$2.00 NOVEMBERWEDNESDAY 27-28, 2013 THE NATION’S NEWS A musical from the heart Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker admit they were nervous in “Black Nativity,” 1D uStars say faith, family essential, 2D HOLIDAY DAN MACMEDAN, USA TODAY NEWSLINE U.S. challenges China over air space B-52s fly over claimed air defense zone in joint exercise with Japan; ships to arrive today. 5A Tony Romo Thanksgiving game previews Thursday’s matchups have playoff implications 1-2, 6C Travelers face messy wintry mix Experts predict busiest air travel day since 2007 as rain heads for East, snow targets Great Lakes. 3A Don’t forget auto malls on Black Friday Car makers, dealers join in the deal frenzy to clear 2013 models. 1B Men’s Wearhouse turns tables on Jos. A. Bank Apparel retailer bids $55a-share for rival that tried to take it over. 1B Thanksgiving take-out tradition gaining ground More families find storeprepared meals means more family time. 3B NEWS PHOTOS QR READER Scan with a QR reader; AT&T code scanner available at scan.mobi. Get codes for your business at att.com/mcode. HOME DELIVERY 1-800-872-0001 USATODAYSERVICE.COM QIJFAF-03005x(e)i ©COPYRIGHT 2013 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co., Inc. USA SNAPSHOTS© Burning off the pumpkin pie Fully timed Thanksgiving road races with the most finishes in 2012: Silicon Valley Turkey Trot (San Jose) Thanksgiving Day 10K (Cincinnati) 19,951 PHOTOS BY USA TODAY SPORTS How balloons and pageantry come together 12,509 Source RunningUSA.org ANNE R. CAREY AND VERONICA BRAVO, USA TODAY Gregory Korte and Fredreka Schouten USA TODAY Laura Petrecca @LauraPetrecca USA TODAY MOONACHIE , N. J. There are long wooden tables. Workers sanding and sweeping. A garland-clad locomotive, a wonderfully unusual rocking horse, a row of gingerbread men and a hearty Christmas tree wrapped in lights. Visitors might think they’re at a certain North Pole workshop. But this is North Jersey. With its sprawling highways, noisy truck traffic and used-car dealerships, the area here is more Tony Soprano than Santa Claus. Once inside this cavernous workshop, though, the gritty environment disappears. A large green dragon with outspread wings dangles over welders, woodworkers and 27-foot orca whales. Nearby, a catapult shoots off rainbow-hued confetti. This is Macy’s Parade Studio, the place where the magic of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade begins. On Thursday, about 50 million Americans are likely to tune into at least part of the parade, which is not only a family tradition for many, but LAURA PETRECCA, USA TODAY SpongeBob SquarePants will trade sea for sky Thursday. The balloon is four stories tall, ﬁve taxi cabs wide and needs 90 handlers. also the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season. A man in a bright turquoise shirt and red suspenders creates rope netting for the new Cirque du Soleil ﬂoat. Another man perched high on a ladder patches up imperfections in the wood-carved waves for the SeaWorld ﬂoat. Asked what kind of machine can v STORY CONTINUES ON 2A Cybergrinches are on the prowl Mobile devices, social media are top targets for scams Byron Acohido @ByronAcohido ‘Tis the season for cyberscams — and it’s stacking up to be one of unprecedented plunder for cybergrinches. Crooks go where the money is, and cybercriminals are concentrating SEATTLE STATE-BY-STATE 6A their cleverness this year on mobile devices and social media. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, so cybercriminals have begun to ﬂood e-mail, social media postings and search results with tainted web links, offers for worthless products and pitches for all variety of scams. “All these things have something in common: social engineering and greed,” says Sorin Mustaca, security analyst at anti-malware ﬁrm Avira. The bad guys count on one in 10 recipients of holiday-themed phishing lures to click on a poisoned link or ﬁll out a bogus form. They’ve been planning all year for this. Messaging security ﬁrm Proofpoint says e-mail carrying faked de- The Obama administration, facing accusations that the IRS unfairly targeted Tea Party groups, proposed new restrictions on the ability of tax-exempt groups to participate in elections. The Treasury Department proposed rules Tuesday that would limit groups of all political stripes from running ads, distributing mailers targeting speciﬁc candidates or organizing get-out-the-vote drives. It’s unlikely that any regulation would be in place before the 2014 congressional elections. The IRS admitted in May that it had held up groups seeking