The Monuments Men, Matt Damon - 2014 National Journal

Call Me!

The drama wasn't all on the screen Tuesday night when President Obama invited the cast of The Monuments Men to the White House for a screening of the film set during World War II. There was likely even more interest in the reunion of the president and one of its stars — Matt Damon.

Their political breakup in 2011 got almost as much attention as the splits between Heidi Klum and Seal, and Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. Damon was a big Obama supporter in 2008, but he started grousing pretty quickly — even suggesting that one term might be enough, citing targeted drone killings, the treatment of Edward Snowden, and the revelations of National Security Agency spying. Obama shot back in his speech at that year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. "Matt Damon said he was disappointed in my performance. Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau. So, right back atcha, buddy!" Still, in Washington, as in Hollywood, no breakup is ever final.

George E. Condon Jr.

Pandora's Box

Don't plan on turning to Pandora to get a break from this fall's election-commercial frenzy. The music-streaming service announced last week it is launching targeted advertising — allowing candidates to reach voters based on age, location, and music preference. According to Pandora, that information can tell with 75 to 80 percent accuracy how a person will vote. "What we're trying to do is make it so that the targeting that's selected by these campaigns is ... reaching the right groups," said Pandora's Jack Krawczyk.

The company's advertising system weights its results based on users' ZIP codes; an area that voted 60 percent for President Obama will have that factored into its residents' voting probabilities. Then, Pandora looks at your music. Listen to a lot of country? You're probably a strong Republican voter. Prefer jazz? You likely vote Democratic. Classic rock or hip-hop? Well, you're a little harder to pin down — but that might be just what the ad makers are looking for.

It might be frustrating to have your demographics put you in a campaign's crosshairs, but it's quite lucrative for Pandora. "The more you reduce the risk that you're not hitting the right audience, the higher the willingness to pay," Krawczyk said.

Alex Brown 

Murmurs

Move Over, Captain Planet A toy manu-facturer in Oregon has commoditized the debate over government surveillance and is now selling customizable Edward Snowden action figures for the cool price of $99."This package includes Edward Snowden's custom action figure head mounted on a 12-inch action figure body with several choices of outfit styles," the website, ThatsMyFace.com, boasts. The sales page features a video demo showing a toy Snowden hanging out with his secret-leaking companion, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Assange's hand is placed conspicuously on Snowden's shoulder, as if to say, "We're in this together.") Proceeds will be donated to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which named Snowden to its board of directors last month and which also includes Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and actor John Cusack. The toy manufacturer notes, however, that the nonprofit did not sponsor the action figure. ThatsMyFace.com also features a "celebrity action figures" page where you can browse through the likes of Ron Paul, Rahm Emanuel, and, of course, President Obama.

Call Me!

The drama wasn't all on the screen Tuesday night when President Obama invited the cast of The Monuments Men to the White House for a screening of the film set during World War II. There was likely even more interest in the reunion of the president and one of its stars — Matt Damon.

Their political breakup in 2011 got almost as much attention as the splits between Heidi Klum and Seal, and Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. Damon was a big Obama supporter in 2008, but he started grousing pretty quickly — even suggesting that one term might be enough, citing targeted drone killings, the treatment of Edward Snowden, and the revelations of National Security Agency spying. Obama shot back in his speech at that year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. "Matt Damon said he was disappointed in my performance. Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau. So, right back atcha, buddy!" Still, in Washington, as in Hollywood, no breakup is ever final.

George E. Condon Jr.

Pandora's Box

Don't plan on turning to Pandora to get a break from this fall's election-commercial frenzy. The music-streaming service announced last week it is launching targeted advertising — allowing candidates to reach voters based on age, location, and music preference. According to Pandora, that information can tell with 75 to 80 percent accuracy how a person will vote. "What we're trying to do is make it so that the targeting that's selected by these campaigns is ... reaching the right groups," said Pandora's Jack Krawczyk.

The company's advertising system weights its results based on users' ZIP codes; an area that voted 60 percent for President Obama will have that factored into its residents' voting probabilities. Then, Pandora looks at your music. Listen to a lot of country? You're probably a strong Republican voter. Prefer jazz? You likely vote Democratic. Classic rock or hip-hop? Well, you're a little harder to pin down — but that might be just what the ad makers are looking for.

It might be frustrating to have your demographics put you in a campaign's crosshairs, but it's quite lucrative for Pandora. "The more you reduce the risk that you're not hitting the right audience, the higher the willingness to pay," Krawczyk said.

Alex Brown 

Murmurs

Move Over, Captain Planet A toy manu-facturer in Oregon has commoditized the debate over government surveillance and is now selling customizable Edward Snowden action figures for the cool price of $99."This package includes Edward Snowden's custom action figure head mounted on a 12-inch action figure body with several choices of outfit styles," the website, ThatsMyFace.com, boasts. The sales page features a video demo showing a toy Snowden hanging out with his secret-leaking companion, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Assange's hand is placed conspicuously on Snowden's shoulder, as if to say, "We're in this together.") Proceeds will be donated to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which named Snowden to its board of directors last month and which also includes Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and actor John Cusack. The toy manufacturer notes, however, that the nonprofit did not sponsor the action figure. ThatsMyFace.com also features a "celebrity action figures" page where you can browse through the likes of Ron Paul, Rahm Emanuel, and, of course, President Obama.

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