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Kickass News

Hosted by Hollywood producer and political media strategist Ben Mathis, KickAss News is a twice weekly podcast that features the most interesting personalities and thought leaders in politics, entertainment, tech, business, science, and more. Enjoy the podcast? Then please support the show and help keep us on the air by making a donation to our GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Another way you can support the show is to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review on iTunes to help keep us ranking strong on the top podcasts charts. For more information visit www.kickassnews.com. Thanks for listening!
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Now displaying: June, 2019
Jun 27, 2019

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter takes me behind the scenes to reveal the inner workings of the Pentagon, its vital mission, and what it takes to lead it.  He describes just how massive the D.O.D. is, how he managed a $700 billion dollar budget, and how he recruited top tech talent to the Pentagon.  Ash Carter reveals why his background as a physicist came in handy in the Pentagon and how it led him to oppose President Ronald Reagan’s "Star Wars" program in the 80s.  He discusses how he came up with his successful strategy to defeat ISIS, but cautions President Trump against pulling out of Iraq and Syria entirely.  He talks about his effort to reach out to non-traditional military recruits and his history-making decision to open all combat roles to women. 

Order Ash Carter's book Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Today's podcast was sponsored by TruGreen mosquito defense.

Jun 24, 2019

Vince Houghton, director of the International Spy Museum, returns to take me on a wild tour of missions and schemes that almost happened, but were ultimately deemed too dangerous, expensive, ahead of their time, or insane.  These include weaponing animals such as eavesdropping cats, spooky glow in the dark foxes, and one plan to strap incendiary bombs to bats!  He reveals some of the CIA’s wackier attempts to take out Castro, the nazi scientist who tried to build a sun gun, and the Florida meteorologist who thought it would be a good idea to use a nuclear weapons to blow up hurricanes.  But just when you think it couldn’t get any crazier, Vince discusses the project that inspired the title of his new book - the U.S. military plan to nuke the moon!  

Order Vince Houghton's book Nuking the Moon: And Other Intelligence Schemes and Military Plots Left on the Drawing Board on Amazon, Audible, and in bookstores.  Today's podcast was sponsored by The Skimm and AncestryDNA.

Jun 20, 2019

As a 60 Minutes correspondent and former anchor of the CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley has been a witness to events that have changed our world and he talks about some individuals who illustrate the best of America.  He recalls the heart-break and exhaustion of reporting on the 9/11 attacks and why he feels it was the finest hour for CBS News.  He shares the three rules of journalism that he learned from CBS legend Walter Cronkite, and why he believes that 24-hour cable news create even more demand for a show like 60 Minutes.  He discusses his time as a combat journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan, the question that landed him on Hillary Clinton’s blacklist, and why he says that President Donald Trump just can’t stop himself from lying.  Plus he elaborates on his accusations that the CBS Evening News was a hostile work environment, explains the secret to 60 Minutes’ longevity, and shares a few favorite memories of 60 Minutes’ lovable curmudgeon Andy Rooney.

Order Scott Pelley's book Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter's Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Today's podcast was sponsored by BetterHelp.com and Kronos.

Jun 17, 2019

Senator Tom Cotton recalls the storied history of the Old Guard of Arlington National Cemetery and the rigorous training he went through to become a member of this elite regiment.  He describes what it’s like to perform a military funeral in America’s most hallowed cemetery and how the soldiers of the Old Guard manage to avoid getting choked up.  Senator Cotton shares some of the other ceremonies that the Old Guard performs and how the Old Guard played a pivotal role at the Pentagon in the hours and days following 9/11.  Plus we talk about the special soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier day and night in all kinds of weather, how they deal with unruly children and noisy tourists, and why modern science means there never be another Unknown Soldier.

Order Senator Tom Cotton's book Sacred Duty: A Soldier's Tour at Arlington National Cemetery on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Today's podcast was sponsored by BetterHelp.com, Kronos, and Soundtrap for Storytellers.

