the Race. Glenn and John agree that black studies needs to adopt a more global approach.
In the wake of Facebook’s public offering, Walter and Derek talk about startups. Is overinvestment in social media harming potentially more fruitful endeavors? They lay out what government must do to foster innovation. Derek makes the case that, despite high costs, a college education is still worth it. Walter and Derek discuss the pros and cons of “crowdfunding,” where a new company raises money through many small investors. Finally, they try to figure out why Facebook’s stock didn’t pop.