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Kickass News

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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!
448 Episodes
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Director/writer Greta Gerwig discusses her Oscar nominated film adaptation of the beloved classic Little Women, how she imbued her movie with even more of author Louisa May Alcott's own personality, and why it was important for her to give a nod to the author's original intended ending.  She talks about the status of female directors and writers in Hollywood, recalls a conversation she once had with a studio executive about how women talk, and how Meryll Streep inspired some of the film's most insightful dialogue about a woman’s role in 19th Century society.  Greta also reveals that she was secretly pregnant while filming Little Women and what it is like to be in competition with her husband Noah Baumbach for Best Picture this year.  Plus we talk about why actresses in the 30’s and 40’s got better roles than they do today, our mutual love of the films of George Cukor and Greta Garbo, and the wicked wit of Dorthy Parker. See Greta Gerwig's wonderful film Little Women in theaters now.  Check your local listings for showtimes or visit www.littlewomen.movie.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kronos HR Solutions.  
Drs. Daniel J. Siegel and TIna Payne Bryson, the bestselling authors of The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline discuss their new book The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired.  They explain what it means to really show up for your children and how your interactions with your kids shape the course of their lives and literally altering their physical brain.  They discuss the latest discoveries in attachment science, some tips for encouraging the "baby scientist" in you kid, and why sometimes with children, it’s best to answer a question with a question.  Plus we talk about the perils of hyper-parenting, the difference between soothing a child and coddling them, and how even people who experienced neglect and abuse from their own parents can break the cycle for the next generation. Order Daniel and Tina's book The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Today's episode is sponsored by Native Deodorant.  Visit www.nativedeodorant.com and use promo code KICK for 20% off your first purchase.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power recalls her early years as a freelance journalist covering the Siege of Sarajevo, how her Pulitzer-winning book about genocide got the attention of a young Senator Barack Obama, and what it was like for her to go from being an idealistic human rights advocate on the outside of government to working for change in the White House and at the U.N.  She gives an inside account of the discussions in the Oval Office over how to handle the Syrian civil war and talks about how deeply that crisis affected her.  Plus Ambassador Power discusses the rise of China, America’s loss of moral authority under President Trump, and the power of empathy and understanding in politics and diplomacy. Order Samantha Power's book The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with her at www.samanthapower.com and on twitter at @SamanthaJPower.
Dan Buettner has become an expert on longevity ever since he wrote his groundbreaking National Geographic article on the Blue Zones, the five places in the world where the most people live to 100 or older.  One of the key factors is diet, and Dan has been studying what the oldest people in the world eat for more than 15 years.  He reveals the health benefits of dietary monotony and periodic fasting, why HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat, and why you want to load up on beans and veggies instead of meat and eggs.  He shares some cooking secrets that he learned in the kitchens of grandmas in all five of the Blue Zones, including a Sardinian minestrone that has all the properties of a "superfood," a simple dish that he calls healthiest breakfast in the world, and the Greek Island of Ikaria’s unique take on the Mediterranean diet.  He talks about traveling to Okinawa, Japan with his remarkably spry 84-year-old dad, and visiting 100 year old Costa Rican cowboy who still goes riding every day. Order Dan's new bestselling cookbook The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100.  Learn more at www.bluezones.com and follow him on Twitter at @bluezones.
Dr. Phil

