Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng

Reporter

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 Shoecomics.com.

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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 ShoeComics.com. His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

Here's Why You Don't See Romney Reacting to the 47 Percent Video in "Mitt"

| Wed Jan. 22, 2014 2:37 PM PST

"I think I'm a flawed candidate," says Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, in director Greg Whiteley's behind-the-scenes documentary Mitt, which premieres on Netflix on Friday. The film, which spans six years and two Romney presidential runs, offers some intimate moments of the Romney family on the campaign trail. We get to see Mitt privately acknowledging that his image was boiled down to "the flippin' Mormon," the family playing in the snow, Ann Romney talking about her horse, and Mitt ironing his tux sleeve while wearing it.

But if you're looking for a more thorough political history of the 2012 campaign and the GOP candidate, you'll notice (as we previously pointed out here) a few things missing: Bain outsourcing jobs, self-deportation, Romneycare, Obamacare, the decision to pick Paul Ryan as running mate, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," Afghanistan, Iraq, varmint-shooting, cheesy grits, abortion, China, "binders full of women," Benghazi, "corporations are people, my friend," and a whole lot more.

Furthermore, Whiteley's film doesn't include any scenes revealing how Romney and his team processed the release of the 47 percent video—news that came to reinforce Romney's political persona. The reason? Limited access—and, according to Whiteley, the fact that the goal in making the movie wasn't to please political junkies.

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Major Democratic Fundraiser Katy Perry Vows To Ask Obama About Potential Alien Invaders

| Tue Jan. 21, 2014 11:55 AM PST

For its new cover story, GQ magazine has a wide-ranging interview with Democratic fundraiser/pop star Katy Perry, in which the 29-year-old singer chats about her relationship with the president of the United States—and what she's eager to ask him about. It has to do with space aliens (naturally):

I believe in a lot of astrology. I believe in aliens. I look up into the stars and I imagine: How self-important are we to think that we are the only life-form? I mean, if my relationship with Obama gets any better, I'm going to ask him that question. It just hasn't been appropriate yet.

(Regarding her relationship with President Obama, she jokes that she "might have won Wisconsin for him." Even though she was kidding, The Wire provided a chart-filled debunking of her "claim.")

Who knows if or when Perry will be able to ask the president about aliens. But in the meantime, it might help her to know that the Obama administration already addressed this more than two years ago. Here's their answer, written by Phil Larson of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy:

The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet...However, that doesn't mean the subject of life outside our planet isn't being discussed or explored. In fact, there are a number of projects working toward the goal of understanding if life can or does exist off Earth...Many scientists and mathematicians have looked with a statistical mindset at the question of whether life likely exists beyond Earth and have come to the conclusion that the odds are pretty high that somewhere among the trillions and trillions of stars in the universe there is a planet other than ours that is home to life.

Many have also noted, however, that the odds of us making contact with any of them—especially any intelligent ones—are extremely small, given the distances involved.

So there it is.

Perry, whose interest in politics and humanitarian aid goes far beyond her friendly relationship with the president (she traveled with UNICEF to visit slums and villages in Madagascar last year, for example), is a fiercely liberal person. She even barred her Republican parents from attending a 2013 Obama inauguration concert at which she performed. "My parents are Republicans, and I'm not," she told Marie Claire. "They didn't vote for Obama, but when I was asked to sing at the inauguration, they were like, 'We can come.' And I was like, 'No, you can't. I love you so much, but that—on principle.' They understood, but I was like, 'How dare you?' in a way."

Here's video of Perry performing at an Obama 2012 rally in Las Vegas. Her dress makes her political preference clear:

This Is How Ringo Starr Got Involved With the New "Powerpuff Girls" Special

| Mon Jan. 20, 2014 1:39 PM PST

Earlier this month, you might have heard the latest song by ex-Beatle and former NORAD Santa tracker Ringo Starr. It's a new track he recorded for (of all things) The Powerpuff Girls, a beloved Cartoon Network series about three adorable little girls with superpowers and their professor father.  The show ended its original run nine years ago, but an all-new special episode, titled The Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed, is set to air on Monday night. Starr guest-stars as a mathematician named Fibonacci Sequins (click here to check out his cartoon look), and recorded "Wish I Was a Powerpuff Girl" for an animated music video (which you can watch below).

The A.V. Club called the video "trippy." BuzzFeed dubbed the tune "the most adorable song." And Rolling Stone reported that the "video, if nothing else, proves that the experimental Sixties spirit still shines bright."

This isn't the first time The Powerpuff Girls has been associated with The Beatles. The episode "Meet the Beat Alls," which follows a villainous supergroup's reign of terror, is packed full of Beatles references. But how exactly did the former Beatles drummer end up playing a part in The Powerpuff Girls? Well, according to Dave Smith (who directed the new episode and served as a storyboard artist during the show's initial run), it took some convincing—and it almost didn't happen.

"Brian Miller, who runs Cartoon Network in Los Angeles, came up to us one day and said that he's one degree separated from Ringo Starr, and asked us if we wanted to reach out to him for a role," Smith says. "We thought Ringo Starr would be fantastic as the mathematician. So we came up with a character design and sent Ringo a brief synopsis of the show and the characters he could play. And he politely declined."

Study Says Comedians Have Psychotic Personality Traits—Here's What Some Comedians Have To Say About That

| Fri Jan. 17, 2014 4:44 PM PST

If you've ever seen footage of comedian Bill Hicks taking on a heckler, you might have thought to yourself, "Wow, that was pretty psychotic."

Well, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, you weren't that far off. For the study, which is titled, "Psychotic traits in comedians," researchers recruited 523 comedians (404 male and 119 female, most of whom were amateurs) from the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The researchers determined that comedians scored significantly higher on four types of psychotic personality traits compared to a control group of individuals who had non-artistic jobs. The study focuses on two major categories of psychosis—bipolar disorder and schizophrenia—and examines impulsive non-conformity.

"The results of this study substantially confirmed our expectation that comedians would behave like other creative groups in showing a high level of psychotic personality traits," the authors wrote. "They did so across all the domains sampled by the questionnaire we used, from schizoid and schizophrenic-like characteristics through to manic-depressive features."

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