Recently in Obama Category

President Obama is no stranger to taking a shellacking at the polls. Or a beating in the press. Or even a tongue-lashing from the right.

But a flattening from a fish sandwich?

Such is the case from the KFC ad that ran, however briefly, in Hong Kong for a fish sandwich.

Two things are evident from the effort from Yum! Brands ad: 1) This clearly didn't deliver the message they wanted and 2) they serve lemon wedges with fish sandwiches over there!

The spot, a riff on the Obamamantra of "Change," was pulled before the fish had a chance to flatten KFC's image too much. But, before the presidential pardons roll out, consider some of the stunning dialogue:

"Change, not only for your mom, but for you, your stomach, for a better taste! Mmm, change is good."

Change. It tastes bittersweet. And lemony.

"It was meant to be a spoof and no disrespect was intended," a spokesman for Yum! Brands of the Hong Kong market spot thant ran when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the U.S. "It is no longer airing and will not be re-aired."

Would they have done this when Rahm was still running the White House?

Picture 3.png

Here's something to chew on, political wonks. President Obama may just be magical afterall.

Or at least his chewing gum is.

In the great tradition of the Reggie Bar, but likely without any of those messy licensing payments to deal with, the president's face has found its way onto chewing gum packaging from a company called Kenafric, documented by tweeting traveler Mara Abrams in Tanzania and the subject of some discussion on BoingBoing, complete with "full of hot air" jokes.

This is not the first we've seen of the Obubblegum, which comes in at least one other flavor - orange. Though you have to wonder why no grape - we do live in a purple country, according to the president. Right?

A year ago tonight, hundreds of thousands of Barack Obama supporters filed into Grant Park in Chicago to see the junior senator from Illinois become the first black President of the United States in a landslide win against Sen. John McCain.

11- 4 Stewart Grant Park 13.JPGThe euphoria, right, from Nov. 4, 2008 in Grant Park has died down considerably in the last year. (Scott Stewart~Sun-Times)

It was the culmination in an often bitter two-year fight for a candidate many people knew little about. Supporters in Grant Park - and throughout the country - turned out to mark the historic moment with spontaneous celebrations and joyful exuberance. Even many of Obama's fiercest critics admitted it was an exciting moment in American history as the country took one more step toward closing the race gap.

But glory, as it so often is, was fleeting following the 2008 presidential election. Like the new car, the value begins to plummet and the shine to fade the moment it's driven off the dealership lot. No longer is it enough to win the campaign - now the results must come. And come quickly.


Fraser Robinson III, Marian, and their children, Craig and Michelle - now Michelle Obama.

The New York Times reports the fascinating story of Michelle Obama's slave heritage back to a 6-year-old slave girl named Melvinia in pre-Civil War South Carolina.

The Times story covers the first lady's history to her great-great-great-grandparents, the lone girl and an unknown white man after she had been willed to a family near Atlanta a few years before the Civil War. Born from that coupling was Dolphus T. Shields.

The exploration of family roots by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times -- bears out longstanding family rumors about a white forebear, the former Michelle Robinson said.

The Times reports that it's unclear who the actual father of Dolphus Shields was once Melvinia became the property of Henry Shields in 1852:

It is difficult to say who might have impregnated Melvinia, who gave birth to Dolphus around 1859, when she was perhaps as young as 15. At the time, Henry Shields was in his late 40s and had four sons ages 19 to 24, but other men may have spent time on the farm.

"No one should be surprised anymore to hear about the number of rapes and the amount of sexual exploitation that took place under slavery; it was an everyday experience, " said Jason A. Gillmer, a law professor at Texas Wesleyan University, who has researched liaisons between slave owners and slaves. "But we do find that some of these relationships can be very complex."

Just as interesting is the family tree the Times has put together as the Robinson family history has pieced together, The Family Tree of Michelle Obama: The First Lady. It traces her family steps through tattered paperwork and faded photographs back to that 6-year-old slave on a Carolina plantation. It also serves to illuminate the mixed-race background of the first lady's heritage and discusses how that's becoming a much more common reality in a nation made up of so many races and heritages.

