William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 10:53 P.M. ET:

ISRAEL RESULTS – Exit polling and first real counting of ballots in Israel project a surprisingly close victory for the bloc headed by current prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu.  Many had simply assumed the new government would go more to the right than the current one, but that does not appear likely.  Netanyahu, based on the results, is already pledging a very broad coalition, which would move the government toward the center.

OH THAT PHRASE – Much snickering today from conservative writers over President Obama's use of the phrase "peace in our time" in his inaugural.  Not exactly the wisest choice of words.  The phrase is associated with grand appeaser Neville Chamberlain, prime minister of Great Britain, who returned from a meeting with Hitler in 1938 with a signed agreement, and promised the British people "peace in our time."  Those words became the toxic symbol of a failed appeasement policy that helped lead to World War II.  I have not heard the phrase used by any major figure in my lifetime...until President Obama used it yesterday.  That is not a compliment.  Generous observers say the error was made out of ignorance, which may tell us something about the president's historical knowledge.

NOT BOFFO – TV ratings for yesterday's hoopla were dramatically down from the 2009 show.  From Media Bistro:
"Whereas approximately 17 million people watched Obama’s address on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News in 2009, only around 7 million watched on those three channels in 2013."  Maybe the American people are sending the message that, although they re-elected Obama, they're not that thrilled with him.

OUTRAGE – A number of legislators and commentators are expressing outrage over Washington's decision to go through with the transfer of 16 F-16 fighters and 200 Abrams tanks to the Morsi regime in Egypt, even though the regime is rapidly turning dictatorial, and has an anti-American tilt.  The deal was negotiated with ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.  The State Department argues that Egypt plays an important role in regional stability, even though the new government can't keep its own country stable.

January 22, 2013