Look at this
February 27, 2014

If George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley were songwriters for Anita O'Day and a small 1930s jazz ensemble, the result might be something like this cover of "Careless Whisper" by a group called Postmodern Jukebox. The singer is Robyn Adele Anderson, and jazz saxophonist Dave Koz provides several variations on the song's famous sax line. A little gimmicky? Sure. But the band's tight, bouncing from one early jazz style to the next. And what's wrong with a gimmick gone right, anyway? --Peter Weber

out to get you
10:54 a.m. ET

It's no secret that campaigns want to know who you know. President Obama's campaign, for example, developed "Targeted Sharing" back in 2012, a tactic which encouraged users who opted in to share specific content with particular groups of friends in order to get them to register to vote, donate to the campaign, or watch a persuasive video.

"People don't trust campaigns. They don't even trust media organizations," Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign's digital director, told Time in 2012. "Who do they trust? Their friends."

Ohio Gov. John Kasich gets that — or, at the very least, his super-PAC New Day for America does. They're working with a New York data company, Applecart, to construct "webs" of influencers in order to target potential voters, Bloomberg reports. But instead of limiting themselves to who is active on Facebook, Applecart is taking an old-school approach, combing high school yearbooks, local newspapers, community sports rosters, and published staff lists to discover who might be receptive to who:

When volunteers arrive at New Day phone banks either in New Hampshire or Kasich's political base of Columbus, Ohio, they are given call sheets prioritized by who the voters know. The targets are prospective "anchors," those whom statistical models have identified as open to Kasich (even as a second or third choice) and also whose connection scores showed them as likely to be interacting with others. The idea is to convert these anchors into de facto campaign surrogates. "It doesn't take too many people who are connected to a persuadable target to say nice things to them about John Kasich," to start to close the deal, says Matt Kalmans, a 22-year-old co-founder of Applecart. [Bloomberg]

Applecart uses social graphs, where each voter is webbed to their known contacts — Bloomberg notes that a dozen such voters in New Hampshire were deemed "hermits," with no significant interpersonal links. Although to be fair, anyone being bombarded by old high school friends who have suddenly got nothing to talk about but John Kasich might be wishing they were a hermit, too. Jeva Lange

Watch this
10:42 a.m. ET

For nearly a century, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has endured as one of America's most recognizable Thanksgiving traditions. But over the years, the parade's iconic inflatable floats have also caused plenty of problems. What happens when a balloon goes haywire? In 1997, one parade-goer managed to capture the moment that strong winds sent the Barney the Purple Dinosaur balloon careening out of control over 51st Street, where it was finally stabbed and pulled out of commission by the NYPD:

It's a bizarre and fascinating thing to watch, but in the wrong conditions, wayward parade balloons really can pose a danger to attendees. Following the 1997 parade, The New York Times reported that the wind had reached a speed of up to 43 miles per hour, and one parade-goer was seriously injured when a six-story Cat in the Hat balloon knocked over a lamppost.

Since 1997, New York City has imposed stricter safety limitations on the parade, including smaller balloons, much more extensive training for volunteers, and an ordinance requiring the balloons to be pulled if the wind speed exceeds 23 miles per hour. In 2013, the balloons were nearly grounded before the wind died down in time for the parade to begin as planned. Scott Meslow

Presidential polling
10:41 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Iowa Democrats may like Bernie Sanders, but they're not putting their money on the Vermont senator winning the general election. A Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday finds that despite Sanders polling well in certain areas, only 54 percent of Iowa Democrats are convinced he has a good chance of winning the general election, compared to 85 percent thinking the same of Hillary Clinton.

Despite the large discrepancy in general-election confidence, Clinton didn't sweep Sanders in every other category in the poll. In fact, 47 percent of Iowa Democrats said they thought Sanders was the best candidate to handle the economy — the most important issue to 36 percent of Iowa Democrats — compared to only 42 percent saying the same about Clinton.

Iowa Democrats also favored Sanders when it came to selecting a candidate who shares their values and is considered trustworthy. Eighty-nine percent said Sanders was "honest and trustworthy," leading Clinton by a 21-point margin in that category. Eighty-four percent of voters said Sanders shared their values, compared to Clinton at 76 percent, and 92 percent said Sanders cared about their needs and problems, compared to Clinton's 80 percent. As The New York Times aptly put it, the poll essentially shows that "Hillary Clinton wins Iowans' heads, but not hearts."

