- The Washington Times - Monday, April 12, 2010


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.


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.


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 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.

And while the gathering’s showcase moment is Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner’s appearance Tuesday, the group has planned a number of smaller events that … uh … reflect the dismal, curious state of journalism:

“While the general sessions will address big-picture issues, Monday and Tuesday afternoons are filled with workshops that bore in deeper on specific topics: mobile journalism, developing information toys and news games, how journalism ethics are evolving in the digital age, covering the census, content-sharing networks, eReaders and many more,” ASNE advises.


“If a Confederate soldier was merely doing his job in defending his homeland, honor and heritage, what are we to say about young Muslim radicals who say the exact same thing as their rationale for strapping bombs on their bodies and blowing up cafes and buildings?” asks CNN political analyst Roland S. Martin.

“If the Sons of Confederate Veterans use as a talking point the vicious manner in which people in the South were treated by the North, doesn’t that sound exactly like the Taliban saying they want to kill Americans for the slaughter of innocent people in Afghanistan?”

Mr. Martin later adds, “We can’t on the one hand justify the actions of Confederates as being their duty as valiant men of the South, and then condemn the Muslim extremists who want to see Americans die a brutal death. These men are held up as honorable by their brethren, so why do Americans see them as different from our homegrown terrorists?”


• 66 percent of U.S. voters say America is “overtaxed”; 25 percent disagree.

• 96 percent of those who identify themselves as members of the “tea party movement” say the nation is overtaxed.

• 81 percent of Republicans agree.

• 75 percent of voters overall say average Americans should pay no more than 20 percent of their income in total taxes.

• 43 percent say average Americans should pay no more than 10 percent in taxes.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted April 8 and 9.

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