US to block sale of major electronics to Kim Jong Il

We're not sure which is funnier, that Kim Jong Il is a fan of "luxury items" ranging from cognac to "iPods, plasma televisions and Segway electric scooters" (Yo, Mr. Kim, let's talk shop sometime, ok?) or the fact that the US really thinks its measures, which will likely be ineffective, can stop the Dear Leader's ability to buy these items. In an Associated Press article, William Reinsch, a former senior Commerce Department official, said that iPods and laptops (we're assuming he means in North Korea) are "untraceable and available all over the place." If that's true, then the government's plan is definitely screwed, and perhaps Secretary Rice should give us a call instead. Here's why: if in 2000, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright can present Mr. Kim with a signed basketball by Michael Jordan, and then get a state dinner in Pyongyang as a thank you, imagine what a Steve Jobs-signed iPod delivered by the editors of Engadget would do for foreign relations. Seriously, Secretary Rice and President Bush, we await your call.

[Thanks, Mack S.]