China's spectacularly awful Spring Festival Gala

Seen by as many as 1 billion people annually since 1983, China Central Television's Spring Festival Gala is one of the most watched non-sports TV events in history. And it's terrible: a Chinese variety show featuring saccharine songs, skits with most vestiges of humor or originality censored out, and (this year) performances by both Celine Dion and Yanni.  For the latest Bloggingheads.TV episode, I spoke with Brendan O'Kane, a Beijing-based blogger at Rectified.name, about the show and the mangled wasteland that is Chinese television. Watch the entire episode here, or an excerpt on how the gala reflects life in China, below: 

Passport

How does America's nuclear arsenal stack up against North Korea's?

President Barack Obama has taken some heat over the news that his administration may cut America's nuclear arsenal by "at least a third," according to FP contributor R. Jeffrey Smith of the Center for Public Integrity. As Republican operative Michael Goldfarb tweeted, "Good timing for Obama's State of the Union announcement of unilateral nuke cuts." Just after the test, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte issued a press release headlined "Now Is Not the Time to Reduce Our Nuclear Deterrent," and a few other senators made the same link in Tuesday's Senate committee hearing vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense.

And indeed, the timing for such an announcement didn't seem politically wise, given that North Korea just tested its own nuclear device -- which may explain why the president didn't mention the cuts on Tuesday night, aside from a vague pledge to seek bilateral reductions with Russia.

But what about the substance? Just how does Obama's pile of nukes stack up against Kim Jong Un's? I asked Hans M. Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, which tracks these issues closely. Here's what he said:

The total combined yield of all the warheads in the US nuclear stockpile is an estimated 1,400 Megatons. Warhead yields range from 0.3 kilotons to 1.2 Megatons per warhead.

North Korea doesn't yet have an "arsenal" in the form of deliverable warheads, but might have enough fissile material for less than 10 weapons. If their three tests are an indication, then an estimated combined yield of 20-50 kilotons might be a reasonable estimate. That is assuming yields of 4-6 kilotons per warhead.

Here's what that looks like in one handy chart:

Call me crazy, but I think we can handle the cuts.