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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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Clear It With Sidney

Fri, Jul 24, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

  • Sidney-winner Jose Antonio Vargas' documentary White People is now available online.
  • Hillman Judge Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about his new book, "Between the World and Me," with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. 
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Tue, Jul 21, 2015

Harvard law professor Larry Lessig explains why we shouldn't pin our hopes for campaign finance reform on a constitutional amendment, as desirable as useful as such an amendment might be.

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Harvard law professor Larry Lessig explains why we shouldn't pin our hopes for campaign finance reform on a constitutional amendment, as desirable as useful as such an amendment might be.

Instead, Lessig argues, we should focus on increasing the percentage of campaign donations funded by small-dollar contributors. Attracting small donations could shift the balance of power away from large monied interests, towards ordinary citizens. He points out that it's much easier to incentivize small contributions than it is to change the constitution to limit large ones. 

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Fri, Jul 17, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

  • The U.S. Department of Labor is finally cracking down on employee misclassification.
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Fri, Jul 10, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

  • Hillman judge Ta-Nehisi Coates garners another rave review for his new book, "Between the World and Me."
  • Hillman Prize-winner John Richardson checks in with climate scientists to find out how they feel about their front row seats for Armageddon.
  • A beautiful essay about a body farm in Texas and some remarkable people who gave their bodies to science. 
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Fri, Jul 3, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

  • Editorial staffers at Salon.com announce their intent to unionize.
  • The Radium Girls, workplace safety, and America's love affair with radioactive toothpaste.
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Fri, Jun 26, 2015

The Best of the Week's News (And There's LOTS of Good News)

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The Best of the Week's News (And There's LOTS of Good News)

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Tue, Jun 23, 2015

Does a recent California labor ruling spell the death of the 1099 economy? Laura Bliss investigates for CityLab. 

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Does a recent California labor ruling spell the death of the 1099 economy? Laura Bliss investigates for CityLab. 

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Fri, Jun 19, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

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Wed, Jun 17, 2015

Uber's worst nightmare has come true:

In what could be an explosive decision, the California Labor Commission has found that a driver for Uber in San Francisco is an employee of the company. That’s from a ruling filed in state court on Tuesday and first reported by Reuters. It’s pretty damning. “Defendants hold themselves out as nothing more than a neutral technological platform, designed simply to enable drivers and passengers to transact the business of transportation,” the commission writes. “The reality, however, is that Defendants are involved in every aspect of the operation.” [Slate]

So far, the ruling only applies to one driver from San Francisco, but the precedent could be far-reaching. Uber plans to appeal.

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Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The Best of the Week's News

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The Best of the Week's News

  • A factory worker who lost both hands making flatscreen TVs tells her story.
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