exemptions solely because they had “Tea Party” or “patriots” in their names. Tea Party groups denounced the proposal. Jay Sekulow, an attorney representing 41 such groups suing the IRS, called it “a feeble attempt by the Obama administration to justify its own wrongdoing with the IRS targeting.” Social welfare groups funded by anonymous donors reported $256.3 million in political spending in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s up from $82.7 million in 2008. The proposal avoids one of the most controversial issues: how much political activity — however it’s deﬁned — a group can engage in before threatening its tax-exempt status. “It’s clear that the IRS is treading slowly into the waters, knowing that it’s fraught with peril, and that they are starting to get ideas from people, which is exactly what they should be doing,” said Donald Tobin, a law professor at Ohio State University. IRS officials told congressional investigators they applied a “facts and circumstances” test to decide whether activities were political. The proposal would replace that test with objective criteria. For example, any mention of a candidate within 60 days of an election would be considered political, regardless of context. The issue isn’t speech, watchdog groups say. It’s about disclosure. The proposal “provides hope that the IRS is going to shut down a huge loophole that has allowed political organizations to spend hundreds of millions of dollars without disclosing their donors,” said Paul Ryanof the Campaign Legal Center, which has sued the IRS to clamp down on political activity by tax-exempt groups. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., who chairs the House committee that writes tax laws, said the proposal “smacks of the administration trying to shut down potential critics.” WASHINGTON Artists ﬂoat on air just to be a part of storied NYC event 14,862 13,416 Conservatives call Treasury plan ‘feeble’ Ben Roethlisberger MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE Manchester (Conn.) Road Race Delaware YMCA Turkey Trot 8K (Buffalo, N.Y.) IRS MAY LIMIT GROUPS’ ACTIONS NFL WEEK 13 livery conﬁrmations and order notices purporting to be from FedEx, UPS, DHL, Amazon, eBay, WalMart, Target and ToysRus have already begun to swell. Clicking on the enclosed links turns over control of your computer to the attacker. “We’re human: we’re compelled to click,” says David Knight, Proofpoint executive vice president. “And we’re even more human during the holiday season.” Phishing attacks — faked e-mail carrying tainted Web links — are expected to spike in coming weeks, purporting to come from shipping companies, says Bob Pratt, vice president of product management at antiv STORY CONTINUES ON 2A MARKETPLACE TODAY 5B PUZZLES 2D USA MARKETS 4B WEATHER 10B WHAT TO WATCH 5D YOUR SAY 9A THE HOTTEST THING IN BREAKFAST Fire up your breakfast with Sriracha sauce at SUBWAY.® Try this spicy sauce on any breakfast sandwich, like the Bacon, Egg White & Cheese. Sriracha, our boldest ﬂavor yet. Limited time only at participating restaurants. ©2013 Doctor’s Associates Inc. SUBWAY® is a registered trademark of Doctor’s Associates Inc. USA TODAY WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2013 NEWS 2A Masterminds and people power fuel the magic v CONTINUED FROM 1A turn planks of wood into such a smooth, rounded wave shape, Studio Vice President John Piper smiles and says he’ll show visitors such a “machine” — and points to the worker on the ladder. These men are among the 28 fulltime studio employees who create and care for the dozens of balloons and ﬂoats that will bask in the spotlight Thursday. These painters, carpenters, sculptors, welders and engineers bring fantastical ideas — such as a supersize Spider-Man balloon or an intricate Mount Rushmore-themed ﬂoat — into a towering reality. They do large-scale construction and ﬁne-detail artistry. They camouﬂage the ﬂoats’ massive hinges with meticulous painting and brainstorm how to get three-story structures through the Lincoln Tunnel and up to the parade’s staging area on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They organize parade components for the trip to Manhattan, get them set up for showtime and then haul everything back out again. Beginning Wednesday afternoon and working through the night, these staffers — along with other Macy’s employees, temporary studio workers and volunteers — will assemble 30 large ﬂoats and inﬂate 16 giant balloons. They’ll get dozens of other parade elements, such as that confetti-shooting catapult, ready to go for the 9 a.m. parade