Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu claimed victory in today’s elections. But his party lost a quarter of its seats, with center/left and liberal parties doing much better than expected. So Netanyahu will have to scramble to form a coalition government with the vaunted new Jewish Home Party (headed by the PM’s former chief of staff), which did much worse than expected, and other small parties of the fundamentalist religious right.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … OBAMA’S CLEAR YET MUTED TRUMPET: HOPE’S AUDACITY MEETS LOWERED EXPECTATIONS.
** QUICK HITS. Israel’s election brought an intriguing surprise. A brand new center/left party headed by a former newscaster is running second behind Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu alliance party. Netanyahu still has the edge in forming a coalition, however. More to follow. … Marine General John Allen, our commander in Afghanistan, was cleared today of possible conduct unbecoming an officer surrounding his e-mail relationship with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, a figure also at the center of the Petraeus sex scandal. Allen had been up for promotion to supreme commander of NATO, a nomination placed on hold. The president will have to move affirmatively to re-light that appointment. He has not yet done so. … Governor Jerry Brown spent today with the California State University Board of Trustees in Long Beach, where trustees decided against any tuition or fee hikes, as expected.
** NEW SURVEY: A SOMEWHAT DOWNBEAT REACTION TO OBAMA’S SECOND INAUGURAL. A new Gallup Poll survey indicates that President Barack Obama’s second inaugural was not nearly the smash with the public that his first was.
Far fewer watched the inaugural events or followed media coverage of them.
Obama’s second inaugural address garnered far less support than his first.
And people are notably less hopeful about the next four years than they were four years ago.
That last, of course, is as much a factor of hard experience as it is reaction to what Obama and his advisors produced in the way of an inaugural spectacle.
There was actually less attention paid to Obama’s second inaugural than there was to George W. Bush’s second inaugural in January 2005.
But Obama’s speech played better than Bush’s.
Which, to be frank, is rather damning with fain praise if you think about it, since, quite unlike Obama, no one has ever suggested that Bush is a great orator.
Thirty-eight percent of Americans interviewed Monday night said they watched or listened to the inauguration ceremonies as they happened; another 27% saw, read, or heard news coverage of the events. That is down considerably from 2009, when a combined 80% watched the ceremonies live (60%) or saw news coverage of them (20%). Reported viewership of Monday’s ceremonies is similar to what Gallup measured for George W. Bush’s second inauguration eight years ago. …
Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (56%) were more than twice as likely as Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (26%) to report watching Monday’s inauguration ceremonies as they happened. Viewership among both party groups was down from 2009, when 70% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans reported watching the events as they occurred.
Sixty-five percent of Americans who watched this year’s ceremonies or saw news coverage of them rated Barack Obama’s inaugural address as excellent (33%) or good (32%). Americans were also generally positive about Obama’s first and Bush’s second inaugural addresses, rating Obama’s 2009 speech the best of the three. …
Given the lower levels of attention paid to the second inauguration by Americans, and their less positive reaction to Obama’s speech, it is not surprising that fewer Americans said the inauguration made them more hopeful about the next four years than did so in 2009. Specifically, 37% of Americans said they are now more hopeful about the next four years after Monday’s presidential inauguration ceremonies, compared with 62% after Obama’s first inauguration. Reaction to Monday’s inauguration was similar to Bush’s second inauguration in 2005. …
President Barack Obama delivered his 2nd Inaugural Address Monday outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama, who held a private inaugural party back at the White House last night, and Vice President Joe Biden received the intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
The Obamas and the Bidens then attended the National Prayer Service at National Cathedral.
At 6 PM Pacific, the Obamas and the Bidens attend the Staff Inaugural Ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Obama is getting mostly positive reviews for his 2nd inaugural address on Monday.
I found it to be a spirited speech, a defense of and case for a modern sort of liberalism, but too much the laundry list for great oratory.
It sounded to me like an extension of his campaign rhetoric, which is certainly fine, since he won the election rather handily as it happens, but it didn’t blow my skirt up the way it did a lot of East Coast media types. Perhaps their excitement stems from Obama’s seeming determination to stick to a mostly liberal agenda. But he had already signaled that in the course of the endless campaign, and in the wake of the ongoing failure of compromise in Washington except in the most extreme and obvious circumstances.
The speech was more like a shorter, more elegant version of a State of the Union than what I was hoping for. Of course, it may just be that I’ve watched and read too many Obama speeches, and have become somewhat inured to them.
The Obama Inaugural Committee is claiming 1 million people attended inauguration festivities in Washington, up substantially from earlier estimates, but still just over half the crowd drawn to the first Obama inauguration four years ago. That seems high, based on the TV footage of Washington’s very familiar spaces. There may be some numbers from Washington police authorities today.
Meanwhile, Obama’s life is about to get more complicated, with Israel’s elections today almost certainly returning his campaign antagonist Bibi Netanyahu to the premiership, with an even greater coalition reliance on far right religious political parties, as I’ve written in previous pieces.
What will that mean for the Iran crisis, for the Syrian crisis, for the crisis over Palestine, part of which Israel just fought a limited war against after the US elections?
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is the clear favorite to win another term in office as Israel holds general elections today. But he’ll need to form a coalition to do it – and that will likely take Israel’s government even further to the right.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving Mali and Algeria, the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Syria, Iraq, AfPak, and the South China Sea.
Military Crisis Zone Times: Mali is eight hours ahead of Pacific time, the Persian/Arabian Gulf is ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time. The time in Manila, on the South China Sea, is fifteen hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Long Beach and Northern California.
Brown will attend the California State University Board of Trustees meeting beginning at 11 AM at the California State University’s Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach.
Brown will continue his push for online education, more classroom involvement for professors, and holding the line on tuition and fees as he did last week at our alma mater University of California Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco.
He is also prepping for his State of the State address on January 24th. Well, thinking about it. The night is yet young.
** HOW NOT TO STAGE MANAGE THE WORLD. … From my January 18th column.
** POWELL POSITIONS THE DEBATE OVER CHUCK HAGEL. … From my January 14th essay.
** JERRY BROWN’S NEW BUDGET FOR POST-CRISIS CALIFORNIA: DISCIPLINE BEGETS OPPORTUNITY. … From my January 11th essay.
** WHY THE HAGEL BATTLE MADE MORE SENSE FOR OBAMA THAN THE RICE BATTLE. … From my January 9th essay.
** CALIFORNIA’S FUTURIST AGENDA: A TALE OF THREE GOVERNORS. … From my January 4th essay.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in major military operations in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer from the Russia Today channel. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the state-run channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $96 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $62 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down about $18 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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