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.

That Time George McGovern Hosted "SNL"...

| Mon Oct. 22, 2012 4:34 PM PDT

Early Sunday morning, George S. McGovern, the former Democratic senator from South Dakota, died in a Sioux Falls hospice at the age of 90. In his decades of public service McGovern cultivated a reputation as one of American liberalism's heavy-hitters: A decorated WWII veteran who raged against nuclear "overkill," fought global hunger, and fervently opposed American military intervention in Vietnam. But history has a tendency to reduce figures to single sentences, so he remains best known for his epic, idealistic dud of a presidential run against Richard Nixon in 1972.

Here's a round-up of footage and photos taken during the late progressive icon's long career:

The campaign ads

This video compiles some pro-McGovern ads from his 1972 campaign, and a couple from his 1984 run in the Democratic primaries. In his longshot (and mostly symbolic) '84 campaign, he implored liberal voters not to "throw away [their] conscience," and to reaffirm commitment to center-left values in the Reagan era. Click here to watch a Nixon attack ad that uses children's toys to illustrate how a President McGovern would slash the defense budget and cut "into the very security of [America]."

The concession speech

In which he cites Adlai Stevenson, the poet W. B. Yeats, and Isaiah 40:31.

"Saturday Night Live" hosting gig

A month after he ended his '84 presidential campaign, McGovern showed up at Studio 8H to host an episode of Saturday Night Live. (This was back when Eddie Murphy and Julia Louis-Dreyfus were still cast members.)

Hanging With JFK

Served as  /Na McGovern served as the first director of the Food for Peace program, earning major props from President Kennedy, before hitting the Senatorial campaign trail in 1962. National Archives

In vietnam

In Vietnam /wikiThis photo was snapped during Sen. McGovern's first trip to South Vietnam, in November 1965. After three weeks in the war zone, he returned to the US more devoted to peace efforts than ever before. Ending the war would become his signature issue.  USOM

Debating Barry Goldwater

Just weeks before Election Day 1988, McGovern sat down with Barry Goldwater (another ex-senator and party icon who lost a presidential election in a historic landslide) on The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour to discuss the state of both their parties, as well as what it means to be a "liberal."

Chilling With Gore VIDAL

Gore Vidal /FlickrThe controversial, iconoclastic author joined McGovern for a panel discussion at the Richard M. Nixon Library and Museum during the ex-senator's 2009 book tour. Scott Clarkson/Wikimedia Commons

When Hillary Lost George

In May 2008, McGovern withdrew the endorsement he had given then Senator Hillary Clinton in October 2007, and switched over to team Obama. He believed the Clinton campaign was doomed, and said he did not want to see the Democratic Party go through a "repeat of what happened to [him] in 1972" when a protracted primary battle left him bloodied for his general election contest with Nixon. If Clinton held a grudge for this pragmatic move, it didn't show when she shared the stage with him during her acceptance of the George McGovern Leadership Award from the World Food Program in October 2010.

Mcgovern's advice to obama

From May 2009: "I have a very deep concern about President Obama putting in another 21,000 troops into Afghanistan with the promise of more to come. I think if we continue to send troops in there, it could be the Vietnam of this present administration."

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STUDY: Injecting Young Blood May Reverse Effects of Aging

| Fri Oct. 19, 2012 11:18 AM PDT

In late April, film icon Molly Ringwald held an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit. When asked how she has how she had managed to maintain (and, in the opinion of the curious Redditor, improve) her physical appearance as she approaches middle-age, Ringwald responded: "I drink the blood of Kristen Stewart."

That was a playful joke. Now, have some science:

Experiments on mice have shown that it is possible to rejuvenate the brains of old animals by injecting them with blood from the young. [Saul Villeda], who led the work, found that blood from young mice reversed some of the effects of ageing in the older mice..."Do I think that giving young blood could have an effect on a human? I'm thinking more and more that it might," said Villeda.

And just like that, real life became a horror movie.

The Guardian reports that Villeda (a 2012 NIH Early Independence Award winner and University of California San Francisco faculty fellow) and his team "connected the circulatory systems of an old and young mouse so that their blood could mingle." (For another example of attempts at age-rejuvenating blood-mingling, click here.)

