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.

The Holographic Zombie Reagan Lives!

| Fri Aug. 31, 2012 5:29 PM EDT

National ArchivesNational Archives

For anyone disappointed that the GOP convention "mystery speaker" didn't turn out to be a hologram of President Ronald Reagan, but was instead a strange and disheveled Clint Eastwood, we have good news for you.

He lives!

A hologram of the late 40th president was scheduled to appear outside the Republican National Convention hall this week, but GOP officials nixed the idea...But the Reagan hologram is expected to premiere later this year or in 2013, A KickIn Crowd founder Tony Reynolds told Yahoo! (Reynolds works with AV Concepts, a hologram company.) "Even in a hologram form, I think Reagan's going to beat a lot of people in terms of communicating," he said.

In fact, the communicative potential of the holographic zombie Reagan is so great that the original idea was scrapped by event planners out of fear that the hologram would overshadow Mitt Romney accepting the party's nomination.

As of press time, three-dimensional undead laser Reagan has yet to endorse Mitt Romney.

And now, here is footage of another (crude, motionless) holographic Ronald Reagan, from 2010:

 

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"Movie & An Argument" Podcast: Clint Eastwood, the GOP, and Shia LaBeouf Nakedness

| Fri Aug. 31, 2012 2:32 PM EDT

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

  • Totally Biased, FX's racially charged news/comedy series hosted by comedian W. Kamau Bell (click here to check out an interview with Bell). Alyssa had visited the set in New York over the weekend, and shared her thoughts on the show's potential.
  • Clint Eastwood, his politics, his movies, and his (then) upcoming address to the 2012 Republican National Convention (click here for the transcript and video of Eastwood's bizarre "Invisible Obama" speech, which apparently upset Paul Ryan).
  • Lawless, a new Western set in Virginia gangland during Prohibition, starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, and Guy Pearce (my review here). It's during this part of the conversation that we spend far too much time discussing LaBeouf's dorky nakedness.
  • The first season finale of Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama The Newsroom (and why the series still frustrates us so).

Each week, I'll be sitting down to chat with ThinkProgress critic Alyssa Rosenberg (who also does killer work at The Atlantic and Slate's "Double X"). We'll talk, argue, and laugh about the latest movies, television shows, and pop-cultural nonsense—with some politics thrown in just for the hell of it.

Alyssa describes herself as being "equally devoted to the Star Wars expanded universe and Barbara Stanwyck, to Better Off Ted and Deadwood." I (everyone calls me Swin) am a devoted lover of low-brow dark humor, Yuengling, and movies with high body counts. I hope you enjoyed this episode, and tune in during the weeks to come.

We'll be featuring guests on the program, and also taking listeners' questions, so feel free to Tweet them at me here, and we'll see if we can get to them during a show.

Thanks for listening!

Click here for more movie and TV features from Mother Jones. To read more of Asawin's reviews, click here.

To find more episodes of this podcast in the iTunes store, click here.

To check out Alyssa's Bloggingheads show, click here.

The Only Clint Eastwood Video You Have to Watch Before His #GOP2012 Speech

| Thu Aug. 30, 2012 7:16 PM EDT
A film declared "fascist" by angry liberal critics. (Eastwood said he didn't mind, so long as they paid to see it.)

Tonight's "mystery speaker" at the GOP convention in Tampa is not hologram Gipper, but the non-hologram Dirty Harry, sources confirmed to numerous media outlets.

After a few days of rabid Twitter-based speculation, the Romney campaign revealed that legendary actor/director Clint Eastwood is slated to speak at the Republican National Convention some time after a musical performace by American Idol Taylor Hicks, but before a speech by Marco Rubio. Eastwood threw his weight behind Romney earlier this month, when endorsing the former Massachusetts governor at an Idaho fundraiser.

Instead of analyzing Eastwood's ideological leanings (which he has described as a blend of Milton Friedman and Noam Chomsky), take a gander at the only footage you really need to see before his convention address. Here he is, with the president of the United States

Full disclosure: I'm an unabashed fan of the 82-year-old filmmaker, whatever his politics. But as the self-professed libertarian and "Eisenhower Republican" is going all-in for Romney/Ryan 2012, it is worth reading this:

Eastwood: These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don't give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?!...They go on and on with all this bullshit about "sanctity"—don't give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.

...right next to this:

Romney: On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage...When I am president, I will preserve the Defense of Marriage Act and I will fight for a federal amendment defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman!

I am not suggesting a supporter must agree with everything his or her candidate believes or says; just throwing it out there.

"Lawless": Prohibition-Era Gangsters Go Full-On Western

| Thu Aug. 30, 2012 2:50 PM EDT

Lawless
The Weinstein Company
110 minutes

There's a movie out in theaters right now that stars Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy. Tom Hardy puts on a funny accent. There's lots of killing throughout, and a quest for revenge and redemption.

It's not The Dark Knight Rises.

The film is called Lawless. It competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and is co-produced by Sean "Diddy/P. Diddy/Puff Daddy" Combs' new company, Revolt Films. It's also a bruisingly gorgeous gangster flick, with unexpected tenderness and shoot-'em-up verve.

Lawless is the second collaboration between Aussie director John Hillcoat (The Road) and equally Aussie screenwriter Nick Cave (yes, that Nick Cave), the first being 2005's excellent The Proposition. Just as The Proposition transposed the more unforgiving aspects of the American Western to the colonial Australian outback, Lawless filters the genre's style and aesthetic through Prohibition-era gangland.

Cave's script is deftly adapted from Matt Bondurant's The Wettest County in the World, a novel inspired by the true story of the Bondurant family's bootlegger brothers in rural Franklin County, Virginia. Forrest (Hardy) is the tough-as-nails ringleader. Howard (Jason Clarke) is the brawn-over-brains enforcer. And Jack (Shia LaBeouf) is the youngest of the trio—the one with the least experience in killing and maiming, and the most to prove. The boys are legendary around town for the rumors and myth of their "invincibility."

"Cracker Bay," Team Romney's Big-Money Party Yacht

| Wed Aug. 29, 2012 3:50 PM EDT

On Wednesday morning, ABC News ran a story on one of the "Romney party yachts," a 150-foot yacht hosting an exclusive event in Florida for donors who raised more than a million bucks for the Romney campaign. The article (video report and all) highlights the irony that the yacht flies under the flag of the Cayman Islands.

But that's not even the funniest or most tone-deaf thing about the boat. Check it:

The exclusive event, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht "Cracker Bay," was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney's bid...The Cracker Bay is owned by Gary Morse, developer of the Villages retirement community...Registered in the Caymans, the Cracker Bay has an impressive art collection and can seat 30 for dinner. 

Yes, you read all that correctly: Team Romney threw a party at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, where extraordinarily rich people fraternized aboard a boat called "Cracker Bay."

If you need a refresher on exactly why this is odd, click here now.

For the record, the colloquial term "Florida cracker" refers to the colonial English settlers of what is now the Sunshine State, as well as their descendants. The Democratic 41st governor of Florida, "Walkin'" Lawton Chiles (a now-deceased buddy of the Clintons), famously quipped about winning the "cracker vote"—meaning down-home white voters. Chiles also praised Bill Clinton's ability to fluently "speak cracker."

Cracker Bay is also the name of a road in South Africa.

So there you go.

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