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.
Limbaugh's "Choice of Words"
Right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh grudgingly apologized for his "choice of words" regarding Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who testified in support of the birth control mandate. The problem words were "slut" and "prostitute." By implication, Limbaugh is not sorry at all about his choice of thoughts about uppity women and birth control.
Likewise, Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney has no problem with the general idea that Congressional testimony and bodily autonomy turn women into filthy whores, but he doesn't think Rush hit on le mot juste. “I’ll just say this, which is, it’s not the language I would have used,” Romney said.
Given that the GOP has decided to refight the election of 1910--birth control and the gold standard!--we know that this delicate subject is going to come up again. So, what's the classy way to impugn a lady's virtue when you don't like her politics? Hillman judge Rick Hertzberg helpfully suggests some more decorous synonyms: "'Strumpet' has a jolly, Falstaffian feel, consistent with Limbaugh’s purportedly “humorous” rotundity."
[Photo credit: Boston Bill, Creative Commons.]