Question about North Korea

Maybe some of my more internationally-minded friends can answer this for me…

Why is Kim Jong Il’s 3rd son in charge now? What was wrong with the older brothers? It doesn’t seem like there’s high standards to be North Korean despot.

North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, right, looks toward his son Kim Jong Un, while attending a massive military parade to mark the 65th anniversary of the communist nation’s ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang, North Korea on October 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File) #

What Ron Paul may have in store

As Andrew Sullivan is at pains to point out, Fox News seemingly has it in for Ron Paul.  Sorry, no Republican ever wins a nomination under those circumstances, regardless of what he believes.  That aside, Dave Weigel has a nice post arguing that as long as he has been a “fringe” candidate, Paul has largely avoided intense media scrutiny and opposition attack, from both right and left.  If Paul does leave Iowa seen as a serious threat to Romney, boy is he in for it.  And is the ammo ever there:

If Paul wins Iowa, that stops. The conservative press, which has been bored but hostile to Paul all year (just see the National Review’s cover story), will remind its readers that Paul wants to legalize prostitution and narcotics, end aid to Israel (as part of a general no-aid-for-anyone policy), and end unconstitutional programs like Medicare and social security. The liberal press will discover that he’s a John Birch Society supporter who for years published lucrative newsletters studded with racist gunk. In 2008, when the media didn’t take him seriously, Paul was able to get past the newsletter story with a soft-gummed Wolf Blitzer interview. (“Certainly didn’t sound like the Ron Paul that I’ve come to know and our viewers have come to know all this time,” said Blitzer.) This was when Paul was on track to lose every primary. It’ll be different if the man wins Iowa.

If Paul wins Iowa, I suspect one of two things will happen: Romney will just run away with things or the the Tea Party types give Gingrich or Perry another chance.  I just don’t see Paul holding onto much beyond his core supporters once his record faces real scrutiny.

Autism in plain sight

Found this article about adults with autism not diagnosed until well into their adult-hood to be quite fascinating.  I can certainly think of a few kids I went to school with whom I strongly suspect would have an autism/asperger’s diagnosis today, but almost surely did not back then.  As a parent of a child with autism and mental disabilities, I found this part quite affecting:

There is another group of people who are at least as needy: Undiagnosed baby boomers who soon will face life without the parents who have always supported them.

“Those are the people on the doorsteps of the service system,” said Marsha Mailick Seltzer, an autism expert at the University of Wisconsin. “They may not have a diagnosis, but they are there.”

An unknown number of families will face the predicament of Kay Duquette, 83, and her autistic daughter, Jeanne, 49.

“What will happen to her after I am gone?” said Kay, who is deaf and in failing health.

Honestly, in my case, it’s one of the reasons I’m glad we’ve got 4 kids, as that will be three people to love and look after Alex when Kim and I are gone.   Anyway, a lot of really good and thought-provoking stories in here.

Photos of the Day

Well, this has made the rounds in a couple of places, but it shows better than anything what a disaster Kim Jong Il has been for the people of North Korea:

Alan Taylor has taken the opportunity to put together some interesting shots of the Dear Leader.  What most struck me was the series of such genuine grief among North Koreans.  Clearly, his propaganda really worked on many of his own people.

Pyongyang residents mourn over the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, in this photo taken by Kyodo on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Kyodo) #


The Republican light bulb obsession

Perhaps Republican legislators might actually want to change one of their own light bulbs these days, and they’d discover that modern CFL’s deliver about the same color tone with none of their old annoying problems as incandescents.  Then, they’d stop being obsessed with eliminating regulations calling for more energy efficient light bulbs.  For starters, they’ve been pretending (don’t know better) that the new regulations don’t ban incandescents at all, just force them to be more efficient.  And, the light bulb industry is down with this.  The image below (via  Drum) gets right to the heart of it:

So, do you know what the Republican Party is doing to the lighting industry?  Introducing uncertainty!  But, I thought uncertainty is bad.  And, actually, in this case, it clearly is.  Apparently what’s worse is the stinkin’ gov’ment telling you what kind of damn light bulb you can use!  What’s next– forcing us all to eat quinoa?

Truth is, one might consider the light bulb marketplace an example where the market is not working as it should, and thus the government should step in with additional regulation.  Standard incandescent bulbs are amazingly cheap, so people buy them.   They are also amazingly inefficient for producing light.  I seem to recall some line about them being heat generators that produce some light as a side effect.  Thus, people buy them because they are cheap and they feel that right then and it’s much easier to discount the much higher electricity costs, and therefore higher lifetime expense, for the bulb.  If people really were rational consumers, they’d buy bulbs with a lower overall lifetime cost that gave off equivalent light.  CFL’s do that now.  As, of course, do the newer more efficient incandescents the Republicans are against.

It it most definitely in our nation’s interest not to waste our resources heating our homes with light bulbs.  And, it is in most everybody’s individual interest to do the same (they just don’t realize it).  Sounds to me like exactly the sort of situation you’d want the government to step in and tip the scales of the marketplace to something more rational.

Table of the day

So, I learned via my co-author that our latest published work on the politics of parenthood is now available on-line.   Here’s one of the key tables– you want to focus on the emboldened variables towards the bottom.  Short version: being a parent (but not being married, or the interaction of the two) makes women significantly more liberal on issues of welfare and aid to poor people, but has no effect on men.  You can get the whole big story when our book actually comes out next year.


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