Inauguration diary: Chicago pastor denounces the US media as 'haters'

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The Independent Online

Like Banquo's ghost, the Rev Jeremiah Wright showed up at Howard University, Washington's all-black college at the weekend and proceeded to mock his former parishioner Barack Obama. The Chicago pastor who came close to dooming the Obama presidency with his "God Damn America" sermons took the opportunity to denounce the US media as "haters". "Barack got a new address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," said the Rev Wright, more in the mode of a stand-up comedian than a preacher. "He moved from lying on the corner of woe is me and it's they fault. Check him out. He now lives in a mansion on the corner of Praise God Boulevard and Thank you Jesus Avenue."

Hijacking the Obama brand? Yes, we can

Everywhere you look in America Obama's image, campaign theme, slogans and logos have been shamelessly hijacked. Obama's words are on the side of buses and even on the back of metro tickets. Ikea tells us that "Change Begins at Home". There's an Obama hope-and-change necklace, as well as Obama toilet paper and soaps. The most egregious hijacker of the brand is Pepsi which has even nicked his red-white-and-blue yin-yang logo. Pepsi's adverts, plastered on the sides of buses, are peppered with words like "hope" and "optimism". Tonight Pepsi is helping to fund the Hollywood Creative Coalition's inaugural ball.

'Grassroots' head to the greatest party on Earth

*The disadvantaged and homeless have been pouring into Washington from all corners of America, determined to be part of the greatest free party on the planet. Thanks to Earl Stafford, below, a local businessman, and various charities, they've come by bus, plane and car, although some may have jumped freight trains Woody Guthrie-style. Walking across the marble floor of the Marriott Hotel, two minutes from the White House, Prince Brooks, a 57-year-old homeless veteran, said to himself: "Prince you are stepping up!" Along with other members of the "grassroots" he is attending the unofficial People's Inaugural Ball. There was pandemonium as organisers handed out hundreds of ball gowns, tuxedos and donated pairs of shoes. The only question was whether the Community Organiser-in-Chief Obama will grace them with his presence.