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.
The Republican War on Voting
Let's dispense with the polite fiction that the Republican's obsession with voter fraud is about the security of the vote. It's pure voter suppression. An exhaustive search by the Department of Justice unearthed no evidence of large scale voter fraud. A 5-year probe came up with 86 cases of voter fraud in the entire country, none of which were of the type that could have been prevented by voter ID. The system isn't broken.
Eugene Robinson reports for TruthDig:
Recent developments in Pennsylvania—one of more than a dozen states where voting rights are under siege—should be enough to erase any lingering doubt: The GOP is trying to pull off an unconscionable crime.
Late last month, the majority leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mike Turzai, was addressing a meeting of the Republican State Committee. He must have felt at ease among friends because he spoke a bit too frankly.
Ticking off a list of recent accomplishments by the GOP-controlled Legislature, he mentioned the new law forcing voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Said Turzai, with more than a hint of triumph: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania—done.”
Voter ID laws help GOP because people without driver's licenses, the most common form of photo ID, are more likely to be poor, African American, and/or city-dwellers. All of these constituencies tend to vote Democratic. In the swing state of Pennsylvania, 9.2% of the registered electorate lacks a driver's license, and a quarter of these voters live in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia. Coincidence? No.
[Photo credit: Secretlondon, Creative Commons. I know, it's probably a UK polling place, but I liked the picture.]