Much like a report in the Chicago Sun-Times exploring the family tree of Barack Obama, the Times report illuminates a rich, multi-ethnic background for the first lady, though Michelle's history is far less well-known.

When Melvinia died in 1938, her death certificate marks "don't know" in the space asking for the 90-year-old's parents name, so the retracing ends with her.

Famed Chicago Sun-Times Page 1 Editor James Smith has been on Oprah. He's posterized President Obama. He's even hung out with Muhammad Ali.

But it's his musical taste that sets him apart.

In this first installment of what will be an occasional series, we take a look at what he's rocking on his iPhone, the radio, TV or, in this case, YouTube.

Today's choice: "'65 Love Affair," the classic Paul Davis epic that marked his departure from garbagey country ballads to garbagey pop.

Enjoy, we know you will be rocking the white man overbite before you know it!

Vimeo member Eric Spiegelman put together this slightly eerie montage of President Obama doing the grip-and-grin line from a recent meeting at the United Nations with foreign dignitaries. Spiegelman grabbed the images from the State Department's Flickr site and 20 seconds later you have this impressive proof that Obama has a very consistent smile.

On Wednesday, the Obamas hosted a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, during which they stood for 130 photographs with visiting foreign dignitaries in town for the UN meeting. The President has exactly the same smile in every single shot.

So there you go. Who needs a cutout when the real thing works this well?

Hat tip to Chicagoist for digging this up on a quiet Friday.

Obama Poster Artist.jpgFor those of you who are fans of self-professed street punk artist Shepard Fairey, this video by Arktip Magazine is a 2-minute treat of creation in process.

Shot to coincide with their focus on the man, perhaps now best known for his Barack Obama "Hope" image, for the upcoming issue, it plays to the tones of "Everything Down" by Los Angeles noise band No Age. And it's a spot-on accompaniment as he sprays, pastes and draws a work together in slap-dash fashion. It's almost a shame it's not a longer video.

obey.jpgOf course Fairey, who came to fame for his "Obey" works created as a student in the Rhode Island School of Design in the late '80s and street art, has been in the news lately for a legal tussle with the Associated Press over the use of an AP photo as the background for his Obama image. AP says he stole their intellectual property, Fairey claims fair use. But while that drags out, The Onion's AV Club caught up with the artist recently to chat about the case, his work and where his life's at now.

As it turns out, he's got at least one reason to be OK. Looks like his latest brush with the law fizzled after 14 charges of vandalism in Boston were dropped earlier this month.

Guevara Granddaughter_Newm.jpg

You've likely seen President Obama's lightning strike on the fly that would steal his spotlight during a CNBC interview this week.

Well, even if you haven't, the People for the Ethical Treatment of animals has, and they are buzzing about his brazen act of incecticide - even if he was merely following in Lincoln's footsteps. Hand it to their consistency, even the plight of a garbage-eating housefly is not too small or disgusting to warrant their sympathy. And being none-too-pleased that the flyswatter-in-chief chose to use force instead of diplomacy, they've offered up a solution for the President - and it is good enough for a PETA staffer's cat!

flycatcher.jpgIn a nutshell, our position is this: He isn't the Buddha, he's a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act.

If all this has you wondering how you can be a bigger person (figuratively, as well as literally) in your dealings with exoskeletal beings, check out our handy-dandy bug catcher--one of which we are sending to President Obama for future insect incidents. I can tell you from personal experience that it sure came in handy the other day, when one of my cats was chasing the World's Largest Palmetto Bug around the house.

And if the week of the animal rights fighters ended there, with all the publicity and ridicule it usually takes them a week of Pamela Anderson ads to accumulate, you'd probably be right in calling it a success. But wait ... there's more!

The granddaughter of Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara is at the forefront of another revolution -- PETA's battle for vegetarianism. And, in true PETA fashion, she's doing it in a nearly naked state.

