Take Two®

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

Friday Flashback: Budget deal, Mandela memorial and Jang Song Thaek

by Take Two®

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Television moitors displayed at the Yongsan electronic market shows the news of Jang Song-thaek's excution in Seoul on December 13, 2013. North Korea has executed the uncle of its leader Kim Jong-un after a shock purge, state news agency KCNA announced early on December 13, branding the once-powerful Jang Song-Thaek a 'traitor'. AFP/AFP/Getty Images

It's Friday, and that means it's time for another Friday Flashback, our look a the week in news. To help us with that this week we're joined in studio by James Rainey of the LA Times, and by Nancy Cook of National Journal.  

Let's begin today in Washington, where Congress brokered -- and passed -- a bipartisan budget deal. Are Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan just trying to get off Santa's naughty list before they leave on recess?

House Speaker John Boehner supported the budget bill, and although he didn't name them, he lashed out at groups such as Heritage Action and Club for Growth. They pressured members to vote down the budget compromise, just as they pressured them to shut down the government in October. 

Congress also passed a defense bill but not a major piece of domestic policy -- the farm bill. What's the significance of this?
Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Harry Reid, the majority leader, is keeping Senators up overnight, forcing votes on Obama administration appointees. 

We started the Friday Flashback last week with the death of Nelson Mandela. This week we saw the major world leaders -- and not all of them allies -- convene in Johannesburg for his memorial service. How did this compare to other diplomatic events and what were the takeaways?

There was some good news for the Affordable Care Act yesterday, at least here in California. It looks like the state is actually on track to meet its healthcare enrollment target after a big surge last week. Was this brought on by people online shopping for the holidays? What explains this surge?

This week, the Obama Administration pumped up the volume, and announced a long list of celebrities who will be enlisted to try and get young people to sign up for health care. It's created web sites and Twitter accounts and online spoof videos. Can celebrity endorsements work? Who's paying for it?

The  one-year anniversary of the Newtown Connecticut shooting is coming up tomorrow. There has been so much consternation about new gun laws and stricter gun laws in the year since. We heard a bit about what's been happening in California, but what's the bigger national picture here?

There's also this strange report out of North Korea that leader Kim Jong-Un ordered his uncle and longtime mentor Jang Song-thaek executed for allegedly plotting a military coup. What do we know about this?

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