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.

Snoop Dogg Endorses Obama With Profanity-Laced Tirade

| Mon Sep. 10, 2012 3:34 PM EDT

Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (more commonly known by his stage name Snoop Dogg and/or Snoop Lion) has joined the chorus of celebrities throwing their support behind President Obama. The veteran gangsta rapper offered a spirited political endorsement:

[George W. Bush] fucked up for eight years so you at least gotta give [Barack Obama] eight years. He cleaned up half the shit in four years realistically. It ain't like you gave him a clean house. Y'all gave him a house with a TV that didn't work, the toilet was stuffed up; everything was wrong with the house. [The American people] need to give Obama four more years.

If any of that sounds familiar, it's probably because Bill Clinton basically said the exact same thing at the Democratic convention last week:

No president—not me or any of my predecessors—could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it...[President Obama] inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, [and] began the long hard road to recovery...[W]e have to re-elect President Barack Obama!

Snoop Dogg/Lion—who insists that he is the reincarnation of Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley—has come a long way since 2008, when he accused then Sen. Obama of accepting money from the Ku Klux Klan. (Although Dogg/Lion also emphasized back then that "that muthafucker [Obama's] gonna be the president cuz McCain can't fuck with him. Hillary can't fuck with him. He's winning over white people, white ladies.")

Earlier this year, the rap icon publicly offered to start hitting the bong with Obama. He and the president have some strong, longstanding disagreements regarding the drug war. But that hasn't proved a deal breaker:

And the two go way back: Here's footage from 2008 of Barack Obama dancing to a recording of Snoop Dogg's hit single "Drop It Like It's Hot":

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A 25-Word Review of "The Words," Starring Bradley Cooper

| Fri Sep. 7, 2012 2:45 PM EDT

Bradley Cooper's ever-so-slight improvement over the toweringly awful "Hit & Run," released in August.

The Words
CBS Films
97 minutes

In this movie, struggling author Bradley Cooper plagiarizes a brilliant novel and then feels bad about the consequences. I feel bad about the consequences, too.

The latest entry in the Bradley Cooper Horror Show series gets a wide release on Friday, September 7. The film is rated PG-13, for emotional and dramatic unbearability. Click here for local showtimes and tickets, if you're looking to ruin your weekend.

 

Click here for more movie and TV features from Mother Jones.

To read more of Asawin's reviews, click here.

To listen to the weekly movie and pop-culture podcast that Asawin co-hosts with ThinkProgress critic Alyssa Rosenberg, click here.

A Comparative Analysis of Bands Rocking the Democratic and Republican National Conventions

| Thu Sep. 6, 2012 5:15 PM EDT

Presidential nominating conventions have a way of turning party leaders into part-time concert promoters.

"We've booked outstanding performers and world-famous acts," RNC chairman Reince Priebus boasted last week, referring to the Republican convention's musical line-up. "Everything from pop and rock to country and gospel."

Organizers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention were determined not to be outdone. "This roster of performances only adds to the excitement building in Charlotte for the historic week ahead of us," Democratic convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa said. "[B]e ready for quite a show."

Here's your side-by-side comparison of the bands playing in Charlotte this week, and the ones that took the stage in Tampa last week.

1) A Tale of two taylors

The Republicans got...

Taylor Hicks: On the last night of the Republican National Convention, Hicks sang Michael McDonald's 1976 hit "Takin' It to the Streets." The American Idol season 5 champion is famous for competently covering Stevie Wonder, being damned by TMZ's faint praise, and for his baffling, harmonica-laced cameo on Stephen Colbert's cover of Rebecca Black's signature song:

When asked about his performance by the Huffington Post, Hicks got bashful about his politics: "I don't really talk about my party or political affiliations. I'm an entertainer; that's what I was invited to do." (His most political lyric is probably in "The Distance," which goes, "[s]eems we've taken different sides, all caught up in politics and pride." That is about as middle-of-the-road as it gets.)

And the Democrats got...

James Taylor: Taylor, who grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (roughly a 3-hour car ride from the site of the Democratic convention), arrived in Charlotte to entertain convention-goers on the final day. Taylor also wrote that song that has something to do with North Carolina. Along with marrying Carly Simon and guest-starring on The Simpsons space exploration episode, the singer-songwriter is known for being pretty hilarious in Judd Apatow's Funny People:

James Taylor is a die-hard liberal; he played on the anti-Bush "Vote for Change" tour in 2004, along with Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, and Pearl Jam. His pet causes include the environment, cancer research, and not destroying rainforests.

2) The Partisan Solo Artists

The Republicans got...

Kid Rock: Standing in for the indefinitely postponed Reagan hologram, Robert James Ritchie performed a 75-minute set outside the GOP convention site last Thursday. During the gig, he ad-libbed the following rap lyrics: "They say Obama is lyin' / That's why I'm voting for Romney and Ryan." (Ironically enough, during the whole performance Rock was wearing a "Made in Detroit" t-shirt that wasn't actually made in Detroit.)

Kid Rock is also famous for purportedly putting his marriage on the rocks by blowing up at his now ex-wife, Canadian actress/activist Pamela Anderson, over her cameo in Borat.

Here's footage of a Romney rally in Michigan (where Rock endorsed the Republican candidate), with the heartland rocker singing Romney's official campaign jingle "Born Free":

US Sanctions Anger Iranian 'World of Warcraft' Gamers, US Treasury Department Weighs In

| Tue Sep. 4, 2012 6:33 PM EDT

For citizens of Iran, brutal American sanctions could mean the end of the world...

...of Warcraft. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Sanctions by the United States, it seems, have hit World of Warcraft.

WikimediaWikimediaIranian gamers took to the World of Warcraft message board...complaining that they had been shut out of the online game. "Well, as if life of an Iranian couldn't get worse, the Battle.net became completely inaccessible as of today," one World of Warcraft fan wrote in frustration.

Another lamented, "Well we had a good run, Goodbye cruel world..."

The year's salvo of US and international sanctions, aimed at choking off Tehran's controversial nuclear program, have throttled the Iranian economy (see: plummeting oil exports), ravaging major industries like transportation and emergency civilian health care along the way.

The online role-playing game is merely the latest casualty in this drawn-out geopolitical fight.

For those unfamiliar with WoW—the online global phenomenon that involves engaging with Orcs and doing battle with throngs of complete strangers—here's a quick refresher:

Blizzard Entertainment, the California-based video game developers who debuted the WoW series in 2004, recently explained that the Iranian gamer black-out was required to stay in compliance with US law. "We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and will happily lift these restrictions as soon as U.S. law allows," one employee wrote.

Late last week, the US Department of the Treasury begrudgingly weighed in on the subject of pwning n00bs in Persian society. John Sullivan, a media affairs specialist at Treasury, told the Times that "clearly the focus of our sanctions is not on video games." (He went on to note that the department would "consider a license request from Blizzard Entertainment should they choose to apply for one.")

The World of Warcraft universe includes roughly 9.1 million subscribers worldwide, an 11-percent drop from 10.2 million in March 2012. The game also holds the 2009 Guinness World Record for the most popular multiplayer role-playing game.

There have also been numerous studies on the severity of video game addiction, with some rating World of Warcraft as addicting as cocaine. Pity the Iranians going through withdrawl.

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