Don't Call Jacko 'Dad'? Give Thanks

U.S. pop star Michael Jackson dangles an unidentified child, its head hidden by a towel, over a balcony of the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2002, in this image made from television. Jackson, in Germany to attend an awards ceremony, had been waving to German fans, when he brought the baby out onto the balcony.
What are the names in the news really thankful for? In his latest Against the Grain commentary,'s Dick Meyer gives a few theories.

As Andy Rooney might say, don't you hate it when columnists write those sappy holiday pieces about things they're thankful for? I sure do.

Columnists are supposed to be misanthropes and malcontents. I'm often told that's what I am. Given that, I'm much more comfortable telling other people what they ought to be thankful for. Here's my list:

Thanksgiver: The Bush Family.
Thankful for: Jenna and Barbara turning 21, without incident. Now Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa don't have to sweat through every Saturday night. Party on, dudettes! Legally.

Thanksgiver: All parents who don't live on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
Thankful for: Normal preschools.

Thanksgiver: Jack Welch.
Thankful for: Ken Lay and company.

Thanksgiver: Sean Connery.
Thankful for: Pierce Brosnan, a robot-actor who makes us ache for Bond with a brogue.

Thanksgiver: Hollywood.
Thankful for: London. Without Harry Potter and James Bond, Tinseltown would be toast this year.

Thanksgiver: Tom DeLay.
Thankful for: Nancy Pelosi. Free ammo.

Thanksgiver: Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill
Thankful for: Ex-SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt. Can you imagine the trashing that guy would be in for if Pitt weren't the designated scapegoat?

Thanksgiver: Osama bin Laden.
Thankful for: The CIA, FBI and the Department of Defense. Who'd have thunk that a 6' 5" Arab with a Hitler complex could outsmart the Western world's vast security apparatus for well over a year? Say thank you Osama.

Thanksgiver: CNN and Fox News.
Thankful for: Phil Donahue. Looks like the former maestro will help keep MSNBC in the sub-basement for another year. Say thank you Connie and Bill.

Thanksgiver: College sociology and anthropology departments.
Thankful for: The Bachelor. This post-modern mating ritual should give academics plenty of material for a few seasons.

Thanksgiver: Jack Grubman.
Thankful for: Lizzie Grubman, who ensures that Jack will never be the most infamous Grubperson.

Thanksgivers: Tom Daschle, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman
Thankful for: Al Gore.

Thanksgiver: Al Gore.
Thankful for: Well, he's, er, got his health, right?

Thanksgiver: The Republican Party.
Thankful for: The Democratic Party.

Thanksgiver: The Democratic Party.
Thankful for: The Catholic Church.

Thanksgiver: Saddam Hussein
Thankful for: Colin Powell.

Thanksgiver: All kids.
Thankful for: Your daddy isn't Michael Jackson

Enjoy the turkeys, there's no shortage.

Dick Meyer, a veteran political and investigative producer for CBS News, is Editorial Director of based in Washington.

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Against the Grain

By Dick Meyer