We're pleased to announce that the Ben and Joel Podcast is becoming the City Journal Books Podcast! Although our name and home base may be changing, the content of the program will remain the same. We'll continue to offer 21st-century conversations for listeners with 19th-century attention spans with authors of books we think are interesting, enlightening, and particularly relevant to the public discourse.
In this episode, City Journal associate editor Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, a national affairs columnist for Philadelphia Magazine's The Philly Post, talk to Charles R. Kesler about his new book, I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism. Kesler is the Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government at Claremont-McKenna College, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, and editor of the Claremont Review of Books.
Among the questions we discuss:
• What ideas motivate Barack Obama?
• Who's the audience for this book? How should a liberal engage this book?
• Do conservatives know more about liberals' political history than liberals do?
• How did Woodrow Wilson's "New Freedom" reshape American politics?
• How did Franklin Roosevelt inexorably tie liberalism to the Democratic Party?
• How did Lyndon Johnson outdo FDR and Wilson?
• Does Obama represent a "fourth wave" of liberalism?
• What do American progressives owe to the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel?
• Did history end for American conservatives in 1787?
• Do conservatives unknowingly accept liberal premises?
• And much, much more!
Please visit and "like" Ben and Joel and City Journal on Facebook to comment on this interview, as well as to receive regular updates about the podcast and links to our weekly syndicated column with ScrippsHoward News Service. You'll be glad you did!
Programming note: Let's call this one the last episode of "The Ben and Joel Podcast" and the inaugural episode of the "City Journal Books Podcast." Upcoming guests include: Stephen Knott, Greg Lukianoff, and Richard H. Immermann.
TSA administrator John Pistole is making vague noises about backing down from the invasive security measures his agency is undertaking at the nation's airports. While we wait to see if those noises turn into action on this Thanksgiving holiday travel week, I decided to talk to the person I know who travels more than any other: My dad.
David Mathis is the senior vice president for sales and marketing at Golden Heritage Foods, located in my hometown of Hillsboro, Kan. He gets on a plane a couple of dozen times a year -- something he's been doing for, well, a couple of dozen decades now. And he's not all that bothered by the TSA's procedures. Weirdly, he agreed to let me interview him about this. Take a listen.
Our own Dr. Zaius had the first segment of the Hugh Hewitt Show on Friday with guest host Carol Platt Liebau to discuss the perils of FCC-imposed "network neutrality." The segment was too short -- we made up for it with this week's podcast. But you can marvel in the Hewitt show's superior production values and bask in Jim's wisdom.
Monkey friend and movie critic Christian Toto was a guest on the Dennis Miller show this week to preview the summer movie season.
Wolverine: Will do blockbuster business. Good action, wish the story wasn't as complicated as it was.
Star Trek: Trekkies need to have a bit of an open mind.
Angels and Demons: Not a fan of the books, so the movies have left Christian a bit cold.
Terminator: Anything with Christian Bale is worth watching, and the trailer looks awesome.
Night at the Museum: Kids will drag parents to see it, but great cast is on hand to entertain adults. "If there's one can't-miss film, this is probably it."
Transformers: Megan Fox will be in it. So no worries. Predicts $100-plus in the first weekend.
Harry Potter: The movies have been getting darker and more complex as they go along. Eager to see Jim Broadbent do another classic character actor turn.
Risky Summer films: The new Borat film, "Brüno." We also may see this summer that Judd Apatow has running out of creative gas.
Be sure to listen to the whole thing. The funny and smart banter is not to be missed.