The print campaign is expected to debut in October in magazines and posters, but will be launched first in Argentina, where Che Guevara was born. PETA approached the 24-year-old in recent months after finding out she was a vegetarian, said spokesman Michael McGraw.

"It [the photo above] very much evokes the tag line of the ad, which is 'Join the vegetarian revolution,'" McGraw said. "It's an homage of sorts to her late grandfather."

che-guevara1242900104.jpg"Homage" roughly translating into Argentinian for "exploiting the name of a beret-wearing revolutionary hero to millions of college students."

Che Guevara was a Marxist leader who played a pivotal role in Fidel Castro's rise to power in Cuba. He was executed in Bolivia in 1967 - a death PETA would likely have had less reaction to than the blatant murder of a White House fly.

As Che himself would say: "If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine."


Michelle Obama is a woman who has accomplished a lot in her life. From a humble upbringing on Chicago's South Side to successful lawyer and mother to her current job - first lady of the United States.

But here's a new line for the resume she may not have seen coming: making Maxim magazine's Top 100 list of beautiful women in the world.

Michelle becomes the first first lady to transcend the East Wing to the Hot Wing, clocking in at no. 93. No doubt powered to that finish on the strength of her keen fashion sense and well-documented killer arms.

You can get a look at the top 10 on Maxim's list here and here and a look at the full list of 100 here. And this is a list of the ladies Michelle beat out:

94. Yvonne Strahovski - heating up Cold War-style espionage on "Chuck"

95. Padma Lakshmi - hot in the kitchen on "Top Chef"

96. Olivia Munn - hotness under "Attack" (of "The Show)

97. Marisa Tomei - stripper-pole hot in "The Wrestler" and hot-and-bothered over her Oscar snub

98. Rebecca Mader - "Lost" in the hotness

99. Melissa Rycroft - hot on the dance floor and under the collar after rejection on "The Bachelor"

100. Deanna Russo - hot car enthusiast on "Knight Rider"

If you like this video, you haven't seen anything yet. Keep reading ...

This is just a nice, laid-back little electronica ditty called "Alice" with a music video cut from the Disney classic "Alice in Wonderland." (Good luck housing your collection of cease-and-desist letters on that, by the way.)

The music video for my song 'Alice', an electronic piece of which 90% is composed using sounds recorded from the Disney film 'Alice In Wonderland'.

It's a pleasant enough distraction from an Australian musician who calls himself Pogo. But you are missing a hypnotically trippy treat if you don't check out this version of the video. Give it a minute to load, stare away and feel your innards go all quivery.

Maybe that's how he plans to distract the Disney lawyers before they run a flaming spear of copyright justice through his heart. Good luck with that, Pogo.

But the real fun here is that you can do the same thing with your videos. No, not steal Disney imagery, but make the layered rows of visual coolness. It's thanks to this new site/service called yooouuutuuube.

You basically just plug in a YouTube video url - or you can pick at random - and it filters the video into a constantly evolving set of stills that flash in and out at video speed while the soundtrack plays in the background.

It looks like some folks have discovered the potential in blowing new life into rickrolling with it, but there is a neverending potential for timewasting video repurposing here - try an Obama chat, for instance.

Or some really cool, seizure-inducing music video work like this and this, both of which came via Reddit.

So upgrade your Flash and make sure your computer is fairly zippy and jump in.

A look at President Obama, yooouuutuuubeized ...


First Lady Michelle Obama is familiar to Americans. And so is the dress she wore Tuesday in New York, according to the New York Daily News.

During her first visit to New York as the First Lady, Mrs. Obama donned a Tracy Feith dress that she's worn before, according to the story.

The last time we saw her wearing it, was on President Obama's first full day in office. She wore the ensemble Tuesday to her U.S. UN mission talk.

