The first Morning Jolt of the week features some good news on the search for a cure for AIDS, a few recommendations on folks to keep an eye on in the political online world, and then this… utterly bizarre bit of weekend news:
Shocking News: Dennis Rodman Meets With North Koreans! Also, Dennis Rodman Is Still Alive!
This weekend was dominated by perhaps the very weirdest of news:
In his first interview since returning to the U.S. from an unprecedented visit to North Korea last week, former NBA star Dennis Rodman said he bears a message for President Obama from the country’s oppressive leader, Kim Jong Un.
“He wants Obama to do one thing: Call him,” Rodman told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.” “He said, ‘If you can, Dennis – I don’t want [to] do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”
The athlete also offered Kim some diplomatic advice for potential future talks with President Obama.
“[Kim] loves basketball. And I said the same thing, I said, ‘Obama loves basketball.’ Let’s start there,” Rodman said.
Rodman’s comments come just days after the basketball star shocked the world with an unexpected trip to Pyongyang, North Korea, becoming the first known American to publicly meet with the mysterious Kim since he assumed command of the totalitarian nation after the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il in 2011.
This is one of those news stories I hate, because the news itself is so spectacularly absurd, it’s almost impossible to mock.
Boy, quite the “get” there, huh, George Stephanopolous? You advised Clinton and anchor Good Morning America, and now you have to treat the NBA’s equivalent to Ruby Rhod like he’s the second coming of Henry Kissinger. You know, back in 2008, we mocked Obama as a “celebrity.” Now we’ve reached the point where guys who can’t qualify for Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice are running around the world holding summits with the world’s most dangerous men. It’s enough to leave you yearning for the gravitas and seriousness of Jesse Jackson’s freelance diplomacy.
Next week, Scottie Pippin tries to talk down Bashir Assad, and Phil Jackson is supposed to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, because talking the Iranians out of their nuclear program will be easier than picking up the pieces of what’s left of the Lakers after this year.
You should have stuck it out with him, Carmen Electra! Anyone could have seen this man was going places!
The entire bizarre spectacle left Bethany Mandel fuming:
Upon leaving the country, Rodman promised that Kim would have a “friend for life” and declared that Kim Jong-un was an “awesome guy” and that his father and grandfather, other homicidal leaders of the country, were “great leaders.”
What could have prompted this effusiveness from Rodman? Despite the country’s total lack of infrastructure, freedom and food supply, enormous shows and basketball matches were put together for Rodman, the Harlem Globetrotters and their entourage. It’s not likely Rodman was aware of the dire situation for most North Koreans given that as he boarded his flight he tweeted about looking forward to meeting South Korean pop star Psy. Even as he was about to enter the country, Rodman couldn’t differentiate between the poverty-striken North and the affluent and capitalist South.
Many stories in the news media of the visit included reports of the human rights situation in the country. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer declared Rodman achieved a “diplomatic triumph,” however a report from his own network told a different story:
It was unclear whether Rodman, who is accompanied by Globetrotters Bull Bullard, Buckets Blakes and Moose Weekes, will be taken to North Korea’s countryside, where aid groups say malnutrition is rampant.
According to Human Rights Watch, hundreds of thousands of people remain enslaved in prison camps, which are “notorious for horrific living conditions and abuse.”
It appears the North Koreans provided the group with “a feast” amidst a reported famine.
She points out that the silver lining is that North Korea’s brutality is back in the headlines again.
One other upside? For once, we can’t blame the Obama administration for going over and treating one of the world’s most ruthless regimes as if they’re hunky dory. Unlike some people we know…
All in all, the trip represents an opportunity missed: why couldn’t the North Koreans keep Rodman?
Finally, maybe this can all be chalked up to sleepless nights: “North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un is a new father after his wife secretly gave birth to a child that intelligence officials believe could emerge as the communist dynasty’s fourth hereditary dictator.”