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.
#Sidney's Picks: Foreclosure Follies; Car Wash Wars; Nasty Nail Polish
The best of the week's news. Submit your favorite investigative and public interest stories by tweeting the link to @SidneyHillman with the hashtag #Sidney.
- A woman and her severely disabled daughter nearly had their house foreclosed upon even though Bank of America agreed to lower the monthly payments on the home equity loan the mother took out to retrofit the dwelling to care for her daughter, Gale Holland reports for the LA Times. Dirma Rodriguez had been keeping up with her modified payments, awaiting a final renegotiation, but the bank sold the home out from under her. Holland found out about the case through Occupy Fights Foreclosure, an offshoot of the 99% Movement that defended the home in March.
- The Public Advocate's office is calling on New York City to stop washing its fleet at car washes owned by Lage Management Company because the owner John Lage is under investigation for stealing wages from his own employees, Erica Pearson reports for the New York Daily News. This story is part of Pearson's ongoing coverage of a campaign to improve working conditions at New York City car washes.
- So-called "toxin-free" nail polishes aren't toxin free after all, according to a new report by California regulators, the announcements raise health concerns for the state's 120,000 licensed nail technicians, four fifths of whom are Vietnamese women, Anna Gorman reports in the LA Times.
- Is your employer quietly pocketing your state income taxes? David Cay Johnston of Reuters reports that 2700 companies, including big names like Sears and General Electric, are allowed to keep their employees' state tax contributions without telling them under so-called tax diversion agreements with state governments.
- Part memoir, part reportage: Gabriel Arana of the American Prospect takes an in-depth look at the fraudulent "ex-gay" movement.