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News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Friday Flashback: Syria, job numbers, Yahoo! and more

by Take Two®

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US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in Saint Petersburg on September 6, 2013 on the sideline of the G20 summit. World leaders at the G20 summit on Friday failed to bridge their bitter divisions over US plans for military action against the Syrian regime, with Washington signaling that it has given up on securing Russia's support at the UN on the crisis. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Making the case for — and against — a strike against Syria. Employment is in the doldrums, but car sales? Hot, hot, hot!

These are just a few of the topics for this week's Friday Flashback, our weekly analysis of big stories in the news. We're joined, as usual, by Jim Rainey of the LA Times and by Nancy Cook of National Journal.  

Of course, Syria continues to dominate the news. The President has asked Congress to approve a military strike that will punish the regime for its use of chemical weapons. 

Lawmakers are split. There's support and opposition on either side of the aisle, and it seems like the President needs to convince the public this is a good idea. Let's start with the Congress. Is there any rhyme or reason to who is supporting military action and who is against it?

One long and loud voice for military intervention is Arizona Senator John McCain, who has been taking heat in his district. What's it going to take to get this through both the Senate and the House?

The President will make an address on Tuesday to lay out his case for military action. He spoke earlier today with reporters at the G-20 summit in St. Petersberg where he mentioned the international community's responsibility. 

Let's talk about the reaction of Americans. Obviously, the experience in Iraq and Afghanistan is playing into this, but there wasn't a groundswell of opposition to our action in Libya. How do you explain the lack of support for action against the Syrian government, even when no one is really disputing the evidence they used chemical weapons against their own people?

How would you say the White House has done in making their case so far?

Moving on from Syria, we got the Labor Department's monthly job figures today, and they are not so encouraging: 169,000 new jobs, more people dropping out of the labor force. It seems like the so-called recovery just can't get enough steam to begin replacing the millions of jobs lost in the recession.

Anything specific in the jobs report that makes you either more, or less optimistic about the outlook for the months ahead?

One bright spot in the economy, at least for the moment, is the auto industry. It's come back from the dead, and the big three automakers are posting record sales and record earnings. They're making better cars, and actually making money selling them. 

What's behind the demand though? Is it just that so many of us drove our old cars into the ground, we pretty much have to get a new one?

Meanwhile, over in the tech world, a few blunders. Including a rare stumble by the fair-haired savior of Yahoo, Melissa Mayer. She personally worked on a redesign of the Yahoo logo, and the response to the design wasn't so great. 

We have to have a deep and philosophical discussion about another story. John McCain, caught on camera playing poker on his iPhone during a Senate hearing on Syria. It lit up Twitter, and all the late night comedy shows took their shots. McCain himself made light of it in a tweet, but really, Texas Hold 'Em on the Senate floor?

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