Jun 13, 2019

Admiral William McRaven (Make Your Bed) reveals how a high school track coach inspired him apply for the Navy SEAL program and why he still compares any struggle he faces to the grueling endurance test of the Navy SEALs “Hell Week.”  He recalls the night he got a gut feeling he was going to catch Saddam and was right, how Saddam never made his bed while he was in McRaven’s custody, and what McRaven said when he finally decided to meet with Saddam face to face.  He talks about the strange experience of personally seeing monsters like Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden cut down to size, how he managed to keep the preparation of the Bin Laden raid a secret, and how 1000’s of special operations prepared him for that mission of a lifetime.  Plus he weighs in on the Navy SEAL who stands accused of war crimes, responds to calls for him to run for President, and expresses his sincerest regret that he’s the reason you have to take off your shoes at the airport!

Order Admiral William McRaven's book Sea Stories:
My Life in Special Operations on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Today's podcast was sponsored by The Life Is Good Ping Podcast, Udacity, and Ancestry.com.

Jun 10, 2019

Best-selling author Michael Wolff discusses his new book Siege: Trump Under Fire and how he got so many White House sources to speak to him again after his explosive tell-all Fire and Fury.  He tells how Steve Bannon remains the ultimate Trump insider even though he's on the outs with the President and why Trump's misfortune has always been Bannon's opportunity.  We talk about how Robert Mueller carefully gamed out every step of the Russia probe and whether Mueller may have actually drafted an indictment of Donald Trump.  He shares how Jared Kushner’s suspicious dealings with shady foreign investors jeopardized his White House security clearance and how he sought the counsel of Henry Kissinger in his effort to install himself as Secretary of State.  He reveals why Nikki Haley really resigned as UN Ambassador and how Trump’s inner circle lives in constant fear of the day when the Me Too Movement may finally catch up to Trump.  He sheds some light on Donald and Melania’s marriage of convenience, reveals how Senator Mitch McConnell got the upper hand on the President, and shares how Trump started a family feud at Fox.  

Order Michael Wolff's latest book Siege: Trump Under Fire on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.

Jun 6, 2019

Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13) discusses his new documentary Pavarotti.  He talks about the art of filmmaking and storytelling, how he approaches a documentary versus a narrative film about a real person, and how he got the idea to present Pavarotti’s story as an opera.  We get into Pavarotti the romantic, how Ron got the various women of Pavarotti’s life to participate in the film, and why Pavarotti often compared his famous voice to a tempestuous lover.  He tells the story of how the Three Tenors were formed, and how Pavarotti took opera into sports stadiums and the mainstream by collaborating with everyone from Steve Wonder to Sting. Plus we talk about Pavarotti’s enormous appetite, his even bigger heart for charity, and Ron’s own chance encounter with this opera legend.

Ron Howard's film Pavarotti opens in theaters Friday, June 7.  Visit www.pavarottifilm.com for information and show times.  Today's podcast was sponsored by The Life is Good Ping Podcast and Udacity.

Jun 3, 2019

David Epstein (The Sports Gene) reveals the flaw in the "10,000 hours" theory of deliberate performance, the fallacy of giving children a head-start, and how it could actually hinder them in the long-run.  He shares why athletes should be more like Roger Federer than Tiger Woods and how "serial innovators" tend to have a broad range of knowledge and experience.  David says the internet and open source information is a boon to generalists, but artificial intelligence may put a lot of specialists out of business.  He encourages the trend of midlife career changes and dabbling and suggests it's better to act THEN decide.  Plus how Venetian orphans inspired the world’s greatest composers,  why Nobel laureates always have a hobby, and why experts make terrible forecasters.

Order David Epstein's book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold. Keep up with david at www.davidepstein.com and follow him on twitter at @DavidEpstein.  Today's podcast was sponsored by BetterHelp.com, SiriusXM Radio , and Ancestry.com.

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