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Thanksgiving Party Crib Sheet: 10 Hot Dinner Table Topics

Thanksgiving is all about family, delicious food, fancy drinks, and, of course, small talk about the state of the nation, gas prices, and our president-elect. Debating politics with family members can get dicey, so I suggest doing your homework and having a safety net of topics that will encourage healthy conversation and smart family bonding without alienating those who, well, don't agree with you.

Whether your aim is a heated, controversial debate or lighthearted banter, here are some stories that are sure to get the crowd talking. (Note: Number 10 might be best served during cocktail hour and not over your Thanksgiving spread.)

  1. Thanksgiving-Themed Outfits Forbidden in Class — A group of children in Claremont, CA, weren't allowed to dress up as pilgrims and Native Americans this year for their classroom Thanksgiving after parents deemed the controversial costumes demeaning.
  2. President Bush Calls Iraq War a Success — While debris from collapsing financial institutions continue to fall during the final days of the Bush administration, the president has found something he considers a "success" — the Iraq war.
  3. Top 5 Most Dangerous Cities List Released — The latest City Crime Rankings looked at reported incidents of six major crimes to determine the most dangerous dwellings in the US. With a population of only 250,000 that changed drastically after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans came out on top. Was your city on the list?

For more juicy conversation starters,


  1. Unemployed Fred Thompson Decides to Go Back to Acting — While he failed to convince enough Americans to make him president, Republican Fred Thompson still has a shot at playing commander-in-chief. The former presidential candidate, US Senator, and (pretend) NYC district attorney plans to go back to acting.
  2. Eliot Spitzer's Call Girl Ashley Dupré Talks to 20/20 — Reformed call girl Ashley "Kristen" Dupré has finally opened up about her experience with "Client No. 9," or as you may know him, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Dupré told Diane Sawyer that escorts differ from prostitutes because they offer "more than sex."
  3. Intelligence Report Says Dominance Set to Wane by 2025 — Americans might need to start practicing being humble, because by 2025 the US could lose its position of global supremacy.
  4. DVD Explains How to Fight the Local Gay Agenda — The American Family Association's latest DVD — They're Coming to Your Town — teaches unsuspecting Christian communities how to prevent gays from taking over their towns. If you're so inclined, you can purchase the DVD in a five-pack and distribute it to your friends or Sunday school teachers.
  5. Will Smoking Make Obama a Better President? — Barack Obama may like to work out, but that doesn't mean he's snuffed out all unhealthy habits. Barack promised first-lady-to-be Michelle that he would quit smoking back in 2007 — that much we know. Yet it still remains unclear whether Barack successfully quit, and the president-elect hasn't given a direct answer, nor has the media demanded one.
  6. The City of Love Issues a Manual to Stop Forced Marriages — Paris, the universal capital of love and romance, created a manual on forced marriages this week to help officials spot and prevent cases of young women being forced into matrimony.
  7. Did Sarah Palin Ruin Thanksgiving? — You may have heard Sarah Palin can hunt and skin a moose, but did you know that she could give an interview while someone else slaughters turkeys in the background? In the video that hit the web this week, Palin chats about Alaska's state budget and her experience on the campaign trail, while turkeys meet their dark, headless fates. (Warning! Watching this video could prevent you from eating turkey on Thanksgiving or ever again.)
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