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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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Rachel Aviv on the Pedophile Predicament

Rachel Aviv of the New Yorker grapples with a very tough question: What should we do with men who have an intractable sexual attraction to children, but who have not yet abused a child? These are the guys who keep getting caught with child porn, but who have never touched a child, as far as anyone knows. Even self-proclaimed experts are very bad at predicting which child porn addicts will become full-blown child abusers. Some never do. Aviv reports that the current approach of indefinite civil commitment for these offenders coupled with dubious psychiatric treatments may be doing more harm than good.

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