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NUKE-APALOOZA PRIMER

Nobody is using the title “His Mighty Awesomeness” or “Lord High Executioner” among the 49 participants in President Obama’s big, fat Nuclear Security Summit on Monday — the largest gathering of world leaders in 65 years, and so bodacious that it’s being staged at the 2.3 million square foot Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

There are plenty of weighty handles on the official White House roster of names, though: Thirty-nine include “excellency” somewhere in the title, five are “honorable,” and one is “right honorable.” There is one “highness,” one “royal highness,” one “majesty” and a single “director general.” That would be Yukiya Amaro of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 journalists are covering the event and all those entourages, which have collectively forced the closure of three major commuter routes, a 12-square-block surrounding area and the rejiggering of a dozen Metro subway and bus stops over the next 48 hours. The law enforcement presence includes members of the Metropolitan Police, Capitol Police, Park Police, Secret Service and four other federal agencies. U.S. Navy and Air Force jets and helicopters will be overhead; the Coast Guard will patrol nearby waterways.

“Good thing Paul Revere won’t need to spread an alarm,” observes Alan Portner, a blogger with Examiner.com.

HOLLYWOOD CONNECTION

Global warming had Al Gore’s 2003 alarmist documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” to shore up its media presence. These days, the peacenik movement has “Countdown to Zero,” produced by Lawrence Bender, who also produced Mr. Gore’s film, along with “Inglourious Basterds” and “Pulp Fiction,” among many theatrical offerings.

There are more dots to connect. “Zero” was financed by eBay founder Jeff Skoll, who also financed Mr. Gore’s “Truth.” The pacifist message of the former is loud and clear: “Our only option is to eradicate every last nuclear missile,” the film states. It has been screened at the Sundance Film Festival, viewed privately by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and teased at the National Press Club in preparation for a nationwide release July 9.

Both Mr. Bender and Mr. Skoll are backing a petition that calls for complete elimination of nuclear weapons, according to Global Zero, an activist group that has helped coordinate public outreach and is aligned with MoveOn.org. Mr. Bender is also willing to “take his film to countries like Iran and North Korea,” the group says.

“As Global Zero works to build grass-roots and public support, you will always have a partner in me and my administration,” noted President Obama in a Feb. 4 statement.

NOW HEAR THIS

OK, dig through the pile of papers on the hall table and find that form. The 2010 census deadline looms. U.S. “households” have until Friday to return the form, or else.

“Nationwide, about 65 percent of households have mailed back their census forms. In 2000, the mail participation rate was 72 percent,” says U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “Residents who fail to mail back their forms by April 16 may be visited by a census worker in May.”

THE OTHER SUMMIT

The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) is staging the “NewsNow Ideas Summit” in the nation’s capital this week, with an opening volley of lousy news: American daily newspapers lost 5,200 jobs last year, bringing the total loss of journalists since 2007 to 13,500.

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About the Author
Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

A graduate of Syracuse University, Jennifer Harper writes the daily Inside the Beltway column and provides additional coverage of breaking national news, plus long-term trends in politics, media issues, public opinion, popular culture, Hollywood foibles and “eureka” moments in health and science.

She has been a frequent broadcast commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Voice of America, Citadel Broadcasting, ...

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