Why North Korea Needs Don Draper

The disgustingly good looking Jon Hamm as Don Draper. To make things even more unfair, we hear he’s a pretty good guy.

Anyone reading the title may laugh (sotto voce would be most appropriate) and wonder what I’m really getting at. Not only because a) for the uninitiated, Don Draper is the fictional advertising executive from television’s Mad Men, but b) for the initiated, Draper’s portrayal in the show as a defender of “blood-on-your-mouth” capitalism makes him a rather unworthy candidate to represent a worker’s paradise like the DPRK.

But really, I’m serious.

To put North Korea’s popularity abroad in SAT terms:

DPRK : Outside DPRK = LeBron James : Outside Miami (Except Seattle) Read the rest of this entry »

Why the “Satellite” Launch Will Be Successful – and Why That Should Worry Us

Well, that was fast.

Barely two weeks after what seemed to be a good first step in the right direction, the North Koreans announced that they would test-fire a satellite launching rocket sometime in mid-April.

Having taken a course called “Outer Space and Security” in grad school many moons ago (where my final term paper was coincidentally on the North Korean ballistic missile program), I happen to know a little bit about the vagaries of ballistic missile technology. As reported en masse over the weekend, ballistic missiles/space rockets happen to fall in the same “dual use” quandary as nuclear energy. Namely, that the same technologies that can help a country send a satellite into space can also help a country strike another country, such as the United States, thousands of miles away.

So really, what are the North Koreans thinking? Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian News on Revamped KCNA Website

In case you have not yet had a chance to visit, do check out the completely revamped (North) Korean Central News Agency website. Not only has the site become a lot more functional, with a left-hand menu that allows you to browse (in addition to “Kim Jong Il’s Activities”) subject matter such as politics, economy, culture and nature, as well as picture and videos.

More interesting yet, the daily news items now include international news. Today, for example, there is an item about Canadian internal affairs: Canada′s Harper Government Defeated by Parliament Non-Confidence Vote.

Stephen Harper

Harper after non-confidence vote (photo by Reuters)

Pyongyang, March 30 (KCNA) — The Canadian House of Commons passed on Mar. 25 a non-confidence motion tabled by opposition parties, defeating the ruling Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper for contempt of Parliament.

It made the Harper government the first one defeated for being in contempt of Parliament in Canada’s history.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said that the government is in contempt of Parliament for refusing to supply enough information on the cost of the F-35 fighter jets procurement, their justice system reforms and their projections for corporate profits and tax rates. -0-

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