What Facebook Isn’t Saying About Trump and Clinton’s Campaign Ads – ISSIE LAPOWSKY BUSINESS 02.27.1806:13 PM

What Facebook Isn’t Saying About Trump and Clinton’s Campaign Ads

After an uproar, Facebook has shared some—but not all—of the numbers behind what Clinton and Trump spent on ads on the platform during the 2016 presidential campaign.HOTLITTLEPOTATO

According to Facebook, during the 2016 election, President Trump’s campaign actually paid higher rates to advertise on the platform overall than Hillary Clinton’s campaign did.

The disclosure by Facebook came Tuesday by way of Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth’s Twitter feed. It follows days of speculation kicked off by a recent WIRED story about how Facebook’s advertising auctions work. That story noted that Facebook’s algorithms prioritize more engaging content, meaning the more Facebook believes its users will click, comment on, or share a given ad, the less an advertiser will have to pay to reach a given audience.

After the story was published, President Trump’s former digital director and newly announced campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said he believed the Trump campaign may indeed have gotten a deep discount on its ads compared to the Clinton campaign, because, Parscale tweeted, Trump was the “perfect candidate for FaceBook.” That single tweet led to calls for the Federal Election Commission to investigate Facebook, which some accused of effectively subsidizing the Trump campaign, and even inspired Hillary Clinton herself to chime in on the need to regulate social media platforms.

But Bosworth’s tweet suggests some of this anger may be overheated.

Article continues:

NSA Chief Says Trump Hasn’t Ordered Agency to Disrupt Russian Hacking – Nancy A. Youssef Feb. 27, 2018 7:33 p.m. ET

The head of the NSA, Adm. Michael Rogers, has said he doesn’t expect Russia’s intrusions to stop. PHOTO: WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES

Adm. Mike Rogers tells Senate panel agency isn’t targeting ‘the origin of these attacks’

The head of the NSA, Adm. Michael Rogers, has said he doesn’t expect Russia’s intrusions to stop. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
ByNancy A. Youssef
WASHINGTON—The head of the National Security Agency told lawmakers Tuesday that he hadn’t been formally asked by President Donald Trump to take steps to disrupt Russian election hacking activity at its source.

Adm. Mike Rogers was asked by Sen. Jack Reed (D., R.I.) during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether he had been directed by the president, through the secretary of defense, to strike “the origin of these attacks.”

“No, I have not,” Adm. Rogers replied.

Elaborating, he said that while he has directed his agency to begin “some specific work” that he wouldn’t specify in an unclassified setting, the agency hasn’t pursued other work to counter Russian meddling.

“It’s probably fair to say that we have not opted to engage in some of the same behaviors that we are seeing, if I could just keep it at that,” said Adm. Rogers, who also serves as the head of U.S. Cyber Command.

The exchange before the Senate committee indicated that while the U.S. has taken defensive steps against Russia for its suspected hacking activity, it wasn’t conducting offensive measures, such as attacking the networks behind the intrusions in U.S. elections. Adm. Rogers and other intelligence officials say they don’t expect the intrusions to stop.

“Is Russia attempting to achieve a strategic objective by influencing U.S. public opinion and elections?” Mr. Reed asked Adm. Rogers.

“Yes, sir. I believe they are attempting to undermine our institutions,” Adm. Rogers replied.

Asked about Adm. Rogers’s comments, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later Tuesday that the president “is open to looking at a number of different ways to make sure Russia doesn’t meddle in our elections.”

Ms. Sanders said there could be action in the “coming weeks and months.”

Article continues:

Current & Former NRA Members Talk About What To Do About Mass Shootings (HBO) – VICE News Published on Feb 24, 2018

Republican pollster Frank Luntz gathered a focus group of current and former NRA members in his California home to discuss the organization, gun regulations and what the country needs to do to keep students safe in their schools. After the Parkland shooting in Florida which left 17 dead, there has been renewed scrutiny over gun laws in the United States, with many pushing for stricter control. “These gun regulations are bogus,” said one N.R.A member. “The problem is it’s a cultural problem. How does that get solved? Values have to be reinstilled.” “I’m saying that there’s certain guns that we shouldn’t have,” another panelist said, adding that mental evaluations were essential. Almost all panelists agreed on expanding background checks, while one maintained that those are no guarantee against a possible future attack. “You don’t know if somebody is mentally unstable until they do something,” he said.

