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!

LATEST EPISODE

Kickass News

Senator Tom Cotton on the Old Guard of Arlington

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.
00:50:44 6/16/2019

Past Episodes

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 Soundtrap for Storytellers, The Life Is Good Ping Podcast, Udacity, and Ancestry.com.
00:50:11 6/12/2019
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.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Soundtrap for Storytellers.
00:48:22 6/9/2019
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 Soundtrap for Storytellers, The Life is Good Ping Podcast, and Udacity.
00:38:48 6/5/2019
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.
00:51:22 6/2/2019
Neil Gaiman talks about adapting his book Good Omens for television, the book's long journey to the screen, and how he took the reins as show-runner in a promise to his late co-author Terry Pratchett.  Neil recalls the origins of their book as a fable about nature vs nurture and opens up about the on screen cameo that was just too painful for him to film.  He discusses his writing process, how he manages to avoid distractions, and why he chooses to write across many different mediums.  Plus Neil shares the story of the time he and Michael Sheen accidentally dined on an endangered species and got a front row seat for a federal raid. Neil Gaiman's six-part limited series Good Omens stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant and is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning Friday, May 31st.  Keep up with Neil at www.neilgaiman.com and follow him on Twitter at @neilhimself.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Soundtrap for Storytellers and Udacity.
00:38:01 5/29/2019
Neil Gaiman talks about adapting his book Good Omens for television, the book's long journey to the screen, and how he took the reins as show-runner in a promise to his late co-author Terry Pratchett.  Neil recalls the origins of their book as a fable about nature vs nurture and opens up about the on screen cameo that was just too painful for him to film.  He discusses his writing process, how he manages to avoid distractions, and why he chooses to write across many different mediums.  Plus Neil shares the story of the time he and Michael Sheen accidentally dined on an endangered species and got a front row seat for a federal raid. Neil Gaiman's six-part limited series Good Omens stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant and is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning Friday, May 31st.  Keep up with Neil at www.neilgaiman.com and follow him on Twitter at @neilhimself.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Soundtrap for Storytellers and Udacity.
00:39:21 5/29/2019
Neil Gaiman talks about adapting his book Good Omens for television, the book's long journey to the screen, and how he took the reins as show-runner in a promise to his late co-author Terry Pratchett.  Neil recalls the origins of their book as a fable about nature vs nurture and opens up about the on screen cameo that was just too painful for him to film.  He discusses his writing process, how he manages to avoid distractions, and why he chooses to write across many different mediums.  Plus Neil shares the story of the time he and Michael Sheen accidentally dined on an endangered species and got a front row seat for a federal raid. Neil Gaiman's six-part limited series Good Omens stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant and is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning Friday, May 31st.  Keep up with Neil at www.neilgaiman.com and follow him on Twitter at @neilhimself.  Today's podcast was sponsored by Soundtrap for Storytellers and Udacity.
00:39:24 5/29/2019
Liam Cunningham discusses his 7 epic seasons as Sir Davos Seaworth on Game of Thrones and going from fighting "White Walkers" to fighting Ebola in National Geographic Channel's limited series The Hot Zone.  We also talk about his original audition for Game of Thrones, why he first thought he got the polite brush off from the series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and what it's like when he encounters hard-core GoT fans in person.  Then Liam discusses the true story of America's close call with Ebola in 1989, the very real threat of a new outbreak in the U.S. today, the danger of the modern anti-vaxxer movement, and the importance of striking the right balance between rational and irrational fears.  He talks about filming The Hot Zone in the South African bush, his early years working as an electrician in neighboring Zimbabwe, and how the experience directly led to his pursuing a career in acting.  Plus he reveals the secret to not getting killed off by Game of Thrones producers Benioff and Weiss, we debate whether a knight can really create another knight, and we attempt to figure out who was responsible for that infamous Starbucks cup! The six-night television event The Hot Zone premieres on Memorial Day, May 27, at 9/8C on National Geographic Channel.  Visit www.nationalgeographic.com for more info and behind-the-scenes extras, and follow Liam on Twitter at @liamcunningham1.  Today's episode was sponsored by Soundtrap for Storytellers and Hackable podcast.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.
00:39:38 5/26/2019
Jared Cohen talks about the eight men who succeeded to the presidency without being elected to it and how they changed our history for better or worse.  He reveals that presidential succession wasn't clearly defined for most of America's history and that most Vice-Presidents come to the Oval Office with great reluctance and a serious inferiority complex.  We talk about the best and worst accidental presidents, the one who assumed the office with the heaviest burden and the least preparation, and the one who was actually accused of conspiring to murder his predecessor.  Plus Jared suggests a better way to choose a running mate, he talks about his childhood fascination with the JFK conspiracy, and shares unusual hobby - collecting presidential hair.   Order Jared Cohen's new book Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America on Amazon and follow Jared on Twitter at @JaredCohen.  Today's episode was sponsored by Soundtrap for Storytellers.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.
00:52:43 5/22/2019
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough discusses his latest book The Pioneers, how it fulfilled his lifelong dream to write a nonfiction version of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, and why he wants his book to serve as reminder of fundamental American values.  He tells the story of the New England minister who played an instrumental role in the creation of the Ohio Settlement, how he fought to outlaw slavery in the territory, and how his son carried on his fight for abolition a few years later.  He talks about the wealthy Irish couple who built a paradise on an island in the Ohio River and how they lost everything when they became embroiled in the Aaron Burr treason scandal. McCullough reveals what he's learned in his 50 plus years of studying history, the importance of hindsight, and why historical figures feel like old friends. Order The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  This podcast was sponsored by Ancestry.com and Soundtrap for Storytellers.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.
00:47:08 5/19/2019

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