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: Rape on Tribal Lands; Another Defective, Untested Medical Device; Homebirth Quackery
- One in three American Indian women is a survivor of rape or attempted rape, according to the Department of Justice. Timothy Williams of the New York Times takes an in-depth look at sexual violence on tribal lands and the failure of politicians in Washington to address the problem.
- The Orange County Register reports on the Axxent FlexiShield, a medical device designed to protect patients undergoing radiation. The shield can fragment inside the body, peppering tissues with tungsten particles. The FDA approved the device without clinical tests to prove its safety through a controversial approval process known as 510(k). Medical device manufacturers successfully lobbied to expand the 510(k) program, which was originally intended for low- and moderate-risk devices only but today accounts for about 90% of all devices approved for market, including high-risk implantables.
- Dr. Amy Tuteur, a retired OB-GYN, savages the New York Times' credulous coverage of home birth midwife Ina May Gaskin: "Let's get something straight: Ina May Gaskin has blood on her hands, and not merely the blood of her own child sacrificed on the altar of homebirth. Gaskin presides over a large multi-faceted business empire comprised of trade, propaganda and lobbying organizations, all with one purpose in mind: allowing uneducated women like herself to provide substandard medical care to pregnant women while ignoring the growing pile of tiny bodies."
[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]