Court Finds John Oliver Has the Right to Hire a Giant Squirrel Named “Mr. Nutterbutter” to Insult Coal Barons – Matthew Dessem Feb 24, 2018 9:08 PM

West Virginia judge Jeffrey Cramer is dismissing a defamation lawsuit against John Oliver stemming from a segment in which a giant squirrel named “Mr. Nutterbutter” told coal baron Robert Murray to eat shit, according to the Hollywood Reporter. HBO and Partially Important Productions had asked that the suit be dismissed because the facts in Oliver’s segment were based on government reports, and the more insulting statements—like Oliver’s assessment that Murray resembles “a geriatric Dr. Evil”—could not be proven true or false. Judge Cramer agreed, and on Wednesday, informed attorneys by letter that he planned to dismiss the case. The judge’s letter is a lot less funny than the West Virginia ACLU’s amicus brief, but has the advantage of being dispositive.

Lawyers for Murray, whose company lost six miners and three rescue workers in the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse, said in their initial complaint that “nothing has ever stressed him more” than the Last Week Tonight segment, in which a gigantic squirrel named “Mr. Nutterbutter” presented a novelty check for “three acorns and eighteen cents” made out to “Eat Shit, Bob!” (The memo line on the check read “Kiss My Ass,” which does indeed sound stressful, but maybe not “mine collapse with multiple fatalities” stressful.) To be fair, most of the complaint revolved around whether or not Oliver correctly characterized Murray’s handling of the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse, but Mr. Nutterbutter did play a prominent part:

51. Instead, Defendants continued their ruthless character assassination and attack on Plaintiffs’ business reputations by describing Mr. Murray as someone who “looks like a geriatric Dr. Evil” and arranging for a staff member to dress up in a squirrel costume and deliver the message, “Eat Shit, Bob!” to Mr. Murray.

52. If that were not enough, after the live taping, Defendant Oliver exclaimed to the audience that having someone in a squirrel costume tell Mr. Murray to “Eat Shit” was a “dream come true.”

While the judge’s decision may be a setback for Mr. Murray and Murray Energy, it is also a significant step forward for human-sized squirrels named “Mr. Nutterbutter,” the novelty check industry, Last Week Tonight, and the sacred right of every American to tell coal barons to eat shit.

To Stay on the Land, American Farmers Add Extra Jobs – By Jacob Bunge and Jesse Newman Feb. 25, 2018 1:07 p.m. ET

Craig Myhre used a skid loader to move feed for his cattle on his farm near Osseo, Wis., this month. He works several jobs to help keep his farm going. ACKERMAN + GRUBER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

To Stay on the Land, American Farmers Add Extra Jobs

A drop in agricultural income means side work in rural manufacturing and businesses takes on greater importance in funding food production

Craig Myhre, a farmer in western Wisconsin, is trying to make a living off 600 acres of crops and a small herd of beef cattle. He also hires himself out to harvest other farmers’ fields, earning money to make payments on his combine.

It’s still tough to make ends meet, despite putting in 12- to 16-hour days. In 2015, he added yet another job, as a mail carrier.

“We’re constantly doing something around here to keep things moving,” said Mr. Myhre, who is 50 years old. His wife is a physician’s assistant, and sometimes climbs into the seat of a combine herself. Together, they are raising five children and trying to maintain a farm in Wisconsin’s rolling hills that has been in Mr. Myhre’s family since 1952. Sometimes, that means missing his sons’ high-school football games, and staying home while friends in town take vacations. “I struggle to pay myself sometimes,” he said.

