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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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#Sidney's Picks: The Best of the Week's News

  • Labor leaders are debating whether to take their protest over Indiana's proposed "right to work law" to the biggest stage in the country, Indianapolis during the Super Bowl, the Associated Press reports.
  • With over one million signatures submitted a recall election for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is all but assured. However, as Roger Bybee reports at Working In These Times, a strict state voter ID law passed in 2011 may disenfranchise many Wisconsin voters on election day. A lawsuit to seeking to overturn the law gets underway this week. 
  • GOP candidates in South Carolina are fulminating about the National Labor Relations Board, Josh Eidelson of AlterNet reports. Mitt Romney assailed the NLRB as an  “unaccountable and out-of-control agency" and Newt Gingrich promised the Chamber of Commerce that he'd look into eliminating the board if he became president.
  • Amanda Marcotte of Slate explains why the Obama administration's decision to stand up to the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops and refuse to expand religious exemptions for birth control coverage is a big deal for women's health.

[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]



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