Dr. Phil

2019-12-3000:51:45

Dr. Phil McGraw says that some of his guests still surprise him even after 2000+ episodes of his #1 daytime talk show The Dr. Phil Show.  He recalls how losing a football game in junior high school inspired him to go into psychology, what it was like to go into practice with his father, and why he eventually decided to go from getting into the minds of his patients to getting into the minds of juries as a trial consultant.  He explains how that put him into contact with Oprah Winfrey, how he convinced her to move her entire TV operation to Amarillo, Texas for 3 months during the famous mad cow beef trial, and why he was initially hesitant when Oprah first invited him to come on her show.  He discusses his belief that problems are complex but solutions are often fairly simple, but he also says don’t be fooled by the magic of television and his easy going manner.  He says hours of research and peer review by America’s top doctors go into every single episode of The Dr. Phil Show.  He shares a little relationship advice from his 42 years of marriage, how his wife Robin is the "Dr Phil to Dr Phil" who always keeps him in check, and why Robin still sits in the audience of every taping of his show.  Then Dr Phil discusses how his podcast Phil in the Blanks is a welcome chance to interview interesting people without the pressure of having to solve their problems, why he desperately wants to get O.J. Simpson on the show, and why he's planning to enter the popular true crime genre for his next project.  Plus why he never volunteers advice to his friends, what he would say if he was mediating the government shutdown negotiations, and he weighs in on the prospect of an Oprah for President campaign in 2020. Subscribe to Dr. Phil's podcast Phil in the Blanks on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or Spotify, and visit www.drphilintheblanks.com for more information and upcoming guests.  The Dr. Phil Show airs weekdays and you can go to www.drphil.com to find your local listings.  Follow Phil McGraw on Twitter at @DrPhil.  Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
Tim Robbins

