How to Sound Smart About the News at Thanksgiving Dinner
PHOTO: This cheat sheet will help keep your Thanksgiving dinner conversation up to date.

It's time for Thanksgiving dinner, and that means making conversation with family, friends, and that random family from church that Aunt Sally always invites over for turkey day. Know what that means? You need to be in the know about what's going on in the world, or at least know enough to fake it.

So here's our cheat sheet to what's been going on in the news the past month or so, or at least enough information that you can add something to the conversation while you ask Aunt Sally a third time to please, please, pass more potatoes.


Main thing you need to know here: this was not the smoothest rollout of a government program in our country's history. In fact, when President Obama's signature healthcare reform law went into effect last month, the website crashed over and over again. The administration wanted millions of people to sign up for new healthcare plans through government exchanges, but only a few thousand could even log onto the website. This topic is sure to spark debate over whether the government is equipped to run something so large and vital to people; form opinions at your own risk.

How smart do you want to sound? Really smart? Read more here.

Iran Deal

Last weekend Iran struck a deal with the US and five other countries to temporarily freeze its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions against country. The nuclear operations, including uranium enrichments, will be halted for six month.

President Obama called the deal an important first step toward slowing Iran's progress toward a nuclear bomb, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the deal a "historic mistake" and said Israel is not bound by the agreement.


In early November, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded in history walloped the Philippines, wiping out infrastructure and homes throughout the island nation. The death toll was recorded at some 5,000. The U.S. and U.N., along with other nations and non-governmental organizations, provided aid in the form of emergency hygiene and food to residents.

The typhoon was called "Haiyan" in the United States and "Yolanda" in the Phillipines.

More info? We've got it here.

Alec Baldwin's Stalker Trial

A woman who claimed she had a romantic fling with Alec Baldwin was found guilty on five counts of stalking and harassing the actor earlier this month and was sentenced to 210 days in jail.

The courtroom testimony played out like a soap opera. Genevieve Sabourin, a French-Canadian actress, said Baldwin, 55, had romanced her and that they had slept together, providing details of their alleged date down to the menu of a dinner at Elio's, a fancy Italian restaurant.

She even went so far as to call herself "Genevieve Baldwin" in emails, prosecutors said. Catch up on all the courtroom drama here.

Cholesterol and Statins

The American Heart Association came out with new guidelines earlier this month that more people need to be on statins, which are cholesterol-reducing drugs. Instead of having people aim to lower their cholesterol to a specific number, the new formula uses factors such as a person's age and blood pressure to determine their risk. Sounds easy enough, right? Well not so fast.

Some experts are casting doubt on the revised advice and claim a web tool made for everyday people to figure out whether they should be on statins grossly overestimates the number of people who should actually be taking the drugs. So what's a cholesterol-conscious Thanksgiving diner to do? Click here to read about the great statin debate.

NFL Miami Dolphins Bullying

When the turkey talk turns to football, be prepared for this topic. Miami Dolphins rookie Jonathan Martin accused his older teammate, Richie Incognito, of bullying earlier this month, saying that had had to pay $15,000 for a trip Incognito and other teammates took to Vegas. A voicemail recording allegedly showed Incognito cursing at and threatening Martin, in addition to using the "N-word."

Martin left the team to seek emotional treatment and says he was harassed. Incognito was susppended pending an internal investigation, but his teammates notably stood by him. Incognito said his behavior came from a "place of love." Read more on this one here.


George Zimmerman, who had been acquitted earlier this year of murder in the death teenager Trayvon Martin, is once again facing some serious charges after prosecutors said he brandished a weapon at his girlfriend. Samantha Scheibe, who the Seminole County Sheriff's Office identified as Zimmerman's girlfriend, told a 911 dispatcher that the incident began when the former neighborhood watch captain grew upset during an argument. Zimmerman is out on bond until his arraignment in January. Find out what he had to agree to in order to be released.

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