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January 5, 2016

If you're only familiar with Frank Sinatra's famous version of the Bart Howard song "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)," the 1969 rendition by Tom Jones — shifting seamlessly between a Latin beat and hard swing — might come as something of a shock. But listening to Jones belt out the song is one thing; watching him sing it in a shiny blue space suit, dancing around a spaceship with sliver-clad space dancers, is a whole other experience entirely:

Tony Bennett sang the seldom-performed opening verse of "Fly Me to the Moon" with Jones on that Oct. 9, 1969, episode of This Is Tom Jones, a British variety show that aired in the U.S. on ABC. Other guests during the two-year run included Janis Joplin, Peter Sellers, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash, George Carlin, and just about everybody else big in show business at the time. Nancy Sinatra was also a guest on the third and final season, but Frank Sinatra never appeared, probably not because of that version of "Fly Me to the Moon." If watching Jones dance around in a tight blue space suit is too distracting, you should still listen to his version — the man's got pipes, and they're in top form on this song. Peter Weber

5:54 a.m. ET
Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Early Wednesday, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and Turkish tanks and minesweepers crossed into Syria in a campaign to push the Islamic State out of the border town Jarablus, one of ISIS's last strongholds on the Turkey-Syria border, Turkey's Anadolu news agency reports. The offensive, backed by U.S. warplanes and advised by U.S. special operations forces, is aimed at shutting off ISIS's supply route to its de facto capital, Raqqa. Turkey has been shelling ISIS positions around Jarablus for two days to prepare for the push, and its forces crossed into Syria hours before U.S. Vice President Joe Biden lands in Ankara to meet with Turkish leaders to smooth over tensions that arose during Turkey's recent failed coup.

This is Turkey's first major offensive against ISIS, and The Wall Street Journal suggests three reasons why the country is getting involved now: Ankara wants to demonstrate that its military is still strong after the post-coup purge of officers; retaliation for the suspected ISIS suicide bombing of a wedding on Saturday; and to prevent Kurdish fighters, who have been successfully pushing ISIS back for months now, from claiming the town for themselves, thus gaining more territory along the Turkish border. Turkey reluctantly allowed Kurdish fighters to take part in the offensive, The Journal reports, with the expectation they will leave the town after ISIS is outside.

Turkish officials were quoted by Anadolu as saying the Jarablus operation "is aimed at clearing the Turkish borders of terrorist groups, helping to enhance border security and supporting the territorial integrity of Syria." Peter Weber

5:06 a.m. ET

Former New York City mayor and gleeful Donald Trump advocate Rudy Giuliani is pushing conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton's health, recently telling the Fox News audience to google Hillary Clinton and health for themselves, Stephen Colbert noted on Tuesday's Late Show. "Giuliani says just diagnose Hillary on the internet, because if it's on the internet, you know it's true," he said. "For instance, I put my symptoms into WebMD and found out — I have started menopause."

"I'm not surprised he was able to diagnose Hillary Clinton so accurately without, you know, examining her," Colbert said. "After all, Giuliani and Donald Trump are experts on female anatomy." He wasn't going where you think — yet — but rather bringing up an old video Trump and Giuliani made together. "Obviously, that's shocking, and you're going to want to verify that video," he said. "So just go online and put down 'Donald Trump Rudy Giuliani Drag Queen Motorboat'" — and if you don't get the motorboat part, Colbert acted it out — a few times.

"But here's the thing — I just want to say this to the Trump people out there," Colbert said. "I don't know why they keep saying things like 'frail' or 'weak' or 'low energy' — you're just tiptoeing around the medical condition that you're really upset about, one that she has that no other president in history has ever faced: Hillary Clinton has chronic no-penis."

The rest of Colbert's monologue dipped into slightly uncomfortable sex-internet stuff, but he also hit at the #HillaryHealth conspiracies in his cold open, and this really is good clean family fun. Peter Weber

4:20 a.m. ET

On Tuesday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert sighed over the news that the State Department will release 15,000 new Hillary Clinton emails before the November election. "That is ridiculous," he said. "I have thousands of unread emails on my own inbox, and now I have to read 15,000 of hers?" The new batch of Clinton emails center around her "ties to donors at what's called the Clinton Foundation," he explained, "which is a charity set up to distribute aid around the world and, just as importantly, to keep Bill Clinton busy enough that he doesn't spend all day trying to get the Secret Service to go to Hooters with him."

