I wonder what present Obama will send?
The devoted threw a party fit for a prince: There were dancers, singers and synchronized swimmers, not to mention unnamed foreign dignitaries -- all celebrating the 68th birthday Tuesday of Kim Jong Il, North Korea's glorious "Dear Leader." In Pyongyang, state-run media lauded a national hero "praised by mankind as the most outstanding political elder and the peerlessly brilliant commander of the present era." Outside the isolationist state, though, the take on Kim's milestone was a bit less breathless as analysts questioned his physical and mental health following a suspected stroke in 2008. In a South Korean journal article published this month, a senior analyst wrote that many North Korean officials do not expect Kim to live longer than another five years.
Also noted in the LA Times article by John Glionna is Dear Leader's physical and mental health:
Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the private Sejong Institute think tank outside Seoul, says that Kim regularly undergoes kidney dialysis due to complications from diabetes.
Citing what the report called reliable sources, Cheong wrote that Kim suffers from depression and is psychologically unstable.
"Kim Jong Il is known to have shed some tears when bodyguards were with him, unlike in the past," according to the journal report.
Choeng says Kim's failing health has led him to hasten his search for a successor. Rumors persist that Kim last year named his third son, Kim Jong-un, to succeed him.
One anonymous South Korean intelligence expert told the Associated Press that Kim has forsaken Western medicine for expensive, hard-to-find remedies such as bear gall- bladder, rhinoceros horn and musk -- much of it imported from China.
Rhinos are among the most endangered species on the planet. Where are the animal rights folks when you need them?
Needless to say, this kook should do us all a favor and retire. Not that his son would be much better. But the idea of nuclear weapons in the hands of someone western intel believes to be mentally unstable should give all of us the willies.