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.

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Read Ronald Reagan's Letter to the Late Mickey Rooney About the Time He Rescued a Dog

| Mon Apr. 7, 2014 9:00 AM PDT

On Sunday, Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney died at the age of 93. He was with his family when he passed away at his North Hollywood home.

"He was a tremendous talent, and someone at 5-foot-tall that everybody looked up to," actor Billy Crystal said on Monday. Rooney had a long, successful career on stage and screen, one that included reigning as the top moneymaking movie star from 1939 to 1942 (his streak came to a halt when he enlisted in the Army). He starred in films such as Love Finds Andy Hardy, alongside Judy Garland, and Breakfast at Tiffany's (in which he—nowadays notoriously so—played a full-throttle Japanese caricature).

Rooney was also a friend of actor-turned-most-powerful-man-in-the-world Ronald Reagan. Below is one of President Reagan's letters to Rooney and his wife Jan, written in 1985. The president invited the couple to a White House dinner. Rooney couldn't make it, and wrote back, "Damn it! It's always when I'm working, but thank goodness that I am." Here is Reagan's reply, in which he writes about the time he and Mickey Rooney met:

Dear Jan and Mickey,

Sorry you can't make it June 12th but you have an ongoing rain check. While we'll miss you we're happy you are working 'cause that means pleasure for a lot of people.

Mickey I'll bet you don't remember the first time we met. The year was 1937 or thereabouts. I was new in Hollywood living in the Montecito apartments. Someone had run over a dog in the street outside. You came in to look for a phone book so you could find the nearest veterinarian and take the dog to him. I figured this had to be a nice guy and I was right.

Nancy sends her best and so do I.

Sincerely, Ronald Reagan

Click here to read another one of President Reagan's letters to Rooney.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Is About Obama's Terror-Suspect Kill List, Say the Film's Directors

| Fri Apr. 4, 2014 7:23 AM PDT

There are currently no plans to screen Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the White House, as far as the film's directors have heard. But if it makes it to the White House family theater, President Obama would be watching one big-budget, action-packed, and Scarlett Johansson-starring critique of his controversial terror-suspect "kill list."

This isn't me reading things into a mainstream comic-book movie. It's what the directors themselves will tell you.

"[Marvel] said they wanted to make a political thriller," Joe Russo, who directed the film with his brother Anthony, tells Mother Jones. "So we said if you want to make a political thriller, all the great political thrillers have very current issues in them that reflect the anxiety of the audience...That gives it an immediacy, it makes it relevant. So [Anthony] and I just looked at the issues that were causing anxiety for us, because we read a lot and are politically inclined. And a lot of that stuff had to do with civil liberties issues, drone strikes, the president's kill list, preemptive technology"—all themes they worked into the film, working closely with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

The Worst Genocidal Tweet of the Year, Brought to You by This Former Breitbart Contributor

| Thu Apr. 3, 2014 7:42 AM PDT

On Wednesday, a gunman went on a rampage at Fort Hood, Texas—the site of a mass shooting in November 2009—killing three people and injuring at least 16 others before taking his own life. The soldier was being treated for depression and anxiety. His motive remains unclear, and the Fort Hood commanding general told reporters that "there is no indication that this incident is related to terrorism."

When awful things happen, people sometimes express themselves on Twitter. Here's how conservative filmmaker Patrick Dollard, who on Twitter identifies himself as a "contributing journalist" at Breitbart, chose to respond to the news:

Pat Dollard tweet
@patdollard/Twitter

Following this genocidal tweet, Dollard also wrote, "Yeah, Obama's 'heartbroken' over Ft. Hood because it wasn't Muslim terrorism."

Dollard is a former Hollywood agent who has since embedded with US Marines in Iraq and become an aggressive right-wing presence online. "In 2004, having made his name as Steven Soderbergh's agent, Pat Dollard was the stereotypical Hollywood operator: coked-up, Armani-sheathed, separated from his fourth wife, and rapidly self-destructing," according to a 2007 Vanity Fair profile.

We asked the editor of Breitbart, Alex Marlow, and the site's publisher, Stephen Bannon, for a comment on Dollard's slaughter-Muslims tweet. Within minutes, Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for Breitbart News, called and said, Dollard "was not a paid contributor and has not contributed for three years. He should not call himself a contributor." Asked if Breitbart would consider publishing future articles submitted by Dollard, Bardella replied, "We have no plans to accept anything. We haven't ruled anything out. But he is not a Breitbart contributor."

Fox News Sends Reporter to Cover Spring Break in Florida. But What About Benghazi?

| Wed Apr. 2, 2014 5:04 PM PDT

Fox News host and prominent knockout-game-myth purveyor Sean Hannity announced this week an investigation into spring break. Here's the first installment, in which Fox correspondent Ainsley Earhardt heads to Panama City. (For the second installment, click here). The Hannity segment covers binge-drinking, twerking, premarital sex, public drug use, and other things young hooligans perpetrate while on spring break:

"Ainsley recalled that some people were actually having sex on the beach, while girls were flashing the crowds for Mardi Gras-style beads," the Fox News blog reads. (Erin Gloria Ryan of Jezebel has some of the segment's money quotes here, including, "I have vodka and Red Bull and I'm getting crunk than a mug!")

Well, at least it isn't another Fox segment on Benghazi.

Also, you can compare the quality of the very real and outraged Fox coverage of spring break to the very fake and outrage coverage carried out by KHBX—the fictional news team in Comedy Central's short-lived, Zach Galifianakis-starring satire Dog Bites Man. Enjoy:

Mon Oct. 28, 2013 6:58 AM PDT
Fri Oct. 25, 2013 3:00 AM PDT
Wed Oct. 9, 2013 3:00 AM PDT
Thu Sep. 26, 2013 4:29 PM PDT
Mon Sep. 9, 2013 3:00 AM PDT