"But with all the questions surrounding all of these emails, it's hard to tell what's really a thing and what's nothing at all," Colbert said. To figure it out, he brought out a Late Show "Thing-O-Meter." Some emails — like Bono/NASA — were not a thing but merited a U2 joke, while the fact that Bill Clinton appears to think the Clinton Foundation ties are a thing is a real thing in itself. Colbert ended up with a quip about bald men with ponytails, and you can see if that's really a thing below. Peter Weber

3:56 a.m. ET

Washington, D.C., may be a simmering stew of political dysfunction now, but 202 years ago, President James Madison couldn't even round up enough men to fend of a few thousand British troops and save the capital from destruction. On Aug. 24, 1814, British Rear Admiral George Cockburn marched a group of some 4,500 troops on Washington; they easily defeated a larger group of U.S. militiamen and Army regulars in Bladensburg, Maryland, and entered the capital at sunset.

The British torched the White House — after first consuming President Madison's food and wine — and the Capitol, which housed both chambers of Congress, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court. The next day, Cockburn's men burned down the Treasury building and State, War, and Navy Department headquarters. You can read some of the embarrassing details in Jesse Greenspan's account at The History Channel, including how Secretary of State James Monroe's reconnaissance expedition forgot a spyglass and how Madison, carrying a borrowed pistol, almost accidentally rode into British lines.

But before you get too down on Madison's Washington, though, Aug. 24 is not a terribly lucky date, as The Associated Press reminds us in the video below — Mr. Vesuvius buried Pompeii, Hurricane Andrew pummeled Florida, Pluto was demoted, and Pete Rose banned from baseball. Peter Weber

3:04 a.m. ET

On Tuesday's Late Night, Seth Meyers gave his "closer look" treatment to Hillary Clinton's never-ending email controversy — but he began with Donald Trump, and a focus group of former Trump supporters who had very little good to say about their former candidate (plus a chuckle over Trump's 12-year-old county campaign organizer). Candy digested, Meyers turned to the meat and potatoes — or, rather, the 15,000 new Clinton emails the FBI is releasing before the election. "How many emails does Hillary Clinton have that she can just miss 15,000?" Meyers asked.

He spent the rest of the segment on a recently released batch of Clinton emails focusing on ties between her State Department and the Clinton Foundation. "Words like 'favor' and 'take care of' shouldn't be in State Department emails, they should be in the last 5 minutes of a Sopranos episode," Meyers said of one exchange. "But by far, the best email uncovered in this latest batch was one with the subject line 'Bono/NASA,'" a subject line so great that "if you want someone to open an email with a virus, that's what you put."

"While there aren't any smoking guns in these emails," Meyers concluded, "they do seem to demonstrate at the very least that if you were a Clinton Foundation donor or friend or Bono, it was easier to at least get your request seen by someone at the State Department — even if it ended up going nowhere." In any other year, this would be big news, he said. Clinton just got lucky she's up against Trump. Watch below. Peter Weber

2:25 a.m. ET

At least 85 people who donated a combined $156 million to Clinton Foundation charities met or spoke on the phone with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, according to an Associated Press review of State Department calendars. That's more than half of the 154 people from private interests AP found, and 20 of the 85 people donated or pledged more than $1 million to the Clinton Foundation or its international aid programs.

The meetings "do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009," AP says. "But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton." AP also found no evidence that these meetings influenced State Department policy — what Donald Trump calls "pay to play."

AP focused its report on Nobel Prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus, whose U.S. branches of his nonprofit "microfinance" Grameen banks gave $125,000-$300,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative and whom Clinton met with three times as Bangladesh's government worked to oust him from his bank's board; Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman, a GOP donor whose company has given heavily to the Clinton Foundation, whom the State Department assisted with a visa issue a day after he met Clinton at a breakfast luncheon; Nancy Mahon of MAC AIDS, the charitable arm of Estee Lauder's MAC Cosmetics, which partnered with the State Department for a project in South Africa; and S. Daniel Abraham, a Clinton fundraiser who founded the Center for Middle East Peace and met with Clinton eight times. AP's Stephen Braun explains what his team found and didn't find:

At a rally in Austin on Tuesday night, Trump cited the report, saying it "is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office." Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon accused AP of "outrageous" cherry picking, calling the report "a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation." Peter Weber

2:09 a.m. ET

And then there was one.

In two weeks, the Howard Johnson restaurant in Bangor, Maine, will close its doors, leaving just one HoJo restaurant left in the entire U.S., in Lake George, New York. The eateries, founded in 1925 by Howard Deering Johnson, once dotted the landscape, and predated the hotels of the same name.

The first restaurant started as a soda fountain outside of Boston, and the restaurants that followed featured comfort foods, fried clam strips, and dozens of flavors of ice cream. Sally Patel, the owner of the Bangor restaurant, said she kept it going for several years despite business being "very slow," and its closing will not affect the attached hotel. Catherine Garcia

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