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Clear it with SidneyHow our blog got its name >

Notes on journalism for the common good
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.

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Banks Turn Troops Into Cash Cows With Overdraft Charges

Sidney's Picks: Walmart Breakthrough?; Forced "Life Support"; Drinking Water Crisis in WV

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Rolling Stone Investigates the Stealth War on Abortion Rights

Janet Reitman, an investigative journalist well-known for her expose of Scientology and her profile of the Boston bombing suspect, tackles the stealth war on abortion. Reitman explains how right wing groups have stopped trying to criminalize abortion outright and refocused their energies on regulating abortion out of existence.  This is the first time in years that Rolling Stone has devoted so much space to a reprouctive rights story. Kudos to the publication and the reporter for putting out this important piece of journalism.

What's at Stake in the Clinic Buffer Zone Case?

Sidney-winner Irin Carmon on the big abortion rights case before the Supreme Court. The court will decide whether states can create buffer zones around abortion clinics to protect patients and providers from confrontational anti-choice protesters, if the state can show that existing criminal law is not enough to protect the clinics.Continue reading...

Poverty is Expensive

West Virginia Chemical Spill Reveals Regulatory Weaknesses

A chemical spill in the Elk River left 300,000 West Virginians without water last week. Experts say the spill reveals systematic weaknesses in the state's system for managing toxic chemicals:Continue reading...

Sidney's Picks: Urban asthma epidemic; Self-Abortions in Texas; Reddit-Brand Assault Rifles

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Pregnant Body Sustained on Life Support, Against Woman's Advance Directive and Family's Wishes

Marlize Munoz and her husband Erick were paramedics, raising a young son and anticipating the birth of their second child. On Nov. 26, Erick found Marlize collapsed on the floor of their North Texas home. Her heart was stopped and she wasn't breathing. Her doctors believe she was stricken by a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lung. Her brain was completely destroyed by oxygen deprivation. Continue reading...

Gabriel Thompson Wins January Sidney for Profile of Latino Immigrant Course Workers

Approximately two-thirds of the workers who maintain golf courses in the United States are Latino immigrants. Some are documented and others are undocumented. The work is gruelling, but invisible by design: They rise before dawn to trim the grass, level the sand traps, and chisel weeds out of the turf. They earn about $10 an hour. Gabriel Thompson wins the January Sidney Award for "The Caretakers," which tells the stories of the men who make golf possible as a sport and an industry.Continue reading...

A New Civil Rights Issue: Women's Freedom Online

Social media presence and online branding are said to be critical to success in journalism today. Important questions are debated online and professional reputations are established in this arena. So, where does that leave female journalists whose work generates huge volumionus threats and abuse over twitter and other social media?Continue reading...


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