Inside the Beltway: The media goes nuclear


These are not the kind of headlines anyone wants to see. They are out there however, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning Wednesday that he might resort to nuclear weapons as the situation with Ukraine grows dire. Here’s just a few from the last 24 hours:

“Putin just doubled down on his nuclear threat: What that means” (Forbes); “Putin flirts again with grim prospect of nuclear war — this time he might mean it” (The Guardian); “Biden condemns Putin’s ‘irresponsible’ nuclear threats“ (The Washington Post); “Putin escalates Ukraine war, issues nuclear threat to West” (Reuters); and “If a nuclear attack hits New York City, these fallout shelters won’t protect you” (The Gothamist).

But wait. There were similar headlines two weeks ago. Here’s just one example of many, published Sept. 3: “Russian official issues stark nuclear warning to U.S.: ‘Chess game’ of death” (Newsweek).

Then there’s this from March 15: “Putin’s nuclear threats are a wake-up call to the world.” (The Atlantic).

Let’s not forget this headline, dated Dec. 14, 2021: “Russia threatens to nuke Europe as tensions escalate” (The Daily Express).

And lest we forget, New York City issued an official PSA on July 11 detailing how to survive a nuclear attack. It urged the population to “Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned.”


Those old greenbacks have yet to go out of style. Alliant Credit Union polled 2,000 U.S. adults and found that 51% have “cold hard cash” stashed away in their homes — amounting to $1,010 on average. Almost six out of 10 Americans — 58% — prefer to keep their savings in cash “just in case of an emergency.”

The survey was conducted by the Chicago-based financial cooperative Aug. 10-19 and released Monday.

Meanwhile, 29% said they find cash useful for lending money to people they know, while 17% prefer to use mobile payments and 15% opted for old-school checks. Another 43% use cash for smaller purchases like coffee while 39% reserve their cash for grooming appointments and 35% use it for small “non-critical” emergencies.

“What I think we’re seeing here isn’t that cash is dying out. Instead, its uses are evolving,” Chris Moore, director of deposits and payment product strategy at the credit union, said in a statement,

“Seeing that people still opt to use cash for savings, emergencies and lending to friends and family tells us that cash’s usefulness is the fact that it’s liquid and instantly available,” he said.

How much of it is handy? The poll also found that cash-carriers stow an average $70 in paper bills in their wallet.


Billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has donated $200 million to the Smithsonian Institute — with $130 million of that sum earmarked to develop the future Bezos Learning Center at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Five design proposals are already under consideration. There’s also some eagle-eyed scrutiny from a high-profile animal rights group. That would be People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — PETA — which has a straightforward suggestion for the final design.

“PETA just sent a letter to museum director Christopher Browne urging him to require the winning design firm to employ a bird-friendly design and use non-reflective glass so as not to contribute to the loss of birds’ lives,” the organization advised in a statement to Inside the Beltway.

“Buildings kill up to a billion birds every year in the U.S. The reflective surfaces depicted in the design proposals would lead to a disturbing and insupportable uptick in deaths — especially because Washington is situated along a major migratory route that many species follow to travel south toward warmer climates,” the group said.

“Reflective glass windows lead to deadly crashes, while animal-friendly design elements such as masking films and ultraviolet patterns can save untold numbers of birds’ lives,” said Ingrid Newkirk, the longtime president of the group.

“Given that many of the engineering marvels at the National Air and Space Museum were inspired by birds’ flight, it’s vital that the museum award a design that lets birds safely share the sky,” she said.


“Many Americans believe politics has entered into the nation’s vote-counting process, with potentially big ramifications for the next election. They think that it is at least somewhat likely that some state or county officials will refuse to certify election results because of political reasons,” CBS News reports in a new poll.

It found that 32% of the respondents said there was “widespread fraud” in the 2020 election; 40% said there were “a few isolated incidents” of fraud while 28% felt there was no voter fraud involved.

“Six in 10 Americans think both the politicization of election rules and attempts to overturn official election results are major problems with the U.S. election and voting system,” noted the CBS analysis of the findings.

This CBS News/YouGov survey of 2,985 U.S. adults was conducted Aug. 29-31 and released Sunday.


• 59% of U.S. airline passengers say someone kicking the back of their seat is among the “most annoying behaviors” during a flight.

• 59% say “drunk and disruptive” passengers are among the most annoying; 48% cite those who smell bad, from poor hygiene or too much cologne.

• 47% cite inattentive parents; 40% name passengers who eat foul-smelling foods in flight.

• 40% name passengers who “hog arm rests”; 38% mention those who fully recline in the seat in front of them.

• 29% cite passengers who talk too much; 29% also cite those who board the aircraft or deplane “out of turn.”

• 28% mention those who listen to music too loudly; 24% name passengers who take off their shoes.

• 22% cite those who flirt with them, other passengers or flight attendants; 20% name passengers who get up to stretch too much.

• 18% name those who use overhead bins many rows away from their seat; 14% cite “overly affectionate couples.”

• 13% cite passengers who “request too much from flight attendants.”

SOURCE: A poll of 1,098 U.S. adults conducted online on Aug. 6 and released Monday. “Respondents were able to select as many actions from a supplied list as they found irritating,” the pollster advised.

• Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected].


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