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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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Mismatched Socks Are a Crime and I Am a Criminal

 

In Meridian, Mississippi, kids with juvenile records are getting arrested for wearing the wrong color socks:

In Meridian, when schools want to discipline children, they do much more than just send them to the principal’s office. They call the police, who show up to arrest children who are as young as 10 years old. Arrests, the Department of Justice says, happen automatically, regardless of whether the police officer knows exactly what kind of offense the child has committed or whether that offense is even worthy of an arrest. The police department’s policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency.

Once those children are in the juvenile justice system, they are denied basic constitutional rights. They are handcuffed and incarcerated for days without any hearing and subsequently warehoused without understanding their alleged probation violations. [Colorlines]

The Department of Justice is suing Meridian for violating the constitutional rights of young offenders. Good thing, too. The city is feeding the school-to-prison pipeline by treating troubled kids as second-class citizens whose every misstep becomes a police issue, even when they're not breaking the law.

[Photo credit: Rikomatic, Creative Commons. Interestingly, this image was created for something the photographer calls "Mismatched Sock Solidarity Day."]

Comments

I have to agree with Antoinette H. I don't know what to say. Are children in Meridian, Mississippi, really being arrested for having mismatched socks? It makes me glad I don't live in Mississippi. But what are the rest of us supposed to do? If the fashion police in the Deep South really have the power to arrest people for fashion infractions, I guess we can only offer fashion advice and, maybe, boatloads of socks. I would happily contribute to a fund to provide matching socks for Mississippi youth. And thank you, China!

Arresting a child? For mismatching socks?I honestly don't know what to say. I don't.

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