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President Obama announces inauguration speakers

President Obama has selected Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights icon Medgar Evers, to deliver the invocation at his public swearing-in on Jan. 21, which also happens to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Evers-Williams is a former chair of the NAACP and has written several books about her and her husband’s civil rights work. Medgar Evers was shot and killed at his Mississippi home in 1963 by a white supremacist, sparking national outcry. His murderer was finally convicted in 1994, after new evidence was brought to trial. The story was also turned into the 1996 film Ghosts of Mississippi, with Whoopi Goldberg portraying Myrlie Evers.

The Washington Post reports that this is “the first time a woman, and a layperson rather than a clergy member, has been chosen to deliver what may be America’s most prominent public prayer.” Evers-Williams will be joined by conservative evangelical pastor Louie Giglio, founder of the student-focused Passion Conferences, who will give the benediction. READ FULL STORY

Even President Obama is no match for the amazing Spider-Man -- PHOTO

Need more proof that Barack Obama is America’s Cool Dad? Look no further than this photograph, which pictures the Commander-in-Chief getting caught in an imaginary web tossed by a pint-sized Spider-Man — a.k.a. a White House staffer’s son. There’s a lot of good stuff in Time‘s Person of the Year package about Obama, but this photo is probably the piece that will get shared the most — it’s already been liked 13,000 times on Facebook and tweeted nearly 3,000 times. You win again, Spider-Man!

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President Obama is ‘Time’ Person of the Year
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President Obama is 'Time' Person of the Year

time-person-of-the-year-obamaBarack Obama has been named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” for a second time, following his initial selection in 2008. In a blog post, Time managing editor Richard Stengel explains that Obama was chosen because he is a cultural figure as well as a political one: “There has been much talk of the coalition of the ascendant — young people, minorities, Hispanics, college-educated women — and in winning re-election, Obama showed that these fast-growing groups are not only the future but also the present,” he writes. “If his win in 2008 was extraordinary, then 2012 is confirmation that demographic change is here to stay.”

The president beat out 15-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Youfsafzai, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, and Italian CERN physicist Fabiola Gianotti for the annual honor. Visit Time‘s site for a long interview with Obama, which covers everything from his love for Lincoln to his dream of “just moving to Hawaii and opening up a t-shirt shack on the North Shore.” (And, of course, a bunch of more serious stuff.)

Read more:
‘Time’ names The Protester as 2011 Person of the Year
Mark Zuckerberg named TIME’s Person of the Year 2010
President Obama speaks at Newtown memorial service — VIDEO

Best of 2012: The real-world feuds

Here’s a list of 2012’s most memorable ongoing conflicts from the real world. READ FULL STORY

President Obama hosts Twitter Q&A about fiscal cliff negotiations

There’s been a lot of big news today breaking online and in social media: Kate is having a baby, The Pope is on Twitter, Chris Brown is back on Twitter (Ugh), so naturally the President scheduled a Twitter Q&A to discuss it all.

Just kidding. His 2 p.m. live chat stuck entirely — with one exception — to fiscal cliff negotiations, primarily centered around his main point that without a deal being reached, the average middle-class family will have about $2000 less to spend or save next year. For those who think even a soundbite is too dense, check out his 140-character responses!

Sticking with the hashtag #My2k the President encouraged followers to ask him questions – which he then answered briefly before signing off each one with his standard ‘-bo’. For the conspiracy theorists among you, the White House also uploaded a photo of Obama’s hands typing out the answers (OR WERE THEY?!).

Unlike the President’s reddit Ask Me Anything chat a few months ago, the questions were handpicked by the White House and then were retweeted along with President Obama’s answers. You can check out a full play-by-play on The White House’s Twitter feed; check out some of the highlights below: READ FULL STORY

China's state paper duped by 'Onion' joke about Kim Jong-un as 'sexiest man alive'

Image Credit: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Have you ever been duped by an Onion article? I personally was convinced that Oprah Winfrey was going to donate her final studio audience to charity a few years back. It’s therefore not too surprising, but still extremely embarrassing, that The People’s Daily the online version of China’s Communist Party newspaper — ran an article and 55-page photo spread yesterday in honor of The Onion‘s pick of North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un as 2012′s “sexiest man alive.”