Tim Robbins

2019-12-2600:50:511

Actor/director Tim Robbins discusses why his classic political mockumentary BOB ROBERTS is more relevant now than ever.  He says Harvey Weinstein reminds him of the shady operators he knew growing up in New York’s Greenwich Village, he recalls studying real studio execs for his role in Robert Altman’s THE PLAYER, and he remembers Altman's mentoring Tim's leap from actor to director.  He discusses how he funded his first play while he was still a struggling actor, how his play THE NEW COLOSSUS is putting personal faces to the immigration issue, and why he’s using The Actors Gang to bring theatre into California prisons.  Plus Tim opens up about turning 60, weighs in on the current struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party, and recounts the time he heckled Henry Kissinger outside of a famous celebrity restaurant. Visit www.theactorsgang.com for tickets or to learn more. See Tim in Alan Ball’s excellent series HERE AND NOW with a subscription to HBO, HBO GO, or HBO NOW.  Keep up with Tim at www.timrobbins.net or on twitter at @TimRobbins1.  
For three days in November, 1943, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin met in Tehran, Iran and made decisions that would change the course of World War II.  It's the subject of a new book by Fox News' Bret Baier titled Three Days at the Brink: FDR's Daring Gamble to Win World War II, and today Bret Baier shares how his latest book fits into his Three Days in History trilogy, why the Tehran Conference was so crucial to Allied victory, and how it also set the stage for the Cold War.  He reveals why Stalin held all the cards going into Tehran, how FDR managed to use Stalin's eavesdropping to his advantage,  and why Roosevelt had to risk hurting Churchill’s feelings in order to make a deal.  He also discusses how lots and lots of alcohol greased the wheels of diplomacy among the three leaders, similarities between the personal diplomacy styles of FDR and President Donald Trump, and some key leadership lessons from those three days in Tehran.  Plus this beltway insider weighs in on the mood in Washington as Congress moves forward with Impeachment. Special thanks to The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum and the Ronald Reagan National Defense Forum for hosting our interview.  Order Bret Baier's book Three Days at the Brink: FDR's Daring Gamble to Win World War II on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Also check out the other books in his Three Days trilogy Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower's Final Mission and Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire.  Watch Special Report with Bret Baier five days a week on Fox News and follow him on Twitter at @BretBaier.  Today's podcast was sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which wants to remind you not to drive drunk or high this holiday season.
Ash Carter and Sam Kashner discuss their new book about the EGOT-winning director Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Birdcage).   They talk about his early years as one of the founders of the improv group that would become Second City, the story of how Nichols joined up with Elaine May to make comedy history, and how the creative differences that broke up Nichols and May opened the door for Mike Nichols to direct for Broadway and Hollywood.  They reveal how the first time director got the nerve to stand up to movie mogul Jack Warner during the filming of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, why Nichols originally wanted to cast Robert Redford in The Graduate, and how Orson Wells tried to usurp him as director on Catch-22.  They share stories of Nichols’ courtship and marriage of news anchor Diane Sawyer, his lavish life, his many friendships, and a lesson in how to go out in style. Order their book Life isn't everything: Mike Nichols, as remembered by 150 of his closest friends on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Follow Sam and Ask on Twitter at @SamKashner and @Psmithjourno.  Today's episode was sponsored by Oris Watches.  Shop their selection of Swiss made mechanical watches at www.oris.ch/kick.
Craig Ferguson talks about his new limited series Hobo Fabulous, why he wanted to do a rockumentary-style show about his US comedy tour, and how he's ready to take a long break from the road after a 2 month American bus tour. Craig recalls that he never watched a late night television show in his life before taking over The Late Late Show on CBS, what it was like working with David Letterman as a producer, and how doing the show 5 nights a week for 10 years made him fall out of love with show-business.  He says that late shows have become all about viral clips and clicks on the internet instead putting on a show for the tv audience and that he wouldn’t want to do a late night show in today’s politically charged environment.  We also discuss his decision to become a US citizen more than 10 years ago, the one state in the US that won’t grant him honorary citizenship, and why he’s still paying taxes in the US although he's now returned to his native land of Scotland.  Plus we talk about Groundskeeper Willie from the Simpsons, the Scottish production of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, and Craig’s breakout role as "Bing Hitler." All six episodes of Hobo Fabulous are available now on the Comedy Dynamics Network, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Comcast, Spectrum, Dish and other platforms.  Visit www.comedydynamics.com for more information.  Today's episode was sponsored by Oris Watches.  Shop their selection of Swiss made mechanical watches at www.oris.ch/kick.
Abby McEnany discusses her start in Chicago’s improv scene and how her one woman show turned into her new Showtime series Work in Progress.  She reveals how Julia Sweeney’s Saturday Night Live character “Pat” made her life a living hell for a while and how she convinced Julia to join the cast of her new show.  Abby talks about her perennial problem of getting misgendered in the women’s restroom, why the 51 year old sometimes feels like a "square" in the younger gay and transgender community, and why she avoids all social media. Abby's show Work in Progress airs Sundays At 11pm ET/PT on Showtime.  Today's episode was sponsored by Oris Watches.  Shop their selection of Swiss made mechanical watches at www.oris.ch/kick.
Andrew Marantz, a staff writer for the New Yorker, talks about his experience embedding with the so called "Deplorables," and how he got a rare insider's glimpse into the pundits, trolls, and provocateurs who drive the conversation on the alt-right.  He recalls his strange relationship with a right wing media influencer who is able to manipulate America’s political conversation, spread conspiracy theories, and even put words in the mouth of President Trump.  He also discusses how Silicon Valley’s laissez faire libertarianism opened the door hate-mongers and conspiracy theorists, how social media algorithms actually promote that type of content, and why he says it’s time for tech leaders to stop hiding behind the 1st Amendment.  Plus Andrew describes how Reddit is now cracking down on hate speech, the bizarre story of the neo-nazi who is married to a jewish woman, and the pitiful demise of right wing gadfly Milo Yiannopoulos. Order Adam's book Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Read Andrew Marantz regularly in The New Yorker and follow him on twitter at @AndrewMarantz.  
Master of suspense Dean Koontz recalls the literary agent who said he'd never be a bestselling author and how he defied expectations with fourteen #1 New York Times Bestsellers.  He discusses his new collection of six short suspense stories for Amazon, why creating an antihero with no memory and no identity appealed to him, and those stories have to say about the blessing and the curse of technology in our lives.  Dean reveals the meticulous research that goes into his writing, how much of himself he puts into his books, and why his love of dogs always seems to make it into his work. Nameless, collection of short stories by Dean Koontz is available for free to Prime and Kindle Unlimited members.  Keep up with Dean at www.deankoontz.com and on twitter at @deankoontz.  Today's episode was sponsored by Kronos HR Solutions.
CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and humorist Mo Rocca has always loved obituaries but he says that not every notable life has gotten the send-off it deserves.  He's attempting to right those wrongs with his Mobituaries podcast and his new book Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving.  We discuss celebrities who died on the same day,  historical figures who were eclipsed by the actors who played them in the movies,  and the old debate over whether famous people die in pairs or threes.  Mo tells the stories of lesser known figures like Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy,  the original Siamese twins Ang and Chang, and the world’s first fashion influencer.  Plus we cover the unceremonious sendoff of founding father Thomas Paine, how Lawrence Welk proved it’s hip to be square,  and famous rest stops along the New Jersey Turnpike. Order his book Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Subscribe to the Mobituaries podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you like to listen.  You can also catch Mo on CBS Sunday Morning and follow him on twitter at @MoRocca.  Today's episode was sponsored by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally's new podcast In Bed with Nick and Megan, Kendra Scott Jewelry (use promo code KICK for 20% off), and Invitae genetic testing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.  
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Comments (80)