New York Daily News fashion editor Amy Diluna adds:

"For evening, the First Lady changed into city-perfect cocktail attire - a stunning floor-length navy blue gown from high-end French designer Azzedine Alaia, layered with a corset from her Chicago favorite, Peter Soronen - to deliver a keynote address at the Time 100 Most Influential People Awards at Time Warner Center.

"At the podium, Obama's voice quivered with emotion as she told the crowd she never imagined she'd be a role model for girls around the globe."



Jan. 21, 2009:

Cameras keep getting smaller but at least in some quarters, pictures are getting limitless in size. A few companies are starting to offer the ability to make digital images that are measured in gigapixels, not megapixels.

Giga imagery isn't that new, but it's getting more prevalent, cheaper and easier for the general public to attempt with even the least expensive point-and-shoot digital cameras on the market.

What's that mean? It means you can take an image like this shot from President Obama's inauguration, which is fairly standard as a long-range image ...


And zoom in nearly limitlelsly and without quality degradation to something like this ...


In fact, this image, which really is best viewed for full effect here, has made quite an impression online because of the zoomability. Viewers make a game of scanning the crowds in high detail to find famous faces and unusual people. Give it a try if you have an extra hour of time and a good attention span.

Photographer David Bergman gives these details of the shot:

I made this Gigapan image from the north press platform during President Obama's inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on January 20, 2009. It's made up of 220 images and the final image size is 59,783 X 24,658 pixels or 1,474 megapixels.

These images can be produced with anything from a simple point-and-shoot camera to and expensive digital SLR and a piece of fairly inexpensive equipment you can get for yourself from a company called GigaPan.

And there are plenty of studios, like Gigapixel in Canada, shooting images that can be commissioned, as well. Here's a look at a particularly cool work of theirs, which again, is best viewed on the zoomable link here:


Which gets you ultraclose like this:


As Gigapixel explains it, these aren't enlargements like you might be used to, but huge patchwork quilts, in essence, made up of hundreds or even thousands of smaller images that are stitched together.

Gigapixel images are created by tiling a large number of photographs, or scanning a large film negative (8" x 10"). Gigapixel images are displayed on-line using streaming technology which breaks the image into small tiles and loads them as you look. This allows you instantly view high-resolution images that are over several gigabytes in size.

It's probably not the type of photography you'll be hanging on a wall - unless you have REALLY big walls, but it sure is cool to poke around and find all the details that go unnoticed in standard photography, hidden in the small corners and details that everyday photo technology can't deal with.


President Obama introduced his newest Cabinet-level advisor this morning, E. Ster Bunny, charged with helping the U.S. auto industry pull their collective heads out of Fantasyland after receiving billions in federal bailout money.

What? No? It's just the Easter Egg Roll at the White House, hosted by the Obamas? Well, that certainly makes it a less newsworthy, but no less entertaining a hippity-hop photo op. Give us a hand in writing a caption and maybe you'll get some extra obliterated Peeps in your basket next year. Just leave your best efforts in the comment field.

Kal Penn volunteered as a floor whip at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. (AP Photo)

Actor Kal Penn is leaving one "House" for another.

Penn, of "Harold and Kumar" fame, is taking a position in the White House as an associate director in the office of public liaison, according to several online reports.

Penn told Entertainment Weekly that he "was incredibly honored a couple of months ago to get the opportunity to go work in the White House. I got to know the President and some of the staff during the campaign and had expressed interest in working there."

(Click here to read the entire EW interview.)

Penn acknowledged to the magazine that he will be taking a sizable pay cut, and leaves the door open to a future return to acting.

Penn's character on "House," Lawrence Kutner, committed suicide on the show, prompting Fox to set up a "mourning" site for Penn's character that includes an obituary.

Sun-Times political correspondent Lynn Sweet has more.


The country - the world, for that matter - is weathering one of the worst economic doldrums in its history. Businesses are folding, jobs are being lost and people are looking for hope that things will, one day get better.

Some really desperate and deluded folks are even looking to the government for answers. And for once, they might be onto something. Turns out the powers-that-be are turning to a miracle cure for what ails us.


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