The photos include Jong-un squinting, waving, touring a facility with his wife, and engaged in other manly deeds. And the kicker? One of the pictorials shows the cherubic hunk on horseback (too bad he’s fully clothed). READ FULL STORY

Glenn Beck sticks Obama figurine in jar of pee, calls it art -- UPDATE

Get it? It’s a commentary on… something. And an indication that 25 years later, outrage manufacturer Glenn Beck is still feeling salty about Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ.” Also: he’s very well-hydrated. Update: Beck’s artwork has been removed from eBay, where he was attempting to auction it off for $25,000; the website said in a letter that it does not allow the sale of bodily waste or references to bodily fluids in listings.

Okay, some background: On Tuesday, Beck got wind of a painting hanging in a community college’s art gallery that depicts President Obama crucified on the presidential seal, wearing a suit, a tie, and a crown of thorns. Though artist Michael D’Antuono originally made the image — called “Truth” — years ago, it hasn’t been displayed until now due to “public outrage,” in Fox News’s words.

On his radio program, Beck said that he actually believes D’Antuono has the right to make and exhibit “Truth,” even though he doesn’t see anything Jesus-like in Obama: “I think it’s offensive,” Beck explained, not at all self-righteously. “I don’t think it’s close to reality, but whatever floats your boat… That document [the Constitution's First Amendment] says I can’t stop him, and the spirit of that document is that I shouldn’t try.”

READ FULL STORY

President Obama officially pardons 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: I’m talking, of course, about the day before Thanksgiving, when the President has to take time out of his I’m sure incredibly busy schedule to officially pardon a turkey (I guess this makes it OK for the rest of America to eat a ton of them tomorrow?)

Anyway, the day can be counted on for a little last-minute holiday hilarity. Joined by first daughters Malia and Sasha, President Obama officially pardoned one Cobbler and Gobbler this afternoon. Sorry, Gobbler. Cobbler won a White House poll about which of the two would be the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey, with 2,789 votes. Yes, that does mean that over 5,000 people actually had a preference that they voted on. And you thought election season was over weeks ago!

I have to wonder what people who aren’t Americans think of this weird tradition (it allegedly started with Abraham Lincoln’s son, and then became an official event in 1989). Although I suppose it’s not any stranger than everything else about Thanksgiving, what with the Pilgrims and the hurting of the Native Americans, and now the football and the relatives.

People reports that President Obama encouraged his daughters to pet the wild turkey before he pardoned it. Sasha went for it, but “Malia looked horrified and refused.”

Smart girl.

Read more:
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Jason Sudeikis talks about playing Mitt Romney on ‘Daily Show’ — VIDEO
Cass Sunstein, Obama’s former regulatory chief, writing book

'Clueless' star Stacey Dash explains why she supported Mitt Romney

TMZ calls the 1,344-word pro-Romney missive Stacey Dash sent them earlier this week a “rant,” which isn’t totally fair. The letter is coherent, if rambling — and while Dash’s reasoning sometimes seems convoluted, she’s expressing thoughts that might be familiar to anyone who’s ever felt their political views shifting with age.

The actress apparently wrote most of her letter on Tuesday, 10 hours before the election’s results were revealed. She starts out by disclosing that she voted for Barack Obama in 2008:

I hadn’t known anything about him until he earned the Democratic nomination. He’s brilliant, understated, ethical, a great husband and father. President Obama will always be remembered as one of the greatest leaders this United States of America has ever known.

And the moderate Republican is still a fan of the president, praising him for achievements like “repairing the infrastructure of our highways, bridges and train rails” and the Claims Resettlement Act of 2010. The truth is, Dash doesn’t hate Obama — she just likes Romney better. “My vote for Romney isn’t a vote against Obama,” she writes, bolding her words for emphasis. “That’s not how full participants in the democratic process operate. We vote for candidates and we vote for issues.” READ FULL STORY

Your Hidden Gems of Election 2012!

CNN definitely coordinated its “true blue state” shade with the exact color of Anderson Cooper’s icy hot eyes, right? RIGHT?

Who says EW.com’s Hidden Gems franchise needs to be limited to Dancing With the Stars coverage? Usually me, but I’m feeling democratic today. I’ll be compiling fun screenshots of election coverage throughout the night, so go ahead and send in the screen gems — noteworthy quirks that are not necessarily the main focus of the telecast — you notice yourselves. READ FULL STORY

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