Decline Watch: Malnourished muppet to appear on Sesame Street

The pioneering children's show has always striven to include characters representative of its viewing audience. Sadly, that now increasingly includes children who don't get enough to eat: 

A new poverty-stricken Muppet will highlight the issue of hunger struggles on an episode of "Sesame Street", the show said in a statement on Tuesday.

Pink-faced Muppet Lily, whose family deals with food insecurity, will join Big Bird, Elmo and other favorites on a one-hour prime-time special featuring country star Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly Williams Paisley called "Growing Hope Against Hunger," to air Oct 9.

The new Muppet will bring awareness to the ongoing hunger struggles that families face in the United States, the show said.

"Food insecurity is a growing and difficult issue for adults to discuss, much less children," the Paisleys said in a statement.

Decline-o-meter: Good for Sesame Street for taking this on, but it's still a pretty grim sign.

I do have to wonder if the special will include Cookie Monster -- a potent symbol of American excess and overconsumption if there ever was one. 

On a lighter note, be sure to check out the #OccupySesameStreet hashtag today.


Meet Kim Han Sol

It's been a very public few days for Kim Jong Il's 16-year-old grandson, Kim Han Sol.

On Friday, the United World College's (UWC) Bosnia-Herzegovina campus, one of 13 UWC international schools globally, announced Kim Han Sol's acceptance. Board chairman David Sutcliffe explained that the decision "understandably generated surprise and comment, some of it critical." But, echoing the school's mission statement, he went on to say that the UWCs "exist in order to cross new frontiers in international education.… The opportunity of taking a first step in bringing North Korea into the international community, through youth, is one to be cherished."

Three days after the UWC announcement, the Korean Daily News discovered what's believed to be Han Sol's Facebook page as well as the page of his father, Kim Jong Il's eldest son, Kim Jong Nam. If it is really him, then one picture shows Han sporting dyed blond hair and posing with a girlfriend. His favorite movie, according to the page, is Love Actually. Notably for the grandson of one of the world's most brutal tyrants, the page includes an encyclopedia definition of democracy. He also reportedly polled his friends on whether they preferred it to communism, as he did.

In this way, Kim Han Sol would resemble his father, whose talk of reform within North Korea (and being caught with a fake passport with the name "Fat Bear" en route to Tokyo Disney Land) cost him his position in line for the throne. Kim Jong Nam has lived in exile in China and Macau since 2001. What's believed to be his own Facebook page criticizes both his father and the North Korean establishment including his half brother, heir apparent Kim Jong Un.

In any event, it doesn't seem like there's much future for Kim Han Sol in the family business.

Photo by