start. Then, after it all winds its way through the 21⁄2-mile parade route from 77th Street along Central Park West and down 6th Avenue to Macy’s Herald Square at 34th Street and 7th Avenue, they deﬂate, disassemble, repack and haul everything back to New Jersey. The studio workers return to their families just about the time most Americans are digesting their second helping of pumpkin pie. “We go home and collapse,” says design studio director Jerry Ospa. BALLOON BASICS Macy’s ﬁrst introduced a giant parade balloon in 1927 with Felix the Cat. This year's cast of 15 giant characters includes a new, four-story-tall Santa-hat-clad SpongeBob SquarePants. How a drawing becomes a balloon: 1 2 SKETCH Hand-drawn sketches and computer renderings are made. 5 MINI REPLICAS A miniature replica of the exact balloon shape is constructed from clay. In most cases, a half-inch represents one foot in the actual balloon size. FINAL TESTS New balloons are ready about a month before the parade. They are checked to be sure the inflation ports, deflation ports and handling lines are in the right place. They undergo indoor and outdoor flight tests, inflation and deflation tests and final touch-ups before making their public debut. SPONGBOB BY THE NUMBERS 4 Stories high 3 The clay model is used to create subsequent models. Typically, one of those models is marked up with technical information, such as where the balloon lines and inflation ports will go, and another is painted in the same hues that are planned for the actual balloon. 90 Balloon handllers FABRIC PATTERNS 4 Giant reams of 7 polyurethane-coated fabric are patterned, cut and heat-sealed to create multiple chambers forming the character’s head, body and limbs. Taxi cabs wide Reported by Laura Petrecca; Sources: Macy’s, Raven Aerostar, Mustacheagency.com ANNE CAREY AND KARL GELLES, USA TODAY EYE OUT FOR BIG TROUBLE As the clock ticks down, the pressure ratchets up. The parade is a high-proﬁle event for Macy’s and the organizations that sponsor balloons and ﬂoats. Any big hitches can have devastating consequences. In 1997, winds drove a Cat in the Hat balloon into a metal pole. The ensuing damage left a woman in a coma for almost a month before she recovered. In 2005, an M&M balloon knocked over a streetlight, injuring two sisters. This year, there is contention swirling around two ﬂoats. Animal rights activists are upset with a SeaWorld ﬂoat, which features two large orcas. They claim SeaWorld doesn’t treat its whales well. And ranchers were riled up that singer Joan Jett was slated to perform on the South Dakota tourism ﬂoat, saying the vegetarian and animal-rights activist wasn’t a good representative for their beef-producing state. She’s off the ﬂoat, but she’ll still be in the parade. Parade studio workers are more involved with putty and polyurethane than political ﬂaps, but they have to worry about other brewing issues — such as wind, rain or other harsh weather. “We prepare for the worst and we hope for the best,” Ospa says. They must deal with whatever comes on Thursday, says studio Vice President Piper. “This is the day,” he says. “It can’t be moved inside and there is no change of date.” PARADE’S STORIED HISTORY The festivities have greatly evolved from the ﬁrst Macy’s Christmas Parade on Thanksgiving Day in 1924. That one had four bands, ﬂoats with themes such as the Old Lady in the Shoe and Little Miss Muffet, and Central Park Zoo animals, according to Robert Grippo, author of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “It was a big hullabaloo,” he says. This year, there will be 16 huge balloons, 36 smaller balloons, 30 fullsize ﬂoats, 11 marching bands, 900 clowns and 1,600 cheerleaders and dancers. More than 50 million people saw at least part of the parade on TV last year. About 3.5 million watched it live. phishing company Agari. Agari’s analysis of billions of e-mail messages shows faked shipping company e-mails increased 62% in the third quarter over the second quarter. Based on historical patterns, the volume of faked shipping company email messages can be expected to double this quarter compared to the third quarter, because “there’s a lot more cover for bad guys to take advantage,” Pratt says. Holiday shopping has come to mean ﬁelding “likes” from our Facebook friends, and using our smartphones and touch tablets to hunt for bargains and make purchases. That all translates into a gift-wrapped bonanza for the bad guys. “We tend to trust our mobile devices because nobody else can touch IDEAS PLUCKED FROM THIN AIR In the stressful weeks leading up to the parade, several workers