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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: November, 2019
Nov 28, 2019

Oscar and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney discusses his new film Citizen K and what it was like to profile Russia's billionaire oil oligarch turned political activist Mikhail Khodorkovsky.  He talks about the parallel rise of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Vladimir Putin amid the chaos of post-Soviet Russia and the public showdown between the two men that put Khodorkovsky on Putin’s enemies list and eventually landed him in prison.  Alex reveals why Khodorkovsky refused to flee Russia before his arrest and the personal transformation that he underwent during his decade in a remote Russian prison.  He shares how Khodorkovsky got out of prison and escaped Russia with $500 million in the bank, how the ex-patriot is now waging a political war against Vladimir Putin from London, and whether he worries that Putin might could target him for assassination.  Plus Alex reveals what Mikhail Khodorkovsky knows about Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, why Vladimir Putin employs a cast of actors to make himself look good, and what Mikhail Khodorkovsky believes is Putin’s worst nightmare.

See Alex Gibney's new documentary film Citizen K now out in theaters and follow Alex on twitter at @AlexGibneyfilm.  Today episode was sponsored by Uncommitted: Iowa 2020, an original podcast from VICE News that's available every Tuesday for free on Spotify and Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood now out on digital.

Nov 25, 2019

Senator Sherrod Brown reveals how he first learned about the rich history of his desk in the U.S. Senate and how he grappled with some of the contradictions and controversies of the men who sat there before him.  We discuss the singing cowboy turned one term Senator from Idaho who once spent a night in Bull Conner’s jail in Alabama and the Senator from Wisconsin who was a legendary penny pincher and never missed a vote.  He talks about getting back to a more movement-oriented definition of Progressivism, his belief in the dignity of work,
and why he feels it’s a winning message for Democrats running against President Trump in 2020.  Plus Senator Brown opens up about his decision to stay out of the Democratic Presidential Primary, whether or not he might reconsider that choice in light recent calls for him to jump into the race, and how he plans to approach a potential impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

Order Senator Brown's book Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold, and follow him on Twitter at @SenSherrodBrown.  Today episode was sponsored by Uncommitted: Iowa 2020, an original podcast from VICE News that's available every Tuesday for free on Spotify.

Nov 21, 2019

As the Ukraine scandal continues to heat up, MSNBC intelligence expert Malcolm Nance explains why US support for Ukraine is in our own national interest, what Rudy Giuliani is getting from being the President’s bag man to Ukraine, and how Paul Manafort started the conspiracy theories about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election.  He also shares that Russia has been keeping tabs on Donald Trump since as early as 1977, how Trump went from an unwitting asset of Russia to a willing asset, and why he sees Vladimir Putin’s fingerprints all over Trump’s withdrawal from Northern Syria. Plus Malcolm weighs in on Hillary Clinton’s assertion that Democratic Presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian asset.

Order Malcolm Nance's new book The Plot to Betray America: How Team Trump Embraced Our Enemies, Compromised Our Security, and How We Can Fix It on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold, and follow at www.MalcolmNance.com or on Twitter at @MalcolmNance.

Nov 18, 2019

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig discusses the fundamental issue that he says underlies many of our current political problems - "unrepresentativeness."  He offers some creative prescriptions for how to cure America’s unrepresentativeness problem such as public funding of election campaigns (including campaigns for Congress), a radical restructuring of the United States Senate, and some ways to reform the Electoral College without having to change the Constitution.  He also says we the people are complicit in America’s political dysfunction, and suggests some ways that Americans can take a more proactive role in government such as  "civic juries" and citizen referenda.  Plus I ask this distinguished legal scholar to weigh in on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. 

Order Lawrence Lessig's new book They Don't Represent Us: Reclaiming Our Democracy on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Follow him at www.lessig.com or on Twitter at @Lessig.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kendra Scott Jewelry.  Visit www.kendrascott.com and use promo code KICK for 20% off your next purchase or mention this ad in your local Kendra Scott store.

Nov 14, 2019

Bestselling author Mitch Albom returns to the podcast to talk about how he came to run an orphanage in earthquake ravaged Haiti, how recent political instability in Haiti has led to some frightening encounters for the kids, and the hardest part about running an orphanage.  He shares how he became a surrogate father to a young girl with a terminal illness, how he learned what it means to be "kid tough," and how a girl named Chika taught him some valuable lessons about the important things in life.

Order Mitch's touching book Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with him at www.mitchalbom.com or on Twitter at @MitchAlbom.  Today’s episode was sponsored by Bayer.

Nov 11, 2019

Actor/comedian Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs, Curb Your Enthusiasm) reveals how Jimmy Durante inspired him to get into comedy as a boy, what it was like rooming with a young Conan O'Brien when he started at Chicago’s legendary improv group Second City, and the time he witnessed one of Larry David’s famous fights with his audience at a comedy club.  He talks about his worst gig as a comedian, why he always goes on stage to a different song, and why not everyone should follow their dream to Hollywood.  Plus Jeff shares how he kicked the sugar habit, what you can order in a catalogue for fat guys, and how he almost got fired from his hit show The Goldbergs.

Jeff's new hourlong standup special Jeff Garlin: Our Man In Chicago is available on Netflix starting November 12.  You can also catch Jeff on The Goldbergs and the next season of Curb Your Enthusiasm coming in 2020.  Today’s episode was sponsored by Afternoon Cyber Tea podcast and Kendra Scott Jewelry.  Visit www.kendrascott.com and use promo code KICK for 20% off your next order.

Nov 7, 2019

Bestselling sports writer Joe Posnanski recalls delving into the rabbit hole of magician Harry Houdini’s legendary life and separating fact from the fiction invented by Houdini and his followers.  Joe discusses the handcuffs that Houdini almost couldn’t get out of, some of the more bizarre things people challenged him to escape, and how Houdini upped the ante with increasingly more dangerous escapes to keep audiences interested.  He explains why many people falsely believe that the magician died performing his most famous trick, and we talk about the secret code that Houdini’s widow Bess used  to try to make contact with him from beyond the grave.  Joe also gives us entre into the world of Houdini superfans from the couple who committed a crime to honor their hero to the mysterious man who calls himself "Houdini’s ghost."  Plus he reveals what it’s like inside David Copperfield’s private magic warehouse in Las Vegas, how Houdini learned from some of the turn of the century’s most bizarre sideshow acts, and his daughter’s favorite Houdini revenge story.

Order Joe Posnanski's wonderful new book The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with him at JoePosnanski.com or on Twitter at @JPosnanski.  Today’s episode was sponsored by Kronos HR Solutions and Avalara Sales Tax Solutions.  

Nov 4, 2019

Golden Globe-winner Edward Norton talks about his film Motherless Brooklyn's 20 year journey to the big screen and what it was like to write, direct, and star in this neo-noir masterpiece.  He shares some of the things he’s learned from working with directors like Milos Forman and Woody Allen.  Edward talks about the real life New York powerbroker who inspired his film’s antagonist, his own grandfather’s crusade for low income housing, and the things that get lost in the service of progress.  Plus we delve into our mutual love of jazz, classic noir detective films, and Manhattan landmarks of a bygone era.

Don't miss Edward Norton's new film Motherless Brooklyn now showing in theaters.  Order Stuart Russell's new book Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Today’s episode was sponsored by Afternoon Cyber Tea podcast, Invitae, and Purotrader.  Check out www.Purotrader.com and use the promo code NEWS for a chance to win a day at the Porsche Racing Experience in Los Angeles or Atlanta.

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