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FROM THIS EPISODE

We now know that before killing American journalist James Foley earlier this week, the militant group the Islamic State demanded $132 million in ransom from the U.S. government. We look at the U.S. policy of not paying ransoms and how the administration is likely to react to threats against Americans still held by the Islamic State. Next, Uber has hired one of President Obama’s former advisors to lead its public relations -- what’s the company’s long-term plan? Meanwhile, scores of new apps facilitate all kinds of door-to-door deliveries. Is it a delivery service bubble, or a lasting cultural shift? Frank is a new film about an avant-garde pop musician who wears a big, fake head. We hear from British writer Jon Ronson, who played keyboards with the film’s real-life inspiration and co-wrote the movie’s script. Finally, we hear from the sports-comedy duo the Sklar Brothers about Little League phenom Mo’Ne Davis, the chance of a Freeway Series and the crazy speech by new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

Banner Image: $100 banknotes

Producers:
Andrew Walsh
Christian Bordal
Matt Holzman
Jolie Myers
Anna Scott

Should America Rethink Its Ransom Policy? 8 MIN, 22 SEC

American journalist James Foley was beheaded in Syria this week by a militant from the Islamic State. We now know that before carrying out the execution, the group demanded $132 million in ransom from the U.S. government. The U.S. didn’t pay it, because it has a policy of not paying ransoms. But European countries DO pay. And their citizens usually get released.

Guests:
Yochi Dreazen, Foreign Policy magazine (@yochidreazen)

The Uber Future 8 MIN, 25 SEC

Uber, which hired one of President Obama’s closest advisers earlier this week, has partnered with companies like OpenTable, United Airlines and Starbucks. So now you can make dinner reservations AND plan to drink too much wine with that coq au vin in one fell app swoop. Or book a flight to Madagascar AND book a ride home at the same time.

Guests:
Mark Milian, global tech writer and editor for Bloomberg (@markmilian)

More:
It's Uber's World, We're All Just Riding in It

Ordering In 6 MIN, 52 SEC

Uber is testing online delivery and offering a motley list of items in the DC area. But they’re not the only one. There are scores of start-ups offering to deliver whatever you want, whenever you want it: Is this a bold new world in commerce or just another tech trend that’s bound to implode?

Guests:
John Deighton, professor at the Harvard Business School (@HBSmktg)

More:
Delivery Start-Ups Are Back Like It’s 1999

Inside Michael Fassbender’s Giant Head 13 MIN, 57 SEC

Frank is a new film about an avant-garde pop musician who wears a big, fake head. Nobody knows who he really is. The movie, starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal, was inspired by a real avant-garde pop musician in the 1980s who wore a big, fake head. British writer Jon Ronson played keyboards with the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band, and he co-wrote the script for the movie Frank based loosely on his experiences.

Image: "Frank"

Guests:
Jon Ronson, co-writer of the new movie "Frank" (@jonronson)

More:
Listen to Michael Fassbender on KCRW’s Guest DJ Project

The Little Leagues and the Big Leagues 11 MIN, 7 SEC

The Sklar Brothers join us to talk about little league phenom Mo’Ne Davis, the chance of a Freeway Series, and the crazy speech by new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

Guests:
Jason Sklar, comedian and sports commentator (@SklarBrothers)
Randy Sklar, comedian and sports commentator (@SklarBrothers)

More:
Sklarbro Country Podcast
The Sklar Brothers special: What Are We Talking About?

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