October 21, 2016 Last Updated 10:56 am

Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face (and don’t forget to take your prozac)

Morning Brief: In an election cycle that has a whole nation depressed, candidates even find a way to ruin the charity event where, historically, the candidates have shown that political adversaries can be civil – not this year

There have been times when this whole election cycle has seemed like some enormous satire of American politics, as if we were all caught up in a new version of The Truman Show and we would break through the wall of the dome and discover a saner world outside.

No such luck, we’re stuck here for the duration.


She wasn’t much better…


At Al Smith Dinner, Donald Trump Turns Friendly Roast Into 3-Alarm Fire

…The fundraising event for Catholic charities — now in its 71st year — traditionally is a time for the candidates to offer jokes about themselves and their opponent.

Trump spoke first, and it was hard at times to tell if he was joking. Trump complained about all the politicians who loved him, his money and his endorsements before he decided to run for president. “Suddenly, [they] decided when I ran for president as a Republican that I’ve always been a no-good, rotten, disgusting scoundrel. And they totally forgot about me.” And he continued, to silence from the crowd, “but that’s OK.”

Some of Trump’s jokes resonated, such as his crack about Clinton’s ongoing email server saga. “And even tonight, with all of the heated back and forth between my opponent and me at the debate last night, we have proven that we can actually be civil with each other. In fact, just before taking the dais, Hillary accidentally bumped into me, and she very civilly said, ‘Pardon me.’ ”

Print is back… oh, nevermind…

The Wall Street Journal:

Plummeting Newspaper Ad Revenue Sparks New Wave of Changes

Global spending on newspaper print ads is expected to decline 8.7% to $52.6 billion in 2016, according to estimates from GroupM, the ad-buying firm owned by WPP PLC. That would be the biggest drop since the recession, when world-wide spending plummeted 13.7% in 2009.

That decline is hitting every major publisher, increasing pressure on them to boost digital-revenue streams even faster to make up for lost revenue and, in some cases, even reconsider the format of their print products and the types of content they publish…

…“It’s definitely been a hard year for print in the first half,” said Meredith Kopit Levien, chief revenue officer at the New York Times.

The British are coming, again…

Winston-Salem Journal:

British American Tobacco moves to buy all of Reynolds American in $47B deal

Early Friday — about 2:30 a.m. — British American Tobacco Plc made a nonbinding offer of $47 billion to buy the remaining 57.8 percent of Reynolds stock that BAT didn’t acquire through its July 2004 sale of American subsidiary Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp. to Reynolds…

…“The RAI board of directors, consistent with their fiduciary duties, will evaluate the offer from BAT and respond accordingly,” the board said in a brief statement.

If the offer is accepted by the Reynolds board, the combined company would form the world’s largest tobacco manufacturer. The five BAT appointees to the 14-member Reynolds board are not allowed to vote on the offer.


Fake sheikh jailed for working for fake newspapers…


UK’s ‘fake sheikh’ undercover reporter jailed for 15 months

British journalist Mazher Mahmood, renowned for his “fake sheikh” undercover sting operations for media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids, was jailed for 15 months on Friday for tampering with evidence in a high-profile trial.

Mahmood, 53, whose elaborate disguises have duped criminals, celebrities, and even royalty, plotted to get his driver to change a police statement during the drugs prosecution of Tulisa Contostavlos, a singer and former judge of the British version of the “X Factor” TV talent show.

Contostavlos had been about to go on trial accused of supplying cocaine for Mahmood, the self-styled “King of the Sting”, as he posed as an influential Indian film producer while working on an exclusive story for the Sun on Sunday paper.

Update from Dyn: Services have been restored to normal as of 13:20 UTC…


This Is Probably Why Half the Internet Shut Down Today

Twitter, Spotify and Reddit, and a huge swath of other websites were down or screwed up this morning. This was happening as hackers unleashed a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the servers of Dyn, a major DNS host. It’s probably safe to assume that the two situations are related.

Domain Name Servers (DNS) act as the Internet’s phone book. Basically, they facilitate your request to go to a certain webpage and make sure you are taken to the right place. If the DNS provider that handles requests for Twitter is down, well, good luck getting to Twitter. Some websites are coming back for some users, but it doesn’t look like the problem is fully resolved.

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