In addition to farming, Mr. Myhre works as a mail carrier in Osseo. Photos: Ackerman + Gruber for The Wall Street Journal(2)

Most U.S. farm households can’t solely rely on farm income, turning what was once a way of life into a part-time job. On average, 82% of U.S. farm household income is expected to come from off-farm work this year, up from 53% in 1960, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Off-farm work has become more important since a slump in prices for corn, wheat and other farm commodities over the past five years has cut total U.S. farm income in half. Last week, the USDA said income from farming is expected to fall further over the next decade. Now, picking up work in construction or truck driving is required for many farmers to fund seed and fertilizer purchases, and keep current on loan payments for tractors and land.

“Most farmers are still on their land today because of their off-farm jobs,” said Dan Kowalski, head of research at CoBank , one of the largest U.S. agricultural lenders. “Without these jobs, these farms would be consolidating at a faster rate.”

U.S. food producers as a result are increasingly exposed to economic forces far beyond the fields. Many farms have become reliant not just on sales of crops and livestock, but on the health of rural businesses such as trucking companies and manufacturing plants. Those jobs have been slow to bounce back from the 2008 financial crisis. As of mid-2016, the number of jobs outside of metro areas remained 3% below their prerecession peak, while those in metro areas had grown 5%, according to federal data.

Rural manufacturers such as Iowa’s Pella Corp. and Hy-Capacity Inc., which rebuilds tractor parts, increasingly support agricultural production by hiring smaller-scale farmers.

Article continues:

Giving Up the High Ground – By Sarah Margon March/April 2018 Issue

No U.S. president has spoken about human rights the way Donald Trump has. During the campaign, he praised Saddam Hussein for his approach to counterterrorism in Iraq: “He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were a terrorist. It was over.” He promised to loosen the restrictions on interrogating terrorism suspects: “I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” He went out of his way to compliment Russian President Vladimir Putin’s abusive rule: “In terms of leadership, he is getting an A.” And in a television interview shortly after his inauguration, when asked why he respected Putin—“a killer,” in the interviewer’s words—Trump responded, “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

As president, he has kept at it. Last April, he chose to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a disputed referendum that expanded his authoritarian rule. In a call that same month, he spoke to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose bloody campaign under the guise of a “war on drugs” has taken the lives of over 12,000 Filipinos. Trump praised Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.” When they met in Manila in November, Trump laughed heartily after Duterte cut off questions from reporters and called them “spies”—this in a country where journalists and activists sometimes end up dead. Before heading to China, Trump congratulated President Xi Jinping, who had just further cemented his repressive rule at a Communist Party congress, for his “great political victory.”

Article continues:

Is That Lenten Diet for God or for You? – By Clare Ansberry Feb. 24, 2018 7:01 a.m. ET

Cecilia Escobedo, a mother of five, gave up refined sugar for Lent and hopes to lose 10% of her body weight in the process.

There is no reason, she says, to feel guilty about wanting to improve herself or shed pounds in a season focused on self-denial. The body is as important as the mind and soul, she says.

“I have an obligation to take care of myself. I’m 42 and have a two-year-old. I need to be on my game for years to come,” says Ms. Escobedo, who has struggled with pregnancy-related weight gain and weighs 161 pounds. She started a Facebook group, Catholic Fit Moms for Life, and invited others to join her in a Lenten six-week challenge to lose weight, encouraging them through emails and exercise tips. About 50 women, including one in Ireland, have joined the challenge.

“Everyone thinks Lent is for suffering. I used to think like that, too,” says Ms. Escobedo, who lives in Diamondhead, Miss.

Lent, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, is a time for people of many Christian religious traditions to fast, pray and serve others in preparation for Easter.

Different churches suggest different practices but many involve giving up something that you enjoy, which makes any sort of reward—be it losing weight, feeling healthier, saving money—feel slightly wrong for some people.

Is That Lenten Diet for God or for You?

How ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Director Ava DuVernay Became a Creator of Worlds – ANGELA WATERCUTTER CULTURE 02.22.18 06:00 AM

With A Wrinkle in Time, director Ava DuVernay merges sci-fi’s embrace of the Other with her own vision for a better, more inclusive future.

Art Streiber/August Images

Late fall in the redwood forests of Northern California, it gets cold. Not wrap-yourself-in-furs cold—we’re still talking 51 degrees—but the kind of cold that demands layers, lest it sink into your bones. Nevertheless, in November 2016, when I visited her movie set near Eureka, director Ava DuVernay was coatless. Just a thermal with a cotton shirt over it, jeans, and a knit hat. The young stars of DuVernay’s film were in very lightweight shirts, pretending to be lost in unfamiliar (and, one assumes, warmer) woods, and she wasn’t about to let them be the only ones on her set enduring the chill.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but every time they have to have their jackets off, she takes her jacket off,” producer Jim Whitaker whispered to me as DuVernay called “action!” in the distance. “This is so typical.” Whitaker, of course, is supposed to say things like this. And DuVernay, a former Hollywood publicist skilled in sending a message, knows which notes to hit. From what I’ve seen here on set—her playful and encouraging interactions with her stars, the diversity of her crew, the summer-camp-with-Disney-money conviviality—this act of goose-bumped solidarity is an apt metaphor for the spirit DuVernay is bringing to her adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

If you don’t remember what you read in middle school, A Wrinkle in Time is the story of a young girl named Meg Murry on a mission to save her scientist father, who has been taken prisoner by a dark force in the universe intent on crushing free thought and free will. Along the way she’s assisted by her classmate Calvin O’Keefe, brother Charles Wallace, and three celestial beings—Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit—who help her jump, or tesser, through space-time. The story is the same in DuVernay’s version for Disney, but there are a couple of significant new wrinkles. Since her first feature film in 2008, DuVernay has used whatever success she’s attained to give other women and people of color opportunities on both sides of the camera. So in 2016, when Disney announced that she would direct A Wrinkle in Time, and DuVernay became the first African American woman to helm a $100 million-plus movie (but “not the first capable of doing so,” she later noted on Twitter, “not by a long shot”)—she promised a new vision of the original. “You kind of have to remix the book,” DuVernay told The Wall Street Journal. The casting made clear that she was making good on that promise: Meg is now biracial, played by 14-year-old Storm Reid, and Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey play Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, respectively.

DuVernay isn’t known as a genre director particularly. Her movies and TV shows have been firmly grounded in race, power, politics, and family narratives. But her overall project, building a better world for people of color, doesn’t so much overlap as interleave with one of science fiction’s overall projects: world-building. Sci-fi has always been as much an exercise in thought experimentation as an arena for spectacle, for rocket ships and ray guns.

In the most narrowly defined Western canon, the fascist overlords of dystopian states get challenged by people of the land, farmboys who believe in and benefit from deeper cultural ideals. Science fiction can shake that narrative like a snow globe. It makes room for underdogs and Others. It’s a genre where people can build futures, alternate realities, and then press “play” to see how they work out. DuVernay sees that potential. “She’s captured the essence of the book—the characters, the story, the themes—it’s just that they’re reimagined visually a little different,” says producer Catherine Hand, who has spent decades trying to bring Wrinkle to theaters. “How Madeleine L’Engle pictured it back in 1962? We’ve all changed.”

The Hollywood that Wrinkle tessered into has changed too, albeit slowly. Women, especially young women, are rarely at the center of the story. Of the 100 top-grossing films of 2016, there were only eight female leads or coleads between the ages of six and 20. You know how many weren’t white? Two. A study by the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School calls this an “invisibility crisis”—one that leads to women (and especially young women of color) seeing few reflections of themselves in pop culture, while white boys grow up seeing themselves as heroes on billboards and multiplex walls. When Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes in January, she opened her speech by describing her awestruck little-girl self seeing Sidney Poitier receive an Oscar and noted that “it is not lost on me that at this moment there are some little girls” watching her be celebrated too.

Article continues: