Skip to Content
Skip to Navigation

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.

Close window

Oh, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy... Why Has Obama Pardoned So Few People?

Sasha Abramsky of The Nation asks why President Obama has pardoned so few people:

While in the White House, Bill Clinton pardoned well over 100 people. So did President Bush. To date, Obama has pardoned less than two dozen and commuted even fewer sentences. His first commutation wasn’t until late November 2011, when, according to CBS News, he ordered the release of a woman who had served ten years of a twenty-two-year sentence for cocaine distribution. CBS reported that “the latest numbers from the US Pardon Attorney show that since taking office Obama has denied 872 applications for pardons and 3,104 for commutations of sentence.” A year later, ThinkProgress reported that the only presidential pardon granted in 2012 was for the lucky turkey, as part of the Thanksgiving tradition.

A president who talks the talk about more sensible, nuanced drug policy, and whose oratory frequently invokes what is best in the American political imagination, has shown himself remarkably reluctant to use one of the most important of presidential prerogatives—the power to right judicial wrongs. “This president,” says Anderson, “has been unbelievably timid and disinclined to do justice in cases that scream out for commutation. There’s not a lot of moral or political fortitude in play.”

[Photo credit: Scott Beale, Creative Commons.]

Comments

Thank you for encouraging Obama to grant clemency.  There are so many.  Our egregious sentences are fiscally irresponsible and not compatible with civil liberties and justice.http://www.lifeforpot.com

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.
 
 

Recent Tweets

RT @CMA_Docs: Steve Buist @TheSpec receives Print (Mid-size market) #CMAmedia award for Cancer: A code red project http://t.co/c6cnkMJtpV 1 hour 45 min ago
RT @greenhousenyt: Scott Walker warns Wisconsin voters that his opponent, Mary Burke, will restore collective bargaining. http://t.co/iNr4y… 1 hour 54 min ago
“I cannot continue to live and work like this”: How Wal-Mart drove me to shut down Park Avenue http://t.co/6epeXuslSE via @Salon 1 hour 55 min ago
Bob Kaiser on Ben Bradlee upon his death http://t.co/3xOSgh5hyV 2 hours 21 min ago
Pregnant New Yorker Gets Job Back Amid Public Outcry. A victory for crusading journalism! http://t.co/vWhJpEpBPT 6 hours 59 min ago