here make a proclamation you don’t hear much these days: “I love my job.” “It’s the best place to work as a craftsman,” says painter and head scenic artist Beth Lucas, who joined the studio in 1984. These people spend all year working on the Thanksgiving Day parade, but they also squeeze in other duties, such as making props for the Macy’s Flower Show, the Fourth of July ﬁreworks and in-store Christmas events. Working closely together has formed a bond, making them much more than co-workers, Lucas says. “I call them my brothers,” she says, gesturing to the men around her. On Friday, studio workers will gather in the third-ﬂoor costume department to share a catered Thanksgiving meal. Everyone will “talk about what transpired, the positives and negatives, and say, ‘Couldn’t we do this next year?’” says parade executive producer Amy Kule. “The ideas start percolating.” With each year, the crew’s skills improve, says balloon technician Artle. The workers here care about their craft and the other craftspeople. “When a new person comes in, the old hands, so to speak, take them under their wing,” he says. Soon, everyone feels like family. Artle has Lou Gehrig’s disease. When it progressed to the point that he had to use a wheelchair, studio workers went to his home and built a ramp. “When one of us gets cut,” he says, “we all bleed.” On Thursday, he and Sandy will take on new roles: parade spectators rather than workers. “It’s been one hell of a run,” Artle says as the SpongeBob and Toothless the dragon ﬂy above. “Of everything I’ve done in my life, I don’t think I’ve done anything that I’ve loved more than working on the parade.” Corrections & Clarifications USA TODAY is committed to accuracy. To reach us, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones at 800-8727073 or e-mail [email protected] Please indicate whether you’re responding to content online or in the newspaper. ROBERT DEUTSCH, USA TODAY The 72,000-square-foot Moonachie, N.J., facility, used since 2011, is big enough to construct towering ﬂoats, fully inﬂate massive balloons and organize thousands of costumes. Windy forecast 9 a.m. on NBC, three-hour broadcast begins. AccuWeather forecast: Temperatures in the low 30s. Winds at least 15-20 mph; gusts up to 40 mph. Balloons won't go up if sustained winds exceed 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph. For those who get to see it in person, it’s an amazing experience, says Grippo. “Everyone gets into the spirit of this thing,” he says. “There’s a joy. For three hours, you forget about the problems of the world, the hectic pace and the tension.” From 1927 to 1983, the crowdwowing balloons such as Underdog and Popeye were made by Goodyear Tire & Rubber. Since then, parade balloons have been produced by Macy’s and by Sioux Falls, S.D., manufacturer Raven Aerostar, which makes most of the larger balloons. The model for each giant balloon begins as a lump of reddish-brown clay that is sculpted into an exact A STEP-BY-STEP LOOK MORE ONLINE See how balloons go from story board to stories tall at usatoday.com. scale model of the full-size balloon. That design is used to create casts that produce miniature replicas of each new balloon. One replica is marked up with technical information, such as where the inﬂation ports and balloon lines will go. Another replica is painted in the exact colors of the parade balloon. Next, actual-size pieces are cut from polyurethane-coated fabric and heat-sealed to form the balloon’s shape. Learning how the balloons were created “was magniﬁcent,” says Jimmy Artle, who began his studio tenure in the early 1980s and was trained by Goodyear engineers. “They taught us every little nuance about the balloons.” He fell in love with the craft. Decades later, his craft helped him fall in love. Fourteen years ago, he had to repair the foot of the Big Bird balloon. He asked an inﬂation crew volunteer named Sandy to help because she was small enough to ﬁt into the balloon chamber with him. “We spent about two hours in the balloon and I don’t know why, but I turned and kissed her,” he says. “She kissed back and we’ve been together ever since.” ROOM FOR CREATIVITY Like many studio workers, Artle began in the previous workspace, a former Tootsie Roll factory in Hoboken, N.J., that housed the team from 1968 to 2010. It moved to the 72,000square-foot Moonachie building in 2011. The new facility is a space big enough to construct towering ﬂoats, fully inﬂate massive balloons and organize thousands of costumes. Pieces of past year’s parade props, such as big M&M candy characters and a gigantic