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1. Obama Faces His First Big Syria Test
President Obama faces his first big test on Syria this afternoon when Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry and Hagel will argue in support of Obama’s plan for a limited strike on the Syrian government. Even if the proposal passes the Foreign Relations Committee, it will have to get approval from the Senate and the House. Obama has a good chance of getting support from the Senate, but the GOP-controlled House is an entirely different story.
• Your 5 most important questions about Syria, answered in plain English (PolicyMic).
11 awkward photos that prove what we all know about U.S. foreign policy (PolicyMic).
The scars of Iraq shouldn’t keep us from war with Syria (PolicyMic).
2. A Labor Day History Lesson
Did you know you have an anti-union president to thank for your Labor Day vacation? President Grover Cleveland landed in hot water in 1894 when he sent 10,000 troops to bust a railroad workers’ strike near Chicago. At least 12 workers died in the ensuing violence. Cleveland created Labor Day as a peace offering to the labor movement in order to increase his chances of reelection. It didn’t work: Cleveland was ousted by his own party in 1896.
3 reasons every millennial should support unions in America (PolicyMic).
8 charts that explain the American workforce (WaPo).
3. Microsoft Just Became a Phone Manufacturer
Microsoft became a phone manufacturer overnight by buying the hardware division of Nokia for $7.1 billion.  Microsoft will also get Nokia’s patents and 32,000 employees as part of the deal. It’s unclear how much Nokia phones will change since they already run on Windows software, but controlling all aspects of production might allow Microsoft to create a better integrated phone. Techies are excited about the partnership: Nokia stock is up 47% after the deal.
5 people who could replace Steve Ballmer and make Microsoft a tech giant again (PolicyMic).
This graphic summarizes the Microsoft-Nokia deal (Twitter).
4. Think You Could Swim For 53 Hours Straight?
64-year-old endurance swimmer Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage on Monday. It took Nyad 53 hours to complete the 110-mile swim. She had made four previous attempts to cross the Florida Straits; repeated jellyfish stings ended her last attempt in 2012. Nyad had three messages for the spectators who cheered her on: “One is we should never ever give up; two is you are never too old to chase your dreams; and three is it looks like a solitary sport but it is a team.”
• Read about the world’s most brutal ultramarathon (PolicyMic).
• This man is the most successful endurance athlete of our generation (NY Times).
How to explain twerking to your parents (NY Times).
• This tiny town stuck it to McDonald’s in the most satisfying way possible (Salon).
12 cover letter tips your career counselor hasn’t told you (Slate).
How Google perfected the science of in-office snacking (WaPo).
• Get a before-and-after look at America’s Great Cities (Smithsonian).
Thanks for reading!
Want do you think about the topics in today’s Mic Check? Should Congress back Obama’s Syria plan? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @nicholascbaker.
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