"It's not that Iowa Democrats are in love with Secretary Clinton right now. They even think Sanders would be better handling the economy, generally the hallmark of the candidate who wins the Democratic nomination," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement. "But despite all the things about Clinton that give Democrats pause, there is one thing that unites them: She looks like a winner in November." Becca Stanek

Watch this
9:56 a.m. ET

At this time tomorrow, Americans across the country will be preparing to gorge themselves on turkey and football. Thanksgiving is a great holiday for getting together with family and friends. It's also a great holiday for getting so stuffed that you can't move — and if that happens, why not plop down in a movie theater to catch up on everything you've missed this month?

Looking for a brilliant, heavy-hitting Oscar contender? Check out Spotlight, the riveting drama about the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the sexual abuse committed by clergy in Boston's archdiocese. Looking for an inspirational sports drama that doesn't pull any punches? Check out Creed, the clever sequel/spin-off of the beloved Rocky franchise. Looking for something the whole family can enjoy? Check out The Good Dinosaur, Pixar's latest, about a world where people and dinosaurs live side-by-side.

Looking for something else? Fortunately, there should be no shortage of options. Click here to check out our full November film guide. Scott Meslow

pulling the nazi card
8:43 a.m. ET

The Republican presidential candidates have been slow to criticize Donald Trump, seemingly cowed by his wild popularity and promises to punch back at anyone who speaks ill of him. That makes Ohio Gov. John Kasich's latest campaign ad all the more refreshing — and unusual. Released on Tuesday, the ad links Trump's "dangerous rhetoric" to Nazi Germany.

In the video, Col. Tom Moe, a former POW from Vietnam, references a poem from the 1950s by the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Moe turns the poem around, applying it directly to Trump. "You might not care if Donald Trump says Muslims must register with the government, because you're not one," he says, going on to walk through some of Trump's more notorious headlines. Then comes the chilling kicker: "But think about this: If he keeps going and he actually becomes president, he might just get around to you," Moe says. "And you better hope that there’s someone left to help you."

Watch below. Jeva Lange

new ways of war
8:25 a.m. ET

Hundreds of mercenaries from Colombia are traveling halfway around the world to fight in Yemen's raging civil war, lured by high salaries bankrolled by the United Arab Emirates, The New York Times reports. While the Colombian soldiers are officially a state secret in the UAE, they number among many Latin Americans making the trek to the Middle East to serve as mercenaries.

It's hardly just the war in Yemen, in which Saudi Arabia and the U.S., among other nations, are backing a campaign against Houthi rebels. Here's the Times on this "glimpse into the future of war."

Wealthy Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Emirates, have in recent years embraced a more aggressive military strategy throughout the Middle East, trying to rein in the chaos unleashed by the Arab revolutions that began in late 2010. But these countries wade into the new conflicts — whether in Yemen, Syria, or Libya — with militaries that are unused to sustained warfare and populations with generally little interest in military service.

"Mercenaries are an attractive option for rich countries who wish to wage war yet whose citizens may not want to fight," said Sean McFate, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of The Modern Mercenary.

"The private military industry is global now," said Mr. McFate, adding that the United States essentially "legitimized" the industry with its heavy reliance on contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan over more than a decade of war. "Latin American mercenaries are a sign of what's to come," he said. [The New York Times]

Read the entire fascinating story at the Times. Jeva Lange

Famous Firsts
6:27 a.m. ET
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors trounced the Los Angeles Lakers, 111-77, in L.A. on Tuesday night, led by Curry's 24 points and 9 assists. It was the 16th straight win for the defending NBA champs, and their 16-0 start to the regular season set an NBA record. The 1993-94 Houston Rockets and 1948-49 Washington Capitols both started their respective seasons 15-0 before losing. "It's a special accomplishment any time you can do something that hasn't been done before," Curry said.

The next record in the Warriors' sights is one held by the Lakers, who have the second-worst record this season: The 1971-72 Lakers won 33 straight games; counting last season, the Warriors just notched consecutive win No. 20. Peter Weber

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