But to get serious for a moment, Villeda's research does show promise for efforts to combat declining brain function and Alzheimer's disease, as new blood may boost learning and memory capacity in older patients. "What I am thinking is if we can address it earlier, when our body still has the control to prevent this from happening, then we might not have to cure Alzheimer's, we might just be able to stop it," Villeda said at the Society for Neuroscience conference in New Orleans earlier this week. Whereas infusion of "old" blood runs the risk of damaging a patient's brain and vital organs (something to do with the sheer quantity of inflammatory proteins in the plasma), younger blood might, as it seems to have done with mice, help develop new synapses in the brain and revitalize tissue in human subjects. Of course, a far greater amount of research is still necessary before greenlighting this as actual therapy.

The idea sounds macabre, perhaps hilariously so. But don't let the echoes of Hungarian "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Báthory make you forget that, if this discovery pans out, there could be major medical advances down the road.

"Movie & An Argument" Podcast: American Horror, "Don't Trust the Bitch," and Tyler Perry

| Fri Oct. 19, 2012 3:03 AM PDT

On this week's episode of A Movie & An Argument, With Alyssa Rosenberg & Asawin Suebsaeng, we discuss (scroll down for audio):

  • The new season of American Horror Story, which revolves around a trash-talking, torture-happy nun who wears red lingerie. Also, in the first scene of season 2, Maroon 5's lead singer and Channing Tatum's wife have sex in an abandoned insane asylum, and then get attacked by an ogre, so there's that. (Alyssa has a write-up of the first two episodes here.)
  • The second season of the ABC sitcom Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, which premieres on Tuesday, October 23.
  • Alex Cross, a serial killer movie starring Tyler Perry as a homicide detective. It gets a wide release on Friday, October 19.

Listen here:

"American Horror Story: Asylum": A Torturing, Lingerie-Clad Nun, and Other Seasonal Joys

| Wed Oct. 17, 2012 5:22 PM PDT

American Horror Story: Asylum opens with a scene in which the lead singer of Maroon 5 and Channing Tatum's wife break into a derelict insane asylum, and start having ridiculous honeymoon sex. During a spout of fellatio, the frontman of Maroon 5 is suddenly attacked by ogre, sending an arterial mist all over his bride's face.

Channing Tatum's wife screams accordingly.

POLL: Obama Leads Among Small Children Who Can't Vote

| Wed Oct. 17, 2012 9:17 AM PDT

If only ACORN were still around:

Obama supporters. /ShutterstockObama supporters. Morgan Lane Photography/Shutterstock

President Barack Obama won the Scholastic Student Vote by a margin of 51 percent to 45 percent over Mitt Romney. The vote polls those under 18 to weigh their preferences in a mock election. More than 250,000 did. Obama took home Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Ohio, while Romney won Virginia. 

Sadly for the Obama campaign, a certain amendment to a certain document precludes these impressionable nine-year-olds and drunk high-schoolers from casting ballots in the election. Scholastic did emphasize that their presidential poll "may not be official, but its results have often indicated who eventually wins the presidential race" since the mock poll started in 1940. The children surveyed have so far only failed to predict the future twice, with a majority voting for for Dewey over Truman in 1948 (can't really blame them on that one...), and Nixon over JFK in 1960 (one of the closest US presidential elections ever, and one that many Americans are still convinced was stolen by Kennedy cronies).

The Scholastic vote joins other inconsequential election-year indicators—including eyebrow length, tooth discoloration, and Barack/Mitt Chia Pets—that point to an Obama win in November.

The underage students ranked the most important issues in this elections as the economy, health care, and the war in Afghanistan. Actual registered voters, according to Gallup data this year, generally rank the economy, "dissatisfaction with government," and health care as their top three, with the war hovering at or below 5 percent.

No word yet on where that 4 percent of uncommitted or third-party child voters stands on Gary Johnson.

Here's a helpful chart to show you which way non-voting minors break on a state-by-state basis (check out how the candidates are doing with kids in the swing states):

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