Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng


Asawin Suebsaeng is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones. He has also written for The American Prospect, the Bangkok Post, and

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A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Asawin came back to DC with hopes of putting his flimsy Creative Writing major, student newspaper tenure, and interest in human rights and political chicanery to some use. He started cutting his teeth at F&M's student-run weekly, The College Reporter, serving as editor in chief. He has interned at The American Prospect, been a reporter for the Bangkok Post, and scribbled for His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

Photos: Joe Biden Unleashed

| Fri Mar. 16, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

In early March, Team Obama announced it had decided to "release the Biden": The pugnacious, filter-free VP would be returning to the campaign trail. Soon after, the campaign posted this photo to their website next to the headline "Welcome Joe back to the trail":

Yep. That's the 47th vice president of the United States at a 2012 campaign event, acting out a one-liner from CSI: Miami. Or preparing to gun down a yak from 200 yards away with the power of his mind bullets. Or simply striking a pose that might be described as "Bidening." The Internet jubilantly had its way with the imageGrist blogger David Roberts dubbed it the most "Joe Biden-y" photo ever taken.

Here are some more photos of Joe Biden being Biden—or at least doing a pretty good impression of The Onion version of himself:

Biden, at his part-time job as vice president of the United States of I-Wear-These-Aviators-Better-Than-You-Do.

...doing his best Jack-Nicholson-face.

In May 2011, probably saying something like, "Hey remember that time four days ago when we annihilated Bin Laden? That was pretty sweet."

Hey, remember that time four days ago when

Yet another in a series of photos of Biden cracking up the president. Here, he hangs up his Aviators to play Angry Birds last July, debt-ceiling crisis be damned.

Wreaking vengeance on thieving pigs who remind him of Bin Laden.

Showing up in Kandahar looking exactly like Steven Seagal in Machete while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) cowers behind him.

Lindsey Graham

A bromantic high-five. 

Needs more aviators.

In Iraq. Wearing the Aviators. Of course.


Ignoring a small child. And possibly telling the president a dirty joke.

Too damn cool

Biden and Obama, blowing off running the country for a few minutes of taxpayer-funded dicking around.

This is technically taxpayer funded.

 Oh hey Biden. Are you just bidin' your time? Or is that a UFO you see out there?

Image credits: TaraGiancaspro/Flickr; Pete Souza/The White House; Pete Souza/The White House; US Navy Petty Officer Aramis X. Ramirez/isafmedia; Pete Souza/The White House; The US Army/Flickr; Pete Souza/The White House; Pete Souza/The White House; Pete Souza/The White House

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The Sheer Banality and Brutality of the Assads

| Thu Mar. 15, 2012 2:34 PM PDT
Lovers of reality TV, country music, and mass slaughter.

On Wednesday, The Guardian published its series "The Assad emails," a compilation and analysis of dozens of emails obtained by the UK newspaper that appear to be hacked from the inboxes of Bashar and Asma al-Assad, Syria's first couple. The cache includes juicy tidbits about how the Assad regime solicited help from an Iranian government media adviser on how to handle PR during the Arab Spring protests, and how the Syrian president cracked some lame jokes about empty promises for political "reforms."

But the stolen emails also highlight how strikingly normal this brutal autocrat truly is in aspects of his daily life.*  Assad has directed the slaughter of thousands, subverted democracy at every turn, and threatened to "set fire" to the Middle East. But somewhere between the Barbara Walters interviews and all that mass-murdering, he makes time to troll the Internet. In an email titled "THE BEST ILLUSION OF ALL TIME!..." dated December 13, 2011—the same day government troops launched heavy attacks on the towns of Idlib, Homs, Hama, and Deraa—Bashar praises a magic trick performed on NBC's reality TV show America's Got Talent. He tells his spouse how the illusion—involving a bisected man and an Italian midget—"seems like David Copperfield."

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for March 13, 2012

| Tue Mar. 13, 2012 6:47 AM PDT

Participants in the Senior Airman Jason Cunningham Remembrance Ruck March trudge along the perimeter of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on March 4, 2012. Cunningham was a pararescueman who died in combat March 4, 2002, while saving 10 men's lives. The Air Force's Camp Cunningham at Bagram Airfield is named after him. The ruck march was one part of a three-part ceremony held in remembrance of the 10 year anniversary of his heroic sacrifice. (US Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ericka Engblom)

Iran War Watch: Syria Proxy War?

| Mon Mar. 12, 2012 1:45 PM PDT
A billboard with a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad, reading "Allah protects Syria," in Damascus.

Are the United States and Iran on a collision course over the Middle Eastern country's controversial nuclear program? We'll be posting the latest news on Iran-war fever—the intel, the media frenzy, the rhetoric.

The Obama administration and key allies are further mapping out potential military options for intervention in Syria, in the event that diplomatic efforts fail to stem the carnage. In the past month, the United States has also been flying surveillance drones over the Middle Eastern nation, and has extensively reviewed the viability of different military alternatives—even as any large-scale US military operation seems increasingly unlikely.

The Washington Post reports:

[Options] include directly arming opposition forces, sending troops to guard a humanitarian corridor or "safe zone" for the rebels, or an air assault on Syrian air defenses, according to officials from the United States and other nations opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But the governments remain deeply divided over the scope of any intervention, how and when it would happen, and who would participate...There is [however] widespread agreement that the threat to regional and international stability increases with each day that passes, as more civilians are killed in ever-more brutal ways, with no progress toward a peaceful transition.

(For the record, regional players Turkey, Qatar, and Tunisia have all recently called for some form of military intervention in Syria.)

Mitt Romney's Birthday Playlist

| Mon Mar. 12, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

If you refuse to apologize for America, have trouble staying on message, and you share a birthday with Jack Kerouac, Liza Minnelli, Jake Tapper, and Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladić...then your name is probably Willard Mitt Romney.

Today—Monday, March 12, 2012—Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be celebrating his 65th birthday. For his big, special day, we threw together a playlist of songs that any man of his stature and taste would surely enjoy bro-ing out to on his birthday. (Despite the temptation, "Who Let the Dogs Out?" will not be included.) Joyeux anniversaire, Monsieur Romney:

1. The Ramones, "Happy Birthday to You": Mad magazine beat us to the punch of making the Romney/Mr. Burns connection. Thus, we present to you the Ramones, singing at Mr. Burns' birthday bash on a classic 1993 episode of The Simpsons. After speeding through their ragged cover of "Happy Birthday to You," bassist C. J. Ramone tells Burns to "go to hell, you old bastard," to which Burns responds by telling Waylon Smithers to "have the Rolling Stones killed"—a degree of out-of-touchedness that Mitt Romney should easily recognize.

Ironically, if guitarist Johnny Ramone were alive today, he would undoubtedly be an avowed Romneyite. (The rest of the band, not so much.)

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