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.
Young Informants are Pawns in the Drug War
2012 Hillman Award-winner Sarah Stillman has an eye-opening story in this week's New Yorker about how police departments routinely enlist untrained youths as pawns in the drug war. Teens arrested for minor drug offenses are recruited to participate in dangerous sting operations involving weapons and hard drugs. Some, like 23-year-old Rachel Hoffman are murdered on the job. In the wake of multiple fatalities, a movement is afoot to reform the confidential informant system to protect the rights of young people, particularly those whose judgement may be clouded by addiction.
[Photo credit, Bodgan Suditu, Creative Commons.]