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.
Clear It With Sidney
The Best of the Week's News
- Casino lobbyists outnumbered legislators in Albany this year.
- How nursing home staffers stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly residents.
- Daisy Coleman, the teenager at the center of the Maryville rape scandal, recounts how she was mercilessly bullied after speaking out against the boys who assaulted her and her friend.
- Dirty bird: Disturbing facts about chicken.
Sidney-winner Susan Greene reports on Robert Knott a Native America inmate who was posthumously reunited with his tribe after committing suicide in supermax prison. Knott had been struggling for years with untreated mental illness, a condition that was surely exacerbated by years of solitary confinment.
[Photo credit: Detail of a pow wow dancer from the Ho-Chunk Nation, Robert Knott's tribe of origin.]
The Coleman family of Maryville, MO has endured a horrific backlash since they sought justice for their daughter, who was allegedly raped by a star high school football player and left semi-conscious outdoors in sub-freezing weather last year. Since the Coleman's story has made national headlines, now is a good time to revisit Dave Zirin's classic post about how coaches can challenge rape culture in sports by demanding that young players respect women.
[Photo credit: National Archives, no copyright.]
When 14-year-old Daisy Coleman was found sprawled semi-conscious on her porch in sub-zero weather early one Sunday morning, showing signs of sexual assault, her family fought for justice against the high school football player who allegedly raped their daughter. The charges against alleged rapist and football star Matthew Barnett were dropped and the community backlash against the Colemans cost them everything.
[Photo credit: jamestruepeny, Creative Commons.]
The Best of the Week's News
- Two New York rabbis stand accused of kidnapping and torturing recalcitrant husbands to force them to grant their wives religious divorces.
- Pharmaceutical companies paid tens of thousands of dollars to attend meetings to shape FDA policy on painkillers.
- New York City parents who have lost custody of their children for alleged neglect are supporting each other in their bids to earn their kids back.
- Iowa regulators are moving ahead on a plan to ban abortion-by-telemedicine, despite a pending court case.
A blaze swept through the Aswad Composite Mills factory in Bangladesh, Tuesday, killing 9 workers and injuring at least 50 others. The factory made merchandise for the Hudson's Bay Company and WalMart. This is the latest in a series of deadly industrial accidents in the garment sector in Bangladesh. Most garment workers die in fires. These deaths could easily be prevented by improving the wiring and fire evacuation systems in clothing factories.
The 2013 Hillman Award for Broadcast Journalism went to Brian Ross and his investigative team at ABC News for reporting on garment industry deaths in Bangladesh. That same year, a special Hillman Officers' Award was presented posthumously to Aminul Islam, a Bangladeshi labor leader who was probably murdered for his activism on behalf of garment workers.
[Photo credit: Iconic Hudson's Bay Blanket, by Whimsie Dots, Creative Commons.]
Rhode Island is a national trendsetter when it comes to schemes for stealing public sector pensions and funnelling the spoils to Wall Street, Matt Taibbi reports.
Thanks to Carol in DC for the tip.
- In honor of the landmark 2011 Dukes ruling against WalMart, ProPublica aggregates classic reads on gender and sex discrimination.
- The Supreme Court is set to hear two big labor law cases this term, and everybody's nervous.
- But relax, Obamacare is not going to take your house.
- Turns out, when everything is for sale, everything is for sale. The founder of the online marketplace/libertarian paradise known as the Silk Road is alleged not only to have trafficked tens of millions of dollars worth of drugs, but also to have solicited murder for hire.
[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]
...and Now Find Yourself Sitting at Home on Furlough With Plenty of Time to Ask About.
[Photo credit: Pandabrand, Creative Commons.
Hillman Prize-winner Alison Young exposes another dodgy dietary supplement for USA Today:
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — A Mexican dietary supplement called Reumofan has gained a loyal following in the United States as a "100% natural" treatment for arthritis and joint pain. It's supposedly made by a company called Riger Natural from ingredients such as shark cartilage, white willow and glucosamine, or so the labels say.
But consumers who buy Reumofan products are risking dangerous side effects and trusting their lives to a company that uses fake addresses, lies about the ingredients in its products and may not even exist, a USA TODAY investigation has found.
The newspaper set out to find Riger Natural and the people responsible for producing and selling the supplement, searching corporation records and visiting addresses in Mexico where it had been listed on the Web as having a lab. Those addresses are fake and there's no evidence the company ever had facilities in the locations. Some Mexican retailers who once distributed the product say their contacts have simply disappeared. Even Mexican health authorities have been unable to track down the company.
Riger Natural? As in Riger Mortis? Reumofan is marketed as a dietary supplement but some of these pills contain potentially toxic prescription drugs and the FDA has received reports linking the pills to bleeding, strokes, and death.
[Photo credit: U.S. FDA.]