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: That Inequality TED Talk; Ricketts; and More
- Better TED than Red? In March, millionaire tech entrepreneur Nick Hanauer gave a TED Talk on a simple idea: Middle class consumers, not captains of industry, are the true job creators. Why? Because without consumer demand, entrepreneurs would have no one to buy their products. Jobs come from a positive feedback loop between consumer demand and innovation to meet that demand, Hanauer said. In an deeply unequal society, even vastly rich people can't consume enough to sustain demand. Therefore taxing the rich and investing that money to bolster the middle class benefits everyone. Initially, TED seemed eager to distribute Hanauer's talk, according to the National Journal, which broke the story: “I want to put this talk out into the world!” a TED official wrote to Hanauer. Yet, somehow the enthusiasm faded. TED Talk curator Chris Anderson later said that the organization decided not to post Hanauer's talk because it was too partisan, and not special enough to merit the honor of being displayed on the main TED website. Specialness may be in the eye of the beholder, but the idea that consumer demand drives job growth is Econ 101.
- Tim Murphy of Mother Jones has the inside scoop on Joe Ricketts, the bigtime GOP donor behind the super-PAC out to portray Obama as a "metrosexual, black Abraham Lincoln." The PAC is looking for "extremely literate conservative African-American" to narrate the spots, or John Voight, whichever.
- Michelle Chen of In These Times describes how migrant domestic workers around the world are documenting their struggles and pushing for change.