by Lindsay Beyerstein
How our blog got its name
Sidney Hillman was a powerful national figure during the Great Depression, a key supporter of the New Deal, and a close ally of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
When the rumor spread that President Roosevelt ordered his party leaders to “clear it with Sidney” before announcing Harry S. Truman as his 1944 running mate, conservative critics turned on the phrase, trumpeting it as proof that the president was under the thumb of “Big Labor.”
Over the years, the phrase lost its sting and became a testament to Hillman's influence.
It's hard to imagine a labor leader wielding that kind clout today, but we like the idea—and we hope Sidney would give thumbs up to our blog.
Arrested 'Gasland' Journalist Speaks Out
Academy Award-nominated documentary film director Josh Fox was arrested Wednesday as he tried to film a congressional hearing on a new EPA draft report linking hydrofraking chemicals to groundwater contamination of Wyoming. Fox was gathering footage for a follow-up to his acclaimed 2010 fraking documentary, Gasland.
Fox spoke to Democracy Now! about what happened in the Rayburn building yesterday. He said House Republicans had him arrested after he refused to stop filming at a meeting of the House Subcommittee on Science, Space, and Technology. In theory, the hearing was open to the media, but only to credentialed members of the press. Fox was filming for HBO, but he didn't have the right credential. An ABC camera crew was also turned away, ostensibly because they hadn't arranged in advance to film the hearing.
The ranking Democrat on the committee urged chairman Andy Harris (R-MD) to postpone the hearing for a week so that Fox could attend. Harris refused.
Why were the Republicans so keen to keep the press out of the hearing? "Well, virtually every Republican candidate right now is out for elimination of the EPA, which shows the deep, deep influence of oil and gas on Congress and on the Republican Party," Fox told host Amy Goodman. Pro-fraking Republicans are trying to sideline the the strict well-funded EPA in order to give more power to permissive state-level regulators, Fox explained.
[Photo: Filmmaker Josh Fox. By Public Herald, Creative Commons.]