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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: Hurricane Sandy Edition

 

  • Let's get one thing straight. Global warming causes hurricanes the way smoking causes lung cancer: systemically. You can't say for sure that any particular tumor is caused by any particular cigarette, and some cases of lung cancer aren't caused by smoking at all. Still, in the population at large, we know that higher rates of smoking cause higher rates of cancer. By the same token, hurricanes are--by definition--powered by warm sea water. By raising water temperatures, global warming systemically causes more and more powerful storms. 
  • Occupy Wall Street has teamed up with other non-profits to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.
  • As of Wednesday, residents of the Red Hook Homes, one of New York's largest public housing projects, were still without water and power. Many residents feel abandoned by the city; some say they feel like they can't even ask for help because the police are so dismissive. 
  • Without electricity, New Yorkers on food stamps can't pay for food.
  • Why do hospital generators keep failing? ProPublica investigates.
  • The storm has cut economic activity in New York City to just 20% of normal, the comptroller's office estimates.
  • Gothamist readers submit chilling photos of hurricane damage in the Rockaways.
  • Staten Island is reeling from a direct hit by Sandy.

[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]

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