keyboard, are part of the new studio’s decor. There are also the 2- to 3-foot models of past balloons — Snoopy, SpongeBob SquarePants, Kung Fu Panda and Garﬁeld among them — which dangle from overhead wires, and dozens of ﬂoat models lined up on shelves. Workers here use the same line when asked about the techniques Good for holiday consumers to be skeptical v CONTINUED FROM 1A used to blow up the balloons. “We never ‘blow up’ balloons, we ‘inﬂate’ them,” they say with a smile. They’re also quick to share details about their work techniques and to relate some history. Most of the ﬂoats and balloons begin with a simple line drawing that is transformed into technical renderings and then a series of models. Crouching by the metallic fringe on a partly completed ﬂoat, Piper offers up some history. “Going back to medieval times, they would cover the wheels of pageant wagons so you couldn’t see them,” Piper says. “That’s where they got their name. They’re ﬂoats because they come ﬂoating into view.” it,” says Daniel Cohen, RSA cybersecurity strategist. “But our hyper-connectivity, together with a small screen, make it easier for fraudsters to come at us.” And the cyberscammers are coming, drawn like zombies to live ﬂesh. Identity veriﬁcation ﬁrm Signifyd dissected 10 million transactions on computing devices in the past six months and found 25% of retail trafﬁc coming from mobile devices. Of that grouping, 10% originated from tablets, 14% from smartphones. At the moment, smartphones are the least secure purchasing platform. Signifyd discovered that 1.3% of ecommerce sales on phones are fraudulent, compared with 0.8% for sales via desktops and 0.5% from tablets. “Companies are trying to get the mobile experience to be as frictionless as possible, so they’re putting less checks at the point of checkout to give the customer that terriﬁc experience,” says Rajesh Ramanand, Signifyd’s chief executive. Consumers should use robust passwords, pay close attention to where sensitive information gets stored and patronize only trusted Web properties. And a healthy dose of holiday skepticism also is in order. “It’s OK to be a little paranoid,” says Ronnie Flathers, of security consultancy Neohapsis. “Modern phishing techniques are subtle and dangerous. It’s OK to mistrust e-mail and links. If something seems phishy, exit out.” It’s also a good time to think about privacy. On Monday, privacy solutions vendor Abine released version 3.0 of its acclaimed DoNotTrackMe browser tool used by 2 million people to block hidden tracking mecha- nisms. This free service, and others like it, such as AVG’s PrivacyFix and Virtual World Computing’s Cocoon, are powerful, though they require you to give up a sliver of convenience. A story Friday about California’s health insurance exchange did not make clear that the rate of 10,000 people a day who had ﬁlled out applications referred only to the month of November. The rate was lower in October, when the exchange ﬁrst opened. SUBSCRIPTIONS 1-800-USA-0001 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Va. 22108, 703-854-3400 Published by Gannett, Volume 32, No. 53 (ISSN0734-7456) Regular U.S. subscription rates: 1 month for $25 or sign up for EZ Pay at $22 a month; 12 months for $300 ($264 EZ Pay). Barb Smith, VP Call Center Operations, PO BOX 650301, DALLAS TX 75265-0301, or fax 1-800-732-3631. Advertising: All advertising published in USA TODAY is subject to the current rate card; copies available from the advertising department. USA TODAY may in its sole discretion edit, classify, reject or cancel at any time any advertising submitted. Classified: 1-800-397-0070 National, Regional: 703-854-3400 Reprint permission, copies of articles, glossy reprints: www.GannettReprints.com or call 212-221-9595 USA TODAY is a member of The Associated Press and subscribes to other news services. Published daily except Saturdays, Sundays and widely observed holidays. Periodicals postage paid at McLean, Va., and at additional mailing offices. USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are registered trademarks. All rights reserved. Our Pledge to subscribers: www.ourpledge.usatoday.com POSTMASTER: Send address changes to USA TODAY,PO BOX 650301, DALLAS TX 75265-0301. Lock in 3.50% for 5 years! Tired of low CD rates? CD-type annuities oﬀer guaranteed returns, tax favored beneﬁts and avoid probate. Lock in this attractive 3.50% for 5 years, according to John Douglass, annuity analyst. 800-700-4709 Call for state approval and to receive ﬁnancial information. Products have limitations. Guarantee based on issuer.
© Copyright 2019