BTS 11/6/09: Health Reform; Unemployment; Sick Days and H1N1

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Representative Dennis Kucinich on The House Health Insurance Reform Vote: why was the Kucinich amendment (which would allow states to enact state single Payer legislation) not included, and what was behind the decision to pull the Weiner Amendment (a national vote on Single Payer) scheduled today?

John Nichols on the official double digit unemployment figures, President Obama’s economic policy and the likely impact of ‘one in ten unemployed’? John reminds us that the official figures leave out millions more Americans who have given up looking for work, and it doesn’t include those who have had hours cut or been furloughed. The real unemployment rate is closer to 17.5% -- and we’ll ask John how that impacted the off year elections on Tuesday.

Steven Greenhouse wrote on the front page of the New York Times Business section on Monday that unpaid sick days could be contributing to the spreading flu epidemic. 40% of American workers do not get paid sick days, and many are food handlers. His article may have lead to Rep. George Miller’s bill introduced Tuesday that would guarantee five paid sick days for workers sent home by their employers with a contagious illness.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Dennis Kucinich became the youngest-ever mayor of a major American city when he was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1977. A feisty liberal Democrat from a blue-collar background, Kucinich soon made waves by refusing to sell the city's municipal electric system to private competitors during a budget crisis, thereby pushing the city into temporary bankruptcy. (Though it was a controversial move at the time, saving the "Muny" has since become a positive cornerstone of Kucinich's image.) Kucinich lost his bid for reelection in 1979; after a long period away from electoral politics, he was elected an Ohio state senator in 1994 and in 1996 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He ran for president in 2004 and carried his campaign all the way to the Democratic convention, where John Kerry was nominated. He announced as a candidate for president again in December 2006 but withdrew in January 2008.

2. John Nichols is the Washington Correspondent of The Nation, where he also blogs the “Online Beat”,. John is also associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times, and is author of of …. Books, including The Genius of Impeachment (The New Press), Dick: The Man Who is President (The New Press), and with Robert McChesney It's the Media, Stupid! (Seven Stories), Our Media, Not Theirs (Seven Stories) and Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy (The New Press).

3. Steven Greenhouse is labor and workplace correspondent for The New York and author of The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, an in-depth account of how American companies have squeezed millions of workers by clamping down on wages, cutting benefits, weakening job security and violating wage and hour laws.