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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: Republicans Against Prison Labor; "Authorette" 1; Limbaugh, 0; The 40-Hour Week


  • And now for something completely different: Republicans against prison labor! When public exploitation undercuts private profit, something has to be done. Defense contractors say they're being undercut by Federal Prison Industries, a publicly-owned company that pays inmates between 23 cents to $1.15 an hour to make clothing and other items for the U.S. military, Diane Cardwell reports in the New York Times. The defense contractors have enlisted their friends in the Senate, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to level the playing field between FPI and the private sector. Now, a bipartisan group of legislators seeks to revive a bill that would raise the minimum wage in federal prisons and increase Congressional oversight of the prison system.
  • Why the U.S. needs to bring back the 40-hour work week to preserve our sanity and our productivity, by Sarah Robinson in AlterNet.
  • Last week Rush Limbaugh attacked Tracie McMillan, the author of the critically acclaimed book The American Way of Eating as "wide-eyed" "authorette," and an "overeducated" but unintelligent single woman. Clarissa León takes Rush to task for his ill-informed, sexist, classist diatribe in the Daily Beast: "‘Rush Limbaugh has crystallized something that is bigger than just him,’ writer Annia Ciezadlo says. ‘What he’s sort of unwittingly articulated is this hatred of the idea that working-class women will have a voice in anything that they do.’"
  • Former Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith quit the legendary investment banking house because he realized that short-term greed was eclipsing long-term greed at Goldman, Ezra Klein explains in the Washington Post. In other words, Smith felt that Goldman was more interested in wringing money out of its own clients (short-term greed) than in making them money and taking a cut year after year (long-term greed).



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