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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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Sidney's Picks: Opera, Sweatshops, and Tom Lehrer

The Best of the Week's NewsContinue reading...

Miami Herald Wins April Sidney for "Innocents Lost"

Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch of the Miami Herald win the April Sidney Award for "Innocents Lost", an investigative multi-media package profiling some 477 Florida children who died after the state’s child protection authorities investigated their families for abuse or neglect but failed to take them into care.Continue reading...

Judge Dismisses Murder Charge in Stillbirth Case

A judge dismissed a "depraved heart" murder charge against a Mississippi woman who delivered a stillborn baby and positive for a metabolite of cocaine. Rennie Gibbs was 16 years old when she delivered her stillborn child in 2006. There was never any evidence that drugs caused the demise of the fetus, which was born with the cord wrapped around its neck. 

The judge dismissed the case on a legal technicality:Continue reading...

Hobby Lobby Invested in the Manufacturers of Contraceptives it Claims to Oppose

A great scoop from Molly Reden of Mother Jones:Continue reading...

Northwestern Football Players One Step Closer to a Union

A ruling by the director of the NLRB's Chicago office puts the football team at Northwestern one step closer to unionization, Dave Jamieson reports. The regional director of the Chicago office ruled that the players are employees and are therefore eligible to vote on whether to have a union. 


 Continue reading...

Video: 103rd Commemoration of the Triangle Factory Fire

As part of the 103rd Commemoration of the Triangle Factory Fire in Manhattan, yesterday, a fire truck demonstrated how a ladder couldn't reach the upper floors of the burning factory, forcing workers to jump to their deaths. One hundred and forty-six workers died that day. The outrage over the Triangle Fire helped usher in a new era of workers' rights and occupational health and safety.

Video by Alexandra Lescaze.  

Events Today in NYC: Triangle Fire Commemoration & Panel Discussion

Today: Tuesday, March 25, Noon-1pm. 

Ceremony to mark the 103rd Anniversary of the Triangle Fire 

Washington Place & Greene St. in Manhattan (the site of the Triangle Fire)


This evening: 5:30pm Continue reading...

Monday at 10pm Eastern on PBS: "All of Me"

Tune in tonight at 10pm Eastern to see Hillman Executive Director Alexandra Lescaze's new documentary, "All of Me," a revealing look at how weight-loss surgery is changing the lives of women in a fat acceptance group in Austin, Texas. "The Girls," as they call themselves, have been supporting each other as fat women for decades. One by one, longtime members are peeling off to have surgery, with very mixed results.Continue reading...


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