Betty Gottlieb 1927-2021

By Diane Gottlieb and Katja Gottlieb-Stier Betty Allanoff Gottlieb, who was thought to be intellectually disabled in kindergarten because she spoke only Yiddish, graduated high school at fifteen, and attained a PhD in Biochemistry at 61, died on the thirtieth of March 2021, twenty-four years and three weeks after the death of her beloved husband Harry Gottlieb MD.  Betty had unparalleled joie de vivre. A passionate learner, her interests were perpetually expanding. A first generation American born to Jewish immigrants from what was then the Russian/Polish border, Betty lived with her parents and extended family on South 4th Street in Philadelphia in the building that became Southwark and, most recently, Ambra restaurant. She studied Biochemistry at Temple University and continued this focus pursuing a PhD at Indiana University. As the only woman in the department she was often discouraged by her male supervisors.  Following a chance reacquaintance with Harry Gottlieb… Continue reading

Vote for Amendment 3

This is an update of the remarks I gave at a press conference led by Senator Vince Hughes and the Urban League and attended by Liz Randol of the ACLU, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, District Attorney Larry Krasner and many others last week. A proposed constitutional amendment stating that equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged because of an individual’s race or ethnicity is on the Pennsylvania ballot next week. The amendment would bring rights protected under the U.S. Constitution into the PA Constitution. Racial and ethnic prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination are totally antithetical to the basic rights of human beings. The protection of these rights is so central to a decent and just political community that at the federal level we have embedded it in our Constitution, thereby creating a way to appeal to the Courts if and when Congress, the presidency, and state and local… Continue reading

Krasner leads us towards justice

This is a response to Wilfredo Rojas, a critic of Larry Krasner who complains about Krasner’s efforts to pursue justice in the loss of his son, a Temple student who was murdered. Wilfredo, first, let me say that I’m very sorry for your loss. I was talking with a friend yesterday about families, like my own, where parents have had to see their children die about how this is the most devastating that can happen to a person. Nothing the criminal justice system can do will stop the ache in your heart. And that is not its purpose. Its purpose is to provide justice for our communities. As I said to others, human civilization is based on recognizing that injuries to individuals have to be answered by the community not by individual or family revenge. That idea is the most enduring legacy of Greek thought and practice and was immortalized… Continue reading

Mass Incarceration is on the Ballot in Philadlephia in May

Almost every time someone is arrested for murder in Philadelphia, he has a criminal record of some kind. In many cases it is for minor drug dealing or for possession of a gun. So, the tough on crime crowd that supports Carlos Vega for DA crowd blames the criminal justice system in general and the DA, Larry Krasner, in particular for the murder saying that if only the guy arrested for murder were in jail, the crime would not have been committed.  What people who advance this idea forget is how many people in this city are involved in minor drug dealing and are carrying illegal guns. Most of them will not murder anyone. We can’t just arrest the corner drug dealers with guns who are likely to commit murder in the future. We don’t know who they are. If we throw the book at every one corner drug dealer… Continue reading

Cancel Culture or Course Correction?

For pretty much all of American history Black people have had to be very careful about what they said in front of white people, out of fear that they might be hurt for what they said. The wrong remark at the wrong time could lead to them being ridiculed or denigrated or excluded from something important to them at work or in their community. Or it could lead to them losing their job. Or their life. For pretty much all of American history women have had to be very careful about what they said in front of men, out of fear that they might be hurt for what they said. The wrong remark at the wrong time could lead to them being ridiculed or denigrated or excluded from something important to them at work or in their community. Or it could lead to them losing their job. Or to being… Continue reading

How to change the filibuster without really trying

Two or perhaps three Democratic Senators–Manchin and Synema and perhaps one other–are reluctant to overturn the filibuster. That reluctance could be overcome by Republican obstruction of critical policy needs–COVID-19 relief, funding for a massive vaccination campaign, help with health care and housing–that are critical to the states of these Senators. But even then, Senators who have publicly opposed filibuster reform might be concerned about changing their position publicly. So here are two steps that go part way to filibuster reform. First, we can change the rules for the reconciliation process. The reconciliation process allows Congress to move, once every session, a budget resolution under which changes in laws that affect the budget–including taxation and appropriations–without being subject to a filibuster. Critical legislation has been passed by both sides under reconciliation resolution in the last 15 years including the ACA and the Trump Tax Cut. There are, however, limitations on what… Continue reading

How to know who is telling the truth about the election

Some people are having a hard time figuring out the truth about the election. If you are too busy to explore all the claims by Trump and his supporters; read all the court cases in which they have put them forward, and understand why one judge after another has rejected them both because they have presented no evidence and made astoundingly unserious legal arguments, here is a simple cheat sheet. Trump’s claims about the election are supported by very conservative federal and state legislators who are either scared of or are opportunistically seeking to win the support of Trump and his supporters. Trump’s claims about the election have been rejected by equally conservative federal and state judges who are unconcerned by the views of Trump and his supporters. That should tell you all you need to know about the truth of those claims. And also should remind you of the… Continue reading

Statement: New COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Is Not Enough for PA

Originally published by KRC / PBPC at Marc Stier, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, has released the following statement about the COVID-19 stimulus package recently passed by the U.S. House and Senate. The new COVID-19 stimulus bill passed by the House and Senate is missing important elements that are critical to people of Pennsylvania. Those who are unemployed due to the pandemic will not receive enough support. Nor will Pennsylvania’s small businesses that need help, such as those in the hospitality industry. There is no funding at all for the state or for local governments that face revenue shortfalls that are likely to lead to deep budget cuts that hurt students and those who rely on the state for important services. Those cuts will delay an economic recovery. Yet, even though it is insufficient in many ways, it will provide much needed help to individuals and… Continue reading

The Need for Federal Aid to the States: A Statement

Originally published at KRC-PBPC at Marc Stier delivered the following remarks at a press event held by Senator Bob Casey. Thank you, Senator Casey, for inviting me to speak today and for your advocacy for out state and its people. Pennsylvania, like every state in the country, desperately needs new covid-19 relief measures from the federal government The Pennsylvania economy needs it. Pennsylvanians who are suffering from the economic crisis created by the pandemic need it, especially those who are unemployed or who are facing a housing crisis. And These are disproportionately people of color and women. And all of us who rely on a functioning state government need it. After a welcome if only partial economic recovery thanks to the impact of the CARES Act, the economy of Pennsylvania has been slowly slipping back into a deeper recession since September. With limited restrictions on business activity, small business… Continue reading

STATEMENT: In Support of Governor Wolf’s Newest COVID-19 Restrictions

Originally published at KRC-PBPC HARRISBURG — Marc Stier, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, released the following statement on Governor Wolf’s most recent COVID-19 restrictions. Governor Wolf has called for new action to protect Pennsylvanians from the COVID-19 pandemic. All of us, no matter where we live in our state, what we look like, or whether are rich or poor, are vulnerable to this terrible virus and the damage it does to our health, lives, and economy. And make no mistake, it is the disease itself, far more than regulations to protect our health, that is causing economic distress especially for working people, women, Black and brown people, and immigrants. So we should all welcome the governor’s actions and reject attempts to divide us by approaching necessary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 as an ideological or partisan issue. But protecting our health is not enough. We also… Continue reading