Vernon Shoemaker

Tweaking the methods, reform, misses the basic problem:. Democracy, like law, has devolved to expression of power. The people's voice is not welcome; it's considered inferior. What is desired is the people's acquiescence, the illusion they had a role in the results. At the end of the process the people have spent their allotted capacity to dissent and their engagement is the signature on the check.

Nov 19th
Reply

YESH

So narcissistic!

Oct 12th
Reply

YESH

Such a wonderful episode! Rushdie makes a light hearted yet interesting conversationalist.

Oct 12th
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Jeff Root

awesome

Oct 8th
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Chris A

this guy is a jerk

Sep 7th
Reply

cassandra cochran

yikes

Aug 11th
Reply

Thomas Zarod

Wolff is stammering like a child caught in a lie.

Jun 11th
Reply

Lemaire Jean-Louis

ĺl

May 11th
Reply

Dan Thornhill

McCain was a man of the people. Not! He was not the man he was touted to be. His Dad was an Admiral in the Navy. I have read he wasn't that great of a pilot. He crashed planes and had a hand in some of his fellow crew members dying.

May 3rd
Reply

Jeff Root

Would you believe that this guy (Ben Mathis) runs a film production company that specializes in GOP campaign advertisements? That surprised me. Jack Mcgoff is barking at the wrong guy... I like the pod. And the weird music. Thx

Apr 27th
Reply

jack mchogoff

please let Stacy Abrahams run for president! that racist ghetto lady is a gift to the Republican party.

Mar 30th
Reply

jack mchogoff

still listening to this podcast for news...... I don't think this guy know the true definition of new vs opinion journalism? this week he brings on a comedian to give (news).

Mar 17th
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jack mchogoff

ok, his interview has disproven the existence of ghosts. this is not news, total bullshit opinion......

Mar 10th
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jack mchogoff

total bullshit podcast. this is not news, liberalism is a mental disorder.

Mar 10th
Reply

jack mchogoff

keyword. IMPACT INVESTING..... this is the stupidest woman I've ever heard, I'm guessing she's a renter in a very overpriced apartment in San Francisco?

Mar 10th
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jack mchogoff

the coast foundation..... WTF

Mar 10th
Reply

jack mchogoff

where do you find these dipshit people to interview?

Mar 10th
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jack mchogoff

total fake news. did you actually mention Michelle Obamas book. WTF......

Mar 10th
Reply

jack mchogoff

then one minute later she says, "I feel..." when talking of facism. Total opinion, not news. not a bad listen but definitely not news. I'm good to listen to all the rest of the podcasts. BTW, not a trumpster. just pointing out fake news. this opinion journalism.

Mar 10th
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jack mchogoff

the show starts out, "Madeline Albright believed....." this is not news. feelings don't equal news. interesting listen but definitely not news. been needs to learn what actually counts as news. I'll school you ben. facts = news..... this is opinion not news.

Mar 10th
Reply
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