We are accustomed in this country to the media scrutiny that is placed upon our top political figures and their families. Most people, for example, can probably name a thing or two they know about First Lady Michelle Obama, or elaborate upon certain non-political attributes of the president.
The 24/7 media coverage of our leaders might get tiresome sometimes, but consider how little North Koreans must know about their leaders. Not until Wednesday did the world learn that North Korea's new young president, Kim Jong Eun, is married.
The woman he's married to (Ri Sol Ju) has appeared in public with Kim before but not until Wednesday was she identified by the reclusive country's leadership as the dictator's wife.
Some years ago, experts on the Soviet Union used to speculate about matters going on inside that former communist country because so little accurate information escaped it. Only a few countries so secretive as that now exist, with North Korea topping the list.
Now we know just a little bit more about its new leader, but the information is nothing really astounding to learn in a country like ours which is used to finding out in detail what the president is doing on vacation or what the family pet is named.
Compared to the secretive, repressive countries like North Korea, we should be thankful and feel fortunate for sometimes knowing more than we care to.
Score one for politics
The Democratic-controlled Senate scored a political victory Wednesday -- but nothing more -- by passing legislation that would extend tax cuts for Americans earning less than $250,000 annually.
However, the measure will surely die in the Republican-run House which wants those cuts extended to all Americans.
Democrats are casting the notion that cuts extended to the wealthiest Americans will be significantly detrimental to debt reduction. But the amount of revenue in question -- some $85 billion in each of the next 10 years if you believe the impact of the cuts in question can be computed so simplistically, as Democrats suggest -- is a pittance compared to federal government expenditures. It also pales compared to the massive national debt that has grown to $15.9 trillion and increases by $1 million about every 28 seconds.