Breaking News: Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich Wins Court Case to Enter the Televised Nevada Debate

On Monday January 14, Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson ruled in favor of Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich to be able to enter the televised MSNBC debate, airing on Tuesday night.

Congressman Kucinich is considered to be a long shot in the debate and his name isn't even on the ballot in some states. MSNBC had initally extended an invitation to Kucinich several weeks ago to participate in the debate. However, since Kucinich is no longer a factor in the Democratic primary, MSNBC had planned on having the top 3 Democratic candidates only in the debate: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. Last week MSNBC had told Kucinich that he could not participate in the debate. Kucinich responded by filing a grievance with the District Court judge in Nevada.

Judge Thompson ruled in favor of Kucinich, citing fairness as the main reason why Kucinich should be allowed to participate in the debate. Judge Thompson also stated that Kucinich's opinions could benefit voters by bringing a new prospective and different issues to the forefront during the table. While most of the would-be Democratic presidential candidates have dropped out like Chris Dodd, Joseph Biden and Bill Richardson, Kucinich has refused to drop out of the race.

Kucinich's court stunt isn't the first time he has appealed to the courts for help. After the New Hampshire primary he stated in his press conference that he wanted a recount of New Hampshire to make sure that all the votes were counted. His request was subsequently denied.

MSNBC has responded to Judge Thompson's ruling by saying that they will file an immediate appeal to prevent Kucinich from entering the debate. In Judge Thompson's ruling, he had threatened to issue an injunction against MSNBC if Kucinich was not allowed to partake in the debate.

The MSNBC debate will be hosted by Tim Russert and Brian Williams.

Congress to Look at New Union Formation Measures

NPR Radio is reporting that Congress will be looking into a bill this week that would make it easier for workers to form unions. There are many businesses that are opposing this legislation. President George Bush has stated that he would veto any bill that would make it easier for workers to form unions.

The goal of the legislation is to eliminate the pressure that many companies will give workers who are considering joining a union. There have been many reported cases of workers being intimidated or threatened by management in companies over union possibilities.

There are some companies that have threatened to cut benefits, or shut down if their workers looked into the possibility of joining a union. Many of the unions across the United States believe that this is an unfair business practice that should be eliminated.

The new proposal would make it so that workers in a company would only have to sign a form to join a union. If more then half of the workers signed the document, a union would be formed.

Currently, workers have to go about organization of a union in secret. There has to be a secret ballot that has to be passed around and signed. This is to eliminate the possibility of threats from management and ownership.

Many companies are spending money on adds in to get their point across about the legislation. These companies believe that it gives too much power to the standing unions, and leaves too much room for cheating by the supporters of a union.

Both the unions and many companies are already sure that the bill will not be made into law. The unions believe that this is the first step in ensuring that the motion does become accepted in the future.

Many unions are already gearing up for a Democrat to be in the Presidential Office in 2021. These unions believe that the next President will not worry about the issue passing through Congress. They believe that the next President will not have an issue just passing the law into effect.

This is one of the first bills of this kind that the Congress has looked at. The bill would also give stiff penalties to companies that tried to threaten workers against joining a union. There is not any official word as to what the suggested penalties are in the bill.

While this issue is a long way from passing, it does open many eyes to the future of the unions in the United States. The unions know that they have declining numbers, and that they have to do something to survive the next few decades.


NPR Radio, For an Internet telecast:

Representative Bob Etheridge (D-NC): Congressman's Camera Gaffe

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States allows its citizens freedom of speech and expression. Without this freedom, people's thoughts, ideas, and opinions could be censored, and those people could be prosecuted. However, I wonder, when the Founding Fathers were writing out these amendments, if they meant that reporters, photographers, and other types of press should follow celebrities and other public figures to personal and private functions, such as funerals? Should freedom of speech and expression come at the cost of public figures losing their privacy?

I think, as Americans, we have a right to know what our congressmen, presidents, and other state representatives are doing in regard to laws, bills, amendments, and other work-related areas. The same goes for celebrities and professional sports players. I want to know about their movies and acting credentials and skills on the court, not what they do in their backyard from a high-powered telephoto lens, and certainly not how they are grieving at a loved one's funeral.

Congressman Bob Etheridge has already apologized for his irrational behavior, according to Alexander Mooney and Lisa Desjardins's article "Congressman apologizes for on-camera confrontation" for CNN . The video shows him repeatedly asking for the young men to state who they are. Is that an unreasonable question? No. Do the "students" ever declare who they are? No. Why not? The Congressman has a right to know whom he is speaking with or, rather, being hounded by on the street. Just as the "students" have a right to ask him questions on where he stands on certain issues. After all, freedom of speech is protected in the United States of America.

Sean Penn has been caught on camera several times in altercations with photographers, just like Congressman Bob Etheridge. The difference in the situations is significant. While Congressman Bob Etheridge was just questioned on issues pertaining to his job, Sean Penn was being photographed at his brother's funeral, according to Why was the photographer even at this extremely private family function to begin with? Because Sean Penn is an actor is not a good enough answer.

Dennis Rodman, in 1997, was suspended by the NBA and fined $25,000 for kicking a courtside television photographer, according to Jason Diamos's article "League takes notice of Rodman's Kick" for the New York Times. Rodman claims that he was not aiming for the cameraman but the camera after twisting his ankle while falling into the row of photographers. Dennis Rodman might have been in pain, and might have been angry at the situation, but this in no way gives him the right to strike out and kick someone. The same goes for Congressman Bob Etheridge. According to CNN the Congressman said, "The truth is I had a long day, it was the end of the day, almost sunset."

Dennis Rodman and the Congressman should take a moment and think about the proper way to react in situations where they may not be at their best. Perhaps Rodman could ask the league to move the photographers farther back to make more room for the basketball players hurtling through the air for the ball, and the Congressman could have continued on his way with just a simple, "No comment."

Alexander Mooney & Lisa Desjardins, "Congressman apologizes for on-camera confrontation" CNN

"Sean Penn Ordered to Undertake Anger Management"

Jason Diamos "League Takes Notice of Rodman's Kick" New York Times