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By: Mikki Brunner

Back in my day, politics were strictly forbidden to speak of around our holiday dinner table. Mom didn’t want me (lifelong left-of-liberal humanist) to catch a case for bashing my sister (lifelong bordering-on-‘birther’ conservative) upside the head with a turkey leg (blunt force trauma).

So we played it safe sticking to topics like the weather and Aunt Shirley’s terrible pecan pie. Imagine a rock hard burnt crust containing a somehow undercooked filling with five stale pecans floating inside.

Alas, times have changed in the age of new media. So we put together this handy cheat sheet with our top five talking points to help you survive soiree season.

1. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il is dead. His son Kim Jong Un, a Swiss-educated 28-year-old with a penchant for X-Box, Air Jordans and scary displays of military power will succeed him.

2. President Obama drops the ball on civil liberties by signing the NDAA Martial Law Bill. It allows “detention under the law of war without trial.” That’s jail without judge or jury, y’all!

3. In a move best described as “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Sarah Palin just might run for office after all. In recent interviews, she’s keeping her options open.

4. The January primaries are upon us. Stay tuned as Iowa and New Hampshire set the tone for the 2012 presidential election.

5. The Economy: As the consumer frenzy of Christmas comes to a close, financial analysts are cautiously optimistic. So go ahead, get that cashmere wrap you’ve been eyeing. But remember, those credit card bills won’t go away even IF the Dow Jones heads south.

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The Polichick’s Guide To Holiday Chitchat: 5 Things You CAN Talk About At The Table  was originally published on